I spent a day concentrating on my various twinges and trying to decide if my second Moderna shot was giving me side effects. I decided that I was fine, but I was home all day while I made up my mind. Packing actually. I’ll be riding up to a cousin’s house in Charleston tomorrow and family will be more on the agenda than photos. Of course I had the TV on as I packed, and my current binge watch of Criminal Minds came through with a charming quote today, from Mark Twain. I had to look it up;
“When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it happened or not,but my faculties are decaying now, and soon I shall be so I cannot remember anything but the things that never happened.“
How charming is that? But sad because it’s true. And as a person who has lots of experience with her mother, and then her daughter, correcting her memories I think I can relate. The same episode ended with another quote that had me grabbing my phone to look it up;
“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” Kierkegaard said that.
The day began when I ran out front and took the feature photo at 6:30 AM. And this last I took at 6:45 PM. We will turn the clocks ahead tonight. Sunrises will be easier to get to, and sunsets will have me out later than I care to be.
I really ought to plan my photo trips a little better, but somehow they do seem to work out, one way or another. So maybe flying by the seat of my pants isn’t all bad. But looking up the travel time to Safety Harbor at 5 AM (30 minutes), and expecting it to be the same if I left at 6 AM, wasn’t my smartest move. I had less than 5 minutes until the sun peeked above the horizon this morning, I made it, but barely. Another photographer informed me that I had missed a beautiful moon set though. I have the app (PhotoPills) to let me be more aware of these photo ops, but I still haven’t learned to use it. Sigh. And still another photographer chose to inform me that I should get rid of my lens and buy the one that he had. I think this is the first time I’ve run into someone like that, photographers are generally a really nice group of people. I’m sticking with my lens, it’s the person behind the camera who leaves a bit to be desired sometimes.
LensBall gives you a different perspective, especially when the views are limited…
I don’t mean to imply that I do Sudoku to keep my mind sharp. When I titled this post I really meant keeping the pencil sharp, which is the hardest thing about doing Sudoku. Or was, for a little while. I came across this old, yellowed, Sudoku book in a bin not too long ago, so I picked it up and started doing the puzzles again. In order, turning the pages as I went. I went merrily along, after I realized that having my glasses on was a must, and a sharp point on my pencil, and an eraser that actually erased the pencil mark without leaving a dark smudge on the paper. My drawer full of old, sometimes unused, pencils and pens wasn’t cutting it. And then I spotted what looked to be a brand new pencil. Three of them actually. Nice and fat, with perfect points and erasers that appeared to be unused, I loved them. It took me a few days to realize that these pencils were titled ‘My First Ticonderoga’, meant for little kids, or senior citizens with fingers that don’t work as well as they once did.
All was well until I turned the page to the next puzzle and found that I had started the ‘hard’ section of puzzles. They weren’t kidding. So I looked up Sudoku strategies online and I think I may have to go back to caffeinated coffee if I’m going to make heads or tails of what they are saying. Even a sharp pencil won’t help me with these…
These cranes are the entire reason that I started writing this blog. These pictures are from nearly 4 years ago when my camera was new to me and they can’t be improved now, they are what they are. That was the February that two sandhill crane chicks hatched right on the island in my little pond in the back yard. I watched them hatch, I watched them leave with their parents every morning, and I watched them return to the pond in the late afternoon. I saw them as one lady-like chick who stayed close to her mother, and one adventurous chick who was off on his own just a bit. Several times I saw only one chick with it’s parents and I waited to see that second chick appear. Just as I would give up hope, thinking he had gotten a little too adventurous, he would appear out of the grasses, much to my relief. He was my favorite, even though it made me feel a little guilty to realize that I felt that way. Mothers aren’t supposed to play favorites.
Every story needs some drama, and theirs certainly had that. One afternoon I watched in horror as my favorite colt, as they are known as they grow, seemed to be dragging a wing. Again he was off by himself a little way from the family, and even more horrifying was that the parents seemed to be driving him away. I was heartbroken to see him leave the pond alone, trudging up the hill, dragging that wing. But a few minutes later the rest of the family followed, a little way behind but up the hill in the same direction that he had gone. I felt so helpless to be watching this and not able to do anything about it.
So you can imagine how I worried all day at work the next day, would they return the next evening, and would there be three or four in the family? When I saw them return as a family of three I was broken hearted, and mad too. I was upset enough that I told myself that I wouldn’t take pictures that day, not of just the three of them. But then they started to dance and I couldn’t help myself, I took pictures.
That isn’t the end of the story, I’m happy to say. Several days later I saw all four of them on a lawn in the neighborhood. The wounded colt was laying down, the rest of the family nearby. I called a rescue facility and was told that if they were with him then they were taking care of him, and that was best. I seldom saw them come back to the nest in the backyard after that, not to spend the night at least, but the last time I did see them out there I saw my wounded colt spread his wings and stretch. I choose to believe that he healed, and that he would be okay. It was about that time that I happened to take a photography class on how to start a blog, something I had given no thought to before, but we left the class with the bones of a blog in our computers, and I wanted to tell their story. I had no idea that four years later I’d still be writing, that I’d have made new friends through photography, or that I’d be so okay with the twists and turns my life has taken in the last six years. But I’m grateful.
Charley was raised by his mother and grandmother to be a dentist, in the footsteps of his grandfather and his great-grandfather. He was to be a dentist as they both were, there would be no discussion, so it was lucky that he had the personality and dexterity for the job. He was born on the same date as Prince Charles, 11-14-48, but that’s not who he was named after, even though I’m pretty sure that his mother identified fairly closely with the Queen. No, he was named for his grandfather, Charles Edward Wingo, and, when questioned, his mother insisted that she never realized that he would probably be called Charley Barley.
A pet peeve of his was that dentists were commonly portrayed as bumbling idiots on TV sit-coms, I heard more than a few tirades about that over the years. But he was quite gracious when patients came into the office for their appointment one day and they had a gift for him, an Avon book, the title of which was Today’s the Day! They couldn’t wait to tell him that the main character in the book was a little piece of barley named, you guessed it, Charley Barley. Yup, roly-poly little Charley Barley blew into the book on a puff of wind, and, spoiler alert, at the end of the book he rides another puff of wind on to win the race. He appreciated the thought, even if the character wasn’t exactly a big improvement over how he thought dentists were portrayed in general. Still, there was a definite resemblance between them.
This all occurred many years ago of course, and many, many changes have taken place in my life since then. If I had been presented with the dilemma of downsizing from the house we lived in for 30 years in one fell swoop I would have agonized over what to keep and what to get rid of much more than I did. But there were three moves which have led me here to my current little spot, and each move required downsizing my possessions yet again. And yet somehow this silly little book is still here with me, forgotten on a shelf for most of the time we had it. I’m not even sure I ever read the story before. So here I am, still sorting through ‘our’ stuff with an eye to paring down some more, but for now this little gem is going back on the shelf, I’ll decide it’s fate another day…
“We never go out to play!”, that was my lament back before Charley and I ever retired. I wanted to go out and have fun, and so I daydreamed about all the fun we’d have when we moved to Florida and had all this time on our hands. I wanted to go biking together, and kayaking seemed like a lot of fun even though I’d never done it. There were state parks to visit, we’d go hiking, and the best thing of all is it would be free, or nearly so. These were my thoughts, but I’m not sure I ever spoke them out loud. We did ride the bikes around the block a few times, but that was about it for outdoor activities together.
And that playful moment may have passed because now when I see people having what looks like fun to me I quickly realize that as much fun as it may appear to be I couldn’t possibly manage to do that anymore. If I ever could.
And now it has hit me that if that was me hanging from these ropes then I couldn’t be taking pictures of my fellow playmates while they are doing the impossible, dare-devil, maneuvers. So maybe it’s okay that I can’t do the things I could once do. But maybe seeing other people having fun is even more fun for me as I watch, through the lens…