Photo Friday


Furry and fiery

One week after the Japanese maple in our front yard lit up like a red torch, I shot this close-up of a Japanese maple at Boston College, its leaves burning orange rather than red. In autumn, it’s best to stay on the alert, as you never know when the trees around you will catch fire.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday them, Fiery, as well as my Day 22 contribution to NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, a commitment to post every day during the month of November: thirty days, thirty posts.

Someone forgot the milk

I don’t know what it is that compels me to reach for my camera whenever I see a lost or forgotten object, like this gallon of milk someone left behind in their grocery cart at the Auburndale Shaw’s this afternoon. There’s something lonesome and forlorn about castoff things. I always wonder about the story behind these objects, and I feel sad for the people who left them behind. Is someone upset now that they’re home and find themselves with a full refrigerator of food, but no milk? Is some harried parent making an emergency trip back to the store right now because the kids will need milk with their Saturday morning cartoons-and-cereal tomorrow?

Angry Pig

I guess I feel a kind of sympathy for lost objects and the unseen folks who might be looking for them: who among us, after all, hasn’t lost something, and who among us hasn’t, at some point, felt lost? Often the lost objects I find (and compulsively photograph) are prominently displayed on fences, benches, or other eye-level perches: someone took the time not only to retrieve this lost thing but to place it somewhere that it might be found. The sight of such kindness from one stranger to another always cheers me: it seems inherently hopeful to think that a frantic searcher might find a castoff thing, all because of the kindness of an anonymous stranger.

Castoff glasses

One day last week while J and I were in New York, a woman dropped her sweater as she bustled down a busy Chelsea sidewalk, and no sooner had the sweater landed but a handful of strangers each lunged forward, separately, to retrieve the garment and alert the woman: “Ma’am!” “Miss!” “Hey, lady!” J noted how this instantaneous rush to help an anonymous passerby belies everything you hear about brusque New Yorkers. Although city-dwellers might walk fast and avoid eye-contact, there still lies within us an instinctive urge to reach out, retrieve, and reunite lost objects with their owners. Perhaps we all know, intrinsically, the ache of lonesomeness, and this compels us to reunite lost objects and lost souls whenever we can.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Lonesome.

Crash on lockdown

You’ve probably heard the Boston area is on lockdown while authorities search for the second suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing. Luckily, our cats are highly practiced when it comes to hanging out, hunkering down, and otherwise doing a whole lot of nothing, inside, so we’re spending the day taking lessons from the lockdown experts.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Pets.

Melony, looking attentive

Some mornings, our beagle, Melony, is mellow enough to pose for photos, either by herself or with a cooperative cat or two.

Melony and Crash, grooming

Melony, Crash, and Rocco

On most mornings, however, both Melony and our Labrador retriever, MAD, are antsy to go outside, which means all I get for morning photos are shots of blurry fur.

Blurry dogs

This is my submission for today’s Photo Friday theme, Mornings.

Resting

Today’s Photo Friday theme is “Best of 2012,” which gives me an excuse to review the photos I took in 2012. This past year wasn’t a particularly photo-rich year for me: for the first few months of 2012, Reggie was so frail, we didn’t go far on our daily dog walks, which meant I didn’t take many pictures…and after Reggie died in April, I walked even less, which again meant I didn’t take many pictures.

S-curve

My favorite photo from 2012 comes from an August trip to the Columbus Zoo, which points to how few interesting photos I took close to home last year. Taking photos at a zoo is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel: you have a captive subject, so it becomes a matter of choosing which angle on which flamingo is your favorite. The Columbus Zoo has large, grassy enclosure where flamingos wander freely around an artificial pond, and the flamingos were vigorously flapping, squawking, and fussing when J and I saw them: captive subjects that were nevertheless moving and active.

Flamingo

Given how many and how active these birds were, it a bit of a challenge to choose the three flamingo pictures I included in that day’s photo set. When you are blessed with abundance, you can afford to be picky, and the photos I ultimately picked showed solitary flamingos at rest: not the entire flock, but a quiet moment experienced within the flock. Apparently I like my flamingos calm and elegant, not fussing and squawking.

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to walk more, which also means take more pictures. Only time will tell how the “Best of 2013″ compares with the “Best of 2012.”

This is my contribution for today’s Photo Friday theme, “Best of 2012.” I originally blogged that first flamingo photo at the beginning of this post. Here are links to past “Best of” posts: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, and 2004.

Hubway bikes

Today’s Photo Friday theme is “Orderly,” so I’m taking a brief break from my grading to show you this rack of neatly arranged Hubway bikes in front of the Apple Store on Boylston Street. Locating a bike-sharing station in front of an Apple Store makes sense on two levels. First, there’s probably a wide demographic overlap between bike-sharers and Apple aficionados. Second, a sturdy rack filled with bikes provides a barrier from thieves looking to drive their car through a glass store front in order to pick up a new iPhone or iPad.

Apple Store elf

I recently replaced my ancient (first generation!) iPod Shuffle with a brand-new (fifth generation) iPod Touch, which I’ve been playing with during breaks from my seemingly bottomless paper-piles. (No, I didn’t crash into an Apple Store to “select” my new iPod: J ordered it for me online.) At this point in the semester, even my to-do lists have to-do lists, so it’s good to have a new gadget to play with during my grading-breaks.

Once the semester is over and I’m completely done with grading, I’ll probably want to enjoy another product J and I saw in an orderly arrangement through a Boston storefront window:

The high life

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, “Orderly.” In case you can’t read the labels in the previous picture, that’s an entire display case of Miller High Life at the Mass Ave Tavern: not necessarily my favorite beer, but an orderly and eye-catching display nevertheless.

Goldenrod meadow

Autumn is when the trees turn to gold and the goldenrod goes gray.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Change of Season.

The pitch

Two weekends ago, J and I went to a sunny Sunday ballgame at Fenway Park, where we saw the Boston Red Sox beat the Atlanta Braves, 9 to 4. It was a perfect day to catch a game at Fenway: hot and sunny with low humidity, the sky offering only an occasional spot of shade from a passing puff of cloud.

Amateur papparazzo

The last time we’d caught a game between the Sox and Braves was in 2009, when we traveled to Atlanta to see three sun-soaked games. (You can see photo-sets from those games here, here, and here.) In my two blog posts about those three Hotlanta games, I talked about how interesting it is to watch other spectators watching a ballgame. At any given sports event, there’s action on the field and action in the stands…and at any given sporting event, the action in the stands is often just as interesting as the actual game being played.

Funky balloon

At that sunny Sunday ballgame two weekends ago, J and I sat in the outfield bleachers, with a panoramic view of action. One of the most exciting highlights of the afternoon, however, happened behind us when a guy proposed to his girlfriend, hiding a (boxed) engagement ring in their shared bag of popcorn. “Collective effervescence” is the term sociologist Émile Durkheim used to refer to the charged emotional energy shared by participants in a communal experience, and collective effervescence is as good a term as any to describe the buzz in our section of the bleachers as word spread that yes, that happy, relieved-looking young man in a Red Sox jersey had just proposed to that happy, glowing girl in a Braves jersey…and she said yes.

Kevin Youkilis leaves the game

Collective effervescence is also a good term to describe the moment late in the game when fan-favorite Kevin Youkilis ground out a triple and was replaced by a pinch-runner on third base. Rumor already had it that Youkilis was going to be traded, so fans knew that when Youk was taken out of the game, this would be a final farewell. The walls of Fenway Park all but shook with a thunderous ovation as fans bellowed “YOOOOOOOUUUUUUK” from the bottom of their bellies, making it clear that the decision to ship Youk to the Chicago White Sox was made by the management, not the fans. Youk will return to Fenway in his new uniform when the White Sox play the Red Sox later this month, and I’m confident that fans in attendance will welcome him as warmly as we sent him off two weeks ago.

Fenway in summer

Did I mention that the Red Sox beat the Braves, 9 to 4? The win was almost an afterthought: happy icing on a collectively effervescent cake. On a sunny Sunday, it feels nice simply to sit outside with other folks enjoying a beer, some popcorn, and a leisurely game. At any sporting event, there’s the action on the field and the action in the stands, at at the end of the day, both kinds of action are pretty enjoyable to watch, regardless of who wins. On that hot and sunny Sunday, even if the ballplayers hadn’t shown up, I suspect those of us in the outfield bleachers would have found some reason to cheer.

This is my belated contribution to this past week’s Photo Friday theme, Sports. For more photos from Fenway Park, click here. Enjoy!

Spotlit

A few weeks ago, I took an afternoon walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery. It was a mild Sunday afternoon–clear and cloudless, but cool enough for a jacket in the shade–and the Perkins dog was resting in deep shadow, spotlit by a single ray of late afternoon sunlight.

Afternoon shadows

That cool and clear afternoon feels like eternity ago now that the dog-days of summer have arrived. Temperatures this weekend are supposed to reach the 90s, and earlier today, I heard the first dog-day cicadas of the summer calling from neighboring trees. It seems this weekend, even the stone dogs will be panting in the shade.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Dog. Click here for more photos from that cool afternoon walk at Mount Auburn Cemetery several weeks ago. Enjoy!

Moleskine

Although I haven’t been blogging much, I have been writing…just not here. I’m still in the habit of writing four handwritten pages in my paper journal almost every morning, and most days this month that’s been all the creativity I’ve had time for, the rest of my energy devoted to the classes and course design project I started last month.

Mightier than the sword

I finished my course design project last week, one of my classes ended this week, and another class ends this weekend. Once I’ve submitted grades on Tuesday, my schedule will finally slip into something more comfortable: just one online graduate class that runs until September. As always, I’m looking forward to a (relative) break from teaching and grading: a chance to return to writing, letting my own words settle into the spaces recently filled to overflowing with the words of my students’ posts and papers.

This is my contribution to today’s Photo Friday theme, Words. I’ve blogged the photo at the top of this post twice–first in February, 2009, and again in December that same year–and I blogged the photo in the middle of this post in May, 2010.

These days I’m still writing loopy words with a Waterman fountain pen in a lined Moleskine notebook…but recently I’ve been using purple ink rather than green.

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