I have been blessed in my life to witness Seasons Changing all over the US…from the West Coast beaches to the expansive Southwest deserts to the Deep South to the East Coast, to Canada and back to the Pacific Northwest!!
But I got completely spoiled a couple of years ago right here in my neighborhood when I accidentally discovered the most glorious Autumn display I have ever seen.
I was simply driving out a different driveway than usual from my Home Depot parking lot…and there it was. So fantastic, I made 5 or 6 trips in the following weeks to try to capture this Color Extravaganza in all its stages. On cold dark days, in the pouring rain, in the blinding sunlight (that’s how we experience sunlight up here…blinding), sunrise, sunset, and always with both my cameras! I even gave it a name and told all my friends and neighbors to go see it.
I’ve posted on it before but here are some photos to enjoy. Believe me, it’s not even close to walking the block-long side walk in front of “The Wonder Wall”!
Not driving by. You have to stand in front of it and feel the thrum of color and growth, right there in front of you! Just pretend…and see if you can hear it….feel the colors.
First the DATE! How fun! As a kid, I always told everyone 9 was my favorite number.
Also, as a kid, the word “stacked” meant something very different than the way Nancy Merrill is using it here. Don’t worry. If you are old enough to remember that use of the word, I will spare you any “R Rated” photographs…but here’s a word picture for you.
My last name was Bessey, which got mean-girl turned into “Busty”……because I wasn’t!
I was the very last girl in my P.E. class to wear a bra! And boy, did I get teased about that. But understanding just a little about genetics, even in junior high school, I knew a time might come when I deserved the nickname Busty. My mother, aunt and grandmother were all…uh, hugely STACKED. It just happened to each of them a bit later in life! Where are those Mean Girls now, huh?
Back to what I’m sure Nancy intended with this challenge…
It has taken me all week to figure what I might have in my life that is “stacked”. I have been completely blank…even last Saturday when we went to the Farmer’s Market. I actually took pictures but never equated the two things. Duh.
Then a trip down to the beach did not trigger an idea…duh.
Next, I house-sat for friends and took a bunch of photos out the kitchen window, trying to capture the interaction between a feisty squirrel and sarcastic Blue Jay! Uh duh.
And again, with the Universe shouting in my ear, on the long drive home, listening to early morning radio, there was a delightful debate among the D.J.’s about the piles of rocks one finds while hiking the Pacific Northwest trails. One suggested these stacks were Art. Another, a memorial. And the third, irate by the way, insisted they were trail markers, both directional and as a warning to indicate some difficulty.
I still could not figure out any thing in my life that was stacked. It wasn’t until going through old photos that I started to get a clue. First I spotted this…a wonderful house on Alki Beach called the Flower House. Check out the STACKED rows and boxes of flowers!
That made me think of our Mountain Retreat. Look how many stacked railroad ties that are holding it all together!
This reminded me of a trip we took this summer to Glacier National Park. We stopped for gas and I fell in love with this stacked rock wall.
You know, denial is a funny but powerful thing. I had all these hints and arrows pointing, but I STILL had not remembered the most obvious example of “stacked” in my life. There’s a good reason for that. I don’t want to think about it, but maybe confessing it here to you, will inspire me to get off my you-know-what and finish a massive task I took on 5 years ago.
I love our Casa in the mountains but parts of our paradise can be pretty gray, barren of vegetation for long stretches of the year. And though it serves an essential purpose, one of my least favorite views out of more than half the windows, is the massive stacked rock wall along the whole back of the house and driveway. It is actually a work of art in its way but it’s just bleak, all year round.
So I took it upon myself to brighten it up! I am NOT a gardener of any kind. I plant Primroses every year because they are the laziest, easiest thing I could find to bring color into my suburban yard. But we are at elevation at the Casa and very few things survive winter and the deer….except certain succulents!
So for years, I have been experimenting with just a few types at a time. Those amazing plants grow practically right out of the ROCKS. And so far, some have wintered well, and apparently are not of interest to our wildlife population.
But this wall of stacked rocks is over 60 feet long! It may take the rest of my life but little by little, I’ll get them all decorated!
Now I understand why I completely “forgot” about this example…literally right in my own backyard!
Whew! Stacked indeed!
Thanks for reading and I so love comments!! Especially from those Readers I have not welcomed or interacted with yet.
Well, for my response to Nancy’s challenge this week, I struggled with the topic because I was a Professional Childbirth Attendant for thirty-some years….exposed to someone new regularly! Despite what my title implied, what it actually meant is I had the privilege (and challenge) of being present at the births of hundreds of babies.
My certification was officially to assist Midwives in home deliveries, but because of my lengthy educational and training background in Pre and Peri-Natal Psychology, I was mostly invited to attend births, home and hospital, when we knew in advance there was a high risk; emotional, psychological, or physical. Examples were planned relinquishments, known physical problems, or pregnancies the result of incest or rape.
I always took tons of photos and some were amazing but of course, I can’t share them due to the confidentiality of my clients.
So, I am choosing to re-post something I wrote when I was very new to writing this blog. Though it is “old” to me, hopefully it will be Something New to most of my amazing readers.
I have a great excuse for what might seem a bit lazy in re-posting. I am house and cat sitting for dear friends in a slightly remote (and stunningly beautiful) location. AND I have a very ill computer. It’s so SLOW, I am wondering how any of us tolerated the old “dial-up” speeds we started out with. A lesson here in patience, for sure….
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this piece. It’s one of my favorites. It’s all about brand new.
(I still feel new enough to blogging that I don’t really know if this is even OK to do or if it’s cheating! 😋 And I don’t know if putting the link here is enough or if I should copy and paste the whole post here for you. Feel free to comment!)
And though this week, she asks us to post about resilience, using any form of creativity, but not actually using the word, I can’t help myself. The song/video I’ve included here is titled Resilient. I post this song often because I actually use it as part of my own routine for energizing myself to what ever degree the day (and my physical limitations) allow.
I find it difficult to sit still through, even on a day when just standing up wears me out.
Make it big on your screen and pump up the volume. Then let it wash over you.
If this doesn’t inspire (stimulate, motivate, cause, incline, persuade, encourage, influence, rouse, move, stir)
you to find your hidden strengths and to take on the challenges in your own life, I hope you will find something that does.
And it would be so cool if you comment below on what does work for you. Or go to V.J.’s blog and POST!!
For 43 years now, this birthday guy and I have been proof that men and women can be best friends without all that romantic nonsense that seems required when a boy and girl become friends. We have had a fairly gender-less relationship.
It’s not that we haven’t had a bunch of different roles with each other. We’ve tried ’em all, believe me. 43 years is a long time.
For 30 years or more of those years, we had a delightful tradition of competing over our birthdays…who could outwit, out do, out surprise the other? My favorites from him involved dinner on a train with friends, a sunset cruise with his family, and the really sneaky one, when I met him for a drink in a very dark, very fancy bar, where it took me the better part of an embarrassing hour to realize all the other patrons in the bar were friends of mine…just waiting for me to discover them and be surprised! My favorite for him was the time I had a limo drive him all around town to very specific locations. Waiting for him in each destination, was the friend (sometimes a long-lost friend) he had shared a memorable event with in that very location. That one I was so proud of because the logistics (arrival times especially) were a nightmare and this was before GPS, cell phone contact, etc. It all went off perfectly. The evening culminated in dinner at his family’s favorite Mexican restaurant, and by then, our limo driver, having witnessed all these emotional reunions, was so connected, he joined us for dinner.
Each year, this tradition became more dramatic and elaborate until I think we both maxed out and silently agreed to just stop, and go back to corny, insulting birthday cards.
We do have our other ongoing battles for sure (sometimes feeling like the sibling role we adopt with each other). When we were younger, the fights we had were, uh, intense, heated, passionate, dramatic, elaborate, but always clean. He is the person in my adult life who taught me, through experience, people could be really angry with each other, and it didn’t mean they would leave or the relationship would be permanently damaged….or damaged at all, for that matter. Not my experience growing up, believe me.
Here’s a milder example of one of our disagreements.
I believe art is about taste, and only “good” if you happen to personally like it. He believes art is inherently either good or bad. Different upbringing for sure. He is widely educated in, and had a lifetime of exposure to historically and world famous art. His whole family is well versed in the field. He knows “good art” and will tell you exactly what’s wrong with “bad art”. He’s just that informed.
I, on the other hand, have very little interest in or knowledge of “real art”…although, when he and his family took me to the Getty museum, I have to admit getting goose bumps standing in front of several paintings. But I couldn’t tell you now who was on exhibit at the time.
I think, because my Dad taught me so young, to observe the “art” in even the smallest details around me, I instead fell in love with photography. Starting in the 4th grade, I never went anywhere without a camera. Are you old enough to remember that cheap Brownie camera so many of us had? Then the Instamatic, and I also had a Polaroid or two. I even got my first real job working in one of those little drive-thru Fotomat booths. People were thrilled to be able to get their pictures developed in ONE DAY!! And I loved being around all those people who loved snapping pictures like I did.
One of our ongoing debates has been about photography. Can it be “art”? He has leaned toward “No”. But to me, there is nothing more beautiful than capturing the “art” that actually exists…in real life…right there in front of you and your camera!
Being such a good friend, sometime in the early 1980’s, he gave me my first real camera…a beautiful Nikon, with amazing telephoto and macro lens! In some ways, it was wasted on me as I never really maximized my knowledge of that great camera. But I did get hooked on that macro lens. Imagine some 35 years ago, being able to take a close-up of a butterfly’s feet, or the mountainous texture of wrinkled blue velvet. Of course, now most of our phones can do that, but back then?? People seemed impressed because that kind of close up was so new. I kinda got it in my head that I might be ever so slightly “artistic” with my camera…a bit of a stretch, but the bottom line is I became completely enthralled with photography and it has been one of my favorite hobbies (passions? obsessions?) ever since. I LOVE taking pictures.
I have my best friend to thank for that.
So for his birthday (very few know his actual birth year, because he looks and acts much younger than his age) I am dedicating this post to him. To say thank you for the life-lessons, the experiences, the joy all these years, and for sharing his family with me. But most especially, to thank him for finally finding his princess…a lovely modelesque, blond-bombshell, adorned in all her pinks!! (He’s met his match with her, educationally, artistically, and she is so wonderful, she may well bump him into the 2nd best friend position!)
Oh and to say thanks for that now almost antique camera.
Here are some of my favorite photos, many of which I deserve no artist credit for because they were completely accidental. But they are my version of Art, so I share them in love and gratitude. There are a lot of them but in keeping with our tradition, I had to go BIG and be dramatic!
Hope you enjoy! (If you want to see an individual photo bigger, click on it and it should enlarge.)
Flowers and other growing things
Hummers and Crows (different from the other birds…)
I would love comments!!! Even if they are to debate!!