Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I just stopped by this morning

I just stopped by this morning,
wheels crunching slowly on gravel,
to see again through a lifting fog,
this dear old meadow
where we took down the fences
and piled the wood.

Once, I thought, we'd never leave.
Use the old boards for a cabin
on the far side of the field
near the two trees,
gnarled oak, straight pine,
away from highway noise,
watch the sky, tell our tales,
and hold each other forever.

Now I lean against the car for a moment,
straining to catch your voices, your songs,
among the wild flowers we used to pick,
hearing mostly the distant hum of tires
on the Interstate behind me up the rise.

I'll be late today. I don't care.
When I first began to drive it again,
smiling, waving, promising,
I swore that I would not fail, on this commute,
to stop and see you, or at least drop a postcard
in our secret spot, and check for one of yours.

I watch a single butterfly, first of spring,
and sadly note that
sometimes now
I'm fifteen disconcerted miles beyond the exit
before I even remember this place.

The smile I wear this morning is sad.
The early mist is thick. I cannot see you all
though I know you are out there
still romping in high grass.

It's very strange. The metal of my car
feels hard and sleek and real
against the knuckles of clenched hands.

So different from soft welcome of
the warm humid air of this familiar place.
And yet I feel like a ghost.

I just stopped by this morning to say
I miss you.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friday Photo Shoot - Trees

I'm posting a day early because I'm not sure whether I'll get to the computer on Friday.  Besides, I can just pretend I'm somewhere else on the world where it's already Friday...or at least close.  So, early or not -- a walk through treeland.

Tree Man welcomes you with open arms!

To see it all, you need to arrive at sunset

But try to leave before dark

Or the Treetapus's tentacles might get you. 

You can reflect

and get back to your roots

Even those deeply submerged in the subconscious

Bring home a souvenir to hang on your wall
to remind you of where you got your good looks.

Okay, I have run out of caption ideas (as well as time) -- so I'll just post the last three or four.  It has been interesting as I've gone out shooting, looked through archives and such.  I didn't know it consciously but my approach to trees seems to almost always focus on gnarled and winding branches instead of leaves. 


Yes, I seem to be from the Gnarly School of Tree Photography.   I'm willing to bet that my post this week has the lowest leaf to tree ratio.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sepia Wednesday

Great great great (I'm not really sure how many "greats")Aunt Agnes (left in the photo below) was almost always on the conversation menu whenever my family came together for holidays and such.

The picture below was taken sometime after her much maligned move from Boston society to a small farm in Illinois.

Beside her is Dame Edith Sutcliffe.  It is odd that I don't remember Aunt Agne's last name although she was part of my distant family but I remember Sutcliffe from conversations even though there was no blood relationship with her.

It also seems strange to me, thinking back on it, that in the same moldy smelling first album there is a picture of Dame Sutcliffe's husband, Judge Jacob Sutcliffe, pictured below. 


I suspect the person who pasted photos into that album was either proud to have a picture of the great Judge Sutcliffe or perhaps the Judge was taken in by the family, in sympathy, after his wife's westward move.

Arguments around the dinner table often centered on whether she had run out of him or whether he had arranged to have her sent out west because of her political activities on behalf of women.  Looking at thge picture, I see that later in life, he still wore a wedding band.  Whether that had anything to do with his feelings for her or his belief in the legal authority of marriage, I don't know.
It was also argued but never known for sure how, before the operational, if not legal, failure of his marriage, the Judge and Dame Edith became part of Aunt Agnes's life.  She had been a spinster but very outspoken and it is thought she might have met Edith at a political meeting of women.  Although other peoples in my family have argued that she had something going with the judge.  However, that theory bears no weight because...
shortly after Dame Edith moved to Illinois, Agnes disappeared and neither of the women were ever discussed again for at least a generation.  There was only the picture at the top of this story which was sent back sometime later -- apparently to prove she was happy to those Agnes left behind that. Although they don't really look that happy, do they. 
But the photograph provided fodder for much debate for generations to follow.

PS: The Honorable Jacob Sutcliffe apparently was sullied by rumors that his wife had run off with a woman, and lost any opportunities for a political career -- unlike today when scandal seems an essential part of any political career.  The judge took to drinking in his later years and died of gout.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Blue Angels come to Charleston

It has been Navy Week in Charleston.  Usually there is a large airshow at the Air Force Base but budgets being what they are, it was cancelled this year.  But the Blue Angels still came to town and held their show over Charleston Harbor instead.   I suspect that more people got to see them because there was no charge and the view was perfect from just about any place on the Cooper River. 

For me it was a great time to experiment with lighting and autofocus since the subject matter was almost always backlit -- not to mention moving very quickly. 

Anyhow, before the week starts again and I get sucked back into the vortex of reality, I thought I'd post a few. 

Like all good concerts, they have an opening act.  This is "Fat Albert," the plane that travels with them with mechanics and parts and stuff.   These aren't just mechanics but the best in the Navy and Fat Albert is also capable of showing off itself.  It climbs at a 40% angle -- commercial jets like we ride on climb at about 7%.

Then the major attraction shows up.

This guy is having way too much fun.
I think he was winking at me. 
Wait a minute!  It can't be!
But he looks a little like Bagman! 
Maybe that's where Bagman has gone!

Then, in a flash, they're gone!
These guys move really really fast!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday Hometown Shoot-Out - Things that make me smile

I thought I might have time to write something cute or even to find a few more pictures.  But alas.  The real world continues to get in the way of blogging.   I guess that's how it is for the moment.  But here are a few pictures -- I may have even posted a few before. 

I hope I will have some time tomorrow to look at everyone else's shots. 

From 1968

San Diego

Lunch Break




And this is the only one I took this week
I had to do at least one to keep up the illusion that I'm a photographer

Okay.  Time to drift back to the real world.  I don't know what Bagman and Butler have been doing lately.  The last time I stopped in the office for a moment they were not there but had moved my desk and computer into the corner of the room, covered it with a dropcloth, and installed a ping pong table where it used to be.  They probably think I'll never return.   I didn't appreciate their humor and super-glued the ping pong balls to the table. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It has to be somebody's fault!!

It always befuggles me that whenever anything happens -- hurricane, plane crash, broken dish, budget woes, mine explosion -- one of the first things on the agenda is to figure out whose fault it was. 

Why wasn't the mayor more prepared for wind and flood damage?   Did the pilot ignore the tower or did the mechanics screw up the maintenance?   Is the President an idiot with money or was the last President an idiot with money?   Why didn't I realize the plate was slippery? 

When things go wrong, I do agree that it makes sense to look carefully at it to see if there are lessons to be learned for the next time.  But we humans tend to focus more on blame and less on solutions.  Maybe because it is easier to have a target for the grief's anger component.  Also, finding someone to blame makes for better headlines and more lucrative lawsuits. 

It still doesn't seem right to me.  Even when someone actually IS to blame.   I keep thinking of the old saying about walking a mile in their shoes.  Someone (I could sound smart if I remembered their name, but I don't) said that if you could experience everything that someone experienced throughout their life you could understand even the most heinous actions.  It wouldn't make it right; but you could understand it.  And I think Jesus (whose name I can remember) said a few things about forgiveness but I can't actually remember exactly what they were without looking them up.  

It's probably all Adam's fault anyhow.  Or Eve's.   That subtle old fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a nasty little thing to inject into the gene pool.   I don't think that original sin was sex...

BAGMAN:  "Thank God!"

...I think original sin was the ability to judge, or more specifically, the inability not to judge. 

The irony that having discriminating taste is good while discriminating against others is bad.  Or did I just make some good/bad judgements there?  Oops.  My bad.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to put together a baby shower


We get the food together

Make sure the name is spelled correctly.

Guests arrive

There is eating and presents

Somehow I just liked the colors in this one.

The baby kicks and everyone goes nuts

Except Conner who takes it in stride, takes a big swig
and says, "So he can kick...I'm still bigger."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My dreams understand me

My dreams understand me even if I don't always understand them.  

In college, I read lots of books about dreams and dream interpretations.  Of course, at the time, I was supposed to be reading History of Western Civilization and Practice and Theory of Economics.  But I was doing lots of stuff I wasn't suppose to be doing.

Carl Jung's approach to dreams seemed to make the most sense to me, but I didn't always understand him either.  

I think my dreams are my subconscious's gift to my conscious.  A window through which my Ego can be a peeping tom while my Id takes a bath and dances naked.  Sometimes, just maybe, I can look all the way through that house of dreams to the window on the other side and see an image or two of the collective subsconscious...or maybe God?  Way too deep for me!


My dreams and I are on very friendly terms.   Like my human friends, I am very familiar with them but don't understand them.  I mostly try to just accept them as they are.  We give each other gifts.  I try to express my esteem for them by remembering them.  They give me all sorts of gifts, some of which are packaged to nicely to open. 

Last night my dream just showered me with a torrent of what I've been missing the last couple of weeks.  No, not sex.  Although there was, I admit, a little of that as well.  For the last couple of weeks, I've been lost in spreadsheets, business plans, management problems so all last night I got to hang out with a great group of creative artists, actors and musicians. 

I got to do hilarious improvisational comedy with Meryl Streep.  I got to play dueling banjos with Steve Martin and he was very patient with me since I didn't play much better in my dreams than I do in real life.  We were in this marvelous loft with a view of the New York skyline during an incredible sunset.  Our host, who owned the loft, was a large, heavy, bearded gent -- sort of how I imagine Bagman -- and he built his own guitars and had a fantastic collection of Chinese ceramics and Renaissance tools. 

There wasn't a single damned politician in the place.  

And Meryl Streep was younger and smelled better than I expected.    It was very refreshing. 

I wonder if my banjo is still in the back of the closet.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just touching base..

Nope, not dead yet, but wondering where my inspiration to blog -- blogspiration? -- has gone.

Just still crawling up the proverbial mountain to find the wise man sitting cross-legged at the top so I can ask him the big questions:  What is the purpose of life?  How can I find enlightenment?   Where does spare time go?   What should I do with the rest of my life?   And, most importantly, is there a map to show me how to get the heck off this stupid mountain? 

With my luck, by the time I get to the top of the mountain, I'll find a sign that says, "Gone fishing.  Back tomorrow.  Good luck.  Signed, Wiseman.

And I'll turn around and there will be a line of people behind and the person at the front of the line will say to me, "What is the purpose of life?"  

I'll strike myself on the forhead with the palm of my hand and utter in shocked astonishment, "Oh my God!"

And the person will say, "Thank you.  That's what I thought.  You are very wise indeed."  He will smile peacefully and start back down the mountain. 


I'm not sure where that story came from.  I really just came to the publish post place to say that I was still not blogging much, checking a few sites -- realizing I'd missed Barry's birthday!   But not by much.  And to mention that when I checked the Friday Shootout for the theme I laughed because my foot was there.  But I'm not sure I've got any country roads for next week. And then my fingers started typing like that old horror movie about the living hand. 

I still don't know where spare time goes or what to do with the rest of my life.  Oh my God.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Shootouts -- Bokeh

At the very last minute, I realized, I couldn't completely back out of the Friday Shootout.  Plus, I was interested to find out what Bokeh was since I didn't really have a clue.  I may still not really have it.

And I didn't want to use to make fake Bokeh.  After all, there is an old saying:  "Don't fix what isn't bokeh."

So here are three quick ones.  

I'll be back more consistently one of these days.  Miss you all.