a second look, finding my way, friends, growing old, healing, home, life goes on, live and learn, loneliness, memories, second chances

Home again…

If you grew up in my hometown with me then you recognize this place.  Fifty years ago I desperately wanted to get away from home, and when I met a nice guy who was in the Navy and would would ‘take me away,’ it was too much to resist.  But in the back of my mind I thought that I would somehow live there again some day, but I never did.  I had no idea how much I had blown up my life by leaving.  The friends and relatives that might have been part of my daily life weren’t there.  As I lived those days and years I didn’t think anything was missing, I was happy, it’s only now that I am looking back at it and wondering.  Because now that I am alone, and for almost the first time in my adult life, I see what I missed.  And I found I really needed to reconnect to those places and people from my past.  I needed to go back to square one, so to speak, in order to figure out where to go from here.

They say you can never go home again.  And in truth when I was out driving in my hometown with my old friend he would ask me if I recognized where I was, and I hardly ever did.  Places change.  But when it comes to DW Field’s Park it hasn’t changed a bit.  And that’s comforting to me.  And people?  They change too.  But some of them treasure their own memories of the past, and lucky for me I was part of their memories also.  This is the place I call up in my memory at the mention of the word home.  And I, for one, really can go home again.

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a second look, adventure, connections, finding my way, friends, fun, healing, Just do it, life goes on, live and learn, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, sunset, technology

Check it out…

It’s not like I have nothing to do.  It’s more like I have too much to do.  So I bounce between my computer, my sewing machine, the camera, the TV, and round and round.  My camera club has been having almost daily photography classes, which have been great.  It would be a tease to not be able to get out to take new photos if not for the 34,000 photos sitting in my Lightroom library that I can bring up and edit according to whatever new tidbits I have picked up in the latest class.

These photos are from the first time I went to the photo walk at the Clearwater library with the group two years ago.  One of my first trips with the group.  At first I went to every photo walk that I could manage, as if it was going to be the one and only time that opportunity would ever exist.  And most of those photo ops involved a 100-mile round trip for me, so it was a relief to realize that the photo walks repeat every few weeks.  After that I paced myself a little better.  I’ve long appreciated how much joining this group brought to my life once I began to recover from losing my husband.  But it has never been as beneficial as it’s been during this suspension of life as we knew it.  The Florida Center for Creative Photography is the name of the group.  It’s a wonderful group of people and a terrific resource for learning more about photography.  If you also like photography you might like to check it out.04-16-20HDRlibrary204-16-20HDRlibrary.jpg

 

a second look, dogs, finding my way, grief, healing, life goes on, loneliness, memories, perseverance, pets, photography, simple things, solitude

It’s not about the bees…

It’s not about the flowers either.  It’s about the dogs.  About how living alone, but with dogs, isn’t really living alone alone at all.  You talk to them, or I did anyhow.  And because of them you go out for a walk and find things like a cactus covered in gorgeous white flowers.  And you wonder how it is that you only just noticed them now that you are interested in photography, because you also walked the same route with the dogs for years before that was true.  Walking them also led to fun exchanges with people on the street, like the guy in the convertible who stopped to say, “I didn’t think you were allowed to have livestock in Spring Hill.”  He was referring to the fact that these dogs weren’t the daintiest of God’s creatures, all 250 pounds of them.  And then there’s the breathing.  They were out of the house for a month after my husband died, my son having taken them over while Charley was in the hospital.  I kept the house dark and quiet during that time.  It wasn’t a choice, I needed the solitude.  I don’t know how long that would have lasted if not for the dogs.  When I did bring them home to my quiet house I found myself listening to them breathe.  It was as if the house had come back to life, the house was breathing, and maybe I also took a breath.

I probably wasn’t trying to hold two leashes while I took these pictures with my iPhone 7+.  I used to drop the leashes and step on them if I could, but if not I’d let them go because they waited patiently for me to finish.  Nope, I wasn’t ever alone when they were part of my life.  I miss them.

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'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, friends, fun, gardens, healing, learning, making memories, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, simple things, The Narrows, turtles

BOGO…

The Narrows came to me in a brainstorm as a place to go with my friend while she was here.  How often do you get to see raptors up close and personal?  Or at all really.  The brainstorm came to me because while we were at the eagles one day we ran into a friend of mine who volunteers there.  I have walked the trails with him while he held a little screech owl on his wrist and interacted with the other visitors on the trail.  It’s such an unusual way to visit with nature.

But this visit was a little disappointing at first.  There were no volunteers out on the deck with hawks, or Sarge the eagle, on their wrists.  They hadn’t changed their policy, they said, but there is a shortage of volunteers to take the birds out.  A group of disabled veterans arrived as we were getting there also, and I thought they were visitors, but in a little while we saw them out with birds on the trail.  One said that the bird he was holding had had a brain injury, and he had a brain injury also.  It’s a heartwarming place to go.  Maybe a 90 minute drive isn’t too far to go to volunteer…02-29-20vet-owl02-29-20vet-owl202-29-20kestrel02-29-20horned02-29-20Egreathorned02-29-20Easternscreech02-29-20barredA volunteer pointed out the dark-eyed owls and light-eyed owls, and said that the dark eyed ones are spectacular night hunters.  Nature has given them incredible night vision, and I have read that owls can see their prey a mile away, so day hunters also have us all beat by a mile.

I had a plan for the next day also.  I was going to take my friend to the Florida Botanical Gardens for a photo walk with my photo group.  For the heck of it I checked to see where it was in comparison to The Narrows, and it was only two miles from where we were at that moment.  So of course we headed there, but on a chilly day in February it was not nearly the amazing place I have visited in the past.  We didn’t stay long at all, but I am glad to know that I can easily visit these two places on the same day from now on.  Kind of a BOGO!02-29-20rose02-29-20hearts

a second look, changing times, childhood, connections, coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, growing old, healing, home, memories, perseverance, photography

Connections…

An uncle came to stay with me once, I’m not even going to try to think of how long ago that was.  He was an academic all his life, a college guidance department head, which is probably why he phrased it as wanting to see my ‘nest’.  That that thought came to mind seems like a natural progression during this nesting season here in Florida, when birds are on my mind a lot of the time.  And somehow that phrase further brought to mind something my closest friend’s husband said to me once after visiting with them.  While I had always felt the closeness between this friend and myself, communication was not so easy in the days when we both had little kids, businesses to run, and lived 3000 miles apart.  So I invited myself to visit them after many years, and when he drove me to the airport to leave he said that we were ‘two peas in a pod’, and that it was a crying shame that we hadn’t been able to be part of each other’s daily lives all along.  On my way to see them on that visit I had said to myself that knowing myself I ought to be nervous, after all I was going to see people that I honestly didn’t know, but I wasn’t at all worried.  And from that first moment that I stepped back into my friend’s life, and home, I felt completely at ease.  More than that though, I felt like myself.  My true self, the ‘real’ me.  Silly, huh?  Who’s life was I leading all those years, living all over the country and raising my kids with only occasional visits to the place I continued to think of as home?  Those were happy years that I treasure, but there was a little part of me that felt alone.  No, apart.  Disconnected.  But not any more, not since I’ve made connections to the past, connections that are mine alone.  Little children that we once were, and who have lived such different lives, are now knowing and cherishing each other in this last part of life.  How we got here hardly matters, it’s just so wonderful to be here.

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coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, healing, life, life goes on, loneliness, marriage, memories, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Time…

It was a gloomy morning, which matched my gloomy mood.  Today we were saying goodbye to yet another friend.  Yet again I would see a dear friend taking her first steps down the slippery slope of widowhood.  I’m five years in at this point, and I now know just how long this process is, this adjusting to life on your own.  At first I found myself astounded that a week had passed, then two weeks, and then a month.  Time, it seemed was relentless.  Impossible as it seemed the days kept passing, and it all became a blur.  Something I recently heard on TV struck me, it made me look online for a quote so I could repeat it correctly.

 

Time is free, but it’s priceless.

You can’t own it, but you can use it.

You can spend it, but you can’t keep it.

Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.

by Harvey MacKay

A silly poem from a friend warmed my heart and brightened this gloomy day for me.  I hope everyone takes time to let the people they care about know that they are loved.  Don’t waste your time, it’s precious…