Collateral damage caught in the sun

Six Word Saturday

What happened to this poor tree? What is the story? I noticed it right away – close to the edge of my walking path last month. Since all the trees had dropped their leaves, this one’s wounds were clearly visible. No longer hidden from view. Layers of bark stripped away.

I suspect it just happened to be in the way of a town or utility company brush clearing project. Left damaged and forgotten. A sad sight.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bark

Three years later…

We all hang by a thread, and there are many things we cannot choose about our lives. It’s how we react to the inevitable that counts.

Mary Higgins Clark

Desk View
February 26, 2021

Three years ago today I began posting on oneletterup. Up until about a year ago, it was a total deep dive into recording family history and stories. Sometimes also dipping my toes in the murky waters of difficult emotions. I tried my hand at poetry and flash fiction…while attempting all the while to silence that inner critic…which I’m happy to report… gradually quieted to a dull roar (well, most of the time).

Memoir is my go-to topic, but then I wondered…how long will this be interesting to others? Hopefully family will circle back to it someday when they get to be my age…curious about family history and who came before…back in the “old days.” I wish I had more family stories (from the “way old” days!).

Blogging became a solace during the early days of the pandemic as waves of fear and uncertainty crashed down around me. Huge knock-me-off-my-feet waves. A year of seasickness. Just when I thought “things” were calmer, something awful happened. Pandemic wise. Personal wise. Political wise. News wise. The unimaginable kept happening over and over…to me and everyone else. Some much worse than others. I’m not talking about the toilet paper emergency.

I read your stories and knew I was not alone. As isolation intensified, so did the need for connection. At first it was helpful to write about what was going on in my neck of the woods. Oh yeah Andrea, I understand…that’s happening here too...from around the blogging globe…a virtual hug.

However, after a while it started to feel…well, disingenuous…to share funny stories or otherwise mundane tales of my increasingly restricted (and mostly boring) daily life. While at the same time…strangely enough, I gravitated to – and enjoyed – those very same stories on other blogs.

“Normal” blogging in a surreal 2020 world eventually became less about writing and more about photography. Camera in hand, I recorded what I knew would be there no matter what. Mother Nature was dependable and I loved her all the more for it. Walking in “my” woods…always a comfort.

I only made it to the beach a few times, as pandemic parking restrictions curtailed more frequent visits. Watching the tide come in and out will have to wait for this summer.

June 25, 2020
Hampton Beach, NH

I ground to a halt in December and took a month off from blogging. Everything was just too much. I think many of you know what I mean. To those who checked in on me…I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that.

Let’s hope 2021 brings back some semblance of a new “normal”…soon. Whatever that may be.

As always, thanks for visiting! 🙂

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V.J.’s Weekly Challenge: Waves

Sun Soaked

What a desolate place would be a world without a flower.

Clara Lucas Balfour

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Very much inspired by Dutch goes the Photo’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Renewal

…please share what brings renewal to you

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While scrolling through my plethora (I love that word) of photographs looking to complete a project, I happened upon this one image (amongst many) of a sunflower. Frank’s prompt for this week immediately came to mind. I stopped scrolling…Renewal!

I remember that beautiful day last fall (last fall? seems like years) wandering through a local apple orchard, but being much more interested in the rows of sunflowers nearby. Many had already been cut away and sold, but a few remained. A singular flower with its face to the sun in particular caught my eye and made me smile.

It still does.

Cee’s Flower of the Day

Macro Monday: Letting go

One of nature’s most fascinating works of art (in my opinion) is the milkweed pod. I spotted one tucked in a tangle of vines a bit off the path during my walk several months ago. A pod had opened up and hung suspended…but I don’t think I would have noticed it without the sun’s highlighting help.

Strands of milkweed’s distinctive white floss had broken free…and were hanging down ready to release their seeds to the wind. What a sight!

Then he gave me a sticker

Six Word Saturday

Are you excited?

…he asked as he swabbed my upper left arm round and round with an alcohol wipe…hypodermic needle poised above my exposed skin in the cold winter air.

I was sitting in the driver’s seat of my car in the parking lot at our local high school. Cars & pickup trucks were lined up behind the lot until directed to park in every other space to wait. The scene was similar to 3 weeks earlier when I received my first shot. New Hampshire National Guard personnel were in charge and the process was smooth and professional.

This past Wednesday I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Scheduling had been an anxiety filled website challenge, but my online persistence paid off. Despite all of that, I was filled with an overwhelming gratitude to finally be able to take my turn.

However…excited? Not really. I am just too exhausted – and perhaps numb – from the past year for that quite yet.

As he plunged the needle into my arm, injecting hope for the future, I answered him…

More like relieved.

Excitement will come with time.

Lens-Artists Challenge: From Forgettable to Favorite

Lens-Artists Challenge #134: From Forgettable to Favorite

This week we’re hoping you’ll show us a few images that may not have met your original expectations but that through editing you’ve turned into “keepers”. Here’s hoping you’re willing to share similar experiences demonstrating your use of editing to improve results.

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When I read Tina’s challenge topic for this week, I immediately thought of a recent photography disappointment. I had taken a few shots of a brief, but beautiful, scene outside my window a few weeks ago. The sun had just started to come out after a hard rain. Raindrops seemed to be suspended from all the bare tree branches behind my building…glistening (yes, glistening!) in the afternoon light. I acted on impulse at the sight – grabbed my camera, stepped onto the little porch off my second floor condo…and went to work.

However, the results did NOT match reality. So I chalked it up to…well…maybe next time.

Before

This challenge brought the photo out again. I thought…why not give it the old editing try.

I adjusted the contrast, highlighting and shadows. The rain reflections popped out. But it wasn’t until I cropped it that I was satisfied with the results. The power lines then seemed to blend in with the tree branches as well.

After

Now THAT’s what I saw!