Pictures help clear the muddled mind. It is 2017, January. Spice and Feather latched onto me at the pet food store and are now part of our family. They were so little. Were they ever so tiny? Two fit in the sink. Can you imagine? I have trouble remembering the year they arrived. Photos help.
Two egg yolks over … what? Snow geese, a first (the very first) glimpse for me. The National Enquirer, ah, shit! We are in a tunnel – driving – don’t try this at home… There is a radar detector, a GPS device, phone holder, a dried rose bud…. So, it is the new Subaru. Technology would change. Nowadays the phone is plugged into the dash and GPS comes via the car screen. I don’t speed any more – ha. No GPS, phone holder, radar detector, rose. There is a lot to be learned from a picture. And there are pictures that make you wonder, “I took that? For what?”
Remember Yogi (Berra)? He said, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Nikon D70. The price was expensive but reasonable. Heretofore, digital SLR cameras cost upwards of $10k. Yikes! I got home from work and opened the box. Yes, I work late, really! And, I took pictures of the living room and kitchen. … and the family dog. I tried the built-in flash. The cow was a porcelain replica of large cows painted and distributed around public spaces in NYC. The ivory figure was a gift. It was used by women to point at areas of their body which were ailing. Modesty must be served. That figure was lost to me in the divorce. But, I can visit it.
How things changed! I timed the D70 purchase to use it for David’s graduation. It turns out that I never shot another frame of film from that point. Clean break! Complete. It was so abrupt. Done.
Out in the desert, Jules was free of her abaya – no religious police. Camels in the wild! And, sand dunes! Once you leave the big city, it is pretty remote and desolate terrain. Fun?! Adventure?! I was smart enough to bring along food and water. A good time was had by all. (No camels were injured in the making of this photo op.) So, went an adventure of our lifetime!
Abruptly, it ended – my adventure in Saudi. Colleen was relieved. Very! We reconnected while I was still there. She never got to visit. Saudi law/rules prohibit casual visitors. My daughter was family – ok! Can you say culture shock!? I was lucky. Photo ops! Did I say Colleen was relieved? Can you imagine being trapped there for a couple years during Covid? Colleen worries. She has a vivid imagination! Relief!
I have said elsewhere and before that I am no Black and White photographer. Color! I think color. I see colors and patterns and contrasts filled with vibrancy. Pow! In your face color! No Ansel Adams waiting and exposing and patiently developing details in Zone VII. I have a completely different personality – all go, no waiting, do it now! Ha ha. I used to wait to develop slides for forever, as long as a year. That is a lot of time for a mistake to linger before you can see the error, let alone correct yourself. Ego! I was perfect. Ha ha. Not!! And, please don’t shoot me. Too many shots, not enough time for the stories.
Parenthetically, I will add, that when I shot the moose, someone in the lecture asked where? As in, he thought I had shot this moose with a gun. Ha ha. No! And I lived to tell the tale.
If you take enough pictures, a few will be good. It follows: Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes. Selfies? The easy way or hard way? It’s probably not good to say I go both ways. Beer? I don’t drink beer! Heresy! As you can see, we do have some good times together.
Socks? Everyone needs socks. These days, I’m retired. My socks retired too. I wear ‘em about three cold days a year now. Colleen? – adores socks. And, she adores the Pemaquid lighthouse!
Sheeps? Why is it sheep? I did not go to Maine for the art. Did I? Spinning wheel? Colleen arranged to pick up a signature spinning wheel that I found online. She brought $$. And, now, I use this wheel. Was it a plot? Planned? I love this wheel – to use; it’s sweet! I love my wife … more!
Random today… selection of pics. I have evolved from a single pic and story. Too many images, too little time. Good? Cats are our – Colleen’s and mine – life these days. We share much love with them. Yes… she loves to eat out, water view preferable. A frog, a duck, the sky, the moon, a grasshopper, all are fair game. Imerfect, (sic) true. Ha ha. I’m glad to have had the opportunities. A single shot/picture? Maybe once again, someday, but, not today.
It’s always rhetorical. Which of your kids is your favorite? Favorite cat? Answer: You love them all. Equally? Answer: You smile. Favorite time? Favorite place? Favorite picture? In the moment, I like/love everything. Wrong! You love your wife, elsewise, you will not live to take another picture. Ha ha.
I’m just randomly flipping thru the catalog today. Monhegan Island. Just like that, I could recognize and recall the meal, restaurant, and setting. How? Memory is a funny thing. Pictures are my trigger to open up the past for me. Otherwise I have monarch butterflies scattered liberally in my catalog. Good luck finding a pic easily amongst the lot. Ditto, sunset. Sheep? Yup, I do not recall any particular sheep. This is all a random draw.
Cats? It’s still raw to recall Ray, whom we recently lost. Colleen will say we have favorites. Less favorite? … to which I say, I love them all. Need I say, she is my favorite wife?
My photo catalog was open to this page… autumn in Maine, Monhegan Island, Sommesville, fall, Pemaquid. It’s a redo! Same pictures, new post. …yes, but worthy enough to comment upon once more. I moved today’s original post – Ray – to his b’day July 3. You will have to wait on that. We chased fall color. On Monhegan Island we found the quintessential tourist shot of the “Inn.” Animals posed.
We finally did get fall color… just before we departed Maine. A woodpecker, on the fly, in the wild? Yup, it was just sitting in a tree… yeah, yeah, not flying, but, I’ll take it! The Sommesville bridge? Yes, fall color!
Fun? More fun than being in a bar? Try Pemaquid. We were there over and over again. It is Colleen’s favorite spot. Can’t you see? And we went back about every opportunity that arose. Colleen has a grand sense of humor. Mine is off? A bit warped? A sandwich shy of a picnic? No, nope, nah!
A sheep is a sheep – all the same to me, just different colors, with or without horn. A spinning wheel? A loom? Venerable. Costly. Slow (to make clothes by hand). I get my clothes for sale $10 a shirt. That is simply sinful thought. To not appreciate the process is to ignore history and how we got to this point in time; this is narrow minded thinking. Shearing, washing, carding, spinning, weaving… yarn to cloth to clothes.
The Golding wheel is the Bentley of spinning wheels. Art. It is not how you get there as much as how you look getting there. Any car goes when you add gas. Eh? Computerized looms? It has a niche, though, it’s oddly out of place with hand craft. You go to the sheep and wool festival to – meet Golding and son, see the sights, see sheeps, and to see people. I get photo ops. Sheepishly, I have newfound respect for the handicraft. No, Colleen, (I get it now) a sheep is not a sheep. There are differences beyond appearance. And, no, a Golding wheel is not in our future. Hey! You don’t have to spend $10k for a Golding! Maybe I should not have checked $ on the internet. Price increase! – $30k for a stained glass Golding wheel!! I still cannot differentiate sheep breeds. (A sheep 🙂 is still a sheep.)
I am now educated. When I first became reacquainted with Colleen, a sheep was a sheep. Colleen weaves; she spins. Now, we chase particular breeds – border Leicester, Corriedale, Polworth, Merino, Lincoln…. I know a llama when I see one (now). I am hooked on auctions. It is the closest thing to gambling that I am willing to risk. I have an “enterprising” gene somewhere buried deep. I have to stay away! Otherwise, we are gonna have a sheep, soon.
In my past life, things were different in terms of holiday groupings. I have family. I have a different family now. I suppose there will be a family legacy passed on to others with good wishes and love. Groupings change. Nothing is absolutely known about the future in the present. Looking back retrospectively there is bittersweet memory. I miss family who are no longer with us. I am grateful for the time we were together. I am happy for the future in which I am living. Change is part of us. My secretary used to say that I would always say, “Something always happens.” Aptly, nothing stays the same. With lemons, be prepared to make lemonade. Bittersweet is the operative word here.
I opened my catalog to find an error. Oh boy! I had not copied a folder to my redundant array of hard drives. So much for being on top of things. There are always mistakes. This is pretty glaring. But from years of bookkeeping my medical practice, you know there are always errors along the line. And, you go with it, hoping the mistakes are minimal. I am glad to correct things. And, I am glad there was no catastrophic drive failure beforehand. Meanwhile, a view of Christmas past is always nostalgic. Nellie did climb into the box. I added the lid. Ha ha. My cats climb into boxes too. There are a lot of memories here. Those of you who know me well, will understand. I am fortunate to have preserved these pictures.
We buy fleece. Sheep shearing is an art. The fleece can be dirty. Very. Or, clean. We get average, pretty dirty fleece. It has lanolin (grease) – a lot, grass, dirt, and poop. TMI. It has to be processed. A lot of times it is stored in old pillow cases… till washed. Our cats? They love to wallow in the fiber. It’s not ideal to do so. The fleece could get felted. Ha! I swear, we’d have sheep grazing outside the house if only the homeowners association would allow. Do you wallow? Willow wallows.
Resolved: no more cats. Really? Well, we have not been to the pet store recently. (I was banned.) Healthy eating: ha ha. Seafood diet? – see food, eat it. Take more pictures? For sure – everyday. New year? It’s like a reset or restart? Way back when, I was here in Woodstock. I was an unwitting witness of history. Things changed. Things remain the same. Humbly, if I were asked – no reset, more of the same please. Because, I am happy with my new year and life as I know it, now. Happy new year, again.
We have been on an extended road trip. I chased fall color and cover bridges. Colleen chased fiber. Fiber? As in wool and fleece from sheep. Sheep? Yes, there are a myriad of rare sheep with fleeces she covets. ?? Polworth? Teeswater? It’s an endangered breed in the US. TMI!! We made it to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fair. It went on as scheduled despite Covid. Yes, we got big rain. There were prizes at the auction – another spinning wheel! Ha ha. (I/Colleen won one.) There was the fleece barn, Colleen’s candy store. Llama, pajama, an interloper! Yarn?! Tons. It was more knitter’s fair than weaver/spinner. There was a line (out the door!!!) to purchase this year’s (yarn) color. There was the one room school (revisited). We – Colleen and I – almost went to one. We did sit in this style school desk in elementary school. So, why not – recreate the image of where we met. Again. And, yes, it is my regret – I wish she’d have grabbed on and held me close those many years ago. What a difference fate could have dealt. Such a good time, too many pictures, wistful, and hoping for a do over – life.
Wildlife. Animals (or insects) pop up during our travels. Some wild, some domesticated, I get the shot as the opportunity presents. We chanced upon a photographer doing a full on shoot of this dog on the ratty couch. Dog? Couch? The poor pup was totally bored and uncooperative. No posing, no looking at the camera, no interest in the least. Food! A treat! Distraction! Nope, none, nada. It was about as dismal as the couch. I kept my mouth shut and we quietly left. Photographer? She had the gear; she was mounted on a tripod… Um, close, but that ain’t how I’d do it. (See: I kept my mouth shut.)
I don’t work too much with a pose. But I get them. My key? Aim the lens – point the lens into the eyes. Nothing formal. It’s all done on the go. Ha ha. More lessons. Good light helps, especially the glow of an evening sunset. Ha, again. We are never up for dawn’s early light.
Where do you wanna go? I dunno. Typical. We had no plan. Do you need a plan? The local – throw away – paper proclaimed, farmer’s market. Ok! We met a basket maker who carries everything on her bicycle, including finished baskets, reed, and basket making tools. Driving along we found the ultimate junk store. Rusty nails! … by the pound. If you dye (fiber) then this is a mordant to set and contribute color. (I bet you wanted to know.) Alpaca farm? They spit?! … if you get in their face. Rude! We got fleece! Of course! Not fleeced. No! If you spin and weave, this was a good day!
The last time we attended a parade was in 2016 in Rehoboth. I used to attend the mega NYC parade. They painted naked women in body paint just before the parade started. No, I have none (naked women) to show you. The parade was about what you would expect. Who knew what the future would portend. Yeah! That was a nightmare. But, like all bad dreams, it ended. Bye Don. Hmmmm… and that I watched the parade in the town where your successor lives. It’s funny how things can circle around to bite you in the ass. Maagritte had it right – surreal!
In NYC, a man with who walks with his nose in the air ends up with dog poop on his shoe. In the country, well, you know how it goes. We went to visit the sheep. Colleen arranged the visit. She had bought fleece from this farm and wanted to meet the source (sheep). Soay? Long wool Leicester? Familiar sheep breed names? How about Edwourd? French sheep, and didn’t know it! A sheep is still a sheep even if it is one or two. Soay sheep are shy. Soay (of course!!) originated in Scotland. Teddy the standard poodle stole the attention. A visit to the sheep farm cannot be complete without fleece. Yes, Colleen helped herself to … I might add that the shawl is felting over a lace curtain. That’s art!
One could hardly say that about the Portland Headlight. However, there is a mansion that has fallen into ruin. Colleen has to read and look at every single plaque. She reads them all. I am about the photo op. I have seen the ruins. They were im-memorable. So, who got to see the ruins?! Again? The reflection? You have to peer over the fence and look down to the tidal puddle below. No one, of the myriad of bus tourists, ever sees this picture. They never peer. After all, you only have a moment, otherwise you miss your bus ride. Though I have been here many times, it’s always different. Today, it was about the wildflowers. Working the scene, it takes a moment to find the right vantage. Eh?
The shot of the day? Colleen spotted it. I just shot the picture. But! She spotted it! Wow!
The saying goes: black cat in a room at midnight. Shooting (photographically) a black dog is near impossible – for me. Reggie defied many attempts to get a proper picture over the many years he lived. He was a sweet dog. And, I miss him. And, I don’t (miss him) because he was impossible to photograph. He would often appear as a black shapeless blob in my photos. And then once in a while – well, he was a sweet dog. Nuts! He loved to chase 18 wheel tractor trailer trucks. But sweet! Have I said that? Yeah, I loved that dog. A lot. Really!
Africa. I had dreamed of seeing the animals. A few weeks. Impossible! You simply can’t see everything. I was so fortunate to see so much. We were not there long, certainly not long enough. I’ve seen too many Tarzan movies. I did not want to be anyone’s lunch nor any lion’s supper. There were many great moments. One of them was coming upon a leopard having a meal. Not so good for the meal, it was a great photo op for me. It was a moment hard to predict and hard to come by. Expectation… exceeded!