Black and white 2008-2009

A modest collection of photographs I took these years. Some are 35mm film and others are digital. Can you tell I like nature and still life?

Some of the photos in this first batch were taken at my home. My portrait there was in my grandmother’s wallway. The outdoors shots were at Jacobson Park in Lexington, KY. The smoky one I don’t remember the location.

The second batch of photos were taken at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, KY. I was awestruck by the gorgeous statues. The last photo is the main cemetery office.

This funky batch is at Jacobson Park again. I love the lines and contrast. The first photo there looks like a big ol’ fish stranded but it’s really a log.

This batch here is a collection where I went out exploring the semi-countryside Lexington has to offer.

The last collection is a still life bunch taken on my nightstand at home.

Meditation I.

A collection of short texts, sometimes poetry, that give you cause for pause to wonder upon their meaning.

‘–Night is drawing nigh–‘

For all that has been–Thanks!

To all that shall be–Yes!

Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

This text is from a book I have yet to finish. Markings is certainly is not light reading but its verses are often enlightening. I find Mr. Hammarskjöld to be a bit severe at times but I appreciate his stern morality. His dedication to self-reflection and self-discipline are inspiring. Markings is Nietzschean in its formatting and it makes for a quick read in that aspect. Small verses and proportional maxims are pleasant to the reading eyes which yearn for some stopping point.

Verse 8 The Highest Good

The highest good is like water,

nourishing life effortlessly,

flowing without prejudice

to the lowliest places.

It springs from all

who nourish their community

with a benevolent heart as deep as an abyss

who are incapable of lies and injustices,

who are rooted in the earth,

and whose natural rhythms of action

play midwife to the highest good

of each pregnant moment.

Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Translated with commentary by Ralph Alan Dale

The Tao is hands-down one of my favorite texts of all. I turn to it when my life feels uncontrollable. I turn to it when I am fulfilled. It has wisdom for every stage and every emotion of life. I’m not good at meditation at all– it takes practice and concentration, but I’ve found that meditating on The Tao comes naturally.

As goofy as it sounds I like to meditate in the bathtub. Close yourself in and draw a warm bath. Use candlelight or an indirect light source to create some calmness in your room. Let the water wash over you and clear your mind. Read your verse slowly out loud. Concentrate on your breathing. Let everything else melt away. All that is left is you and the text.

Heike’s Window at Nightfall, from Versailles Cemetery

Perhaps the dead can see in Heike’s window

and, after dark at dinnertime, sit

upon their stones in rows mesmerized

as at a picture show, watching

through the narrow glass, slivers

of lives: Irwin’s arm reaching

a jug of tea; Harck’s boy arm extending

a cup that water fills; Heike

capping berries at the sink, then lifting out

the bread the toaster raises. These gestures

fascinate the dead who watch that glass

as unforgiving and as hard as molten sands

they’ve crossed. On my own path

falls the light from Heike’s window,

a flattened, grave-shaped shining

I step into.

Jane Gentry Vance, A Garden in Kentucky collection

Reading this poem I can hear her voice. I don’t know how to explain it. When she speaks it’s like I’m home. You can learn more about her life and listen to her read another one of her poems, Night Beasts in the Backyard.

Former plant killer takes on 6 plants 😱

Okay was that title too clickbait-y? It’s a pretty good description I’d have to say. I’ve killed succulents. I’ve killed aloe. I’ve even killed a cactus. A cactus!!! But I decided to turn a new leaf (please don’t leave yet) and I went out and got three plants in late February. Then I got bold and brought home three more early this month. I’m at capacity here. I’m learning a lot and checking my plants everyday. I’ll tell you what I got and how I’m dealing.

Going from the plant world FBI’s Most Wanted to the plant world’s…kid at a lemonade stand? Non-threatening and unassuming citizen? I don’t know what we are to each other right now but my plants are showing life and I’m happy.

Despite what you may read elsewhere there are no “secrets” to taking care of plants. This article isn’t an “Area Woman Finds One Simple Trick, Gardeners Hate Her!” I’m begging you, don’t put essential oils on your plants. I’ve been on Pinterest long enough. Anyway, this article is about how I think you should purchase or acquire plants at a beginner level and how to make them not die. I don’t know maybe next week a plague will visit upon my plants and all my advice will be rendered null…Stay tuned.

Getting to it. I bought:

  • A coffee plant (4″ tall)
  • A peace lily (8″ tall)
  • A luna croton (4″ tall)
  • A florida beauty (4″ tall)
  • A janet craig compacta (?? right?? 4″ tall)
  • A golden pothos (7″ circumference)

I know these all have scientific names just bear with me. Now, things you should consider before getting a plant: How much light do you have? What is your climate like? How much does your indoor temperature fluctuate? How much time do you have to pay attention to a plant at all? I know, it’s obviously not a kid or a dog but you do have to actually look at it and touch it occasionally.

I used this tool to help narrow down what kind of plants I wanted: http://www.costafarms.com/plant-finder#!/

Scroll down under the alphabet and you can change your search to reflect plant type, lighting, perks, color, and personality. Maybe a plant is kinda like a puppy. A small, green, dirt puppy.

How I’m keeping my plants alive

  1. Read the tag that comes with your plant then do your own research to supplement it. I found that the tags on my plants weren’t super accurate. Tag said lowlight website says happiest in medium-high light? When this happens keep digging. When in doubt most plants probably want more light. Your plant is probably not enjoying your windowless bathroom. Plants can actually get burned by the sun, so if you notice spots set your buddy further from the window or in indirect light.
  2. Your plants will likely not all fall on one watering schedule. Forget about it. Instead, consult your research. Figure out if your plant prefers to be kept moist or if it likes to get a little dry between waterings. You probably don’t need a big flow chart to manage the watering but perhaps set an alarm so you don’t forget those sensitive plants.
  3. Observe your plants. Watch for signs that the plant’s needs aren’t being met. If your plant’s leaves are sagging that may indicate overwatering. If its leaves turn pale it probably needs more sunlight. If a non-creeping plant is creeping towards the light it needs more light. Other considerations are humidity and direct vs. indirect sunlight. Make changes to your plant’s surroundings as necessary and of course as reasonable. After all, they’re plants not puppies.

Why you should spend time at the cemetery.

How do you imagine the cemetery in your mind? Is it that spooky, hokey graveyard like in Scooby Doo? Is it a bleak plot of land that calls to your morbid curiosity? Is it somewhere you have always avoided? Or is it a destination on a beautiful summer’s day? A park for the beloved and a home to birds, rabbits, and geese? Maybe you have a recently lost loved one there. Or maybe you have no connection at all.

If you have visited a cemetery before, think about what impression it gave you. Cemeteries make most people’s imaginations run wild. They can be overwhelming. So many dead people…but you can’t really see them…But you know they’re there! Sneaky…

There is nothing wrong with being curious about the dead. Most people could probably benefit from exploring this curiosity in a healthy way. One such way is to visit your local cemetery. Here’s my step-by-step:

  • Google cemeteries in your city or town.
  • Choose one to visit. If there’s only one that’s easy. If there’s more than one you can use any method to choose it. There are apparently 93 cemeteries (including horse cemeteries) in my city. I had no idea. Maybe choose the closest one to you for convenience. Maybe choose the one you’ve heard people talk about. Maybe just point and decide.
  • Make sure you know the hours of operation.
  • Plan a good day to visit. You generally don’t have to take the entire day off to make this sort of visit but it depends on your city. When I visit my cemetery of choice I usually plan for 1-2 hours. Consider if you have appointments, meetings, or class that day. Go on a day with good weather (if you have the luxury). If you’re not super excited at the thought of visiting a cemetery maybe don’t schedule your date night afterwards…
  • Prepare for your trip. I like to bring my purse, a bottle of water, and maybe a light snack if I’m staying long. I also sometimes bring a blanket to put on the ground and sit on in the sun. Charge your phone. General short trip stuff. If you’re really into the cemetery check online and see who’s buried there. Maybe there are tombs of interest.

At the cemetery. If you are driving proceed with caution. Most cemeteries have speed limits posted near the gate. In general, do not exceed 10-15 mph but always adhere to postings. Watch for pedestrians!

Get a map near the main office (if there is one) or consult the cemetery directory. Take a photo of it to reference later. Larger cemeteries may have painted lines indicating main roads. Stick to these for your first trip and keep it simple. Some cemeteries can turn into mazes.

Always remember to be respectful. While many cemeteries are like parks you are expected not to be loud and rowdy. It is best to leave your pets at home. If you have trash dispose of it properly or take it back to your car. It is generally fine to explore and relax but do not disturb any services you may come across.

Some people say you should never walk over a grave. This is up to your judgement. I find it nearly impossible to walk at all in my local cemetery if I have to tiptoe around any potential grave soil. Headstones are obvious but overgrown grass isn’t. I am not saying, of course, that you shouldn’t watch where you step. Please be cautious. I don’t think there is anything wrong with walking up to a stone to view it or read its inscription. After all, why have something written if you don’t want someone to read it? Take special care not to disturb any ornamentation or flowers left on stones. I actually like to fix items that have blown over. Flags that have drifted off their spot, for example. These are nice things you can do to leave the space nicer than when you arrived.

One thing I have not mentioned that is very important is culture. If you have read this far into the article I assume you aren’t too freaked out and may be considering a cemetery visit. Some cultures believe that even talking about death invites it. I am surely not one to judge but obviously I have different views. I think that we can start talking about death and the dead a little differently. To be frank I don’t find it all doom and gloom. Not any more. Maybe I’m privileged. Maybe I’m naïve (but I’m doubting this part). Visiting a cemetery is a brave act and it is one way we can confront death. If you’re at a loss for what to do when you get there I’ve got you covered.

*Things to do at the cemetery:

  • Take a walk
  • Read a book
  • Find a famous grave
  • Listen to music through your headphones
  • Watch the wildlife
  • Admire new names on tombstones
  • Wonder why you didn’t do this sooner
  • Take pictures of flowers
  • Search for old Aunt Marilyn
  • And much more

*Always refer to cemetery regulations and postings.

Let me know how you felt after your visit.

Welcome

This is the part where I explain myself, right? Well…I’m not sure I’m ready for all that. I will tell you, at least, that this blog is about sharing and about thinking. Sharing pictures, stories, ideas, media, etc. And asking questions and posting discussions and hopefully making you think more about different things. About yourself. About others. About nature. About what you love. If you don’t know that much about any of these things that’s ok. Now, I do not mean to come off as superior or like I’m here to teach you something because I know so much. I don’t. But I do know that one special thing about us people is that we thrive off the connection we have with each other. I hope I can connect with you somehow. I hope I can show you something you want to share with others. The greatest gift I can imagine would be to inspire you or make you feel better by coming here, even if it’s just for 2 minutes. Anyway, my eyes are getting all moist. See you around. Happy reading!