Clinging to the past.

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It’s not you, it’s me.

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The Mr. and I have a long-running joke about my obliviousness. Apparently, at least in certain situations, I’m known for my lack of observational skill.

He teases that I’d fail to notice even obvious occurrences taking place around me, such as, for example, an exploding building or an approaching mob of evil clowns.

I agree that I may be slightly challenged in this regard. Sometimes I accidentally ignore people I know when I unexpectedly encounter them in public places. More than once I’ve had to apologize after the fact to friends and neighbours who have waved to me from afar, only to have me return their greeting with nothing but a vacant, unintentionally grouchy expression.

In my defence: I (usually) have no ill will against these people I’m supposed to recognize. I’m simply lost in my own little world. Evidently, when I’m busy doing something, such as walking or thinking – especially walking and thinking – my brain is only capable of a limited amount of sensory input. Friends and acquaintances, I assure you: my failure to notice you is nothing personal. I apologize for being rude.

(Strangely, though, I’m very observant when it comes to, say, the whereabouts of my library books, which household bills are due when, and whether the bird-feeder needs refilling. Make of that what you will.)

Through my dabbling in photography, I’m learning that the skill of observation can be improved. (Thankfully, because those evil clowns are super creepy and I’d like to notice them in enough time to get far, far away.)

Do you ever notice something for the first time and then begin see it everywhere?

Lines, for example. I’ve never, ever noticed lines as much as I do now, because I want to record them with the camera. Lines in the roads, lines in the trees, lines in the clouds. The grid of windows on a building, the curl of my daughter’s hair, the sweeping curves of hosta leaves emerging from the earth. (A-ha! The accompanying photo to this post! You knew I’d get there. Eventually.)

Being observant is being present. And I’m sure I’m not alone in the challenge of being present – really and truly aware – more often. If photography is helping me slow down and sharpen some of my senses – at least the art of seeing, of noticing – perhaps there’s hope for me.

If I smile and wave back next time you see me at the mall, you’ll know it’s working.

 

P.S.
(I’m pleased to contribute this ribbed hosta to Tuesdays of Texture, a weekly feature over at De Monte y Mar.)

When things fall apart.

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With a focus on textures today, these photos come to you from a deserted industrial building in Hespeler, Ontario.

Creepy? Sure.

Intriguing? Yes – that, too (to me, at least).

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I don’t know if I can really explain what appeals to me about these sites.

Our abandoned structures are what remain – at least until they’re broken down and swallowed up, too – when the world has moved on.

Maybe they serve to remind us of all that’s fleeting and finite.

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For more photos of interesting textures (most of which are probably not as sad and sinister-looking as these), visit Narami for the Tuesdays of Texture weekly feature. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Staring at the sun.

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Sunday was clear and cold, and in the late afternoon, the kids and I took a walk. The sky was scattered with translucent sheets of sheer grey, rippled cloud cover, and a warm glow lit up the horizon.

The white disc in the photo is the sun, not the moon. A tame (and fleeting) version of what’s usually a blinding ball of fire. In that moment, it was unarmed and unarmoured, letting itself be seen. It felt like I could hold my fingers out and just pluck it from the fabric of the clouds.

It was one of those brief and extraordinary small wonders that I’m grateful to have noticed.

(I also think the fragmented sky and shadowy branches make for nice textures to include in Narami’s Tuesdays of Texture this week).

Thank you, as always, for visiting.

True colours.

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Most images in my February posts were pretty bleak-looking in terms of the colour palette, so I’ll finish off the month with something brighter in honour of a very vibrant little girl.

These hair elastics are labelled as “ouchless” on the package (not entirely true). They stretch and snap after a while, but we find they hold pigtails like nobody’s business. They’re slick and bright and shiny, which not only pleased my flashy first-grader but also inspired this photo for Narami’s weekly feature, Tuesdays of Texture.

When we got home from the store with the new package of elastics, my daughter picked out all the black ones and all the white ones and gave them to me. “You can have the plain ones,” she generously offered. She already has a good grasp of her mother’s neutral style. Her own style, she refers to as “fancy” (pronounced with an English accent). Aptly, she calls mine “not fancy” (but without the accent).

Though she loves them all, she likes the orange elastics best.

Shine on, girl, shine on.

Apricot scrubs and chemical peels not required.

This tree – I think it may be a yellow birch – knows what it’s doing.

It’s exfoliating.

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A bit of reading (herehere and here) suggests that it’s not completely certain why the bark naturally peels from some trees. It may be a mechanism to protect from a build-up of parasites and other pests, or it may be that the dead outer bark must split and peel away to allow the tree to grow. Maybe both, or neither, depending on the species.

In all likelihood, it sheds for a practical reason, whether or not that reason is clear to us. This casting-off and renewal is necessary, ongoing, and messy, and is just as much a part of the tree’s being as is the shape of its leaves or the taste of its sap.

And the tree is beautiful, not despite this unkempt-looking evidence of its existence, but because of it.

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Maybe it could teach us a thing or two.

 

P.S.
Close-ups of bark are naturals for Narami’s Tuesdays of Texture.