36,000 Feet

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Many of you have witnessed this dynamic  view from a commercial jet. This one was flying at 525 mph at an altitude of 36,00 feet. We must have had a decent tailwind because we arrived almost twenty minutes early. Typically, most commercial jets fly around 400 to 450 mph to preserve fuel.

Flying from the east coast to Kansas City, the cloud covering began to thicken as we got closer to our destination. I like clouds and find them fascinating as long as I am above them or below them…not so much when I am in the midst of them. Flying in a bus with wings is equally as fascinating. After the Wright Brothers, Bleriot and Curtis changed the concept of “lighter than air travel”, literally the sky became the limit. Needless to say, our lives have been changed forever.

Instead of taking a steam ship across an ocean, a stage coach across the plains or walking from one village to another, man’s expectations and ingenuity created newer and faster and more comfortable means of travel. Considering how we traverse the world (much less our city or rural countryside) we have leaped ahead a century into impatient people who can’t stand to wait a moment longer to board a plane , a train, a rental car or taxi. A far cry from not that long ago. Waiting was simply a part of life then and still is in many parts of our world.

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Perhaps the most daunting challenge concerning flying in this century is going through security and obtaining our boarding pass (if not done ahead of time). It is not just the process, but also there are a certain amount of travelers who are in hyper-mode and can be quite rude at times. Ever missed a flight? I have. Was it enjoyable? No. Did I survive? Yes. Will I travel by jet again? Yes. Although I haven’t traveled on Virgin Airlines to-date, I believe Richard Branson had it right when he said that air travel should be less stressful and more enjoyable. He had the money to change that and he created a new and different commercial airline company. Kudos to him for doing so.

On my flight back from Philadelphia I witnessed numerous young families with babies and toddlers. They were pushing strollers, carrying bags, pulling bags, walking with backpacks and children in arms. One would expect these parents would be the most rude and less understanding about all of the rules and waiting. Instead, I found them to be the most patient and pleasant of all the travelers I encountered. So, why are those who have the most issues to deal with the most patient and pleasant. Perhaps dealing with issues on a regular basis, and knowing what to expect prepared them for the task ahead with the end result being worth it. Whether visiting family and /or friends or vacationing, they took all of the hassles in stride. It’s kind of like our ancestors did before technology “simplified” our lives. I appreciated the 36,000 feet ride back home more than ever…even with babies crying.


Leaf Shadow June 23, 2017

I hiked in a nearby wooded park yesterday morning. Using my cell phone’s camera, I captured several images of nature’s creation. Besides the vibrant colored wild flowers and insects, this particular image grabbed my attention. The play of the sun sifting through the thick canopy of trees created all manner of shadows. In this case the dead wood provided the perfect screen for the leaves to project their shadow upon.

I didn’t linger as I was walking for enjoyment as well as for exercise. I have thought about shadows since I took this photograph. Wherever there is light, there will be a shadow. When I was atop a 12,000 ft. mountain in the Rockies several years ago, I recall these giant clouds rolling overhead at a very fast rate. Yet, their shadows seemed so small when blanketing the terrain. I recall feeling so insignificant in comparison. Nature has a way of putting our lives in proper perspective.

Shadows can’t always be trusted because they don’t always reveal accurately the very essence of the thing being illuminated. They can become quite distorted depending on the angle of light and the screen they are displayed on.

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Why is it we are sometimes afraid of shadows? I believe it hinges on the object being illuminated. If we don’t know what or who is causing the shadow, this is when our imaginations can run wild. Many movies have used shadows to invoke fear in the hearts of the actor, as well as the viewers of the movie. Dark alleys, blowing trees at night, a cat racing across a darkened room, an arm raised with an object that looks like a knife…there are endless possibilities!

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I have been ran over by my own shadow on many occasions. I have stepped on many shadows, as well. I’ve even had shadows follow me. But, I have never had a shadow hurt me. Besides making one feel scared at times, shadows can be fun…think of shadow animal figures projected on a wall. This form of art can become quite amusing. It is what’s in front of the shadow that we are really concerned about. A palm tree perhaps!

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Leader of the Band

In America we celebrate things such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, and many more. This Sunday we will be celebrating Father’s Day. It is a time of family gatherings, visiting parents and grandparents or simply doing something nice for dad.

I have thought quite a bit about this year’s Father’s Day, probably due to the fact that Cheryl lost her father in January, and a brother (who is a dad) last year. I lost my Father thirty-three years ago, yet I still miss him. Also, friends of ours just lost their dad to cancer. So, it really doesn’t surprise me that this particular Father’s Day has impacted me. I was going to write a tribute to fathers, but recalled a song which has always resonated with me. I hope it does for you, as well. The lyrics are below, but I also encourage you to listen to this song via YouTube or other audio/visual website; it is soothing and thought provoking.

The singer/songwriter is Dan Fogelberg. He wrote and recorded this song in 1981 as a tribute to his father who died the following year. I dedicate this song to all good fathers- alive, fallen or off to war. And for the many souls who have never known a father or who may have had one who was mean-spirited or only there in form, uninvolved. Bless you, and may you find someone who will be a father to you. And most importantly, we have a loving Father above. Look to Him.

Leader of the Band

An only child, alone and wild, a cabinet maker’s son, his hands were meant for different work and his heart was known to none. He left his home and went his lone and solitary way, and he gave to me a gift I know I never can repay.

A quite man of music, denied a simpler fate, he tried to be a soldier once but his music wouldn’t wait. He earned his love through discipline, a thund’ring, velvet hand. His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band.

My brother’s lives were different, for they heard another call. One went to Chicago and the other to Saint Paul. And I’m in Colorado, when not in some hotel, living out this life I’ve chosen, come to know so well.

I thank you for the music and your stories of the road. I thank you for the freedom when it came my time to go. I thank you for the kindness and the times when you got tough. And, papa, I don’t think I said “I love you” near enough.

The leader of the band is tired and his eyes are growing old, but his blood runs through my instrument and his song is in my soul. My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the leader of the band…I am the living legacy to the leader of the band.


On the way to Oz

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This was such a fun photograph to take. Cheryl brought this to my attention well over a year ago after I had completed some branch trimming. The past year or so has made the facial image even more real than before so she directed my attention to the tree again.

The tree is a mature, but not old, Pin Oak. Over the years I have pruned the lower branches as an act of survival or I would have been decapitated while mowing the lawn under its umbrella of tough twigs and branches which seem to bend toward the earth at an ever-increasing rate. I suspect healthy growth and gravity are the culprits. Good for the tree…bad for the man.

The result you see was not intentional. However, I believe I created something akin to the apple trees in the movie, The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion all needed to pause for a refreshing break while on their way to the magical city of Oz for some much needed help. As soon as the nearby apple trees were located while in the enchanted forest, Dorothy plucked an apple from one of them (which looked very similar to this guy). The tree asked her how would she like having an apple plucked from her and then began throwing apples at the group. They hurriedly moved on!

It is a good thing Pin Oaks don’t grow apples. However, they do grow many pin oak nuts which the squirrels love to eat. Perhaps that is why I always see the squirrels scurrying past this tree at a faster rate than any other! They may have had a knock or two on their heads!

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If I were to ask what this image is you are viewing, some of you will get it right away and some will be left wondering (or at least guessing).

Spontaneous and opportunistic are how I would describe my style of photography and prose. In this case I used my cell phone camera because that is all I had available for the moment to snap this photograph.

This image is 100% natural, and laid next to me on the couch early this morning as the sun began to shine brilliantly through an east window in our living room. The sunlight which created a wonderful sheen in the center and faint shadows at the edges captured my attention. Of course, the waves are like a surfer’s paradise and can’t be overlooked.

I share this for the sheer pleasure of doing so. This image is of Carson’s side as the sun illuminated his silky fur. Not all Westie’s are silky, but he certainly is. Carson is a bit unusual in that he likes humans a lot, but doesn’t want to be caressed too much. He is his own dog, so-to-speak. So, when an opportunity comes along, like this morning’s, where he wanted to rest next to me, I looked upon him with admiration and affection.

What is it about our beloved pets that creates such a bond? Those who have and enjoy their pets know that answer… for it lies in the heart.




Montreal Church & High Rise

Welcome.. I chose this photograph of a part of downtown Montreal while visiting a few years ago. The variance from this modern glass-paneled high rise to that of the old stone church initially struck me as out of place due to the proximity of the old and new so close together. Actually, there are several old churches dotting the modern Montreal landscape. There is also an entire historic section of the city referred to as Old Montreal. I like the preservation of the historic contrasting with the contemporary. There is a sense of cohesiveness associated with this dynamic.

The young and the old peacefully co-existing can be applied to people, as well. So can folks of different ethnicity, skin color, language, tradition, religion, cuisine, celebrations, holidays, etc. When people get it right and see diversity as a strength rather than being fearful of it, living together can actually be a pleasant experience for all. I acknowledge that melding together in this era is especially difficult due to the violence of a few who negatively affect so many.

Nevertheless, may we all strive for a piece of Harmony among one another. This is how our world was originally created. Pray that it will continue to be moving forward. Thanks, and enjoy today, tomorrow, being alive and loving what is good and discarding what isn’t. There is too much beauty in our world to be wasted on negatives.