Poking Through a Human Made Mess

SixWordSaturday

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I am usually rewarded when “looking down” during walks in the woods. I often spy a tiny flower or encrusted leaves or moss or even random fungi on a log. Followed by inspiration to crouch down and capture my discovery on camera.

These small treasures belong in the woods I love so much. The place where I – a mere visitor – go to clear my head (despite the roaring of cars and trucks from the nearby highway) and enjoy total solitude surrounded by nature at its finest…whatever stage it’s in.

I follow a path cut through the woods for the utility company to access. It is also used by ATV riders in the warm months and snowmobile riders in the winter. As well as dog walkers and walkers like me with camera in hand.

The path eventually leads out of the woods to parking lots of two local businesses.

During a walk last month I recently looked down and was horrified to see evidence of bulldozed trash. A whole growing mountain of trash. It wasn’t just a few dropped beer bottles leftover from a party in the woods (which is bad enough), but piles of household trash, construction debris and rusted metal pushed back into a huge mound.

I have no idea who owns this land or if this is technically illegal.

I do know it is just plain wrong.

Fandango’s Friday Flashback: September 11

Inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback: September 11

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year…How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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The following are two posts from September 11 published during the 2 years I’ve been writing this blog.

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September 11, 2019

Wordless Wednesday

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September 11, 2018

The Day Everything Changed

September 11, 2001

In my lifetime, this is the day everything changed.

We are being attacked!
I heard my coworker yelling as she ran down the hall past my office. I worked in a hospital at the time and yelling in the halls was unusual. And disturbing.
Planes are hitting buildings in New York City!

It has become one of those awful “where were you?” moments. The horrific alteration of reality that gets seared in memory.

Must call family. Must connect. My daughter – a college sophomore on the east coast. My son in the 8th grade. My husband at home. My parents called him. My siblings. My friend in DC. My friend in NYC. The need to wrap oneself around loved ones as we watched the horror, the fires, the smoke, the pain unfold on television – over and over and over and over.  Hope draining away as the hours dragged on.

Emails flew through cyberspace.  Are you okay? Are you okay? My good friend who lived close to NYC frantic to help in some way. A doctor, she made ready to go to Ground Zero. But there was nobody to save. Was on call for helping at hospitals but no living to care for…she wrote to me.

Such profound loss.
Since then life has been divided: Before 9/11 and After 9/11.
A whole generation of children are now growing up under the cloud of what happened that bright sunny day in 2001. Its aftermath. Its fallout.

My heart breaks, still, for those thousands of innocents who died that day. And for their families. And for the first responders. And their families.

Soon after that day in 2001, the nation was called upon to light candles together in remembrance and solidarity. It was a time of unspeakable tragedy and for a brief time…there was unity. We stood on our small deck with a candle. A moment of silence.

I drove to work a few days later and saw a big American flag newly attached to the top of a huge crane – at the construction site for the hospital’s addition project. Similar to the ones at the WTC.

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As a child, I hid under my school desk. Practice drills. Crouched low with head down. In case we were attacked. Then we weren’t. And life went on much as before.

That won’t work anymore.

This morning, the news networks held a moment of silence at 8:46 am to mark when the first plane hit.

Today is a Tuesday, as it was in 2001.

We must never forget.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A Labor of Love

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113: A Labor of Love

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When you are only 13 years old and decide to sew a patchwork quilt for your parents, it’s a labor of love. That’s what my daughter did 25 years ago amidst her very busy life as a middle school student.

She sewed our Christmas gift that year (and I think it took all year!)…by machine and by hand and presented her father and me with a quilted king sized bedspread, which has lasted to this day.

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Christmas Day 1995

Macro Monday: Sun Gazing

Yesterday I visited a local apple, peach and lots of other fruit orchard. It also featured a socially distant Harvest Festival of sorts. By the time we arrived, however, it was late afternoon – which for me – is perfect camera time.

Behind the buildings selling fruits, local vegetables and their specialty – apple cider donuts – was a huge field of sunflowers. It looked like a convention of yellow…everyone slouching and trying to pay attention.

The sunflowers struggled to lift their faces to the sun. Their drooping leaves and browning petals evidence of the area’s severe drought.

However, as with anything…there are always exceptions…and I did discover a sunflower rising a bit above the rest. Its face backlit and lifted.

I like to think it was posing.

Cee’s Flower of the Day

The Last Day

Four years ago next month, my husband and I moved for the first time in 36 years. We emptied our beloved home of…well…everything. Lots of “stuff” as I generally referred to it all. It actually took many years to get to the point where we could pack up and move. Little by little, carload by carload. I unearthed boxes and bags of long held treasures that needed new homes – which in this case meant antique shops, Craig’s List, Goodwill, the Salvation Army and a few garage sales (not my favorite thing as everyone haggles over the smallest items which quickly becomes tiresome).

I have written about the downsizing process when I started this blog. It was a slog, but I remained fixed on the goal: Simplify our lives and reduce stress. Unforeseen “things” had been happening for a number of years. Health issues mostly. I knew that our priorities had to shift…requiring change. Major change. Not one to wait for a crisis, I went into planning mode. It evolved into a long term plan which took place over about five years.

We finally found a new place to live that we could afford. A condominium where we would have less work to do. All on one level to reduce the risk of falling as we got older. Near my husband’s job. It is a beautiful place – certainly not perfect – with its own challenges as we discovered, but the right decision in the long run.

So, packing up in 2016, we prepared for the future…again. To make life easier for our “golden years.” An empty nest would bring new and hopefully exciting opportunities for our next chapter.

But nothing really prepared me for the very last day. That day in October 2016 when the house was finally…completely…unoccupied.

Empty of all that was us. Our family.

I was alone that last day. It was a sunny breezy fall afternoon as I made the last rounds – the final check to make sure all the closets and cabinets were empty. The holes in the walls patched and painted…erasing all evidence of the photographs that had hung there for years. Marking holidays and birthdays and sports and graduations proudly displayed down halls and around corners. We were a well documented family. Mostly because of my obsession with freezing time with a 35mm Canon.

So of course that’s what I did that last day – I took pictures with my (digital) Canon – of all the rooms in our (still ours until the following day) home. Which had grown from 4 rooms and 1 bathroom in 1980 to 7 rooms and 2 bathrooms in 2016.

I had a moment though as I stood in the original living room space that last day. Remembering through tears the very first time we had occupied it…filled with packing boxes and hand-me-down odd pieces of furniture one cloudy April day in 1980.

It was just my husband and me – so young still – in our twenties.

The first thing we did was hook up the turntable and speakers, snaking the wires between all the unpacked stuff. We found Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in a box of records and dropped the needle on “Our House.”

We sang and celebrated the beginning of what would be a grand adventure.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Unoccupied

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #111: stuff happens

Peeling and Curling in the Sun

During a walk last week, I took a step back from looking at flowers and vines and tall grasses. I noticed a fence “guarding” the river behind it. I am not sure how long ago it was painted, but apparently it’s time for a fresh coat. Or maybe just a new fence. But that’s the town’s problem.

In the meantime, as the sunlight caught the peeling paint and cast this old tired fence in a new light (no pun intended), I aimed my camera up close.

The flowers would have to wait.

SixWordSaturday
photo a day: Texture
colors and letters: With the letter P

[I have ventured into trying to use the block editor WP has forced upon us…and then went back to a hybrid. Time will tell how long this will take before Patience is lost to Aggravation.]

Fandango’s Friday Flashback: September 4

Inspired by Fandango’s Friday Flashback: September 4

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year…How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?

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This post was originally published on September 4, 2018

Last Friday’s flashback had also been an entry for Frank’s Tuesday Photo Challenge. Still wondering if/when he’ll be back. Hoping he will be!

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Tuesday Photo Challenge – Backyard

Here is my entry for this week’s challenge hosted by “Dutch goes the Photo”

https://dutchgoesthephoto.net/2018/09/04/tuesday-photo-challenge-backyard/

The theme this week is “Backyard”

Backyards are often places where families gather. Children run, jump, play, swim and learn about their outdoor world. For many, a backyard is where bare feet first touch blades of grass – or – where a squirrel is first spotted racing up a tree…

And in these vintage 35mm photos…

A backyard is for reading library books in a hammock with daddy.

backyard003

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And a backyard is where little brother and big sister cool off and share a sprinkler on a hot summer day.

backyard001

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Lens-Artists Challenge: Pick a Word

Lens-Artists Challenge #112: Pick a Word.

Pick a word and illustrate it with a photo! Choose one (1) word or more – choose all of them if you like! The words available are the following:

Comfortable, Growing, Tangled, Crowded, Exuberant

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What could be more comfortable than a choice spot on the beach?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Coronado Beach, California

I did a double take during a walk in March when I noticed a vine (or another tree) growing around…a tree! I had never seen anything like it before. As you can see in the lower portion of the photo, the vine actually grows right into the tree. Apparently both still alive. Co-existence in nature…

wraparound tree & vine

Also in March, I discovered a display of tangled vines and such. Perhaps a signal of the bizarre times just beginning…

tangled crowded vines

Last but not least, I was treated to an exuberant crowd of zinnias on the grounds of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont last year…

crowded exuberance

I missed being able to make the trip again this summer to such a beautiful destination. When I said to my husband last September we can take more photos next summer!, I had no idea what I was taking for granted.

Just a Few Words Wednesday

(This was going to be a Wordless Wednesday post, but pairing it with Nancy Merrill’s vacation memories challenge made the wordless part too challenging…)

Photo a Week: Vacation Memories

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Covidcation 2020
Pocono Summit, Pennsylvania
Four Days of Quarantined Family Fun

From lakeside….

morning lake

To a nearby deserted baseball field one morning…

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Back to lakeside at day’s end…

firepit end of day

…three generations gathered.

sunset on the lake
Treasured memories…well documented.