69: Capturing sunlight

(Sunlight in the grass.)

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.

~ Aaron Rose

I love the light this time of year.  The days may not be as long but the light we do get can be amazing.  It’s almost as if we get extra “golden hours” to make up for the shorter amount of daylight.

(Tangled with sunlight.)

Obviously I can’t go around pointing my camera directly at the sun.  Well, I could (and I have) but it’s not a good idea.  Most of the time it doesn’t work.  The flares that result from all that bright light can be interesting although usually what comes out is a terribly bright, terribly washed-out-by-the-light halo effect.

(The high light.)

During yesterday’s walk my eyes were drawn towards the grasses and dried flowers, the lines of sunlight and shadows, and the sparkles on the water.  It was a fortuitous time of day.  The light was almost perfect.

(Long shadows in the woods.)

The area pictured above is where my dule of doves reside.  They finally located the log with the grooves in it.  The one where I’ve been putting out bird seed.  It is probably my imagination but the doves didn’t seem to go as far away when they flew off yesterday.  One even came back just after I poured more bird seed into my makeshift feeder.


Today’s walk wasn’t as brilliant.  It is warm, windy, and wet outside so it was another under-the-umbrella walk for me.

(Lit up in the wildflower meadow.)

I did take a few photos today.  I’ll get to those in a minute.  Yesterday was so pretty that I’m not ready to leave it yet and switch to the gray, rainy day.

(Sparkles at the back of the pond.)

(The sun, just out of sight.)

all this time
the sun never says to the earth,

‘You owe me.’
Look what happens
with a love like that —
it lights the whole

~ Hafiz

Today’s Walk (the official version)

It’s close to 60 degrees here in the Bogs today.  I gotta tell ya, it’s one of those days when “Bogs” suits the area well.  We must have had a lot of rain overnight.  According to one place I looked, we’ve had 3.19 inches for the month of November.  All that precipitation is not helping with the pond draw down.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I found Winter’s footprint while I was out and about.  I’ll show it to you in just a second.  First I should warn you that it involves death.  I’ve been pondering the depiction of death on my blog as part of my year-long journey/commitment.  Should I show it?  Or not?

Since the start of my commitment I have encountered death four times on my daily walks.  The deer (which I did show), an oppossum (which I didn’t show), and today there were two field mice who look to be some sort of casualties of drowning or last night’s gusty winds blowing over the pedal boat.

Death is part of the cycle, especially this time of year.  None of us seem to mind looking at the leaves on the trees as they go out in a blaze of glory.  Maybe that’s because it is only a shedding of leaves and not the death of the tree.  But I don’t believe many of us want to see the body of a dead animal.

So.  You’ve been disclaimered.  I cropped out as much of the field mouse as I could and still retain the impression of a footprint.  The ice was in this shape when I found it.

(Perhaps you would never have noticed the mouse if I hadn’t mentioned it?)

68: The speed of time

(Floating in Mission Bay.)

Every now and then time drifts by slowly, the day seeming to stretch out forever.  On other occasions, it speeds right on by and you wonder what happened to the day.

(Riding the wave.)

It can be difficult to keep your balance on busy days.  The waves of busy-ness can knock you over if you’re not paying attention.


I’m on my way out for my outdoor time.  I’ve had a lot to do today to make up for lazing around all weekend and the day has flown by.  I still have lots to do but need a break.  Being outdoors will slow things down a little, allow me to regain my balance.  It’s a nice day for a walk.  Sunny again.  And mild, with temps in the 50’s.

(Making a splash)

I’m posting now — before my walk — because I’m not sure I’ll have the time later.  The next week or so is going to be a little hectic, I think.  With one holiday just behind us and another coming up, I suspect time is going to speed right along at a merry pace.

I’m going to try to go with the flow and keep up as best I can.  Hopefully I’ll have some things to share with you tomorrow from my walk today.  I’m going to try adding an hour or two to my day by not being such a lazy slug in the mornings and getting up at a decent time.  Sleeping in has become a mini-habit of late.  I don’t regret it, but it is time to change that habit.  I like early mornings, and getting up a little earlier will give me more time for my yoga practice and morning meditation.  I don’t like to rush my way through those things.

Getting up a little earlier might also allow me more time for blogging.  Priorities, you know?  😉

67: Sunny Day

(Today’s view of the pond.)

The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk! he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation:
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listen closer,
I find its purpose and place up there toward the November sky.

~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

We had visitors come to the pond this morning.  I heard them flying in just before sunrise.  They didn’t stay long but managed to leave a bit of a mess before moving on (without our help, I might add).


I’m glad they left on their own.  I was worried that we might scare off the ducks at the same time we were shooing away the gaggle of geese.

It’s a lovely, sunny day.  Still cold but the sun makes a big difference, as does the lack of gusty winds.  There is a breeze, as you can tell from the above video.  I enjoy the sound of the cattails rustling in the wind.  Some days it sounds as if they are murmuring to each other, passing their secrets along to the back of the pond and into the woods.

(Opposing forces:  Sun on ice.)

Without the wind to blow the water, there is a 6-8 inch border of ice around the pond.  It won’t last.  We’re going to have a warm up over the next few days, something that will further confuse the poor plants.  After that there is snow in the forecast once again.  I think it may turn out to be one of those baffling winters, going back and forth between warm-ups and cool-downs.  I wonder what that will mean for the flowers and buds once spring arrives?

(It looks like an owl face to me.)

My dule of doves have found the bird seed I’ve been leaving for them.  Yay!  The other piles of bird seed that I’ve left in various places remain untouched.  Hopefully the birds will find them soon.

I’ve noticed — as have others — that my blog is slow to load.  Have you noticed it too?  I can’t decide what the problem might be.  The theme I’m using has always been somewhat slow to load.  I’ve been using larger file sizes for the photos so folks can click on them and view the larger version.  And my posts have become more photo-heavy since I began the outdoor commitment.


I’m going to start with reducing the file sizes on the photos.  If that doesn’t work, it may be time for me to switch themes.  I’ve been wanting to do that for a while now, but have been unable to decide on a theme.  If things don’t seem to be working, bear with me (and, if you have time, please let me know if you’re having difficulties so I can try to fix it).

66: Slices of Life

(Have a seat.  Bench in Old Town San Diego.)

I’m excited.  Thrilled, even.  A blogging friend, Anhinga/Beda, has had a short story published in a compilation of short stories put out by the Florida Writers Association called Slices of Life, FWA Collection – Volume 2.  I ordered it a week or so ago and it arrived today.  I went right to Beda’s story, one of the top 60 entries that made it into the book.

I’ve been enjoying Beda’s stories on her blog for a few years.  I am terrible at book reviews (in this case, short story reviews) so I won’t attempt it other than to say I love the way she packed so much of life into relatively few words.  Instead of a review,  I suggest (highly recommend!) that at the very least you visit Anhinga’s blog.  I’m sure you’ll want to check out the book after you’ve spent some time with her there.

The Ducks Have Returned

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Sometime overnight or early this morning the ducks came back to the pond.  You would think they would live here during the warm months, but harrassing the geese to keep them out of the pond chases off the ducks as well.  So we wait until the winter months for the mallards to come back.  Eventually we’ll have a collection of various breeds of ducks out there but for now, the pond belongs to the mallards.

They are too skittish now for me to get any photos of them.  I tried from up at the house but the pictures are pretty bad and not worth posting.  I’ll have plenty of chances before the pond freezes over to capture them in the future.

The Bones of Winter

Some years Winter comes in all snowy, fluffy, and white, sparkling in whatever sunlight happens to come along.  Other years Winter decides to build itself up bones first and then fleshing out with snow.

(Ice skull.)

I found evidence of Winter’s bones while out on my walk today.  It is a dark gray day.  The sun is surely up there somewhere but the clouds are not letting through much light.  Lake Erie is at work, churning out the clouds and snow.  We had our first real flurries today.  No accumulation.  Just flurries.

(Ice ribs.)

The creek is receding.  The water left behind is forming the bones of Winter.  The water level in the pond is still high and might stay that way for a while judging by the way it is slowly dripping out of the drainage pipe that empties into the creek.

(A touch of red.)

There is a thin film of ice around the edges of the pond.  The wind is keeping the water in motion, making it difficult for the ice to form.  It is cold outside today.  I was going to type “bitterly cold” but I should save that phrase for January.  It’s too soon for “bitterly.”

(Wind under one of the white pines)

The wind continues to be gusty and blustery.  It has a way of cutting through the layers of clothing, getting under the hat and nipping at the fingertips.  The wind makes sure you know that Winter is taking over.

Autumn’s day is done.

65: A cold wind’s a blowin’

(Berries in the rain)

Yesterday it was in the 40’s and raining.  I waited for a break in the rain to go out for my walk but eventually I would have run out of day without the break ever appearing so I finally grabbed the umbrella and went out into the rain.

(View of the pond from under my umbrella)

I was surprised to find that I thoroughly enjoyed my walk in the rain, and the 40’s don’t feel so bad once you’re out and about.

(A scattering of raindrops in the meadow)

It would have been a peaceful walk with only the sound of the rain and the birds chattering except someone nearby was shooting at something.  I hope it was target practice because if they were hunting, they must be a terrible shot judging by the number of shots fired.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Today it is sunny, windy, and freezing cold (in the 20’s).  My face and the tips of my fingers (even with gloves on) were numb in no time.

Yesterday’s rain raised the pond and creek levels considerably.  The pink flamingos are no longer in the mud but getting ready to go for a swim.  Hopefully the water will drain off fairly quickly so the cold will kill off the pond weeds as planned.

(The water is as cold as it looks.)

Because of the harsh, blustery, cold wind, I walked quickly back to the woods hoping for some shelter.  It didn’t work.  The wind seems to be everywhere today.  We have sustained winds of 14 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.  Brrrr!

(Woodland path is now part of the creek.)

(The creek has risen.)

As you can see in the above photo, the creek has overflowed its banks.  See the twisty tree to the left?  I usually stand a few feet beyond that to take pictures of the creek.

(Grasses and trees in the creek.)

The cold was hard to take at first.  This is our first really cold day of the season and I’m not used to it yet.  By the time I finished my walk, it wasn’t quite so bad.  I do need a warmer pair of gloves, though.  Mittens would be nice.

(Cold, blue sky.)

I took a container of bird seed out with me and left little offerings to the doves and other birds as I took my walk.  There is a log near where the doves hang out that has grooves in it.  I filled the grooves with seed.  I hope they find it.  I feel like it’s the least I can do since I scare the poor birds every day when I walk by that part of the woods.  I will carry bird seed with me from now on, hoping to help them out a little as winter progresses.

It just dawned on me that there are only 300 more days left in my outdoor commitment.  The first 65 days have flown by.  It will be interesting to see what the rest of the days will bring.

64: Giving Thanks

(Shadow family.)

Praise the bridge that carried you over.  ~ George Colman

M and I are having our Thanksgiving dinner with friends, something that has become a tradition with us since our sons are now a good distance away and the rest of our families are back east.  We have been blessed with friends who have become family to us, and I’m looking forward to spending time with them.  We’ve all been living busy lives lately and haven’t had much time together.  Life is like that at times.

(A daylily at the beach.)

I have a great many blessings in my life and could write a long post about them, probably forgetting some here and there.  But what I really want to do today is say thank you to YOU, all of my wonderful visitors to the blog.  Thank you for stopping by.  Thank you for reading and looking at my photos.  Thank you for commenting (or not commenting, because I am thankful for my lurkers too).

I appreciate and am grateful for you all.

Thank you.  😀

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you out there celebrating it today!

Today’s walk

Will be filled in later.  It’s been raining like crazy here for the past few hours.  The prediction is for up to 2-3 inches of rain.  It came in as a warm front.  Imagine if it had been a cold front!  We’d be buried in snow.  The snow won’t be here until tomorrow when the temperatures drop.  I think Saturday is our best chance for the lake-effect stuff.

So.  I’ll either come back later and fill this in or add today’s walk to tomorrow’s post.  Either way, I will get outside, even in the pouring rain.

63: It’s a good day for ironing

(Peering at the sun through the maple)

I’m not going to blog about ironing again.  I just couldn’t think of a better title.  And it really is a good day for doing the ironing.  The air is cold and dry, and it feels good to stand over the warm steam heat of the iron.

(Dried goldenrod against a gray sky.)

I had to stay near the house for today’s walk.  We’re expecting Fed Ex to drop by with our holiday shipment of wine.  Hopefully they will come today.  It’s possible the Fed Ex guy is up there now, leaving a tag on the door to let me know he was here and tried to deliver our package.  I don’t know how it is elsewhere but our Fed Ex guys do not like to knock or ring the doorbell.  They do, however, like to walk up to the door without the package and leave the little note that lets us know they attempted a delivery.  It’s not true, of course.  What they attempted — and succeeded at — was to leave a note letting us know they attempted a delivery.

It’s probably their idea of a joke.

(Catching dreams in the spruce tree.)

Today’s sky is gray with streaks of white and dark steel blue.  It’s the kind of sky you expect to get snow from but we won’t.  The temperature is too warm, for one thing.  It’s 40 degrees.  The snow is still north and west of us, for another.

(Dried sunflowers.)

This was the first time since I began my outdoor commitment that I honestly and truly did not want to step outside.  It is cold in the house (because I keep the heat turned down during the day when I’m likely to be moving about).  I knew if it was cold inside, it would feel doubly cold outside.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The cold actually feels better outside where one expects it to be.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Something seemed odd, or off, when I went out for my walk this afternoon.  I couldn’t figure it out at first.  Then I realized it’s the wind.  Or lack thereof.  Breezy Acres is without a breeze today.  I’m so used to even the slightest breeze bringing its own noise or causing the grasses to rustle that the silence felt strange.

Other stuff

I am officially in winter cooking mode.  I can tell by what I’ve been preparing lately.  In the past few days I have made a very spicy jambalaya, cabbage and noodles, and this supremely delicious Black-Eyed Peas in a Spicy Goan Curry.  I altered the black-eyed peas curry by adding some cubed potatoes and squash to make more of a vegetarian main dish, and served it with brown rice.

I started watching one of those early morning television shows that used to be a news program but now gives very brief periods of time to actual news and spends the rest of the time on mindless drivel entertainment “news.”  I don’t know when it became my habit to watch but it’s fairly recent.  I decided today was a good day to break the pattern.  If I want/need news, I can find it online.

I am not the least bit interested in the royals of England and Prince William’s engagement.  I am astounded at the amount of time the so-called news programs (morning and evening) spend covering it.  For the record, I have no interest in the antics of Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin, or any others of that ilk so I really wish they would stop covering the celebs and calling it news.  Not that I expect they will.  Which is okay.   Because I won’t be watching anymore.