Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

Spring is host to many different kinds of ephemerals: ponds, wildflowers and insects, to name a few broad categories.  Nature is ever-changing; habitats and inhabitants come and go.  Yet humans often like to think of themselves as permanent and solid (‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’).  This is a great irony, given our surroundings.  To live in the moment, to appreciate your own presence and transience in the same breath — there is the key to living gracefully!  To realize life is as beautiful and fleeting as frost on my window,…

frost script

as powerful and swift as a rush of laughter.

mirth 3

It flickers like a candle flame: mesmerizing, warm and ultimately fragile….

new fire

 …while surrounded by mighty forces which shape its destiny.

refractionYes, my life is ephemeral, but LIFE is an ongoing flow that fills the aeons. 

moving waterTreat it well and tread lightly, my friends.



Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

What is Grand? My first thought was of grand opera, but I’ve got to agree with the WordPress folks.  There’s nothing that beats Mother Nature for being truly big and dramatic.  I love this planet!  I’m betting that there are going to be a lot of stunning photos posted.  As my second post of the morning, this one will be brief.  We’re gearing up for some wintry snowfall here in Wisconsin, but I gotta tell ya, it’s not going to be nearly as grand as what they get in California.  Here’s a shot I took in the month of April at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Gives new meaning to the line from the carol “Snow had fallen, snow on snow….in the bleak midwinter long ago.”


Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite

Happy Columbus Day!  As it’s a federal holiday, United States Postal Service workers got a day off, so Steve & I went on a 7-mile hike on the Ice Age Trail around Holy Hill.  The air was crisp and sunny; the leaves were resplendent, and I couldn’t have been happier to be outside with my favorite trail partner.  We’ve missed this in our recent life and are making plans to change our lifestyle so that slow walks in nature are given priority again.  We talked about the process of awareness and making decisions.  We can do better.  This is an infinite process, but it’s not about the results; it’s about the journey.  The climb.  The progressiveness.  “Pointing the canoe” and paddling toward your values – like integrity.  I am dedicated to giving it my best shot.  And here’s my favorite of the day – very fitting for the theme, I think:


Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

I must be sharing some head space with Cheri at Word Press.  I’ve been thinking about ephemerals as I photographed the woodland wildflowers a few weeks ago.  An entire hillside was covered in trout lily, and I was excited at the prospect of seeing them all bloom at once.  I went back two weeks later to discover that I’d missed it. 

Fleeting.  Short life cycles.  Tomorrow is the 35th anniversary of the first time I kissed my husband.  He died at the age of 47.  “It’s not the years in your life, but the life in your years that counts.”  That quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, and my sister-in-law read it at Jim’s memorial.  Living, sentient beings change over time, rapidly or slowly doesn’t matter.  We are all impermanent.  Is that an aberration?  Or is that just the way it is?  Rage or accept as you will, the wheel turns, the cycle moves.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

The photo challenge for this week?  Escape.   So many associations….especially if you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.  With whom would you plan an escape?  I planned one with my oldest daughter yesterday.   It was the only day I wasn’t scheduled to work in a museum this week, and she had just finished her last paper for her Master’s degree in Linguistics, so we decided to spend the day together celebrating Mother’s Day and her Graduation all at once.  We planned to go to the Schlitz Audubon Center and play on the beach, but it was rainy and cold.  Change of plans…

Escape can be running away; it can be freedom from entrapment; or it can be an egress or way of going forth, like helium from a balloon.  A linguistics student might tell you the etymology of the word and how it relates to “escapade” and “vomitorium” (think “fire escape”)….which is why I recommend taking a linguist with you when you go for your weekly challenge photo shoot!  Think of the interpretations that might open up for you!  For example: in botany, a plant that becomes established in the wild outside of the area of cultivation is called an escape.  (I have lots of botanical examples!)  And all of us with computers know the little key in the upper left marked “Esc”.   And birthing my daughter might be another example of escape as well…but maybe that’s a bit too graphic!  (it was 28 years ago; no digital photos of that, lucky for you!)  Here, then, are some of my shots of that marvelous day spent with my brilliant companion, Susan:

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Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

The mouth-watering prompt of this week’s photo challenge depicts a plate of cheeses from Italy with a pool of honey in the center.  “Why aren’t we living in Italy?” Steve asked me just a few weeks ago.  Good question.  No good answer.  But this post is not about cheese, or Italy, or even honey, but about angle and perspective.  “Share a photo of a subject which you shot from directly above.”  I have a new batch of shots from our hike along the Ice Age trail, so I looked through to find one which would be up to this challenge.  Aha!  Here it is:

from above

I remember how any bridge on a trail hike would be an opportunity to play “Pooh sticks” when I was a kid.  Just like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, my sisters and I would choose a likely twig to toss into the water on the upstream side of the bridge.  Then we’d wheel around to see whose stick came out first on the downstream side.  This log wasn’t about to budge from its place, but I thought of those childhood adventures with my sisters and my dad nevertheless — tromping the woods in the early spring, greeting the season of Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Mayapples and violets, and playing ‘bridge’ games.  Here’s another one: you pretend you are the troll under the bridge and the passersby overhead are the Billy Goats Gruff.  Believe it or not, I played that one on my first date with Steve.  We were hiking…and there was a bridge…and I just couldn’t help myself.  “Who’s that trip-tropping over my bridge!!!” I bellowed.  Yeah.  I guess he found it endearing in some way, because we’re still together 4 and a half years later.  Good thing. 

Sunshine comes From Above, and for that I am always grateful.  Stay playful, stay young at heart, and enjoy Spring!   

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life

This week’s photo challenge, A Day in My Life, is a great opportunity for me to tell my readers about my New JOB!  I have completed two days of training at Discovery World in Milwaukee, and although I haven’t taken any of my own pictures, you can see some on their website.  In addition to my job in Guest Services at this museum, I will also begin working two days a week at Old World Wisconsin at the end of next month as a Costumed Historic Interpreter.  This means that I get to do weekly time travel, from the 19th Century into the Future, and talk to folks of all ages about how things work, how we work, what we do with what we know, and what wonderful things are all around us!  I think it’s pretty cool that someone’s willing to pay me to do that.  And when I get home, I photograph, describe, list and sell all kinds of old and new stuff on eBay.  

Favorite elements of my new job: hearing the screech of seagulls on the Lake, matching my breathing to the pace of fish in the aquarium (ever notice how flying ducks are always in a hurry and fish rarely seem to be?), watching a 5-yr-old stroke a Pencil Urchin with 2 small fingers, and seeing a kid’s face light up when he lands his plane in the Flight Simulator.  I am looking forward to getting a deck tour and cruise on the SV Denis Sullivan when the ship returns from the Caribbean and taking in a film at the outside amphitheater at dusk during the summer.