Red-Winged Blackbird

The red-winged blackbirds begin check-check-check-ing at me as I walk down the road.

With dog, without the dog — it doesn’t matter. I’m a threat and they need to let the world, or, at the very least, their fellow blackbirds know that danger approaches.

They sit on fenceposts, telephone wires, tree branches, cattails, and other tall weeds.

Red-winged blackbird speck

I have stopped on multiple occasions to try to snap pictures of them. I either end up with a tiny speck of a bird or empty wires, branches, etc.

They flee from the fenceposts when I stop walking. I can’t focus on taking a picture while walking. My phone is my camera, nothing fancy for zooming in. Walking pictures are a mess.

Frankly, I’ve given up on photographing them.

For me, the red-winged blackbirds must be enjoyed from a distance or in my periphery. As abundant as they are, they are also too elusive for me to photograph well.

Sometimes life is like that, don’t you think? It simply can’t be tackled head-on. We can’t stop and savor each little thing, but we can enjoy the brief moments as they pass.

Now the birds that have taken up residence in our birdhouse tease me in the same way. One tiny nondescript bird sits on the chimney of birdhouse, singing merrily, until I get out my phone/camera. I look to find the camera icon on my screen, look back up, and she’s gone. Either both birds in the pair are blasé brown, or I haven’t seen the mister.

Elusive

I need to improve my mental camera when I see them or my memory of their song or create some other method if I ever hope to identify these occupants.

Or, maybe I need to stop worrying about it and enjoy the moment.

Does everything have to have a name? Does everything have to be captured and held?

In our instant electronic gadgety techno age, we’ve lost the looking-out-of-windows and being-in-the-moment.

Sometimes I wonder if children riding in the car down the east coast of the United States even see the Pedro billboards. Or, in rural Nebraska or Iowa, if they see the monotony of corn fields. Or is that when they’re busy watching Frozen for the umpteenth time?

Because if they miss Pedro and the corn, they’ll most certainly miss the many red-winged blackbirds check-check-check-ing from the fencepost.

A Brief Recounting of Our Trip to France

I confess — I had to look up the meaning of evanescent, this week’s photography challenge. It means “soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.”

That’s describes my trip to France, I thought.

Life is already crowding out the moments I thought I would savor for a long time.

To hold onto the memories a little longer, I put together a two picture per day summary.

May 13 — Travel day

British Airways took very good care of us. At the urging of a friend, I upgraded both my father and my brother to each have a “Biz Bed”. Because we were traveling with someone who needed assistance (my father was in a wheelchair), we also got special treatment. I’m not exactly sure what all the little dots meant, but they were good. My brother and father got to eat in the British Airways lounge before the flight, while Bud and I had a quiet dinner in a little airport restaurant. 

It was pouring when we left Newark. This was my view out the window.

May 14 Arrive in France, make our way to Normandy

My sister and her husband met us at the airport.

When we finally arrived at Bayeux, we were tired and hungry. I had Croque Monsieur for the first time in my life at a little cafe a stone’s throw from our hotel.

May 15 Normandy

We loved everything about our hotel in Bayeux, the Villa Lara. This rabbit guarded the stairway door.

For our first day with our guide, he brought us to the Pegasus Bridge and the Canadian cemetery. Colin had so many stories to tell, but I think my favorite of all of them was here, of the bagpiper who played for the British troops.

May 16 Normandy

We had coffee every morning in a little sitting area off my sister’s room. I loved seeing the cathedral.

Among the places we visited this day was Sainte-Mère-Église where a paratrooper had gotten caught on the church steeple.

May 17 Normandy — then travel to Paris

The craters from the shelling at Omaha Beach were very impressive.

 

The view from a German bunker at Omaha Beach.

Then we drove to Paris.

May 18 Paris

We walked around Paris. Old and new stand side by side.

Dinner cruise on the Seine. The Eiffel Tower is pretty spectacular.

May 19 Paris

LaDuree — the macaroons are amazing.

Impressive art at the Petit Palais.

May 20 Travel day

The return trip. Waiting at the airport.

 

I’m easily amused. I thought “Salad Sauce” was funny. The flight home felt a thousand times longer — I looked for entertainment where I could find it.

May 21 Collapse

This was how we all felt the next day.

 

Tennis

Blast from the past photographs —

Three years ago today, as we waited word on the arrival of our first grandson, we also watched Karl and his partner, Michael, play tennis for high school sectionals.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is …

Some of the top Google responses for that are:

… a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. (Wikipedia)

…. a myth. (https://janefriedman.com/reasons-for-writers-block/)

…often caused by conflicted feelings. (www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/writersblock/)

…simply a minor speed bump that you can overcome easily and stay in the creative flow. (http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-ways-to-overcome-writers-block)

…your secret weapon to becoming a better and more resilient writer. (www.copyblogger.com/use-writers-block/)

So, for good or for bad, I’m putting out a post today.

I used today’s prompt: final

Which sounds so very, um, final.

How about last? Can I do last?

Here’s the last picture taken on my phone —

an unedited sunset from the other night.

It won’t be the last

Or the final

Sunset

or

Picture

Looking Across the Valley

My parents’ house used to have a large front porch. I can remember my mom and dad sitting out there after dinner during the summer, drinking coffee and watching the sun set.

Last night, from another room, I watched my father get up and push his walker to the front window. He peered out for a few minutes and then hobbled back to his chair.

When I came in, he said, “Just take a look at that out there.”

I walked over to the window and stood where he had stood. The sun was low on the horizon.

“Isn’t that lovely?” he asked. “The sun is… is…” He struggled to find the words.

“It’s setting in the west,” I said.

“Yes, that’s right. The sun is setting in the west, and it’s beautiful,” he said.

One of the best things about this old farmhouse is it’s view across the valley. No one can put a price on that.

This picture was taken one of those first years we lived in the house. (Ignore the kids in front — my hair still doesn’t want to curl the way it’s supposed to, my sister no longer wears cat-eye glasses, my little brother is considerably taller, my oldest brother has passed away, and my middle brother smiles for the camera now.)

 

1968?

The farm across the valley is still there, just a different color. But our fence is long gone. It’s still a lovely view.

The Good Earth

Planting time

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.

Audrey Hepburn

The good earth — fresh from the compost

The ground’s generosity takes in our compost and grows beauty!
Try to be more like the ground.

Rumi

1968-69?

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops,
but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

Masanobu Fukuoka

Photo Challenge — Earth

Whytecliffe Park

Come sit with me on this rocky ledge
And gaze into the bay
Water greengrayblueandwhite
Splash-splash-crash and spray

I had read to watch for seals that frolic in Horseshoe Bay at Whytecliffe Park near Vancouver, British Columbia. Still, it was a pleasant surprise.

Even without the frolicking seal, I could have sat by the water all day.