Tarmac ribbons criss-crossing the landscape, dusty back roads twisting between the cool shadows of ancient pines, and less traveled pathways connecting present to past, all I wander, seeking, seeing, with my keyboard and camera capturing scenes and stories to share with you.

Now in its fifth year, this venue has become an important part of my life, a place where I can express my thoughts and feelings about the things I see and do, hoping the process brings me a bit closer to friends and family who enjoy sharing my sometimes chaotic and often nonlinear observations and ideas. A journal, I suppose, but one with which I find pleasure in thinking others are alongside me on my journey.

March 31, 2016

A DAY IN D.C.

... If any memorial is erected to me, I know exactly what I should like it to be. I should like it to consist of a block about the size of this [putting his hand on his desk] and placed in the center of that green plot in front of the archives building. I don't care what it is made of, whether limestone or granite or whatnot, but I want it plain without any ornamentation, with the simple carving, "In Memory of ..."
Franklin Roosevelt to Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter—September, 1941

... we were walking by the white house when suddenly the guards began to clear everyone from the plaza in front of the building ... as we walked towards the mall we encountered armed guards closing off many streets and buildings ... later we learned it was a rehearsal for this week's nuclear proliferation conference, but at the time we had great fun speculating as to what was going on ...

... i wonder what he was thinking ...

... i think this is like how those of us who live in maine sometimes don't take time to look at the fall folliage ...

... adrien was almost overcome by emotion, standing as close as she could get to the exact spot where charles guiteau assassinated president garfield on july 2, 1881 ... there is neither monument nor plaque, go figure ... 

... with this camera the lunar reconnaissance orbiter has snapped pictures of neil armstrong's foot tracks in the moon's dusty surface ... damn, how i so would like to run across a deal on one of these on ebay ...

... in crystalline form, otherwise this would be simply charcoal or pencil graphite, thus the fancy display case for this sparkly metastable allotrope of carbon ... 

... together these aren't worth the cost of the pedestal the hope diamond sits upon, but, in my opinion, they are no less beautiful ...
  

... adrien and i enjoyed a visit to gravelly park, where we sat until sunset watching the giant airplanes land, their tires swooping just above our heads as they touched down only a few hundred yards from our vantage ...

... we weren't alone in appreciating the show ...

... washington canoe club paddlers stroked down the potomac ...

... we visited the air & space museum when it opened in 1976 ... i remember how the moon rock was the centerpiece of the great hall's entrance, and that the line to view it extended out of the building and half-way across the mall ... now the tiny stone is tucked along the wall at the opening to the 2nd-floor "apollo to the moon" exhibit ... at first i was upset when i noticed how most visitors were passing it by, but, once i'd reflected a bit, i realized that this was as it should be ... a new generation—one to which 1969 is ancient history—i think it's time they get their own rock ... cross fingers, it'll be red, and i'll quite willingly stand in a long line to see it ...

... i dropped adrien off near the jefferson memorial, where she ended up capturing much nicer images of the cherry blossoms than anything i took ... while i waited for her in gravelly park i found these flowers ... those around me paid them little notice, perhaps thinking them weeds, but i thought they deserved they same attention their brethren across the river were receiving ...

Washington isn't a city, it's an abstraction
DYLAN THOMAS

March 28, 2016

WANDERING THE NATIONAL CATHEDRAL

... adrien and i visited "the cathedral church of saint peter and saint paul in the city and diocese of washington," more commonly referred to as the washington national cathedral ... 

... this gothic style church, the sixth-largest in the world, is a "cathedral" because it is the seat for both the presiding episcopal bishop and the bishop of the diocese of washington d.c. ...

... the small black dot in the center of the large magenta circle is a slice of rock brought back from the moon by the apollo 11 astronauts ...

... the afternoon sun streams through the stained glass windows, bathing the stones in a constantly changing kaleidoscopic stream ...

... over 1/10th mile in length, the washington monument would fit within the cathedral's central aisle ...

... high in the rear balcony adrien pointed out to me this unusual perspective ...

 ... evidence that the building is also a workplace ...

... one of the major defining elements of gothic architecture, the "flying buttresses" transfer the tremendous weight of the roof sideways and then down to the earth, thus allowing the side walls, now freed from having to carry structural weight, to be opened up for the stained glass windows ...

... everywhere are fascinating details ...

... noah's ark as a decorative armrest ...

... and a knight, too, perhaps on crusade to "free" the holy land ...

... there are 215 stained glass windows in the cathedral ...

... adrien lit a candle for a friend ...

... as much as i appreciate the capabilities of my fuji x-t1's x-trans cmos II digital sensor, this is a building for which kodachrome color transparency film remains the gold standard ...

... each of the cathedral's thousands and thousands of component stones was hand carved ... although the building was completed years ago, this process has begun anew in order to repair the $25,000,000 worth of damage caused by the virginia earthquake of 2011 ... fortunately, mostly because of the dynamic nature of gothic architecture, there was no major structural damage ...

... unfortunately, during the 83 years of its construction no clear plan was implemented to provide it with continuing funding, so if you like really cool buildings and you've got $200,000,000 spare change lying around, i'm sure bishop mariann edgar would dearly love to hear from you ...


... if you haven't already done so, i highly recommend you make your own wanderabout within the national cathedral ... no matter your particular religious or theologic beliefs, this is a most fascinating place ...

The principle of the Gothic architecture
is infinity made imaginable.
SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE

March 19, 2016

WANDERING R.I.

... on our spring wanderabout, i had rhode island all to myself while adrien took a couple of days to attend a friend's birthday party and watch a broadway play ... this afternoon i borrowed beth's truck (which, i must admit, is great fun on unpaved back roads) and went exploring ... driving along the plainfield pike through clayville i noticed this old structure perched along a rock channeled section of the westconnaug brook ... the short section of pipe protruding from the wall is where a huge supply line used to bring water under hydralic pressure into the building ... a combination of three images, i'm quite pleased with the results of the hdr (high dynamic range) blending ...

... these concrete cradles supported the pipe, which ran from a containment pond about a hundred yards uphill from the building ...

... some sort of turbine or water-powered milling machine must have been mounted in the center of the building ... now, to me, at least, all is a mystery ...

... i parked along the side of the hope furnace road to explore the old dam across the pawtuxet river ... this was my first use of my fuji x-t1 and 12mm wide-angle lens with a 12-stop neutral density filter ... the filter is so dark that even in bright daylight it's almost impossible to see through it, thus allowing the use of long shutter speeds ... these two images were taken using a 10-second exposure ... if you look closely through the water you can see the faint outlines of the huge stone arches supporting the structure ...

... i've been driving by this dam for over forty years, this is the first time i've gotten out of my car to fully investigate it ... on hot summer evenings local kids will congregate atop the stone abutment on the other side of the impound, and in the shallow waters at its base the dusky shadow of the dam will slowly envelope fishers finding excuse to relax away the end of the day ...

... i'm not sure what these are, but i know they mean spring is here ...

... although i know these are something else, these brought to my mind how ma so loved when we would bring her bouquets of pussywillows to decorate the dinner table ...

... even as i watched the little blossoms formed into a happy swarm ...

... returning home, i became once again fascinated with beth's beautiful orchards ... for this photograph i made twenty separate images ... i began by focusing just beyond the far side of the flowers ... then, as i held down the shutter button with the camera set for five frames-per-second, i slow rotated the lens' focus ring so each picture was focused a couple of millimeters closer than its predecessor ... i had hand-held the camera, so after bringing them into photoshop i used the alignment feature to bring the images into precise registration ... the next to last step was to do a "focus merge" in which photoshop used the sharp sections of each of the separate images to produce a final picture that was in focus from near to far ... a tiny bit of touch up, the addition of a white vignette, and i was finished ... at first i thought i might go back and darken the stem, but i soon came to like it just as it is ...


... what a fun day ...

March 13, 2016

FIRST RIDE

... technically, of course, the second ride, since when i took it out of roger's garage last week i drove it around the block ... but, at a bit over 50 miles, today's little jaunt was more appropriate as a springtime two-wheel debut ... score one for my maintenance skills, at the very first twist of the ignition key the bmw turned over smartly and purred like a very happy kitten ... 

... it was about 50°f outside this afternoon, with a very brisk 20-25 mph breeze coming down from the still snow covered mountains to the northwest ... my electric underjacket kept my torso toasty warm, but, alas, i hadn't really planned all that well, so, having been sans long-johns, neck scarf, and boots, i am much afraid it's going to be well into the evening before my legs thaw ...

... ice on the lakes i drove alongside, snowbanks in the woods still to melt down, but, knowing that what i'm about to say will tempt the fickle new england weather spirit, spring has arrived ...

March 12, 2016

MY GRAMMY

... my grandma, elizabeth jackson ... i know she came to live with us while we were stationed at offutt air force base in nebraska, so i can positively date this color slide as being taken in the summer of 1964 ... dad was driving us to montreal to visit relatives ... stopped for a roadside picnic lunch, most likely this was taken in illinois or indiana ...

... my cayman grampy had died a couple of years earlier, in 1962, just we were packing the car to leave alaska ... our expedition down the alcan highway through the untamed yukon wilderness was to be of the greatest of my life's adventures, but looking back from an adult perspective i can see that for ma it was a time of great heartbreak ... i don't know the backstory to why gram left the island to come to nebraska to live with us, but i do remember that even as a little boy i could sense the great sadness she was dealing with ... of course, it goes without saying that i've also fond memories of my favorite coconut candy, cassava cake, and the many other wonderful caymanian treats she would cook up for us ...

... in montreal we drove up to the top of mont-royal to enjoy the scenic view, and pa snapped a shot of ma and gram ... pa must've been impatient, because in the original image gram's left hand was in mid-air above ma's shoulder ... after i had scanned and restored the faded color slide i framed a print for ma ... she was excited to see it, but i was surprised when in a little girl voice i'd never heard she asked, "i know you do things with your computer ... can you ... well, can you put her hand on my shoulder" ...

... the next time i visited i brought this version of the image ...

... when i gave it to her ma cried ...

... it was only then that i understood why so long ago during our great trek through the wilderness, while during each of our many rest breaks and overnight camps my brother and sister and i would play at the dark edge of that mysterious primeval forest, she would walk off to be away from us ...

... so i cried, too ... not for her loss, but in acknowledgement of another of the gifts i hadn't known she had given us ...

“Life is made up of many comings and goings and for everything that we take with us,
we must leave something behind.”
HERMAN RAUCHER

#600 - BUMBLEBEA

... journal entry #600 ...

... adrien, liz, and their cousin, rachel, came over with beatrix "bumblebea" to enjoy a spaghetti supper and an evening of great fun ... liz, in my opinion perhaps the most expressive reader in the world, brought a storybook to life for bumblebea ...

... adrien did likewise, but in her case it was a picture history of waterville ...

... like all her kind, bumblebea found my camera lens most fascinating ...

... kids this age, you needn't worry about fancy cooking ...

... liz and adrien made sure to teach bumblebea the proper way to eat pasta ...

... childrearing lesson #7, "never spend money when a cardboard box, paper towel tube, a bunch of tupperware containers, or a mouthful of spaghetti will achieve the same results" ...

... and, of course, all else fails just get the kid to play with their tongue ...

... bumblebea loved my weird chair ...

... when it came time to pose she knew just what to do ...

... mom and daughter and one shoe ...

“What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood?” 
BEATRIX POTTER