Let’s play

Inspired by:

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #67: Candid

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #68: Play

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Let’s see what happens when you pick up a small stone – the flatter the better – hold it just right between your thumb and first finger. Flick your hand back and then forward real quick – releasing it across the lake’s surface…

So it skips.

At 6 years old, you already play with rocks that you collect and line up in long rows on the deck railing at home. Separating them by size and shape. Carefully. Methodically. Counting them is also part of the fun.

But here it is different.

You and your family are at the lake.

You watch your daddy and see how he gets those stones to bounce across the water.

It is summer vacation after all.

No phones. No TV. No work. No school.

Hours upon hours to play.

gpc skipping stones 1994

 

Or maybe you’re only 3 years old. Your grampa is visiting to celebrate his 70th birthday and you want to try out your new doctor kit. He is your Patient of the Day.

First you listen to his heart. He is very quiet while you check it out.

Then he rolls up his sleeve so you can give him a shot. Because after all he might need one. Ooooh.

Ouch!

But you know he is just kidding.

This is just playtime pretend.

 

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our sky

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #67: Sky

 
east coast sky

We all live under the same sky.

Sharing the planet…the air…the water.

Handing it down one generation to the next.

The sky’s the limit…we hope to tell our children.

At least I did.

Many parents can’t share that hope.

Their children look up…confused.

They don’t understand.

I told my children anything was possible.

Work hard. Persevere. Love. Share. Support.

Be grateful for the help that comes your way.

To make it possible.

 

We all live under the same sky.

We need to learn how to share it.

 

The sky’s the limit.

rainbow sky

The pull of the story

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #66: Savour

This week, let’s consider what we savour.

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A good story. A good book. I’ve always savored those moments – from the days of a flashlight under the covers late at night…to now…when my eyes close despite the glow of the bedside lamp.

Page corners folded. Neon post-it flags stuck in places to return to. Aha! sentences marked in pencil.

My favorites? The ones with characters who mirror my hopes…fears…life challenges. Or my possibilities…the “what ifs”…

From an early age, I looked forward to stories. An alternate universe of adventure I could only dream about as a young girl. It was unheard of to strive for independence as a boy would…well, except for Nancy Drew. She had remarkable success. It was exhilarating.

Years later, my chosen books lengthened. The topics expanded.

Elizabeth Berg emerged as one of my favorite authors. I met her at several book signings when she lived in the northeast. Her stories are treasures to savor, but one in particular –  The Pull of the Moon – struck a chord like no other. It is one of the few books I have read multiple times. The main character – Nan – writes letters to her husband while she’s on a solo road trip…as she explores what it means to age. Looking forward and looking back. As she turns 50. The book is a journal of sorts.

A powerful story.

 

 

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Smile

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #65: Smile

…I challenge you to pay attention to and share some smiles this week.

[also submitted for September photo a day challenge: Autumn colors]

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A multi-dimensional word…smile. I try to coax a smile from my elderly neighbor who is not happy to be living here in the Northeast. She misses the warm dry weather of her former home in Las Vegas. Sometimes I succeed. Often I don’t.

At the grocery store I often catch the eye of a curious toddler or infant propped up in a nearby cart. Looking around while her or his parent inspects tomatoes or apples in the produce department. I’ll hold the little one’s gaze and smile…or wink. Nine times out of ten I’ll get a smile back. A real smile when the eyes join in. Later in the cereal aisle, I’ll sense someone looking at me. It’s that same smiling kiddo…often peeking around mom or dad. Who often don’t even notice. And if they do, they’ll smile too.

A smile just brightens the day.

Lately it’s not only the spontaneous grins from children that make me smile. Since I’ve dug more into photography, I’ve started smiling more at nature. Or more specifically, what I discover during the picture taking process.

When I got my first 35mm camera at the age of 24, it was all about people. Friends and family. I whipped out the Canon for my children’s milestones, school events, birthdays, first days of school. Or just fun everyday life stuff.

I was first in line at family reunions to record stills and video. Vacations were for photographs of scenery. My everyday life was full of work and focus on family. My husband was the one who would be crouched down taking pictures of a spider web or peeling paint on old rocking chairs. I didn’t understand why.

It’s interesting how things change.

Since retirement, emptying of the nest and downsizing, all of a sudden (it seems all of a sudden, but it really isn’t) another dimension in life has opened up.

Perhaps it started with this blog. Or just coincided with it; nudged forward by all the WP support. Digital photography and instant results played a part…as it encourages practice without the worry of buying film and paying for processing.

For instance….a few days ago I was finishing the last loop of my late afternoon walk when I noticed these trees up ahead:

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The light. The colors. Oh my.

No cars in sight.

I crossed the road. Stood under the tree and looked up, focusing with my iPhone (wishing I had brought my “real” camera…). Turned around in a circle. My head back. Ignoring the cars going by. Hoping I wouldn’t lose my balance (I didn’t).

And then this exact moment caught my attention:

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The longer I looked, the more I smiled.
And captured it minutes before the light shifted.

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I was smiling even more when I discovered this sunflower extravaganza in a nearby town.

I will admit I went (more than) a bit crazy there.

A sunflower convention…a sunflower Woodstock…!

sunflower crowded

The crowd goes wild!
sunflowers group

I was a grinning fool by the time I hiked out of there.

Perhaps the moral of this story should be…
“We become more easily amused the older we get”

 

 

 

Resilience

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #64: Resilience

There is a catch to this week’s challenge: I don’t want you to use the word itself, but to illustrate what resilience means to you.

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It is not true that life is one damn thing after another — it’s one damn thing over and over.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

 

Please be careful!  I hold my breath.

I don’t speak  because he can’t hear me…outside two stories beneath my dining room window.

I can see him walking his lively little black dog. Across the grassy area between my building and the road. Painstakingly. Slowly. Steadily. In the snow. In the rain. Blistering heat.  The dog needs her walks.

In one hand he grips a long retractable leash. The other a sturdy cane and plastic poop bags. His body, bent over, lurches to the side as he walks, his left leg immobile in a metal brace. With each slow step of his right foot, he drags the other leg along. At what looks like an impossibly treacherous angle.

Step. Drag. Step. Drag.

Periodically he stops, balances on the cane and reaches down with the green plastic bag. His pup patiently waits, tail wagging…clearly used to the routine.

My neighbor has not always been like this. I met him when we moved into this over-55 community 3 years ago…and he is several decades over 55. All I know is he suffered a brain aneurysm maybe 10 years ago. Lost the use of his left leg. If he falls – and he does – he can rarely get up by himself. Add leukemia to the mix.

However…

He drives. Goes to the grocery store. Once back home, he transfers full shopping bags to a cart. Pushes it to the elevator in the garage. Slowly. Steadily.

He attends condo meetings. Cookouts. Pizza parties. He and his wife traveled to Europe last winter. Back in the day they skied on a regular basis.

He just does what he has to do. Offers of help waved off. Always a smile.

It looks so damn hard to be him.

But he keeps on keepin’ on in ways I can’t even imagine.

 

side yard copy

Ripening

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #63: Ripening

Consider what is ripening in you, or the world around you. Maybe this requires a glance backwards to another time, or a peek into the life of another.

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I stumbled upon an interesting definition of ripening…

To develop to a suitable condition for something to happen

I am quite familiar with ripening as it applies to fruits and vegetables. I do play the how many bananas should I buy at a time game so I have one every morning at just the right stage of ripeness.

And when’s the last possible date I can eat those tomatoes left ripening on the counter before they go over the ripening edge into moldy mush? Splitting open and spewing blackish seeds at random. I play that ripening game too.

I don’t like to throw away food. I’m also not a big fan of banana bread…the last edible resort for overripe bananas.

It all has to do with chemical changes. Age. How long before starches turn to sugars. Acidity levels increase. Everything softens. The plant loses shape. Dries up. Eventually caves in on itself rendered inedible.

And…speaking of ripe…

Let’s not forget the antiquated expression about living to a ripe old age….

Hey!

Wait a minute…

I don’t know if I like what seems to be falling into a familiar place here…

1) Chemical changes: Umm, yup. (need I list those? I think not)
2) Everything softens: Uh, yeah…
3) Loses shape: It’s-called-gravity-people!
4) Dries up: See #1.

Let’s not discuss the caving in on oneself part now.

My point in going down this Ripening Road of Realization is to focus on that first definition. I much prefer to consider my aging self as getting ready for something to happen. Something positive. Before I get to the caving in part.

I need a plan…of action.
As well as a healthy energy for that action.
I may be ripe for something, but for the life of me
I have yet to figure out what that is.

slime pond

Outdoors Childhood

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #62: Child/Childhood

…ponder what it means to be a child.

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1964kite

To be a child…Part One.

Eyes first opened onto a world to explore.

To wonder. To question. To know.

Narrowed eyes gazed back…

I took my cue…

Slammed that screen door
And ran out.

Bright sun. Low clouds. Green grass. Climbing trees.
Raindrops soaking. Snow falling. Wind blowing.
Kite in flight.
Bicycle racing. Balls bouncing. Swings swinging.
Hopscotch. Tag.
Duck Duck Goose.
Hide and Seek. Ready-or-not-here-I-come.
Roller skates. Jungle Gym. Kiddie pool.
Slide. Sandbox. Snow forts.
Leaf piles…crunch crunch…jump…
Shout!

Nourishment absent inside four walls.

Outside
My respite. My peace. My place.
Fueling many Part One days…
An endless horizon of hope.