Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens brings Monet's paintings to life. Dragonflies dance, frogs peep and harumph, turtles bask in the sun, and lotus blossoms bend their heads, the weight of their blossoms almost too much to bear.
Heat and humidity limited my wanderings today, but I still managed to snap 200 plus photos, trying to capture the elusive beauty. Sheer gorgeousness!
Minimal editing done, but I'd like to share a few...
I've quite fallen in love with the seed pods at the heart of the lotus blossoms...loving the textures and colors at all the different stages.
Someone thought these might be "Bachelors' Buttons," but I'm not sure. Again, the texture! And, do you see my little friend?
Pale pinks to deep vibrant pinks, each and every one of them beautiful.
The stripes seem to get lost in that sea of pink...
A seed pod nearly at the end of its cycle; it has yet to become the brown dried husk we see in so many fall floral arrangements. This guy still has his seeds intact; they really do remind me of chocolate chip cookies!
We had grand plans for today...two farmers' markets, a road trip, and a wine/food festival - and it all fed so well into Focus 52, Week 29's theme of street art. So so many possibilities!
And, then - the photography gods laughed at me, and they sent rain. Lots and lots and lots of rain. Chilly pouring down rivers of rain, never mind that the weather gurus promised it was all to clear by mid morning.
I knew I could always submit another photo shot this week; I had plenty. But, so far, I've pretty much stuck with the theme, and I hated to not.
We nixed the food/wine festival and wandered our way home, stopping at Reston. I dreamed of a let up in those cascading drops of ice water, but it didn't seem likely.
Then, a bit of luck! These two lovelies exited a car and hit the sidewalk in front of us. Handing off the gigantic Mary Poppins umbrella to Phil, I kept trotting along behind them, unsnapped the lens cover, and shot quickly.
I'm loving the bright colors, the way the umbrellas are tilted just so.
I've got plans to try this street photography again, when the weather and photography gods are in a better mood. But for now, this will do!
I'll 'fess up...I can be a bit of a magpie, distracted by anything that's shiny and glittery, at least in the mixed media world. So many courses, so many things to try, and I want it all.
And, in the past, I tried it all....metal, jewelry, collage, sewing, journals, photography, etc. Some I thrived on, and some...well, those results hit the trash can for the most part!
And, so many workshops, both in person and on line. And, again, I want to take them all. Never mind that I have to earn a living, I still want to sign on the dotted line. If I signed up for every workshop that caught my eye, I'd never complete them, even if I quit work.
And, so with some coaching from the marvelous Lesley Riley and her Artist Success program, I'm beginning to figure out what it is I really want to do (photography and journaling), figuring out how to combine them, and learning how to ignore all that glitters.
I'm figuring out how to make things fit into what I want to accomplish, and to quote Patti Digh, I'm learning to let go of the monkey bars, get off the ship, and follow my desire lines.
It doesn't mean that I don't get tempted now and then and do something for the heck of it. I do.
But, thanks to Lesley, I'm not only having fun, but I've:
- redesigned my blog and am continuing to do so
- destashed my art room, big time
- taken a few chances and plan to take even more
- learning to do more with photoshop
- sent away to create postcards using my photos (Look for a give away soon!)
- beginning to get off of the automatic settings on my camera
- and so much more!
Now, the technical part of all of this makes me want to cry at times. Just cry. The stubborn Russian in me declares that it is not going to get the best of me, and I am figuring it out. Sometimes, it takes longer than I'd like, but I get there. Not always on the path someone else may have designed as the express route...I tend to take the scenic path...but I get there.
What's even cooler, I'm learning to apply some of the same lessons to what occupies me in the workplace.
In less than a half a year, I turn 60, and honestly? Well, to use a cliche, I figure "the best is yet to come!"
For most of my life, I can remember hearing...and yes, even using, ...the phrase, "demented old man." And, now, I call that man "dad." And, I love him.
We had a fairly good visit yesterday, although it began with him plaintively telling me that he had spent the last several days looking for everyone, but couldn't find them. Those "days" might be minutes, or hours, or even actually days. Who's to know? But, obviously, there's a part of him that wonders where family and friends are. Reality has intruded for a few minutes of time.
I can see the dementia in his eyes - that far away look telling me he's seeing something I'm not. The twinkle that used to reside in his eyes has left.
He knew me, knew that I was one of his four children, but didn't know my name. It was okay because he knew I belonged to him and we carried on a conversation for a few hours. I use the term "conversation" very loosely...he traveled back and forth among decades (lends a whole new meaning to time traveling!), so much got repeated over and over, and so much didn't make sense. Every now and then, something would click, and he'd tell a joke, and be quite proud of himself.
I don't mean for this to sound overwhelmingly sad, because it's not. Dad's safe, well fed, and being taken care of with folks who have marvellous patience - folks that really and truely spend their days in the "loony bin" to use another common phrase. To spend several hours in a dementia ward is to live in an alternate universe. If I wrote those few hours up as a tv or movie script, it'd be tossed back in a heartbeat as totally unrealistic. And,I have to tell you that I often bowed my head and laughed as silently as I could. I have to laugh - the alternate would be tears.
When I kissed him good-bye, the twinkle reappeared briefly; he thought he was going home. I told him that another time I'd take him, that he needed to stay for a bit. As I left, I could hear him excitedly telling an aide he was going home soon. What makes it bearable is that I know it won't last. Within minutes, he'd be back again in a world of his mind's making.
Kiss those people in your lives that are older and probably failing. Kiss them even if they're not; love the fact that they are with you, both physically and mentally. Be patient with them, and most of all love them and spend time with them. You won't regret it.
I'm travelling a journey that I never thought I'd be on, and it's okay. I'm learning to be grateful for what can't be bought or measured.