Friday, October 31, 2008

I Was So Excited I Missed It

Today I came across something that initially was a curiosity and upon closer observation it was amazing. I was going to get Bill from work and had decided to go another way because it was early and I was on a quest to get a photo of a sassafras tree. There is supposed to be one of the largest in Delaware right here in Milton. I made the turn onto the back road and saw what I thought to be a large turkey vulture by the side of the road. Since the traffic was non-existent I drove slowly and pulled off the road beside the bird. To my utter amazement it was a bald eagle feeding on some road kill. He was just standing there in all of his glory. I pulled my camera out of the case, took off the lens cap, pushed the button for the wrong window, raised the back window so the dog would not bark, and missed the shot. By the time I got the view finder to my eye I was shaking so badly I missed the shot. Never had I been so close and yet so far.

The ironic happening was that earlier in the day I had been out and took several pictures of the beautiful autumn leaves and changing countryside. When looking through my photos I saw a bird in a few taken very close to where I saw the eagle. I am sure I caught the eagle in flight earlier in the day. That's him right above the tree line.

I know several people saw this majestic animal because several cars on our return visit were pulled alongside the road in the same place all with eyes peeled to the sky and then down on the field. Maybe another time now that I know he is here.

By the way, I could not identify the sassafras tree.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Thoughts on America

World War II Memorial

The past few months and most intensely during the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about by beliefs and how I came to hold many of them so strongly. I am a member of the first swell of baby boomers. My father came home from the war having served as a proud Marine in the Pacific Theater and married my mother a short time later. I was born the following year and my childhood and later years were surely molded by my parents perceptions and experiences from World War II and the Depression that preceded it. Sure, I came of age during the tumultuous 60's and the Viet Nam era but I believe it was the earlier years that truly formed some of my strongest beliefs.

My parents were both very patriotic. They instilled this patriotism in us quietly allowing for each of us to develop our own thoughts and opinions. Sometimes they vehemently disagreed and there was and still is disagreement among siblings but what I learned was that respect of each other's opinions is the true measure of patriotism. When I was growing up in southeastern Idaho we did not readily see racial issues. That was a black vs. white issue and there was next to none of that in our very Caucasian corner of the universe. However, there were other racial issues that were sometimes set aside like in most of the country. There was a large native American population. I remember early in school where Indians were not allowed to use the same stall in the restroom. There were signs posted in some businesses saying "No Indians." There were also several Japanese American families who were faring much better but who had to reestablish their lives and holdings after the War. As was the way then all of those that were different were identified by a different and sometimes very hurtful moniker. My parents each did this until their deaths. I would cringe but then remember it was something I could not change. The amazing thing is that although Mom and Dad would make such identifications they recognized that we should not hold anyone as beneath us in any way. We should be proud to walk side by side.

So, I had this sense of equality being quietly instilled in me when at age 14 I had a defining moment. There was an essay/oration contest being held by the Modern Woodsmen of America and the topic was always around "Americanism." The finalists (I was one) presented their orations to a school assembly. I will never forget these words from the winner, "Although my skin is yellow and my hair is black, I am an American." That young man would go on to be our class valedictorian and achieve acclaim as an attorney in the Washington, D.C. area. There have been many times in my life that I have paused and said those words to myself. They fit so many situations like pausing and saying to myself "There but for the grace of God go I."

I guess what I am trying to say is that in this wild ride with the election and the war and the economy it is easy to point fingers and say someone is un-American for one reason or another. I don't believe that. I believe that each of us as Americans are stronger when we recognize and respect the differences of others. What makes us Americans is that we can have differences and live with them. When that is no longer the case, then we lose what makes America.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quiet Pleasures

One of my very favorite things to do is to take my camera(s) out and try to capture birds in flight. Here is a seagull who was overhead on Saturday when we took some time to visit the beach on a outing just because we needed to do it. You know I think the reason I like to get pictures of birds because they seem so free.

The short outing took us to Ellendale just eight miles away to visit a little shop there. I had wanted to stop on our many trips to the Washington, D.C. area but have never taken the time so we just went there on Saturday. Interesting, I will probably go back there as we get closer to the holidays. Right now I just like to feel and see the seasons change.

The colors are really just now starting to show with drama. The soybeans in this photo are about ready to harvest. I love this little field that fills a bend in the road and pushes up against the trees. A few days ago when I was passing there were two deer just visible in the field. Perhaps later this week I will be able to capture more of the color along the roadsides.

Of course, an outing is a chore for Bill unless it involves the beach. So, we went to Rehoboth Beach anticipating smaller crowds because of the season change. Not!! There were a whole lot of people there but we braved the crowds, found a close parking space and ventured onto the beach. Here are some pictures of the area. Notice the mixture of attire – many having problems deciding what season they are visiting. It was fun to see the kites and the football and people enjoying themselves even though I prefer the beach to be more solitary.

I took 299 pictures. Now, what am I going to do with all of those? I suppose I can compose an album of seagulls and then one of beach scenes and one of trees alongside the road. But, I definitely will have to compose one of "My Boys" and their favorite spot.

Then I will have to do one of "Changes on the Pond." We'll see. For now I think I will just enjoy the images.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

It's Wednesday

A curiosity happens on Wednesdays. At least, it seems to me. If I am to hear from family or friends via email the first of the week it is usually composed and sent Sunday evening and then I hear very little until Wednesday. This includes the requisite number of jokes. For some reason the soul must be lifted and the numbers start to swell on Wednesday morning. This sharing generally peaks sometime on Thursday and peters out Friday afternoon. But, that is not quite the case with the numbers of emails that are trapped in my spam filter. These taper off on Sunday evening only to pick back up on Wednesday morning and swell until Sunday morning. Just, thought I would share.

We are such creatures of habit. Today I had an appointment out of town at 11:00 a.m. so my morning routine was disturbed. I did not get to check the computer for messages or even the address for the appointment. So here I am now in the afternoon doing morning things. Nothing wrong with that just askew.

On way back from my appointment I was reminded of how many funny road and/or street names there are around the countryside here. Folks must able to name their own easements and for some driveways. Today I saw "Substation Road," "Tobacco Road," "My Way," and "That Way." Those rank right up there with "Pooh and Tigger Road" and "Serenity Lane." I think I should set out to photograph these markers.

And, finally, I am now convinced that with the internet we are all closer than "6 degrees of separation." It happend twice in the past two weeks. I received the same email from at least seven different people from seven different areas. The first was a Sarah Palin article and second was a Halloween cartoon. The real "makes me wonder" here is that in only a couple of cases did I receive both items from a single person.

Hope you are having a good one!