Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘shadows

Spring Scenes

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Among the range of memories lingering from our night out to see Neil deGrasse Tyson’s talk about a cosmic perspective, these have been prominent: The earth wants to kill us and the universe wants to kill us. As if supporting evidence for these statements were even necessary, Neil provided simple lists.

Earth:

  • earthquakes
  • volcanoes
  • hurricanes
  • tornadoes
  • droughts
  • wildfires
  • floods

He introduced this segment with a reference to people who rhapsodize longingly about flowers and trees and all the romance and beauty in Mother Nature’s spectacular displays. Brings to my mind amazing sunrises and sunsets, waterfalls, ocean waves, golden fields, and gorgeous forests.

The contrast provided one of the many chuckles evoked throughout his presentation.

Universe:

  • solar flares
  • radiation bursts
  • black holes
  • supernovas
  • asteroids
  • meteors

Bringing this information forward in my consciousness had me looking at things with a fresh reference on our walks around the property yesterday. It’s impressive to survive long enough that we generally grow callous to most all of these hazardous natural threats. Some of the earth weather risks don’t get buried all that far away in our minds, but I have tended to view them as more neutral threats than as earth’s intended attempts to snuff me out.

The spring scenes we came upon in yesterday morning’s snowscape included the barn towels that were hanging out to dry from the day before.

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When the horses don’t finish eating before we head back to the house, we leave the feed pans out. It makes for some interesting finds upon our return.

Muddy hoof prints are the least offensive version of soiled pans we’ve had to clean out.

After the sun showed through the thinning cloud cover, the snow evaporated except for places that were shadowed. It made for some cool scenes in the woods.

This morning there is no snow left and we haven’t received new precipitation in the last 24 hours. A big sigh of relief for a day or two.

It looks to be another day when the earth won’t kill us. I can’t say for sure what the universe has in store.

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Written by johnwhays

April 9, 2022 at 9:38 am

Driving Home

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In a rare change of routine for a weekend at the lake, we stayed overnight Sunday and drove home yesterday a little before noon. Why? Basically, because we could, although the added benefit of avoiding typical Sunday traffic returning to the Twin Cities was a welcome bonus.

It was a bit of a surprise to see a new inch of snow had fallen while we were gone. By the time we got home, the temperature had climbed into the 40s (F) and the snowpack was morphing from individual flakes into one smooth slushy.

Some short-legged critter left a trail of footprints in the deep snow by our labyrinth. In stark contrast to the mini-labyrinth among the trees at the lake, our circuit at home hasn’t been walked for months, making the path mostly invisible beneath the white covering.

Around the corner, we found an even more interesting pattern melted into the snow in the shadow of the fence of the back pasture.

Somehow, the lines of the wires were clearly reflected on the surface of the snow. I’m guessing it had to do with the angle of the moving sun aligning just right with the wires as it made its way across the sky.

By the time we got there, the sun was being obscured by a rather distinct change of cloud cover in the sky.

Near the bottom of that image, tiny specks of what happens to be our four horses can be seen hanging out in one of their favorite areas of our fields. As we made the last turn toward the barn, they started their journey up to the overhang for the afternoon feeding.

We were happy to find things in good order after a long weekend of care by the very capable horse person Cyndie found to cover for us when we are gone.

It was a wonderful weekend away, but as always, we are really glad to be home again.

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Written by johnwhays

March 1, 2022 at 7:00 am

Shadows

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

August 3, 2021 at 6:00 am

Incomplete

with 6 comments

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I don’t tend to notice
how the shadow
plays across my face
but I remember
the girl I spent time with
back in 1972
I’ve asked my favorite music
to tell me what I want to know
about the messages
I always missed
there’s a sadness
mixed within the gladness
for everyone we’ve kissed
and the light of every fading sunset
offers a salty sweetness
we can taste upon our lips
fragments of stories
unravel with frayed threads
piecemeal
incomplete
and if you pictured me again
posing in the great outdoors
would I be dancing in the snow
or surrounded by leaves of green
under bright blue skies
or shades of cloudy gray
and would you happen to notice
the shadow
across the side of my face

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Written by johnwhays

July 21, 2021 at 6:00 am

New Trillium

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This time of year the ground in our forests comes alive in response to the sunlight available before the leaves open fully to block much of it out. We have tried transplanting Trillium from the lake place in Hayward with hopes of establishing a thicket of self-expanding sprouts in the groves of trees closer to the house.

In the eight years we have dabbled with the project, the results have been a little anemic. Some seasons there have been encouraging numbers of flowers blossoming on the plants we relocated, but other years there haven’t been very many. During the first few years after transplanting, I was satisfied just to see the leaves show up in proof the plants were still alive.

Now I am more interested in finding some natural expansion of plants to offer some promise of achieving our goals. Just yesterday, Cyndie made an exciting find. Can you see it?

The interesting fact about that single flowering plant is that it showed up somewhere that we didn’t plant a batch.

Today we plan to audit the areas where we planted sets of three individual plants in little triangles to see how those are coming along. If they are flowering, it is easy to spot them. If not, the leaves can be easily overlooked among the variety of other ground cover thriving under all the sunshine temporarily available.

In a surprisingly short span of time, the forest floor will be predominantly shaded under the canopy of tree leaves that will be fluttering overhead.

Speaking of shade from trees, Cyndie also recently captured this image of a great shadow pattern of leafless branches from this young maple tree by the barn.

That view will be morphing very soon to a much less defined depiction of the branches.

The springing of spring is well underway. It makes the brief appearance of trillium blossoms all the more precious. Once the heat of summer arrives, the trillium tends to disappear from sight. At that point, hopefully, the colonies of rhizomes will be busy at work expanding under the leaf cover of the forest floor.

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Written by johnwhays

May 14, 2021 at 6:00 am

Patterns Compilation

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When isolating at home for a weekend, I find more opportunities to play with images I’ve captured. Here is a compilation of four post-processed, cropped views from around our property for your viewing pleasure. They may actually prove more appealing as a set than were I to present them each individually. You be the judge.

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Written by johnwhays

December 29, 2020 at 7:00 am

Ageless

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Written by johnwhays

April 17, 2020 at 6:00 am

Other Shadows

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On Monday, I posted one of the better shadow pictures from my photo-taking walk with Delilah over the weekend. For comparison, here are a few other shadows that didn’t come through as well as I would have liked.

I’m not sure what it is about each one that has me feeling they just missed my elusive and intangible ideal, but there is something they lack.

I knew the shadow in this second image was less intense, but I hoped it might still give me something to work with toward a final reward. I’m afraid it fell short.

Almost. Maybe. Not quite.

There is too much going on in that last one for me, none of which nailed it in terms of the individual areas of focus, less so as a whole.

Still, it was plenty of fun trying. Thank goodness I wasn’t shooting film that required developing. It wouldn’t have been worth the wait.

Speaking of developing, yesterday’s big development for me was the online publishing of a commentary piece I submitted to the local Twin Cities publishing staple, Star Tribune.

The editor accepted it for their “online extra” Opinions feature, meaning it would not appear in the printed paper edition. That’s okay with me, as paper readers wouldn’t be able to provide the immediate comments that the e-edition allows. A wise author might stop reading the online comments after the most rewarding appreciation showed up, but it’s a little like not being able to turn away from the sight of a wreck.

I’ll take the good with the bad. It’s more like real life.

I started writing that piece for a Relative Something post, but by the time I finished, felt it deserved a crack at the Strib. Since they seem to agree, I hope you will read it on their site by clicking on the image above. I think they gave it a better presentation than I would have. (The picture was their doing [and I’m very happy with it].)

Feel free to comment, either there, or here. You can tell the world if you think I just missed, or I nailed it.

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Written by johnwhays

February 26, 2020 at 7:00 am

Weather Gift

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What a gift of a day we enjoyed yesterday. Under a late February blue sky, the temperature climbed to a spring-like warmth that allowed coat-less frolicking in the great outdoors. And frolic, we did.

I let Delilah lead a romp through our woods following any animal trails she chose. She was not discerning in the least about the tangled routes she pursued, leaving me to duck and weave my way through a maze of branches which she navigated with ease. It was the depth of snow among the trees after leaving the trails that complicated her progress.

It could be that she got enough of a workout from the deep snow to appreciate the number of times I asked her to pause and wait while I took some pictures. There were fabulous shadows on display that I found particularly captivating, despite my being unable to successfully record most of them.

Most of the time, because of the angle of the brilliant sunshine, positioning myself for a photo of the interesting shadows obscured the scenes with the appearance of my own shadow.

At one point, just as I pressed the button on the camera, Delilah moved her position such that the shadow from her leash appeared right across my shot.

This shadow-print of the rachets on the fence wires came out pretty true to what my eyes saw.

It was an exceptional treat to have such warmth so soon after days of biting below-zero cold. It’s not even March yet and weather like yesterday has given me a strong dose of spring fever.

Hopefully, I won’t regret starting with that thought so early this year.

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Written by johnwhays

February 24, 2020 at 7:00 am

Three Views

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Sunday morning rounds walking Delilah and tending to the chickens in the fabulous early sunlight led to these three views…

I took off my gloves to use the camera and they became the subject in this frame.

The fence shadow making a statement is what initially caught my eye.

I think it’s interesting that from where I was standing, it looks like the barn’s not level. There is pretty much no flat ground anywhere on our property, but as far as I know, the buildings are actually level.

Waves of grain. Well, grass seed, anyway.

The paddocks have received little in the way of attention since the horses departed in April.

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Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2019 at 6:00 am