Messing With My Mind

Another mural in our downtown area, but this one continues to mess with my mind. As I was doing some postprocessing I wondered what it would look like if I took another photo, but not from an angle. When I took the photo I wondered what kind of material the artist used for the letters and it took me a long time to figure out what word the letters created. I enjoy the shadows that are created.

What fun I’ve had each time I’ve realized I’ve been tricked.

This & That from My Dot on the Map

Last week I was sitting in my reading room by an open window doing some sudoku puzzles, wondering what deep-in-my-brain memory the sounds and feel of the day were eliciting. It was the experience of late summer when the kids were back in school and all was quiet except for some distant sounds, like maybe a rooster crowing and a tractor in a far away field. Maybe the memories are from long ago on the small urban farm where my grandparents lived. It really doesn’t matter where the associations are buried in my brain because they are of late summer and they are so very sweet.

We were having a period of perfect weather (except for some violent storms), more typical of September than the middle of August here at my dot on the map in Michigan. The days were pleasantly warm in the high 70s/low 80s F. with low humidity and a gentle, cool breeze. The nights were cool enough to sleep under a light quilt with windows open to the sounds of the night chirpers. Many times during the day I stopped to breath deeply and slip into the relaxed state of being that I experience at this time of season.

The bees know fall is coming!

I took refuge in this place where past and present weather-triggered experiences are intermingle, especially taking refuge from the horrors that are happening in Afghanistan, the frightening politics of the far right, and the rising threats of the Delta variant, and all the climate-related disasters. I am trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I can experience the joys of life while there is so much evil and suffering in the world. Does my breakthrough guilt make any sense? I wonder if there is a spiritual connection where I can shed some tears to lighten the burden of some mother and daughter who fears Taliban rules, rape and death?

I am having trouble finishing this post because I continue to be consumed with finding a better work-flow for getting my images from my new camera into Lightroom. In the meantime the dog-days of late summer have hit my dot on the map. It has been hot and humid for the past week and now early fall weather is just something to look forward to.

My flower garden has that late summer look where spring bloomers have either been trimmed back or need to be and summer bloomers are going to seed. Whereas spring has the exuberant energy of new growth and greening trees, and summer has the explosion of blooming flowers and lush dark-green trees, early fall has a tired look. My garden has mostly completed its yearly cycle of reproducing itself through seeds with only asters, sedums and mums yet to bloom (and maybe my morning glory). I enjoy this tired look because it reflects what I experience on good day, the tiredness of work well done. I look at my garden and smile because it is doing such a good job and now I will do my fall chores to keep it healthy.

I need to spend some time this fall thinning out buttercups and daisies that have gone beyond their allotted spaces. I also have to dig out where grasses are taking hold in the middle of clumps. Not easy work for me but I will be more relaxed when it is finished. Weeds tend to stress me out. There are some summer bloomers, like cone flowers and bee balm, that are here and there due to silly planting or self-seeding that I want to put together. Once I get into my fall routine in the garden, I find joy in cleaning up and making it all tidy for next spring. I am given encouragement to keep working by day lilies and irises who are sending up new shoots to get some of the remaining light before they go to sleep for the winter.

Even as this year’s garden is finishing up, I am looking toward future years. As soon as I get all this work done, I will take some photos of the bare bones of my garden to study and mark up as I’m thinking of shifting the ratio of my mixed garden. I think I will be going more towards small evergreens and flowering shrubs with my favorite flowers as fillers in between. If I don’t make these changes I don’t think our aging bodies will be able to maintain this home and we will be looking for a condo. That may mean giving up my purple porch swing.

Black & White Fence (Almost)

Don’t know if it is because I like color more than black & white (unless B&W is someone else’s photo, someone who knows how to do black and white photography) or I like breaking rules (just a little bit). Hope Cee has a sense of humor today because I’m entering this in her B&W Challenge: Fences. I enjoy looking at this fence gate taken on a frosty winter morning.

Wishing Cee and everyone else a relaxing weekend; enjoy everything you do. Please stay safe and get vaccinated if you haven’t already.

A Little Bit of Red?

I went looking for a little bit of red as I meandered through my photo files this morning (does that count as a mile walk?) But I must have been into a lot of red because I just had to use this photo of tomatoes. They are in season here in Michigan and I no longer take them for granted. When my daughter moved to southern Taxes she looked for tomatoes to can that first year – there were none to be found in fall or spring. So she tried growing them, twelve plants that she shared with the deer. She tried several years but never had enough ripen before the heat of summer baked them on the vine. It must be we need hot houses in Michigan to start our plants in the spring, in Texas they need cold houses to give them time to ripen. Now she drives up to Michigan in summer to escape the heat and can produce to take back for the next year. This year she came before the tomatoes ripened so she took the ones I had left from last year. Each of the past two weeks I bought a half peck of tomatoes to can, enough to replace them with a few more jars for safe measure. Canning brings so much pleasure to my life, if I don’t overbuy at the farmers’ market so my energy runs out before the job is finished. Such a temptation when all that fresh produce is calling “buy me, buy me.”

As I was leaving I noticed the little bit of red of these umbrellas, standing sentinel waiting for the lunch time crowd to come for a sandwich and a beer. How pretty they looked contrasted with the black against the just right red of the building.

The farmer I buy my corn from (I also canned some corn relish) always has some small bouquets of seasonal flowers. They smiled so pretty I couldn’t resist taking a quick photo. Now I’m getting a little closer to a little bit of red.

I hope these posies bring a smile to your heart. If you see one who really like, let me know and I’ll pick it up for you next Friday morning.

I like going to the market on Friday morning instead of Saturday. There aren’t as many people on Friday so I can meander and stop and think and back up without getting into someone’s space. I’m still nervous about the virus when out and about, even with a mask. I don’t see many masks in our area and that makes me even more nervous.

The next photo of a very little red is my favorite from that visit to the market. A quiet Friday morning, giving the farmers a chance to get together and chat a bit. I do believe this is what makes for a good life; hard work providing food for others who then work hard preparing it, and finding time to chat and laugh with friends.

Those of you who follow Jude’s blog Travel Words may have seen her post this morning asking if we have photos with some “eye-catching red,” even a little bit of red. Well I haven’t been posting red photos of my “Life in Colour” on a regular basis so I had a little catching up to do as we are getting close to the end of August. If you like red and like to post photographs and connect with other red-loving people, check Jude out. But hurry because another color is coming in September.

That Certain Slant of Light

Camping on the east end of Canada’s Manitoulin Island.

This week Tina Schell is hosting the Lens-Artist Challenge and her topic is “It’s All About Light.” Her post and others I have read have been truly “enlightening” and it really “lit” my fire. Oh how I love the morning light – those moments when night is being cast aside by the light of a new day. When the sun starts to peak over the horizon calling the earth to show forth its colors.

How wonderful to hold a mug of coffee while being gently lifted into the day with a cool breeze and the soft light of the sun filtered through thin morning clouds. But I find I have to get up early and it is only occasionally that the light is a perfect match for my morning rising. The light changes very quickly so I have to catch it before it fully blooms.

Manitoulin Island

I especially love watching the early sunrise light come across a body of water, but in my home county there is only one place I know to go that gives me this gift – Lime Lake. Lime Lake was created from a limestone quarry and has a county park on the west side of the lake. It is primarily used by people for fishing and picnicking, and students from the college a couple of miles up the road who need to go someplace to be with someone special. In spring and fall I can count on some morning mist hanging over the lake. The trees across the lake are a part of my cousin’s woodlot.

Lime Lake – a few miles from my home in Michigan.

And what joy it is to first hear a flock of Sandhill Cranes and then to see them flying overhead with the rising sun illuminating their underside.