childhood, connections, friends, kids, life goes on, memories, nature, on closer examination, photography, road trip, simple things, unintended images

The Nip…

They called it The Nip.  A small pond, as it was described to me by my old friend.  Playmate really, since we were children when we last saw each other.  Until a year ago when a Facebook fluke reconnected us.  We took a ride to the Nip yesterday and I didn’t think it was so small.  He described camping there as a boy.  Canoeing and fishing also.  There was a little beach too, but it was barely there yesterday.  Someone had left a chair at the edge of the water, and they had a campfire set up and ready to go too.  And there is an island out in the water also.  Of course there is, what a perfect setting for childhood adventures.  “Shh”, he said, but there may or may not be several beloved dogs buried on that island, but you didn’t hear that from me.

I moved away from the neighborhood we shared during the summer that I turned nine years old, so the memories made in that neighborhood stood alone to me.  Wonderful memories of all the fun that we had.  People our age know exactly what I’m talking about.  But now I’m getting to hear about how the adventures continued on without me.  I’m still seriously annoyed that I didn’t get to ride an inner tube for miles down the river, but I also missed the having to trudge those same miles carrying the inner tube home part.  Maybe I left at the perfect time.  Soon enough it wouldn’t have been appropriate for me to be tagging along on the adventures he was having.  But it sure was fun while it lasted…12-27thenip12-27thenip212-27thenip4 He made sure I saw this before we decided we’d had enough of the cold.  This was taken right there by the little beach.  Mr. Darling was the principal of our elementary school when we went there, and to find that he was buried there was a surprise, to me at least.  Apparently the fact that kids were out in nature and having adventures didn’t start with us…

blessings, connections, faith, finding my way, friends, life goes on, memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Simply perfect…

My hometown of Brockton, MA has survived the years since I moved away, but time has beaten some of the polish out of it.  I remember gorgeous old churches on street corners, churches made of stone with impressive turrets and stained glass windows.  The fact that they weren’t Catholic Churches meant that I never ventured inside though.  Some of these beautiful buildings are gone now, and the corners they stood on now hold far less beautiful, but possibly necessary, building’s like Walgreen’s, etc.  A friend told me that there used to be four Congregational churches in Brockton, each in it’s own lovely building.  But each of those buildings eventually needed repairs that couldn’t be afforded so they joined forces into one Congregational church, and I did venture inside with a friend yesterday.  I went to the service with her in order to surprise my cousin who sings in the choir, a plan I hatched last summer. But I was glad that I went yesterday because there was to be a children’s Christmas pageant that day.  It was charming, written by the group and punctuated by beloved Christmas Carols to help tell the story.  It was very well done, simple and charming.  And that’s how I would describe the entire service.  Simple and personal.  And the church itself was beautiful, but not opulent.  White beams and a magnificent organ.  If I’ve been taking a trip into the past, nostalgic for things as the used to be, then I found it there.  Not in a fancy church, but in a sweet and charming service.  Helped along by the fact that the show was stolen by the little boy in a homemade sheep costume, who stopped to hug his mother and then had to gallop down the aisle to catch up with the rest of the players.  No picture though, but I know you get it.12-23organ12-23altar

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, family, friends, home, life goes on, memories, perseverance, photography


Sometimes the word traveling means exactly what you would expect.  A journey from one place to another.  A journey such as my travels for the last few days.  But that journey also led me to a journey back in time.  As I skirted the DC area the route that the GPS had me on caused me to pass by my old neighborhood in Columbia, MD, where I lived for about 30 years.  This is the lake in my former backyard.  More of a lake than the little pond in the backyard of the FL house I’ve lived in for the last 10 years.  So I stopped for pictures, not a big surprise there.  Times have changed however, and there was a sign suggesting that you not leave valuables in your car, and my car was full of them, so I only wandered a little with Ozzie, and only took a few pictures.

But that little walk brought back so many memories.  Memories of walking around the lake with my kids.  It was 1.86 miles around, according to a painted on hash mark and notation on the bike path.  We walked with the kids, and a succession of dogs, four that I can think of.  Time passed and my son and his friend would take our inflatable raft out into the lake, and come back soaking wet, insisting that it just tipped over.  I saw them out there one day when I had the dog out however, and they were. falling off on purpose.  I was glad he was able to have those adventures, that was my attitude at the time, but by today’s standards I should probably be arrested.

Then there came the day that my son came home asking my permission to go ride his bike off a ramp and fly through the air into the lake.  “It’s supervised,” he insisted, “There are adults there.”  I said no, but it only took me a minute to decide that he probably wan’t going to be able to resist, and what the heck was going on anyhow?  So I put the dog on the leash as my excuse to go check on him, and sure enough, there were kids flying through the air with their bikes and landing in the water.  There was an adult there to retrieve the bikes, and everyone had matching tee shirts on.  And no, he didn’t get to do it.

One day at the end of the summer my son proudly brought me to se the tree house that he and a friend had built.  All built with scavenged wood from the construction in the neighborhood, or so he assured me.  When we got there I saw little short pieces of wood that created a stair of sorts up a VERY tall tree.  And the platform up there was small, and downright scary looking.  He was probably 14 or so, an awkward time in a kid’s life, and all along I was happy that he was happy and busy all that summer.  Now I was prepared to worry about all the potential disasters associated with it, but the condo association eventually got wind of it and tore it down.  I was relieved to not have to be the bad guy in that situation.

Eventually grandchildren came along, and we walked to the playground when they were little.  Even they got old enough for adventures.  Kara was walking on the rocks around the lake, which was man-made and in a planned community, and when her foot slipped between two rocks she disturbed a bee’s nest, and I could hear the screaming as she and her brother and a neighbor kid came running home.  Kara got the worst of it as I shampoo’d lots and lots of bees out of her scalp.  Why do I mostly remember the mis-adventures?

I lived in that house longer than I lived in my home town in Massachusetts, longer than I lived in New England.  And yet home, to me, is still New England.  I moved away from that neighborhood with all it’s fond memories, and never looked back.  I lived in lots of places in my life, Indiana, and California, and that house in Maryland.  But I never called a place ‘home’ in the same sense that New England was home to me.  And I’m so happy to be here right now…12-16Elkhorn212-16Elkhorn312-16Elkhorn4

connections, coping, courage, family, friends, home, life goes on, memories, neighbors, road trip

And then it hits you…

While you’ve been concentrating on all the people you love, the ones that you are heading north to see, there are people here that you love and are leaving behind.  There will be heartfelt goodbyes to say here.  Neighbors who I’ve been blessed to know, and who have helped me feel secure in this first ever time of my life in which I’ve lived alone.  But not as alone as I might have felt if not for them.  And my photography friends, I will see their adventures in photography online, and look forward to being out shooting with them again before too long.  And then there are my coworkers, who were my sounding board as I went through this biggest challenge of my life.  I thought of myself as alone these past four years, but I see now that I haven’t really been alone at all.

I sent a note to a friend’s mother to apologize after sneaking away without saying goodbye.  I told her how much I have always hated saying goodbye.  She sent back a note and said that in her family they say Auf Weidersehen, ‘until we meet again’.   Yes, that’s it exactly, it’s only goodbye for now, until we meet again.

These flowers were over a week old and still looked great so I took their picture.  It was only then that I saw the lizard photo bomb.
Winter camping in Florida is just what I needed last night…
'scene' along the way, Florida landmarks, learning, memories, on closer examination, photography, road trip

Heritage Village…

On Saturday three of us club members from Hernando County made the trek to Clearwater to have our camera sensors cleaned.  A wonderful perk of club membership.  Florida Center for Creative Photography, or FCCP, for those who may wonder.  Haveing made a bit of a trip we asked where we might go to take some pictures while we were out, and we settled on Heritage Village.

On a sunny day the colors were vibrant, and it clashed with the notion of seeing those days of old in sepia tones.  In truth I looked to see if I could tint the pictures that way, but I grew impatient, so you are seeing what we saw.

The general store came first…12-3generalstore12-3shopping

Then the train station…12-3crossing12-3allaboard312-3allaboard2

And, of course a garage.  It even smelled like a garage…12-3outtolunch212-3outtolunch12-3heritagegarage

How about a barber shop, complete with a photo bomb by Natty Boh…12-3nattyboh12-3barbershop212-3barbershop

And a one room schoolhouse…12-3schoolhouse212-3schoolhouse

I’m not squeamish, but the doctor’s office blew me away a little.  Instruments displayed under glass, and numbered so that you could find out what they were used for.  I’m sorry, but they looked brutal.  I wonder what the survival rate for surgical patients was back then.  I did take a photo of the first dental X-ray machine, and the birthing chair which was surprisingly short, and complete with a sink for the baby to be delivered into. Again, brutal.  Next time I’ll concentrate on the instruments more.12-3openwide12-3birthingchair.jpg

And some scenes of everyday life in the village…12-3kitchen12-3heritagespinning12-3office12-3redwheels12-3bedtime

Seems appropriate for the outhouse to be the grand finale of the visit!  It was a fun day!12-3outhouse

a second look, connections, friends, grief, healing, home, life, loneliness, memories, photography, road trip, travel

Making assumptions…

Rocks are dependable.  They are solid, strong, unbreakable.  They don’t surprise you, or disappoint you, they are just there.  There are lots of people who might be described by using those same words.  But in the case of this particular rock, and many people, we are just looking at the surface and making assumptions about the core.  Were I to drop this particular rock it would fracture into pieces, a lot like I was feeling I might do not too long ago.  Careful hands have reassembled this rock, and in much the same way I am somehow feeling pieced back together after my visit home.  We are both still fragile, but then aren’t we all?