Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Distance

“God is watching us…from a distance.” ― Julie Gold

Tina is our host for this week’s photo challenge, and she takes up an appropriate theme: Distance, using quotes from a song by Julie Gold. Tina mentions that Bette Midler made the song famous, but my favorite version was recorded by Nanci Griffith. She sings it like an activist, as a protest song. It puts the responsibility for wars, poverty, disease, and hunger squarely on us. When you look at planet Earth from a distance, you don’t see these things. They are human inventions. 

You may argue with me about disease being a human invention. My point is simply that a virus or a bacteria is another organism in Nature. The value judgment on it is our concept.

That being said, what I’m thinking about distance right now is that it’s difficult. Last night, through the technology of Zoom, I spent two hours with my kids, my sister, and my niece who live a couple of thousand miles away on the West Coast. Yesterday was my middle daughter’s birthday; today is my niece’s; tomorrow is my daughter-in-law’s. We were trying to celebrate our life connection while social distancing. My plane tickets for the West Coast must be converted to credit, and I will miss seeing them for an indefinite time.

Distance, however, is just distance. It is part of the perspective of life and allows us to understand connection and proximity. I am hoping that we learn many valuable things during this time. I am hoping that I learn to appreciate and accept distance even while I long for closeness.

Here is a gallery of photos of my “Safer At Home” housemate. We’ve always sought out open spaces. 

And here’s a gallery of my West Coast kids, to whom I’m working on getting closer. My plan is to move to Oregon at the end of June.

As you navigate the space of this interesting situation, may you be safe and well, holding close what you deem most dear while appreciating the vastness of this wonderful world.  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbols of My Father

Reposting from July 10, 2015; my dad died 10 years ago on March 19:

Today is my father’s birthday.  He’s been dead for 5 years, but his influence on my life has been incredibly profound.  I look through my photos and recognize him in symbolic images that point to something he represented in my life.  Representation is a well-developed part of human culture.  We use it in language, art, religion, philosophy, identity and so many other ways.  The real challenge we ‘civilized’ folk have is to strip away representations and come face-to-face with actual entities.  My father was highly educated and an educator himself.  His facility with symbol was quite advanced: he was a mathematician and a writer and combined those skills in his career as a Technical Writer.  I am grateful for the symbols I still see that remind me of his life, his personality, his love. 

My photos are valuable symbols to me.  Especially when I can’t access the actual things they represent.  GWHII RIP 2I miss you, Dad.  Rest in peace.

Symbol

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Reflections

“Use reflective surfaces to create an artistic echo of a scene…” 

Mirror, mirror on the wall…why is it I blog at all?
I started this blog when I began my 50th year of life. That was in August of 2011. I had just moved to Wisconsin to live with Steve. I was widowed three and a half years. I had a lot to process and a lot to learn.

I am now facing another transition: leaving Wisconsin and Steve to live in Oregon, closer to three of my four adult children, my  mother, and my three siblings. I have a lot to process and a lot to learn.

I learn by reflecting on what I’ve seen.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

I am making this cross-country move because I have learned again what I always knew to be my Truth: that I belong most importantly in my Family – my family of origin and the family that my late husband and I loved into being. 

 

“Art is not a reflection of reality, it is the reality of a reflection.”
Jean-Luc Godard

Writing in this blog, storing photographs and memories, was a way to plant the seeds of realization. In my words and pictures, I remind myself who I truly am and see who I am becoming.

“There is one art of which man should be master, the art of reflection.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

All my artistic echoes have origins in my mother and repercussions in my children. Being so distant from their heartbeats just doesn’t make sense. I need to hear the rhythm of our art, our lives, in order to keep dancing. 

“What we do now echoes in eternity.”
― Marcus Aurelius


May the love we create in our family be reflected in the world. I believe we all have the responsibility and the capability to make this a more loving, peaceful, beautiful place.

Thank you, Miriam, for hosting this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.  

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Future

Ann-Christine challenges us this week with a beautiful collection of double-exposure photos and quotes about the Future.

What a peculiar responsibility we have, as presumably the only species on Earth with the capacity to think about the Future. And as the dominant species, our actions create an impact that will be felt for a long, long time.

Knowing this, how do we choose to live? How do we spend our time? What do we use, and what do we throw away? What do we create? And how will we, individually, impact the Future?

Looking in my photo archives, I can easily see a few things I’ve done that will influence some part of the Future.

I have planted trees, both on the suburban property I used to own and on public properties as a member of a larger community. 

I’ve worked for the past 5 years for a conservation organization, a land trust that buys land to save it from development and plants trees and prairies for wildlife habitat.

But probably the biggest impact I will have on the Future is through my four children, who are now adults. Their choices are no doubt influenced in part by the values we talked about as they matured. Most likely, they will use, create, vote, dispose, and act long after I have ceased to do any of those things. The legacy I will have through them is not mine to predict but theirs to fashion.

I am very proud of them, and feel confident that their choices will be intended for good and not for harm.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Seeing Double

I missed last week’s Lens-Artists Challenge because I was in Oregon visiting my three youngest children. I’m glad to be back for Tina’s challenge this week on Seeing Double

My two middle kids have been best friends all their lives. I call them “The Bobbsey Twins”, even though they are two years apart. They have shared so many adventures and continue to be “besties” as adults in their 30s. And you can definitely tell that they swim in the same gene pool!

Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet. – Vietnamese Proverb

My final shot for “Seeing Double” is a tribute to the creepy holiday coming up – Halloween!

May all the pairs of things you begin to notice after looking at “Seeing Double” challenge entries remind you that you are not alone. May that comfort you and bring you joy! 

Lens-Artists Challenge: Precious Pets

Tina is up for some fun in this week’s challenge as she invites us to look at Precious Pets. She especially mentioned a pet ox. So…

Meet Ted and Bear, a team of oxen that I considered co-workers when I was at Old World Wisconsin. They were very good at following voice commands given by Dirk, the farmer. They hauled wagons and did all the heavy lifting around the 19th Century living history museum. They weren’t really “pets”, I guess, but the photo Tina shared wasn’t really an ox, either. I think it was a domestic water buffalo. (I stand corrected. Tina assures me it is a domestic ox.)

Now, I must confess that I don’t have any pets at the moment. The only animals I have ever lived with were cats, fish, and my daughter’s mice.  But I love animals and consider them sentient beings worthy of the greatest respect. I am an enthralled observer of the wild creatures that live around the nature preserve where I rent a house. There are a pair of Sandhill Cranes that visit from March through November. 

I am delighted by their elegance and their devotion. Each year, I mark their nesting and parenting habits. The first year, they fledged twins. Subsequent years were not so rewarding. One year, they had a colt that was hit by a car. This season, one of the adults disappeared for a while. Now there are two again. A new romance, perhaps. Cranes are a symbol of fidelity because they mate for life and always look out for each other. When one is foraging for food with its head down, the other is not far away, and on the lookout. 

I am and have been a proud grandmother of quite a few “fur babies”, however. What I am most proud of, I think, is seeing how my children love and nurture and foster pets, truly doing their best to care for them and have meaningful relationships with them. My kids have taught me quite a lot about dogs, and I have learned to relate very well to them, overcoming a sort of phobia I developed as a young child who was overcome on the beach by an excited Irish Setter. Here’s a gallery of my “grandkids”:

For myself, I have a sweet little companion I call Jimmy Bear. He shares my bed and eats nothing. A pretty nice arrangement, I must say. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

I remember my grandmother telling me that it is lucky for brides to have “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe”. Patti has cleverly used this as her photo challenge for this week. Having just returned from a hiking event this morning, I’m too tuckered out to do a scavenger hike with my camera this afternoon. So, I’m putting my feet up and “visiting” my archives. I may even include an actual bride on this one! 

Something old…at my daughter Susan’s wedding, that would be her grandmother. No offense, just pride in that. And she’s wearing blue!

Something new…obviously, brides are new wives. Here are a couple: my daughter and my daughter-in-law.

Something borrowed…

I borrowed the mannequins at David’s Bridal for a close up. My daughter’s wedding party borrowed the dance from Rocky Horror Picture Show. My brother borrowed his bride’s bouquet.  

Something blue…decorations that my daughter-in-law made…

… and my son’s eyes.

And since silver sixpences are hard to come by, we’ll just go with some sparkly silver stuff that I’ve photographed around wedding time. 

 Now, if I could just get invited to bring my camera to two more wedding celebrations…(hint, hint).