Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Tease

She smiles sweetly and I fall for it all over again. Even though I know better.

Siskins bounce off the windows sounding like someone playing timpani against the east side of the house. They cluster at the base of the feeders like barnyard chickens, packed so densely that they have trouble turning around, then lift off in tornadoes of yellow-striped wings, a few inevitably spinning into the double-paned reflection of Carolina blue skies. A steady drum beat of avian surprise. Thump. Thump. Thump. The opening riff of Spring.

I wander the woods around our place, clearing the boxes of last year’s nests while bluebird pairs chatter at me for disturbing their pre-season house-hunting. In one I find five pale azure eggs and I wonder. An extreme early clutch? Probably not. More likely a brood abandoned last year and the thought of it makes me sad. But I leave them in place, nonetheless; in the hopes…

The small pond above the house is filled with last fall's leaves and needs to be dredged, but not right away. For, along with the leaves, suspended in the shallow waters, are masses of goo; iridescent green globs of gelatinous pre-life, salamander egg masses clad in brilliant chartreuse symbiotic algae. The pond was built for just this purpose, the incubation of the shy spotted amphibian, and this year it’s doing the job quite nicely. Zeppelin sniffs at the pool, then turns, uninterested in the aquatic, and trots off to explore the deeper woods for things more warm-blooded. I follow as it seems a good idea.

Down the ridge, Mary sits on the porch and reads. That entails as much napping as it does study, but that’s what days like this are for. Seventy degrees in early February is a treat. A thawing of fingers and heart alike. A delight.

But, unfortunately, it’s all just a tease. A quick flash of leg quickly hidden by a swirling skirt of dried leaves blown by late-winter winds. A warm, breathless whisper followed by an arctic blast. A chaste peck on the cheek followed by a frigid slap in the face.

A kiss and a wink of Spring in February. I know it’s a flirt, that there's another cold shoulder coming, but I fall for the ruse just the same.

I'm so easy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Photo Bin - January 2015

Selfies. Not a big fan. I suppose it’s because ego is one of those human traits that I believe has over-evolved, here of late, and the constant flow of arm-length mug shots has begun to wear thin on me. Besides, with a mug like mine, the fewer likenesses floating around, the better.

But Mary headed off for a few days to visit with family, leaving me to my own devices, and that’s always a dangerous thing. Moreover, my buddy Bob White recently floated a question to his artist and photographer acquaintances regarding self-portraits and the prospect intrigued me. After all, my "stock picture" is now ten years old (and a rough ten years at that) and my funky social media avatar is just that; funky. So, looking for a photographic challenge and having some time on my hands, I had a little fun, turned the camera around, and shot the above image out on the back porch. This is what a contented sixty-year-old looks like.

And that, my friends, should do it for another ten years.

Enough with the black-and-white. Let’s have some color. I was pleased to contribute to the recent winter edition of the Southern Culture on the Fly, placing a piece about the train tracks that lead to one of my favorite fishing holes. Last minute, I drove up to get a few more railroad images for the story and, while I was there, a mile-long string of graffiti rolled by. Add the shadowy tiger-stripes of trackside trees and a bit of a tilt and you come up with some fascinating abstracts.

I’m convinced that a trip to a rail yard would yield a fantastic array of colors and shapes, just begging to be photographed. True art, some of this stuff, especially flying by at 50mph.

And speaking of color, while it looks like a Fox Sports Network graphic, this image is actually a view from underneath the scoreboard at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion, from Cremin's court, just outside of the center jump circle, where our dinner table was placed. We found ourselves looking up from this unique position as we attended the annual Georgia Tech Sports Scholarship Banquet, honoring the memory of our son and spending a few hours with this year's delightful recipient (a gifted young lady swimmer) of the memorial scholarship that we have established in Freeman's name. An evening filled with laughter and with tears, for neither can be fully appreciated without the other.

Go Jackets!

What is a Photo Bin?