SUMMER SOLSTICE – THE CHANGING SEASONS, JUNE 2017

The Changing Seasons: June 2017

This has been the coldest, wettest spring I can remember and today is the start of our official summer. Longest day of the year, and from now on, each day will be just a little bit shorter. It’s hard to believe.

My garden is incredibly green. It has rained almost nonstop since the melting of the snows in March. Green, but without flowers. Mostly it has been dark and chilly. The roses are branching out like barbed wire with roots … and not a single bud. The lilies have buds, but no flowers. The columbine are gone for the year. Even the hosta are looking pathetic.

All of these pictures were taken during the perhaps three or four days of sunshine we’ve had … or indoors. I have gone out to shoot half a dozen times … and come back with nothing much.

Vines in the woods

That rarely happens, but this time it did. I’m not sure what all this dark, wet weather means relative to autumn to come. Super wet weather frequently means a rather dull autumn.

Summer woods

Many of the photos are Garry’s and the rest are mine except for the one shot by the stranger who snapped us at a restaurant we were visiting with friends.

Max “The Cardinal” has more interesting pictures to show, so drop by his site and take a look.

Speaking of weather, no matter who says what about the changing weather? This has been one peculiar year.

The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.

 

THE CHANGING SEASONS: MAY 2017

THE CHANGING SEASONS – MAY AND SUMMER HAVE ARRIVED!

Spring is a fickle season in New England. It’s common for us to not get spring weather. It stays cold, wet, and generally nasty until suddenly, in the middle of May, summer happens.

You leave the house in the morning to do a little shopping, and when you come out of the grocery, summer arrived. That the way it happened this year and it is absolutely lovely outside now.

THE RIVER AND THE CANAL

Usually, May is the herald of summer in this region. Around the middle of the month, the cold, windy, damp air blows away and the flowers bloom. In a good year, it’s sort of perfect. Warm, dry, and bright.

THE GARDEN – EARLY MAY

And so it was. The warm days blew in. Except this is going to be another year of Gypsy Moths, so the beauty of the season is only going to last a few weeks and then the maniac caterpillars will defoliate the trees. We are all hoping it won’t be as bad as last year. The heavy rains this spring might help, but we won’t know for a few weeks.

SWANS ON THE POND

These are the best of the summer pictures. The roses aren’t out yet. It was so chilly for so long, some of the later blooming flowers are not flowering, but they will be here. Maybe one more week. Meanwhile, this is May — maybe our best month — especially since we don’t know what’s coming.

All the pictures were taken by me and Garry Armstrong. If you aren’t sure who took what, look for the name on the photograph.


The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.

THE CHANGING SEASONS – AN UNUSUAL JANUARY

The Changing Seasons: January 2017


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It’s a new year. The last one zipped by in hyperdrive. A year ago today, we had just returned from Arizona. This year,  no such luck … but it has been a surprisingly warm month. Just one snow of any measurable amount. Other few little snows have not rated being shoveled, much less plowed.180-sunset-aldrich-st-210117_03

I really wanted to do just one picture this time, but the variability of the weather has made that difficult. We have been alternating springlike warm weather with deep winter cold and snow, often in as short an interval as 12 hours.

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«The Changing Seasons 2017» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the newer version (V2) where you can be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month.

Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2017. It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed.

These are the rules (want the full introduction? Click Here), but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking.


The great Cardinal Guzman sponsors this challenge and it is my favorite. He is a wonderfully gifted and imaginative photographer. Whether or not you decide to participate, please visit and look at his amazing photography. You’ll be glad you did!

The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.
The Changing Seasons is a Monthly Photo Challenge started by CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com.

THE CHANGING SEASONS – EARLY WINTER – DECEMBER 2016

THE CHANGING SEASONS: DECEMBER 2016

Evangelical church on the common after dark in December
Evangelical church on the common after dark in December

You never know about December. We’ve had some of our most memorable blizzards this month. I remember one storm, when we still lived in Boston. It hit in early December and dropped 22 inches on the city. Other years, different winters, we have had no measurable snow until late January or February. And, just to confuse the issue, every four or five years, we have a winter with no snow or nearly none. It all depends on the prevailing winds, the polar vortex, and the positioning of Santa’s sleigh in the arctic. Most important is whether or not we are ready for winter to arrive. If we aren’t, an early hard winter is guaranteed.

Our house. After I took this, I realized that we have lived here for almost 17 years and this is the first time I've shot a night photograph of our house.
After I shot this, I realized we’ve lived here almost 17 years — yet this is the first time I’ve photographed our house after dark

I have discovered a direct correlation between how much money you spend on snow removal equipment and how much snow will fall that season. If you spend big money and get a powerful snowblower or tractor that will easily tackle four-foot drifts on the bunny slope we optimistically call “our driveway,” your odds of getting no snow deeper than three inches increases exponentially.

If you spend more than $1500, you may get two back-to-back winters without any appreciable snow. You can bribe weather gods. I have no idea what they do with the money. Do they hang out on the sunny beaches of Jamaica or Waikiki? If I were a winter weather god, those would be my top two choices.

The rectory of the Evangelical church on Uxbridge common
The rectory of the Evangelical church on Uxbridge common

On the other hand, if you love winter sports, you can trick the gods and assure proper snow depths by not buying any snow-clearing equipment. All you need to do is go into the winter snow season completely unprepared. Extra points for failing to switch to snow tires. This will certainly guarantee a blizzard of (almost) epic proportions.

Is this real? True? I’m sure you can find it on Facebook. You can always find the Truth on social media.

Uxbridge Common at night ... just before Christmas with lights.
Uxbridge Common at night … just before Christmas with lights

Last year’s winter was very mild and so far, this season, we’ve had only one dusting plus a modest little snow that melted the following day. No great heaps of snow. It has been very cold and other places not far from here have gotten considerably more winter weather than us. I believe this is because last year, we finally gave in and bought a four-wheel-drive Jeep. For the amount of money it cost, we may get as many as three mild winters.

Snow in the woods in December
Snow in the woods in December

I was trying to find a single picture that screamed “December.” But this month, I bought (second-hand, but in perfect condition) a terrific Leica f1.4 lens for my Olympus OM-D. It’s the lens for night photography.

Last summer's chrysanthemums linger as the season's first snow falls
Last summer’s chrysanthemums linger as the season’s first snow falls

I also got the Topaz Simplify 4 filter set. This has skewed my photographic endeavors in the direction of artistic and experimental rather than my more typical realism. I hope you like the results. I’m having so much fun with combinations of filters, I felt compelled to show off at least of few of them to you. What I like best about this kind of photography is that it is like painting. It’s not just things as they are or were, but as I see them in my mind’s eye.

Bonnie watches the snow falling.
Bonnie watches snow falling

Finally, I could not choose only one photograph. Here is 2016 through all the changing seasons.

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See you all on the flip side of the calendar. Cardinal Guzman has kindly offered to host this challenge again in 2017, so I will look forward to viewing all your beautiful pictures next year.

Enjoy the holiday and the season!

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THE CHANGING SEASONS: SEPTEMBER 2016

The Changing Seasons: September 2016


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I believe this is a juvenile black-crowned night heron. If someone has a more accurate identification, I’d love to hear from you!

I had been hoping that the trees would oblige me by changing color for me this weekend, but alas, they have not. There is some change. Bits and pieces here and there. It always happens first near water. Along the shore, near rivers. But mostly, nothing much is happening … at least as far as changing color goes.

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Still the air is quite chilly at night, though still pretty warm and muggy in the day. September had been such a crazy, busy month … so I hope I’ve captured its essence. A little bit, at least.

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What’s this «Changing Seasons» blogging challenge?

«The Changing Seasons 2016» is a blogging challenge with two versions: the original (V1) which is purely photographic and the new version (V2) where you can allow yourself to be more artistic and post a painting, a recipe, a digital manipulation, or simply just one photo that you think represents the month. Anyone with a blog can join this challenge and it’ll run throughout 2016. It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcomed. These are the rules, but they’re not written in stone – you can always improvise, mix & match to suit your own liking:

These are the rules for Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

These are the rules for Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
  • Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

Hard to believe we are wrapping up the year and heading toward the cold months. I always have a lot of ambivalence as the summer ends. I love the autumn. If it were October all year long, I’d be a very happy human. Sadly, it’s the last glory and the warm time before … well … you know. White stuff. Ice. Slippery ground and hard navigation. The cabin fever months lie ahead.

TheChangingSeasons_6367

GATHERING PEARLS – EPISODE 1

NO DRAWN BLANKS, NOT TODAY

I’ve been finding pearls of wisdom all over the place. A few from television and movies, others from fellow bloggers. Today’s gems (and I’m not kidding, I mean gems — no sarcasm) come from Cardinal Guzman.

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Let me start with the Cardinal. His “life game” guidelines resonated with me:

  • Take care of your loved one and loved ones.
  • Have fun, but don’t get addicted to it.
  • Their shit stinks too, so it doesn’t matter what they think.
  • Improvise.

Taking care. I take care of my loved ones — friends and family — to the extent that they allow me, and I am able. I no longer believe I can fix everyone’s problems — or mine. Within the limits of money, time, health, and distance, I do what I can. It’s pretty good. If I won the lottery … but that doesn’t look likely, especially considering I haven’t bought any tickets. (Maybe I should buy tickets.)

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Have fun. I do. It’s different fun than I had years ago, but it makes me smile and laugh. I get some good pictures too.

Their shit stinks too. Not only does other people shit stink, but some of those other people have bigger problems than me. None of us never knows how difficult someone else’s path is. If they are nice to me, the will have my support — even if I don’t have much beyond moral support to offer.

Improvise. He or she who cannot roll with the punches, change with the seasons of life, adapt to the stuff that is constantly assailing us from every direction, are doomed. If you don’t change, you ossify and die in place.

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Living means changing. Many people declare “they can’t change because they are what they are.” That’s never true. They are convinced not changing will save them from getting hurt or having to learn new and uncomfortable skills. Instead, ceasing to move in life becomes a recipe for death before burial. Only the dead are frozen in time.

Improvising also means reinventing oneself. Often. As we age, we don’t so much give up things, as we adapt to the limitations we encounter. If I can’t ride horses, I can take pictures of them. I can enjoy being around them.

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I can’t hike long distances, but I can walk shorter ones. I can take pictures, write, read, and talk. I can laugh. And I’d better do it now, because tomorrow has no guarantee. As far as I can know, this is tomorrow.

Grab a handful of life and get on with it.

I’d like to add that the entire experience of living would be greatly improved by people being kind to one another. By not walking around so fearful of getting hurt that they hurt everyone else. Self-protection is overrated.

Be nice, be kind. Help where you can. It’s free. It’s easy. It makes you a better person and the world a better place.

DECEMBER 2015 – CHANGING SEASONS 12

Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 12

The year is ending. Hard to believe I’ve been photographing the seasons for this entire year.

December 2015 looks exactly like November 2015. No snow (yay). And it’s warm. Most days have been springlike. Cold at night, but balmy by day. I’m just fine with this, even though I know it could change any minute.

So the ground is clear, the air is warm … and winter has not quite arrived. Last year, it didn’t show up until the end of January, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I guess we’ll see.

Please do visit Cardinal Guzman and see his amazing photographs as well as the galleries of the other fabulous participants of this year-long challenge.

Good Hanukkah to all!