Nostalgia for Great Britain

I just checked out the blog “breathofgreenair” where Seonaid takes us on a tour of her neighborhood – Edinburgh. She did such a great job and it made me all nostalgic. One of the things that I lost when I developed symptoms of Fibromyalgia was taking students on three-week culture trips to England, Scotland, and Ireland. I think my memories and nostalgia were also triggered by a post by Megan Sayer on traveling. She is excited about traveling with her family to the US later in the year but also talks about not being able to fulfill this strong desire to travel earlier in her life. Isobel, along with her cat MasterB, lives in London and gives me a regular fix by posting photos and telling us about life in that wonderful city and her trips around UK. My trips with students were so much work and were so strenuous. I guided students in learning about culture and specifically about the uniqueness of British culture through the study of the major cultural institutions of religion, family, government, economy and history. We rode trains and walked. We stayed in youth hostiles and B&B’s. We lived on the cheap because most students don’t have a lot of money and I wanted to teach them that it is possible to travel light. I also wanted them to learn the joy of becoming engaged in the cultures they visit. I think I went 6 times. I was engaged. […]

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Confessions of a Stuck Photographer

I used to tell students to not be afraid of stuckness – and they looked at me like I had become senile or just crazy. I went on to explain that being stuck is when we have tried everything we know to do and give up. Giving up seems to allow us to free our minds to find a solution. I learned about the joy of stuckness in the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, way back when… Learning something new is always hard, it takes work and the path to knowing is rocky. If we never feel stuck, if we never feel lost, if we never feel overwhelmed by all there is to know, if we believe we already know everything there is to know – we aren’t engaged and learning. To be vital and alive we always need to be at the leading edge of our learning curve. Anywhere else leads to boredom and stagnation. I am stuck, but not enjoying my stuckness very much. If there are any prior students of mine out there reading this, I understand the evil looks you sent me because stuckness isn’t fun. I don’t think I’ll ever become a really good photographer. There I’ve said it as I’m fighting back tears. I’ve been working at it for 6 months – I should know what I’m doing. And if anyone dares respond that they have been doing it for 6 years and still […]

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Sunday Post – Plains

A few hours ago I posted a Virtual Walk on the Beach because I am so happy to have my body in the warmth of Southwest Florida. I noticed, however, that the past few days I have been longing for the fields and farms of southern Michigan. What I am longing for is the sight of newly plowed fields, green winter wheat, and new crop shoots poking out the soil. Local farmers in Michigan provide us with a wide variety of meat, fruits and vegetables and we know when the season for each is approaching. We know when to begin to look for them at the farm markets. We plan our lives around when we can freeze blueberries and strawberries, when tomatoes are ready for canning. We long for that first picking of fresh sweet corn.   Because we haven’t lived in Florida through a full year, we haven’t internalized that knowledge of seasonal change. I feel a little disoriented because of it. I know there are local fields because I buy the produce at my favorite farm market – I just don’t know where the fields are. In Michigan I know the farmers and know which grows the best sweet corn and peaches and blueberries. I’m not in Michigan and even if I was it isn’t the time of year to take pics of productive fields. They are lying dormant right now – frozen solid. I can meet my craving […]

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Commitment

Our local paper ran an Associated Press article about John and Ann Betar who have been married 80 years. Wow, that was a long commitment to make on their wedding day. It wasn’t possible for me, as a young bride on our wedding day, to imagine what it is like to live 80 years. But to live long enough to […]

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