Monday, September 28, 2009

Beauty Can Still Come Through

I was looking at this picture I took recently and trying to determine what it signifies.  Besides the obvious--a couple of pink flowers poking through an old fence--maybe one could go a little further and say it represents something new coming from something old, or something new and beautiful blossoming in an old and ugly world.

It's possible to find ugliness and evil in the world around us if we choose to look for it.  But what a sad and miserable way to live, to always see the bad instead of looking for the good.  We live in a very fast-paced society where manners have seemingly vanished; after all, if people are always in a rush to get to their destinations, there's no time for politeness-- it's just GET OUT OF MY WAY!

But maybe it doesn't have to be that way.  Many of us are at fault for having to rush.  If we oversleep, don't get enough sleep to begin with, or forget to set our alarm clocks, for instance, we set ourselves up for trouble.  We end up behind schedule, rush out the door, hop into the car, back down the driveway and zoom down the street.  Heaven help anyone in our path!

Life seems a little bit broken and I think we're going to have to fix it a little at a time.  If each one of us tries a little harder to get organized, calm down, and rid our schedules of the excess stresses that make it so hard for us to be patient and polite, well maybe that would help a lot.

We can be those beautiful flowers trying to poke through the old fence, saying, "I'm ready for a fresh start."

Thursday, September 24, 2009


There are mysteries out there.  Some are big ones, some are small.  My fascination with houses extends beyond the houses themselves; I also wonder about the people who dwell within them.

And then there are the things you see outside. For instance, a bunch of shoes hanging on a telephone line. How did they get there? Who tossed them up there? Why are they up there?

I do not have the answers to these questions. But that doesn't stop me from being curious. Yes, it's a small thing to ponder, considering the bigger mysteries in life. But I'm just a small fry in a big vat of bigger fries, so I'll focus on the little mysteries for now.

Here is a possibility:  Some kids swiped the shoes belonging to Tommy, Billy and Charlie and tossed them up there so said kids would have to walk home shoeless. Arriving home each mom says, "What happened to your shoes?" Tommy, Billy and Charlie have got some explaining to do.

Here's another explanation: Tommy, Billy and Charlie decide it would be a neat idea to toss their own shoes up on the telephone wire. Tommy says, "Hey, I bet I can make my shoes land on top of that wire and you can't!" The others join in since they can't back down from a challenge.

And there's always the possibility of aliens.  Late at night, when a nice quiet neighborhood is fast asleep, three aliens emerge from their spaceship and step out onto the playground.  They gaze up at the telephone wire and decide to leave a message behind for their Earth neighbors. Each alien tosses a pair of recently acquired shoes up on the wire.  What does it mean?  Well, we can only guess.  Perhaps it means: We would like to know what it's like to walk in your shoes for a day. Or maybe: You people have strange taste in footwear.  Or: This is a warning, Earthlings! First your shoes, next your clothes, then your lives! Fear us!

As I said, I'm curious about the things I see every day.  How about you?  What makes you curious?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And the seasons go 'round and 'round...

I'm fortunate to have some beautiful country landscapes very close to where I live.  The other day I decided to snap some pictures of late summer/early fall which will begin this new experiment I'm planning.
I will try to faithfully follow up with pictures of this same lake and countryside when the leaves turn to red and gold, then later when the trees are bare, and finally when spring returns with budding flowers and leaves.

This cycle of the seasons has always fascinated me.  Spring seems to signify the beginning; for humans it's the equivalent of infancy and childhood. Then Summer cartwheels in as an adolescent, Fall carves out its own colors and personality as an adult, and eventually Winter ends the cycle as a senior citizen.

As Joni Mitchell wrote in her classic song, The Circle Game, "And the seasons they go 'round and 'round and the painted ponies go up and down...We can't return we can only look behind from where we came, and go 'round and 'round and 'round in the circle game."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Have You Seen My Smile?

A while back my husband said something to me I've never forgotten.  He didn't say it to be insulting; it was simply an observation. He said, "You don't seem to smile as much as you used to."


At the time I brushed it off, didn't think too much about it. But lately I've been pondering his observation.  Is it true? I don't smile as much as I used to? If not, why not?

I've never forgotten a certain line from the Billy Crystal film, City Slickers, when the wife says to her unhappy husband, "Go and find your smile." It's a wonderful line. It really is. Crystal's character was unhappy with his job and his life in general, as I recall. Going off on vacation with his buddies opened the door to adventure and new experiences and in the end he did indeed find his smile.

But for those of us living in the real world, perhaps it's not so easy. Children always seem to find a reason to smile; they're often pleased by very simple things.  Teenagers have a harder time of it since they're often dealing with peer pressure, conflicts with parents and good old-fashioned acne. Still, if life blesses them with a good family and good skin, there should be a fair amount of smiles. But grown-ups? That's where things get tricky.

We just have so darn many responsibilities, don't we? I remember a time when I didn't. I smiled more when life was more carefree.  And I smiled when I had a job I liked, money coming in, or when I was just plain having fun.  Somewhere along the way I think I've stopped having fun.

So therefore I am making it my goal to pump more fun into my life.  I'm not really sure how. But I am determined to find my smile.

Now which way did it go?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Houses Have Personalities

I like to look at houses from the street. I find them fascinating. When I'm out taking my walks I check out homes--the colors, windows, fences, yards, flowers--everything that makes each home unique. I try to imagine who lives within the walls; is it a couple? Old or young? A family? Little kids or older ones? A single person? There are some indications if one tries to find them.

For instance, a little tricycle adorning the front lawn. Or perhaps parked in the middle of the driveway. A skateboard tossed aside, a small pool, a trampoline in the back yard. All of these things would suggest children live here.

And then there are the houses and yards not so obvious. Who lives here? That's a little game I like to play. Just out of my own innocent curiosity, mind you. I'm a writer; I'm curious. It's not really any of my business, but it interests me. There are some people who are quite talented at decorating their houses and property, making them attractive to the eye. Others put less effort into it for various reasons. Perhaps they can't afford to repaint or fix up their houses and yards. Or perhaps they don't care. Simplicity is also a possibility. For some home owners it's what's on the inside that counts.

Houses have personalities. I've posted a few houses for you to examine. Maybe you can guess who lives inside them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Change is in the air

I feel it in the air.  Change is coming.  As I'm riding along with the breeze blowing back my hair I feel Fall touching my skin and whispering in my ear, "I'm coming.  Get ready for me."

This is the time of year, end of summer, almost fall, when sadness creeps in and threatens to throw me off balance.  I want to cling to summer, make it stay for just a little longer.  I look up at the clear blue sky, the gently swaying, beautiful green leaves on every tree and try to memorize each detail.  I know it won't be long before this color turns to multi-colors--shades of orange, yellow and red.  I won't mind autumn's varied palette, but after that, they'll all die off, crinkle away and curl up stiff and broken on the ground.  The trees will be as bare as I once described them in a poem:  "the trees shed their leaves like skin and leave behind a ghostly grin."

I'm not ready to face the nakedness of winter.  And so I cling to the lovely and varied costumes of summer and fall.

I will try my best to appreciate each fading summer day before it slips away.  I will photograph the treasures of nature with my eyes.

I feel it in the air.  Change is coming.