Another image from yesterday’s photo walk

This one is from my budget smart phone. Who still uses “budget” as an adjective? I think such usage is a symptom of impending middle age. 

Fall Photo Walk, October 8

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Peak fall color is still a fortnight away, but my husband and I ventured out to a local park this morning to capture some of the brighter leaves on the margin of the forest. By the way, my husband has started taking nature pictures, too, but I have not yet convinced him to start posting them online. He will be retiring in a year and a half and plans to devote himself full-time to his vintage bicycle hobby. I’ve told him he should consider blogging about his hobby, but I haven’t succeeded in that campaign, either.

While it would be neat to have interests like photo sharing and blogging in common with my husband, I can content myself with the notion that he is a rare treasure almost undiscovered by the world at large.

This week I saw a comedy clip on Facebook about a woman who freaks out because she has started dating a man who has no social media footprint whatsoever. She and her friends are so befuddled by this that they resort to creating an ad-hoc intelligence agency to figure him out. I wish I had a link to that video, for it is highly amusing. Anyway, my husband is like that guy. He has no presence on social media aside from my images and mentions of him. I’m glad I grew up in an era when you couldn’t scope someone one by stalking their Facebook, for I’d have thought it strange that he opted out of it. Maybe I’d have wondered if he had five wives in different states or belonged to the witness protection program, and I’d have alienated him with my suspicions.

I was glad to have him with me this morning. Enough of the leaves have fallen in the forest to reveal some spooky features, like this fallen tree:

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My husband said it reminded him of an elk. Close by there was a tree carved with many initials of couples who also strolled through that forest:

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I did persuade my husband to take a little walk with me on video. I made this clip by setting my phone on a tripod and pressing record, and then I trimmed it with the YouTube app on my phone. I’m sharing that little tip with you in case anyone else is interested in creating videos of moments with those who are near and dear to you.

This morning we were chasing the light because the sky was clouding up as we were taking our photos. The moments of dull light gave us more time to reflect on how many times we’ve visited that park over the years. I am grateful that I am nowhere near exhausting my interest in this locale. I am also blessed that I can’t imagine ever growing weary of talking to my husband. Even during the spans of time that have not been easy, he has yet to run out of fascinating things to say.

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Fall Photo Walk, October 2

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I visited a local public garden this evening in hope that it was still abundant with blooms. Our minor drought has cut this garden’s glory a bit short this year. Only the ornamental grasses are still thriving.

The weather pattern is a bit different each year, but this is the first year I can recall that gardens are dying down before there are lots of colorful leaves to divert our attention.

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Fall Photo Walk, September 30

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This post has a dual purpose. As indicated through its title, I will share some photos I took on a walk this morning. I will also devote part of this post to explaining why I haven’t been posting as often.

Our heatwave is over, and the weather has been ideal for the past couple days. I am so grateful that the sweltering temperatures have dissipated. It feels strange to write that we reached temperatures in the low 90’s during the first week of fall. When the heat becomes oppressive, I linger on memories of cold temperatures.

One memory in particular that helped sustain me through this recent heat hails from seven years ago. I was working nights in a freezer (a tidbit I also mentioned in my post from earlier today). To be more specific, I worked part of my shift in a freezer. Even though I had ample gear from my employer to protect me from the cold, I’d often struggle with feeling that my feet were cold when I tried to fall asleep at home later in the day.

Necessity required me to keep a strange schedule during that era. I failed to launch several times in my earlier adulthood. After each of several ill-planned goals had fallen apart, I’d move back into my parent’s house, dwell on my faults at length, and grasp another straw. By the time I reached 35 and had a child of my own, I figured I needed to stick with something, anything. The place that felt like home was a massive grocery warehouse, where I still work and have grown to love as much as anyone can become attached to a workplace.

I spent my first three years there on the night shift, and I’d devote half of my nights to the perishable section. I’d go home after work and rest for a couple hours until it was time to get my daughter ready for school. I’d feel too worn out during this first “shift” of sleep to fuss over feeling cold. Once I dropped my daughter off at school, I’d go home and back to bed. In the winter months, I’d often be plagued with “cold feet” when I’d fall asleep that second time.

I remember getting out of bed and soaking my feet in hot water, but most of the time it seemed that my water heater was too lazy to offer me water hot enough to warm up my feet. No other remedy seemed equal to this challenge without making me wake up in a sweat by noon.

During the recent heat, I dwelled on that memory several times, as if I could resurrect that chill in my feet just by thinking about it. I learned that cold is not a state of mind.

Now for why I haven’t been posting as much lately . . . About a week and a half ago, I found out why my hip and thigh have been aching lately. It was not related to my back surgery. Instead, the issue is muscular, and I have started physical therapy to remedy this problem.

I’ve had pain on a chronic basis for over a year now. In my experience, depression and pain profit from each other. I visited my family doctor and inquired if I should start taking an antidepressant again. She suggested that I try Cymbalta since it has shown promise in tempering chronic pain.

I took Cymbalta for ten days and could tolerate no more. Everyone reacts a bit differently to these types of drugs. While I am sure it has worked wonders for some people, it did not do so for me. It nearly silenced my orthopedic pain. Unfortunately, I had some side effects which were intolerable.

The main problem definitely resides in the Too Much Information file. It’s one of those facts of life that merits little reflection if things are working as they should. If this process is disrupted, it can loom large enough in the mind (and part of the body, too, I suppose) to crowd out other concerns.

There is no delicate way of relating the problem. I developed the worse case of constipation I’ve ever experienced. The whole interlude haunts me like a quote I read in an oddball book I read years ago called Holy Wisdom by Augustine Baker. Baker wrote a series of resignations or things he’d be willing to endure if God’s will demanded it of him. In one of them, he claimed that he would “not yield to the motion of nature, which perhaps out of wearisomeness would fain have life at an end.”

Over the past year, I’ve been prescribed a couple medicines that helped me with my orthopedic pain. On gabapentin, I couldn’t remember shit. On Cymbalta, I couldn’t give a shit, both literally and figuratively. I’d rather feel the pain. At least that pain is diminishing again.

Back to my walk this morning . . . Fall color has been a bit stunted due to low rainfall over the past couple months. If this drought deepens, I doubt we’ll have many picture perfect leaves when the color peaks. No matter how much rain we get, I’ll be grateful for an end to the heat by the time October is over. The temperatures may climb into the 80’s again next weekend.

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Fall Photo Walk, September 23

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I didn’t linger long outdoors today. We are in the middle of a heatwave that straddled the end of summer and beginning of fall. Today’s high was 91 degrees. I don’t think we had a day so hot all summer long this year.

Fall’s beginning is apparent in all ways except the heat. I spotted a sweetgum tree whose leaves had all changed in color. The purple asters have appeared as well, a sure sign that heat alone can’t restrain the season.

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Layered

I don’t like taking pictures with my phone. Compared to the clarity I enjoy with my DSLR cameras, my phone’s lens seems a distant last resort. Over the past couple weeks, I’ve tried my best to see its limitations as an opportunity for growth. The capacity to compose a good picture and to capture unexpected moments is essential to photography. There is no reason why I can’t accomplish those two goals with my phone camera.

Last weekend I took this picture while gazing up at the canopy of a forest dominated with sugar maples:

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Had I used my DSLR, I doubt I would have opted for a wide angle that showed all the layers of change in this little patch of forest. There would have been little green in my telephoto shot. In using my phone, I could only opt for the wide angle, which proved to be the best vantage point in this scene.

Layered