Somewhere on a back road in Mississippi, time worn wood and mottled brick give this building a patina of age.No longer speaking of use and purpose, it stands in dignified silence . Simply forgotten. Neglect sneaks up so quietly that it’s easily overlooked. Relationships may be taken for granted, friends and children are put off, gardens and homes, time for personal growth- all these fall prey to the demands of careers or needs of others.Vibrant dreams and plans grow threadbare and emptied if neglect grows unchecked.Taking a moment to really see things in their current state is the first step to protecting and reaffirming what’s important to us. There’s more to say, but I need to go call my mom…
Monthly Archives: November 2012
Corpses litter the beach.Macabre yet stunning in their simplicity. Erosion is the guilty party. Stands of trees surrender onto the sand and are bleached into submission. Having read about the beach and its nickname, I couldn’t wait to find it. The task became more difficult than I expected because it has several names, and Boneyard Beach isn’t endorsed by the visitor center. It’s formal name is Black Rock Beach and finding it was well worth the communication issue. The December morning we visited, the deserted beach didn’t disappoint. The formations of trees and roots, those that lie in isolation and some entangled with others , took my breath away and made my camera tired. I might have stayed longer, but it’s the kind of place that will appear different the next time I visit. I didn’t want to feel greedy, as if I had taken too many photos and stopped experiencing the moment. Sometimes I need to remind myself how to do that.
It’s warm this morning and survivor leaves are raining down in droves. A Thursday morning in November, the newspaper is fatter than the last several months combined , to tempt us to prepare to shop. The Turkey Day Parade from New York is on the television. I am so grateful that it seems almost normal and yet there are so many in my home town and nearby that are wondering how they made it to this day and if next year will feel closer to their normal.This morning there are no turkey smells in our house. My husband is working this morning because the March of Dimes( his passion and employer) is coordinating a race to raise funds to prevent infant prematurity and birth defects. Later in the day ,we will visit friends because our children are far from home and for the past 25 years we have lived away from our family. Hopefully this doesn’t sound like whining, because I’m not sad. Holidays are so filled with expectation and tradition that it is too easy to get caught up in details and the way you “should” celebrate. When this holiday began, it was a way to share the food available and to appreciate others. Obviously in some ways it has morphed into a day of overindulgence, football and strategizing for shopping convoys. So where does this take me? A day to focus on what makes life fulfilling. For me it includes my family, the children I’m trusted with each day, friends near and far, the time to pursue creative opportunities, and the results of having taken a leap of faith with this blog and meeting so many new friends. The challenge to continue to write and post with some regularity is inspiring. The funny thing is that I sit at my computer with an idea and the words flow from the keys. I can’t explain how it happens but I am so grateful. It also lets me realize that as full as my life is, I need to share more and better. To meet needs that are unspoken and unnoticed , to give without being asked , these are areas in which I need to grow. This photo I’ve posted is an old paneled door on which I’ve layered a photo of a colonial kitchen, a blend of the old to create something new. That opportunity exists for us each day.
There are days when almost everything seems to be too much. Your senses are overwhelmed and your brain is tired.Been there a lot lately. I needed everything toned down – quieter and softer. Obviously I couldn’t work that magic on my students, loud traffic or the Christmas carols that bombard you in every store. I needed a respite in both mind and photography.Enter a tiny little plastic lens on a rubber bracelet from PhotoJojo . It is supposed to shoot macro but I can’t hold my hand still enough with my iPhone.But the results, I liked them. I was able to turn the noise down and the softness up.These images feel soft to the eye with quiet colors. They speak to the end of the season in a whisper. I was able to hear myself breathe. I think at this time of year, that’s a gift to be treasured. I hope they provide a moment of stillness for you also.
It’s funny that growing up on the east coast, anytime I went to the beach, I never thought about standing on the edge of the North American continent. Yet, not long ago, watching this couple standing and staring out at the Pacific, it immediately struck me that after sharing a pleasant conversation they would stroll back contentedly in the direction they came . I began to wonder what happens when we reach an endpoint. Do we recognize it as one? Can we just reverse course or try to find an alternative? When explorers came upon the Grand Canyon or the Rockies, they traveled around, over , or sometimes through. What propelled them forward and gave them confidence to keep moving? When relationships end or careers cease to exist, whether by choice or circumstance, how do we find a new path? Seeing our situation in a new way is difficult. Those of us with closets full of clothes that no longer fit totally understand how hard it is to admit to an end.What inspires us to make different choices? Each of us reacts differently when reaching that edge of the world. Some are grateful to be forced to take action. Revisiting their past for clues,or being exhilarated by the challenge to create a new path are other reactions. Maybe for some of us, just relaxing into the rhythm of the waves and taking time to appreciate the view for its beauty gives us time to make sense of our feelings and try on possibilities.Without an instruction book ( not that I’d read it anyway) , the best we can do is borrow a compass and take the first steps in a new direction.
I love old boxes. In antique shops I can’t resist opening them because I’m always expecting a surprise.Not long ago, I spied a blue painted box on a shelf in a local antique shop. It sat between a basket and syrup bottle, and I carefully lifted it down. Obviously handmade, you could see how it had been nailed carefully together and that small brass hinges held the lid in place.
I opened the box and nestled inside was a well used Agfa box camera. Old and worn, but well-loved, I couldn’t put it back. Its metal front plate wore its scratches proudly.
Knowing that someone loved his camera enough to make a storage box to keep it safe, convinced me to take it home. It made me think about the cameras I value and while I’ve never attempted to build anything for them, I do try to care for them .I have taken a number of falls because I held the camera up high,letting my body take the impact, and I have a number of scars to prove it. The camera from the blue box feels good in the hands, and the box is perfectly proportioned to the camera with no wasted space.
Although, I’m not sure that I’ll be shooting with it (unless I make one of the black tubes to shoot through the lens with my DSLR), it sits near my computer in my studio and reminds me to appreciate its story.I silently promise its former owner that I’ll care for it and keep it safe.
Shooting infrared in old cemeteries is a passion of mine. The carver’s art , the names and the stories keep me curious. I’ve come across many symbols and decorations, but when I came across this monument with books on shelves, it made me wonder. I’m a reader. I thought about the family. Were they readers? Were they trying to show their level of education? Maybe they were teachers? I saw them as kindred spirits.I ‘m a mystery freak who can’t get enough of them.The more intricate the puzzle, the more I savor the mystery. Often , you’ll find me with my nose in a book or ebook. I used to worry that I wasn’t spending my time reading the classics or current book club fads. While I’m sure there are wonderful books I’ve missed, I’ve read and enjoyed so many. Obviously I can’t take books with me, and accepting the idea that life is finite, should I be compiling a list of books that I can’t miss? A bucket list doesn’t feel like the right term. One of my ideas of heaven would include a never-ending supply of Earl Grey tea, a comfortable chair to curl up with my dog, near a big window that overlooks an English garden ,and a collection of unread mysteries to encourage me to rest between my travels.Hell would be most like the old episode of The Twilight Zone in which a bank clerk spends his lunchtime in the vault reading. One day, after a nuclear (?) disaster, he finds himself the lone survivor. He wanders the streets and finds the library . Realizing he has all the time in the world to enjoy the books is a gift. As he heads up the steps, he trips and his glasses tumble from his nose and break. I saw the episode once when I was a teen and it has stayed with me.Definitely frightening! I guess I can compile a Don’t Wait to Read This! list. Which books would you include?
Simple magic transforms a wooden heart, a length of ribbon, a bit of moss and a thin dowel into a wand,and bestows a gift of confidence. You are able to believe in brilliant possibilities and wait breathless in expectation.Yet small hints of magic are visible each day; they only need a lingering glance of recognition.Late crimson leaves on fire in the setting sun, an unexpected smile from a stranger, or a moment of quiet refuge in an impossible day, surely these are hints of simple magic. Taking notice and welcoming them are the surest ways to encounter more each day.
Entering Holly Springs, Mississippi on Route 7, you can’t help but notice a cluster of buildings that has struggled to survive. The remains of a mechanical college that dates back to the early 1900’s invite further inspection. A mixture of Victorian with Mansard roofs and ironwork to a newer auditorium building, the glimpses through vine covered windows tempt passersby. Having visited this campus for several years,one building is now a pile of rubble. Where books peeked out from a basement storage area, and glass shone in most windows, the buildings now stand forlorn while flocks of turkey vultures roost in the eaves and chimneys, The first time I disturbed them I was quite unnerved when more than twenty huge scrawny necked birds came swooping from the rooftop and began circling. Having no desire to reenact a scene from Hitchcock’s The Birds, I tiptoed back out of sight.If you look closely at the chimney in the photo, several remain to stake their claim.There had to be something more useful to do with this property than let it slowly collapse onto itself. Unfortunately, it may be too late to try. The building in the bottom photo was damaged in a storm and is the rubble you see in the second photo. Somehow we have to learn not to be so shortsighted.
Route 66 conjures memories and mysteries. A sense of romance and forgotten adventure travels what remains of the road from Illinois to California. Every time I’ve found bits of it to ride along, I look for defeated telephone poles,leftover motels and tourist sites as an archeologist seeks clues. While I have found a good number, I always thought it could be an unending adventure. Last weekend, on a family trip to Los Angeles, we found ourselves in Santa Monica. Reaching the iconic pier left me stunned when I realized we’d come to the end of Route 66. I expected more than a sign and a few handfuls of tourists. The road could not travel any further. It had reached the Pacific.It’s job was complete, but I still wanted more. Just selfish I guess.