Sued51's Blog











{March 24, 2017}   Random Acts of Creativity

Birch Dog

I’ve been meaning to write on this topic for a while, so on this cloudy gloomy vacation day, I decided writing this might cheer me up. There is nothing that gives me more joy than coming across something unique or random off the beaten track. Seeing the blob of blue water or the tree icon on my GPS sends me down roads I might never go down otherwise, and very often I see something interesting. It might be something I see in someone’s yard (I don’t trespass, I use my zoom) or it could be something someone leaves deep in the woods perhaps to say, “I was here” in a more creative way than adding another rock to a tower of rocks. It could range from graffiti (which is not always bad) to a broken or lost item; as long as it is not complete trash, I am happy with it. It gets my photographic juices going and also sparks my imagination.

Graffiti, love

“Good” Graffiti

 

Long after Christmas is over I still smile when I come across ornaments in the woods.

Ornament

Tree Ornament in the Woods

 

And much as I love trees, I admit I am fascinated by carved-up ones.

tree face

Tree Face

 

And what is this broken horse’s head about?

ceramic horse head

Horse Head

 

Guess I’ll never know…

 

 



{January 4, 2016}   The Leaf and the Feather

leaf and feather

Uncommon Fellows

I took this picture recently — it was not one of my best, but it inspired me to write a little “children’s poem.”

 

A leaf and a feather

awoke together

On a balmy Christmas Day.

Their conversation

Was their situation

this balmy Christmas Day.

“Something’s not right,”

Claimed the leaf–

Thinking the sweep of the wind

Blew him south in his sleep.

“My friend,” he said, “if I may be so bold,

I’d really much rather

I sleep in the cold

Huddled close with my fellows

As I grow old.”

The feather  agreed

That things were not right,

He was used to the feeling

Of being in flight,

More feathers around him

Raising him up

and up like a kite.

But others like them

Were nowhere in sight,

no one else cared for

what they thought

was their “plight.”

The blacktop around them

Was dark and rough,

And the leaf and the feather saw

Their world as tough.

They knew they must see

themselves as enough.

They must accept change, just be–

Share this space,

find safety and grace,

in each other’s company.

Their talk made them realize

They both felt the same,

And learning to love this,

Was the name of the game.

So that was the way

that balmy Christmas Day

they bonded together,

The leaf and the feather.

 



{January 2, 2016}   My First Day Hike

First Day Hike

The way was clearly marked from the parking lot.

Twenty-five years ago, we were told, the original “First Day Hike” was held at Blue Hills Reservation in Massachusetts with approximately 325 hikers turning out, and as of January 1, 2016, these hikes have been held in all 50 states. The DCR workers were proud to have originated this healthy way to start the new year, and by the end of the day, I felt the same. What a great time it was.

I got there just before noon, and incorrectly assuming there would be no spaces at the main parking lot, I went directly to the “additional” parking. I was glad I did because as I walked to the main buildings I caught these young men doing their version of the “L-Street Brownies” with New Years’ dip in Houghton Pond. Those of us watching in our bundled up clothes laughed, smiled and shook our heads; it was 40 degrees.

first day swim

A chilly dip in Houghton’s Pond.

When I got to the visitor’s center area, I saw people warming themselves by the bonfire and went in search of the “free soup” that was promised. They were still getting it ready, but I found my friend Jenna, who was volunteering for the day. She lent me $5.00 to buy one of the “First Day Hike” hats. I received a free poster for the event and a map. Hmm…I didn’t want to carry them on the hike, so I went back to my car; I had time because the actual hikes did not start until 1:00 pm.

First Day Hike hat

Fire Day Hike souvenirs

Walking back to my car, I saw this lovely lady dressed for the occasion. She happily provided me with a photo.

Holiday Hiking Outfit

Dressed for a holiday hike?

Back at the visitor’s center, I got in line for my soup, and snapped this photo of Jenna handing some out.

Free Soup for hikers.

Jenna handing out free soup.

After eating that I wandered around looking at the sights and snapping photos.

Rangers on horses

Rangers on Horses.

 

A representative from the Trailside museum was there giving a talk about this beautiful owl!

Trailside museum speaker with owl

A representative of the Trailside Museum introduces people to a beautiful owl.

 

People were at the bonfire getting their pictures taken…I asked someone to take mine. 🙂

First Day Hike picture

A souvenir picture

Bonfire

Warming up at the bonfire

Just before hike time, there was a brief program with a brief history of the event and an awards presentation to the man who came up with the original idea. There were certainly more than 325 people there today!

Presentation

Presentation

Crowd

Crowd gathered for the presentation

After the presentation, we broke off to do our chosen hikes. There were four hikes set up of different levels and distances, each led by a ranger. I chose the longest and most difficult, the Buck Hill hike. There were over 100 hikers that made the same choice!

Hiking up Buck Hill

Our group on the trail.

It was a bit slow because there were so many people, but we all found our pace and strung out along the trail. And this was the wonderful view at the top!

Buck's Hill View

View from the top of Buck’s Hill

When we returned from our hike, there were very few people; most had come back from their hikes long ago and gone home. But I did see a few girls toasting marshmallows on what was left of the bonfire.

It was a great time. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Toasting marshmallows

Toasting marshmallows on what was left of the bonfire.

 



{September 30, 2014}   A Walk in the Country

Wompatuck State Park

Wompatuck picnic table

Every Sunday I try to head out for a picture-taking excursion and nature walk. Sometimes I encounter lovely little surprises I don’t expect — animals or interesting plants — that I document on my other blog. Often I have what I call “adventures”  — a right place/right time moment — meet some people and chat briefly. But mostly I soak up the peace and relaxation I need to get myself through my busy week. This Sunday I didn’t have a lot of time so I decided to go to a local park called Wompatuck.

I pulled into the entrance and…stopped. In front of me there was a line of cars…hmmm. I hadn’t been there in years, but I didn’t remember there being a fee to get in. I could see someone stopping cars at the entrance, but I didn’t see any money being exchanged. The line was moving…my turn…”Are you here for the event?” I was asked. I replied, “No,” and was told to “drive on through.”  Oh-oh, this might not be the peaceful walk I had envisioned…but there’s over 3000 acres here, I should be alright.

I squeezed through an area of cars parked on both sides of the road: state policemen with vests and park rangers. Then I drove by a field with a stage set-up, a bouncy house, and various other tents. No time to stare — I had to pay attention to my driving as there were many people milling about and I didn’t want to hit anyone. I was beginning to regret my decision to come there, but I didn’t have time to turn around and figure out somewhere else to go. I told myself to make the best of it and drove on. Anxious to get away for my quiet walk, I drove about 3/4 mile down the road and found a place to pull over and park my car. I figured I would walk for 1/2 hour and then turn around and walk back.

It was a warm and sunny fall day and many bicyclists passed me as I snapped pictures of the woodsy setting and the first bit of color of the season. I began to relax and enjoy myself. Thinking about future excursions, I picked up a map at the camp ground office located there then turned around to walk back to my car.

fall road

Early fall

Just over halfway back  I heard a woman singing. Her beautiful voice urged me on and I walked a little faster toward it. There was a picnic table in a clearing so I thought I would sit down and listen for a bit. As I approached the table I could see the woman standing with a man seated on a stool playing a guitar by a trail. There were people running by. Ahh…I thought, it’s a road race. [turns out it was an event sponsored by a local country radio station to benefit a local hospital…click here if you want to find out more]

picnic table

Peaceful Picnic Table

As I walked over to get a closer look, I saw another photographer taking pictures of the runners. We passed each other and she smiled and said “hello.” I recognized it was going to be one of my “adventure” days and decided to embrace whatever was going on. Today was not the day for just a quiet walk; it was a time to be sociable. I decided to walk over to take some shots and told the woman I thought she had a wonderful voice. She thanked me and gave me her card; her name was Erin Ollis. Check out some of her songs on her web site!

Erin Ollis

Erin Ollis on the Trail

 

 

When I got back to my car I decided to drive down the road a bit to see what I would see. The map I had picked up showed a boat ramp on a pond. I thought I could drive there to take some pictures, but it turned out I couldn’t, however… there was another singer! My adventure was continuing…so out of the car I went to check him out.

 

 

Alec MacGillivray

Alec MacGillivray

 

I didn’t talk to him, but I took his picture and listened a bit. He was at the top of a long gradual hill, and as I watched the runners and walkers struggling toward me I decided to do my part to cheer them on. I began to walk in the opposite direction (downhill) and offer encouragment. Once I started walking, I just kept going. Someone said, “You’re going the wrong way!”

runners

Runners Struggling up the Long Hill

As I went farther along I saw some volunteers handing out water to the participants. They were happy to pose for a picture for me!

Volunteers

Volunteers

I looked at my watch and saw it was time to head back to my car; I had someplace to go. I smiled the whole way back though. I had gone out for a quiet walk in the country. I got some country alright! In a very small way I shared in the goodwill and caring of a lot of people on a gorgeous fall day; I felt part of humanity instead of running away from it, and it helped me forget some of the negative stories in the news lately.

 Country Heals. In more ways than one.

Country Heals

Country Heals

 

NOTE: IF YOUR PICTURE APPEARS HERE AND YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT DOWN, LET ME KNOW.



{February 18, 2014}   It’s That Day…

flags buried in snowThat winter day when I wake up and say, “Enough!”

It’s supposed to snow AGAIN today. Not much, just a couple of inches this time, but the amount doesn’t matter anymore…it is just that feeling of:

NO MORE!

It’s like I have come up against a WALL of snow and I just sat down in it. Snow has smothered and buried all my ambition and imagination like these flags…

Okay, that seems like an awful lot of DRAMA for you people who aren’t putting up with it…but really, it has stopped me from going out and walking (I’m afraid of slipping on the ice, which I already did  luckily without injury, on the way to the dumpster). So…no new photographs. So, what to post? Here’s one from last year…a bunny taken through the window.

bunny in snow

I went digging through my old notebooks and poems looking for something to post. Ah…here’s a rough draft poem from last year I wrote after taking this photo…hmmm, same time…February. Maybe it is just…

WINTER.

I can’t think –

Storms one after another

Have bent the trees to their limit,

Bent my emotions to extremes,

Debris is everywhere.

Top branches clutched in the grip

Of ground snow

When they should be reaching for the sky.

It’s not the time for clean up and release,

There’s another storm coming.

It’s only important to clear a path,

Back-breaking and spirit-breaking as it is,

There needs to be visible hope

Of an exit,

A true escape route.

My thoughts of spring hunker down

Like the bunnies…

Though I saw one

Brave one, huddled amongst

A grounded treetop, desperately nibbling

at the buds it shouldn’t have been able to eat,

desperate times

desperate measures.

But the calendar whispers

Time change ahead,

Spring clean up to come.

Be strong, be ready.



{December 6, 2013}   Eulogy to a Swan

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving…except for one thing. I saw this:

Dead Swan

A dock for a headstone…

I walked to the nearby police station and told them, and they said they already knew and they had called the “environmental officer.” I felt sad.

When I moved to my new apartment in the middle of the summer, I found that I lived near a park and pond, and I walked there often. I discovered a pair of swans with one baby and enjoyed visiting them. I watched the baby swan’s feathers change from fluffy gray to smooth white. And I took pictures.

I’m pretty sure it was one of the parents that died. I know swans mate for  life. That “family” no longer exists, but at least one swan is not left alone. And I can give a snapshot of a wonderful part of that swan’s life.



{June 1, 2013}   A Special Flower

Pink Lady SlippersI was out walking in my neighborhood yesterday and saw these in a neighbor’s yard.

Pink lady slipper

I did a double-take…pink lady slippers??? I hadn’t seen them since I was a child. And I remember quite well what happened then.

I was in the woods behind my house and came across this beautiful flower. Thoughtful child that I was, I picked it to bring home to my mother. On my way back I bumped into a friend who lived next door. “Look what I found! Isn’t it beautiful?” I gushed. I thought she was shocked by its beauty, but no…she said, “You aren’t supposed to pick those!”

“Why not?” I said, feeling uneasy.

“It’s illegal!”

“What?”

“You are going to get in trouble!”

I thought she was teasing me, so I brought it home anyway. And my mother said it was true…they were endangered. She said she appreciated my thought, but get rid of it! I went back to the woods and laid it down next to the leaves, hoping someone would think it just broke. I was nervous for a couple of days after that,  picturing policemen at my door hauling me away. Of course, nothing happened, but I never touched them again.

Glad to see that they are still alive and well. They are the state flower of Minnesota, but can be found in the Eastern US and Canada. You can read about them here.




One of the things I record in my daily journal is an inventory of the wildlife I see each day. This can range from commonly seen bunnies to birds, like blue herons and orioles. Every once in a while there may be something a little more unusual, like raccoons, ground hogs, or deer. To me, there’s nothing that makes me feel part of the world at large like watching wildlife go about their daily lives; it makes me feel blessed, not to mention all that I learn about animal behavior.

Last week I was sitting at my desk with the window open in our upstairs office. I suddenly heard something hit the screen. I looked over and saw a fuzzy-headed baby bird, hanging on for dear life; then, it dropped out of sight. I quickly told my husband what happened then went outside to check on the bird’s fate.

I couldn’t stop myself from looking at the ground first; I breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn’t there. I looked up and saw him/her huddled on the top of a bush below the window. Then the parents – grackles – began to fly in circles at window height squawking in panic. I recognized that there was nothing I could do except hope for the best, and hurried back into the house. Certainly I didn’t want to be attacked by the birds for trying to help.

By the time my husband and I went outside for a walk about 20 minutes later, the baby was nowhere to be seen. Neither were the parents. I could only hope he/she had found its way back to the nest. I prefer my nature alive and well.



et cetera
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