While out and about on my walk today, I started thinking about why I enjoy this time of year so much. It is an unpredictable time of year. We’ve had rain with the occasional sunny interludes throughout the day. I’ve been outside several times today, and never know what kind of weather I might walk into. At least it isn’t snow yet.
Two things have come to my attention recently that I am sure must have crossed your path too if you listen to, read, watch, or otherwise keep up with what passes for news in the U.S. For my friends and visitors outside of the U.S., it will be interesting to me to find out if these (not so serious) concerns have passed by your way recently.
Period. End of sentence.
The first one is the period at the end of a sentence and the two space rule. Way back in the day when I was
forced coerced encouraged to take typing as a freshman in high school (along with the now defunct shorthand because I am female and being a secretary was all the rage for young women in those days) we were taught to put two spaces after the end of a sentence. It was the done thing. I still do it. I have long known that WordPress somehow eliminates that extra space in the mysterious way that user-friendly blogging works. I just didn’t realize the why’s of it.
Slate.com has an interesting article on Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period. Being one of those people who doesn’t spend a lot of time looking back (for instance, I am not a big fan of classic rock to the exclusion of listening to new stuff as some in my generation seem to be), I am now going to work hard at eliminating the extra space in my typing. It’s not that I mind extra space (and would applaud it in my home). It’s the rebel aspects of it that grab me. The teacher I had in high typing (and dictation) class, a classic herself, wouldn’t approve. That in itself might be reason enough for me to adopt the single space (she was a terror!). But being given a good reason for making a change, one that makes sense, I will willingly move on. My fingers, however, insist on typing two spaces after the end of each sentence. It might take them a while to catch up with my brain.
Put your “X” here
The other change that caught my attention this week is not such a positive to me. It started with a blurb in the news about how Georgia is dropping cursive from its new curriculum standards. The elimination of one space I can take (even if I’m still struggling to implement it). But the loss of cursive handwriting? (See stories here and here.)
I know email, blogging, texting, Facebook, and Twitter have become major channels of communication in this day and age. Not many people send a handwritten note or letter anymore. That’s sad, really. I have always enjoyed hand writing letters, post cards, and notes. And I’ve always, always enjoyed receiving them. There is something so much more personal about a handwritten letter or note.
But on a practical note, and this is something I haven’t seen discussed, how in the world are people going to sign contracts if they are not taught handwriting so that they can develop a unique signature? Or will that even be necessary? I know I’ve contracted to a few things electronically, without having to physically sign a document, so I assume it’s possible that we will eventually move into a world where a unique, physical signature is no longer necessary.
Still. It is a loss, in my opinion. When the power goes out and you have a story idea, a pen and paper are pretty handy. I’ve yet to find the computer faster than pen and paper for making a grocery list. And while I’m sure a good (maybe even a mediocre) forger could duplicate my signature, it’s nice to think that my individuality and voice are there in a physical way when I decide to put pen or pencil to paper and write. I enjoy the feel of a good pen on nice paper. There is a sensuality to it that I don’t get from typing on a keyboard or staring at computer screen as the letters appear.
Snow and cold
We woke to find it -7°F again. That’s warmer than a lot of places were this morning. Snow has been falling since mid-morning. We are at the point in winter where it doesn’t matter. Just keep piling it on. We’re used to it.
The good news is that it has warmed up into the 20’s. We’ll be in the 30’s tomorrow. Almost summer!
I didn’t take any photos while outside today. There was too much snow falling from the sky and honestly, I wasn’t terribly inspired. So let’s look at some flowers instead.
That’s much more colorful than anything outside today. 🙂
Even this late in the fall there is still plenty of color to be found outside. There are lots of greens, browns, reds, and yellows. Some are hiding. Others are showing off as brightly as they can.
I was surprised to find dragonflies still hanging out near the pond. I would have thought they had all moved on by now. The mild weather must have fooled them.
The rhododendrons need to be covered soon. The deer find them crunchy and delicious and will clear off all the leaves if we don’t put some netting over them to keep them out.
I did a series on colors over at Bountiful Healing. Those posts are my most popular blog posts at BH. If you want to have a look at them, click over to Bountiful Healing and look for them in the right side bar under the title The Color Series. You will find links to each one there.
One of the first things I do now when I go outside is clean out and refill the bird bath. This morning the water was frozen solid. We’ve had several frosts, as you know. Today was the first time I’ve seen ice.
It is another gorgeous, unseasonably warm day here in the Bogs. It went down into the 20’s last night but will be warming up to near 60 again today.
I met a cat on the path heading towards the woods. I don’t know if it’s one of feral cats that roams the property or if it belongs to one of the neighbors. I wasn’t able to get a good look at it, mostly just a silhouette against the background of the grasses and wildflowers.
The kingfisher was particularly chatty today as he swooped back and forth across the back of the pond. I saw it dive headfirst into the pond, fishing for breakfast. Our is a belted kingfisher.
If a kingfisher has come to you, prepare yourself to dive into something new. Have you been avoiding the new? Have you been afraid to take the plunge? Are you needing new warmth? Don’t worry. If a kingfisher is around, you won’t drown. In fact, you will find that, as a result, you will have new sunshine and prosperity unfolding within your life.
~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak
I did an hour of yoga practice before heading outside this morning. Yoga helps me start my day feeling relaxed, loose, and open to whatever comes my way. Most of the time. There are days when I’m just not there or my practice leads me in other directions. Today when I finished my practice and as I walked around the pond, I felt as though I’d somehow shed some of the old to make way for something new.
When I was out for my walk today I was reminded of a project we used to do in elementary school. We had to collect leaves from different trees and then press (iron) them between two sheets of wax paper to preserve them, labeling each with the name of the tree. It was always one of my favorite school projects. I was thrilled when my own children were given a similar project as it gave me an excuse to do it again. But even that (helping my children) was a long time ago (or so it seems).
Photographing leaves, it seems to me, is another way of collecting autumn and learning the names of trees. Unfortunately I’ve never been good at the names part. I have a difficult time remembering names. And faces, sometimes.
It’s day 30 of my commitment to go outside each and every day for a year. It’s still early in the commitment but even in this short period of time I feel as though I’ve changed in ways I am unable to describe just yet. One change I can find words for is the way I now approach each day with excitement and wonder. Every walk I’ve taken over the past 30 days has brought a gift of some kind. The biggest gift of all, so far, has been a deep appreciation and gratitude for the area and the land on which M and I live. There is so much beauty out there, big and small and in between.
Because I feel I’ve been given so much during this commitment, I want to give something back. I’ve been thinking about ways to give back to this little piece of the earth I’ve been walking. What I’ve come up with will be fodder for future blog posts.
I’ve also been thinking about how I can thank those of you who have been following me here at the Bogs blog.
So, for the first time, I am having a Give-Away. Here is how it will work:
- Leave a comment. It doesn’t have to be much. A “hi” or a smiley face or something that will let me know you are interested in the Give-Away.
- Or, if you don’t like leaving comments because you are shy or it’s too public or whatever your reasoning, you can email me. Over to the right, in the side bar, you’ll find a “contact me” with my email address. It’s under the “Where are you?” map of the world which is under my blog roll.
- I will write your name down on a small piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in a hat.
- M, without looking, will draw a name. I decided to have him do it because he won’t have anything to do with writing the names or folding the paper, and it just seems fairer that way.
The prize is a free print of almost any of my photos. I qualified that with “almost” because some of my photos do well on the screen but not in print. Also, there are a few with deeply personal meaning to them that are not available as prints.
The winner (the person whose name is drawn from the hat) can pick from almost anything from the Bogs blog, Bountiful Healing, or my galleries at ImageKind and MaidinSun Photography. I think 11×14 is a good size, but that might depend on the photo that’s picked and whether or not it’s been cropped as well as the personal preference of the winner (cos if you want something smaller, no problem).
So, head on down to the comments section and enter the Thank You! Give-Away.
Today’s Walk: The discoveries sometimes bring up sadness
I took my walk early today. There’s no way of knowing what the weather will do in spite of all the meterologists’ attempts to forecast what the day will bring. Today, it is said, will bring clouds and sun and a high of 55 degrees (F). We had our first freeze last night with the temperature dipping down to 32. It was still frosty and cold when I went out. I am going to have to start bundling up. A hat and a pair of gloves would have been welcome. It was mostly cloudy and we had a few sprinkles after I came back inside.
Sometimes I think the autumn season is the epitome of the idea of wabi-sabi. It’s on days like today that one can really see natural processes at work. It is, in many ways, the season of decay. The gusty winds have torn more leaves from the trees and the air smells earthy, with that underlying scent of dying vegetation. In other words, it looks and smells like autumn. More like later in autumn, but everything seems to have come early this year.
I find it interesting to note that at the height of summer’s growth and the beginning of autumn’s decay, the colors are somewhat similar:
It rained like crazy here this morning. It was the kind of morning that encourages you to curl up in a comfy chair to read a good book or just relax as you listen to and watch the rain. I was not able to do either of those things as I had errands to run this morning, including a much-needed and long-overdue hair cut.
I did get my walk and outdoor time in this afternoon. The heavy rain had stopped and we were left with a misty kind of day. Stepping out the garage door I was greeted by…
… a green frog. We frightened each other. You can’t tell by looking at him in this picture but he is a pretty big guy. I knew I had frightened him when he puffed all up, trying to make himself look even bigger. (I missed that shot.) We may have to rename Breezy Acres and call it Frog Land or something of that sort.
Since it is such a gray day, I went out in search of color. There was one red leaf in the branch pictured above that grabbed my attention. It almost looks as though someone shined a light on it.
The rain has perked up the jewelweed so it might be around for a few more weeks. Did you know you can use jewelweed as a poison ivy remedy? It’s pretty handy, too, as it often grows right next to poison ivy. To use it, crush the stems to extract the juice and apply it to the affected area. The crushed leaves, applied as a poultice, are also said to work. I can’t vouch for it, though. I’ve never tried it. For most of my life I was not allergic to poison ivy. I could go out and pick it with impunity. Whenever we had it in our yard, I’d be the one to go out and pull it. That worked fine until I was pregnant with our youngest son. I got my first good rash from poison ivy during that pregnancy. I’ve been allergic to it ever since.
Well, I’d better get back to work. I have a few chores to do before I can settle in for the evening and relax. I’m almost hoping the rain continues into tomorrow so I can sink into a comfy chair and read a good book. Or just listen to and watch the rain.
Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.
~ T. S. Eliot
Back in May of 2009 I began a 365 photo challenge in which I would take and post a photo every day for a year. I started out well enough and then life (and death) happened. I did not want to finish the project. About the time I was ready to quit I read an article written by a professional photographer explaining why he thought 365 photo challenges were a bad idea. It was his opinion that taking and posting a photo every day for a year did not improve one’s photography skills, and worse yet, the requirement of posting a photo every day meant that more often than not (in his opinion) one would start posting bad photos just for the sake of posting something, anything. He seemed to think this would not be good for one’s professional reputation (if one wanted to be a professional photographer, that is).
Because I was looking for an excuse to quit, I tended towards agreeing with the gentleman and that was that. I gave up.
Fast forward to May of this year when I signed up for NaBloPoMo. The theme for the month was Look Up. Early into the month, on May 6, I posted Look Up: The redbud. Someone at WordPress took notice and my post was one of those featured on Freshly Pressed. Also featured that day was a post by Kathy at Lake Superior Spirit. I clicked on the link to her post and I’ve been a regular visitor to Kathy’s blog since that time.
Before Lake Superior Spirit, Kathy had another blog called Opening the door, walking outside. On the winter solstice in 2008, she began her adventures with a 365 day “commitment to step outside and explore the outdoors.” I’ve been to visit this blog as well, dipping in every now and then to see where her adventure led her.
This has inspired me to start my own 365 day commitment to step outside and explore the outdoors beginning on September 23, 2010. Why September 23? Because autumn is my favorite time of year. I think kicking this off on the first full day of my favorite season will make for a good beginning.
You’re probably thinking that I already get outside and explore the outdoors every day. Not so, my dear readers. Sometimes I go several days in a row without sticking my nose, much less my entire body, outside the front or back door. This is especially true during the winter months. Some days I just don’t feel like putting on all of the layers needed to go out into the harsh cold of winter.
Having failed at one 365 commitment, I don’t want to fail again. That is why I am posting about it. “They” (those so-called experts) say that if you want to succeed at something, make sure you let everyone know what you’re doing. That way you can’t quit. Well, you can. And I did. But it would be awfully embarrassing to fail again so I am taking a “no excuses” approach this time around. There really is no reason at all I should not be able to honor this commitment fully.
I thought about starting another blog for my outdoor adventures, but have decided that two blogs are plenty and there is no reason I need to separate it from Life in the Bogs. The plan is to include something (a photo, a few words, whatever comes to mind) about my daily adventures in my daily posts. I will set up a separate page where I can highlight some of those adventures.
I have also decided to limit how many photographs I take while out and about on my daily walks. I’ve noticed that with the advent of bigger memory cards, I’ve become a somewhat lazy photographer. Instead of taking the time to really look at what I’m shooting, I click away like a maniac with no discernment. I end up with a lot of bad photos. Really bad photos. For example, I took a series of photos of a steam engine that M and I went to see on Sunday. None of the shots came out well. None.
That one there is one of the best of the lot and you can see that it is somewhat blurry.
So. I need to slow down a little. Limiting how many photos I can take on my daily outings will help me do that. I decided on the number 15. It’s an odd number, I know. But it seems like just enough to me. I will have to stop and think about what I’m shooting before I point and click. I will allow the occasional exception if something extraordinary happens that requires fast and numerous captures. Otherwise, 15 it is. I should be able to get one or two good shots with that many to choose from and if not, oh well. I won’t be posting photos from my walk that day.
So please join me here on September 23rd, the first full day of fall, as I embark on my own outdoor adventures here in the Bogs and wherever we travel to over the next year. I think it’s going to be great fun as well as a learning experience. And if you’re in the mood for a big commitment, get outside with me and post about your own adventures.
I think this must be what the plants are surviving on lately. Morning dew. The dew has been remarkably heavy when you consider how dry it is here. Not to worry, though. They say we will be getting some rain tomorrow.
You can tell I have nothing whatsoever to blog about lately since I am now giving not much more than weather reports and what might appear to be complaints about the lack of rain. I’m not complaining. Not at all. I am enjoying the beautiful weather. We’ve had tons of sunshine, more than we’re used to seeing around here. Spirits are high. Everyone seems to be in a good mood lately. Must be all that vitamin D cheering us up.
I posted one of my favorite photos from our Colorado trip over at Bountiful Healing. If you’re in the mood to travel a little bit, do me a favor and go on over and check it out: Sitting in Silence. As always, you can click on the picture for a larger view. I particularly like this one because, like the shoes in my last Sunday Signage post, it seems to tell a story, although what that story may be is up to the viewer. It’s a new direction for me, these story prompts. It will be fun to explore it further, maybe even in writing by coming up with my own stories.