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"Sleepwalker, I feel my way through forest and gorge,

Fantastically around me a magic circle glows;

Not caring whether I'm courted or cursed,

I follow truly my inner calling.


How often that reality in which they live

Has wakened me and summoned me to itself!

I stood there disillusioned and frightened

And soon crept away again.


Oh, warm home that they steal me away from,

Oh, dream of love that they trouble in me,

I flee back to you down a thousand

Close paths, as water returns to the sea."


( Hermann Hesse - from 'Wanderings')


Nikkon D700, Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17 mm

0.6s @ f/8, ISO 100,

Singh Ray 2 stop hard GND

View On Black

Road - "The Levellers" - Play this track here..


¿Whats this iPod Shuffle set all about? Read about it here


See this shot on Alamy here


The Levellers are an English rock band, founded in 1988 and based in Brighton, England. Their musical style is was influenced by punk and traditional/folk music. It is unclear whether the band got its name from a democratic faction of Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army; or according to guitarist, Simon Friend, was chosen from a dictionary.


They are Mark Chadwick, Jeremy Cunningham, Charlie Heather, Simon Friend, Jonathan Sevink and Matt Savage. Originally, all of the band's earnings being put together in a fund from which the members were paid the same amount every day.


1991 saw the release of their second album, Levelling the Land, the source of this track. The LP was a massive success, entering the charts at number 14. The anthemic single "One Way", despite not reaching the Top 40, became a popular song and live favourite for years to come among the travelling and indie community. Levelling the Land is often cited as an all-time classic amongst people who were students or travellers in the early 1990s.


The band are still active. For a good starting point, track down 'One Way of Life: The Very Best of The Levellers'. Tell 'em I sent you :-)




During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Edinburgh was briefly occupied by Jacobite forces before their march into England. Following their ultimate defeat at the Battle of Culloden, near Inverness, there was a period of reprisals and pacification, largely directed at the Catholic Highlanders.


In Edinburgh the Hanoverian monarch attempted to gain favour by supporting new developments to the north of the castle, naming streets in honour of the King and his family; George Street, Frederick Street, Hanover Street and Princes Street shown in this image at dusk, named in honour of George III's two sons.


The historic centre of Edinburgh is divided into two by the broad green swath of Princes Street Gardens. To the south the view is dominated by Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the extinct volcanic crag, and the long sweep of the Old Town trailing after it along the ridge. To the north lies Princes Street and the New Town. The gardens were begun in 1816 on bogland which had once been the Nor Loch.


One of the Edinburgh tramlines can be seen on the right. Edinburgh Trams is a forthcoming tramway system which is currently under construction in Edinburgh, Scotland. It will be the first tram system in Edinburgh since the city’s previous network, Edinburgh Corporation Tramways, shut down in 1956.


The new tram system was originally scheduled to come into operation in July 2011, but the estimated completion date is now 2014, and will initially consist of one line running east-west across the city. Further extensions are planned. Originally budgeted at a cost of £375 million in 2003, the tram system is now anticipated to cost over £600 million.


Checkout more Scots stuff from my photostream.


Keep in touch, add me as a contact so I can follow all your new uploads.


(c) TonySmith Hotpix / HotpixUK


( artl )

12" x 16" Watercolor

Arches 140#CP


It's been cold. The northeast has been hit with a whopper of a blizzard. And here in the sunny south, there are plum trees in bloom, a colorful haze of opening tree buds in the woodlands, and lawns greening up ... It's nutty weather.


I was going through some of my archived 'favorites' and ran across Sharon's incredible photo of this pond. I painted it before in the fall but wanted to warm my chilly bones and paint it again with the feeling of summertime. I wanted to enrich the reflections so I could include it in the Sertoma's Spring Show "Reflections." Please see Sharon's photo here as well as her other wonderful, beautiful and moving work! Thank you Sharon for your gracious permission to use your image once more as an inspiration!


It's been an 'over-the-top' busy week ... finished teaching one set of classes near where I used to work, continued teaching classes near my home, met some friends for lunch, was out of town with a friend for a wonderful, 'simple pleasures' party of food tastings, and spent the last two days sitting myself down and finishing many needed chores like art submissions, class write-ups, preparing for an Herb talk due in 8 weeks (have more work to do on that - but my hand-outs are almost ready), preparing paintings for exhibits, etc, etc. I know, I know, those who told me it would be this way once I retired were certainly correct ... who'd have thought?! LOL


My prayers are with those in the eye of the storm; hope my thoughts and this image warms them a bit .. Have a super, safe, and warm weekend!


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7" x 11" Yupo Paper

Alcohol Ink


We awoke to temps in the 30s this morning, frost making its first appearance and announcing that the splendid fall we've been enjoying will soon come to an end.


I am loathe to let go of my favorite season and so I'll continue to brighten the shortening days with vivid colors on my palette and extend the season a bit longer.


From Hal Borland's "Sundial of the Seasons" (1964) "Frost Walks the Valleys:"


"First frost has walked through the valleys under the half moon. You could hear it whispering through the fallen leaves as it hurried down the hillsides in the evening, feel its crisp breath as it passed you on a country road. And at dawn you could see its path, glistening on the goldenrod stems and powdering the purple asters. Midmorning, and the tender gardens in the lowlands had limp and blackened rows of tomato vines to mark its path.....


First frost is like a newcomer in a strange country, following the beaten paths of the valleys .....


Meanwhile, there will be mornings when the valleys are lakes of mist, with the frost there beneath them. There will be noons when the valley air is almost touched with June. There will be evenings when the long light on the hillsides is full of magic. And there will be nights when the wood smoke wreathes the starlight in the hollows.


But once first frost has passed this way, the pattern is set ..... and after that the frost will walk boldly over the land."


Catch the color while we can! Happy Weekend!

"Every time you feel lost, confused, think about trees, remember how they grow. Remember that a tree with lots of branches and few roots will get toppled by the first strong wind, while the sap hardly moves in a tree with many roots and few branches. Roots and branches must grow in equal measure, you have to stand both inside things and above them, because only then will you be able to offer shade and shelter, only then will you be able to cover yourself with leaves and fruit at the proper season.

And later on, when so many roads open up before you, you don’t know which to take, don’t pick one at random; sit down and wait. Breathe deeply, trustingly, the way you breathed on the day you came into the world, don’t let anything distract you, wait and wait some more. Stay still, be quiet, and listen to your heart. Then, when it speak, get up and go where it takes you."

Susanna Tamaro, Follow your heart, 1994


"Ogni volta che ti sentirai smarrita, confusa, pensa agli alberi, ricordati del loro modo di crescere. Ricordati che un albero con molta chioma e poche radici viene sradicato al primo colpo di vento, mentre in un albero con molte radici e poca chioma la linfa scorre a stento. Radici e chioma devono crescere in egual misura, devi stare nelle cose e starci sopra, solo così potrai offrire ombra e riparo, solo così alla stagione giusta potrai coprirti di fiori e frutti.

Quando poi davanti a te si apriranno tante strade e non saprai quale prendere, non imboccarne una a caso, ma siediti e aspetta. Respira con la profondità fiduciosa con cui hai respirato il giorno in cui sei venuta al mondo, senza farti distrarre da nulla, aspetta e aspetta ancora. Stai ferma, in silenzio, e ascolta il tuo cuore. Quando poi ti parla, alzati e va' dove lui ti porta."

Susanna Tamaro, Va' dove ti porta il cuore, 1994

Let's do one of the most beautiful hikes in the entire Northwest, you say? Nah, I'll put that off a bit longer. Every week for more than two months, Vinny and I have musingly discussed hiking up to Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm since neither of us had ever been. And somehow every weekend we ended up making other plans. I have some weird habit of putting off the places I want to see most. Maybe it's the fear of having nothing left to discover once I finally get to my most sought after locations. Or maybe it's just my trained ability to procrastinate. Yeah, it's probably that.


The autumn reds were coming along nicely at this spot, according to online trip reports. Finally, at the end of September, we just got in the car and drove north. Our friend, Zhou, was kind enough to pick up a permit at the Marblemount ranger station for us and we planned to meet him at the nearest back country camp sometime before sunset.


At the trail head, we quickly got our things together expecting to only stay for a single night since prior obligations would prevent us from staying two. We packed light on food since we wouldn't be staying long and also because we were trying to get in shape for our upcoming Enchantments trip. Beach bodies by October was the goal! Losing a few pounds via starvation and excessive hiking sounded like a brilliant plan at the time.


We awoke at 4:30 the following morning at the Pelton Basin Backcountry Camp and began began making our way up Sahale Arm in the dark. Enough calories were burned for us to desperately dig in to the few snacks we carried. This was breakfast. I went for a Clif Bar and some almonds. Vinny was with just a Clif Bar. Since the sunrise was mediocre, we decided that instead of immediately heading for home, we'd wait around for sunset to give the place another shot and hike to the car in the dark afterwards.


Recalling that we had already eaten half our food in the damp, rainy, and dark camp the previous night, we realized we'd be running low on food. We would each have to wait until after our late-morning nap to indulge in the last pack of ramen.


To help stave off the hunger, we got in our tents and would spend the rest of the day napping. Isn't that how bears go an entire winter without food?


Waking up in a haze to a park ranger's voice demanding to see a permit, while the sun beamed down from directly overhead, I didn't know where I was or how long I had been out. Vinny and Zhou handled the situation before I could even get my bearings and crawl out of the tent. It was a little after two in the afternoon, and we would need to eat the rest of our hot food before starting the hike back up Sahale Arm so we could have the energy to catch sunset. The ramen, of course, tasted incredible given our level of hunger. Vinny was now questioning why he didn't just bring the little pack of cashews with him that he had left in the car. A serious craving for them was beginning to develop.


Huffing and puffing our way back up to some of the best scenery we had ever encountered, there was about a half-hour lull before the light was good. I devoured my final Clif Bar and Vinny nibbled at the last piece of a Rice Krispies Treat he had been saving. That's the stuff chiseled abs are made from, right?


The sunset was amazing and worth staying until nightfall on the second day, as this photo hopefully demonstrates.


The colors of sunset quickly faded to darkness, and only an orange glow was left spanning the western horizon. Vinny, Zhou, and I began hiking back down to the junction at Cascade Pass with the dimming blues of twilight taking over. Within only minutes of our long journey down, I pointed out to Vinny that the condition of his right boot had deteriorated even more since morning when it was clear that the back half of the sole had become unglued from the rest of the boot and was flapping with each step. At this point, he wasn't looking forward to the remainder of the trail.


After making it back down to Cascade Pass, we parted ways with Zhou, who was to stay for one more night. At this point, the sole of Vinny's right boot had become nearly 3/4 separated. It had been dark for over an hour, we were both hungry, and now Vinny's inadequate boot was causing him to walk as if one leg was shorter than the other. Only two more hours to the car, we reminded each other.


We put on 18.5 miles in a little over 24 hours. Not being conditioned to such distances, our legs were killing us and Vinny was having an especially tough time since he had to change his gait in accordance with the flapping sole of his right boot.


Flop, step, flop, step, flop, step, and so it went for hours.


Several times he brought up how badly he wanted to just sit down and eat the cashews he had left in the car. Nothing would be better.


Finally in the dead of night, we made it all the way down to his car, limping and defeated. However, we were overjoyed by the luxurious accommodations that awaited us. Fabric seats, blowing air, and calories abound.


Vinny didn't even take his pack off. He went straight to the left passenger's side door where he knew he had left his cashew treasure. As I unloaded my backpack in the trunk, a shout of disgust pierced the quiet night.


"What happened to my cashews?! Where, where did they go?" Vinny stuttered while holding up an empty cashew wrapper, completely baffled.


Sure, we were both tired and I couldn't help but question whether he had just forgotten that he ate them the day before.


"Maybe you already ate them?"


"No, you don't understand. Something or someone got in this car and took from me my most prized possession. Where are my cashews?!"


Still thinking Vinny was forgetting that he could have just eaten them the previous day, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and check my little stash of food that had been left behind in the back of his SUV. I thought it would be funny if I was actually the one who had eaten the cashews and just didn't remember.


Digging through the trunk, I found a Clif Bar that I had left. A quarter of it was gone and the missing bit of wrapper was shredded and sitting neatly beside the rest of the bar.


My stomach sank. Vinny was right, the missing food wasn't just a symptom of poor memory. A rodent must have somehow gotten into his car.


While the rest of the Clif Bar was tempting, I unfortunately had to weigh the benefit of fifteen pleasure-filled seconds of finishing it off, versus Hantavirus.


What else had I left in the car? Oh yes, some Top Ramen!


A quarter of the pack was gone as well as half the wrapper. This must have been some sort of super rodent, not just eating food, but plastic, too.


While standing next to his car with our headlamps still on, Vinny spotted a mouse running away into the bushes. Having not seen it jump out of the car, we were uncertain as to whether it was the culprit or just a passerby.


Whatever it was, clearly a 3-course meal, complete with cashews, ramen, and even part of a Clif Bar was had at the expense of us not just packing the little extra food. Nervously we got in the car, not knowing whether there was a mouse in there with us.


"Well, I guess it'll have to be Jack in the Box at 1:30am once again," I disappointingly muttered to Vinny.


It was the most uncomfortable of rides, constantly looking over our shoulders for the creature that ruined our evening.


In our famished state with all self control lost, enough fast food was consumed to entirely offset the progress we made with exercise and minimal calories. So much for those October beach bodies. Thanks, mouse.

9" x 12" Watercolor

Arches 140#CP


Oh the glorious cooler weather that was promised --- really did come today!!! When I went for my morning walk at 7:30 am, I needed long sleeves and slacks!! WOW!! And later, even when the sun burned off the fog, temps just managed to reach 80F!!! Absolutely wonderful -- temperatures, skies, breezes -- our first fall morning!


So fitting then, to post this painting. I worked on this when I was visiting Doris, modifying a technique learned from Karlyn Holman ... such fun!


Here in piedmont NC, hidden under 'just turning color' leaves, grapes are ripe. I pick some each morning that I walk, their sweet/tart taste thirst quenching and marvelous. The road crews went through the area cutting back tree limbs to prepare for hurricane season, so many of the grape vines that were laden with fruit have, unfortunately, been cut -- but here and there I can find a handful to enjoy and encourage me to 'keep walking!' lol


Here's to fall temperatures and weeks of wonderful blue skies, puffy clouds and leaves on their way to brilliant!

My imagination has saved my life many times. Instead of giving in to whatever is going on around me – things that may not be positive, sunny, sane or good for the mind, body and soul – my mind has always been able to wander off, sail off or fly off – and find other places to be, even when I couldn’t physically be there. Places where it was positive, and sunny and good. ~ View On Black


If the body can't leave, then just being elsewhere in spirit is enough. Sometimes it has to be. ~ “Azure Skies”, Darshan Ambient


The land, shore, water and sky of Lake Michigan are one such place to visit when one needs to be emotionally, mentally or spiritually away – camera in hand or not.


Strong northeast winds of winter blow huge waves of frigid Lake Michigan water onto our man-made rock shoreline from December through February. Ice formations, up to six-feet deep and up to a mile in length, form along our 25+ miles of breakwalls. And no effort is made to get rid of them. “Nature puts them up, nature will take them down,” it is said. Allow each season to be its own season: I like that kind of thought.


I like wind and storm and wave. So I go out here, to be somewhere else in my being. There is some danger to be sure – it is isolated and if you take a slip and a fall, you are on your own (I tell fellow travelers to wear bright colors; it makes finding the body easier :-) ). But, it is not so risky as to make the hazards outweigh the reward of seeing, hearing, feeling and smelling what such locations have to offer the senses and the spirit.


I call these ice formations, "Chicago’s Glaciers." They look like glaciers in my imagination; in shape, size, color, and the way they snake around the existing environment. In Zen, the ability to see everything, and anything, in fresh and wonderful ways is called “a child’s mind.”


Children see endless possibilities, where adults see only a few, or one, or none. It takes time and work and practice and desire to retrieve one's "Child's Mind," but it is worth the effort.


Anyway, Chicago’s Glaciers pile up over the course of the winter, gaining depth with each new storm and freeze. Then with the coming of spring, their “fields of icy snowpack begin a slow retreat back up the fjord." The debris they leave behind as well as the alternately coarse and subtle changes to the landscape cut by their ice, becomes evident and evidence; available for curious minds to discover, analyze and savor.


Above, a red-tailed hawk circles low to the land, slipping the surface on currents of air, banking in on another pass, looking for any unfortunately exposed, early-season rodents on the scurry (there is as yet, no ground cover in which to hide). Both predator and prey are hoping to find bits and pieces to eat after winter's cupboards have long fallen bare.


Low rise clouds, thickening and gathering moisture on southerly winds, roil low and fast overhead, a gaping yawn of churning mist and water vapor that extends to the horizon. These clouds portend spring’s rain, not winter’s snow.


The retreating ice reveals a mouse or two, perhaps a pigeon or a gull – the unlucky ones or the old; mushed and crushed, skin leathery and slightly mummified, after months sealed under the weight of snow and ice. However, these are not a fresh kills – thus they are only fit to eat were a predator starving. The Hawk ignores them.


Each little world, such as the ones at your feet, not always the one over the horizon, is our own little National Geographic mini-series documentary special on "The Wonder of Nature" in our everyday lives.


At least, I like to imagine it so.


Textures courtesy skeletalmess:


And flypaper textures:


10" x 13" Arches Watercolor

Arches 140#CP


Gray skies, cold weather, landscapes slumbering, I feel the need to hibernate. When days are like the past week - rainy, cold - dim --- nothing feels better than cozying in and creating. It's part of the cycle, I believe, to restore and recharge dull, used batteries. So while the temperatures and light signal this time for contemplation and restoration, I take advantage of it, for here in the south with our weather changing, we'll be sunshiney and warm in a matter of days. For me, oddly enough, when El Sol brightens the earth and the air is warm - I am literally pulled from my cozy nest and encouraged (??? forced/pulled/motivated ??? ) to be outdoors or dashing around. All thoughts and feelings of rest completely evaporate.


Perhaps that's why snow plays such an important part in my painting and mental processes these days. It's such a rariety here that even the threat of a flurry closes schools, highways, and programs. Perhaps it's this need to slow down a bit, rest a bit more that drives the need for external conditions that 'force' a period of quiet that is not otherwise encouraged or allowed. Maybe.


But I also like the stuff, the way the softness of it covers all the sore spots, creates a bit of innocence and magic, and gives us that awesome 'hush' that whispers 'peace.'


Sure, it helps not to have to get out in it, travel, shovel or drive ... lol ... and I can sit by the window, warm and snuggly, and dream. But that too fuels the creative process and the spirit ... and I think, especially after the frenzy of the holidays, ALL of us could use a dose of it.


I hope your weekend is restive, peaceful, and has some time in it for refueling and restoring. It's time.

It's late summer, and the sun is going down for the night. Sometimes, wind, clouds, humidity and dust, get mixed up in the atmosphere in just the right amounts, and we get treated to a long, languid, blood red and orange descent into the deep purple and midnight blue of night's darkness. - Endless Summer, Chieli Minucci.


Most times I fish until it is too dark to see. But when I get teased with the possibility of a sunset such as this, I pack it in early on the fishing, go straight to the car, and start driving west. I can't catch up to a sunset - not without warp drive - but I can drive straight into it, trying to chase it down like a cheetah on a gazelle. Perhaps I can make one minute of fading light and changing color last for two minutes, maybe even three. What should take the sun and the curve of the earth 20 minutes to do, I hope to drag out to 40 by flat out hauling ass and driving straight into it.


Eventually though, sunset outruns me and a dark shroud cloaks the landscape. It is usually a good chase, but, as we've been told many times, "you gotta' know when to fold 'em." Take my foot off the gas, slow down, breathe. Looking at the odometer, I can see my westbound, sunset rundown put me an extra hour away from home. But time spent wanderin' on the road, camera and fishin' gear at hand, always beats gettin' home early. I'll get there when I get there. If not, well that's what credit cards and lonely, out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten-track motels are for. Such a gift it is, to have such feelings of freedom open to one. Not everyone does.


As you dig into the back-roads of Illinois, the land changes over from city to 'burbs to farm country. In summer, you can drive with the windows down, hot air blowin’ in, and mini-dust devils forming on the dash. Sometimes, I like to sing when I'm drivin' around like this. Loudly. It's cool as animals have neither hands to cover their ears nor thumbs to turn down on you. They can't roll their eyes at my fractured notes either, although a few have been known to hiss, growl and howl at my efforts.


There are big `ole bugs on these back roads - bigger than anything we have in the City. You catch them briefly in your headlights, just moments before they go “thunk - splat - and - spread” across the windshield. They'll do this on your forehead as well should you be silly enough stick it out the window while you're driving 60. Dogs and kids love to stick their heads out the windows of moving cars, mouths and noses open to inhale the wind. Secretly, so do many men (especially if we're driving alone or seriously soused). I've eaten more than a few bugs this way. I call them "throat-ticklers."


Come dusk the air gets thick with clouds of gnats, dragonflies and damselflies, mayflies and caddisflies, fireflies and ladybugs; apparently, houseflies have some company out here. Animals - big, untethered ones - wander about in darkening fields. It seems that our urban leash-laws haven't a place out here. (It's amazing that 400-pound beasts in the country are more amenable to human orders than city-bred 20-pound, yip-yapping, ankle-biting dogs back in town who desperately run amok when lucky enough to get out the damn house.)


It smells different out here, on these two lane, blacktop roads. It smells like earth (quite different than our city dirt) It smells like animals too...and like heaven. "Aaaah," you think, "it's the smells of the City that are actually odd...foreign...not these." As you drive past the occasional home or through small towns, if people are out and about, they’ll watch you drive by - their gazes a mix of curious and suspicious - but if you wave, they’ll usually wave back.


Sometimes I hear the drone of aircraft. Up in the sky, I might catch sight of one of those little single-engine, bi-wing, crop dusters. Whether fishing or driving I always hope they are still working the skies as the sun goes down. I am captivated by them. With their engines droning and groaning, they writhe about the sky, twisting, turning, swooping, diving and climbing with what looks to be reckless, joyous abandon, I think to myself, "now THAT is flying. Although I have a fear of heights and don't like big commercial airplanes, in those little machines, I feel like what I imagine birds might feel (or Angels on-the-wing being giddy after a few sips of wine too many).


I was only 52 miles south and west of home, cruising through a patchwork quilt of mature corn, soybean and sugar beet farmland, just south and west of the Kankakee River State Park. Felt like I was farther away than that.


Sometimes I pretend I'm lost and can't find my way back home (its fun to play mind games like that with myself - and I feel no need to justify why I do it). But being lost means I gotta' stay in some small town, get a meal at a local diner, buy a malt at the ice cream parlor, and then catch a late-evening softball game under night lights swarming with bugs at the town's baseball field.


I can pick up the trail to home again in the morning.


Yeah, sometimes, you just gotta’ get out of the city, and find something else to look at; something else to smell; something else to hear; something else to feel.


Sometimes, that feels....pretty damn good.


"Most striking of all Locarno’s sights is the Franciscan Santuario della Madonna del Sasso church (daily 6.30am–7pm), an impressive ochre vision floating above the town on a wooded crag – sasso means rock – and consecrated in 1487 on the spot where, seven years earlier, the Virgin had appeared to Brother Bartholomeo da Ivrea from the San Francesco monastery in the town. The twenty-minute walk up through the lush ravine of the Torrente Ramogno and past a handful of decaying shrines, is atmospheric enough in itself; or you could take the half-hourly funicular from just west of the station to Ticino’s greatest photo-op, looking down through the palms to the sunlit arcaded main front of the church and glittering blue lake behind.


Within the complex is a small museum of icons (Easter–Oct Sun–Fri 2–5pm; Fr.2.50), but the church sanctuary is the focus of all the pilgrims’ attention. On the way through the complex you’ll pass several striking terracotta sculpture groups of biblical scenes. The low, Baroque interior of the church features a number of paintings, two of which stand out: Bramartino’s emotionally charged Fuga in Egitto (Flight to Egypt, 1522) and local artist Antonio Ciseri’s Trasporto di Cristo al Sepolcro (1870). The statue of the Virgin on the high altar was sculpted for the church’s consecration by an unknown artist. By the doorway are dozens of votive offerings from pilgrims giving thanks for the intervention of Mary in their daily lives."


This text has found in: Switzerland. is yours.

"All rivers, even the most dazzling, those that catch the sun in their course, all rivers go down to the ocean and drown. And life awaits man as the sea awaits the river." -Simone Schwarz-Bart


"Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean." -David Searls


Standing at the edge of this place, the tugging wind, the steady roar of water, the fine spray of salt, and the occasional punctuation of rogue waves, is a tremendous cleansing process - i can look over my shoulder and see bits of heartache and depression streaming out behind me, dissolving into sand.


Are they gone for good?.... **sigh** only one way to find out.


(Hello Flickrinos,


Another trip to the ocean - lovely lovely. Brought my suit and hat and umbrella and fake brief case along cuz one never knows...


Cheers, my friends.


your pal.


"Once the herd starts moving in one direction, it's very hard to turn it, even slightly." ~ Dan Rather more of the bison as we captured them traveling down the middle of the was brutally cold & snowing, and I just loved the way they looked with the frost & snow covering their faces....definitely one of those moments that you just have to yield to the herd and let them move along at their own pace :-)


Have a great Wednesday....busy week, so I will try to catch up with everyone later...many thanks for all your visits & comments!!!! - Holy Other, "Know Where" - I do appreciate those of you who take the time to read this. It is long, and our attention spans aren't what they once were.


We had a storm on Halloween; a good one. Some snow, some sleet, lot’s of wind. 60 – 70 mph winds coming out of the north, blowing straight down the 300+ mile length of Lake Michigan. On the east and west coasts, those are low-end hurricane/typhoon wind speeds. For us in Chicago, these are as good as it gets. Daytime temps were in the 40’s; with the wind chills it felt like the 20’s, a far cry from our normal 55 - 64 degrees for Halloween.


When the wind blows from the north, it can push our southern lake water level up two to four feet. That doesn’t sound like much, but our shoreline waters here are shallow, 20 feet on average. That's not deep enough to make tall waves; the extra water transfer from up north helps. As is 4 – 6 foot waves get boating advisories. 8 - 10 footers are newsworthy. These Halloween monster waves were on all TV channels at once.


The waves reached up to 20-feet in height; that has happened only once before. To get 20-foot waves means some extraordinary, barely comprehensible energy is being created in the Lake. The top of the tower, the red light, is 20 – 24 feet above the normal water surface level. Normal depth here is 12 - 14 feet. There is a 30-foot wide, concrete seawall at the base of the tower that sits 8 – 10 feet above the water. I’ve never, not seen that platform. I've never seen it under water. I’ve never seen waves this high in my 64+ years of living here. Never.


For us, this mimicked the Sea. It was divine and extraordinary, deliciously wild, sublimely chaotic. Because the Lake is so shallow, our waves have no chance to develop a rhyme or rhythm to their movements. They swell and dip and break everywhere in tumultuous disarray; on shore as well as out into the Lake as far as the eye could see. You cannot time the waves or predict where they will crash so as to move back from the shoreline to avoid getting drenched and/or swept out to Sea (where it could be days, weeks or months before you are found - thus it is recommended you wear bright clothing for this; makes finding the body easier :-) ). It is dangerous to stand close to the water’s edge.


But how on earth can you not?


It’s said there are a hundred ways to die and, you should have no doubt, one or more of those 100 ways has your name in their hands (with a bit of a contest going as to who will get to you first). That being said, well, being swept away to die for ones photographic or video art, or for just plain and simple curiosity, or for the sheer giddiness and idiocy of being so close to something so grand, probably beats a bunch of the other ways that will surely come your way.


Of course, I am speaking for myself.


I could have resisted, but I choose not to. I suspected I was going to sacrifice a camera here. Water spray, rain and sleet were everywhere, and digital point-and-shoots aren't good bedfellows with water in any form. I only hoped to get some decent images before it said, “Argh, they got me boys, I’m a gonner,” and shut down operations, like the Terminator’s glowing red eye going dim and black when it went got crushed.


And digitals aren’t keen on being cold, and trying to focus with nothing to lock onto except smooth sky, clouds, water. Plus I really couldn’t see the viewer too well. All of their functions begin to slow to a crawl under these conditions - kinda' like us. Ah, to hell with it, wing it and just kept moving and shooting.


I was out for about 20 minutes and got 148 shots - time enough to get at least four or five good shots with cold-to-numb, cramped, claw-like fingers, I hoped, as well as to get really effing cold, stiff, and wet. I started rapid-fire sneezing; “a cold, the flu, pneumonia, Ebola,” I wondered (ah, the power of mass hysteria and panic).


Hey, I was not alone. A continuing parade of fifty or so people heading home from work roared into the parking lot by the Lake. So excited were they, some would jump out of their cars before they completely stopped. There was a palpable passion to look at the water, the waves, the sky, the sun and that big, `ol rainbow playing peek-a-boo over the waves with our collective inner child.


Most were wearing work clothes, or lightweight, mild autumn-day weather clothes. Most never saw the wave that got them. A thunderous, deep-throated “Whoomp” is all they heard, then a total body swoosh of water is what they felt. I do love those screams – a mixture of surprise and panic that reverberates up and down the lake shore: “SHIT! F*ck! Eeeek! God Damn! OMG! That’s COOOOLD!”


They’d get thoroughly drenched. Some didn't care, and stayed out - a child's sense of determination, exuberance and fool-hardiness. Others, looking like wet, defeated rats, would scamper and splash back to their cars as best they could with icy toes in bubbling-juicy socks in super-saturated, mushy shoes. (Did you know that when regular, leather, dress/work shoes get this wet, upon drying they morph into clogs? They do.)


Heaters on full blast, interior like a sauna, they’d drive off with completely fogged windows, fingers squeaking across the glass hoping for one last look back. It was the price of admission to experience this type of joy, feed their curiosity, display their nerve, and nurture their delight in seeing Nature do her thing up close and personal.


Not too bad a price to pay, I think - just gettin' cold and wet. At least they could tell their friends, “Hey I was there, in person. I got my pneumonia like a Man; I earned it. (achoo!)”


I was wearing the neoprene wading outfit I wear while wading as I fish in rivers, so I was well protected. Protected, but not invulnerable. I got mini –soaked. I think my underwear stayed dry - most of it, anyway – although even a little bit of a cold, wet butt makes for a long, itchy drive home.


148 shots later, the camera died. I was pretty much done too. I started my way back to the car, 100 yards of so away. I had to walk head long into that gale force wind to do so. It started sleeting, with bb sized pellets of ice whipping into my face at 60 to 70 mph. They stung like a thousand bees.


But I loved it. I laughed and smiled all the while in between my exclamations of ‘oouch, ow, shit, that hurts.” When I got back to the car I was wet, frozen, my face candy-apple red from the sleet, and I’d lost a camera.


Yes, I effing loved it.


It was an exquisite diversion to make on the drive home from work. And, I got four decent images out of it.


Texture courtesy Cleanzor.


If that little Canon Powershot does not survive, it will receive a dignified, respectful burial at Sea on the next full moon, right off the end of that pier. 39th St. Pier and Beach, 39th & Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.



Inspired by "Need a little suNshine" by AugustaNa.. <3<3<3<3


"Hold on, watch your step

You gotta take a breath

No it ain't easy to fly

Get back, lose yourself

Got you and no one else

There ain't no reason to cry

Cause in my life and times

She is paradise, I know you and I

Gotta little bit of faith in the hard times, oh oh oh

Gotta little bit of shade in the moonlight, oh oh oh

Gotta little bit of right at the wrong time, oh oh oh

Got you and I'm feeling alright

Babe I just need a little sunshine

Lay back, feel the beat

You got a hold on me

It's never easy to change

Try hard not to move

Let me get my hands on you

Don't want you feeling this way

No one's gonna break us

No one's gonna bring us down... "

Thank you for visiting - very much appreciated! Press "F" if you like it & add your impressions as a comment!


This morning I was hiking along this road high up in the Swiss Alps. A man was working on the road with a pickaxe. His car was parked nearby. I did not know him. He asked me, "can you drive?". "Yes", I replied. He continued, "could you drive my car down to the village for me?". Apparently he was working his way down on the road and needed someone to drive his car down the mountain so that he does not have to walk back to get it. Only in the Swiss Alps you hand over car keys to a complete stranger. "Just leave the key in the car door compartment". "OK", and off I went.


I processed a moderate-paintery HDR photo from three RAW exposures.


-- Order beautiful HDR prints

-- :copyright: Peter Thoeny, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, HDR, 3 RAW exposures, NEX-6, _DSC1385_6_7_hdr3pai1c


Once upon no time, there was a little Soul who said to God, "I know who I am."


And God said, "That's wonderful! Who are you?"


And the Little Soul shouted, "I'm the Light!"


God smiled a big smile. "That's right!" God exclaimed. "You are the Light."


The Little Soul was so happy, for it had figured out what all the souls in the Kingdom were there to figure out.


"Wow," said the Little Soul, "this is really cool!"


But soon, knowing who it was was not enough. The Little Soul felt stirrings inside, and now wanted to be who it was. And so the Little Soul went back to God (which is not a bad idea for all souls who want to be Who They Really Are) and said,


"Hi, God! Now that I know Who I am, is it okay for me to be it?"


And God said, "You mean you want to be Who You Already Are?"


"Well," replied the Little Soul," it's one thing to know Who I Am, and another thing altogether to actually be it. I want to feel what it's like to be the Light!"


"But you already are the Light," God repeated, smiling again.


"Yes, but I want to see what that feels like!" cried the Little Soul.


"Well," said God with a chuckle, "I suppose I should have known. You always were the adventuresome one."


Then God's expression changed. "There's only one thing..."


"What?" asked the Little Soul.


"Well, there is nothing else but the Light. You see, I created nothing but what you are; and so, there is no easy way for you to experience yourself as Who You Are, since there is nothing that you are not."


"Huh?" said the Little Soul, who was now a little confused.


"Think of it this way," said God. "You are like a candle in the Sun. Oh, you're there all right. Along with a million, gazillion other candles who make up the Sun. And the sun would not be the Sun without you. Nay, it would be a sun without one of its candles...and that would not be the Sun at all; for it would not shine as brightly. Yet, how to know yourself as the Light when you are amidst the Light -that is the question."


"Well," the Little Soul perked up, "you're God. Think of something!"


Once more God smiled. "I already have," God said. "Since you cannot see yourself as the Light when you are in the Light, we'll surround you with darkness."


"What's darkness?" the Little Soul asked.


God replied, "It is that which you are not."


"Will I be afraid of the dark?" cried the Little Soul.


"Only if you choose to be," God answered. "There is nothing, really, to be afraid of, unless you decide that there is. You see, we are making it all up. We are pretending."


"Oh," said the Little Soul, and felt better already.


Then God explained that, in order to experience anything at all, the exact opposite of it will appear. "It is a great gift," God said, "because without it, you could not know what anything is like. You could not know Warm without Cold, Up without Down, Fast without Slow. You could not know Left without Right, Here without There, Now without Then."


"And so," God concluded, "when you are surrounded with darkness, do not shake your fist and raise your voice and curse the darkness. Rather be a Light unto the darkness, and don't be mad about it. Then you will know Who You Really Are, and all others will know, too. Let your Light shine so that everyone will know how special you are!"


"You mean it's okay to let others see how special I am?" asked the Little Soul.


"Of course!" God chuckled. "It's very okay! But remember,'special' does not mean 'better.' Everybody is special, each in their own way! Yet many others have forgotten that. They will see that it is okay for them to be special only when you see that it is okay for you to be special."


"Wow," said the Little Soul, dancing and skipping and laughing and jumping with joy. "I can be as special as I want to be!"


"Yes, and you can start right now," said God, who was dancing and skipping and laughing right along with the Little Soul.


"What part of special do you want to be?"


"What part of special?" the Little Soul repeated. "I don't understand."


"Well," God explained, "being the Light is being special, and being special has a lot of parts to it. It is special to be kind. It is special to be gentle. It is special to be creative. It is special to be patient. Can you think of any other ways it is special to be?"


The Little Soul sat quietly for a moment. "I can think of lots of ways to be special!" the Little Soul then exclaimed. "It is special to be helpful. It is special to be sharing. It is special to be friendly. It is special to be considerate of others!"


"Yes!" God agreed, "and you can be all of those things, or any part of special you wish to be, at any moment. That's what it means to be the Light."


"I know what I want to be, I know what I want to be!" the Little Soul announced with great excitement. "I want to be the part of special called 'forgiving'. Isn't it special to be forgiving?"


"Oh, yes," God assured the Little Soul. "That is very special."


"Okay," said the Little Soul. "That's what I want to be. I want to be forgiving. I want to experience myself as that."


"Good," said God, "but there's one thing you should know."


The Little Soul was becoming a bit impatient now. It always seemed as though there were some complication.


"What is it?" the Little Soul sighed.


"There is no one to forgive."


"No one?" The Little Soul could hardly believe what had been said.


"No one!" God repeated. "Everything I have made is perfect. There is not a single soul in all creation less perfect than you. Look around you."


It was then that the Little Soul realized a large crowd had gathered. Souls had come from far and wide ~ from all over the Kingdom ~ for the word had gone forth that the Little Soul was having this extraordinary conversation with God, and everyone wanted to hear what they were saying. Looking at the countless other souls gathered there, the Little Soul had to agree. None appeared less wonderful, less magnificent, or less perfect than the Little Soul itself. Such was the wonder of the souls gathered around, and so bright was their Light, that the Little Soul could scarcely gaze upon them.


"Who, then, to forgive?" asked God.


"Boy, this is going to be no fun at all!" grumbled the Little Soul. "I wanted to experience myself as One Who Forgives. I wanted to know what that part of special felt like."


And the Little Soul learned what it must feel like to be sad. But just then a Friendly Soul stepped forward from the crowd.


"Not to worry, Little Soul," the Friendly Soul said, "I will help you."


"You will?" the Little Soul brightened. "But what can you do?"


"Why, I can give you someone to forgive!"


"You can?"


"Certainly!" chirped the Friendly Soul. "I can come into your next lifetime and do something for you to forgive."


"But why? Why would you do that?" the Little Soul asked. "You, who are a Being of such utter perfection! You, who vibrate with such a speed that it creates a Light so bright that I can hardly gaze upon you! What could cause you to want to slow down your vibration to such a speed that your bright Light would become dark and dense? What could cause you ~ who are so light that you dance upon the stars and move through the Kingdom with the speed of your thought--to come into my life and make yourself so heavy that you could do this bad thing?"


"Simple," the Friendly Soul said. "I would do it because I love you."


The Little Soul seemed surprised at the answer.


"Don't be so amazed," said the Friendly Soul, "you have done the same thing for me. Don't you remember? Oh, we have danced together, you and I, many times. Through the eons and across all the ages have we danced. Across all time and in many places have we played together. You just don't remember."


"We have both been All Of It. We have been the Up and the Down of it, the Left and the Right of it. We have been the Here and the There of it, the Now and the Then of it. We have been the male and the female, the good and the bad; we have both been the victim and the villain of it."


"Thus have we come together, you and I, many times before; each bringing to the other the exact and perfect opportunity to Express and to Experience Who We Really Are. And so," the Friendly Soul explained further, "I will come into your next lifetime and be the 'bad one' this time. I will do something really terrible, and then you can experience yourself as the One Who Forgives.


"But what will you do?" the Little Soul asked, just a little nervously, "that will be so terrible?"


"Oh," replied the Friendly Soul with a twinkle, "we'll think of something."


Then the Friendly Soul seemed to turn serious, and said in a quiet voice, "You are right about one thing, you know."


"What is that?" the Little Soul wanted to know.


"I will have to slow down my vibration and become very heavy to do this not-so-nice thing. I will have to pretend to be something very unlike myself. And so, I have but one favour to ask of you in return."


"Oh, anything, anything!" cried the Little Soul, and began to dance and sing, "I get to be forgiving, I get to be forgiving!"


Then the Little Soul saw that the Friendly Soul was remaining very quiet.


"What is it?" the Little Soul asked. "What can I do for you? You are such an angel to be willing to do this for me!"


"Of course this Friendly Soul is an angel!" God interrupted. "Everyone is! Always remember: I have sent you nothing but angels."


And so the Little Soul wanted more than ever to grant the Friendly Soul's request. "What can I do for you?" the Little Soul asked again.


"In the moment that I strike you and smite you," the Friendly Soul replied, "in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could possible imagine ~ in that very moment..."


"Yes?" the Little Soul interrupted, "yes...?""Remember Who I Really Am."


"Oh, I will!" cried the Little Soul, "I promise! I will always remember you as I see you right here, right now!"


"Good," said the Friendly Soul, "because, you see, I will have been pretending so hard, I will have forgotten myself. And if you do not remember me as I really am, I may not be able to remember for a very long time. And if I forget Who I Am, you may even forget Who You Are, and we will both be lost. Then we will need another soul to come along and remind us both of Who We Are."


"No, we won't!" the Little Soul promised again. "I will remember you! And I will thank you for bringing me this gift ~ the chance to experience myself as Who I Am.


" And so, the agreement was made. And the Little Soul went forth into a new lifetime, excited to be the Light, which was very special, and excited to be that part of special called Forgiveness.


And the Little Soul waited anxiously to be able to experience itself as Forgiveness, and to thank whatever other soul made it possible. And at all the moments in that new lifetime, whenever a new soul appeared on the scene, whether that new soul brought joy or sadness--and especially if it brought sadness--the Little Soul thought of what God had said.


"Always remember," God had smiled, "I have sent you nothing but angels."


by; Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations With God

"Let's party!" ~ Robin Williams


Explore 4~10~09 .... thanks for your comments! ♥


Got a chance to hop down to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad (CA) this afternoon.


Enjoy the party on black here. :)


Have a great weekend!


:copyright:2013 Diane Trimble Photography. All rights reserved. Please do not duplicate this image without my permission.

"The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up."

Paul Valery


Listening to: Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead


Karen got her 'Wind" Challenge image up first (shown below). It just sorta' blew me out. Smokin' good and creative. This is OK, but it ain't Vintage. Maybe some music later. And, this is along Lake Michigan in Chicago. It was extremely windy. 12-foot waves don't come without a roarin' wind, blowin' (up to 60 mph) straight down the Lake, Nor'east to Sow'west.


The Police tried to chase everyone off the lakefront ("Dangerous waves"). Didn't work: too "once-in-a-lifetimey" for that. People will want to say, "yeah, I remember those; I was out in it." We don't get "boomers" like this but once a decade or so. Boomers: the waves pull back from shore, almost creating a vacuum. It sounds like a giant deeply inhaling his breath. Then there's a rushing sound as the water rushes in towards flat concrete abutment. There is this "whooomp," "boom," "splash," "hisssssssssssss" as water spray is carried inland on the wind.


I've been chasing these up and down our lakefront on Nor'easters since I was 16 and could get Dad's car and drive to meet them and "accidently" get in their way.


And, yes, you get wet. But if you are facing north, the waves march towards you down the shoreline. You can see them coming. You try to get as many shots as you can until you hear the "Whooomp, boom" to your right.


Then you turn as quickly as you can away from the lake, hunch over and jam the camera into your belly, under your coat. The "hisssssssssss" and spray will wash your back: sometimes with a delicate, little mist, sometimes with goo-gobs of water. Do this for as long as you can take it; then one or two shots more. Finally, you will yell out "shit! enough!" and make a dripping-wet, penguin-walk scamper for the car.


You will have a juicy backside and booty for the ride home. It feels icky-poo, yet oddly familiar at once (Diaper flashbacks?). :-)) The heater is usually runnin' full blast. But, there will be a slight, Cheshire Cat smile on your face as you drive. That's what you do when you know you "got a good shot."


Should Dad sit in this seat before it dries, well, one can expect another expression altogether.


Challenge courtesy RavenSpiritImages.


Karen and Nick's images are pictured below in first comment section.


Textures -




Kerstin Frank:

Sometimes it just takes

a slight whisper

and a gentle touch.


His look was smoldering, his touch was addicting, but it was his mind that captivated her


Scene taken with my baby at our home on the FFP Sim , come visit us anytime to take pics of your own or just explore.


We should take this back to my place

That's what she said right to my face

'Cause I want you bad, yeah, I want you, baby

I've been thinking 'bout it all day

And I hope you feel the same way, yeah

'Cause I want you bad, yeah, I want you, baby


Slow, slow hands

Like sweat dripping down our dirty laundry

No, no chance

That I'm leaving here without you on me

I, I know, yeah, I already know that there ain't no stopping

Your plans and those slow hands

Slow hands


I just wanna take my time

We could do this, baby, all night, yeah

'Cause I want you bad

Yeah, I want you, baby


Fingertips putting on a show

Got me now and I can't say "No"

Wanna be with you all alone

Take me home, take me home

Fingertips putting on a show

Can't you tell that I want you, baby, yeah


:jeans:: Abyss Spires

:dress:: Raven Spires

:radio:: Niall Horan: Slow Hands

:taxi:: FFP Sim

웃♥유: A Raven original pose: Hold onto me

The Details: Ephemeral Skye


"One, two, three and four

The devil's knocking at your door

Caught in the eye of a dead man's lie

Show you life with your head held high

Now you're on your knees

With your head hung low

Big man tells you where to go

Tell 'em it's good

Tell 'em okay

Don't do a goddamn thing they say

Oh, lord, heaven knows

We belong way down below..."


The Pretty Reckless - Heaven Knows

"She takes you down to her place by the river

You can hear the boats go by

You can spend the night beside her

And she feeds you tea and oranges

That come all the way from China

And just when you mean to tell her

That you have no love to give her

Then she gets you on her wavelength

And she lets the river answer

That you've always been her lover ..."


:copyright: Κατερινα 2012. All Rights Reserved

You need my written permission before using this image in any way. It is here only for viewing purposes

"Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations" - Melchor Lim.


Taken almost at the top of the Hardknott Pass, the most challenging road I've ever driven. No way to get lost here - it's either straight up or straight down, far better than driving in a city or its outskirts. Taken last summer, my sister Margaret and I can't wait to get back to the Lake District this coming May.


Textured with Topaz and one of my own.


Thanks as always for having a look, your comments, faves and all your support - and may you all have a wonderful Easter weekend, even if you have to work or don't celebrate Easter in any way.


"So let´s shoot them down...

We´re not here to stay

Let´s shoot them demons down

Make them turn and walk the other way...."


Song: Nina Kinert - The Story Goes ♥


Chandeliers are a new release from [we're CLOSED]


To keep updated on when and where to get new relases, follow [we're CLOSED] on Flickr


Thank you


View On Black


I’ve been taking some pictures, not as many as usual, as I’m too tired and worn out to think creatively; so they just sit in folders on my desktop. Ain’t no way, at the end of a 90 degree F (28-30C) day, after 300 kids (per day for the next 40 days) have been fishin’ with us…


“I need bait!”

“Them Maggots?”

I got a Fish!”

I ain’t touchin’ that!”

I need bait!”

What kinda’ fish is that?”

Are there bugs out here?”

Them Maggots?”

I need bait!”

“Ouch! That fish bit me!”

I need bait!”


...that I'm ready to dig down deep into my soul for some creative play.


You just gotta' love them little darlin's we take fishin'.


“Bye! That’s it! Fishin’ done! I ain’t got no mo’ bait. Go Home. Yo’ Mama waitin’.”


“I ain’t got no Mama.”


Well someone’s waitin’ but it ain’t me! Bye! You ain’t gotta’ go home, but you gotta’ get the hell outa’ heah.”


"Mr. Long, you so craaazy."


Aaaah, I love them sweet lil' spice cakes......


Anyway, so while I may have had great creative and artistic aspirations at 6:00am when I got up, by five o’clock in the evenin’ I’m just happy I didn’t have a stroke or "accidently" throw someone in the river, in the interim.


Judge: "Mr. Long, you claim little Johnny taking a 'Greg Louganis' high dive off the Chicago River wall was an accident?"


Me: "Yes, your Honor, I do."


Judge: "and what, he just happened to catch a good a tail wind that sent him halfway across?"


Me: "Chicago is called the "Windy City" your Honor."


Judge: "And I suppose this picture of you with one hand at the top of his shirt, and your other hand holding the seat of his pants is simply...."


Me: "me trying to catch him before he fell, your Honor."


Judge: "Um Huh. And the fact that you are holding him this way 30 feet from the river's edge is...."


Me: "strictly coincidence Sir. I saw it coming."


Judge: "Mr. Long, do the words "running start" mean anything to you?"


By 5 pm, I’m tryin’ to get something to eat and drink and catch my breath. A little air-conditionin’ wouldn’t hurt the cause none, neither.


Come 6 pm and I walk through the house door, I must confess, I ain’t no longer thinking about how to “Picasso-up” my photo/art.


I never knew how satisfyin’ the words - “that’ll do” or “good enough” - could sound to my own ears about my own artwork.


But here tis….


Textures courtesy of…..of…let’s see…uh. There’s three or four: perhaps a distressed, jill, paul, or skeletal. Hell, "I be tye-yerd, ya'll." I cain’t ‘member my own name right about now. Tell you what, if it looks like one of yours, it probably is. Be proud.


I ain’t gonna’ lie. After I sliced these tomatoes, I was intending to eat them. Then I got it in my mind to photograph them. After that, I went to lie down and contemplate what magic I was going to use to process the image (catch my breath, actually), and I fell asleep and left them out all night. They didn’t look too good in the morning. But then again, neither do I.


Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard

Paul Simon


And I'm on my way

I don't know where I'm going

I'm on my way, I'm taking my time

But I don't know where

Goodbye to Rosie the queen of Corona

See you, me and Julio

Down by the school yard

See you me and Julio

Down by the school yard

See you me and Julio

Down by the school yard


What a great way to start off our long weekend at Narooma. This is a 7 shot pano of Glasshouse Rocks. Have no idea how my lappy managed to stitch these together, but it did. We scored a great sunset. Hope you like "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard". Mike

"Horses - if God made anything more beautiful, he kept it for himself."

Thanks Johanna/@munkuvia for this wonderful quote!


"A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself."

-- Jim Morrison --


"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

-- Nelson Mandela --


I met this 'friend' today near the castle, it was standing at quite a distance but it came closer...!

Texture courtesy Adele! Thanks!

a) An intricate structure of interconnecting passages through which it is difficult to find one's way

b)Something highly intricate or convoluted in character, composition, or construction

Secondlife can be a) for many of us...

This image is probably b)

, Life is a series of Labyrinths, we weave our way through as we grow, sometimes finding ourselves against a dead-end only having to go back down the same path to find the correct way, Secondlife is very much the same way..except the do over can happen in an eye blink rather than years…kinda nice!

Now based on my post, you might wonder why one eye showing Patricie?

.... ever hear the term ” turning a blind eye ” :P

details found here-

"The Wild and the windy night,

That the rain washed away,

Has left a pool of tears

Waiting for the day"


Maulin Mountain { 563 } rises high over the Wicklow/Dublin border with views to the Irish sea, Bray Head and Killiney Bay. It is a wild, wet boggy places but I love it as its a great place to go and find out who you really are.

You can see a pathway winding to the top which I had just traveled over, from the opposite side on a 3 mountain trek.

If you look to the left [north] of the mountain you will see a stone wall in the distance. These are famine walls built between 1847-1850 under the Office of Public Work, for no reason than to make the Irish work for there food[alms] so as "Not to encourage laziness! " { Lord John Russel }


Unfortunately they were dying by the time they got it. It solved "The Irish Question " The Landlords wanted to clear the land of the troublesome natives and replace them with sheep which were less trouble and more profitable. The famine was a great solution for them! To me the many thousands of stones used, is fitting tribute as each one represents someone who died of starvation. How dreadful.

Ive tried to tone down the harsh truth of this but I just cant. There is no way of justifying the death of over 1 million people.To this day it stands as the single worst injustice

ever foisted upon us and it is still ingrained very deeply in the psyche of every Irish person. The British government, under John Major, has done wonderful work and has apologise`d for what happened and helped to create a lasting peace in Northern Ireland so that has made a vast difference to all our lives.Lets make certain nothing like It will never happen again!

We move on though as we must and we learn but lets not forget these unknown innocents who just disappeared and who are buried on these mountains. Maybe thats what draws me there and why it means so much to me.

Anyway, thats enough sad stuff. Heres Andy Irvine and Liam O Flynn, Wont you " Come with me over the mountain "

So come on then. Try to keep up, but Ill wait for you anyway.






Update; Wow In really amazed at how much you seem to like my pic!!! Thank you!!!

Just something I wanted to say!

One million immigrants from Ireland were taken in by America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Only for them I dread to think of what would have happened. That explains of course why we are everywhere and we do pro create at a fair rate!!!. Maybe thats to do with the Guinness! 12 pints and Im anybodies! Well, probably nobodies and everybodies all at once!!!

The World is changing now and what with Brexit and closing of borders etc, we must guard against becoming bigoted patriots. I know all about that from here! Its dangerous and our fellow human beings are the most important life on this fragile planet that we all share.I do think that good people always win through!

Love and Hugs to all of you from me!



Or should I say "mourning"...Isn't that how you Brits spell it anyway? And if not, why not? I think it's time these spelling anomalies were explained to my satisfaction. But in 50 words or less, please. My eyesight isn't what it once was. Nor, frankly, is my interest...;-))


In any event, the snows returned yet again overnight providing this highly processed view taken earlier ...which, of course, means that it wasn't this view at all, but merely a doctored facsimile intended to make it look better or more dramatic. I'm not sure that goal was achieved, but, once again, I spent way too much time on the process and got bored. And it wasn't even the photo I planned to work with, but got distracted with this one. The actual view is below, showing a lot more snow (about 8" so far) blowing about vigorously. (Now is that "vigourously?" Boy...that word has way too many "ou"s in it). And yes, I said "so far" as it continues to come down, tho a bit more lightly. (Shouldn't that be "moure?")


I reckon I should provide a quote on "patience"...but I'm saving what little I have left to shovel snow...


The Family is out of town. I mentioned this to a guy at work and he said, so what are you doin' with your time? I said photos of course. He laughed a little and said, "hobbies, cool".


It struck me as odd. I don't see photography as a hobby. Its so much more than that to me. I don't want to be chessy and say its how I define my reality, but I will say that it lets others see the world as I do. I sure like that.


Anyway, this is Spirit Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. I still have yet to see all the falls in the Gorge, but they are all on my bucket list. I did lots of research on how to get there. Many have described the trip correctly, and many have not. Its not true that there is no trail. The trail is there, and not all that hard to find. A lot of it is slide areas where you simply slide down the hill. But it is true that climbing out is not at all fun. I had a friend who had a silly theory, he said you are born with a specific number of heartbeats. If you work out, you burn them all off and die sooner. That's why skinny old ladys who stay home all day, smoke, and eat piazza live to 130. Silly I know, but if true, I lost about 2 years of my life climbing out because my heart was going like crazy.


When you park the car the trail is a bit hard to find. You have to walk to the side of essentially a cliff and look down. The trail is down the cliff. Once to get past that its not that hard to go down. Coming up is the harder task.


Once down there it took me a good 1/2 hour to figure out how everyone got the pictures they did. Many have shot from up high, near a large, and fantastic, tree. Its the obvious location of choice. I expected to shot from there too. However, the trees have grown over and now blocked the view. I was not going to be jerk who busted the branches to get an image. I just had to find another way.


Others seemed to shoot from another spot, down lower, but there was no way to get down there. See, when you arive, you are up high on a smaller sort of cliff, about 20 feet up, looking down at the falls. The main falls was only one set of falls that were actually down there, but there were creeks falling in the vicinity too. After I looked long and hard, I saw that you had to walk down the creek, along the edge of the 20 foot cliff. After that, you need to actually scramble down the creek waterfall itself, rock by rock and under trees. You could see that others have done this, the good hand holds had a patina to them. So down I went. You do get a little wet, but its the only way down. Once down there, the shots were limitless. This one is a panorama, stacked three across and three down. Even the fish eye could not get the whole scene, so I used a panorama to get it all in. I tried several times to use Photoshop's panorama feature, but it was confused, and could not pull it off, so I had to do it manually. I have to say, it was time consuming, but methodical and I actually enjoyed it. It took about 2 hours on the stitching alone. Slow and steady I guess.


Oh one more thing, the water. Like the others have said, I did not over saturate the water, or change the color. That's the actual color of the water. I have NO idea why the water has that deep turquoise color. But its magical to see.


This location has become my second favorite so far here in Oregon (technically its in the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge). I want to go down there again and shoot a full 360 panorama to try to capture the whole scene. The creek falls are picture worthy in their own right.

The christmas goose looked down on her belly. "Am quite fat, must be short before x-mas", she said. "Yup", I answered, trying to sound busy. "How old do christmas geese get normally?" she asked. It was not the moment to lie. "Up to a year", I answered, as optimistic as I could sound. Her voice was flat and silent "And... wild geese?". "Up to 17 years", I replied looking the other way. I heard that little sound she made. Turning my head I saw her eyes wide open. "And your family will....!" "Thats the plan...", was all I could reply concentrating on not looking at her. "You like these people you will feed me to?" she kept on asking. "Not as much as I should... but when I release you I shouldn't be here on x-mas eve neither.", I said while I opened the gate.

"All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey

I've been for a walk on a winters dayI'd be save and warm if I was in LA california dreaming on such a winters day


Stepped into a church I passed along the way well, I got down on my knees andI pretended to pray you know the preacher likes the cold he knows I'm gonna stay

California dreaming on such a winters day"

California Dreaming by the Mammas and Pappas


"Most of us are on a journey. We’re looking for something, though we’re not always sure what that is. The way is foggy much of the time. I suggest you slow down and follow some of the side roads that appear suddenly in the mist." ~ Real Live Preacher


View this photo large rain & thunder


(This image was last posted in early 2011. It now hangs on my wall at 40"x48". I am a bit surprised by two things; how much I used to write and how little I write now. I don't know why on the latter.)


One of 10 of my images chosen to be in a six artists, Art Gallery Exhibit/Show in April/May. My second gallery show in 41 years. My first was 1971.


Narrative: Some of you know, I’ve got a thing for rainy evenings and nights, mostly especially experienced when I’m in a car. I love driving in the rain - the harder the better; hearing it, feeling it, smelling it, seeing it come down in any form and splash around. The air is mist-humidifier thick and lingers in the nose, a combination of spring-freshness and city-grit. ~ View On Black (click large for the details)


I like the way buildings of concrete or brick change colors as their stone facades get made wet by the rain. I also like the multiple light sources you find come dusk; bright and pretty lights shining here and there, all with differing color temps. So, in the rain, in the car, at night, on city streets, I’m kinda’ in photo heaven.


I call this my dash-cam :-) I’ll put the camera on the dashboard and capture images as go. Sometimes it’s the little point-and-shoot camera, the Canon 880IS, or the Mamiya 2 ¼ (a little too heavy to control on the turns), or sometimes the D300. This was the D300 with the 12-24mm lens (which is really sharp at f/8). I’ve gotten fairly comfortable with the "Dashboard" process (iso settings, f-stops, shutter speeds, zoom setting) and I get a lot of fun and, I hope, interesting images and points-of-view doing this. No fender-benders….yet. :-)


This is North Michigan Avenue, the high-priced shopping district, just north of the Chicago River, late rush hour.


A storm had moved in with these luscious, low, heavy, slate-gray, leaden-looking clouds. In-between the “soak-you-to-your-undies” sheets of downpour these kinds of clouds can deliver, pedestrians will take their chances on crossing the street.


Naturally, people act as if they’ve never driven in the rain before, and traffic slows to a crawl; except for the cabbies. Cabbies: love them and hate them. Cross in front of them at your own risk, even if you have the light. Or at least, do like this pedestrian is doing; wear bright colors so at least Cabman can’t tell the Judge you blended in with the dark and he didn’t see you.


“I was wearin’ fluorescent, banana, canary yellow, ya’honna. He couldn’t help but see me! He jus’ runned me over, was all.”


But, you sure do appreciate their “reckless cabbie hustle” as your viewpoint changes; from driver to customer. It’s quite different when it's you in the back seat watching those $.50-cent by the minute or by the quarter-mile fees, rolling up on the taxi-meter while you sit in traffic. “Five dollars already, and we ain’t movin’” , you think.


“Go through the light, I don’t mind, please driver.” “Oh, yes, didn’t you know - you can turn on red here. Left even; from any lane!” “Let’s go down this alley, it looks open.” “I see the sidewalk is kinda’ clear…just a thought.”


Then you don’t mind if they even run over some silver-haired Grandmother and her “precious widdle puppy”; just get me there while I’ve still got some change in my pocket.


KaThump!!! “Ooops. Oh, naw, you only winged her, Driver. She's OK, she’s getting’ up. Hey, she’s givin’ you the finger! Two-of-‘em! Damn, she’s shootin’ ‘em in the air, like she just don’t care!"


Grandmother picks up one of her dark-gray, thick-heeled orthopedic shoes, and with the speed and accuracy of an NFL quarterback, puts it right against the rear window, cracking the glass with a sharp, "Kalomp - Keer-rack!"


"Wha' the," you think. "What's this? Weapons-grade, Rosa Klebb footwear for Seniors?"


"Don'chu' worry 'bout it, Driver. She’s alright," You say, giving her one last glance.


"What about the pooch?", the driver inquires, glancing at his side mirror.


"Aah, poodles are a dime a dozen."


texture: homemade

"Zoom burst is a photographic technique, attainable with zoom lenses with a manual zoom ring.

Using the technique involves zooming while the shutter is open with a relatively slow shutter speed, generally below 1/60th of a second. For this reason low light or small apertures are required."


Vintage Findings: - Manic Depression, Jimi


This " Exchange of Ideas" fucked with me. I thought it was gonna' be easy. . I've never done the technique. But, I've seen the technique all over the place. I thought it was gonna be easy. That's me and my level of confidence/arrogance. Always has been.


It wasn't easy.


First, it was cold as a fuck. I was standing on Lake Shore Drive (Highway) overpass. I thought I was dressed for it, but I was dressed for walking, moving, for keeping my body heat going; not for standing in one spot exposed to a wind chill of 5 degrees for 30 damn minutes trying to figure out exactly how this easy technique is actually done. The wind was whipping up me undies from every which way and at the end of this I'm sure I looked like a Ken doll down there: smooooth... I got so cold I couldn't talk out loud to myself, only a squeak, a mumble and a drool came out.


Then it rapidly dawned on me, "I have no idea how to do this." It took forty fumbling, bumbling, stumbling shots before I even got close to this setup:


* ISO 100 - slowest I have.

* gave me shutter speed of 1/2 second at f22

* needed an ND8 filter to get that.

* finger cold trying to focus - the auto was iffy.

* fingers cold trying to turn the zoom ring (which way to get the effect to work dammit? zoom in, zoom out?)

* can't see the monitor cause the ambient light is too bright.

* trying to get a vehicle that will show up dammit - are all cars in Chicago some shade of gray?

* The ND8 filter made all the other shots look drab gray (I forgot, ND's ain't Pola filters. They do nothing for color).

* shivering now. teeth chattering soon to come.

* push it - focus, composed, shoot, time the shutter, turn the zoom in, zoom out - again, again, again, again.

* I gave up. I didn't think I'd gotten it.


Damn you Vintage Findings, suggesting something so deceptively simple sounding! LOL. I thought I knew how to do this, even though i'd never done it. Because I've 50 years experience. Because I'm BossBob.


However, The Camera Gods were not amused by such temerity.


Once the car's heater heated me up I looked at the images. The yellow bus! Thank God for the Yellow Damn Bus. I only got two shots of it before it disappeared. And, "oh, there are headlights." I saw streaks: streaking out. Got it. Well, got something.


Damn. I got it. Vintage Findings....she almost got me this time. She keeps me on my toes.


Reward myself with a fresh sandwich from Bari's Italian Deli: Proscuitto de Parma and fresh Mozzarella, with tomato, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes, herbs, great Italian crusty bread, olive oil, kalamata olive slices. Red wine.

When I arrived in Monument Valley at around 9 pm the first stop was the hotel lobby at "The View" to see if I could get some ice from the ice machine. They were kind enough to allow me access to the machine and as I turned to head there, I noticed a painting on the wall very similar to this composition. I turned to ask the clerk if he knew where this was and before I could utter a word he said "Mile Marker 13". As if he had read my mind. Spookey!!!


It was a "another" cloudless day for me in MV, but I liked the comp and have always wanted this shot in my gallery so I decided to throw some photoshop at it and see If I could rescue it. This is a composite of two photos. One for the foreground that was taken at 2pm under a cloudless sky, and one for the sky taken earlier on the trip. Then I ran the radial blur filter on the sky to add some motion interest. Of course I also had to manipulate the foreground to match the feel of the sky. I realize it's not a perfect composition but it's a little nerve racking when you get down low on a highway with a blind crest just behind you. After several attempts I settled for this one. Honk, Honk, "Get out of the way dobie". :)


If you have any questions about this photo or about photography in general, I will do my best to help, just post a comment or send me a Flickr mail and I will respond as quickly as possible.


For those of you new to photography, I would like to provide you with some very helpful videos that will help you get more from your photography. They where very useful to me while I was learning and I hope that they will help you out as well. Just click the link below and on the left side column there are pre-made playlists on everything you could ever want to know about photography. I hope you enjoy them and as always my friends "Happy Shooting"


Thanks for taking the time to take a look at my photos, and as always, your views, comments, faves, and support are greatly appreciated!! Have a great week ahead my friends :)


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"I'm on my way

Driving at ninety down those country lanes

Singing to "Tiny Dancer"

And I miss the way you make me feel..."

Ed Sheeran


"It had been three weeks since the cows busted out."


"And the bull, Mother. Don't forget the bull."


"Right. The bull." Mother shook her head and took a long drag on her smoke. It was hand rolled, filterless, soft and slightly limp. Curly brown bits of tobacco stuck to her lipstick. Now and then she'd spit them off, towards the floor, with a little p-choo sound.


"How could I forget the bull. It never would've happened without him. Things like that don't happen by accident you know. They take..." she laughed, and the laugh turned into a hoarse cough. When she recovered, she laughed again and said, "They take balls!"


"So," the reporter asked, "what exactly happened?"


"Well," said Mother. "Like I said, they busted out."


"We think it was the bull's fault," the son said quietly.


"Indeed," said Mother. "Someone busted right through that rail fence, and I just can't believe our girls would do anything that violent."


The reporter looked skeptical. She had heard the stories; had heard all about the Mother's cows and what they'd done.


"I mean," said Mother. "I mean I can't imagine our girls doing anything violent like that to a non-living thing. To just rush a fence like that... and destroy it. It's just not..." she took another long drag, "just not in the Jersey psyche."


Jerseys, Mother continued, were the most beautiful cows of all - both aesthetically and in their dispositions. "Look into those big brown eyes and tell me if you see violence," she challenged. "It's just not there. They don't have it in them. And yet..." she trailed off, stubbed out her smoke and starting rolling another one.


"Okay then," the reporter said, squirming a bit in her chair. "What about the children then? How do you explain it?"


Mother and son exchanged a look. "Self defence," replied the mother. "I got nothing against children." She gestured to the son. "I raised this one, didn't I?"


The son blushed and looked at his lap. "Them town kids are different," he said.


"That's right!" Mother slammed one hand on the kitchen table. "Town kids." She spit towards the floor. "Good for nothing. They don't know. They don't understand. They don't..." and here she leaned in close, breathing smoky, fetid, toothless breath in the reporter's face... "They. Don't. Appreciate."


Images of children in bank vaults, sitting idly, not earning interest, flashed through the reporter's head and for a fleeting instant she almost laughed. Mother didn't notice, and continued with her story.


"Those town kids. They think food comes from the Safeway. They have no respect. No respect at all for other living creatures. Do you know what they were doing that night? Did you hear? Did you get THAT from your sources?" And she sneered. The local media had, for weeks now, been running stories built on fear and innuendo... quoting so-called anonymous sources. The children had been trampled. The children had been eaten. The children had been regurgitated and rechewed, like so much cud. Bones - small, child sized bones - had been found in the manure pile.


All of this was, in fact, true. But Mother wasn't about to admit it. "Do you know what those kids were doing?" she asked again.


"They came across the cows in the graveyard."


"And the bull," said the son. "Don't forget the bull."


"Right," said the Mother. "They came across the cows - and the bull - in the graveyard. And they..." She started sobbing. "They sexually abused them!"


That too, was true. The children - mostly boys - had poked long pointed sticks into the cows from behind. And then tried inserting many other, various things... including bits of their own anatomy. This was known because certain bits of certain boys had remained in situ, once it was all over.


"We can only reckon what happened after that, but it seems to me the bull took exception." Mother shrugged. Sighed. Wiped at her tears with big rough hands. Things had been so difficult since the incident with the children. "We think it must've been the bull who turned the whole event on its ear," she said. "Attackers becoming the attacked. Like that." And she stood and walked away from the table.


"What about...?" the reporter wanted details, wanted something new.


But Mother stood at the kitchen sink, looking out the window and announced, "I'm sorry. The interview is over."


The reporter stood, gathered her things and couldn't help feeling... in spite of it all.... empathy for the old woman. She'd lost her herd; lost her livelihood; was now reviled by an entire community... and, on top of that, was facing a string of civil lawsuits brought by the families of the dead children. Was it really her fault that a fence broke? That cattle got loose? And that children interfered with them? Surely the cattle's unexpected reaction wasn't the old woman's doing.


Mother watched the reporter drive away; felt relief as the sound of the car dimmed in the distance. Gentle lowing rose up from the basement, and the Mother smiled.


"Come on, son. Grab those chops. It's time to tend our girl."


And down the stairs they went together, arms full of raw meat, to feed the little Jersey calf who'd slipped out... born prematurely in the chaos of the court-ordered round-up and slaughter of Mother's herd. She and the son had spirited the calf away, wrapped in blankets and hidden under brush on the trailer they were using to haul off the carcasses.


Now they knelt in front of the little heifer's makeshift stall in the basement, and fed her strips of raw pork, raw chicken, raw beef. The heifer opened wide, and showed her little pointed teeth. Carnivorous teeth. No grass or hay for this girl.


And when she was old enough, she would be inseminated. Mother had the big aggressive, breakout bull's semen stashed in vials in the freezer. It would be the start of a whole new herd... and a whole new way of life.


"A course never quite looks the same way twice. The combinations of weather, season, light, feelings and thoughts that you find there are ever-changing." ~ Joe Henderson


Sunrise in Round Prairie...Yellowstone National Park....May 2009; always a favorite spot to sit and watch the sun rise or set, and you just never know what might be lurking around the corner; during one early morning, we spotted at least 15 bull elk, 13 Druids (wolves), 4 coyotes, and a cow moose, all within the same area.


We are now down to 3 DAYS....well, 2 days & 17 hours if you want to get technical :-) Thanks for stopping by to visit; your comments are always appreciated.


Explored Sept 14, 2010 - #134


Sometimes you need to Just let GO.

Guilts and regrets of the Past, worries and anxieties of the future.

The Negative thoughts that overwhelm you at times - and no amount of Positive Thinking seems to help.

Sometimes you just need to STOP. STOP trying so hard to make things happen in a certain way.

You need to Just "BE"

Just Relax. Calm down. Have Faith. Have Hope.

And Just Live in the Moment. Try your best, with what you have,

with what you can do. Even if it means taking baby steps at a time.

Have Faith that everything will be okay.

See, Love, be grateful, Understand, listen, smell, taste, appreciate and try to be Happy.

You'll find yourself feeling better, lighter and stronger.

Just walk the Path that is yours with Courage, embracing Love, and letting Hope blossom around you.

The best days of your Life are ahead ... Just stay strong and Positive.

Never ever Give up. Ever!


Life is a Miracle. And you are a part of it.

Please .... Just Never Stop Believing.....

Last night was another one of those golden-red-orange-skied, takes-forever-to-set sunsets. Even though it is almost mid-October, it was a cozy-warm evening. You know – the stuff of Indian Summer. - Cantoma


I was down Warner Bridge way on the Kankakee River, just west of Kankakee River State Park, about 55- miles south-and-west of Chicago. Fishing was lousy – just four fish in four hours and I mostly caught about 100 pounds of weed on the hook that required constant cleaning. River weeds, dammit. :-)


So, I gave up fishing early. Sunset was just occurring.


I loaded up the car, and decided to head home, but first I’d stop at Taco Bell to get a Mexican Pizza (mild sauce), two hard shell tacos and a Cherry Pepsi; one of my favorite “what I eat while driving back home after fishing” guilty pleasures. I wouldn’t be seen dead driving into a Taco Bell in the City (fast food ain’t good for you, don’t you know), but it is way OK while wandering out and about


But instead of turning north and heading for home and The Bell, I turned south. It was too nice out to go home just yet. "What is south of here," I wondered? By my city-boy, congested-living-on-top-of-one-another standards, "a whole lot of nuthin' in particular," I thought.


I took Warner Bridge Road south, and crossed over river. I came to the stop sign at Illinois Rt. 113, my last chance to head home. Warner Bridge Road came to an end at 113, and on the other side of the road was another road - one with no name, just numbers. I've noticed that a lot of rural roads have no names, just numbers. They have a similar look too: part black top, part gravel, no yellow or white divider lines to define a lane and tell you which side of the road is which (then again, there is no "one side of the road" for double-wide tractors, trailers, combines and other behemoth farm equipment).


I turned the car and headed south.


The sun was setting to my right and it cast a distinct yet eerie salmon-colored light over this wide, flat, 270 degree vista of sugar beets, soybean and corn. I drove south past farms, barns, homes and endless fields of the great food basket that is midwest America. I felt as if I'd come to the end of the earth and could drive right off of it. There are no 270 degree vistas in the City: no uninterrupted horizons. No horizon lines at all actually.


I came to the road you see above. More numbers; no names. I can barely remember names now, much less numbers and letters. I didn’t know where I was, but I know I wasn’t lost. I was where I wished to be.


I stopped and took this pano image out of my car window. With the car still in drive and one foot on the brake, I took a quick three-shot panorama, sweeping from left to right. It was then I noticed a big old, combine harvester coming up behind me like some great lumbering dinosaur with six, bright-white eyes glaring (you can see him in the rearview mirror). Physically and psychologically, they own these roads; right of way is theirs, not mine. Time to move along.


I turned right (west) onto a smaller more gravelly road and drove straight into the sunset. The sun sat out there like a big orange disc. Driving into it delayed its setting a bit, I believe; it seemed to hang at the horizon for a few extra minutes. I drove until the sun and it's afterglow was gone and the sky had turned deep purple and black. I drove until the landscape had turned dark - country dark. Quite different - amazing dense and deep - than City dark.


It must have taken 30 minutes for the sun to set completely and it was exquisite. I didn't take images as I drove – I simply stared into sun and the sky. I drove past decrepit barns and silos, abandoned dwellings, rusted equipment and used cars for sale, and nice, neat, new homes. They all looked empty. I guess the occupants were in the field harvesting, kicking up all that dust in those Combines. “Who lives back here?” I wondered. “What do they do? What are they like? Are they like me? Am I like them? Are they like those rural characters on TV?"


The radio had been down quiet, but I heard something. I turned it up. It was one of those Christian stations one hears in the country but not in the big city. The station's numbers on the dial were unknown to me. Generally speaking this music is not my cup of tea: period. But, at this moment I heard something. I turned it up. They were playing the most incredible, ethereal choir music I’ve heard in a long, long time. It sounded like Xmas music, but the announcer would periodically read Bible passages and say "this is dedicated to Christ." - I Need Thee Every Hour.


The music had no words, or with the windows down and the Indian Summer air pushing in, I couldn't hear the words, only these incredible mixed male and female heavenly voices, harmonies and melodies. Men's singing voices are the sound of God. Women's voice's are the sound of Life, Creation and the Universe itself. I could not turn it off or down and simply drove with it. Eventually, the music and sunset ended at the same time. Wow. I was, wonderfully lost - completely relaxed, just as when I meditate. I guess I had meditated.


Yeah, I probably shed a few tears. I don't know why (although at my age I seemed to tear up at just about anything). Perhaps I was simply touched by it all (with no explanations necessary, thank you).


Once the sun was gone I took the next a right turn on the next no-named-but-numbered road and worked my way north and east. I came to Wilmington, Illinois, the last city on the Kankakee River before it empties into the Des Plaines River on its way to the Mississippi. I went though Wilmington, got some gas (I love small town gas stations (sort of outposts of civilization in a wilderness thing to me) and a bottle of sweet tea. I came to Illinois Route 53 – a slightly wider, bonafide two-laner - and headed north out of town.


All of this time I encountered barely any traffic. I am from Chicago; I don’t understand and can barely comprehend "no traffic." It feels as if I were the last man left alive. I decided to take Illinois Rt. 53 instead of Interstate-55 or I-57, one of those big, three-lane Instate highways available. 53 would eventually cross Interstate-80 coming in to Chicago from Iowa and I could cruise home from there.


It was a Wonderful evening and a Marvelous night for a leisurely backroads drive and then cruise to home with music, warm air in October, stars above, cornfields, darkness, quiet, the remainder of this season's lightening bugs and a quiet mind, empty of thoughts. I am glad I chose that route instead of a straight shot back to Chicago.


By the way, I never did get to Taco Bell. Oh well, next time.



just don't put down your guns yet

if there really was a God here

he'd have raised his hand by now

Now darling

you're born, get old then die here

well, that's quite enough for me dear

We'll find our own way home somehow..."



I shot this from about mid-way down the 30 story flight of stairs.

All I can say was it was wonderful going down them steps, but when I got to the very bottom I looked up and said to my self "are you crazy" I sure hope my brother has patience about how long it will take for me to climb them steps! Lol I got a head start on him, and he still beat me to the top and had the nerve to take a picture of me huffing and puffing ! I smiled and flipped him the birdie ! I sure love my brother!

"Timothy Leary's dead.

No, no, no, no, He's outside looking in.

Timothy Leary's dead.

No, no, no, no, He's outside looking in.

He'll fly his astral plane,

Takes you trips around the bay,

Brings you back the same day,

Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary.


Along the coast you'll hear them boast

About a light they say that shines so clear.

So raise your glass, we'll drink a toast

To the little man who sells you thrills along the pier.


He'll take you up, he'll bring you down,

He'll plant your feet back firmly on the ground.

He flies so high, he swoops so low,

He knows exactly which way he's gonna go.

Timothy Leary. Timothy Leary."


Legend of a Mind by The Moody Blues

rock loves her, she loves rock, and we love her.


"I know maybe you're too stressful to make a good choice.

life always goes like this, when you feel tired on something, more things will just come for spill much of your pressure. you should find a good way to face your first important one, then keep going on others. make a schedule like you'll go traveling.

finally you may realize that stresses are just a processing of life, it might not really controllable, but absolutely you'll get stronger than anyone else.

we look forward peaceful life and stable job all the time, but actually we do really need adventures. that's why we're living, beautiful things always inspirit us, and warm our mind. bcuz love is what we need to catch on.

wish you will cheer up soon. here are lots of friends back you up."




Thank you sweetheart. I can't thank you enough. I'm still down and out, but this has definitely definitely given me strength.

"Such is the way of the world

You can never know

Just where to put all your faith

And how will it grow


Gonna rise up

Burning black holes in dark memories

Gonna rise up

Turning mistakes into gold


Such is the passage of time

Too fast to fold

Suddenly swallowed by signs

Lo and behold


Gonna rise up

Find my direction magnetically

Gonna rise up

Throw down my ace in the hole."


(Eddie Vedder, Rise)

Allenton, Missouri


"Come down on your own

and leave your money at home.

Somebody must change.

You are the reason

I've been waiting all these years.

Somebody holds the key.

But I'm near the end,

and I just ain't got the time.

Oh, and I'm wasted,

and I can't find my way home."

Well that's what my Dad would say as he woke us up to the smell of Bacon and Blueberry pancakes. He would all ready have the Canoe and fishing rods in the truck. Then he would send the dogs into wake us up.... Now that was not fun. The sound of two dogs running down the hall way sliding into the wall then jumping on us...... licking out faces to wake us up. Still sleeping we would eat breakfast, stumble and get into the old truck. The Dogs in the back and off we would go. Still dark out we would pull the canoe down to the lake all three of us get in. Dad in the back. Sometime even the dogs. The canoe rocking back and forth, Dad swearing at us to sit still, Us tell him it was the dogs doing it. Then all at once he would say "Look at that", the Sun was rising. The five of us, Dad, myself and my Brother and of course the Two Dogs would look... then all at once the dogs jumped out of the canoe and we would hear Dad swearing at us...

.*&^%$#@@%^&*^%%$#@ your going to tip the Canoe over........ But Dad it was the Dogs......

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