Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What age leaves behind...

I have an odd habit.  I buy flowers at the grocery when I am feeling down or feel the need for more color in my life.  Well, that’s not so odd, I guess, but the odd part is that I don’t like to throw them out until they are good and dead.  I keep them around for a good long time.

I mostly buy tulips and sunflowers.  They seem to last well and to age the best of the flowers that I can pick up easily at the store.  I really like watching the process of that aging.  They become more open and sort of unfussy. Their color intensifies as they grow older and begin to dry out.  I like that.  They make wonderful fodder for a photographer like me and make me think that growing older may not really be that bad.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Live Long and Prosper...

I have been really busy this week and feel like I’ve been out of touch.  I just read that William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both turned 80 years old in the last few days.  Man, does that make me feel ancient!   

I can remember when Star Trek first came on, arguing with my Mother for TV rights.  I can’t remember what anyone else in the family wanted to watch and I didn't care.  I was pretty sure it couldn’t be as good or as important as Star Trek. 

I have remained a fan through the years, have seen all the movies and watched much of all the other Star Trek franchises and will still sit through one if I happen on it on TV here and there.  But that original Star Trek…I don’t think anything I saw before or have seen since on TV has excited me as much…

I wouldn’t qualify as an official Trekkie.  I never went to any conventions and never dressed up like Lt. Uhuru for Halloween or anything, but the show influenced me in indefinable and wonderful ways that I find hard to articulate. 

So in honor of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, here are some shots of space…that final frontier or at least of the sky where I think space is located.  May we all live long and prosper.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Processing organic greens into black and white...

Last night, the environmental group I am involved with finished up a course from the Northwest Earth Institute (NEI) called “A World of Health:  Connecting People, Place and Planet.”  This is the second NEI course we have sponsored and both have been interesting and very worthwhile.  But one of the things I have discovered about trying to do the best thing for myself and my environment is that the answers are seldom black and white.

For instance, there is the constant question about whether it is better to eat organically or locally.  Obviously, when the food grown organically and locally is readily available, it’s best to take full advantage of it.  But here in the northeast, local and organic produce can be pretty hard to find in the cold months.  And obtaining what is available entails a lot of driving from where we happen to live.  Believe me, I am totally not inclined to learn about how to set up cold frames and other contraptions so I can grow my own organic greens in the winter though I utterly admire those who do.  I know enough about myself to know that it would be a study in frustration and humiliation…and that’s no exaggeration.  So what to do?

Well, I don’t know.  Personally, I have opted to lower my carbon footprint by frequenting the supermarket that is five minutes from my house and buying there whatever I can that is organic whether grown locally or not.  Is that ideal?  Absolutely not, but I’ve discovered that as people are buying more and more organic and earth-friendly products at this particular store, the store is responding by making more and more available.  I think that’s a good thing.

So I muddle along as best I can and do the things that I can do…like weaning my household (in particular, the kitchen) off of plastic – a mammoth task – and recycling as much as possible and trying not to purchase things frivolously.  It’s not that easy and the answers are truly not black and white.   Life would be so much easier if they were. 

What’s this all leading up to when it comes to my photography, you might wonder.  Well, on our recent trip to Arizona, as I was snapping away, I began to think that I would process most of the photos of plants I took while I was there into black and white.  By doing that, I think that it reduces the complexity of the forms of those interesting and wonderful desert plants making them simpler and maybe more elegant if that's possible, even as trying to live a greener life is neither - simple or necessarily elegant. 

Yes, processing photos into black and white is a monumental leap from buying local, organic produce, but ask Greg or my kids some time…I am the queen of non sequiturs and, by golly, this is where my mental ramblings have lead me. 

Certainly not native, but Phoenix is full of them and they are beautiful.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Life on Peaceful Lane...

We had to go to Worcester this morning.  We decided to take Stafford Street instead of the Turnpike to get back home.  As we were driving along in Charlton, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a street named Peaceful Lane.  It made me wonder.  How might my life be different if I lived on Peaceful Lane?  Would I smile and get a feeling of calm contentment each time I turned onto the street and headed for home?  Would I transmit a little bit of tranquility to my fellow human whenever I gave out my address? 

I wish I had noticed the houses on Peaceful Lane.  In my imagination, they are all lined up neatly; little pastel Capes and bungalows with picket fences and brick walkways lined with solar lights all surrounded by beautiful gardens with bird baths and garden gnomes.
 Ahhhh, Peaceful Lane 

But now that I think about it more clearly, Peaceful Lane in Charlton has to abut the Massachusetts Turnpike.  Peaceful Lane is probably not all that peaceful.  Most people don’t want to live next to the Turnpike anyhow because it’s noisy.  Were there even houses on Peaceful Lane?  I didn’t notice. 

But, you know, maybe Peaceful Lane was there before the Turnpike was built and the original inhabitants named it as they found it.  And then even with the Turnpike coming later, it wouldn’t be enough cause to change the name of an existing street… with the red tape and all.  And what would it be changed to anyhow… Noisy Turnpikeview Drive?

Whoa!  My speculation and imagination have gotten out of hand.  I know nothing about Peaceful Lane in Charlton, Mass.  I have never lived there either literally or figuratively.  And though I’ve ridden down Stafford Street many times, I never even noticed it until today.  Maybe it was just a figment of my imagination and isn’t there at all.  Maybe I just feel the need to live a while on some Peaceful Lane.

I remember reading an article in a women’s magazine in some doctor’s office somewhere that said if you force yourself to smile when you are depressed, it’s good for you and can bring you out of a depression.  We all know that name calling can be negative, but it can also be positive.  Therefore, if I smile and say I live on some Peaceful Lane will I feel a contentment and tranquility in my heart even though in my mind I actually hear the air brakes of the endless parade of semi-trucks running down the Turnpike? 

Nah… Let’s face it.  Though the road is rough and the troubles long,
home is home and life goes on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Welcome spring and prosperity...

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
~Anne Bradstreet

We took off two hours late last weekend because of a computer glitch, but I have to admit that it was one of the smoothest flights I’ve ever been on.  Gliding through the air so smoothly actually kind of makes one forget what is really happening… 
the tearing through the air at 400+mph.
We got to Phoenix unscathed.

At the hotel, we were informed that they booked the wrong room for us and,
as it was 11:30 p.m. their time because of our late flight,
they wouldn’t have the right room for us until the following day.
 We made due.

The next day, when we were supposed to be relaxing around the pool, we were waiting for our new room assignment that took them until after 1:00 p.m. to get…then when we got to the room, it was a mess with sheets on the floor and junk in the sitting room.  So off to the restaurant we went and had a rum runner and a pretty decent lunch.
By the time we were done,
we were in business in our room and in general.

All in all, it was a good time and after the rocky start, we enjoyed three baseball games and a tour around the Apache Trail Loop just east of Phoenix.  And a bonus is that upon arriving back home, most of the two foot piles of snow have melted into trace amounts.
Real spring is on its way in the northeast.

Hanging out at Logan Airport, Boston