Look up

A wander through town as the gift of light and blue sky release everything held closely during days of gloom and rain. Shoulders, tight after weeks of the insistent demand to get out of the weather fast, unfurl cautiously. Details, always present, shine through light and shadow.


Painting from nature is not copying the object; it is realizing one’s sensations.

Paul Cezanne

Or in this case, photographing nature. 

From a morning walk back in town.  the perfect reflection of my self-assessment of the week past.  For every vivid moment of clarity, opening to the universe and my part in the whole, I see messy piles of half-formed blooms, spent leaves and a little bit of human-generated debris.  All surrounded by still water.

I planned to crop the photo and just show the perfect blossoms.  The far more honest choice is to share the whole.

This weekend, the task is to clear out the dead weight that no longer serves, to strip down the piles and aerate that water.  Get the current flowing one more time.

Post 11.

Mileposts Revisited: Discomfort

I wonder if I told the full truth yesterday when I wrote about not revisiting my photos. Part of the equation is not dwelling on the past, that’s definite. But maybe I also don’t look because it would mean I have to decide what to do with over 11,000 images in my Google Photos folder.  OK, OK. It’s 12K but some are also designs I made for social media accounts I maintain for work.

I share 1 out of every 20-30 photos I take on social media — with a personal limit of 3 in 24 hours. (That happens about once a year.)  Honestly, I could share 10 a day and not even make a dent in the stock.  Some are good, some are getting better. 

Perhaps I’m overwhelmed: with that many photos how do I truly examine each one?  Even with the nifty sorting and facial recognition at my disposal?  Great.  Now there’s one more thing to sort and conquer along with the tote bags and boxes.

The last three years, I made photo calendars as Christmas gifts.  Every single recipient loved them.  Some started noting on Instagram which photo they wanted to see in the next calendar.   I’ve considered mailing people and asking which category of calendar they’d like: landscape, seascape, downtown Frederick, flowers.  But then I tuck the idea away in a trusty tote bag and put it in the closet.

The universe may have other ideas.  In the last 24 hours one pal asked what I’d charge if she bought a calendar to give as her own gift.  Another pal said Frederick post cards are nowhere to be found, my photos would fill that void.  

More ideas.  This time, I wrote them down and kept the paper out in the open to hold myself accountable.

Maybe it’s time to acknowledge the discomfort of putting myself forward, mock up some calendars and post cards.  Approach some local shops. Figure out a place to sell things on line.  Step back and see what else I’m supposed to do.

Then get out of my own way and do it.

Post 7.

1 photo, 3 sentences: May 21, 2016


The best days start with an empty palette, a clean face.  You take a soft brush in a steady hand then add sweeps of color to enhance, define, embrace.   And on the best days, the results make the day, the face, show reflect the best side of the person.

1 photo, 3 sentences — May 17, 2016


The sun is a reclusive diva this May.  It hides behind lowered, gloomy, dour clouds until it decides to blaze through the gray in the waning moments of day and tease the eyes with gorgeous light.  It takes that promise below the horizon only to reconsider through the night and shroud itself at the next dawn.

1/12th of the way

January flew by in a haze of travel, sinus pain and snow.  Our first blizzard in decades kept me in place much longer than I really like to stay still.  But when your head whirls after movement, or even just conversation, staying put became order number one.

I envisioned taking root in our new home and nearly new city this year.  In fact Root(ed) is my word and work in 2016.  But thirty one days in, I know I didn’t put 2015 completely to rest the way you would put a garden for winter.   I refused to sweep away the loose thoughts, old distractions and emotions that no longer suit and so there’s a tangled mess above the surface.  I can only hope there’s some Secret Garden work going on that will stun as the growing season approaches.

Looking at the bounty of snow covered photos I took in the last week, I keep returning to the view outside my office window of the dormers across the way.


When the storm set in you could barely tell the sky from the roof line.  Pretty much the way I allowed the old year to blur into the new.


As the storm cleared, the colors turned brilliant.  The delicious possibilities under that achingly blue sky tempted me to ignore the blurred tangle underfoot and grab onto something new.  A something, I’ve learned from experience, that would ultimately land in an unclear space and add to the tangle.


The view today as the work of uncovering what’s underneath continues drip by drip by drip.  I’m sure I know what lies in that tangle of emotions but until I allow things to move — to drip away — I won’t be certain.

So this 31st day of the year will be one of clearing.  I have blank pages to fill with thoughts.  No order, just grabbing that first exposed emotional branch and seeing how easily it slips free.  No judgment, no finding fault, just opening up space in order to see what takes root.

11/9 Walking and Words: Wet


A rainy morning for a walk in Frederick.  A bit of a rough go for a repaired knee, but out the door I went on what’s become a preferred route of sorts: down an alley to the creek then winding my way to the park and the looping around back to home.

I’m not sure when the route will become habit.  Old brick sidewalks don’t lend themselves to an unconscious walk — I have to constantly look down to make certain of sure footing. The practice of these daily walks has an integral element of being absolutely present — despite nattering body parts.  Because if I’m not fully aware of where I’m going and where the next step goes, I’m likely to step in a way that send pain up the right leg.

I spend so much time looking down I can feel my shoulders closing in over my heart head lowered to look at what’s at my feet.  When I look at my photos, so many of them remind me to look up.


Adding to this week’s practice is finding a balance between the all the way up and the all the way down to find that middle.

11/9 Walking and Words: one is easier than the other

Week one of this little experiment of movement and creation is on the books.  I get up and out at meet my 9 am goal for a walk, then I find that the rest of the day falls into place.  Well, full disclosure: after an extremely busy Friday and Saturday (16,000+ steps each day), I decided two short walks would be the extent of Sunday’s movement, totals be damned.  (It was a respectable 7500.)

My mind isn’t responding to the command to write nearly as well.  I’ve dutifully sat down, pecked out words and let the story figure itself out.  Right now, I’m not giving over to the showing up, I seem to want to direct and control exactly where the words will take me.  Should the words be funny?  Wise?  A slice of life?  A philosophical slant to something that happened on the walk?

For week two, the goal is to show up and begin.  And will see where I end up.

Photos, though, are not a problem.  Today was the first truly cold morning with frost on the park grasses and mists on the water.  And then there was the reflection of early light that set this photo on fire.wpid-wp-1447107526920.jpeg

A fine start to the week.

11/6 Walking and Words: #madeuphistory


I’ve passed this several times and wondered. Instead of investigating I made up a story.

Mr. Jacoby Loats considered the house on the corner of Church Street and Maxwell Alley to be the crowning achievement of his young career building homes. Nearing completion of the project, he approached the owner Mrs. Esther Humblebolt and asked that he might stamp his name on a small patch near the front corner of the house so people would know whose services they could inquire about their own future homes.

“My dear Mr. Loats,” said Mrs. Humblebolt, “what a vulgar idea! I most certainly forbid any sort of sign that would advertise a company’s service, even one as fine as yours, on the front of my house for all to see!

“I’d planned to write a most favorable letter of recommendation to your mother, but I may have to reconsider in the face of such an outlandish, forward idea.”

Mr. Loats begged her pardon but argued that he meant for it to be a simple thing, that etching. For who knew where he might go as a builder and to have the Loats name on her home could be of very great honor in the future.

“Young man, this is outrageous!” exclaimed Mrs. Humblebolt.  “This is 1877 and while I know young people such as yourself have ideas that I find incomprehensible in their forwardness, respectable people do not put names not of their own family on the front of their houses. Now I must bid you Good Day!”

Mr. Loats left the house and met his junior associate waiting eagerly to hear of the decision. 

When the news was shared, both men were cast down for such was their excitement to add the etched name to the home.

As they walked done the Alley on the way to the office, Mr. Loats’ junior man, Earnest, looked at the wall with careful thought.

“Did she say anything about etching on a wall on an alley?” he asked.

Mr. Loats considered for a moment and smiled. “Why no Earnest, Mrs. Humblebolt did not.”

It was nearly 3 years before Mrs. Humblebolt noticed the etching as she routinely avoided the impropriety of walking down alleys. By that time Mr. Loats was the talk of Frederick and having his name etched on the wall of a home was of very great consequence.

Mrs. Esther Humblebolt was quick to point out that while his name on a home was fine, having it on a wall along a busy throughfare showed an elevated mind to business and she greatly approved.