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.

August 31, 2017

RANDOM OHIO

... figuring that sitting around too much isn't a good thing, i took a little wanderabout along back roads up to urbana ... this is what i'd like to think is a quintessential ohio pastoral scene, but, at least in this part of the state, the corn is gradually being replaced with huge fields of rapidly sprouting megahouses ... 

... the first of twelve cities in the united states with this name, which, if it can be believed, is derived from the latin plebs urbana, "people of the city" ...

... i stopped at "the depot coffee house," which turned out to be a most excellent establishement ... leaving the depot on your bicycle you can ride the "rails to trails" over a hundred miles all the way cincinnati ...

... solid brass letters, from a time when such detail was valued ...

... while i enjoyed a great cup of coffee and a homemade muffin i watched these ladies play rather intensely some sort of mahjong game ...

... jon asked if i was up to snapping some pictures at the charity event he was managing at the soccer stadium ... i popped a couple of extra pain pills, "sure" ...

... the dunk tank was a huge success ...

... it turned out we were in some rather intense sunlight, so while i was waiting for things to begin i hid out in the shade along the entrance area ...

... i like exploring patterns ...

... and, always, little things that escape our notice ...

... just for fun i worked up another of the grasshopper photos ...

... then went outside and played with the neighbor's sunflowers ...

... yesterday evening jon took me for a birthday supper ... before we ate we cruised around south of columbus, searching for an interesting vista ... we stopped to inspect this abandoned farm, one which is most likely soon to become one of those aforementioned fields of megahouses ...

... i interpreted the scene two different ways ... i'd love it if you used the little comment box to let me know which you prefer ...

... not out of the woods yet, for sure, but i'm feeling good enough that i'm thinking that on saturday i'll risk a dash back to maine ...

... i'm crossing my fingers, any luck you can wish me i'll greatly appreciate ...



August 25, 2017

A BOY AND HIS DOG & BIG BUGS

... resting on the couch in jon's living area, i managed to snap a wonderful portrait of him and mekka buddin' around ...

... jon skipped out from work early so we could do some chores and take a little wanderabout in the park along the bank of the scioto river ... as we left the car i walked over to investigate these plants ... it was only then i noticed the huge grasshoppers ...

... trying to identify these insects turned out to be rather difficult ... a) checking modesty at the truth counter, it seems my pictures're much better than the ones i could find online; and, b) a lot of grasshopper variants look very, very similar ...

... but, best guess, these are Melanoplus femurrbrum, "red-legged grasshoppers" ...

... apparently they really enjoy things like barley, soybeans, alfalfa, and wheat—so, and i'm just taking a wild stab at this, that's probably at least one of the reasons they lost the vote for ohio's state insect to the ladybug ...

... at the base of the dam i met steve and his friends, who were taking a break from work by tossing their hooks for catfish ... steve just had a motorcycle accident, too, "i'm thiry-five years old, it's the first time i've ever fallen" ...

... "we're you wearing a helmet" ...

... steve dropped his head, "no" ...

... we talked a bit about that ... i asked, "what's your ma think of you not wearing a helmet" ...

... "she doesn't like it" ...

... "and," i questioned ...

... "now i wear my helmet" ...

... good on you, steve, good on you ...

... i'd have snapped a nice picture of steve, but jon had disappeared along the river bank, and, at least for right now, i didn't want to be too far from his sight, so i scurried along to the the spot where he was playing around with his new fuji x-t2 and super-duper wide-angle lens ...

... always a great nephew, right now he's also doing a fabulous job as my care-giver ...

... how many ways can a person be lucky ... ??? ...

... to be honest, a long time ago i quite counting ...

August 24, 2017

NEPHROLITHIASIS & ECLIPSE

... yea, i was figurin' that'd get your attention ... as for the latter, here's the other shot i took of the most fascinating celestial event ...

... by very carefully choosing our route, we drove from louisville to the outskirts of joy, kentucky, without encountering any real traffic other'n a few slowdowns for construction ... (for those who went to hopkinsville, a few miles away, one of the "absolute centers" of the path, i imagine it was a much different story) ... the centerline of the path of the moon's shadow was the telephone pole in the distance (+/- five feet for g.p.s. "still waiting for the military to free up the last few zeros" inaccuracy) ... a group of boy scouts, merit-badge-earning cardboard camera obscuras in hand, had occupied the spot, and, although there was plenty of space, the lack of parking brought us to the next pull-off about a hundred yards to the north ... close enough ...

... most fascinating was that just as the totality phase began the zillions and zillions of cicadas nesting in the trees all began clicking an chirping at the exact same time ... then the horses in the field did a little dance for about a half-minute or so ... the horses settled down, the bugs quieted only as totality began to end, while viewing the wondrous event we stood transfixed ...

... the ride back to louisville was pain for me ... yup, if you haven't already figured it, "nephrolithiasis" is "kidney stone" ... !!! ... things went from downhill to the dark place below the swamp for me ... at sammy's house (bless you, my dear cousin) i ended throwing all caution to the winds and taking three of the "one-every-eight-hours" oxi pills ...

... back in columbus, i'd thought things were—well, for want of a better way to but it, "progressing" okay ... i even felt good enough to go out for the evening ... then this morning was a repeat of what everyone calls the "other'n giving birth to a child, the worst pain" (two things ... i imagine there're worst pains, and, well, i'm never having children) ... jon (bless you, my dear nephew) took me back to the v.a. urgent care place ... a bit of waiting this time, but i wasn't in any mood to wait until saturday for shorter lines ... everyone was wonderful to me ...

... going in, possibly for the first time in my life, at least to this degree, i couldn't function ... when i finally got into the treatment area and all their questions had been answered, a very nice man said, "well, you might be one of those people for whom oxicodone doesn't work that well" ... three at once and not much happened, yea, i agreed with him ...

... "i'm going to give you a shot ... some people it works like a charm ... if it does, we'll go from there" ...

... "what if it doesn't" ... (what can i say, i'm me) ...

... "if it doesn't we'll ship you off to a hospital bed" ...

... i would've sworn i'd never feel this way, but when he said that i was happy ...

... shot worked ...

... way-way-way worked ...

... jon was with me the whole time (liz, you and he could open a service) ... now i've got a bunch of pills to take and a neat "jon schedule" to remind me when and how many ... !!! ...

... hopefully, tonight i'll sleep ...

... postscript:  here's jon getting his camera ready for the eclipse ...

... and here's our eclipse selfie ...

... and: jen, jon's friend, took me to columbus' little-known waterfall ... sun was too bright to capture the water, so i just enjoyed the shade ...

... last night jon took me to my first major league soccer game ...

... this afternoon people i've never met, as well as one i've known his entire life, took wonderful care of me ...

... what a beautiful day ...

August 19, 2017

OF PLANES, SUNFLOWERS, AND COLUMBUS V.A. EMERGENCY ROOM

... yea, i was thinking that last one'd get your attention ... i'll get to it, but first, as dear paul h. loved to say, "the rest of the news" ...

... we took a little wanderabout over to the u.s.a.f. museum in dayton ... jon's friend, matt, joined us for the outing ... he, too, is going down to watch and photograph the eclipse, so we had some really nice "camera conversation" ...

... i've always enjoyed the museum, but, in these times, this visit brought me to a realization that for the most part these fascinating mechanisms on display within the facility were designed to do one thing:  kill and destroy ... it matters not the "ideology" or rationale behind their construction, despite their seductive grace and beauty they are, in the most simple of terms, death machines ...

... my favorite airplane, the p-47 "thunderbolt" (or, as nicknamed, the "juggernaut") ... at almost twice the weight of a spitfire, when the british pilots first saw it they commented, "all else fails, when being shot at the pilot can dodge around inside the d** thing" ... when i was a young teenager i sat for hours in the offutt air force base ops building, intensely fixated upon every word of francis gabriski's narrative as he talked of flying these planes in world war 2 ... i've always admired the form of the p-47, but, on this day, i took a picture to show the two reasons it was built—as a platform for eight browning .50 machine guns and to carry really nasty exploding things to drop on the enemy ...

... the chin turret of a b-17g ... the nose art is beautiful, but after a combat mission she would've been wearing a soot veil left by the .50 machine guns, or, if things didn't go so well, she'd be be ventilated with holes made by the enemy's bullets ...

... "fat man" ... you can forget the debate of "how" people are killed, the fact is that these are among the first weapons in history designed from scratch to completely disregard the distinction between "innocent or guilty," "soldier or civilian" ... don't be fooled, no atomic or thermonuclear weapon is any different ... they can't be, it's physics ... all the talk this past week, i don't care about the "us vs. them," nor, as it is, the purposely induced hysteria and fear that serves the single purpose of allowing decisions to be made, and approved, in the primeval recesses of the brain ... if one of these (much, much smaller nowadays, by the way) is dropped on north korea, the dead'll think nothing, those who survive, for the most part, will think, "why—why did you do this to us" ... of these things, i know ...

... jon and matt, boarding harry truman's "still not air force one" vc118 (variant of the dc-6) ... and, yes, this plan was designed just to move things around ...

... when i got back to jon's i played in the yard ...

... "focus stacking" ... these photographs are 10-14 image "blends," done so for the purpose of increasing the depth of focus in the final picture ...

... an interesting technique, one that i'm just beginning to understand ...

... jon's good bud, mikka, tolerated my inattentiveness ...

... we hiked the "democracy steps" down to cedar falls in the hocking hills state park ...

"akio hizume, artist, architect and mathematician ... designed a staircase descending gently down the hillside ... to create a serpentine walkway that feels as graceful as it looks ... his goal was to make the act of ascending or descending the nearly 100 steps pleasant and relaxing; not [a] tiresome chore ... the lengths of individual steps are varied, so that walkers alternate the leading foot, establishing a comfortable pace and rhythm ... reflect[ing] mathematical principles of the Fibonacci sequence and the one-dimensional Penrose lattice."
HOCKINGHILLS.COM


... me, still recovering, i thanked him ...

... thousands of years ago, on hot summer days little children giggled as they played in the cool water of the softly shaded pool ... i know, i could hear them ...

... were you waiting for this ... ??? ... starting two days ago i had a pain in my lower back ... last night, in conjunction with a rather nasty migraine headache, the pain got pretty bad ... i soaked in a tub of hot water, took some pills, and, by the time i went to bed the pain was mostly gone ... woke up this morning, no pain ... showered, shaved, and, with jon out for the day, started to plan my activities ... then, out of nowhere, pain ... bad, bad, bad pain (oh, sh*t, i'm almost starting to sound like a certain chief executive) ... i suffered, soaked, took pills, again the pain diminished ...

... (okay, this is the part where you can offer up your diagnosis, coffee/tea and donut if you're correct) ...

... i decided that since i was feeling okay i'd drive over to the veterans administration "chalmers p. wylie ambulatory care center" on the other side of columbus ... my thought was, "well, if the pain comes back i'll be in the right spot, and, if not then i'll at least be out and about" ...

... no pain when i got there, but, heeding my daughters' psychic demands, i went inside ... after that was—well, it was an experience ...

... first time in my life i've ever all by myself voluntarily walked into a hospital with something specific in mind ...

... absolutely wonderful treatment ... everyone, from the receptionists and secretaries to the three different doctors, two nurses, and handful of orderlies and whatevers who treated me ... absolutely wonderful ...

... and, yes, the humongous donut magnet x-ray thing that spun around me like a giant cotton candy machine found—i'm so wondering who'll get this right (i'm betting roger, for sure)—i've a stone ...

... which, of course, i just don't understand ... i mean, last time i ate from the dirt was, oh, maybe when i was three or four ... ma had a strict rule about that ...

... the nice doctor said, "my, most people wouldn't have made it this far ... that thing's already three quarters of the way out of you" ...

... what can i say, i'm tough (or, perhaps, stupid) ...

... "my bet is that you're through the worst of it" ...

... yea, right ... sure, i believe her—as well as that guy in africa found all the money i lost ...

... but she gave me some pills, "take them as you need them" ...

... "when do i start" ...

... i don't think doctors're allowed to giggle, but she came freakin' close, "oh,why—well, don't worry, you'll know when to start" ...

... nevertheless, seems what they promised me is what i'm getting, and, as i see it, i'll most gratefully accept it as a rather huge "thank you for your service" ...

... drove back to jon's, put the pills right next to my bed, and then went outside with his new fuji x-t2 (be still my heart, major camera envy here) with the 10-24mm fuji wide-angle zoom attached ... played with the next door neighbor's sunflowers ...

... eclipse tomorrow, cross fingers traffic and clouds'll be where we aren't ...

... today ... well, today is a most beautiful day ...



August 15, 2017

MISCELLANEA 8.15.17

... from the past month or so, a rather random assemblage of pictures i've taken ...

... atop quimby mountain, in western maine, this was one of my first major outings after the accident ... now lined with giant windmills, just over the horizon is the canadian border ... i especially like the shadow of the tree ...

... resisting the urge to purchase a new piece of glass, i mounted a $5-at-a-yard-sale thirty-year old pentax 50mm f/1.4 onto my fuji t-1 and did a bit of exploring up around the colby college campus ...

... mostly playing around, i was drawn to this building's wooden trim lines ...

... in the simplest of things can be found great visual mystery ...

... john took me for a little coastal wanderabout ... i was fascinated by the classic geometry of these church windows ...

... in the adjoining cemetery i explored texture ...

... for sure not a picture that'll ever earn an award, but i couldn't resist since i've always enjoyed watching seagulls drop clams onto the rocks to break them open for their supper ...

... i saw a young lad investigating land's end at the tip of baileys island ...

... across harpswell sound a schooner returns home ...

... now in ohio, i'm sharing the couch with meeka, jon's friend ...

... relaxing, i decided to do a bit of practice with "focus stacking" ... this very simple picture is comprised of 13 separate images, each with a slightly different focus point ... especially for close-up photography in low light, focus stacking allows you to get much deeper depth-of-focus ...

... here's a shot that required seven major steps, none of which, by the way, was focus stacking ...

... i'm healing, i'm wanderabouting, life is good ...

BUMBLEBEA AT THE WIRE BRIDGE

... several weeks ago, in more than a small way a part of my recovery, we took bumblebea and her parents to the wire bridge ... as her mother, rachel, looked on he father, sean, introduced bea to the carrabassett's cool charm ...

... perhaps the most perfect place on earth for a family portrait ...

... liz enjoyed the water as bea began to slowly expand her horizons ...

... approximately 150 years old, the wire bridge, with the clear waters of the carrabassett river flowing beneath it and the sandy beach along the shore, is one of my favorite places ...

... soon bea began to head out on her own ...

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day."
ALBERT EINSTEIN

"I'm a big potato chip girl. I don't like chocolate and cakes and all that, but I have to have my potato chips. I've got bags in the back of my car right now! But I never beat myself up about it, because, look: You can't give up every damn thing. You need something in your life that you like just because you like it!"
NENE LEAKES

... liz and ahanna, both off-duty teachers ...

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.”
ALBERT EINSTEIN

... for me, the wire bridge is about neither the span's structure nor the serenity of stream, rather, it is a place of memories ... liz and adien, their tiny hands in mine, beginning to master more of those ever-so-important first steps ... this moment, liz guiding bea in her exploration ... and, the best of it, that this magical place has both space and time for more memories to be made—

—so many, many more memories ...