SEASONAL REFLECTIONS

PHOTO CHALLENGE: REFLECTING – Garry & Marilyn Armstrong


Reflections in a partly frozen river

Scarlet reflections – October in New England

Photo: Garry Armstrong  – Reflections in the shallow water of the Mumford

Photo by Garry Armstrong – Reflections in the Blackstone River Canal

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

SHARING MY WORLD

Share Your World – May 1, 2017


Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

I’m going to go with neither, thanks. I’m getting to be a real Caribbean kind of gal. I want lovely, warm weather. Cool evenings, warm in the middle of the day. Long stretches on beaches with palm trees. Lived in very hot. Lived with bitterly cold. Am planning to stay here, weather or not, but if I have to dream, it’s definitely a long beach and palm trees.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself?

Long, though I wore it short for a lot of years when I was working full-time and being a mommy the rest of the day. It was easier to manage. Now it’s sort of medium – longer than short, but hasn’t made it to long. I haven’t cut it recently, so probably, it will eventually be long again.

What is your favorite month of the year?

October. If I’m going to live in this part of the world, there’s no month that comes near October for great weather and the most beautiful world surrounding me.

What is the easiest way for your to learn something new? By reading, by seeing and doing, in a classroom?

Reading or seeing both are fine. Classroom as an absolutely last possible choice. When I graduated college, I knew I was never going back. I didn’t hate school, not at all. But I was done with it and have stayed finished for the past fifty plus years.

BUSY DAY AND FLOWERS

We are not busy bees, buzzing from activity to activity. So much stuff gets done online, many of the busy things we used to do are no longer necessary. But — and there’s always a but — there are some things which require a personal touch. This was one of those days.

My final activity of the day was visiting the oncologist — never my favorite activity on any day. I was supposed to do it a month ago, but I wasn’t up to it and deferred it to today.

I needed to go to the post office and mail a small package and, we sold the yellow car. It hasn’t left home yet, but it’s merely waiting to be picked up. Since the new insurance policy came through at the end of last week, this seemed the right time to deal with officially removing the old car.

Yesterday, I went online yesterday and cancelled the plates. Today, I took the paper to the agent and changed our insurance policy to just one car. In our lives together, this is the first time we’ve only had one car. When we were both working, there was no question about needing two vehicles. These days, we rarely need two. I suppose there will be times when we need a second car, at which time we’ll just have to rent one, should it come to that.

I was surprised that our insurance dropped by half. I didn’t think one little old car was costing that much. So I guess it was a good thing and now, we don’t have to replace the tires, the brakes, and the dead battery.

The oncologist is another story. Anyone who has had cancer, now or previously, knows that the periodic visit to the oncologist makes you edgy. The long scar on my right breast has developed a hard piece of scar tissue underneath it. I have been working hard at ignoring it, but it kept bugging me. Last January, I went and saw the nurse practitioner (the doctor was on vacation) and we agreed it didn’t seem to be more than what I thought it was — a hard piece of scar tissue.

Today, at the doctor, we reached the same conclusion … with a proviso. If it seems to be growing or getting harder, back I go. And instead of my usually year between visits, I’m back in three months. It could be something. It probably isn’t. But … it could be. This is why cancer is not a lot of fun. A lot of things could be nothing, but then again, they could be something. And that something is not good.

I’m good at forgetting and with a little luck, I’ll have forgotten this entirely by tomorrow morning. If Medicare didn’t charge $450 for an ultrasound, I’d probably have sprung for the test. I don’t know about other retirees, but I don’t happen to have that hunk of money, so unless I think it’s life or death — it will wait.

Still, a lot got done. I finally got to see my doctor and a lens is on its way to Arizona. Our insurance dropped to as low as insurance ever gets.

For a few minutes when we got out of the hospital, it was sunny and I could see that spring really has come. Most places, anyway. It is less apparent here because our trees are all oak and they have no leaves yet. Other places where they have ornamental trees or maples, there are some small leaves and many flowers.

Since a few days ago, we gained two gorgeous yellow tulips and hillside of Solomon’s Seal has sprung up. It is amazing. In the middle of last week, I saw no evidence they were growing at all. Oh, and the Columbine are starting to bloom. It has been cold and rainy … but finally, spring is coming.

CRANKY AND WHINY

Welcome to New England where our most popular regional sport is politics. Football, baseball, basketball and hockey cannot compete with the joys of arguing politics. That this year is politically the worst experience since we drove out the British only means that all our other complaints will have to wait in line until the political rage has been satisfied, at least temporarily.

When politics and sports are finished, we move on to the single sport in which everyone, of any age, can actively compete.

Weather.

From bitterly cold to stiflingly hot, we’ve got the perfect weather to cover it.

Winter is too long, too snowy, too icy, and much too cold. I couldn’t agree more. Everyone is cranky and whiny from the first flakes through final melting. Of course, mud season, the inevitable followup to the heavy snow, is no one’s favorite, discounting the dogs who revel in it.

Spring? What spring? Where are the flowers? Why can’t we get a decent spring season? Is this the punishment of a malign deity? Until the lilies bloom, New Englanders are cranky.

Some time during May, summer drops by, usually in mid-afternoon. The morning is comfortable until the temperature goes way up there, the humidity moves in. The leaves on the trees droop and it is definitely summer. Which is always too hot. Muggy. Humid. Or, it may not be hot enough.


“Hey, how come it’s June and we still need heat?”  

Those triple H days — hot, hazy, and humid — give us a collective headache. Cranky and whiny, that’s us.

Autumn is everyone’s favorite season except it’s much too short. and there are oceans of dead leaves to shovel. We rate our autumn by brightness of leaf and you can stand on line in the grocery and hear people commenting that “this one isn’t as good as the year before last and who remembers 2012? Wasn’t that a doozy?”

We live in the “Snow and Long Commutes” region. Especially the snow. And Worcester.

On a bad year, heavy rains from a southern tropical storm drives up the coast and ruins the foliage. Which makes everyone cranky. And whiny. We get over it if the Sox are in the playoffs, but are even crankier if they are not. I know people on Facebook who, in the middle of a summer-long drought during which we haven’t gotten a drop of rain, will rant furiously on the day the drought breaks. I bet they’d be even more cranky and whiny if their well went dry . That would be a big, serious rant!

New England. What’s not to love?

THREE CHEERS FOR THE FOUR SEASONS by ELLIN CURLEY

It’s getting cold in Connecticut. The winter is late in coming this year, but now it’s definitely here. My husband is mourning the end of the warm weather. He is also missing his boat, which we just took out of the water to be shrink wrapped for winter.

On the other hand, I’ve just happily switched my closet from summer to winter clothes. I’m actually looking forward to wearing my favorite sweaters. I love boots and I feel very fashionable when I can wear high boots over my jeans. Another thing I look forward to in winter is coats and scarves. I have a terrific wardrobe of colorful, textured scarves, many purchased at craft shows over the years.

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I love the variety of clothing the seasons provide. I’d get sick of wearing the same clothes all year. If I lived in Florida or California, in order to get variety, I’d probably spend a fortune each year buying clothes. Now I spend very little on clothes because the four seasons (really three – winter summer and in between) give me ample variety in my wardrobe.

Another reason I don’t mind winter – once you put on your beautiful outerwear, you’re not cold outside. People talk about the horrors of winter as if you had to go outside everyday wearing nothing more than your pajamas! Snow is wonderful if you’re dressed to play in it and enjoy its beauty.

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I have to confess that I am not a heat lover. In fact, I get physically ill in severe heat. For me, it’s worse when it’s very hot than when it’s very cold. I can’t protect myself from the heat outside by removing layers of clothing. I can only go down to tee-shirt, shorts, or a bathing suit without getting arrested for indecent exposure. If I’m still roasting in those outfits, I’m screwed.

But in winter, you can always put on more sophisticated winter wear. For example, you can put on ski clothes and go out and ski down a mountain in the freezing cold.

So I dislike the heat and can stay warm in cold weather.

What else do I like about the seasons? The variety itself enhances my life. I appreciate spring and summer because I been through fall and winter. I don’t take green trees and flowers for granted because I live through colored leaves, bare trees, and the winter wonderland of snow-covered landscapes. I wouldn’t want to live in winter all year any more than I’d want to live in summer full-time.

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For the three months winter lasts, I appreciate it. We love the fires in the hearth on winter nights. Tom and I enjoy our Jacuzzi more in winter. Friends seem to have more time to come over and hang out in the winter, maybe because they’re not outside doing whatever they do in summer. Like playing golf, swim, take long walks, go on hikes, work in their gardens, and all that outdoorsy stuff.

I’m also lucky because I love where I live. I don’t dream of moving somewhere else. If I did, it would probably be to another place with four seasons. I just can’t imagine a life without watching the leaves turn red, yellow and orange in Autumn. I can’t imagine a life without getting to watch grass grow, flowers bloom and leaves suddenly burst out on trees. Every single year. I can’t imagine everything in my environment staying the same year in and year out.

I’m happy dealing with a world that changes. And now, it is changing again. Winter has arrived … with the promise of spring to come.

THE CHANGING SEASONS: NOVEMBER, 2016

The Changing Seasons: November 2016


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The Cardinal has announced that this challenge will run again through 2017. I love this challenge. It’s my favorite, first and foremost, because living here in the country, the weather is our calendar. It surrounds us, engulfs us. Regulates what we do and where we do it. It has presence and power in our lives. But the other reason is that I know it’s coming and regardless of the weather or my mood or plans, I have to go out and take some pictures. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that will get me into my boots and overcoat and outside with the camera. It’s a wonderful motivation for a lazy photographer.

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If you’d like a challenge that will actually challenge you — in a fun way — this is a good one. It’s also a challenge in which many of the participants are so much better photographers, it pushes me to try to be better, more creative. Find something new to say about a scene I’ve shot many times before.

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It’s the final month of shirtsleeve weather before winter comes. It’s the month where you may get snow, but the roses continue to bloom. Autumn leaves have lost the bright scarlet and yellow of October and transformed to the dark red, rust, and bronze of November. Leaves still cling to oak and maple trees. The quiet waters of the river reflect the gold of the trees.

The late afternoon sun is amber and casts long shadows. The strange sunlight changes the colors we see, turning bronze to yellow. Our eyes do indeed deceive us … or the camera’s eye cannot capture the November hues.

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The stores are advertising Christmas while families are still organizing their Thanksgiving invitations. Hurrying the seasons has become the standard. I understand the merchant’s need to sell, sell, sell. I hope they are equally understanding of how much we would like to get through one holiday before being battered by the next.

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From Cardinal Guzman:


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 2017.

It doesn’t matter if you couldn’t join the first month(s), late-comers are welcome.

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!

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