Almost All

Almost all the weather was damp and almost all of our pictures were misty.

We drove through the Houghton Lake cabins of Jeff’s happy childhood vacations, stopped in a local souvenir shop where we bought a greeting card with a beautiful dream catcher which would months later become Jeff’s first and only tattoo. A 5 inch round over his heart with a turquoise shell, 3 feathers, intricate weave patterns and shadowing, it was impressive.

We visited Hartwick Pines near Grayling, and led ourselves on a self-guided tour. I tried to take a picture of the beautiful leave-covered ground beneath one massive tree, but it turned out murky. Jeff took one of me next to the huge red wheels of a logging wagon. If you look closely, you can see I am holding an almost all point-perfect yellow maple leaf.

We stopped to see Paul Bunyan and his blue ox at Castle Rock, but the attraction was closed and it was raining anyway. Jeff was disappointed because he had wanted to go into the souvenir shop that was forbidden as a kid. I’m thinking now of all the places we went in my childhood and how kitsch shops were totally off limits. I rolled down my window, clicked a photo to document that we had been there, and then we moved on.

My first Mackinac Bridge crossing occurred in the rain. As a passenger, I should say, because Jeff was concerned about the weather.  On the approach, I leaned out the window to grab a few shots while being pelted with windy drops. I can see myself in the side mirror wearing one of my favorite sweaters ever. It’s one we picked up at Birch Run.

I’m not sure what that yellow ticket looking thing is under the wiper on the passenger side. Maybe a parking pass? Could be this picture was taken on the way back over the bridge?  Did I mention this trip was almost all rainy? In any case, we made it over.

The ferry trip journey was very uncrowded, and if we’d thought about it, predictably chilly. We huddled together to stay warm, held hands and laughed our way through the inclement weather.

That’s just how it was with us.

Almost all, we held hands and just enjoyed the ride.

Quote for the Week:

2016-11-15-almost-all-perfect-trip-jakorte

Bonus Pictures:

2016-11-15-almost-all-bonus-pictures-2-jakorte

 

 

2016-11-15-almost-all-bonus-pictures-1-jakorte

Greening

I’m obsessed with green. Every shade, every texture is mesmerizing. Pines on Esch and Eisenhower; Oaks and Maples and Birch on Hayes and King George.  Shimmering in the morning or in swaying at sunset, they never stand still. Perhaps, it’s the movement that makes them fascinating; creating moments that just aren’t capture-able, at least not on my camera.

Due to a dinged and perpetually smudged screen, it’s not easy to pause the mapping app, but logic loses to chance creativity. I keep stopping short; sometimes fighting a little longer and then sheepishly circling back. Frequently unable to employ an appropriate amount stealth, I am at times, forced to speed-walk on by fear of an audience, and my own nervousness regarding the previously mentioned questionable practice of photographing other people’s property.

It only matters because I want to share them. If I were content keeping them to myself, I probably wouldn’t try so hard. But now that I’ve noticed them, they need to be preserved.

A few weeks ago, luck of timing landed me rounding the bend and encountering the gardener tending on the same morning. I really do try not to impose, but allow myself permission when it may mean something. So, I compliment the impact and offer thanks for the effort. I can’t really tell if the lack of much of a response is from being startled, suspicious or hunched over pulling weeds in a way that might not allow enough air for conversation. No matter. I hope she enjoys the memory later, as much as I enjoyed that moment in the present.

On another day, somewhere between late afternoon and early evening, I stop at the corner again, and hatch a plan I didn’t know was even incubating. Close-up photographing to the best of my phone camera’s ability, a little green light dings in my head. Go, go, go! I do. In cartoon mode, suddenly the greens are popping. The purples and the pinks, the yellows, whites and red appear in abstract over definitive shades of green. My disappointment in trees and leaves and needles is borne from that lack of clear contrast. There’s no way to convey the shades of green that either only I can see, or actually require in-person observance.

Cartooning creates interesting abstracts that still don’t capture the subtle shades. It does, however, result in inspiring impressions of a well-planned corner garden ready to greet neighbors and travelers. I’m pleased with the color-clumps, vague shapes, and impressions, because that is what it all boils down to anyway – personal perspective.

It’s like those impressive vacation photos that seem magnificent, but often are belittled by the phrase, “The pictures don’t do it justice.” There’s no way to convey a million colors through one electronic eye. You had to be there, which leads me to this. I guessing I’m being there more often; regularly. I still want to take it with me; just in case I never see so many green leave rivers again.

The hard part is being content with memories. The responsibility part is encouraging others to do the same. There will always be more richness in person, so walk with purpose. The memory of the experience, enamorable and elegant, undoubtedly makes the journey more colorful. 

Quote for the Week:

The well planned corner garden 07 22 14

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Tree Planting Government Grants: http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/find-color-pigments-hidden-green/

Street Corner Gardens: http://www.learn2grow.com/inspirations/gardenstyles/smallspaces/CorneringBeauty.aspx

Camera Apps for Android: http://www.androidauthority.com/the-best-camera-apps-for-android-188148/

 

Shoes and Pockets

It mostly takes sorrow to understand what it means for life to change in a minute or less; a blink of the eye.

I recently made my first volunteer trip without a notebook. Actually, I had a notebook, a specially made one, at that. I never had the chance or made the time to pick it up at night, in the morning, or during the day. I was that busy, that engaged, so much a part of the experience.

A few times, with a few spare seconds, I’d text myself notes without actually capturing the story. I only took one phone call on the job as well. It’s a number I always answer with one eye closed, as if grimacing and half-sight would lessen the possible bad news or make whatever I’m about to hear better. That day, I wasn’t fielding a crisis call, just an interestingly timed hello that coincided with a break between events.

My usual crutch, this time imprinted, spiral bound, soft-covered, had no place to ride. I made sure I packed pants with plenty of pockets, but it was just too wide; not easily rolled, cumbersome. So, my business card coordinated journal only left my shallow suitcase to be unpacked and repacked a few times as sleep accommodations changed. Accommodations changed four-times, but still, the pages remained blank, and my pockets remained full of emergency preparedness, and my shoes became varied.

Advised to bring along, the most comfortable, non-open-toed footwear owned, as a seasoned volunteer I brought along three. The most comfortable travel shoes, the broken-in but not broken-down lightweight running shoes, and the heavier, clunkier, dingy white walking shoes I’ve had for years. The travel shoes for the trip, the lightweights for indoor, the heavy-weights for potentially wet or muddy conditions; I thought I had it covered. After the first 4 hours of unexpected continuous circling on concrete, the day before the venue opened, my feet already disagreed.

Even the most comfy shoes can become the wrong ones in a given situation. When your absolute comfort zone becomes absolutely uncomfortable, it’s time to take the next step and step-out. Switching often was the recommended cure. I redefined “often” to suit my schedule: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, and then 5:30 pm – ?, and because an extra pair of shoes wouldn’t fit in any of my pockets, either.

That’s how I came to be leaning slightly against a tall cushioned stool on my third night as Press Room, Cooler and TV Monitor, and how I came to be fully sitting as often as possible on the fourth evening. It’s how I arrived at a greater understanding of shoe references in folk-lore and axioms, and challenge their worth.

In the midst of high profile questions and cameras, gratefulness, humble humility and recognition of greater things were common themes. Often repeated, regarding a tragic event or overcoming odds, one phrase floated. Seemingly hovered near the ceiling, drawn in with deep breaths, and released again and again, made known by succession – it really was remarkable.

The common implication that life can change in a minute or in the blink of an eye usually refers to the unexpected – something bad. Nursing painful feet, cramping calves, traumatized thighs, I’ve exhausted-but-clear-headedly come to the conclusion it can go the other way. From good to bad or from bad to good are the really the only two options of change available. These are the roads thoroughly traveled by artists, musicians, poets and dreamers; everyday people – the ones who make things happen and keep life running.

So, maybe it’s time to stop expecting the other shoe to drop, and graciously accept another pair.

Perhaps it’s time to preemptively trade the moulded cradle effect of the same shoes we’ve been wearing over and over to allow our standard stance some breathing room, stress-reduction and sore spot-regeneration.

I’m not recommending a challenging cliché. I’d really rather you didn’t attempt to walk a mile in my shoes.

I’d rather you dance a few feet, run a mile or appreciatively stand still in your own shoes.

I do suggest changing them often or finding a new pair; a shoe-in process proven to combat the painful bondage of repetition.

Then, be sure your pockets are deep enough to hold all the happiness that comes your way.

Ephesians 6:15: For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.

 

Quote for the Week:

To be happy, it first takes being comfortable being in your own shoes. The rest can work up from there. Sophia Bush

 

Enjoy this week’s discovery links:

Stop Waiting for the Next Shoe to Drop: http://www.rolereboot.org/life/details/2012-12-why-you-should-stop-waiting-for-the-next-shoe-to-dro

How to Find Shoes that Fit: http://foothealth.about.com/od/shoessocks/ht/ShoeFit.htm

Sophia Bush: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/sophia_bush.html

if the shoe fits wear it 06 17 2014