Today I came across this wee, forgotten garden ornament stuck in the soil of a plant pot I was about to empty of its expired annuals.

I’m learning to appreciate the simplest of lines and shapes. So when I encounter miniature spiral-shaped trinkets, especially ones that have been salvaged from dead foliage, the garden gloves come off and the camera comes out.

October 3 (1 of 1)

Feelin’ groovy.

June 17 (2 of 3)

On the side of the highway near Hamilton sits a little shop called Grasshopper Imports. They sell imported pottery and garden ornaments, clothing and trinkets that appeal to the bohemians in the crowd.

Most people in the area know the place, even if they haven’t visited, because the owners made one stand-out choice when they set up shop.

They painted rainbow spirals on the exterior walls.

June 17 (1 of 3)

Naturally, this photogenic wall has been on my must-visit list, and early in the spring I finally stopped by for a few clicks. I had the kids with me at the time, so we made some fun portraits with the wall as a backdrop.

I also took the opportunity to try a couple of slow-shutter techniques. In the top image I moved the camera in a circle during the exposure time, and below, I zoomed instead. I liked the dreamy, painterly images that came out of it. I thought they could work as an interpretation of this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge of Focus (in this case, just the opposite).

June 17 (3 of 3)

Though my daughter would’ve loved to bring home a giant clay pot shaped like a frog or several pairs of dangly mineral stone earrings, we didn’t buy anything that day. But now I know where to find authentic Mexican Baja jackets and handblown glass swizzle sticks, should the need arise.

We’ll be back, Grasshopper. And thanks for the memories.


Start here.


I’ve been pondering this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge (“Path“) and the many potential photographic interpretations.

Snowy trails through the woods? Tunnels? Forks in the road? Stepping stones? So many options, all meaningful in their own way.

Then, earlier today, I walked past a picture frame in my bedroom that’s been sitting on a shelf for years, since my husband and I were first married. The frame has a decorative golden spiral embedded within a molded cement base. (There are two naive and wrinkle-free smiling people in the photo that bear a striking resemblance to the Mr. and me.)

I picked up the frame and ran my finger along the winding golden band. Aha! A path. A pretty one. And because my mind tends to wander, this led to thoughts of another, more famous golden road.

In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are transported to the Land of Oz by way of a powerful tornado. Dorothy and Toto are advised to “follow the yellow brick road” to the Emerald City, in hopes of finding the Wizard of Oz to help Dorothy return home to Kansas.

If you recall, in the movie, the beginning of this golden road lay in the midst of Munchkinland, curled in the shape of a spiral, much like the gold band in my frame. The spiral is a symbol that has traditional associations with evolution, growth, and enlightenment. Perfect placement for the start of a journey. Dorothy’s adventure was one of trials, choices, disappointments, and rewards. All the important quests are.

yellow-brick-roadWarner Bros.


The end realization of my musing was this: Where Dorothy landed, she began her quest. Okay, her path was clear, at least in the beginning. And there were delightful Munchkins present to provide musical encouragement. But she had to take a step. She had to start where she was.

Our milestones are sometimes marked with celebrations – graduations, weddings, baby showers, retirement parties. But what about those quiet journeys we undertake, often on our own? What about quitting an addiction, or healing from an injury, or grieving a loss? What about our goals of cultivating better relationships or making a career change? Of learning to knit or to play the ukulele or to run 5 kilometres without throwing up?

The paths to our personal goals are unlikely to be clearly marked with yellow brick. And Glinda the Good Witch may not be around to give us direction. The key, I guess, is to simply move – without repeatedly holding out for the ‘right’ time or the ideal circumstances.

We can’t preoccupy ourselves with waiting for an official starting line to appear. Guess what? We’re already standing on it.

Even if there are no Munchkins to send us off.

Under the wire.



This is what results when the whole day has gone by and you haven’t made a photo even though you’re supposed to be making one every day. Everyone is tucked in and now you have some time to yourself but the problem is that you’re so tired because the cats think the day should begin at 4:13 a.m. and you’re sure your eyelids must have cinder blocks attached to them.

You’re not sure how creative your brain is feeling at the moment or even whether you can remember how to operate the camera. In fact there’s a very panicky moment when you think you erased your entire memory card but luckily it’s a false alarm.

You make a photo of a candle but it’s boring and so is the one of the beach stones so at this point you’re looking around desperately for something to snap before you fall down or give up and crawl under the covers which is where you would really, really like to be right now.

Then you spot the twirly stick that’s been sitting inconspicuously in a vase with other twirly sticks for roughly 15 years and you notice that it’s a bit rough and spiral-y which could be interesting if the light shines on it a certain way.

Whether or not it’s actually interesting is debatable but you got today’s shot and once you’re done typing this sentence you’ll hit the hay and hope the cats will sleep in till at least 5 a.m. tomorrow.