Friday, September 30, 2016


Change has been in the air these last couple weeks with autumn officially beginning.

 The summer rush is over and village merchants are returning to saner schedules.

The marina has begun to thin out, with fewer masts dotting the sky.

Even M-22 has become more manageable without all the summer traffic.

Signs of fall are beginning to pop up all over the landscape.

  Here and there, tinges of red are showing on some trees.

  Mums are replacing over-grown annuals in local gardens.

  Besides the crisper weather, what I like best about the new season is the return of solitude to some of my favorite spots.  By spring, I’ll probably be ready for more action, but right now, the departure of the frenetic summer pace feels renewing.


Friday, September 23, 2016

The Sand-Hill Crane Goes Walking

I hadn't seen any Sandhill Cranes since early spring, but there they were in a field on Howell Road when I drove by, just inviting me to watch their grace and beauty.

They were farther away than I would have liked for good photography.  I pulled into the field, but the ground was pretty soft from all the rain we'd had so I made myself content with where I was.  Their long necks were buried in the grass searching for seeds and small critters.

Occasionally, one crane's head would pop up to check out the world while the other continued its seeking.

Then, the other crane would take a turn looking while its partner returned to hunting and pecking.  I wondered if their watchfulness was aimed at me, encroaching on their mealtime efforts.

The tandem pair were nearly in synch with each other as they made their way across the field.  They mate for life, you know.  Sometimes that's two decades or more, a long time in the bird world.

Their whole process reminded me of some lines from Mary Austin's poem, The Sand-Hill Crane:

Whenever the days are cool and clear,
The sand-hill crane goes walking
Across the field by the flashing weir,
Slowly, solemnly stalking.

The field folk know if he comes that way,
Slowly, solemnly stalking,
There is danger and death in the least delay,
When the sand-hill crane goes walking.
The chipmunks stop in the midst of play;
The gophers hide in their holes away;
And 'Hush, oh, Hush!' the field-mice say,
When the sand-hill crane goes walking.

Friday, September 16, 2016


I had learned from The Photographer's Ephemeris that the sunset and full moonrise were happening in close proximity time-wise so I looked for a spot where I might photograph both.

The moonrise was supposed to be at 7:25 pm and the sunset at 7:52 pm.  Even though the moonrise was going to happen first, I figured it would take a while to appear above the high dunes where I had located myself. 

I arrived at my spot about 7:30 pm and there was no sight of the full moon.  It also looked like the sunset was going to be occluded by some clouds near the horizon.

As the sun set right on schedule and painted the sky in delicious shades of orange, I kept turning around to see if there was any sign of the full moon.  There wasn't, but I continued to wait, enjoying the solitude and peace of the lakeshore evening. 

Finally, at 8:15 pm, I was really excited to see the full moon start to rise above the dunes.  It had taken about 50 minutes for it to reach that destination from the horizon.

I had hoped the Eastern sky would retain some of the orangey afterglow of the sunset, but it hadn't.  Still, the bright full moon was lovely against the deep blue of the darkening sky.

 As I packed up my gear and called it a night, the Western sky still held some of the sunset afterglow.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

To Oakley: May You Rest in Peace

Most of my blog followers have been introduced to my dogs, Oakley and Gracie.  I heard from so many of you when I did the post Lessons Learned from my Dogs.  This morning, Oakley died at the age of nearly thirteen. 

To honor her life and her passing, I'm going to share some of the favorite pictures I've taken of her over the years.  One thing that stood out about Oakley was her attitude.  She was always sweet and smiling.  Her beautiful tail never stopped wagging.  She was consummate Golden Retriever.

As a young puppy, she adored her big sister Lucy.  They were about three years apart in age and were inseparable.  Oakley couldn't get close enough.

Even as the two aged, and became white-faced as Goldens often do, the two often shared the living room chair and ottoman.

When Lucy died, Oak was really lost and about six months later I acquired Gracie, a mini-goldendoodle.  Oakley's spirits lifted as the two formed a bond of their own.  The size difference between the two was immense, but Oakley was always gentle with the little one.

They became close buddies and had one adventure after another in the back yard.  Here they're chasing critters deep under the snow.  Chipmunks, mice, voles!  They're retrievers, after all.

Like Lucy and Oakley, Gracie and Oak shared the big brown chair.  She put up with a lot of Gracie's shenanigans,  but she also knew when to draw the line.  This wasn't one of those times!  She was such a good teacher.

But, Oak was an individual dog in her own right too.  She loved looking out the window and would rest her chin on the windowsill to watch what was happening in the neighborhood.  She had a lovely, soft coat and it shone in the sunlight.

Her favorite spot was on the screened porch and she always had her Blue Dog stuffed animal with her.  Last night, when she adamantly refused to come in from the porch at bedtime, I was pretty sure it would be her last.  And it was.

Even after going through two enucleation surgeries because of glaucoma and countless painful treatments for chronic ear infections, Oakley always gave love to those around her.  She was a calm presence in my life, and Gracie's too, and I am grateful for the years we had together.  Rest in peace, dear pup.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Drama in the Skies

The clouds have been putting on quite a show the last couple weeks.  My favorites are the puffy, white, well-defined, cumulus clouds.  But the darker, stormier clouds bring their own kinds of theatrics too.