Friday At The Park

The Burning Bush.

“The tragedy of our wilderness experience is not that we have to go through grief and suffering- but that we often miss the blessings from burning bushes—the things through which God speaks…”

~Jamie Buckinghamhttp://jamiebuckinghamministries.com/

Happy Autumn!

In the deep fall
don’t you imagine the leaves think how
comfortable it will be to touch
the earth instead of the
nothingness of air and the endless
freshets of wind? And don’t you think
the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,
warm caves, begin to think

of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep
inside their bodies? And don’t you hear
the goldenrod whispering goodbye,
the everlasting being crowned with the first
tuffets of snow? The pond
vanishes, and the white field over which
the fox runs so quickly brings out
its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its
bellows. And at evening especially,
the piled firewood shifts a little,
longing to be on its way.

~ Mary Oliver, Song for Autumn

The Past Few Days In Photos

Click on photos to enlarge.

May 4–May 10, 2021. Click on photos to enlarge.

Autumn Painting

Follow me. There is a path up ahead. I can see it. I have been here before.

Follow me across the stone bridge. It is beautiful.

Follow me. I have to finish painting.

And then I came home to paint.

Pretty Photos

Just some recent photos from the last days of September and first day of October.

Leaves in our backyard.

Monarch Butterfly. I love this photo. And they are still visiting the garden!

Mittineague Park, West Springfield. Down the street from where we live.

Gooseberry Farms. Down the street from where we live.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Gooseberry Farms.

Recent sunrise on a walk with Freddy.

Mittineague Park.

Zinnia. Beautiful, Bruce!

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Good Advice; Your Words Matter

Here’s some great advice from my friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee:

“Here’s a little secret for writers: The way to write authentically is to pay attention to your regular life.

“I have written three books, one Bible study, and thousands of blog posts. But it took me a while to get in touch with The Regular.

“When I took that one simple step, everything about my writing changed.

“It’s like this: we can look around at our regular life and see it as quotidian and boring. That’s true whether you live on a cul-de-sac in Denver, or a farm in northwest Iowa. We hesitate to share from our own experiences and places because we’re afraid others won’t relate. Then, we water it down with generalities, and the life gets sucked out.

“But when I began to OWN my particular stories and places, an interesting paradox revealed itself — my regular life was what made my story both unique AND universally understood. Because when I explored my REGULAR life, all of the worries, fears, emotions, dreams, boredom, doubts, pain, anger, apathy, joy, and hope began to emerge from it.

“This is how you find your magic. You begin in the place where your bare feet roam, under the sky that domes over your head. Start with Place. Start with Home. Start with Regular. Start with your own weird thoughts, fumblings, and ponderings that emerge in your grocery store, church, back yard, bathroom, hospital, counselor’s office, cemetery, school gymnasium. Excavate the feelings underneath the places. The excavating ALWAYS starts when you put the spade under the dirt directly in front of you. Then, you’ll discover whatever it is that makes your story YOURS.

“As a writer, this is your ultimate strength. Write the stories only you can write. That’s how you find your style.”

This reminds me of a poem by Mary Oliver:

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

The path
Is a doorway
Follow me

To wonder
In fourth grade
We learn

Words matter
Susan and I
Bridges Together volunteers

In class
We read and write
Talk and laugh

Create art and friendships
Student Sabina whispers to me
“Susan is so beautiful”

Indeed she is
Inside and out
Her idea

To bring to class
Bushels of apples
For the students

And teachers and volunteers
Student Eva asks me
“May I have another apple?”

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

About October

I began the month with great expectations. Read the Bible daily. Practice yoga daily. Write daily. This I didn’t accomplish.

But Susan and I did begin a new season of volunteering in the Bridges Together Program .

Here are two of our students–4th graders.

I made some delicious food.

Here is a meatloaf with mushroom gravy.

Blueberry Scones.

Cranberry-Walnut Scones.

A Berry Galette.

Fig Chutney, which was so good served with chicken and oven-roasted Gen Tso’s cauliflower.

And since we have both fighting colds this past week, chicken soup.

Susan made a wonderful white chocolate cake. YUM!

One night we went out for dinner at 99 Restaurant and I had a sweet potato crusted haddock. I tried to replicate it at home with cod. Not as good, but still special.

Our garden continued to bring us great joy.

As did our Freddy. And Susan continued to sponsor the Nepali children in soccer.

I also had the opportunity to photograph my friend Beth and her family. I photographed her family last winter and I photographed her wedding a number of years ago.

 

And my friend Hajer.

And here is your humble author and friend. A self-portrait with my better half from October 3. She is my rock and inspiration. She is helping me get through some medical issues; this week I am having the first of two or three operations to remove kidney stones. Earlier in the month I thought I might have one as I have had them before; my back hurt and there was some blood in my urine. A CT Scan and Cystoscopy this month revealed two large stones and numerous small ones.

The long and short of all this is I AM reading the Bible, practicing yoga, praying, writing every day for now on. Thank You Susan for your continued inspiration. I love you. Keep smiling.

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome October

I love October!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” wrote L.M. Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables.

Me, too!!!

Picture-perfect evidence of God’s majesty surround us.

Magnificent autumn leaves invite us to see the beauty that envelops us.

At Mittineague Park, the park down the street from where we live.

Or at Blair Lake on the outskirts of the Berkshires.

Of course, there are all those pumpkins!

Sometimes, we receive a surprise snow storm in October.

October light helps me create beautiful portraits, too.

Here are a few dinner and deserts I have made in October (Lentil Soup, Beef Stew, Butternut Squash with Scallops, North African Meatballs, Apple Pie and Cherry Cobler):

Yes, my friends, I made pasta and pizza, too. And fish–like these Panko Coconut Crusted Scallops:

October brings cooler nights; sweater and sweatshirt weather (Pictured here yours truly and my beloved wife, Susan.).

Our dog, Freddy, a mini-labradoodle loves playing amongst the autumn leaves.

A few final thoughts. One of my favorite poems, “Kicking Leaves,” by Donald Hall begins:

Kicking the leaves, October, as we walk home together

from the game, in Ann Arbor,

on a day the color of soot, rain in the air;

I kick at the leaves of maples,

reds of seventy different shades, yellows

like old paper; and poplar leaves, fragile and pale;

and elm leaves, flags of a doomed race.

I kick at the leaves, making a sound I remember

as the leaves swirl upward from my boot,

and flutter; and I remember

Octobers walking to school in Connecticut,

wearing corduroy trousers that swished

with a sound like leaves; and a Sunday buying

a cup of cider at a roadside stand

on a dirt road in New Hampshire………

Read more here.

One last thought. Music. A favorite album/CD of ours is “When October Goes, Autumn Love Songs.” Music by Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Patty Larkin, Cheryl Wheeler and others. You can get your copy here.

 

I believe I am making the world a better place with beautiful photography. If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.