Garden of Angels

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Drove by a cemetery on my way home yesterday

This tree captured my attention so I stopped to see it up close

It is a memorial of sorts with all manner of happy remembrances, letters and photos

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Loved ones pronouncing the past with exuberance

I suspect those in remembrance would be happy with the holiday cheer

Glitter and garland aren’t limited to pine trees indoors

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Memory can affect us in a myriad of ways

These folks chose to think of happier times

Makes me wonder what am I making now

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Angels of sorts perhaps

Joyful memories despite all of life’s struggles

Jesus making Christmas possible

Merry Christmas to all

Wheels of Time

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Grilles and chrome

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and hood ornaments and fancy headlights

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and rear fins and long bodies

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and more fins and classic styling

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to the muscle car era of the mid-60’s and early 70’s

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and just about any imaginable engine / trany configuration one wanted to pay for

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to modern muscle cars with more comfort, horsepower and better gas mileage

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one more icon, the Corvette

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yellow was the new “hot color” back in the “day”

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so was the celebrated LS Chevy engine, long front end, flared fenders, gills, T-top and so much more.

Not that many cars at this show, but enough to want more horsepower and nostalgia. Funny, no Mustangs or other high-performance Fords at this show. They are out there.

Today, car manufacturers are turning out faster and better cars than ever before…who would have thought after the 1980’s gas crunch, impotent and ugly automobiles and 55 mph speed limits?

By the way, the yellow Vet is for sale!

 

 

Abstract

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My father-in-law for forty-two years died Wednesday after a seven year battle with Alzheimer’s; that dreaded disease of the brain which also kills the body. Ugly.

Cheryl and I remarked that we are now the oldest generation within our immediate families…all of our parents and grand parents are gone. Strange feeling.

So many memories and situations. Not all were terrific, but the majority were good. Charlie always treated me with respect and with generosity. I am grateful.

Life goes on, but I feel like this abstract painting I photographed-it is full of mystic and interpretation, but leaves one wondering. I wonder about so many things.

Rest in peace, Charlie. Rest in peace. This is your time of reunion.

 

D A D

Funny thing, dad is one of few words when spelled backwards is still spelled the same. One can invert the word: start it from back to front or down to up and vice versa. Not sure why I started this post that way, except to lighten how I feel.

Dad, we miss you; your daughter and I. Cheryl, too. You left us too long ago…so, so long ago. Yet, our memories of you are alive and your blood pulses in our veins. We bare your name, and your imprint is stamped on our hearts acknowledging we are your possession.

Valerie reminded me that today commemorates the anniversary of your passing. Your grandchildren were so little then. How you loved them. And, how they would have benefitted from your presence in their lives for years to come. But, that was not to be.

We were fortunate, though. Too many don’t know their dads or are mistreated by them. Fond memories for these are far and few between-if ever. So, in that respect, we are rich to have know such a grand gentleman as yourself. Perfect-far from it, but we can take solace in that we bare the same imperfections as you. We also carry within us some of the more grand characteristics of lives lived with a sense of integrity.

To dwell on the sorrow is okay for a moment, but our lives move on. Everyone knows this truth, but it is sometimes difficult to accept. So, I conclude this more serious than usual post by simply saying this. I honestly hope that when it is my time to vacate this mortal body, my loved ones will know the same love I have for them as you gave to us.

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Stained glass from the chapel where dad’s last tribute was made by his family & many friends.

Shadows

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Shadows can be fun, mysterious, frightful, intentional, random, and even boring. Regardless of how they are viewed and make us feel, they can all be explained by a law of physics: light is interrupted by an opaque or semi-opaque object and darkness is created in the form of the object on the opposite side of the illuminated object.

The shape and degree of darkness are controlled by several factors: light intensity, angle of the light source illuminating the object, movement of the object or light source, opaqueness of the object being illuminated, location of the viewer with respect to the object, the terrain upon which the shadow falls, and the distance of the shadow.

In the case of this lengthy shadow, I was atop the lighthouse with a clear view of the shadow being cast. The sun was bright and at an angle as it was afternoon. The lighthouse was opaque, except for the glass windows which reveal the light fixture. Although the type of surface which accepted the shadow changes from land to water, both are relatively level and flat. Hence, the shadow is directly in-line with the lighthouse.

However, aside from a scientific explanation there is something else about shadows-perhaps something almost sinister. Our imaginations can run wild so-to-speak when we allow the shadow to come ‘alive’ in our minds. We ‘feel’ its presence which can send chills up our back and make us look over our shoulder repeatedly. Yet, logically, we know shadows are not alive, but they are attached to the object casting it via invisible cords. Those cords which lead us to the objects are what we really fear-the shadows only confirm their existence.

There are more to shadows than meets the eyes. It is what they reveal which makes them so special..so ethereal. Not only do they reveal a hint of the object casting the shadow, they often expose something deep inside of us which is only triggered by the faded image. When I gaze upon this scene I am reminded of warmth, relaxation and discovery-all very pleasant feelings. Fortunately, I viewed this shadow in bright circumstances and there was no negativity attached to it or the lighthouse. That is not always the case.

I recall a memory of shadows which affected me unexpectedly. Many years ago I hiked to the top of a 12,000 foot mountain in the Rockies of Colorado. The day was sunny and the weather pleasant. After a while I noticed dark, swiftly moving shadows rolling across the rocky terrain. Clouds, and then more clouds. Fast and then faster they came. With the sun blazing above them they cast menacing looking images onto the mountain top. I recall vividly how I suddenly felt so very small and insignificant in comparison to the grandeur of nature’s power. The majesty of the mountains coupled with a storm fast approaching made me very aware that had I stayed on top of that mountain when the full force of the storm passed over, I would not have returned from whence I started. I was amazed that all it took were shadows to evoke these thoughts and feelings.

With a slight chuckle I think of the movies with sinister plots and shadows which scare those acting as well as those viewing.  Feelings of fearfulness and harm cause the heart to race-all because of shadows. Or, is it the shadows? Perhaps deeper reasons exist.

Memories

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He leaned heavily toward the house and could have done considerable damage to the structure and overhead utilities. So, he had to go, as painful as it was to make the decision to take him down. I arranged the felling of this tree, paid for it’s removal, and even assisted the forester. Cheryl was sad to see him go as she and her siblings played under his branches when they were children. Memories remain even though the curled bark can no longer be touched nor the trunk scaled and branches climbed.

If this big tree could talk, he would speak of fields full of crops and of farming. He witnessed yearly plantings and harvests, grazing animals, and a farmstead with family members fulfilling their chores and friends sharing picnic lunches. Many a sunny day bathed this tree’s leaves while rain and snow drenched his roots. This old boy provided shelter for birds and squirrels who built countless nests in his secure branches. He knew the sounds of children’s laughter swinging high above the earth on homemade rope swings. This once proud maple eventually witnessed the development of a housing subdivision in the late 1950’s. Farmland was replaced by neatly organized neighborhoods with modern streets, utilities, houses and nearby amenities. Yet, he remained standing-like a sentinel.

Eventually, the process of rotting began within his lower trunk, thus reducing the ability of this tree to support the upper trunks and branches as they leaned uncomfortably toward the house. Yet, in spite of this gradual deterioration, he still managed to stand tall, grow leaves in the spring, and even provide a home for raccoons and opossums.

However, there comes a time when the risk outweighs the benefit and he had to be taken down. Watching this 125+ year old maple reduced to firewood made me think about life…and memories. Since there is no Fountain of Youth to drink from, no eternal elixir to be swallowed, and no magical spell which will stop aging; much of what will remain when we leave this home we call Earth are memories. In some cases there may be ongoing programs and inventions created by individuals, and great legacies of victories and cures. However, when one is remembered and even honored, the memories reign supreme.

Although my father fell 32 years ago, his birthday anniversary is today, February 4th. He would be 92 had he reached this day. I am grateful to have known him in a positive sort of way, and to have been loved by him even though I was only a young father when he died. To be sure, I recognize that all memories may not be pleasant for some, and may often be very painful to visit. Too many children don’t even know their father which is a travesty. However, my hope is for all of your future ones to be filled with much joy and fondness. Never take for granted the sweet moments when wonderful memories can be made, and then act upon them like there is no tomorrow. Spring is just around the corner!

 

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This Old Barn

Misc. 10-25-14 008 I chose to shoot this barn a few weekends ago when the sun was rising in the east and burning off a rather thick drapery of fog. By the time I arrived, the fog was little more than a thin illusion. But no matter, as the brilliance of the sun’s rays began to illuminate the old barn minute-by-minute, it was like watching a video image brought into focus. The closer I walked towards the structure the more I understood that I was treading on hallowed ground (quite literally).Misc. 10-25-14 012This old barn has served her purpose. She sheltered her livestock and hay alike, provided storage for the master’s tools, encouraged folk to sit on her porch after a hard day’s work, and with her proud silo she stored the treasure which was harvested. But now she is in a state of disrepair, but not forgotten or she would have been torn down years ago. No, she has accepted retirement gracefully and awaits her final fate…the same fate that awaits us all. Whether one is seven, twenty-seven, fifty-seven or eighty-seven, all will end up retired. Not in the sense of investment advertisements, for they paint a picture that is foreign to how we were originally wired. Rather, retirement is a matter of accepting what is inevitable and responding in a positive manner-regardless of what difficulties may exist or await us.Misc. 10-25-14 035