'scene' along the way, a second look, death, finding my way, grief, growing old, history, life goes on, memories, moments, perseverance, photography

Rose Hill…

Not every trip out to take photos is the uplifting sort of trip that warms my heart. Yesterday I went out to explore a cemetery that I’d seen a while back when the GPS had routed me from one destination to another. I was at a traffic light and noticed a cemetery with a big water feature, and it seemed like a spot that would have an east facing view for the sunrise. I made a mental note of it, and while I thought of looking for it again from time to time I never did, until yesterday. It was easy enough to figure out where it was when I looked at Maps, a big green oasis, and I saw the name Rose Hill. The GPS had me pass up my destination and do a u turn to come back to it, and then it said to take a right, even though I saw the pretty lawns and water of a beautiful cemetery to the left. I took the right, and entered a sad little cemetery with lots of sand and weeds and no green lawns or water feature. It was hard to figure out where I could park the car, I was afraid I’d drive over a grave. I got out and walked a bit and took some pictures, but my heart wasn’t in it. I felt like an intruder. While it first seemed like a sad little place, it wasn’t forgotten by any means. Pops of color were everywhere. Graves were being visited, people were being remembered. That I wanted to come to this place for my photo ops felt very wrong. The wind was out of my sails, I headed home.

Yes, I did stop at the neighboring Cycadia Cemetery, but that feeling of being an intruder stayed with me. I took a couple of pictures and left. It just wasn’t the day for it I guess…

a second look, family, fun, kids, life goes on, memories, moments, nature, Passing time, perseverance, photography

Growing up orangutan…

Of course I took four times as many pictures of the orangutans yesterday as I did of all the other creatures at Zootampa. The problem was that RanDee wasn’t presenting her three month old baby boy to the camera as nicely as she did last time. As usual she was huddled with her mother DeeDee, who seemed to be grooming her daughter and watching over her grandson. Those orangutans don’t just appear to be a close knit group, they are family, three generations together. Their interactions are so much fun to watch, and I know it’s not just me because the rest of the onlookers were delighting in the young ones at play and as they noticed the newest addition. Little kids loved watching them play also, but then they were ready to go see the elephants, or the tiger…

I didn’t ‘see’ this photo until the third trip through my images.
I couldn’t resist cropping it in closer also.
I’m usually happy to get a shot of this littlest of the big kids, but yesterday she was photo bombing my shots.
She didn’t sit still for long though.
A sweet kiss from mommy.
I always wonder what they are thinking.
Meanwhile someone decided that dousing herself in sand was a great idea. I distinctly remember holding my son upside down and rubbing his head so that we’d leave at least some of the sand in the sandbox. It’s hard to believe I did that when I look at him now.
This looks to me like a mother passing knowledge to her daughter. How much communication do they have I wonder?
Not a care in the world.
Just hangin’ around, passing the time.
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…

'scene' along the way, a second look, family, fun, grandchildren, life goes on, making memories, memories, perseverance, photography, simple things, special effects, technology

In the spirit…

Last Saturday night my friend and I spent a few hours driving around her neighborhood, guided by GPS and following the stops set out in a ‘menu’ of sorts. Each destination was a house that was participating in a friendly competition over who would have the best Christmas display.. What a fun way to spend an evening and see if we could dredge up some holiday spirit while we were at it. I’ve totally lost track of which houses belonged to the runners-up, but I to definitely remember which house I thought would win, and it did. But I’m saving it for last.

And the winner is…

Music was playing at many of the stops, and I heard that one stop was serving hot chocolate. But I loved the winning house because Dad was manning a snow machine that was mounted on this sleigh and kids were invited out of the cars to check it out. He kept up a friendly banter, and his young teenaged sons were also working the crowd and giving out Christmas cards. I loved that it was such a family event.

And while I was working on these pictures I ran out to check the mail and found a Christmas card from my granddaughter who lives in Munich, Germany. It’s written in German but translated for me by her. Yes, family is what it’s all about and we shared many Christmas experiences together in the past, and hopefully there will be more to come in the future also. Merry Christmas Kara, and to all of you too!

a second look, changing times, childhood, facing facts, family, grandchildren, history, learning, life goes on, live and learn, memories, moments, perseverance, photography, responsibility

Early voting…

Day one of early voting in Florida found me in a socially distanced line waiting to vote, which is all I have to say about this election. The first election that I actually remember was the 1956 election. I was turning eight, and horrified to realize that Eisenhower might not continue to be president. Since I thought life was just perfect as it was I worried that he wouldn’t be re-elected. Or they could elect my daddy, I thought that would be a dandy idea also. Next up was the 1960 election of JFK, a big deal in MA of course, so that left a lasting impression. But with a voting age of 21, and due to my July birthday, the first election I was able to vote in was the 1972 election. I was living in San Diego at the time, so waiting for my husband to get home from work meant that Nixon had already been declared the winner before I went out and voted with my home state, the only state to go for McGovern.

To be honest I had to look up a list of the presidential elections after that to remind myself who ran, who was elected, and who I voted for. I’m only batting 500, but I actually thought it was worse than that, and for me most of those elections came and went without a lot of emotion on my part. Probably the most memorable one was the 2000 Bush/Gore election, which isn’t surprising. But it so happened that a friend of the family was on the Bush election team, which is probably why my two oldest grandkids were very aware of the election and excited about it. We walked to the polls to vote that morning, the kids rode their new scooters and we were going to McDonald’s for breakfast afterwards. The line was just long enough for it to seem like an event, but not so long that the kids got bored. They were allowed into the polling booth with me and they were given their own “I voted” stickers. For this grandmother it was the perfect educational moment, I just loved everything about that day, until the vote count. It was educational in an entirely unexpected way when my grandson asked me several weeks later, “Hey Mimi, did they ever figure out who won that election?”

The story of this election is still to be written… God bless America…