Friday, November 17, 2017

Don't Fight The Wind

This year will not go down in the record books as a gorgeous autumn. Once again it's been too dry and the temperatures too warm. The rains came and the temperatures finally cooled down a bit, but it was just a little too late. The last few days have been windy with overcast skies and a little rain. The gusting wind today has the leaves falling from the trees and dancing across the yard. I think my neighbor's leaves are all dancing over to my yard!

In spite of the wind, I was determined to take some leaf pictures before all the leaves were gone. In order to not get super blurry pictures of blowing leaves, I started looking for leaves that were caught on something.

Much to my surprise, they were everywhere. All I had to do was get out there and look.

Naturally a good majority of the leaves I found were caught on the branches of small bushes and vines.

There were also quiet a few caught on our neighbor's chain link fence.

My favorites, though, were the ones caught in the Juniper tree. The dark green needles made the color of the leaves brilliant.

I'm glad I finally decided there wasn't any point in trying to fight the wind. I just needed to get a little creative and find a way to work around it!


"Autumn doesn't always promise that Winter will come,
but she works hard until every colored leaf
has reached its destination."
~ Terri Guillemets

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Scene & Story - October 2017

I think we all know how peaceful it is to be near water. Recently I sat on this bench, swinging my feet and soaking in the beauty of Lake Carlton in the San Bois Mountains in Oklahoma. When I first sat down it was dark and chilly, but as time passed the sun began to rise behind the mountains. It wasn't a beautiful sunrise. The sky was full of dark rain clouds and occasionally a light mist fell. As the sun rose I watched a large flock of geese land on the water and slowly glide across the lack. I watched a father and son fishing from their kayaks. I looked across the lake and noticed autumn colors just beginning to show. I was calm, content, and happy.

This pictures looks peaceful, doesn't it? What you don't see in this picture is what was behind me. The fact is, a fall festival was happening behind me with thousands of people wandering around, carnival rides, food vendors, live music, and an antique automobile show. We were there taking part in the automobile show and were fortunate to be able to park our car near the lake. This was perfect for me. I was able to find peace in a situation that certainly wasn't quiet or peaceful. As photographers we can tell the story we want by what we allow in the frame of our camera.

"Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame.
When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts." 
~ Garry Winogrand

* * * * *
I'm linking with Scene & Story hosted
by Sarah and Lee.

Join us each month as we choose a photo and tell a story.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Perfect Day

What does it take to have the perfect day? To me, it's being outside enjoying sunshine and nature. I had one of those perfect days this past weekend.

It began with a tour of Boxley Grist Mill which was built about 1869. It's basic function was grinding corn into meal. The mill which is now part of the Buffalo National River Area and is slowly being restored.

Also on the mill property was this old barn, which is just about to be taken over by weeds. Oh, I love barns! They make my heart sing. I saw several, but this was the only one I was able to get pictures of.

The perfect day also includes a perfect hike. What is included in my perfect hike? I'll be glad to tell you.

1. My perfect hike includes finding a good trail; not to strenuous as my knees seem to be aching more and more. In spite of those achy knees, I enjoy trails that have steps that are much easier to navigate than inclines covered with rocks and slick leaves.

2. My perfect hike includes water. Water was a little hard to find on this hike, we've been in a little drought season, but, find it I did. Water was seeping out of an opening in one of the rock formations.

3. My perfect hike includes color, any color; the color of rocks created by minerals in the water that seeps out of the cliffs, the color of the sky, and this time of year the color of autumn.

4. My perfect hike includes unusual trees.

5. My perfect hike includes unexpected surprises like lichen in the shape of a heart and

a face looking down from a huge cliff.

6. My perfect hike includes enough activity to accelerate my heart rate. Only this time it wasn't the hiking that got my heart pounding, it was watching my grandsons crawl all over the boulders and cliffs. Remember the water coming out of the cliff a few pictures up? That picture is a little deceiving. When I took the picture I was standing on a rock across a large rock valley. There's nothing for perspective, so you can't see how enormous this cliff really is. That's where these guys are, at the top of the water fall. Trust me, it's way up there! Boys are made for rock climbing, but Gramma's heart is not!

5. But, more than anything I listed above, my perfect hike includes family!

The perfect day always has to end.
My heart is full of joy!
I am blessed!

"From the moment I woke up,
I could tell that it was going to be
good day."
~ Aly Johnson

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

October Skies

"From out yon nimbus cloud, the mighty sun
Sweeps o'er the raptured woods his golden beams,
And wakens in my soul such dulcet chords
As harp or breathing organ never swelled."
~ James Rigg  1897 ~

I love the rich colors of autumn:
orange pumpkins,
red, yellow, and gold leaves,
green cedars and pines.

Autumn colors are all beautiful, but my favorite is blue; the rich blues of the skies this time of year. It's the perfect background for the beautiful clouds that been sweeping through.

I read something this morning that said to reduce stress, share something you love with others. So here I am, sharing what I love . . .  clouds, skies, and quotes. I hope you enjoy them!

"They never stand still—
but they're not
in a hurry either."
~Terri Guillemets

"Clouds on clouds, in volumes driven,
Curtain round the vault of heaven."
~Thomas Love Peacock

"It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky.
Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears."
~Helen Keller

"Hardly a day passes but we may see
in the sky above us
that God is producing scenes of perfect beauty,
or of glorious majesty,
which so far as we know
are only produced for the sake of
giving us pleasure."
~Alfred Rowland, "The Clouds: God's Angels of the Sea,"
in The Sunday Magazine (London), 1884

"I thank you God for this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees,
and for the blue dream of sky
and for everything which is natural,
which is infinite, which is yes."
~E. E. Cummings

I encourage you to go outside, look up,
and soak in the beauty of autumn skies.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Silence and Stillness

I've been thinking a lot about silence and stillness. I live in a fairly quiet area, but I can still hear the sounds of traffic on the road below us, a neighbor mulching his leaves, an occasional jet passing high above, dogs barking, and children playing. 

When I really want silence and stillness I usually go somewhere and that somewhere always seems to involve water. There is something about the colors and rhythms of water that soothes my soul. Today I'm going to be silent and just show you the quiet, still places I found this past week. Enjoy!

'The world is quiet here."
~Lemony Snicket

Monday, October 9, 2017

Please Sit Down

If my dad hadn't been watching a three o'clock news program and if I hadn't been at his house making out his grocery list, I probably wouldn't have know about a wonderful exhibit at the Arkansas Arts Center until it was over. It wasn't the type of exhibit I expect to be at the Arts Center. When I think of art exhibits I think of photography, paintings, or sculptures. This exhibit was "The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design" sounded intriguing! And, it was!

Over forty chairs were exhibited showing the unique history of each chair. The earliest chairs in the exhibition were made in the first half of the 19th century. One of the oldest is this Ladderback Doll's Chair. Wood samplings identified the chair as probably being made in what is now the state of Maine. So very sweet and so very small.

Beside it sat a Rocking Arm Chair designed and made by the Mount Lebanon Shaker Community, New York, about 1840. I loved the chair, I really did, but the shadows  below it captivated me.

In 1857 two-hundred and sixty-two House of Representative Chairs were designed by Thomas Ustick Walter. Many patriotic symbols were carved into the wood of these chairs: the federal shield bearing the stars and stripes is centered on the crest rail; olive boughs, a symbol of peace, run down the left stile; oak boughs, symbols of strength, run down the right stile; and stars decorate each corner. I was amazed at the wood carving, so precise and so beautiful!

I know I went to see the chairs, but the lighting created such great shadows, especially behind this Gothic Revival Side Chair which was made between 1845 and 1855 in New York, NY. 

The intricate carvings on some of the chairs were breathtaking. These two different Slipper Chairs (on the right in the photo above) were carved out of rosewood about 1855 and 1860 by John Henry Belter. The low seat height made it easier for 19th-century women to put on their stockings, slippers, and other attire. I could use one of these for putting on my shoes!

And then we came to this lovely ruby red chair. In the 19th century furniture makers became enchanted by what was know as "patent furniture." Patent furniture was created by using either new materials or a unique process of manufacturing for which a patent was sought from the government. One such chair is the Centripetal Spring Arm Chair, designed by Thomas E. Warren and manufactured by the American Chair Company of New York in 1850. The stationary back and seat sit on light cast iron springs. The chair could rock vertically and laterally rotating in any direction by just shifting your weight as you sit. My grandsons would love to sit and wiggle in this chair. We might have to change the fabric color. I don't think they'd like the red or the fringe! It looks a little feminine. 

As the chair became more modern they didn't appeal to me as much. They were unique and interesting, but they didn't have the nostalgic feel of the older ones. I have an old soul that loves really old things!

The exhibit, though so very different from any I've seen at the Arts Center, was both fascinating and enlightening. Who knew chairs could be art! Let me leave you with a quote that was written on the wall as we entered the exhibit area.

"The discontented man finds no easy chair."
~ Benjamin Franklin

Monday, October 2, 2017

Scene & Story - September 2017

Each evening as the day wears down, I sit and reflect on the events of the day and then write in my gratitude journal things I am grateful for. Sometimes the list is long and other times it may be only a few items. Always at the top of the list are my God, my family, my country, and my health, but many days there are things added that seem trivial, maybe even silly. I recently went to a museum that was full to overflowing with antique items and took this picture. Reflecting on just this one picture, I realized how much I have to be grateful for and that nothing is too trivial to write down. On this day I was grateful for . . . 

electric stove,
butter in a tub or stick,
vacuum cleaner,
washing machine,
ready made clothes,
sweet smelling soap,
and a large bathtub.

Rarely do we give modern conveniences a second thought, unless they break or we're out of them! Seeing how those in past generations lived and what they had, makes me grateful I live in this century, in this place, and have what I have.

* * * * *
This is a day late, but i'm linking with Scene & Story hosted
by Sarah and Lee.

Join us each month as we choose a photo and tell a story.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Bois d'Arc Tree

One can only imagine what this tree has seen and heard in it's lifetime. On this plot of land where it's spread it's roots and branches it may have seen the building of a military installation to guard settlers from angry Indian attacks. Later it probably witnessed the construction of one of central Arkansas' oldest buildings, the Arsenal Building, where munitions for the military post were stored. It watched soldiers from both the North and the South during the civil war. It was nearby when Douglas MacArthur was born in a nearby building. MacArther would become General of the United States Army during WWII and most of the Korean War. Through it's long life it has witnessed so much history.

This is a Bois d'Arc tree which means "wood of the bow" in reference to the Osage Indians practice of making bows and war clubs from the tree's wood. It has others names as well: Osage Orange, Horse Apple and Hedge Apple, which refers to the fruit of the tree.

The Good

This is my favorite tree. Any time I'm near, I stop and take more pictures. As I was taking pictures a gentleman from the nearby museum came out to replace two of the flags that are at the Veteran's Memorial. I stood watching him through the branches. It was a touching moment to see the flags raised in honor of fallen soldiers.

The Random
I've never found another tree that has such fascinating bark. It has wonderful texture and color in the deep swirls and crisscrosses of it's gnarled wood. The bark also contains tannin and was once used for tanning leather. The heartwood is bright orange. I could spend hours studying the bark and roots. Some of the roots are above ground and are at least 12" high. 

The Fun

The wood of Bois d'Arc trees is quite valuable due to it's density, which makes it suitable for everything from fence posts to artistic woodcarving. And one last fun fact, the fruit of the tree repels numerous insects, including spiders and cockroaches. This is certainly an interesting and useful tree! I'm looking forward to going back in a few weeks to see it covered in autumn color.

Let’s take our hearts for a walk in the woods
and listen to the magic whispers of old trees.
~Author Unknown

Linking today with