For the last day of Becky’s April Bright Squares, this is a (double) rainbow, a perfect and complete arc that we were treated to yesterday evening at 7:00 after a brief storm blew through our area. Afterward, just about all my friends that live around here posted their rainbow photos on Facebook! I mean, WOW! This was a spectacular sight! A fitting end to a very BRIGHT month! Thank you, Becky!
Hibiscus or Rose of Sharon (which is a type of hibiscus) after the period of rain we had over the weekend. I’m posting this to show solidarity with Cee in hoping rain comes to her fire-ravaged state of Oregon.
The subject of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #75 is nostalgic. I feel nostalgic for places that I used to go to, such as our family’s cottage in northern Wisconsin. We sold the cottage in 2015, which had been in my family for 50 years, because it was no longer possible or feasible to manage the place from far away. But for many years, that beautiful place was a relaxing – and inexpensive – vacation.
Dale used to love to fish there, off the pier and in the rowboat. He would stay out there for hours. This photo is from July 2013.
Our lake had a couple of pairs of loons which nested somewhere across the lake. Their calls echoed over the lake as they communicated with each other and even with loons on nearby lakes. I got to know what each of their distinct calls meant – danger/fear, looking for company, and just “I am here.” It was a treat to see them get relatively close to the shore, so that I could take a photo like this one in July 2014.
At the cottage, I always felt close to nature and sometimes I would sit on the screened porch during a thunderstorm, watch the black clouds covering the sky, listen to the falling rain, feel the cool, moist air and smell the earthy freshness that rain brings.
Another place that I have visited several times is Rio de Janeiro – I always spend at least a few days there every time I go to Brazil. Most of the times I’ve been there, I’ve stayed with in-laws or friends in Leme, at the far end of Copacabana. Just looking at this photo makes me feel nostalgic.
And when I am there, I always insist on taking the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf in late afternoon, and watch the sun set. And as I look over that beautiful scene – the colors of the sunset and the lights coming on in all the neighborhoods I can see from there – I always get tears in my eyes and promise: I will be back. And so far, I’ve kept that promise, but of course I never know when it will be my last time there. I took both the photo above, of Copacabana Beach looking toward Leme at the far end from the bar at the top of a hotel, and the photo below, at sunset on Sugarloaf, in November 2016, during my last trip there.
These places I love, and the people, scenery, smells and sounds associated with them, give me what Brazilians call saudade, which is roughly translated to nostalgia, but it is more than that: it is sweet sorrow, it is happiness and sadness, love and longing, all at the same time. You can have saudades even when you are with the people and in the places which invoke it. Because you know that life is fleeting, that the moment you are experiencing is just that – a moment. Saudade reminds you not to take life for granted.
Since the end of 2013, Dale and I have had Hazel, our cat, as part of our family. But for 20 years before that, I did not have a cat, primarily because my son had asthma and was allergic to cats, which was sad for me because I love cats. Amazingly, he outgrew both his allergies and his asthma, and anyway, he no longer lives with us, so we were able to welcome a shelter cat into our home at Christmas time that year. Prior to 1993, I had pet cats for much of my life, and I remember them with nostalgic fondness.
From left to right are Kirry (a male Manx, my family’s pet cat during most of my childhood), Joia (1976-1992, a female half-Manx; I was with my first husband then and she traveled from Los Angeles to Wisconsin to Brazil and back), and Blackfoot (female tabby, 1993 – I had this cat only briefly before having to give her up because my son developed asthma).
I have developed nostalgia (or more accurately, saudade) for all the places I’ve been and the happy times I have spent in them. That is one reason I love photography – the photos I take tell the story of my experiences and invoke memories I would otherwise have forgotten.
There is a lovely park near here, known as Clearwater Park. It’s a great place to walk, on a sloping path that loops around the edges of the park, which contains two ponds. In the ponds there is often wildlife – ducks, geese, herons and egrets. These photos were taken in a late afternoon in July, right after a rainfall.
When you’re 90 years old, what do you suppose will matter most to you? I think it will be whether I am healthy enough to have a good quality of life. I’d like to be able to travel, but if not, I would want to be able to look forward to something. If I am in pain or suffering from a disease or health condition that isn’t going to improve, at that point I would rather die.
What’s the best way to spend a rainy afternoon? I know this sounds cliché, but I like sitting on the porch reading a book. I love the sound of the rain and the smell of fresh earth; I find it very relaxing. If I don’t have a book, I am content to just sit there and watch the rain coming down. Thunderstorms can be awesome to watch!
What is one thing you don’t understand about yourself? Why I am competitive. It’s something I don’t want to be and I don’t admire it in myself. I want to win and if I am playing something (a sport, a game) that I can never win, I lose interest and give up. Logically, I would rather be the type of person that just enjoys what I’m doing regardless of whether I’m good or bad at it. But instead, I compete, even if it is with myself. Then I am hard on myself when I don’t succeed.
When was the last time you tried something to look ‘cool’ (hip), but it ended in utter embarrassment? Details?
Unfortunately, it’s unfit to print!
This is an opportunity to share a picture, a story or event that shows your gratitude. I am grateful for flowers:
to be able to appreciate them
the eyes to see them
and hands to draw or photograph them.
First three photos: downloaded from Google Images.
Becky at The Life of B has a “Month of Squares” photo challenge. In September the theme is “In the Pink.”
Pink flowers are the first thing that comes to my mind! I haven’t participated often in this challenge but I think I will do it more often this month. Here are hydrangeas after a rainstorm.
Becky’s rules and suggestions are as follows: The theme for squares this month is ‘In the Pink‘ and the one rule as always is that your main photograph must be square. After that the world is your oyster, or should I say flamingo?! To help you get started here are some ideas you might want to consider; ‘In the Pink’ – means perfect condition or in good health, so that could be human or not! ‘Tickled Pink‘ – means delighted, so I’m thinking happy, fun and of course delighted. That could be you or the subject of your photograph. Pink – you can of course simply share anything that is coloured pink There is an extra challenge for those of you up for it – can you manage to combine two of these, or maybe even all three?
We woke up to a much cooler morning. It had rained quite a bit and puddles were everywhere. After checking out of the hotel, we loaded the car and headed back to Cadillac Ranch. 10 vintage Cadillac models from 1949 to 1963 are lined up, nose down, facing west, supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramids of Giza!
When we got there, I realized we would have been better off coming yesterday – the entrance gate stood directly over a trail of mud puddles, and the Cadillacs were no longer half-buried in the ground – they were now in the middle of a lake! The cars are covered in graffiti and visitors arrive with spray cans to add their own over the layers of graffiti from those who came before them. As we walked toward the cars, we heard the rattling of spray paint cans behind us, being shaken by a group of young people. Discarded spray cans littered the ground, which was disheartening, since there are garbage cans just outside the gate, and a few people had sprayed graffiti on the ground as well as on the cars! Cadillac Ranch was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm, according to Wikipedia. The cars are arranged in order by model year, to show the evolution of their tailfins.
The installation was originally located in a wheat field, but in 1997, it was relocated by a local contractor to a cow pasture two miles (3 km) west so it would be farther away from the expansion of Amarillo.
Cadillac Ranch can be seen from I-40, but to get to it, you get off on a frontage road (the historic Route 66). Visitors are encouraged, although it is located on private land.
In addition, spraying the cars with spray can graffiti is also encouraged and the Cadillacs have thus lost their original colors, but they are now much more colorful! If the installation had been placed in a remote location, the cars could have maintained their original state, but that was not the artists’ intention – they wanted people to interact with it.
Periodically the cars are painted in various solid colors – once all white to film a TV commercial, once pink to celebrate the birthday of the wife of one of the millionaires who funded the project, and once black for the death of Doug Michels.
Occasionally they are painted solid colors to provide a “fresh canvas” for visitors.
In 2012, they were painted rainbow colors to commemorate Gay Pride Day.
The last time they were painted over, they lasted less than 24 hours in their fresh coat of paint before being attacked by spray paint again!
Well, no one was going to get near them the day we were there, although Dale did walk around farther than he should have in order to take photos at a different angle.
When he lifted one of his feet out of the mud, his shoe got stuck and he realized both of his shoes had sunk into the muddy quagmire so that they were mostly covered with the brown sticky stuff! He traipsed back to the car and removed his shoes and socks (also covered with mud) and threw them into the back of the car. The picture below was taken later, when he took them out at our hotel in Oklahoma City to clean them off!
I was not happy with all the dirty smudges made in the back seat of my (new) car as a result!
We headed through Amarillo again on I-40. Once out in the country again, we saw alongside the road a shuttered business which had tried to capitalize on Cadillac Ranch – and the cars (Volkswagen “Beetles”) as well as the building itself were covered in graffiti!
The next attraction was the Leaning Water Tower of Texas (1.5 miles east of Groom, via I-40 take exit 114, go north to Frontage Road – which is what they renamed Route 66 after building the freeway). This was a tourist trap – standing in the middle of a farm field, the old-style water tower was built at a tilt to lure drivers off the road and into the town’s commercial businesses.
After that, we continued on the frontage road (historic Route 66) to our next stop – Shamrock, Texas. The U-Drop Inn and Tower Service Station (101 E. 12th St. – Route 66) is an example of art deco design from the 1930s. The Conoco gas station gained more recent fame as the inspiration for “Ramone’s paint shop” in the Disney movie Cars.
That was all we expected to see in Shamrock, but we ended up taking pictures of several businesses with murals painted on their facades.
Even a garbage can was painted with a Route 66 theme!
Besides the colorful signs of life in this town, as on much of Route 66, we saw plenty of shuttered buildings, which also made me a little sad to see.
Dale speeded up as we reached the edge of town, but then I yelled, “STOP!” I had to take a picture of a typical Texas motel in which each of the guest room doors were painted blue with a white star in the middle. This, I could see, was a surviving (perhaps not thriving) business which seemed to be well maintained.
I took the photo above while Dale waited in our car, the Prius seen in the picture. I saw a half-dressed man looking out the door of one of the rooms and was going back to the car when he emerged from his room, having thrown on a shirt. He, as it turns out, was the proprietor of the motel, curious about who I was, and he told me the story about how the doors came to be painted with the stars and other local lore.
Our last photo opp in Shamrock:
Leaving Shamrock, we were only a few miles from the Oklahoma border. We got back on I-40 and sped on.