As someone who lives and walks this city daily…my blog is all about delving a little deeper, seeing what it has to offer, and capturing the true essence of New York City. Whether you live in Gotham, or just visiting…feel free to look around my blog. Bet you might find something new to do!
Keep in mind this isn't a blog about what is coming up...but what is experienced on a day to day basis.
P.S. As of the end of April 2013 my more personal postings will now be at The Next Few Years.
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Category Archives: Virginia
Looking out from my parent’s home in Virginia, the views are breathtaking…the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance, the views of what used to be a large portion of the working farm, now mostly developed into neighborhoods, but still lush and green. Over the years, on the hillside, my parents have planted numerous butterfly bushes and many have reproduced on their own. For those of you who aren’t familiar, well…it’s a bush that attracts butterflies. They have bright flower colors of purples, blues, reds, and have a wonderful fragrance that attracts butterflies like bees on honey.
So what’s so special about all of this? Well, it’s been two years now since my sister passed away. Her wish was to be cremated and several weeks after the service, we had a smaller, more intimate service here on the farm to spread her ashes. We all loved the thought of spreading them around the butterfly bushes so we picked a pretty purple one. Imagine our delight (and surprise!) when the butterflies from all the other bushes decided to pay tribute as well. They all gathered on the bush. Since then, this particular bush has flourished and clearly from the photo below, the butterfly bush on the right totally outshines the others.
Now it’s important to note that my sister who passed is a twin. (Not my twin, but my other sister.) So once again imagine our delight (and surprise!) this week…and I kid you not…when twin fawns were born underneath the butterfly bush. I’ll leave you with these photos to ponder such an amazing and beautiful event!
And then of course it was time to get out in the sun and explore this brand new world!
After several gorgeous evenings of having dinner on the deck overlooking the Roanoke Valley, my visit to see my parents on the farm was coming to a close along with soaring temperatures. Friday evening while finishing up dinner, inside the house due to 100 degree heat, a storm was brewing in the distance. Within minutes, it was lightning. You know that “cloud to ground” kinda lightning. No thunder, no rain, but horrific, gusting winds. As we watched in the distance it was if we were on top of a mountain in Afghanistan watching bombs going off during war time. Suddenly transformer after transformer blew resulting in a red glow…and right before our eyes we could see portions of the valley go dark. Within seconds we had no power. Flashlights were found, candles were lit and the fortunate part of the first night was how the temperature cooled from the storm making for great sleeping weather with the windows wide open.
Fast forward over the next 48 hours and I’ll spare you the details, but just know we dealt with the usual. Spoilage in the refrigerators, no water as the family home is on a well system and thus the pump had no electricity. (Well you know what happens when you don’t have water…yep, you can’t flush the toilets.) No phone service and cell phones with very little life remaining. Over the next two days we were able to find some grocery stores open and purchase water along with a cooler, ice and a few grocery items. Trips were made looking for outlets to charge cellphones, along with iPads and computers to help pass the time. We looked for restaurants that were open to take the opportunity to dine and cool. Unfortunately we missed a family wedding and other opportunities to visit friends.
An adventure, a wake-up call to bring attention to all we take for granted, but also an opportunity for lots of family time as well. My father has Alzheimer’s and this whole event was quite upsetting to him. As you can only imagine he wasn’t able to make the connection to many things not working as usual. One of the nights we made preparations to sleep in the downstairs area as it was a touch cooler there, so we started to discuss who would be sleeping where. Of course my parents would take the only bedroom downstairs and the rest of the family would take the couches or the floor. So in comes dad with a very large furry-like blanket that mom and dad used back in the day when they’d frolic on the deck under the stars…he’d gathered pillows as well to form a bed on the floor. It was the most precious act to have witnessed and one that I’ll always remember, thus the reason for this photo.
The very next morning my dad made the statement…I don’t ever want to come back here again…let’s go home! Of course we all had a good laugh on that one! The good news?! Power is back and much earlier than expected! Mom, you’re a trooper!! xoxo
It’s been a grueling few days…with lots to tell…but I’ve never seen anything so inspirational as seeing this on the way from Virginia to NYC on Interstate 81 resulting from the power outages from the deadly storms in Virginia… More to come from this week on the farm…without power…with 100 degree temperatures!
As a child in the late 1950′s, my favorite book was Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. A book about wild ponies running free on a small island off the coasts of Virginia and Maryland. I’m sure you know what’s coming next. Yep, one of many items on my bucket list…a visit to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands in the Chesapeake Bay area to experience first hand the land of Misty.
In the book, one of the ponies, Phantom, is the mysterious of them all. A rarely seen wild mare that evades all efforts of being captured…until a young boy and girl lay eyes on her and decides they can’t live without her. A creature forever of the wild, she brings to the island a gentle, loyal colt Misty and the story unfolds…
There’s no better way to explore the remote areas around the islands than by boat and especially during the evening hours. After much research and reading many rave reviews, Daisey’s Dockside Nature Cruises was the chosen one. The Daisey’s were among the original settlers of Chincoteague and their love for the island has been passed down through generations.
Immediately upon arriving at the boathouse, we were greeted by friendly staff, introduced to our captain and led to an exceptionally clean and extremely comfortable 24-foot pontoon boat. Limited to six passengers to each boat, plenty of room was available to relax and move around in preparation for an evening filled with oohs and ahhs. To our delight, the excursion featured views of the world-famous wild ponies, dolphins, bald eagles and all kinds of other birds in their native habitat.
Besides the incredible tranquility of the scene, our captain – Nate – a life-long “Chincoteaguer” was the best. Knowledgeable, caring, funny…a true southerner…you immediately felt part of the Daisey family straightaway. Not at all in a hurry, our two hour cruise went into overtime without a concern in the world. An evening cruise turned sunset cruise and then a moonlight cruise as we headed to better viewing areas north of the islands. A bucket list item come true and one that will always remain in my heart, just as Misty has all of these years.
Bucket Lists. Some people believe in them…others do not. Personally, I’ve always felt if you write down your goals and dreams you’re more apt to accomplish them. Are you a believer?
(Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb where a collaborative group of like-minded women
from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.)
The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can,
pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings.
(This is a series of posts on Jan Phillips’ book, God is at Eye Level, Photography as a Healing Art.
For an intro check out the first post here.)
New Images for a New World
Chapter eight of Jan Phillip’s book talks about how our images are teaching tools. Honestly, I hadn’t really thought about the root meaning of the word document (docere) is “to teach” so this is a timely chapter as I continue my quest to document my father’s battle with Alzheimer’s. Often when I tell people that I’m working on this project the immediate question is “How do you photograph something that’s happening inside their brain?” The above photo was captured on one of our walks on the farm, and when I saw the gravelled road laid out in front of him through my lens, the thoughts of his life ahead of him spoke volumes to me. What does he think as he walks on the land that he’s loved and tilled for over sixty years? Or when he sits in the sun in the living room and looks out the window for hours in total quietness? Or at night when he sits in his lazy-boy chair and says…Can we go home tomorrow?
To me this is the true meaning of photography; the ability to create an emotion. An image that can change the way we think, move us to tears or laughter, or to action. Jan phrased it perfectly for me. “When we set out to document something, we are tasked with revealing the essence, the true spirit of it, as we see it and feel it in our bones; for the more truth a photo contains, the more potential it has to touch the heart.”
She closes the chapter with a profound statement that all of us can use in our photography… “Every time we ‘load a roll of film into our cameras’ we can choose to contribute something valuable to the global family album or add to the stockpile of meaningless imagery.“ Wow.
Next up: Chapter Nine – Life Seeking Life
Joining in for the very first time? Catch up on the previous chapters!
Chapter One – Through the Eyes of a Child
I hate my feet. Ever since I remember my feet, they’ve been ugly to me. My guess is this all started around those teenage years when you really start caring about those kinds of things… But anyway, several years ago, my dad and I were chatting about who got what in the family and so the discussion ensued about our feet. If there’s one trait that I received from my father, it’s his feet. Wide feet + Hereditary Bunions = Ugly Feet, in my opinion. (Now don’t start thinking…oh your feet aren’t that ugly…I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, ha!)
But let me back up so you understand why I’m posting about feet. Recently, I signed up for an on-line course Unravelling with Susannah Conway. A way to use journaling and photography to get to know the “me” that is hidden inside, a way to reconnect with “myself.” I love these kind of exercises because I think we can all learn something about ourselves that will help us as we move along in life. So here we go. Assignment – Week One: FEET. Oh god, I’m down before I even get out the gate! But then I think how lucky am I? I could have missing toes, a club foot, or no feet at all!! Your feet have carried you through all these years! Stop your whining! But then I easily return to…I hate my feet.
This past week was quality time on the farm in Virginia with my parents. Bingo! For my first assignment, I’ll take photos with my dad’s 86 year old feet beside of mine. My dad thought this was so funny and couldn’t understand why someone would want photos of their feet! Of course he doesn’t remember that discussion years ago because he now has Alzheimer’s. But when I looked at this photograph, both the stair steps and our feet really spoke to me. It made me realize how special my feet are because I do have my dad’s feet. I’ll be able to take this with me until I can no longer remember…and what a wonderful thing that is! Now when I look at my feet, I’ll think about him and all the long days he spent working the farm and standing to sell our fruits and vegetables to make our family a living.
Will I ever hate my feet again? Probably so, but I do know this exercise has given me a new outlook and now when I look at my feet, I’ll think of him and how proud I am to be the owners of these feet…a symbol of an incredible legacy within my family. Thank you Dad!♥
Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb - where a collaborative group of like-minded women
from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.
Looking to draw attention? Yep, three thousand blue and silver pinwheels got mine! The pinwheel gardens at a local community college here in Roanoke, Virgina are simply a visual reminder that celebrates healthy happy children in an effort to draw attention to Child Abuse Prevention Month! Clever and impactful!
My week on the farm has come to a close…quality time with my parents is always special!
My dad and I took several walks on the farm…looking at his apple trees he can no longer take care of due to his Alzheimer’s…but still able to admire the beauty of a newborn apple…
We stopped in to visit at a neighbor’s farm…
And of course a visit to the nearby Happy Hollow Gardens Park was in order to see all the azaleas in bloom…
And the big thrill of the week was seeing a wild turkey puff up and spread his tail feathers which I’ve never seen in the wild…(albeit not the best photo, but the best I could capture!) My dad and I both were very excited over this sighting!
Love you mom and dad! Will miss you terribly! Tomorrow it’s back to MY city, NYC!