Monday, April 30, 2012

A Small Voice


For about the past week, I’ve been taking my camera along when I go out for my walks.  I’m not particularly a good photographer, but I do love to take pictures of just about anything, and walking around the neighborhood seemed like as good an excuse as any to snap a few more frames.


Of course, taking photos has slowed down the walking pace a bit, but it’s also caused me to actually spend more time outside, so I think it’s a fair trade off.  The best part is the way I see things I would probably not have noticed if I weren’t on the lookout for a photo op; it’s literally eye-opening to realize what interesting things are hidden right in front of me. 


wheelbarrowPhoto-journalist W. Eugene Smith once said, “Photography is a small voice, at best, but sometimes one photograph, or a group of them, can lure our sense of awareness.”  For me, the taking of the pictures creates that sense of awareness, too, and reminds me not to overlook the beauty and the wonders—big and small—that we witness every day.



Sunday, April 29, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

I think my husband and I are fighting.  I’m not entirely sure, because I’m not certain it can truly be a fight if only one person is angry.  I’m also not sure it can be considered a proper fight if there’s no longer any talking at all, which is how the night ended.  Anyway, for myself, I thought we were having a discussion, not an argument.  Sure, we had a difference of opinion, but so what?  Maybe I missed the day in relationship school when they said that wasn’t allowed.

I don’t know. Maybe technically it isn’t a fight.  But it sure feels like one.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happily Married

I hope it doesn’t make me a terrible person if I say that sometimes being married can be a drudgery.  To be clear, though, that has nothing to do with not loving my husband or wanting to be with other people or anything like that.  But being married—or being in any relationship, I suppose—has some responsibilities that go along with it, and sometimes—just every once in a while—I think it would be nice to have only myself to think about.

But, knowing that I can sometimes feel that way is what makes most of the other times so much better, and today was a good reminder of that. 

The area’s annual art festival is running this week, and attending is a tradition for my husband and me.  Well, honestly, it’s a tradition for me; he goes along because he knows I enjoy it.  I have always been fairly certain that any time I decide I’ve had enough of it, he won’t be badgering me to carry on the visits.  Anyway, like most folks, we typically do those sorts of fun activities on the weekends, but we’re expecting rain Sunday (the last day of the show), which means a pretty good probability that Saturday the place is going to be even more packed than usual.  So, I suggested hubby take Friday off work and we could enjoy the day and beat the crowds.  And guess what?  He agreed!

So today we went to the Festival of the Arts.  We looked at paintings, photographs, and sculptures, talking about what we liked and what didn’t really appeal to us.  We ate some festival food, and went through several bottles of water just to beat the heat.  Then we headed further downtown for dinner, and finally took a stroll along the OKC canal.  It was a really nice day.

So, yeah, maybe sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the monotony and annoyances of day to day life and start to feel like marriage is weighing me down.  But then a day like today comes along—in many ways just as commonplace, even though it isn’t—and then I remember all the reasons I married him to begin with.  It’s nice to get that kind of reminder.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Down Memory Lane, or, Crossing Traffic in a Ditch



In my ongoing effort to become at least slightly more active, I’ve been taking walks.  I mean, actual walks, not just spending time on my exer-glider or moving aimlessly between rooms in my house to increase my step count.  These walks have been outside and everything.

Today, though, I wasn’t feeling like just wandering around the neighborhood again, so I drove over to one of the local parks.  And, truth be told, all I really did was trade my current neighborhood for my old one, because I chose the park just down the street from my childhood home.  I spent many fun days playing there, and whenever I’m there again it feels like a place I will always belong.

Of course, it’s changed some since I was a kid—what hasn’t?  What was a ridiculously shallow kiddie pool (though I certainly would not have described it that way then) is now a new-fangled splash pad.  And one of the empty grassy areas is now a skateboard park.  Things always change.

But, one of the things I’m pretty sure will never change is the drainage ditch that runs alongside the park and through the surrounding streets, and I’m really glad that modern technology still hasn’t figured out a more practical way to move rainwater.

I’m sure being nostalgic for a ditch seems a little odd, and I guess maybe it is, but when I was a kid that concrete passageway seemed like a highway to heaven.  You see, to get to the park from our house, you had to cross a street (considered a “busy” street in those days, but laughably quaint now) and a railroad track.  I’m not sure my mom was any more over-protective than the typical mother, but she wasn’t thrilled with the idea of her kids taking a risk on locomotive carnage just to go play on the swings.  After all, we had a perfectly fine swing set in our own back yard.

But that’s where the ditch came in.  Because that’s where function met form, at least for me: the ditch ran under the dangers of the roadway, and that made it a beautiful thing.  Mama was fine with us taking ourselves to the park, as long as we took the ditch, and you didn’t have to tell us twice.  In fact, when I was there today, it was only some sense of grown-up propriety that kept me from clambering down in there and crossing over to the old street just like we had back in the day.  Sometimes being a grown up isn’t much fun.  But still remembering the kid I used to be?  That rocks.



This is taken from the park side of the “busy” street; that’s my old block over there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Red Hat Which Doesn’t Go

Today, my grandmother, son, and nephew went to a studio to have pictures taken together.  They’d done this once before, when the boys were just young children, but time is passing, and it seemed a good time to do it again.  Especially since my son is preparing to move across the country to California and may not have the opportunity again to make pictures with his great-grandmother.  Of course, one hopes this won’t be the last chance, but as I said, time is passing.  So, we went to the photographer’s. 

My grandmother—we call her Granny, a title she’s not particularly fond of, but it’s always been the great-grandmother designation in our family—is 92.  She’s always loved having her photo taken, especially with her two great-grandsons, who are the light of her life.  Between shots, I was playing around with the prop hats and plopped one onto her head, a big flouncy purple hat.  It was cute, but when the photographer mentioned she also had a red hat, I knew she had to have a picture in that.  After all, isn’t that the epitome of aging women living life—to wear a red hat bravely and brazenly, even if it doesn’t quite match your outfit?  Just a couple of snaps of the lens and Granny’s red hat moment was immortalized.  We all loved it—just a goofy photo that seemed to take years off her age.  Granny said she’d never had a picture taken in a hat before, but now she can check that off the list. 

I’m glad we went to the studio today.  The group shots will be nice mementos, and we also got some pictures of the boys together and separately—all very good.  But what I’ll remember most is the impromptu moment when Granny became a member of the Red Hat Society, even if only for a few seconds.  At her age, I think she deserves to join, even if the hat doesn’t quite go.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

If Everyone Else Jumped Off a Bridge . . .

I don’t typically consider myself a “follower”, someone who needs to jump on the bandwagon and fit in with the crowd.  But one of the things I’ve found myself doing while I’ve been off work is browsing the web even more than usual, and that’s led me to reading blog posts from a whole lot of different people. 

Like the Internet itself, the blogs I’ve perused have covered diverse topics, and have run the gamut from exceptionally well presented to barely tolerable.  But, the thing that I keep noticing is how many of these bloggers are diligent about posting—many of them daily.  Considering how haphazardly I’ve always approached my own posting, this is impressive to me.  I mean, forget the time and energy required to put together a post every day, the real question is: how do they always have something to say?  I’m not sure about that part of it, but I’ve decided I’m going to at least give the logistical part a try.  See if I can make myself sit down every day and put some words on a screen—even if those words might not be all that important in the grand scheme of things. I mean, if all those other people can do it, surely I can, too.

But don’t worry; I’m not following anybody onto a bridge.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Nature on the Inside

As I think I’ve probably mentioned before, I am a life-long couch potato.  Not that I’m particularly proud of that fact, but the truth is I’m a fairly sedentary person by nature.  I’d rather read a book or watch TV than be working in a garden or taking a bike ride. 

The downside of that, though, is that I’m actually sort of fascinated by nature.  I like to see plants and animals doing the things that plants and animals do, and that’s hard to do from a couch.  Or, it used to be, until the Internet came along. 

Now, thanks to the wonder that is the WWW, anyone with a camera and a data connection can share their view of nature with the world.  I think that’s a great thing.  Pictures and videos abound out in the ether, and I love to see them.  Partly because I’m a couch potato, and watching nature unfold on a computer screen is easier than going out and finding it, well, naturally.  But, partly because there are things I wouldn’t see otherwise, and I feel blessed to share the experience, even virtually. 

The streaming feed I’m obsessed with lately is actually pretty local—happening in a town just up the road from me—but it’s still pretty neat.  A family has a great horned owl nesting in a planter on their balcony, and they have been kind enough not only to leave the bird alone to do bird things, but also to set up a camera so the rest of us can watch, too.  I appreciate both those things.

Many years ago, I had a cardinal nest just outside one of the windows of my home, and it was great fun to check on it every day, waiting for eggs to hatch, watching mama feed and care for the babies, and, finally—and a little sadly—seeing the babies grow up and the family move away.  If things like live streaming had existed back then, I would’ve been hooking up a camera, guaranteed, and that was just cardinals, not owls.  (Nothing against cardinals, of course; they’re lovely birds.  But owls are really cool.)

Anyway, the point is, I think maybe sometimes being inside gets a bad rap, and I know the Internet does.  But, as with most things, they’re not inherently bad; it’s just a matter of how they get used and to what extent.  Which means sometimes—like when you get to see a little bit of nature brought right into your living room—it’s a good thing.  A very good thing.

If you agree, and you’d like to take a peek at mama and baby owl, go here.  I think you’ll be glad you did.