When Winter Creeps In

Winter seems to be in no hurry this year. Sometimes it barrels in before Autumn can retreat with grace and beauty. I remember last year when the weight of snow was an obvious burden on red-tinged leaves. They hit the ground with a thud instead of floating on the breeze and landing like a whisper. But Winter has no urgency this time around, no agenda, no purpose other than the eventual appreciation of Spring. Although Winter doesn’t officially arrive until December 21st, days are getting shorter, colder, and gray skies promise nothing except more cold days and gray skies. Winter creeps in and grabs anything bearing the slightest resemblance to color. I’ll welcome a good, deep snow now and then to break up the dreariness, to sparkle in the moonlight when I look out my window in the wee hours hoping to see something besides endless wintering. I don’t mind Winter, really I don’t, but if ever there was a time when it should swiftly slink into Spring – for a preponderance of reasons – it is now! Let’s just get this over with, shall we?

For Ragtag Daily Prompt: Preponderance

It’s Only Words #14

Foto Friday #107

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Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Old houses, I thought, do not belong to people ever, not really, people belong to them. ~Gladys Taber

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We wander through old streets, and pause before the age stricken houses; and, strange to say, the magic past lights them up. ~Grace King

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: White or Cream Colors

Foto Friday #106

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This formation of large limestone pillars is called Castle Rock. It is located on private range land in Gove County, Kansas. The limestone, chalk and shale formation is fragile and may not last many more years. The tallest spire fell after a thunderstorm in 2001. The chalk was deposited in the area by an ancient inland sea. The shape of Castle Rock and other formations in the adjoining badlands are due to weathering by wind and water. I thought the sun added a nice touch to the fascinating landscape.

PS – The road around the castle formation and adjoining badlands is no more than a two-rut path. It is very rough, so please keep that in mind if you plan to visit!

For Len-Artists Photo Challenge: The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Foto Friday #105

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I focused on one subject in all these photos: the Holy Cross Church in Pfeifer, Kansas. This Gothic-style church was built in 1918 and impressively towers above the handful of homes that remain in this tiny town. Not far from the church is the beautiful Holy Cross Cemetery filled with unique grave markers, some dating back over 120 years. Among those buried here are my great grandparents. My ancestors are German, but migrated to Russia before eventually coming to the United States. They settled here in the Pfeifer area and had a hand in constructing this magnificent church which rises up from the middle of nowhere. I am related to a good many of those whose graves are distinctively marked and lie within sight of the church they built and loved.

For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Focus on the Subject

Foto Friday #104

About eight weeks ago I was notified by “Kansas! Magazine” that one of my photos was selected for inclusion in their 2021 calendar. I waited with anticipation to see my work in print! The calendar has now been published, and this photo represents the month of November:

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For Ragtag Daily Prompt: Anticipation

Waves of a Different Kind

I live in Kansas, right smack in the middle of the United States. The nearest ocean is the Atlantic, nearly 1200 miles to the east. The Pacific is 1800 miles west and would take approximately 25 hours to drive. I am understandably overjoyed when our travels include a trip to the ocean. The sight of the sea flattened across the horizon thrills me, especially if bordered by rocky cliffs that sparkle with remnants of the sun. I watch as foamy waves meet the shore, consuming every crevice in its path. I try to memorize the sound of endless space – the cry of the seagulls and the breaking surf as it crashes over and over and over again.

When memories of the sea begin to fade, something very similar takes its place. Here in Kansas, miles and miles of land, not sea, flattens across the horizon, its vastness interrupted by an occasional rock formation, farm silo, or grove of trees rising up from the banks of a stream. Prairie grass sways in a gentle breeze, creating waves of a different kind, while the warmth of the sun brightly glows on fields of golden grain. Here, the sound of endless space is filled with near-quiet bliss: the mellow moo of a grazing cow and the distant honk of snow geese as they migrate back and forth to wherever it is they go.

Be happy with what you have… make it your source of inspiration!

For Lens-Artists Challenge: Inspiration

Foto Friday #102

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My two favorite colors are pink and yellow… always have been… always will be!

As I searched through my photos for ones with my favorite colors in them, I was struck by the mighty power of the intangible things in life… the love of family, the beauty of nature, the appreciation of travel, and the blessing of life itself including the sunsets we’re privileged to witness. I’m grateful for them all!

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pink and Yellow

and for Ragtag Daily Prompt: Mighty

I’m Sorry But Thank You!

When Covid-19 shut our schools down suddenly, my heart went out to all the children. One day they were in school – and the next day they weren’t! For most children, school is not only a structure for academics, it is a stable environment for learning social skills and building peer relationships. It’s a comfortable routine and something to do! It’s understandable that during lock-down, kids were driving their parents crazy! They missed their friends and they yearned to be out of the house.

About a month into forced isolation, parents in our neighborhood realized the importance of socialization and independence for their children. A group of young boys started spending hours and hours playing together outdoors.

I live in the city, but in a naturally protected wooded area where trees are thick and creek beds lie in wait to be explored. Normally, the creek is easily accessible only in a few places. After months of intervention by these industrious boys, however, we now have an entire network of arteries that lead through the woods and down to the water!

We have ropes tied to trees so you can swing out into the water; we have deep, narrow holes along the creek bank to hold fishing poles; we have hills cleared of debris for sliding and rolling down; and we have remnants of often-used toys, shovels, and buckets.

All summer long I wanted to survey this maze of new paths, but there was always an “adventure builder” or two occupying the area and staking claim to the result of their hard work.

Our schools re-opened several weeks ago. Some children have resumed in-class learning while others are on-line students, but they all have a routine during the week which no longer allows for outdoor play. I could finally search that special realm they created!

Now, when I take my daily walk I don’t stay on the paved paths. No! I duck into every little passageway I come across. I am amazed at all the channels they forged through the trees and brush during a time when they struggled for something to do. To them I’d like to say I’m sorry for your covid-filled months of childhood interrupted but thank you for combating your boredom by conceiving and shaping the little-boy world I now enjoy!

It’s Only Words #13

Foto Friday #101

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“I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.” ~ Leon Levinstein

Last week I responded to Photo Challenge “October” by taking a walk. This week I’m responding to Photo Challenge “A Photo Walk” by posting more photos of October! Sorry for the repetition, but a walk this time of year – especially with a camera – never gets old for me. We are still about two weeks away from peak fall color here, but we’re getting there!

For Lens Artists Challenge: A Photo Walk