finding my way, healing, home, life goes on, memories, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, solitude

My first place…

The first thing Charley and I bought together was a ridiculously expensive stained glass window.  It was in an antique shop in Old Ellicott City, MD, and the blue pieces of glass were/are original to the window. Maybe the rest of the pieces were missing or broken.  But at any we loved it, and it signaled that we were going forward together. That was close to 40 years ago now, and it’s moved with us since then, so it has hung in various spots over the years.  But mostly it was in the upstairs window of the den of the house we lived in for over 30 years.  Many more years in that one house than I lived in my hometown, which was a stunning realization when it hit me.  Yet I left that house behind without looking back, but I’ve never been able to leave my hometown behind.  I’ve lived a lot of places in my life, but none of them have been ‘home’ to me, despite my penchant for fixing them up.  I had considered selling it, the stained glass window I mean, but I knew that I’d never get the crazy price we paid for it.  And during the time it hung in that upstairs window, the one with a window seat below it, our cat, Hobo, used to reach up and dig his claws into the window frame for a nice stretch.  And so they remain there, his claw marks forever part of our history.  So I fix up my place and make it all cozy for myself.  This is the equivalent of my first apartment, the first place I’ve ever made for myself alone.  In a place I never expected to be.  You don’t usually furnish your first place with a lifetime’s worth of treasures.  Treasures that hold memories, and bring them to life when you look at them.  My ‘first’ place may be my last place, and it may just be home…

'scene' along the way, friends, fun, go with the flow, perseverance, photography, solitude, technology

Deadly photos…

Just so you know, no forensic dummies were harmed in the making of these photos.  But there is a new, to me at least, photo group in my area, and it’s led by a forensic photographer.  This makes for interesting conversations because as she describes setting your camera a certain way she talks about how that setting would apply to her work;  photographing blood spatter, or bullet wounds, or, gulp, the body.  So when we went to a cemetery to shoot pictures and she asked if we wanted to recreate a crime scene  I couldn’t help myself, I asked which one of us was going to be ‘the body’.  But she said, “No, I have a head.”, and we all looked around at each other.  LOL.  My new van hasn’t been completely empty since I loaded it up and headed north, but what she carries around in her car is a heck of a lot more interesting, or possibly alarming, than what I carry with me  It was a very interesting lesson, but my reaction was that it would be a tedious process to take the zillion photos and do it in such a manner that you haven’t distorted anything.  If taken properly the photographs should allow investigators to recreate a crime scene very accurately.  This gal created a specialty of forensic photography at Syracuse University because she saw a need, after realizing that in the past most of these forensic specialists were handed a camera and expected to take the pictures with no training at all.  On the job training, I guess.03-23-2019cemeteryLydia

At any rate, these photos have nothing at all to do with me.  It was just a setting with lots of light and shadows, and friends to spend time with.  A great opportunity to take the HDR photos that I love with the new camera and lens that I opted for the other day.  It was only a matter of time.  These particular friends are a bad influence on me…03-23-2019cemetaryfeature03-23-2019cemetery203-23-2019onthecross03-23-2019obelisk03-23-2019holytrunk03-23-2019Flowerygrave03-23-201903-23-2019cemeteryfeatureJust a little bird in a far off tree, checking out the new lens.  I’m a happy camper!

coping, death, growing old, losing battles, memories, moments, old dogs new tricks, photography, solitude

Resting places…

Duxbury Beach in Massachusetts features prominently in my fond memories of home.  Maybe it was that we used to stay at my uncle’s cottage, the last one on the seawall that defined the private beach from the public beach.  That it was rocky, especially after a storm, was a plus.  You could put your blanket out on the sand and scout out a few rocks to anchor down the corners.  My husband had heard me rave about it long before he ever saw it, and when I took him there it was after a storm and it was particularly rocky, and from the look in his eye I’m pretty sure he doubted my sanity after that.  Since then I have been to lovely beaches with expanses of sugar sand as far as the eye can see, but I will never feel about them the way I feel about Duxbury.  Which is why I told Charley that I wanted my ashes scattered at Duxbury when the time came.  My daughter heard that and said that I should be informing her of my wishes, and, as usual, she was right.  If I was ever going to change my mind about that then visiting a cemetery like this one is why I’ll let the decision stand.  Stones sinking into the ground, names and dates barely readable, and no one to care or remember.  Sadly, there was more than one ‘unknown’ marker.  A person, a life.  Someone’s child, possibly someone’s parent, gone except for that sad marker.  After being home alone for so long I’m finding that part of me now wants to get out, hit the road, go everywhere, see everything. But I tell myself I’m too old, I can’t do it alone.  Maybe so, maybe not.  But I like the idea that one day my ashes might ride the wind and the water, and travel farther than my dreams can take me now.  I’ll return to Duxbury one day…5-28cemeteryfence

5-28angelHDR5-28EffieHDR5-28Fred5-28twobytwo5-28cemeterytree5-28myunknownHDR.

flowers, gardens, nature, photography, solitude

A Secret Garden…

I have never seen such a lovely garden.  A meandering path through lush foliage, and a surprise around every turn.  It was the fun meet and greet before our photo walk last Saturday night.  I could have gotten lost, happily lost. And I could have taken many more pictures, it deserved to be a destination all it’s own.  We were told we could take photographs and post them wherever we like.  I thought that was an excellent idea!3-24ozonadoorway_easyHDR-dramatic-bright3-24ozonapath_easyHDR-default3-24ozona3-24ozonabottletree_easyHDR-enhance3-24shed_easyHDR-night-strong3-24ozona23-24littlelibraryAnd oh, by the way, I took most of these as single photos, but I had heard that Easy HDR would convert those also.  Must have worked because I can’t remember which was which.

Chinsegut Conservation Center, coping, growing old, healing, losing battles, memories, natural wonders, nature, photography, solitude

A new you, I mean me…

Nature photography is new to me. For years I thought that cameras were for taking pictures of the grandchildren only, so in a sense I’ve reinvented myself as far as photography goes. Taking photos of sunsets and butterflies are one thing, always beautiful, but a trip to Chinsegut Conservation Center provides more than just the obvious photo ops. A locust chrysalis, which I would never have spotted if it hadn’t been pointed out to me, isn’t pretty, but in reviewing my photos from my trip there it’s the chrysalis that’s on my mind.

Seeing it made me think how nice it might be to just shed your outer, worn out, and thoroughly abused self, and re-emerge as a newer, fresher, you. Or me.  But knowing what you know now so you don’t make the same mistakes over again. Reinventing yourself so as to face a world that reinvented itself while we were busy and not paying attention. A world that dotes on youth isn’t such a friendly place these days. I know I’m not the only one who feels like I’m the same person I always was, but better really because getting older really does make you wiser. Easier on yourself. But you don’t look better, just older, and stepping out into the world, this crazy youth-worshipping world, when you left your own youth behind years ago, leaves you where, exactly?

I’ve spent the last three years at home, telling myself that I was happy, but in reality I was using the house as a chrysalis, hiding, safe, because I didn’t know what else to do. And telling myself that I was happy, and loving the privacy. No witnesses, except the dogs and they don’t judge. And now I think wait a minute, is this all I want or need for the rest of my life? And I imagine various Hallmark movie scenarios of what life could be. Then I walk past a mirror and think, who are you kidding?

Mother Nature gets it, at least as far as locusts go. When they have become worn and tired, and have been buffeted around by life a while, they can just shuck their old shell and reemerge as a new and improved version. I’m thinking that I wish people could do the same thing…

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coping, healing, life, live and learn, memories, moments, old dogs new tricks, photography, solitude, sunrise

Recalculating…

Could anything ever be worse than being at a high school dance, sitting in the bleachers, alone? She remembered the moment so well. She saw the boy walking toward the bleachers, she knew who he was, a boy who had caught her eye as really cute, one grade above hers, and he was walking towards the bleachers, toward her, but of course he couldn’t actually be walking toward ME she thought. He asked her to dance, and she looked around behind her to see who he was talking to. But he was talking to her, and if there was any chance to impress him with how cool she was she had already blown it by the time she got up to dance. That was it, their moment, one dance, and her insecurities had undermined her.

Flash forward 54 years and she was out for the sunset photos one night not too long ago, a night which happened to include a lot of activity and a pretty sunset at the beach. She was wandering around, enjoying the extra commotion, and taking lots of pictures. As she began to drift toward the parking lot she heard a voice ask if she had gotten any nice pictures. She looked up to see a nice looking man in a Michigan cap, smiling at her. They chatted about all that was going on at the beach that evening, and about the pretty sunset that was winding down. He had come to FL to be with his father through the recent hurricane, he said, and was going to be there a few more days. It was nice, like a lot of nice conversations she enjoyed when she was out. As she began to leave she thought about that, that she had often had these nice conversations with people and then just walked away.  But then he extended his hand to her and introduced himself.  His hand was warm, and she told him her name. He said he would really like to continue the conversation… and she turned into the 15 year old in the bleachers, trying to figure out if the cute guy in front of her was asking her to dance. What happened next was an adrenaline rush that blindsided her, and she started laughing. Really, it was ridiculous, but she couldn’t do a thing about it. This sort of thing didn’t happen to her.  She had been alone for three years, and she told herself she actually liked being alone, being on her own, making her own decisions.  She hadn’t been looking for more.  They did meet for several more sunsets, but now yet another nice ‘moment’ of sorts had passed. But some moments leave a lasting impression, and this one certainly had. It made her question her insistence that she was totally happy on her own, that there was no room for anything else in her life, that this independence was all she wanted for herself. Maybe, just maybe, there was room for more after all. Or maybe there would never be another moment like it, but even so she would smile when she remembered it, and for now the adrenaline rush hadn’t quite worn off…