a second look, adventure, backyard visitors, birds, blessings, Cranes, ducks, Florida wildlife, healing, life goes on, memories, nature, perseverance, photography, Rise and shine, sunrise

Life goes on…

Sad as I was over the loss of one of the owlets yesterday, a text from my former neighbor cheered me up. It seems the Sandhill Cranes nested on the lake again this year, and their chicks hatched yesterday. I knew from past experience that the parents will march the chicks off the nest and out into the world almost as soon as they hatch, so I checked on them right after sunrise this morning. I guess I was too early because Mom was still laying down, as in the feature photo, and Dad was wandering in the vicinity. The crane family saga is what started me blogging four years ago, and I’ll be back again in the next few days to try to get some pictures of this year’s crop.

My first photo when I got to the lake. I had seen that a duck had laid eggs, a dozen of them, in the crotch of this tree in my neighbor’s yard. I wanted a picture of the eggs but Mama was standing guard.
Dad was up and keeping an eye on things.
The island that they nest on is shaped like a horseshoe, with water in the center. There was much commotion, splashing and quacking going on. Dad was supervising, but didn’t intervene.
I’ve blathered on and on to my friend about the little blue heron that lives on this lake, and the ibis that were so abundant that I hardly even noticed them after a while.
I have spent a lot of time watching this fella, and hoping to catch him catching something. Seconds after I got there he caught this frog, who I then felt a little sorry for.
All the while I was there Mama Duck kept an eye on me while she tended to her eggs. More babies for the lake.
I mentioned the sunrise, in this case back at Aripeka again.
And One-Foot Fred was there, hanging out right outside the bait shop. I wonder what he was waiting for.

As soon as I got out of my car in my old neighborhood I heard the woodpeckers drilling away. And lots of birds singing in the trees, plus the ducks quacking. A hawk flew into view, twice. The gang is still there, doing what they do, it’s in their nature. Watching them filled a void in my life, and encouraged me to get out and take more pictures. It was a blessing then, and has led to even more blessings now. Life goes on…

'scene' along the way, black and white, connections, coping, foggy sky, friends, growing old, healing, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

In a fog…

I confess that I took these photos nearly a week ago. We had to be at the surgery center at 6 AM for my friend to have cataract surgery, and we drove through pea soup fog to get there on time. As I sat and waited I looked out the window and was drawn outside to take pictures. There was a golf course across the street, conveniently located for photos, I thought. Truth be told we had to return several more early mornings last week for follow up appointments, and each of those days were nearly as foggy as that day was. Tomorrow the second eye will be done, so lots more appointments and potential for more drives through the fog. Such are the challenges of Florida mornings when the overnight temperatures are cool.

This is the surgery center property with the golf course across the street.
I thought if I crossed the street I would get better pictures, and eliminate the power lines. The street was surprisingly busy for such an early morning.
Once I had my unobstructed view I didn’t like it as much as I liked seeing the fence, etc.

My friend is also a photographer, and it seems to me as if he has been seeing life through a fog all his own. I can’t wait to see his reaction once both eyes have adjusted to a new, clear, reality…

connections, coping, courage, death, faith, family, grief, healing, saying goodbye

My sister…

She was a kind and generous soul. She went the extra mile for her friends and family. Her daughter and grandchildren were the loves of her life. She is gone now, quite unexpectedly, despite a long history of health issues. She was my sister. I was in NH visiting when it happened, so I was grateful to be able to be with my niece and her family as this new reality set in. I’m back home now and settling back into my routines isn’t coming easily. It seems I just needed to say a simple goodbye to a sweet soul who asked little and gave much. She is at peace now…

a second look, backyard visitors, birds, blessings, coping, Cranes, facing facts, finding my way, Florida wildlife, grief, healing, life goes on, loneliness, memories, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

A crane story…

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.

a second look, coping, facing facts, family, finding my way, grief, healing, life goes on, memories, perseverance, photography, simple things

Charley Barley…

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…

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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