A lizard came to join me and another photographer as we stood on ladders peeking at the goings-on at the rookery near my house. The term fence-sitting came to mind, and I realized that that’s a term that could apply to me. When I’m being kind to myself I could call it a virtue, being able to see both sides of an issue. My husband wouldn’t have been quite so kind. He was a more volatile personality, frequently mad at someone over what seemed to me to be not such a big deal issue. So I’d point out how that other person might be viewing the issue and my husband would get mad at me then, for ‘always taking the other guy’s side’. But he listened. Maybe it’s my Facebook feed lately. It’s full of stories of courageous women in history who spent their lives getting involved, making the world a better place for all of us. I wonder to myself what I would have thought if I’d lived back then, as if the world couldn’t use some improvement right this minute. In my own little universe I spent my life as a peacemaker. My lifetime has seen some incredible events take place in the world at large, but for those I’ve just looked on, sometimes in horror, but I’ve essentially been riding the fence. A watcher while this runaway train seems to keep building up steam…
Yesterday was a gorgeous day, perfect for a trip to the Sunken Gardens in St. Pete. It was warm enough that the cool shady paths were very welcome, even in December. I have seen it referred to as one of the ‘old Florida roadside attractions’, and, at 100 yers old, as Florida’s oldest ‘living museum. It seemed that lots of people had decided that it was a perfect day to visit.
The news last night was full of snowy images and I remember that cold reality. I think I’m right where I belong.
This feature photo needs a title. How about “The Little Outhouse in the Smokies?” We were still on our first full day of our trip, and we had heard that this visitor center had a great farm display, as well as occasional visits from elk. We thought we could plan our trip, acquire some maps, and, hopefully, see some elk. We didn’t see them that day, but stay tuned because we did eventually see them. I look at these scenes and think of how hard life must have been in those days…
Another objective of the trip was to practice using filters to improve your landscape photos as well as to photograph falling waters and make the water appear more silky. I was new to long exposure photography, but I did manage to get a couple of pictures. I had to toss most of the ones I attempted to take. It seemed that every bend in the road revealed a scene that made you want to stop the car and take pictures. And we were still on our first day in the park.
Now that we have been home and caught our breath a bit a trip to the Tampa Theater seemed like a good idea. The Sunday matinee, we thought we bought. But somehow our tickets were for the alternate showing of Thursday evening. I had been to the Tampa Theater before, for a tour, and I took pictures and posted them. Being there in a crowd full of theater goers intent on buying their popcorn, and in some cases, alcoholic beverages, made taking photos this time a little more difficult. I could see the ceiling however, see the feature photo, and so I started shooting.
Eventually we did reach the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which put us in range of Asheville. We only spent a day there, which was way too short. We would like to spend more time in the area this fall, wouldn’t that be a perfect place to see fall color? But once in Asheville we spotted the Basilica of Saint Lawrence, and headed in that direction to take photos. We didn’t expect to be allowed in, welcomed even, and told to take all the pictures we cared to. So I took a lot, but with the trusty iPhone. Our trip south was about to being in earnest, and even when you have had a nice trip the thought of home begins to sound very good.
As I write this I still don’t know what we missed seeing in Asheville, we left the next morning. But we enjoyed our visit and left wanting to return.
Continuing the theme of life along the Blue Ridge Parkway long ago we have the Puckett cabin. Home to ‘Aunt’ Orelena Hawks Puckett, who’s story left me astounded. Here is a photo of the sign that left me so amazed.
In case you are reading on your phone and can’t read the writing on the photo, she began her career in midwifery after age 50, and delivered her last baby in 1939 at age 102. She rode horseback or walked to care for her patients. The sign says that she never lost a mother or baby through her own fault. But, most upsetting to me, is the fact that she bore 24 children and none lived past infancy. I can’t help but wonder what the reasons for that were. And to realize that she was a hostage to her own body to have become pregnant all those times, which would have been enough to drive anyone over the edge, but she served her community all her days. To say that life was hard in those days is such an understatement.
To be honest I can’t remember if this photo was taken before or after we saw Puckett cabin. Not that it matters, but you can see that the scenery along the way had changed a lot from the scenery along Skyline Drive. We stopped for other displays along the way, more mountain homes, and a pond at which I spotted the white butterfly.