Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrasts

What a cornucopia of contrasts we large-brained creatures enjoy!  All of our five senses combined with time, space, balance, aesthetic, and a host of other concepts gives us a spectrum of comparison and juxtaposition that is unparallelled (maybe – contrasts in perceived electricity, magnetism, light and sound might be more pronounced in other species than I imagine!  How do animals know when and how to migrate or mate or find a spawning place?).   Sensate – sentient – sensational.  The world is a vast canvas of contrasts.

prickly feathery coldPrickly, feathery, cold.  Down on snow, covered with a pine bough. 

I can lose myself in texture and scent and taste even more than with sight and sound.  My guts are more involved, my brain less so.  I am enjoying a book by one of my favorite writers, Walter Wangerin Jr.  What I like about his voice is that it is so thoroughly visceral and ancient.  It makes me feel grounded.  There’s a holiness in that.  Contrast helps me know that I am alive.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

The Weekly Photo Challenge prompt invites us to interpret the theme “Between”.  This response is dedicated to my oldest, Susan.  When she was a little girl in Kindergarten, she memorized a poem by A. A. Milne (the author of the Winnie the Pooh stories) and performed it for the K-3rd grade Speech and Oratorical Contest of her elementary school.  Here is the poem:

Before Tea by A. A. Milne

Has not been seen
For more than week. She slipped between
The two tall trees at the end of the green…
We all went after her. “Emmeline!”

I didn’t mean —
I only said that your hands weren’t clean.”
We went to the trees at the end of the green…
But Emmeline
Was not to be seen.

Came slipping between
The two tall trees at the end of the green.
We all ran up to her. “Emmeline!
Where have you been?
Where have you been?
Why, it’s more than week!” And Emmeline
Said, “Sillies, I went and saw the Queen.
She says my hands are purfickly clean!”


Susan did not perform this poem ‘purfickly’.  As I recall, she left rather a long pause between the second and third stanzas, perhaps for dramatic effect, perhaps to indicate that some time goes by in that part.  The audience began to applaud too early.  Nevertheless, her memory was perfect, and she finished in her own time, in her little 5-year old lisp, “Thillieth…”, and I was, of course, inordinately proud of her. I still am.  I visited her this past Sunday, and we went for a stroll in the UW Madison Arboretum, where she slipped between the branches of trees — like this:


Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

The Weekly Photo Challenge prompt posted today says: “This week, share a photo that has a little something extra: an unexpected visitor, or a tranquil landscape with a splash of color. A lone carrot in a sea of peas. Draw us in with a humorous detail, or find a photo with an added element that makes it an image only you could capture.”

Extra(If you click on the photo, it should open in a larger window for a more panoramic view.)

The significance of this photo has many levels.  Someone just visiting this blog for the first time might see a nice composition of natural scenery and a person enjoying it.  Very pleasant.  Someone who knows this blog a little better might recognize the person as Steve, my partner, who shows up in many of my photos.  Someone who knows my history might recognize the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan, opposite my grandmother’s beach cottage where I spent many childhood summers, and understand the sentimental attachment I have to this particular body of water.  Only Steve & I know the thought that prompted him to sit in this place, the person he is memorializing as he pauses on our walk.  The invisible figure in this photo is Steve’s father, Stanley. 

I never met Stanley.  He died one month before I first encountered Steve.  I have been introduced to him many times in concept and story, however.  Stanley was a gentle person, a father who did not assert his authority or enforce many rules.  Steve sometimes describes him as “passive resistant”, but his assessment is one of understanding and acceptance rather than judgment.  Stanley enjoyed going slowly through life, enjoying simple pleasures and quiet places.  He worked many years in the US Postal Service and traveled with his family in his own whimsical way.  Taking a cigarette break was a frequent excuse to absent himself from the social gathering at hand to enjoy a peaceful moment.  When Steve saw this bench along the nature trail at Kohler-Andrae State Park, he said, “This is just the kind of place my father would like.”  He sat down.  I walked down the path to allow him some private time with his dad, and snapped this photo. 

Happy Father’s Day, Stanley.  Thanks for being the person you were and for all you did to make Steve the person he is.  Well done, sir.  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

Room….and room enough.  How do you make space in your life, for yourself, for your dreams, for another person? 

Scholar & Poet

How do you create warmth and comfort and interest? 

room dining

Is that just about outer atmosphere, or is the inner condition of your soul the place from which an invitation to abide emanates? 

renewal 2

Isn’t that what “room” is all about?  A place to abide, be it contained or uncontained. 

room tent

And what is abiding?  To me, it’s more than living…it’s living in peace. 


I want to abide — in my house, in my work, in my life, in the world — in peace. 


© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved