Wetlands Photo Walk, August 18

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I haven’t walked through the wetlands since late July because it has been undergoing some necessary periodic maintenance to water lines and pedestrian paths. While I preferred this preserve in its wild state, there were portions that had become nearly impassable to visitors, which include biology students from the school that created this preserve from donated land.

When I moved to this neighborhood three years ago, I actually felt a tiny bit uneasy about living so close to something wild. This surprised me given my affinity for the local parks that offer acres of access to forest and prairies. The difference is in timing I suppose. I seldom wander through those parks when wildlife other than birds are apt to show themselves.

The first week I lived here, I had a short dream that I had a drone’s eye view of the wetlands, and I spotted a bear rear up on its hind legs and sniff the air. I quickly woke myself up and considered the odds that such a vision could actually become a reality in this part of Ohio. I drifted back to sleep content with its slim possibility.

This brings me to a tangent. Last summer I had the privilege of reading a century-old account that one of my ancestors wrote about the pioneer era of the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. It was a school report written by one of my third cousins, who related how her mother had seen bears picking berries whilst standing on their hind legs. One of my second great grandfathers was a game warden and pioneer to that region of Michigan. Back in that time, that area must have been far wilder than anything my dreaming mind could produce now.

I did spot a young coyote trotting down our street at dusk a couple years ago. That is wild enough for me.

Back to the present, I was delighted to see that the reed (Phragmites) are in bloom. Their brown/burgundy plumes signal that summer is at its peak.

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Backlight

This week’s photo challenge asks us to capture an image that shows something that hijacks your attention like an object that drives a child to proclaim, “Ooh, Shiny!

I have a few things that distract me in a delightful way. Spotting someone who has retained a hairstyle from a bygone era is one of those things. I’m not talking about an intentional retro makeover here. I mean someone who is old enough to have sported that hair style when it was current. I’ve seen a woman about town who has a perfectly permed and feathered mullet from 1984. How did she find a stylist who will keep up such an outdated style? What spectacular thing happened 33 years ago that she has made her hair a shrine to it? By the way, only her hair is stuck in the past. Her clothing and accessories definitely belong to the current era.

While I find time travel hairdos fascinating, I have not had the opportunity this week to take such a picture. I also feel uncomfortable with street photography that makes fun of the folks portrayed. It would a tough task indeed for me to photograph Mrs. 1984 Mullet in a way that doesn’t insist, “Look at this ridiculous hairdo.”

Because of this concern about exploitation, I offer another sort of scene that rivets my attention. I love seeing morning light through flowers, trees, and many other sorts of flora. Every time I drive to work and see sun beams filtering through gardens, I wish I could stop and take a few pictures.

This morning I took a picture of the morning sun illuminating one of my sunflower plants. I stopped everything that I was doing, grabbed my camera, and headed toward the garden when I spotted the sunflowers through my kitchen window this morning. Full sunshine has been elusive this week. We are stuck in a pattern of cloudy, hot days. I hope it rains today and that these showers steer us toward clearer skies.

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Garden, August 15

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Every year I take a small back-to-school vacation to help my daughter prepare for her next school year. We hope to get every last thing she needs for school, but we usually accomplish the most essential thing, resting up for a busy year.

The sunflowers are usually in bloom at this time, and this year is no exception. Our garden is past its peak. Despite the hot, dry days of this time, the nights will soon get too cold for some of our flowers to thrive for much longer.

So much will change in the next month, as it does every year at this time.

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Columbus Zoo, August 12

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Today we ventured to the Columbus Zoo. Every time I visit a zoo, I noticed that pregnant women are very well represented. What is it about zoos that attract expectant mothers? When I myself was pregnant sixteen years ago, I visited the Tacoma Zoo several times. There’s nothing quite like pregnancy to make one fall to earth and see that we very much belong to the natural world, no matter what lofty heights our minds may reach.

The crowd was very dense today. I felt lucky that I was able to linger long enough to steady my camera in front of some of the animals. I reside in a fairly small town, and I don’t know how folks from large cities grow accustomed to heavy crowds and thick traffic.

My daughter and I were hoping to see the supremely puffy Pallas cats frolicking about, but they were resting both times we visited their area today:

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This tiger was likewise occupied:

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The avian population looked as splendid as ever:

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We managed to secure a good standing place for the Cheetah Run, where we learned that cheetahs can accelerate to top speed in as little as three seconds. The cheetahs at this zoo also have a Labrador companion who tries his best to sprint like his feline friends:

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After I’d returned home and reviewed all the pictures I’d taken, I realized that I didn’t capture any good pictures of family members who joined me on this trip. In this one, a concrete feline looks like he’s planning to eat my dad’s arm:

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Almost 45

I haven’t taken my picture in five years. At that point, the phenomenon of selfies reached a point of supersaturation. I decided to halt the habit unless inspiration hit me to take a true self-portrait (which hasn’t happened yet).

I figured that I am overdue to update my general profile picture online. Presenting a self from five years ago isn’t the most genuine window dressing on a blog.

I’m all about being candid with my appearance. This insistence borders on laziness I suppose, but long ago I decided that if a man can present his physical self to the world as he really is, then I could too. I do not wear makeup or color my hair (I think my hair is still exhausted from all the colors I forced on it between the ages of 16 and 35). My hair care regime is wash-and-wear.

Implied in this is an acceptance that I am no longer as young as I used to be. Wrinkles and gray hair have begun their slow takeover. My gray hairs must have been on break when I took this picture. They aren’t too apparent in this shot.

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Pacific Sunset

This week’s photo challenge is Elemental.

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This week my time is short, so I grabbed a shot from deep in my photo archives. This image hails a late 2000 trip to Westport, WA. I stood on a pile of rocks as the evening tide lapped at my feet while the sun set. I had a one megapixel Sony Mavica that recorded images onto floppy discs, and I could take no more than 10 pictures per disc. That technology seems so quaint now, but I’m sure that the power of the water hitting that Pacific shore is still the same, seventeen years later.