Friday, April 29, 2005

PhotoFriday: fancy

fancy dancers

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Garden after the rain

Tulips looking a little chilly today. They don't want to open up all the way. Just as pretty kind of closed, I think.

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These you can click to enlarge.
I just bought this shrub (below) today. It's called "Moonlight Scotch Broom." I never heard of it before, but everyone in line at the Home Depot was snatching them up. They're supposedly evergreens that bloom these tiny creamy yellow-white flowers in May. But now I'm reading about them at home and they appear to be quite the invasive plant. They grow quickly and spread to the point of being a nuisance, apparently. I thought it would make a good natural screen from our yard to the road. Maybe I'll return it. I don't need another weed, even if it does have nice flowers.

Scotch Broom

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Calling all photographers!

I'm participating in "World Photo Day" this year on June 1st. The idea is to record your day visually and share the photos with...the world. No pressure! I think it's a great idea. I just hope their site doesn't crash!! *crosses fingers for Drew and WPDsite* I noticed that you cannot "right-click-copy" the photos (I tried to use the logo here) that are shown there. A good thing.

Their listed objective is neat, too: "uniting humanity through the art of photography."

All photographers are welcome to participate! My photos will be listed in an album called "Carolynvb." They are testing their BETA site right now, so I'm pretty sure that will still be my album name in June. Go! Click! Join!

From the WPD site:

The goal of this project is simple: to show the world we live in through the eyes of photographers worldwide, on one day in the year 2005. This in no way is a contest. It is merely a platform for all to enjoy and review with pleasure.

The basic idea for World Photo Day was conceived in the latter part of December 2005. Photography is way to capture events through the eyes of the individual who sees it first hand and produces a record for all to behold. In this modern era, when information can be exchanged instantaneously, in many cases without any governing restraints, we can witness moments of time virtually as they unfold. Never in the history of mankind could such a project, with almost instant visual results, have been accomplished.

I personally am in awe of the daily events taking place in our world, events on both a local and global scale, events that dictate our daily lives. We are all human, but where we are born sets our lives in motion differently, a motion primarily directed by the values of our country, our political systems, our local laws and traditions. You, I, and billions of others have an inherent nature to appreciate joy when it finds us and to survive in the face of adversity. We each follow unique paths, sometimes strewn with rose petals, sometimes riddled with sharp stones.

Though all of us inhabiting our unique planet are essentially the same, our lives unfold in such a broad array of ways that we cannot but stand in amazement as we view the diversity. Through the art of photography, and this project, I hope to shed some light on the difficulties, the triumphs, the beauty, the pain, the good and the bad of our human existence, all in one 24-hour period. What a visual journey it shall be.

-Drew Rossman

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I'd never heard of this band before the other day. My friend showed it to me when I was sharing Spring pictures.

I like these lyrics, although I have no idea what the music is like!

by King Crimson this faraway land
Strange...that the palms of my hands
Should be damp with expectancy

Spring...and the air’s turning mild
City lights...and the glimpse of a child
Of the alleyway infantry they know what I mean
Rain...and the gathering green
Of an afternoon out-of-town

But lord I had to go
My trail was laid too slow behind me
To face the call of fame
Or make a drunkard’s name for me

Though now this other life
Has brought a different understanding
And from these endless days
Shall come a broader sympathy
And though I count the hours
To be alone’s no injury...

My home...was a place near the sand
Cliffs...and a military band
Blew an air of normality

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tulips are up!

This is the first year I've had tulips in my garden in a long time. Well, I've had them in my garden, but just when the buds were reaching up through the leaves, the deer used to come and mow them down. But it seems the deer prevention techniques are working this year.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Rachael's rocks

My daughter is a collector. She collects little keepsakes and deposits them throughout the house, her drawers, her desk, wherever she can find a flat surface. She kept the little yellow bow from her chocolate Easter bunny. She kept the rubberband from the first ponytail she made by herself. Reminds me of Scout in "To Kill A Mockingbird." She looks longer at things and it seems like she's considering them and trying to fit them into her little six-year-old perception of the world.

She collects rocks wherever she goes. From the beach, parks, baseball games, our yard, grandpa's yard. Her collections grows all the time and she notices if one of them is missing or has been moved. I like that she notices things and wants to take a piece to remember them by. We're just running out of space.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

On the way home

Turned the car around last night to catch the sunset. People must've thought I was either nuts or a suspicious character (or both) as I was pulled over and camped on a median with my tripod. Hey, they do it in California and look how happy those folks are... ;-) I was attending my college roommate's wedding south of LA awhile back and on a free night, I was walking to the beach near sunset time. I was about two blocks from the beach and I could see it setting between the buildings. As a lifetime east coaster, seeing the sun set over water is a big deal. I was stuck at a crosswalk light when two guys in a convertible, who had the green light, come to an abrupt stop. They're waving me out into the crosswalk, "Go! GO!" I'm yellin back, "You have the light!" They yell back, "You're gonna miss the sunset!" Hey, cool! Rock on, dudes! You gotta love surfers.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Photo of a Bride

I was looking for an old photo last night, to no avail. I took it in Rome in 1992, while walking between some incredibly old buildings there. Well, everything there is incredibly old compared to our buildings. I remember I was walking on a passageway between two buildings and I thought I had made a wrong turn. I put my bag down to look at my map when a bridal party walked out of this ancient church. The bride looked amazing, all in white against the backdrop of these old, grey buildings. She held a red bouquet and there were little children all dressed up running around the stairs. The camera was on top of my bag and I quickly took a shot. It turned out really nice and I remember being glad I had gotten lost. There's a space in my photo album where it should've been. Not sure when I pulled it out, but I'm kicking myself now for not returning it.

Anyway, all that thinking about that lovely bride last night stuck in my head. About how wedding days are filled with such a range of emotions and energy. My wedding day wasn't, as I was muddled in the details of having a reception under a tent at my parents' house and I had a sister-in-law who kidnapped me the night before to "help me relax." Uh...not...things aren't done! The bartender doesn't know where the liquor is! The caterer needs cajoling! What?! Grandpa didn't finish the cake yet! It all came off without a hitch, mostly, but it wasn't at all like some brides have it.

Here's one I wrote last night...for all the brides...

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wedding day
ring all the church bells!
drape satin ribbons!
set crimson flowers by the altar!

closest friends,
distant family
his and hers, gathering together

let the children run round the garden
laughter floating to the sky
tell the choir, cue the organs
singing joyous songs on high

pin the roses
brush the shoulders
shine the boys' shoes extra bright

close pearl buttons

smooth the lace trim
fluff the veil of antique white

bouquet in hand now
take my hand now
vows we'll make now
love for life.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

So small a thing...

Is it so small a thing
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done;

-Matthew Arnold

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Friday, April 15, 2005

Spring Haiku

My friend Kathleen got me into Haiku last year, writing mostly Lord of the Rings inspired Haiku. Every once in awhile, she'd offer a haiku challenge with various themes. I like this form of poetry because it's short and sweet and I can usually find time to jot a few lines down between kiddie activities. Many thanks to her for giving me a new outlet for my writing!

Here's a few haiku I just wrote in more or less correct form. I think they are an average of both the Japanese and American forms. Too tired to count syllables! The inspiration was from this site on Spring Haiku.

Spring Haiku

four dark months spent
waiting for spring
where are my sunglasses?

snow melts into spring
chilled teens in shorts and shirtsleeves
frisbees in snowpiles

april opens windows
breezy curtains sway
tea's cold again

crocus billows
alone in a brown desert

winter surrenders

salt piles crowd the curb
streetcleaner hoards his wealth
bicycles give chase

pools of yellow sails
green shores surround daffodils
crowded spring lake

shy fiddleheads peek
between cracks of granite
life unfurls again

Photo Friday: rest

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More from the NY Botanical Gardens

Tough lighting at 12:30 on a sunny afternoon...just started learning how to compensate for it ...but not in time for these! They're kinda washed out, so grab your sunglasses!

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

NY Botanical Gardens

I spent a few hours down at the NY Botanical Gardens today. A trip on a whim, actually. I had planned to go out east to Connecticut to spend time near a lake, but the car took me south. Great day...perfect day! I hit it right when the daffodils and flowering trees were in bloom.

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(click to enlarge)

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Spring on Rushmore farm

This is one of my favorite places to walk. It's up on the backside of Stormville Mountain in East Fishkill. I found it years ago when I was planning a benefit bike tour through the valley. This was part of the killer 40-mile route. This bucolic area was part of the last six miles, mostly hills, but well worth the trip.

On one side of the street is a lovely farmhouse and various barns. In the center is a large pond and fences all around. The other side of the pond is another street with fences and the strangest cows I've ever seen. They're long-haired, wooly type highland cattle. Their pastures are rocky hillsides and shady maples and the most incredible view. Down the street is a goat farm where the goats are often seen wandering or simply standing in the road. Apparently they have the right of way up there.

It's a NYC watershed area so the neighbors will report suspicious cars parked or folks walking around up there. (Another story for another day.) The winding country road passes farms, streams, rocky slopes and deep, forgotten forests. I have to remember to check my watch on the days I walk there. With all there is to see, I often forget how long I've been wandering. A good thing, I think.

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From last year in late April...the pond...
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Just passing through

Some visitors to the old farm yesterday. I was driving by and pulled over to take a pic of them but they started waddling over to me. I swear I thought they were going to ask for directions! I didn't want them to get hurt crossing the road, so I left them there...I'm sure they found their way or at least enjoyed the field during their visit.

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Finally got some prints made and framed for my living room "gallery." (Man, I stink at hanging pictures!) I got a few enlarged at Ofoto and I plan to give them to a friend for his new restaurant opening. Maybe I'll get a few nibbles if he puts my card up with the photo. If not, it'll still be nice to see my photo there when I eat the best mexican food in the county!

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Monday, April 11, 2005

The old farm

There's an old farm near my house that will soon be turned into yet another golf course. Mind you, we have five golf courses within an 8 mile radius of my house. If you extend the radius to 12 miles, we have a dozen courses.

Out of curiousity, I took a moment to check if there any statistics on how many golf courses we have per capita. In a 2002 Golf Digest ranking, Dutchess County ranked 157th out of 314 areas studied. We have 149 people per golf course. So if everyone who lived here went golfing at the same time, there would be eight people on every hole. ("So why can I never get a tee time," my husband quips...)

I'd rather have the old farm's rolling hills and big open sky that everyone can enjoy...without a set time to enjoy it.

Anyway, here's a few things I found while wandering around there.

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Photo Friday: plastic

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For all my friends snowbound in the Denver area today...hang in there! Spring is coming!

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

A few more flowers...and one more poem, not mine

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I never noticed before, but the poppy has a star (click to enlarge)

I picked up the D.H. Lawrence poetry collection that was under the seat in my car and found he had written a poem about spring. What surprised me was that he made a similar connection between crocus and "mortificiation" as I had in my poem. Am I saying that I write like D.H. Lawrence?? No. It just makes me feel somewhat less alone in my thoughts knowing that someone else once saw it in kind of the same way.
Craving for Spring
-D.H. Lawrence

I wish it were spring in the world.

Let it be spring!
Come, bubbling, surging tide of sap!
Come, rush of creation!

Come, life! surge through this mass of mortification!
Come, sweep away these exquisite, ghastly first-flowers,
which are rather last-flowers!
Come, thaw down their cool portentousness, dissolve them:
snowdrops, straight, death-veined exhalations of white and purple crocuses,

flowers of the penumbra, issue of corruption, nourished in mortification,
jets of exquisite finality;
Come, spring, make havoc of them!

I trample on the snowdrops, it gives me pleasure to tread down the jonquils,
to destroy the chill Lent lilies;

for I am sick of them, their faint-bloodedness,
slow-blooded, icy-fleshed, portentous.

I want the fine, kindling wine-sap of spring,
gold, and of inconceivably fine, quintessential brightness,
rare almost as beams, yet overwhelmingly potent,

strong like the greatest force of world-balancing.

This is the same that picks up the harvest of wheat
and rocks it, tons of grain, on the ripening wind;
the same that dangles the globe-shaped pleiads of fruit
temptingly in mid-air, between a playful thumb and finger;

oh, and suddenly, from out of nowhere, whirls the pear-bloom,
upon us, and apple- and almond- and apricot- and quince-blossom ,
storms and cumulus clouds of all imaginable blossom
about our bewildered faces,
though we do not worship.

I wish it were spring
cunningly blowing on the fallen sparks, odds and ends of the old, scattered fire,
and kindling shapely little conflagrations
curious long-legged foals, and wide-eared calves, and naked sparrow-bubs.

I wish that spring

would start the thundering traffic of feet
new feet on the earth, beating with impatience.

I wish it were spring, thundering
delicate, tender spring.
I wish these brittle, frost-lovely flowers of passionate, mysterious corruption

were not yet to come still more from the still-flickering discontent.

Oh, in the spring, the bluebell bows him down for very exuberance,
exulting with secret warm excess,
bowed down with his inner magnificence!

Oh, yes, the gush of spring is strong enough

to toss the globe of earth like a ball on a water-jet
dancing sportfully;
as you see a tiny celluloid ball tossing on a squirt of water
for men to shoot at, penny-a-time, in a booth at a fair.

The gush of spring is strong enough

to play with the globe of earth like a ball on a fountain;
At the same time it opens the tiny hands of the hazel
with such infinite patience.
The power of the rising, golden, all-creative sap could take the earth
and heave it off among the stars, into the invisible;

the same sets the throstle at sunset on a bough
singing against the blackbird;
comes out in the hesitating tremor of the primrose,
and betrays its candour in the round white strawberry flower,
is dignified in the foxglove, like a Red-Indian brave.

Ah come, come quickly, spring!
come and lift us towards our culmination, we myriads;
we who have never flowered, like patient cactuses.
Come and lift us to our end, to blossom, bring us to our summer,
we who are winter-weary in the winter of the of the world.

Come making the chaffinch nests hollow and cosy,
come and soften the willow buds till they are puffed and furred,
then blow them over with gold.
Coma and cajole the gawky colt's-foot flowers.

Come quickly, and vindicate us

against too much death.
Come quickly, and stir the rotten globe of the world from within,
burst it with germination, with world anew.
Come now, to us, your adherents, who cannot flower from the ice.
All the world gleams with the lilies of Death the Unconquerable,

but come, give us our turn.
Enough of the virgins and lilies, of passionate, suffocating perfume of corruption,
no more narcissus perfume, lily harlots, the blades of sensation
piercing the flesh to blossom of death.
Have done, have done with this shuddering, delicious business

of thrilling ruin in the flesh, of pungent passion, of rare, death-edged ecstasy .
Give us our turn, give us a chance, let our hour strike,
O soon, soon!
Let the darkness turn violet with rich dawn.
Let the darkness be warmed, warmed through to a ruddy violet,

incipient purpling towards summer in the world of the heart of man.

Are the violets already here!
Show me! I tremble so much to hear it, that even now
on the threshold of spring, I fear I shall die.
Show me the violets that are out.

Oh, if it be true, and the living darkness of the blood of man is purpling with violets,
if the violets are coming out from under the rack of men, winter-rotten and fallen,
we shall have spring.
Pray not to die on this Pisgah blossoming with violets.
Pray to live through.

If you catch a whiff of violets from the darkness of the shadow of man
it will be spring in the world,
it will be spring in the world of the living;
wonderment organising itself, heralding itself with the violets,
stirring of new seasons.

Ah, do not let me die on the brink of such anticipation!
Worse, let me not deceive myself.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Quite possibly a poem by Me

April crocus

crocus cradles the sun
delicate, radiant, swaying
in April's fickle winds
purple dappled over hills of thawing earth
still brown and stale from winter
like flowers on a new grave

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Well, there it is. First poem in a long while. Our lawn is so flat and matted down after all the snow we had this winter, that's what the crocus reminded me on a new grave. Brown, brown everywhere and then...purple! A hopeful sign of a new life to come or a tribute to the one passed? Perhaps both.

On the forest floor

Went hiking before lunch today at a nearby state park. Interesting ground flora in the woods there. Here's a few from the hike.

Looks like this one little moss seedling is the only brave one...

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Fern underside...
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Tough little fern hanging on the crack of a rock...
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More of my hiking photos from Breakneck Ridge can be seen here.

A prayer in spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

-Robert Frost

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