bugs, butterflies, dragonflies, Florida wildlife, flowers, gardens, nature, on closer examination, photography, the big picture

Let me tell you ’bout…

…the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees…

So happy for friends, and for completely different reasons.  One has a brand new rescue puppy to love, and another is reuniting with his grandkids.  As well as happy for myself, with a day of different photo ops ahead of me.  It’s a good news kind of day!5-10dragonfly5-10gazebo5-10butterfly5-10traingarden25-10traingarden5-10bee35-10bee15-10snakeAnd a snake, which isn’t good news but is tolerable news when it is a black snake, so harmless, and running away from me.  Those were busy bees, buzzing away.  And I assume that those orange sacks are full of pollen.  I’ve been hearing about them but hadn’t seen that for myself before.  Guess they were having a good day too!

connections, grief, growing old, life, life goes on, live and learn, loneliness, marriage, memories, old dogs new tricks, on closer examination, photography, the big picture

It’s just a number…

Nothing fits anymore. Not my clothes, although I’m not really complaining about that. I’ve taken tons of clothes to donate, and now I need to find out where I can donate all this extra skin. But that’s really not what I’m talking about either. ‘I’ don’t fit. All my life I seemed to know where I stood in relationship to the rest of the people around me. But now that I’m really, seriously, old, I can’t see it. Older yes, wiser no. Is it because Charley is gone? When I was going through life with him and I saw him getting older, is that what made me recognize my own age? Because he isn’t here anymore to provide that link, and I seem to be stumbling around a bit.

It started with a chance encounter with a man when I was photographing the sunset one night. He said that I ought to be dating, that there are a lot of lonely men out there. I responded, “I’m not”, lonely I meant. I told him that I have nice conversations with people every day, and then I go home, and that I like my privacy. And I meant that 100%. What I didn’t expect was that after few more conversations with him over the next several days that wasn’t altogether true anymore. He left to go back home and took my 100% conviction that I was 100% happy with him, and I haven’t been able to resurrect it. So now my chance encounters with people have a different sort of edge to them. The last time I was a single adult I was 20 years old, and I see now that I wasn’t as much of an adult as I thought I was at the time. In a lot of ways I have reverted back to that person, in my own mind anyhow. Maybe this explains something that Charley said about working at Publix at age 63, after having worked at the A&P right after high school and all through college. He said that he felt like he was 18 again, which might have been a good thing, but the problem was that he acted it too. He kept getting sent to the office, in trouble for a remark made to another employee, never to a customer. Not reported by the person he was talking to, but reported by a busy-body employee who overheard him. I told Charley that he wasn’t hired for the comic effect, but he couldn’t seem to resist making a wise-aleck remark when the opportunity presented itself. But you know what? I think I get it now, I get that he would momentarily actually be that 18 year old again.

So you happen to have a nice conversation with the guy who sits next to you in a photography class. Nice class, nice company, feels good. In the moment you are just yourself, a generic ‘self’, just enjoying the conversation. Later on you figure out that he is 13 years younger than you are, and get taken aback. Why couldn’t I ‘see’ that when I looked at him? That he was closer to my kids’s ages than he is to mine I mean. ‘Act your age’, they say. How exactly do I do that? Will I wake up one day and not be able to resist sticking a tissue up my sleeve? Or maybe I’ll buy support hose and start rolling them into little donuts around my ankles. Probably not the best look with capri pants and flip flops. I don’t recognize myself anymore. I’ve lost my place. Age is just a number, or so I’ve been told. Step on the scale why don’t you, then tell me that ‘just a number’ doesn’t matter. I’m going to have to try not to embarrass myself while I figure this all out…

PS… I wrote this a while ago as an ’emergency’ post in case I’m stuck.  And since I was hanging onto the post it gave me a chance to retake the photo if I saw a lower number on the scale.  This is at least the 4th incarnation of the photo.  So there I was at the pool the other day and an 80-something year old guy told me, “Just making it back and forth across the pool is a good thing for people our age.”  Evidently I’m the only one having trouble realizing how old I am…

coping, finding my way, healing, life goes on, loneliness, memories, moments, photography, sky, sunrise, the big picture

Finding my way…

I was sitting in the dark and quiet, minding my own business, when a photo of the Super Moon came across my Facebook page.  It triggered a memory of the very first time I went to Hammond’s Creek Bridge for a sunrise, and the moon was also present in my sunrise shot that day.  I thought it really made the shot.  That thought sent me leaping out of the recliner to hurry and get dressed and get to the bridge in case the Super Moon would be in the sunrise shot again.  I only had a half hour until sunrise…

As I drove I could see the moon directly in front of me, when the fog thinned enough to see it at all, and already I knew it wasn’t going to be in the sunrise photo, but I kept going.  As has happened quite a few times already, the reflection of the sunrise was as pretty as the actual sunrise, so all was not lost.  It was worth the hurried trip out of the house.  The moon is in this shot, but you have to look for it.

124reflectedsunrisewithmoon

I’ve been a little melancholy that I do everything by myself these days, and on the way home I imagined myself trying to get Charley to leap up and head out the door to go with me.  It would never have happened.  Charley used to do his full grooming routine, including ‘skunk piss’, before he would leave the house, including to head to the Y and work out on the machines.  I argued with him about that, because on the way home he would stop at my store when I was working, to shop or to just say hello, and he was always absolutely drenched in sweat, looking like a dirt ball.  Thankfully that was good skunk piss because he still aways smelled good.  Heaven forbid that he show up at the Y not looking his best, maybe it was because of the ‘exercise divas’, as his trainer friends called them.  But no, I shouldn’t lament that I have to head out the door alone to take pictures, because most likely if I didn’t head out when the thought struck I probably wouldn’t head out at all.

Besides, because of that I never know where I’ll be in the next five minutes, it’s a bit of an adventure.  As long as I keep finding my way home again it’ll be okay…

124moonshot

 

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coping, death, faith, fun, grief, life, life goes on, live and learn, moments, on closer examination, photography, Pine Island, sunset, the big picture

Lost opportunities…

It used to be that when I sat in this recliner in the dark and quiet of the morning, with a nice hot cup of coffee at my side, I’d just think.  About anything.  I probably couldn’t even tell you what I had been thinking about five minutes after the thoughts passed through my mind.  It was important time to me since so often there is no time to think during a busy day.  Not anymore.  Now I go through the hundreds of photos I took the day before to see what I can do with them.  Hopefully I have a few good ones, and some days, like today, I kick myself for the lost opportunities from the day before.  Like going to Pine Island for the sunset and finding tightrope walkers doing their thing.  That was fun to watch, but why do I think I have to take photos on the sly?  Think of the photos I might have gotten if I’d have asked permission, and my guess is that they wouldn’t have objected since they set up their ‘rope’, actually a very heavy rubber band sort of thing, in public.  I think I ought to make myself an ID sort of badge to wear and pretend I want to interview people for publication.  Do they really need to know it’s just little old me in my recliner?1030tightrope11030tightrope2Now these people didn’t need me to intrude on them, although they may have liked to tell their story.  Almost as soon as I saw them with the balloons I knew that they were going to let them go as a memorial to someone.  An environmentalist probably would object since those balloons are going to wind up somewhere in nature, but I understand the sentiment involved.  Soon enough they gathered at the water’s edge and let them go, which is when I noticed that they had a card or note attached.  Sad for them, but I hope it gave them some comfort to do that.1030memorial1030balloonsliftoffActually the term ‘lost opportunity’ comes from work.  One of the bakers told me that when you haven’t produced the products fast enough, either gotten them baked or gotten them packaged and out onto the sales floor, that’s lost opportunity because most people won’t want to bother you to ask for what they are looking for.  I’m not sure that I’ve ever thought of that term before he mentioned it, but I can sure think of some lost opportunities in my life that I wish I’d recognized when they were happening and then I  might have changed the outcome.  Sigh…

birds, butterflies, nature, on closer examination, photography, rain, simple things, spider webs, storms, sunset, the big picture, unintended images

To delete, or not to delete…

Purging photos is a problem for me.  I leave no photos on the SIM card in the camera, mostly because I can’t see them well enough on the camera, and that means they’ll essentially be lost to me. Deleting photos works for a bit, but soon I’ll see a photo and wonder why I didn’t notice it before. I enlarge it on the screen and look at the details and tell myself. wow, I like that a lot. But then I look at the next one and it’s almost the same, so which one is better? Then I open the thumbnail view and discover that there are 14 of those photos, pretty much identical, and I look at each one in detail to see which is ‘best’. After a few episodes like that my eyes get really tired. Usually I wind up leaving that group of photos and moving on to blurry images that I don’t have to torture myself deciding whether to delete them or not. I’m not sure that I wind up deleting enough photos to make up for the 100s I take each time go out with the camera, but it’s better than nothing. And I do find some nice and/or quirky ones…

Like the old guy above who got roped into going shopping with his wife.  He’s making the best of things.  And below is one which was taken with a new wide angle add-on to my Canon Camera.  Yes, I did notice that if I opened the lens all the way I could see the rounded extension, but I figured I could crop it out.  The sunset was rained out, so I pulled out of the parking space right in front of that roofed picnic table, but I got out and took one last photo with the rain pouring down.  I came so close to deleting this one, then I opened up the filter gallery in photoshop, where I’ve never ‘played’ before, and tried something called plastic wrap.  There is something I like about this image, so I guess it’s a keeper.plasticwrapsunset

Then there are these birds on a wire at a shopping center near me.  I’ve seen them before, they look like they are in line waiting for something.  Not only on the wire, but in the trees too.  Why?  Or maybe, why not?birdsonawire

And another spider web.  My neighbor has stopped wondering what I’m doing out there.angledspiderwebOn the left we have a tattoo I spotted online the other day.  It’s seafoam, and I see that, but I had to laugh because I think my arm looks just like that nearly every work day.  Reaching into the icing bucket to ice pastries will do that to you.  Do you think they got the idea for that tattoo from me?

flowers, life, natural wonders, nature, on closer examination, photography, simple things, the big picture

Nature’s little miracles…

Not sure how long ago it was that I photographed the cactus flowers that I was seeing on the dog walk around the neighborhood. The flowers were gorgeous, while they lasted, which wasn’t very long. But I’m surprised to see that we are having a round two, the cactus plants are covered in buds again. With one difference, each plant seems to have a few red buds in amongst the green ones. I keep watching and waiting to see what sort of flower emerges from those red buds, but they don’t seem to be in a hurry to do anything.

I wrote that a week or two ago, and I’m still waiting to see red flowers.  Because on another walk around the neighborhood I saw that these red buds aren’t buds at all. They are woody, with a little string-like extension hanging from them. My friend also sees these cactus plants in her neighbor’s yard, and she too expected to see a red flower. Her neighbor said that no, it’s how they reproduce, and the moths come and visit to propagate them. What I’ve been seeing is the last of the flowers still open in the morning, they really bloom all night, and that is when the moths work their magic. We humans are presumptuous enough to assume that we are the center of things, when in fact there are tiny miracles happening all around us every day, needing no assistance from us. Mother Nature is always at work, all we need to do is open our eyes…