39: RIP Death

I don’t know about you all but…  I’ve had enough of cemeteries and death for now.  As much as I like cemeteries (and I do), I have been reminded all too often of late that they are associated with much more than peace, good landscaping, and sculptures.  Two of M’s colleagues at work have died within the past few weeks.  Another visitation (wake) is on the schedule for this afternoon.

I had planned on ending the series today anyhow.  I learned a little more about post-processing by having fun in Photoshop with the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 photos.  That’s a good thing.  But enough is enough.

So let’s leave the angels to sleep…

… and say goodbye (for now) to the cemetery series with a New Orleans-style gift:

(A gravesite offering of Mardi Gras beads.)

In the category of “M & I do the strangest things”

Last night M and I went back to Barberton, scene of the Mum Fest (see this post for more about the Mum Fest).  What drew us back there was this:

I was willing to go because I like silent films.  M might claim the silent film had something to do with why he wanted to go.  He might also claim that his interest in pipe organs is what really drew him to this event.  (For more on that, see this post.)  But I think he just wanted to see the inside of a Masonic Temple.  And if I’m being honest, so did I.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I don’t know much about the Masons.  Nothing, really.  My grandfather was a Mason.  My grandmother belonged to the Eastern Star.  None of that meant anything to me since it was all hush-hush.  I suppose if my parents or someone from my generation had joined or whatever it is you do to become part of the Masons, I might know more about it.

(In the tree tops.)

The Barberton Masonic Lodge was designed in 1924 by Harpster & Bliss Architects, a firm that designed many prominent homes and buildings in Akron around the turn of the century.  The pipe organ in the Barberton Masonic Lodge was built by the M. P. Moller Pipe Organ Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, and installed in the temple in 1925.  At the time of installation, it was valued at over $17,000.00.

(An opening in the cloud cover.)

Last night’s Phantom of the Temple:  An Evening of Masonic Music and Mystery was interesting.  We were allowed into the inner sanctum to listen to music, see a little (very little) Masonic ritual, and to watch some of The Phantom of the Opera (1924 silent film starring Lon Chaney).  This was part of a series that the Barberton Masonic Temple is havng to raise money for the preservation and restoration of the building and/or pipe organ.

There is some beautiful wood work inside the Barberton Masonic Temple.  I wish we could have explored more of the building.

(A collage/multiple exposure of “In the tree tops” and “An opening in the cloud cover.”)

I enjoyed some of the music.  The Masonic Ritual music was a bit heavy handed for me, but probably typical of ritual music.  I found Andante for a cylinder in a small organ, KV 616 (a Mozart tune) cute at first and then annoying.  Every time I thought it was going to end, it went on.  And on.  And on.  I very much liked the Bach piece (Prelude and Fugue in G, BWV 550).  The organist, Ms. Nicole Keller, was very good.

They did not show the entire movie but instead went to the last part which ran about 20 minutes or so.  I’m not sure why they did it that way other than to have time to feature the other music without it running too late.  While we were by no means the youngest in the small crowd of about 100 or so people, the majority were quite a bit older than us.

Today’s Walk

Clouds, sun, clouds, hints of blue sky, clouds, wind, hints of sun, dark clouds, light clouds, roosters crowing, cows mooing, gunshots in the distance (either target practice or someone hunting — I’m not sure which), grasses swaying and rustling in the meadow, trees creaking in the woods, the occasional bird quietly flying by, ripples and reflections on the pond…  That pretty well sums it up.

I am still taking pleasure in my daily outdoor adventures but wonder if it isn’t becoming boring for my visitors to the blog.  How about it?  Are you bored yet?

38: Warm up

As I was out and about on my walk today I got to thinking that it was unlikely I’d take any photos.  I had the camera with me, as usual, but I’ve been walking the same paths (in different orders, but still, the same paths) for 34 of the 38 days of my outdoor challenge.  How many different ways can I photograph the same things?

It’s awfully early to be thinking those kind of thoughts.  I still have a little less than 11 months to go.  If I’m already running out of camera fodder — or think I am — what will it be like in February?

So, I thought I’d give you a series of Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 shots today and leave it that.  The camera, however, had other plans.

(Wind, waves, and sunlight.)

It’s a strange day, weather-wise.  There is a silvery sheen to it.  The sky and the pond especially have that silvery look to them.

(Haloed sun.)

I usually associate this silvery appearance with the depths of winter.  The sun was surrounded by a large halo (caused by light reflecting off of high cirrus clouds).  In folklore, a halo around the sun or moon means rain or snow is on the way.  In practical terms, it’s only slightly more effective in predicting the weather than the woolly bear caterpillar (since cirrus clouds could — but not always — indicate a storm system approaching).  There is no rain or snow in the forecast (or on the radar) for today or tomorrow.

(Grays and blues above the meadow.)

It’s warmer today than it has been the past few days.  We shouldn’t get used to it, though.  Temps will be in the 30’s and 40’s for the rest of the week.

(Silvery sun in the branches.)

I went out last night to have a look at the stars.  It was cold and clear and the stars were pretty amazing, showing off their twinkling light.  I am hoping this cloud layer will move out before I go to bed tonight.  I want to do some more stargazing.  I should be able to stay out longer tonight since it isn’t as cold.

I was reading (over at Sky and Telescope) that Arcturus, the star seen in the west-northwest at twilight, is known as The Ghost of Summer Suns (very appropriate for Halloween!).  For several days around October 29th, Arcturus sits nearly in the same spot as the summer sun did during the warmer months of June and July.

So in the last days of October every year, you can think of Arcturus as the chilly Halloween ghost of the departed summer Sun.  ~ Alan M. MacRobert, Sky and Telescope

And if you happen to be awake and out before dawn on Monday morning, be sure to look for Comet Hartley 2.  On Tuesday and Wednesday there’s a possibility (slim, is seems) of a  “Hartley-id” meteor shower.  You can read about it here.  I’ll be out there looking (if the skies are clear enough for that here).

37: Misty and gray

(Morning mist.)

Come January, a day like today will feel warm and toasty.  But today?  It feels downright cold and blustery.  I’m spoiled by the mild weather and haven’t yet toughened up to the cold.

(Bare bones.)

This was one of those days when going outside, even for a brief period of time, was not appealing.  The morning was gray and misty.  The afternoon has been gray and windy.  I haven’t gone to look but I’ll bet the weather websites are now including the wind chill factor with the current temperature.  Lake-effect snow and sleet were mentioned for the first time this season in last night’s weather forecast.

(Today’s view of the pond from the garden area.)

The first five or ten minutes outside were rough.  Once my fingers, toes, and face were numb, it wasn’t so bad.  Getting out of the wind helped.  I headed straight for the back of the pond where there is a natural windbreak due to the trees of the woods.

Some of the trees near the creek still have their leaves.  It’ll be interesting to see how much longer they hold on, now that I’m paying attention to such things.

(Gold in the meadow.)

When I first went out I didn’t think I’d be taking many photos today.  The wind, the gray sky, and the cold all made it seem pretty drab.  I was wrong.  There is still plenty of color out there if you look for it.

(Pinks in the meadow.)

There is a lot of interesting fungi to be found, too.  I’ll post some of those photos soon.  I want to finish with the cemetery series first.

Speaking of which, here are today’s cemetery photos:

(Rice crypt.)

(In the greenery.)

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  I’m headed upstairs to make some potato-leek soup.  It’s a hot soup kind of day.  Add a little freshly baked bread and a salad, and we’ll have the makings of a good dinner.

36: Gloves needed

(Today’s cemetery shot:  Fallen.)

Brrrrrr!  Today I went out and stood between the sun and the moon.  The sun was at my back while I faced the moon, my body a barrier between the warmth of the light and the chill of the gusty winds.  It was an interesting contradiction.

(Watery sunlight.)

I wore my new winter hat for the first time.  Note to self:  If a winter hat is required, gloves are needed as well.  My fingers were numb with cold by the time I finished my outdoor explorations.

(Wind in the willow.)

The really gusty winds have finally arrived.  The cold wind is huffing and puffing and threatening to blow a house down.  It has a low-pitched sound to it, deep and strong.  The trees are all creaking and swaying, the remaining leaves taking off in a long flight, riding the wind to the wherever it goes.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Stepping outside almost took my breath away.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a day this chilly and winds this strong.  It is exhilarating, energizing, skin-tingling kind of weather.

(View from the side of the pond.)

Since my morning walk, lake-effect clouds have started moving in.  Showers will probably accompany the clouds.  A little colder and we’d have our first snow.

(Dark clouds and skeletal trees.)

35: Rain and wind, sun and moon

(Today’s cemetery shot.)

The storms moved through quickly last night.  It wasn’t as bad as predicted.  That has generally been the case for us this year.  We’ve been very lucky.  No major damage or power outages.

(Rowboat askew.)

(A slow walk on the meadow path.)

I have to move in slow motion today.  Perhaps it wasn’t the storm kicking up the pain after all.  The trick is to keep moving, even when I want to curl up in a ball and stay that way for a few days.  The prescription for healing is to take frequent walks, do some gentle yoga stretches, and take lots of deep, calming breaths.

(Submerged by the rain.)

There are fewer leaves on the trees this morning.  There were some branches down, large and small.  Only one small tree in the woods was blown over.

(Pinned by the wind.)

The birds were active and singing again this morning.  They must be happy that the rain has moved through and the wind isn’t nearly as bad as expected.  Yet.  We still have the back side of that low coming through eventually.  Looks like tomorrow will be windy and colder.

(Yesterday and Today.)

Today is more blue than brown.  You can see more sky through the trees now that the leaves aren’t hiding it.  You can also see the house in the woods behind the pond.  The man that built the house makes steel drums for a living.  In the summer months, when the leaves are thick, you would never know he and his wife are back there except for the occasional sound of their voices or the rare steel drum concert.  Being out on the pond has a tropical feel to it when the neighbor man provides the music.

(Moon through the branches.)

We’re supposed to get together with friends this evening.  I’m  not sure I’m up to it, but won’t make any decisions until later.  You never know if later will be better or not.

34: Of cemetery visits, a winner, and today’s walk

(Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.  New Orleans, LA)

If you’ve been visiting Life in the Bogs for a while, you know that I occasionally like to hang out in cemeteries.  They are peaceful places filled with history, sculptures, and great landscaping.  I usually take lots of photos when visiting cemeteries.  The photos go into a file, then into a back-up file, and that’s pretty much it except for an initial viewing of one or two when I post about my latest visit to a cemetery.

It occurred to me yesterday that ’tis the season to be dragging out some of my cemetery photos.  One of the my favorite cemetery tours was Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Located in the Garden District, Lafayette No. 1 is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city of New Orleans and has been featured in several movies.

Our visit to Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 took place on a beautiful, bright, sunny day.  That’s hardly the proper mood for Halloween ghoulishness so I took some of the photos to my Photoshop laboratory and worked some mischief on them.  They are best viewed large (click on the image to see the large version).

I’ll bring you a few more throughout the week in celebration of Halloween (which, as you may recall, I mentioned in yesterday’s post as a holiday I don’t really celebrate but figure I’m entitled to change my mind).

And the winner is…

The winner of the first ever Life in the Bogs Give-Away is Marcie whose Daily Practice is beautiful and inspiring (and she’s VERY good at naming/captioning her art).  If you haven’t seen Marcie’s images, head on over and have a look.  Congratulations, Marcie!

I will probably do this again sometime during the course of my outdoor commitment so stayed tuned.

Today’s walk

I went out early today.  Except for the crowing of the neighbor’s rooster, the birds were oddly quiet, especially when you consider how noisy they have been for the past week or so.  They must be hunkering down in preparation for the coming storm.  We’re under a high wind advisory (with sustained winds of 25-35 mph) today and tomorrow.  A line of fierce looking thunderstorms is headed this way.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

The woods are heavily carpeted with leaves now.  I have to tread with care as I can’t see what is under the leaves and can easily be tripped.

(By the creek this morning.)

I don’t think there will be many leaves left on the trees once this next front blows through.  As it is, many of the trees are already bare.  The landscape is taking on the brown hues of mid- to late autumn.

But there are still a few late bloomers still hanging on, and some green left to be found in the meadows.

I can feel that storm coming.  I don’t know if that’s one of the blessings or curses of having arthritis.  Either way, it’s a pretty painful day.  I wonder if that means it will be a bad storm?

Let’s hope not.

33: Dark day

It’s not really that dark.  I went a little extreme in Photoshop.  But it seems to fit the season, with Halloween coming up soon.

It is, however, gray and gloomy.  I took this view of the pond around noon.  There was not a lot of light to speak of.  It’s quite a contrast to yesterday’s sunshine.

(Crow in the locust tree.)

Today’s outdoor adventure was pretty uneventful.  Or it was eventful in small ways but I can’t think of a thing to write about so I went to Plinky for a prompt.  Today’s prompt is:  Do you celebrate Halloween?  Why or why not?

(Robin in an unidentified tree.)

Well, I don’t, really.  We live out in the country so decorating and having candy handy for the Trick or Treating little folks is a waste.  Nobody comes by because it can be a long walk between houses.  We do have a pumpkin and some mums livening up the deck as a nod to the season, but Mother Nature does such a brilliant job of decorating this time of year that I don’t feel the need to do it myself.

Sometimes I celebrate Halloween as a harvest festival, as another turning in the wheel of the year, and to mark the end of summer.  We usually have our first snowflakes by Halloween, a clear indication that winter is not far off.  Daylight will continue to dwindle until the Winter Solstice and outdoor temperatures will do the same.  Hilgert’s, the local farm where we do our produce shopping when in season, will have an abundance of greens and winter squashes this time of year.  Our diet will change to more soups and stews and heartier dishes than we eat during the summer months.

It will be time to put away the summer clothing and get out the cold weather gear.  Sweaters, sweatshirts, thermal underwear, coats, scarves, gloves, hats, and boots will replace the t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, sandals, bathing suits, and flip-flops.  We usually have the storm windows installed by Halloween, to keep out the winter drafts of cold air.  The swim platform and boats are put away for the season, a chore that we did this past weekend and one that always brings a tinge of melancholy with it.  I don’t get too sad, though.  The trees are still displaying color and once the leaves drop we’ll be able to see and explore what’s behind the tree cover.  I like the winter landscape (just as I like the other seasons).  We’ll have snow to play in.  We can make snowpeople, go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and sled down the sledding hill.  The pond will freeze and there will be ice skating.  There will be warm, crackling fires in the fireplaces.  Hot chocolate to drink.  And lots of cozy evenings cuddled up with a good book or with my wonderful husband.

Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow.

~ Author unknown

(The woods aglow.)

How about you?  Do you celebrate Halloween?  Why or why not?  And if you do, how do you celebrate it?

We’ll be doing the drawing for the Give-Away at 7:30pm (eastern time) tonight.  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.  See ya then!  🙂