Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

The word “bounty” seems to get used quite a bit in our country during this, our Thanksgiving holiday. Today I thought I’d post two simple images I made of produce from our garden: Beans,  and tomatillos that we grew ourselves.

If you are like me, your email in-basket is full-to-overflowing today because it is Black Friday and lots of businesses want us to buy lots of stuff.  Only yesterday we Americans came together at family gatherings (or at meals with good friends) and we gave thanks for the bountiful fall harvest and for all we have...but today we’re hearing sophisticated and seductive drumbeats of marketing and advertising, telling us that life yesterday might have been good, but will be better tomorrow if we acquire this, that, or another thing.

Our national sense of thankful well-being only lasted a day -- it is now so yesterday -- and today we begin a month-long rush, counting down the number of shopping days till December 25.

Please don’t get me wrong. While I understand that some of what I’ve written above might sound like I’m a radical supporter of the “Buy Nothing” concept of the Christmas season and that I’m a cranky, anti-business kind of guy, the truth is that I’m merely saying that here at our house we're kind of turning down the volume on the ads and allowing ourselves a few more days -- maybe just through this weekend -- to feel contentment.

We also need to think of ways to make proper use of beans and tomatillos.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chores? Gimme a Minute

These days it seems to me that everybody is a photographer.  When I’m out and about in the world -- whether I'm taking a ferry across Puget Sound, or hiking a remote trail in the Cascade Mountains -- it’s common for me to encounter folks toting a Santa-size bag-full of top-of-the-line digital camera gear, thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stuff. 

As a fella who has, for nearly 40 years now, made his living by making photographs, I get the passion that other folks have for photography. Taking pictures is more fun than anything we typically think of as "work."

And, take it from me: Making photographs is certainly more enjoyable than cleaning out the gutters.

It rained and rained here in the Seattle area last week.  There was strong wind too, which blew the last remaining leaves from the trees and onto our roof, filling the gutters.  When the sun finally made an appearance one morning, I knew it was time to get out the ladder and do some gutter cleanout.  As I walked toward the barn where the ladder is stored,  I was stopped in my tracks, brought up short.  Raindrops on our clotheslines were shining like jewels in the sunlight.

I had me some pictures to take.

The cleanup chores could wait.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Funny Stuff

When I’m loading gear into my daypack before heading up into the mountains for a hike, there’s a funny memory that often pops into my head: The recollection of a conversation I had with a reporter colleague 20-some years ago when I was a photographer at the morning newspaper in Seattle.  The reporter, a smart-as-a-whip young woman, had grown up on the East Coast,  graduated from an Ivy League college,  and was a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest.  We were talking about our away-from-work lives,  and Pam was telling me that she was a runner and was training for a 10k.  I, of course, bent Pam's ear about hikes and climbs my friends and I did.  Most of my hiking pals were also journalists, and Pam knew many of them.

Pam had a kind of quizzical look on her face as I talked about a hike several of us had done the previous weekend, and it seemed to me that she might appreciate an invite to take part in one of our adventures. “You should join us sometime,” I said;  and Pam’s response,   delivered with a mock-East Coast Snob/Broadway theater deadpan,  was worthy of a Tony Award nomination:

“I don’t put things on my back and go walking,” she declared flatly,  and I cracked up.

It turned out, though, that Pam was serious.  She never joined our group for a hike...which was too bad,  because her dry wit would have fit right in.

Anyway,  I think of Pam’s wisecrack when I’m about to sling my pack on my back go for a walk, as happened last weekend.  Her humor was a good beginning to my day as I rambled in one of my favorite places in the state, a Central Washington valley that was positively glowing in the colors of fall.