About Michael Doran

I have been encouraged and inspired by many throughout my life, and seek to do the same for others. My blogs and photographs reflect who I am and what I am thinking or seeing at the moment I post something. I hope what I share brings pleasure and meaning to others. Thank you for viewing my posts.

The Times They Are a Changin’

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The times they are a changin’…Bob Dylan 1964

First rays of sun rise illuminating the electricity pole, and the first blooms of a Bradford pear tree. Could it be the season is a changin’, too?

Bob Dylan wrote and recorded this song during the height of the civil rights and social activist movements. He sang it live for the first time the same day President Kennedy died. He said it was a bit surreal, but his entire concert was built around this song.

Surely, we can all relate that we are indeed a part of a very fast changing world. And the boomer’s parents thought their world was changing fast ! And, it was for them. In fact every generation witnesses or is a part of social, economic, political and global change.

Sometimes these changes produce positive results and sometimes not so much. Some changes last while others burn out rather quickly. Sometimes, due to ignorance or factual knowledge, we fear or welcome change and at other times change is almost imperceptible.  Either way changes are occurring all around us and within us.

I hope that the many changes which are upon us will turn out to be positive and productive, regardless of how much we loathe them or like them now. May each of us be a positive force in this world of seemingly endless change. That’s my hope.

 

Baker’s Dozen !

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Mother hen with her brood of ducklings at one of Kansas City’s iconic locations, Loose Park. Watching ducklings or goslings (baby geese) follow their moms around a pond or lake is pure joy!

The babies don’t stray far from mom, but if one gets the idea to lag behind a bit too far, the parental command is given to get back in the group and pronto.

I named this post after what used to be common in the donut world. Years ago when you went to fetch a dozen donuts for the office or family, many shops would include a thirteenth donut which is how the term Baker’s Dozen became known in America. I don’t buy donuts very often, but in talking with people who do they only get twelve and are usually surprised to learn about some baker’s generosity. It was a really smart marketing idea as the shops which gave out an extra donut were usually the busiest.

Actually, there are several theories as to how this term and and extra donut came about and it didn’t involve donuts at all. Do some research and learn when and where this practice was born. Too bad it isn’t done very much today…not that folks need donuts in the first place. However, it’s always fun to get a little extra for no additional cost. As for mom and her ducklings, thirteen is pretty common. I wonder where dad (called a drake) flew off to! He’s probably looking for the generous donut shop!

Porches

B & W Porches

If you could see the farthest porch, it is about twelve houses away from the vantage point where I took this image. These bungalow style ranch houses were built in the late 1920s to early 1930s. Aside from the exact arrangement of each porch in-line with the next for an entire block, the sizes and shapes of these homes were all very similar; the main differences being exterior accents. Each house had a shared driveway between the next home to get to the single car detached garages.

Life was quite a bit simpler in those days and incomes were modest, but comparable. These houses were considered the newest thing in home building as urban began its spread to suburban…hardly by today’s standards. There have been many changes over the years in neighborhoods such as this one. Once considered up and coming, they have been demoted to the lower income class.

The one thing that hasn’t changed are the porches. Back in the days when air conditioning wasn’t invented, people took to the porches to relax in the evenings and weekends, and there was a great deal of waving, swing rocking and talking with one another. Today, these porches still become places of fellowship, even with interior air conditioning. Sometimes the closeness can be disturbing depending on the neighbors, but for the most part these ninety year old porches serve the same purpose.

They create space for human interaction. The separation so prevalent today with suburban houses built further apart, where the vehicles are garaged and the cars pull in and out with the push of a button, neighbors may not be seen for weeks!

Perhaps we need more porches closer together. Grab a cold glass of iced tea, rock on the swing with a friend or family member and relax. Summer is just around the corner.

An Army of Sentinels

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Raked and rolled before the air turned cold and the days became shorter, these bales of harvest hay lay tall in the early morning sunlight awaiting the onslaught of man’s progress at the nearest property adjacent to them. Already foundation work has began, but these sentinels guard their field like it was their last stand..and it may well be. Urban sprawl pushes farther and farther outward, engulfing the natural terrain and man-made abundance contained within her.

 

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Regardless if there is a pasture of a hundred bales or simply a few, the significance is real. They are used as feed for livestock, ground covering for grass seed and even erosion control for the construction which will one day occupy this patch of green earth. In the meantime they will silently stand watch over the hallowed ground bequeathed to them for however long they have. For their charge to protect was without days or years. They will be missed when their job is over. They are worthy of our respect.

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Now that daylight extends beyond the darkness, companion growth accompanies the hay as if joining a symphony. Lilies of all sorts are cropping up pell mell and berry bushes are beginning to show signs of vigor. Trees are budding. Spring is certainly on her way. I’ve always lived in places with four seasons. I don’t know what it would be like not to. I suppose both have their pluses and minus’. Whichever temperate zone you live in, I believe there is a plethora of beauty to experience…so go to it !

Here Comes The Sun

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Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter

Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right, it’s all right…                                                           The Beatles, 1969

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Sublime or Mundane ?

Slider Squirrel

If squirrels had their own social media this gal would rate highly. Just look at that flamboyant tail-you won’t see many that bushy or multi-colored. And, that pose, viewed from the rear which has become so popular. Then there is that coy expression with a sideways glance as if to say, “What do you have that I don’t have?”. Let’s not forget her marbled eye, cute twitchy nose and tiny whiskers. All of this beauty while balancing steadily on a slider chair with a nonchalant grip on the iron bar. I’m surprised she didn’t take a selfie!

Seriously, this is my last photograph of a squirrel for quite some time, but I couldn’t resist such a beckoning subject. After taking a jet tour through various social media sites recently, I was reminded how much this rodent has in common with humans, social media and self-publication. I mean, how many images can one take of eating out or hugging friends; enjoying a cocktail or describing what makeup to use; vacation photos about how many places one has seen in a day, a week, a month or a year; digitized faces and places which we try so desperately to convince others that are as real as they appear. Egos get stroked and reality choked.

I’m not against sharing good looks, fun moments, fantastic locations, unusual food or exotic experiences. It’s just that we share the ‘fantastic’ so often that our images and texts all tend to blend together into one big melting pot of the same extraordinary. Where are the mundane photos such as of a motorist double-parked because he or she was late to an appointment or a couple hand picking fruit while at the grocery store? How about  kids tossing rocks in a stream or dogs simply laying around doing nothing but panting? Corporate meetings where half the attendees are falling asleep or mimes losing their balance while acting on street corners in NYC?

Ordinary doesn’t sell…not on television, in videos, on social media outlets, in magazines or even within our government. And, certainly not through our ‘smart’ phones or tablets where we post and view so much of this extraordinary content. Sensationalism is all the rage and Americans lead the parade. Perhaps my optical lenses need to be cleaned so I can see Americana without the bias. And, hopefully, my perspective will change along with clarity. I really do want to be a part of the sublime-especially when framed within the daily routines of life.