Monthly Archives: April 2016
Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract Earth Day
Today’s challenge is “Abstract”, and it’s Earth Day. So many beautiful textures and forms in nature that may be completely unrecognizable close up although familiar at a distance. One definition of “abstract” is to remove, as in remove it from its context.
When you abstract something, you may consider it theoretically and separately from its surroundings. This is something that scientists do particularly.
And then the challenge is to put it back into context and look at it holistically, as a whole, interconnected thing.
This is exactly the way we need to look at our Earth. Parts are interesting to study, but the whole, living thing is what we need to protect.
The complexities of our planet, the delicate balance and harmony of its interdependent eco-systems, are perhaps far beyond our capacity to understand. Therefore, it’s important to respect them and strive to preserve their integrity. And it’s equally important simply to revere them and enjoy the awe they inspire.
May you enjoy the Earth today, in abstract detail and in whole.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Dinner’s Ready!
What a fun challenge! Dinner, supper, the evening meal is an opportunity to establish a daily feast or celebration of sustenance, to gather your nuclear family together, share stories of the day, and unwind .
Yeah, right. I am amazed at how rushed and chaotic this time was for me when my four children were living at home and involved in extra-curricular activities!
However, they are living on their own, now. Their schedules are their own, and my schedule is that I work part-time 2 days a week and my partner works from home. I have re-claimed dinnertime for savoring food and conversation! I like to have a glass of wine or a gin cocktail or simply ginger ale with a lime wedge to wet my whistle while I prepare a meal for two in our tiny kitchen. Jazz by Chris Botti, Chet Baker, or any of the vocalists from the ’40s-’60s keeps me humming along in a great mood for evening pleasures.
My camera comes out for special dinner occasions, a new recipe or a holiday meal with family. I love the bustle of a potluck dinner with my children, and I fully acknowledge that they are better cooks than I. My mother’s dinners were elegant affairs where she was the clear Commander in Chief. (There’s one photo taken at her table – a distinct difference in style.) And I love dinner outdoors by the campfire or on the lawn of a music festival. Such a lot of delicious memories!
International Poetry Month
This post was written for The Be Zine which is dedicating its April issue to International Poetry Month. As a Contributing Editor, I am honored to be able to join with truly accomplished poets in celebrating Poetry, but I am well aware that my skills do not match those of my colleagues! Treat yourself to some truly substantial fare by visiting the magazine here.
My favorite poetry is philosophy dressed in dreaming, not logic. It imagines a larger reality, a more expansive love. Rilke is the gold standard, I think. Oh, but that is the pièce de résistance, and there’s so much more besides that. I am a poem consumer, not a gourmet chef. I know very little of form or craft, but I love to taste and participate. So I’ve written a love poem to my late husband because, well, you might as well start with breakfast.
Thick, boyish lashes fringe
Other eyes, perhaps as blue,
Open, tender toward Beloved
Still smiling youths may offer
Eager grins, warm confidence
Gleaming ‘neath soft whiskered lips
Clear voices might ring
Thrilling, gentle as yours when
You sang at daybreak just for me
Surely now first loves make vows,
Grow mature together, devotion’s
Friendly joy becoming solid strength
Fathers must bend heart and arm
Wrap manhood’s grace boldly around
Each golden, blessed child – like you
No doubt live sorrowing pairs
With looming loss, still holding,
Fingers trembling, to brave last words
I cannot boast an only, greatest grief;
I know this storied world is vast.
But still I weep in fond belief
That you and I loved first and last.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Future
Another morning of Spring snow, slowing changing to rain. The future comes to us haltingly, moment by moment. The human consciousness is capable of projecting thought far beyond this present moment. Other species don’t bother. The future is in the bud, the seed, the egg. They are content to let it belong there.
I sometimes don’t know what to do with my human consciousness of the future. It can cause anxiety and expectation, which is often very unsettling.
The boy who wore that shoe turned 29 years old this week. I’ve thought of his future for that much time, and more. Perhaps that awareness has been helpful. But sometimes, I wonder if it’s not as helpful as my awareness of the moment.
The flicker of the present, the warmth, the light. This is where we are most alive.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscapes of my Life
I am pleased that Joshua Tree National Park and Jeff Sinon were both mentioned in this challenge. I happen to be fans of both! And of Wilderness, of course. (There’s a page dedicated to Wilderness above – please take a look!)
Landscape has been an inspiration for me from a very young age. My father used to take me for walks in the Morton Arboretum in the far western Chicago suburbs. I was overjoyed to be set free running across open expanses of rolling lawn dotted with dandelions and trees. Suburban landscapes are quite domestic, though. I longed for something wilder.
I would stare out my second floor bedroom window towards the west, imagining that the frontier started just beyond the GAR Memorial Forest Preserve and the Des Plaines river. I finally learned that there were just more suburbs on the other side. Then, when I was 10, we went to Colorado to visit my cousins, and I saw a mountain for the first time. It was like all the magic of a fairy tale come true, more majesty than I could take in with my arms spread wide and my feet clambering tirelessly upward!
When I was 14, we moved to California, and I discovered a diversity of landscapes to love – the shore, the deserts, the redwood forests, the foothills and the Sierras.
By my 30th birthday, I had moved back to the Midwest to raise my four children in a less dramatic but safer environment. I fell in love again with the prairie.
But Wilderness calls me to the North Woods and the West whenever I can travel, and these landscapes are the ones I want to photograph with more care and passion (and better equipment!) in the future.