Friday, February 27, 2009


Being that my camera is somewhere being held hostage by a bankrupt Ritz Camera, I must resort to the dreaded family movie cam.

Indeed the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, tempered by war, disciplined by a depressed economy, proud of our ancient heritage and unwilling to witness the undoing of the freedoms and opportunities to which this nation has always been committed. (Adapted from JFK's Inaugural speech, January 20, 1961)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dead End

One more of the pictures from my cruise up to the mountains a few weeks ago. I was tempted, but resisted seeing what was at the end. If I had gone to the trouble to make a place like this my home, I seriously would not want nosy photographers skulking about. I wondered if a bit further up I might find a large homemade sign that reads "Turn Back Now" and yet a little further up "You've Been Warned" and yet further "Forget the Dog, Beware of Owner!" In all seriousness, I could get used to waking up to that view everyday.

Older posts about country roads.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I mean really! How can someone not love flowers? I am never really clear on the names of what it is I am looking at though. I do know the Peony and the Xenia, but the other two I have no idea what they are. What I do know is that there is not a single poem or photograph that can truly express their beauty.

The Flowers by Robert Louis Stevenson

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock.

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames--
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where, if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Traveling the Less Traveled Road

My Daughter, Alex, about to graduate from Wake Forest, mentioned to me how much she enjoyed Robert Frost. In looking at our entire family, I think its fair to say that we each have chosen something different than what the world may have expected of us. I have been looking for commentary to go along with this photograph for some time. Although used many times, there is no other more appropriate:


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Older posts on roads and paths

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Left Behind and Still Floating in Boca Grande

Once we supported massive ropes and chains linked to giant freighters full of phosphate. In fact, on several occasions we were trusted to hold on to these behemoths during hurricanes and tropical storms. We never budged. Most times, once the storms passed and the ships were safe, the captains all "thanked God", never us. Now we remain to provide a perch for squabbling sea gulls and shade for the lumbering grouper below.

Left Behind #1

Left Behind #2

Left Behind #3

Left Behind #4

Friday, February 20, 2009

BG III: A message from Carl Sandburg

I have had my Father on my mind quite a lot in the last day or so. I was fifteen when we lost him (see the post below). I often wonder what his words to me would have been at various points in my life: Driver's license, graduation, job, marriage, birth of children. I have seen these events with him in my dreams from time to time. My Mother is responsible for getting me hooked on Carl Sandburg and if I had my choice, I think my Father would have said something along these lines:


A father sees a son nearing manhood.
What shall he tell that son?
“Life is hard; be steel; be a rock.”
And this might stand for him for the storms
and serve him for humdrum and monotony
and guide him amid sudden betrayals
and tighten him for slack moments.
“Life is a soft loam; be gentle; go easy.”
And this too might serve him.
Brutes have been gentled where lashes failed.
The growth of a frail flower in a path up
has sometimes shattered and split rock.
A tough will counts. So does desire.
Without rich wanting nothing arrives.
Tell him too much money has killed men
and left them dead years before burial:
the quest of lucre beyond a few easy needs
has twisted good enough men
sometimes into dry thwarted worms.
Tell him time as a stuff can be wasted.
Tell him to be a fool every so often
and to have no shame over having been a fool
yet learning something out of every folly
hoping never to repeat any of the cheap follies
thus arriving at intimate understanding
of a world numbering many fools.
Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell him no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use amongst other people.
Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong
and the final decisions are made in silent rooms.
Tell him to be different from other people
if it comes natural and easy being different.
Let him have lazy days seeking his deeper motives.
Let him seek deep for where he is a born natural.
Then he may understand Shakespeare
and the Wright brothers, Pasteur, Pavlov,
Michael Faraday and free imaginations
bringing changes into a world resenting change.
He will be lonely enough
to have time for the work
he knows as his own.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Family.......35 years ago.

This is one of the very few pictures I have of all of us together. I was 4 maybe. We lived in New Hope, PA at the time. Some of those memories seem not so long ago, others are very fuzzy. Those of you who came down to Associated Artists tonight (thank you) got to meet my Mother, Kate. For those curious about my Dad, BG III, I wish he could have been there too.

Can't sleep

Hard to turn off my mind tonight. It's now about 12:15 AM and I am working on finding some peace and Boca Grande seems to be a good place to day dream about. You may have seen my previous post about the place. Anyway, the idea of being on that boat (enlarge the picture, you'll see it) and bringing in a tarpon seems to help with the relaxation effort.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Road To Simplicity

The thing that I love about this one is that on this road, there is no cell service, no wifi and barely a radio signal on FM. With all of the difficult news we wake up to each day and all of the stresses we face when we step into our offices, wouldn't it be nice to return here each day and be forced to extract ourselves from the current all consuming insanity? With that in mind, what's at the end of this road for you?

Older posts in this genre:

Old Road 1

Old Road 2

Old Road (Railroad) 3

Friday, February 13, 2009

"The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver

We occasionally are reminded of the fragility of life and the preciousness of time. A close friend that I have known for 25 years just lost her brother who was in his early 40's. She is one of a group that I have special affection for and consider life long friends. When I think of them I am reminded of various points in my youth and young adulthood. I think it is important to ask ourselves what are we doing with our time and how do we treat those close to us. I am hoping my Daughter and Son, pictured here with his two younger cousins, find what I have found with my friends. Relationships that started while running across a field somewhere. This poem really hit home.

The Summer Day

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean-

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don't know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?


This time of year the migrations begin again and the back yard bird counts begin a new. Since my fellow or fella bloggers are participating in this discussion, I thought it a good time to post some of my bird pics. Birds have never really been a passion, but I believe I will be making a greater effort to pay closer attention to them this year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The upper lake at Brookberry

This was what the upper lake at Brookberry used to look like before construction began on the development. There used to be some extraordinarily large bass in there, I am not sure about now as it was drained, dredged and refilled. Aside from the lake itself, the place looks nothing the same. Time and progress always seem to win out.

Back to Blue Hill in July.

We just confirmed we will be going back to Blue Hill, Maine this coming July. This will be our third year heading up there. This is a special place and I love the idea that my children get to spend some time there. When I was a child, we spent time in Port Clyde, Maine and some of my best childhood memories of summertime surround that place. The fog, the smell of the ocean and what can only be described as a powerfully blue sky.

Another old post about Maine.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I let the moonshine park the car and I am not sure where he left it.

Probably long before we had to concern ourselves with such annoyances like the open container laws or figure out what BAC stood for or even raising the drinking age to 21 in order to get additional highway funds from the fed, we were allowing John Barleycorn to be our valet. I wonder if the driver possibly muttered the comment to his imaginary passenger: "I'm too loaded, here, you take the wheel" before careening off the road at breakneck speed. Assuming he had made it home, he fell out of the car, stumbled back to the road and simply found himself at home the next morning with no clue as to the whereabouts of his car.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This one got me thinking of Steinbeck

While in high school I was set builder and sound man (design and production) for our theatrical performances. The last play I worked on and fell in love with was "Of Mice and Men". Set in the depression, it was one of the great stories of friendship, compassion and innocence lost. Or, according to Steinbeck himself: "In every bit of honest writing in the world there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. There are shorter means, many of them. There is writing promoting social change, writing punishing injustice, writing in celebration of heroism, but always that base theme. Try to understand each other."

Anyway, this barn appeared to me to be likely location for George and Lennie to have worked and slept. As for Steinbeck's observation about understanding each other? Still a great concept.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Earth Tones

In keeping with my recent excursion to the mountains, this has always been one of my favorite views. The only disappointment was finding that some time in the last twenty years, some city slicker decided to pave the road. I much preferred the gravel. While up in the mountains as a licensed teenager, I would stop at this very spot in the old 1972 Chevy Cheyenne pick-up and have a cigarette (tobacco was still considered a vegetable here in NC back then) and just take in the view. The contrast of earth and sky was always dramatic, particularly when a good summertime thunderstorm was rolling in.

You really need to see the full size version of this photograph to appreciate the contrasts. Just click on the picture and presto, there it is.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Not Ansel Adams Part III

His venue was Yosemite, decidedly a much more dramatic venue than Allegheny County, NC. But there is a certain mystique that exists in our mountains that is every bit as intriguing to me. I say that having never been to Yosemite, but hey I am from NC and have the provincial attitude to prove it. I need to sneak down to the coast soon as I think I have been showing some favoritism towards the mountains. The beach in winter can be really amazing. Stay tuned.

Ansel Adams Part I

Ansel Adams Part II

OK - here is the real Ansel Adams.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Atticus Finch or John Boy?

Which one does this old place remind you of?

For some reason this old house made me think of Atticus Finch from Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mocking Bird." I envision him standing on the porch looking down at Scout saying: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." Do I hear an "AMEN!"?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Left behind: Payload Exceeded

I am not sure if in the early to mid 1960's if "max payload" was considered when buying a new pick-up. I can hear it now, "Yeah, let's go ahead and put that last cord on top, save us a trip back across the field and look, its gettin' dark and I'm hungry." They made it about half way home and POW the bed literally snaps off the frame. Now these are good, God fearing people up in the mountains, but as soon as they got out of the cab to see what happened I suspect they were swearing at that truck like it was a rented mule. Its been almost fifty years and they were so angry that they left it right where it broke down - 150 yards from the barn.

Older "left behind" posts.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Traveling down the road of nostalgia.

Once again I headed out today looking for photographic inspiration. I decided to head up to the mountains where I used to spend time as a kid. The area includes Sparta, NC and Galax, VA. As a young teenager I roamed the dirt roads that skirted along the New River and wound through the hills pushing me back and forth over the state line for hours in a sort of half sincere attempt to get lost. Even as a kid I took pictures up there as I never tired of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the New River. I wish I could find those negatives, but like some of my memories of that time, they seem to be lost. I was really looking forward to shooting an abandoned old church located on Little River Road aka 626. I was saddened, but not surprised to see that it had fallen in on itself. I resisted taking a picture of the remains as I prefer the vision I have of it in my head from 1984 atop my old Yamaha moped. Anyway, I took over 200 pictures which yielded about 50 or so keepers. Lots of "road to...." candidates and a few for the "left behind" series. All in all I feel much better about today's excursion to seek those deeper motives I had mentioned before.