Saturday, February 26, 2011

Down On The Farm...

Blogs are funny things. I mean that as funny/interesting, as opposed to funny/strange. Well, on second thought both apply. The more I share stories about myself (personal experiences and the like), the more I reveal to myself...the more I remember. I'm sure there are some rooms in my mind that were locked long ago and will remain so. Other rooms I've jimmied the locks on. Some I've blown open.

My latest onslaught of forgotten memories was spawned by one of my recent posts, "Night Moon...". I mentioned some 'celestially' based memories from my youth that took place in the late '60's to early '70's. The location was an old farm house in the Atlanta Area. Norcross, to be exact. As I wrote my blog entry, I felt transported as I often do when I write. Flashes of the interior of that house. The horses we had. Our dog named 'Dawg'. After I had posted the entry to my blog, my mind started working on about that house. I heard from someone that it had been declared a historical site and was still there. I was in my early 30's when I heard that, so that was...well, I'll avoid dating myself and just say that it was awhile back...

The door to that particular period of my life has always been slightly ajar...I have always had access to a few vague memories from that time. It has made me extremely curious about finding out what I can about the house. If it is still there, what sort of records could I find on it? I've been in 'Mission' mode. Couldn't remember the name of the road it was on. That seemed to be the most important information to have if you were looking for a house, and I didn't have it. I wasn't even 100% sure that it was in Norcross, but I was reasonably sure. That's where I started. I Googled images for "historical landmark farm house, Norcross, GA" and whatever else I could think of. There were a number of pictures popping up, but nothing even close to what I was looking for, and definitely not the house in question. Then I switched over to the World Wide Web. From there it didn't take very long.

Nesbit Ferry Farm in Norcross, Georgia. There it was on a web site for an architectural firm. They had handled a renovation for the current owners (I assume the owners from that time are still in residence). The site also said that there was a 10-page spread about the renovation in Southern Homes Magazine. That had me excited until a little net surfing told me that the magazine is now defunct. Actually, it changed hands and changed names, format, etc. I plan to contact the newer version of the magazine to see if they might have an archive of the old magazine, if the architectural firm doesn't get back to me. I sent them an e-mail asking for the month and year of the particular Southern Homes issue. Haven't heard back thus far.

This is a 'before' shot they had on the site, and this is pretty much how I remember it. Obviously taken in the winter. On the right hand side of the photo you can see the low wall that goes around the big stone patio. The huge trees within it's borders were usually full of leaves...I remember my dad raking up the leaves during the Fall, and my brother and I jumping in the piles scattering them again. I wish there was more detail in the picture, meaning that it included the big dirt drive out front. It was somewhat circular and there was a big tree in the middle of it. I used to love to create little cities made up mostly of dirt roads that I would drive little toy cars around in.

At the back corner (patio side) is a sun room that I spent a lot of time in. I can remember my brother and I dancing around like goofs listening to my parents Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass album. (If you're unfamiliar with the sound, think theme song of 'The Dating Game'). I called my brother as part of my research to pick his brain for whatever memories he had, and he remembered watching the moon landing on our b&w TV in that same sun room.

There was a step up from the sun room into the dining room. That's where my evil older brother had me convinced that the sardines on the antipasto trays my mother made would bite me. Forget the fact that they had no heads...(I know, I have no idea either.)

My parents room was on the ground floor, right across from the stairs up to the second floor where the kids rooms were. There was a curve to the left at the bottom of the stairs, and then it was a straight shot up. I can remember a few times I fell down those stairs. (I actually had a number of mishaps at that house). When you reached the top, my room was to the right and my brother's to the left. (In the picture above, my room is the window above the porch kind of behind the tree to the left, and my brother's is the more visible window.) Some definite memories I have from that house are how creeped out I would get at night in my bedroom. There were a number of times I would wake up in a cold sweat, completely disoriented, and feeling like I wasn't alone in my room. I don't want that to sound like I was utterly convinced that the house was haunted. Yes, I have had some hauntings in my past (which I've written about in this blog), but I don't think that was one. It was an old house full of pops and groans, and my older brother enjoyed freaking me out. We have just shy of four years between us, so I was the annoying little sister. No telling what some of the antics he pulled trying to terrorize me were, but I guess it was his job in a way. Throughout history, older siblings have pranked younger siblings. Moving right along...

(Me on my swing set.)

The barn is out of frame to the left of the house, as I remember. Don't know if it's still there or not. Behind the house is where the fenced in field was where we kept our two horses, Ginger and...I want to say 'Babe'. I mentioned earlier that I had some mishaps at that house. Two involved Ginger. One day I was sitting on a saddled Ginger while my mother led her around the back of the house along the flagstone walkway. Enter a snake. Snake spooks horse, horse rears up, little kid flips off back of horse and cracks head on flagstone. Can you say OUCH? (I'm sure there are a number of people who know me that are thinking, "So THAT'S what happened!") My other event happened with some small similarities. I was on the back of a saddled Ginger, one of the teenage boys that lived at the neighboring farm was over and leading Ginger under a tree. Little kid isn't paying attention, teenage boy doesn't alert her to low tree branches, little kid gets scraped off back of horse and lands on barbed wire fence. I got sliced up pretty badly under my arm. My mother tossed me into the car and whisked me off to the pediatrician's office (Dr. Johnson, I think his name was). Needless to say, I got a tetanus shot.

One thing my brother reminded me of was the nudist colony at the end of our street. It's a subdivision now (looked the house up on Google! Earth). Was kind of a running joke, as I remember. A nudist camp in the middle of some farms. Well, it was the time of Love-ins and Hippies. I'm going to use the nudists as a segue for one of my most vivid memories from that house. The movie shoot.

In those days my father produced commercials. He won some awards, too. (I was actually in a commercial for Sears' Winnie The Pooh Clothing. It was shot at the Atlanta Zoo, and I remember being horrified that I had to hold hands with a boy.) Anyway, I wasn't sure about any of the specifics on the film, but it was a, that's to's an E-Grade biker film. I did some researching on that, too, and found the movie by using some of the actor's names. It's called "J.C.", came out in 1972, and is a biker version of the return of Christ. A part of me is rather curious to see it. To see the house, etc. I did find some clips posted on YouTube. It looks absolutely horrid, but apparently is known to be a decent biker film from that particular era that is "unintentionally hilarious". I think the person who reviewed it must have been smoking dope...

The biker gang that follows 'JC' around in the film were actual bikers and their old ladies. I was fascinated by the choppers, and the characters riding them. Hey, I was eight years old. They were "cool". There were a couple of 'names' in the film. Joanna Woodward, who you might know as Tatum O-Neil's mother; Burr Debenning, a character actor you would probably recognize if you saw him; and Slim Pickens, only he wasn't riding a bomb this time. No, he was just 'in' a bomb this time. (I slay me sometimes...) The whole thing was exciting for a kid like me. Being in a more rural area there weren't a lot of neighboring kids to play with. All that activity was great. I have rather vivid vision based memories of talking to Joanna while she was getting her face touched up. The "old ladies" were very nice to me, and a couple of the biker 'dudes' let me sit on their bikes. (I would later learn that's kind of an honor. For a biker to let you sit on his 'hog'. True, I was a kid, but I thought that was the coolest thing.) The best 'visual' memory was from one of the breaks. I was walking by the front porch where Slim was sitting, and he called me up to talk to him. He called me "little lady". Again, I don't remember the specifics of our conversation, but I do remember him being one of the nicest people. A southern good ol' boy, just like you see in the movies. For the time the cast and crew were there, I tried to get as close as I could to the action without being in the way. I didn't want to get sent to my room. Yes, the film looks truly horrible, but I plan to try and hunt down a copy.

Gradually the doors are opening and the memories are being released. I hope I'm able to track down some more on the house, preferably some photos of it's interior. I know seeing some pictures of the various rooms and the layout will help release some more of my mental archives. From my exchange with my brother, it appears that I remember more from there than he does. Some time has passed, so maybe he's remembered more. I'll have to ask him.

This 'learning about history' deal is interesting stuff...especially when it's your own...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

If The Universe Were A Beach...

...we would be a tiiiiiny grain of sand. These days, I think it's pretty narrow minded for anyone to think our little solar system is all that there is. Yes, I know the 'Flat Earth Society' is around (yep, there are still folks that believe the Earth is flat), and I have run into the occassional hardcore religious type who thinks that the collection of planets circling Sol are 'it'. I mean...really? They seriously think that all of the scientific evidence to the contrary is false?
Whatever floats their proverbial boat, I suppose.

A friend shared this great video with me. It really puts things into perspective for you...although our planet is the center of our universe in several ways, we are just a speck in the vast cosmos.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Cool & Sunny Sunday...

This morning I was trying to think of something to do that would get us (Glenn and me) out of the house. An activity that involved something I really don't care for...getting some sun. To say that I am not a sun person would be an understatement. I'm not fond of intense heat, but I will tolerate it if I have to. My eyes don't do well in bright sunlight. Any type of glare will most likely give me a raging headache. Tanning is not something my skin does. Being rather pale skinned, I burn quite easily with nothing to show for it (i.e. browner skin). It also makes me feel ill quite easily. I've often wondered if there are Vampires on my family tree...

I did my catch up online...checked e-mail, caught up with any notifications and 'what-not' on Facebook, etc. While I was going about my business I was mulling over some ideas for an excursion, and when I stepped away from the computer I had reached a decision. A visit to the beach. My usual beach. My current source of relaxation and inspiration. Today's horoscope was kind of my clincher. Now, I don't really pay attention to (much less read) the newspaper horoscopes, but they were sitting in front of me when I sat on the sofa next to Glenn to share my outing suggestion. This is what mine said:

July 23 - Aug. 22: Visiting a place that motivates you will set a positive mood and provide the opportunity to try something new.

That kind of settled things. I interpreted the message in a slightly different way. I saw it more as a confirmation to visit the place that inspires me for some inspiration to add to my motivation pool for a current project I need to dive into. I've been mentally dipping my toe for awhile, and the time to take the plunge with it is more than ripe. After throwing ourselves together, we made the trip over.

I was definitely dealt a heavy dose of inspiration. With a smattering of calm. It was breezy and quite chilly, but I got some great pictures. This particular visit the tide was out, so there were new things to see and experience. Not that I don't always see something new when I go there. Thus is the nature of...well, nature. Felt the need to share some of my shots.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Night Moon...

( A picture I took yesterday evening - Feb. 17th - as the time of the Leo Full Moon approached. It was so peaceful and beautiful. The moon was quite a bit larger in person. Wish I had been able to capture more of what I saw than what the photo captured. )

"Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree."
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The moon has always fascinated me, as has the night. I've always loved that portion of each day that begins at dusk. It's so peaceful. So inspiring. I've done some of my best creative work after the sun has gone down. The night time harbors such wonderful energies.

Since moving to Savannah about 2 1/2 years ago, I've rediscovered the glorious moon. Well, let me restate that. I think it's safer to say that I've developed more of a deeper connection with it. Prior to moving back to Georgia, I lived in California for about 18 years. Most of that time was spent in the Los Angeles Area. It's a happening place that doesn't roll up it's sidewalks at night. The activity of the city is a constant. A constant for me was how much I missed seeing stars. How much I missed enjoying the moon hanging in that vast blue-black expanse known as the night sky. The culprit? Smog. The thickest blanket of airborne muck I have ever seen and experienced. Anywhere. I was living under it...'in' it. No telling how much of that poisonous crud I inhaled over those years. The apartment I rented was in a rather old building, and it didn't have central air. To make it through the scorching hot summers, it was a must to keep the windows open so what few breezes that happened by would blow through. What also passed through the apartment were the smog particulates. They coated everything. Dusting was practically a daily event. I'm so glad I don't have to clean any more blackened window sills.

There was one particular L.A. night that I was given a glimpse of the glowing celestial bodies up there. It was during the big quake of...1993, I think it was. It is known as the Northridge Quake. It happened in the early hours of the morning, and I was sleeping soundly. With a big jolt my bed began to hop and shake. Pictures slid down the bedroom walls, the sound of shattering glass tinkling below the rumble of the earth. A transformer atop a light pole by the street out front flashed and popped, causing a strobe effect in my room. Struggling to my feet, I headed to the small hallway at the center of the apartment that connected my bedroom, bathroom, and living room. Just as I reached the connective space, there was a big BOOM of a jolt and the intensity of things picked up. Stuff continued to crash in my apartment. I looked back and forth, all forms of light seemingly extinguished. The only hint of any light source however dull came from the sliding glass doors that lead out to my small balcony. Using my hands as 'feelers', I probed around in front of me as I made my way to the closed curtains. It wasn't the smartest thing to do as I was barefoot. I stepped on something cool and slick...leaves to one of the big houseplants. Then it stopped. The earth stopped moving. For the moment, anyway. The building continued to creak and pop a bit, and I could feel it softly swaying in the aftermath. The muffled sounds of voices floated through the open windows. My neighbors were out and about. As fast as I could I rummaged for one of the flashlights I kept handy (any resident of earthquake prone California would do well to have one or two in every room of their home). Flashlight in hand I made quick work of finding my glasses (I can't see a thing without them), threw on some jeans, and rushed out the front door. (note: All of this happened in a matter had to be no more than five minutes. The bulk of that time being the duration of that initial quake.) At that moment, I was feeling that it would be safer outside than in. A number of my neighbors concurred, one being so freaked out by the scary incident to run outside in the buff. That was pretty funny. They were standing behind a bush, too scared to go back in to retrieve something to put on. One of the other neighbors gave them a blanket to wrap up in. As we collected by the front stairs of the building, there was an excitement about the whole thing. One observation was unanimous. It was pitch dark in L.A., and we were all chilly. A number of us headed back in to put on shoes and more cover from the cool night air.

Walking back into the living room with the beam from the flashlight was astonishing. The floor was covered with all kinds of 'rubble'. Most looked intact. The shelving unit had been filled with lots of books, so those weren't breakable. Some breakable items did fall, but miraculously nothing broke except for glass in picture frames. The only real messy-mess were the potted houseplants. I took great care to not tread on the spray of potting soil strewn across the carpet. The building shook slightly here and there. Was to be expected after a shaker like the one we had. Again, I was only inside for a few minutes time when I headed back outside. Just as I put my hand on the doorknob, my phone rang. It was my mother. She had just seen on the news that a big earthquake had rocked the Los Angeles area. "Yes, one did. I'm on my way outside." How big was it? Am I okay? Is there any damage? The room began to rattle again, the wall size shelving unit squeaking loudly with the motion. "I gotta go, mom." She started to chat. "Aftershock, mom. Gotta go." I dashed out the door and down the stairs.

Heading back to the area of congregation, I could make out most of the neighbors standing around in various stages of wakefulness. Flashlight beams danced around the group, the murmurs and laughs of conversation filtering over to me. I remember stopping by the wall that ran up the side of the building, and registering just how dark it was...L.A. was in blackout. Not something one sees every day. The distant thump of helicopters could be heard. I had no doubt that there would be plenty of those flying overhead, scoping out for wrong-doers. They were always doing that anyway (I lived in West Hollywood, and it always sounded like downtown Beirut with the constant nightly helicopters). Then I felt the need to stretch, and did so. It would be the first time I had looked up since coming outside. I was mesmerized. Stars. The thick, bright blanket of gorgeous stars. It was like seeing them for the first time. I can remember so vividly how beautiful they were to me in that moment. I couldn't remember seeing stars in that number or at that brightness since I had left Georgia years before. It's interesting how much a thick layer of smog and the bright burning lights of a vast city can mask the presence of something so impressive and huge as the night sky. I feel sorry for anyone that has grown up in a big city, and has never witnessed something as beautiful as a cloudless night sky. Like the night skies I see now. Like the night skies of my youth...

I grew up in Georgia. Savannah has marked my return to this southern state. Both of my parents spent their childhoods in Tennessee. My father was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee. My mother was born in Tucumcari, New Mexico, but she and my grandparents would spend the bulk of her growing up years in Nashville. While I was still quite young, one of the houses we lived in was a big two-story farm house with a barn. It was in an area called Norcross, and at that time it was pretty rural. I have been told that in recent years the area is now quite built up, but the house I once lived in is still there and has been made a historical landmark. Pretty cool. (Hmmm...Wonder if the Bachelor Buttons I used to pick along the wall by the dirt road are still there?) Some of my most vivid memories of life at that house have to do with the night time. Swinging on the swing set. Trying to get so high that I could reach out and touch the sky. Chasing lightning bugs. Lying in the cool summer grass, and trying to locate the Dippers. That sky was so wide. So magical. The symphony of crickets lulling me to a place of peacefulness. Of serenity. I quickly grew to love the sight of the earth around me illuminated with the beams of light radiating from the moon, that nightly reflector of the sun. The breezes, smells, sounds, and shadows of the night. A wonderfully mysterious and exhilarating world watched over by a moonlit sky. My parents divorced while we were living in that house. Later, my dad would own a farm in Duluth, Georgia. I would create some memories of the moon and the stars there, too. The night time of the summer. Lying in the grass in shorts and a t-shirt, feeling the green blades cool my skin against the heat. The star filled sky that hangs above the quiet solitude of a farm is more beautiful than I can ever properly articulate. No streetlights. No traffic. No strip malls. Just trees, in one of it's purest forms.

I have had some flash back moments here on the island. Leisurely drives to explore and snap photos has become a favorite activity of mine. Most times I've ventured out solo during the day. One of my few night time exploratory drives was at Christmas this past year. Glenn and I went on a Christmas light hunt. It was a couple three weeks before Christmas, but I was pretty sure we would find some early lighting displays in some yards. Indeed we did. In regards to businesses, there aren't a lot of them in our neck of the woods. Most of the island is residential and a bit of it quite rustic. There is a main road that circumnavigates a good deal of the island, and that has become my basic route. That's where we headed. There aren't any streetlights out here. The bulk of the isle is extremely dark. When we were on the far side of the island looking for holiday lights I looked up. Stars. The blanket of stars from when I was young. It was still there. I may not have been in the same spot...the same location...but it was there. It was like running into an old friend that I hadn't seen in years.

I love going for walks, especially at night. Each month at the full moon is my favorite time to go out, but with the skies we get here in the deep south a fingernail moon is fine, too. During the time I lived in California, I always knew I would eventually move back to Georgia. I missed so much about it. The trees, the people. But looking up at that celestial sky is all I need to do to remind me I'm home.

"It seemed to be a necessary ritual that he should prepare himself for sleep by meditating under the solemnity of the night sky...a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe."
~ Victor Hugo

(The full February Leo moon. I'm rather proud of this pic...)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is It Live, Or Is It Swamp Gas...

..I came up with that phrase when I was giving a friend of mine some specs on the theater poster for the second production run of my play "Rednecks & U.F.O.'s". That's kind of the eternal question for a lot of people. At least for me, and some who have never had a face to face with an alien grey, or one of the other alien species described by abductees. Truth be told, the whole concept of beings from other planets stopping in for a visit intrigues the hell out of me. Do I think it's possible? Why not? Who's to say that there aren't technologically advanced races on other planets out there (in one solar system or another) who fly to other parts of the universe(s) to scope out what's going on "over here"?

First, let me say that any person who doesn't acknowledge the likelihood of there being life on other planets...well, that is just plain ignorant. There have been recent discoveries of planets deemed habitable light years away from us (Gliese 581 g; 54 planets in the 'Goldilocks Zone' outside of our solar system). Maybe they can support life...maybe they already do. Will we find out? I doubt that space travel will advance that far within the remainder of my life time. (Bummer.) However, the thought of that happening in the future is really exciting. I wish I could go along for the ride.

The "alien presence" has been historically documented for ages. Whether one believes in the accounts or believes them to be myth is up to the individual. Ancient Egypt (the pyramids); 'Chariots of the Gods' (the land drawings on Nazca Plains in Peru); 'Missing Link' (a widely held theory that aliens genetically engineered Cro-magnon man). Spend some time on Google and you'll find theories that range from the fascinating to the absurd. In more contemporary times there have been occurrences of the odd and disturbing that have been attributed to aliens...animal mutilations (cows being the most prevalent), crop circles (I think these have pretty much been debunked), etc. The most prominent claims of aliens visiting the Earth have been those of abduction.
I have done quite a bit of reading about supposed alien abductions, some more believable than others. There were some that reeked of possibility (Betty and Barney Hill being one). Probably the main abduction story that rings as close to true as any of them is the case of Travis Walton. My reason for writing this blog entry is that the Travis Walton story was featured on the 'Today' show a couple of days ago. They are doing a series of stories called, 'Unexplained Mysteries'. A visit to Snowflake, Arizona, to check in with Travis marked the first episode of their featured series. (You can find the video segment at the bottom of this post.) His 'event' happened in 1975. A logger, he was on his way home with the team he was working with. They were driving through the national park they were working in, and they saw a glow through the trees.

The above video is from the movie 'Fire In The Sky' (1993), a feature film based on Travis' story. The clip is of the scene where Travis gets abducted. From what I've read in interviews with Travis, the movie account seems pretty accurate as to what he, and the witnesses, say happened.

Travis was gone for 5 days. Based on his memory from that time, he experienced some pretty scary stuff. Hollywood has a tendency to "spice things up" a bit, so there is some definite creative license used here. That being said, Travis's account is pretty intense.

The movie got panned for the most part, but I found it interesting. I think the skepticism of a lot of people out there kept the reviews in the realm of disbelief. I recommend it. Knowing it's backstory makes it worth the watch. The case of Travis Walton is said to be the only documented case of alien abduction. There were half a dozen witnesses...the guys working with him that day. In the video segment from a couple of days ago, the interviewer asks him if his experience still stays with him...if it has effected his life? What a dumb question. I don't know if I would ever be able to sleep through the night again after something like that.

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Was Travis Walton really abducted on that evening in 1975? His fellow loggers say he was. Travis' neighbors in Snowflake...the one's who told him they didn't believe, now say they do. The story feels like it leans more towards the positive side of the truth meter. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm an open minded person who suspends my belief/disbelief until most things are proven to me one way or the other. On the case of Travis Walton, the only ones that know and will ever know what really did happen that night are those that were present. A fascinating tale nonetheless.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy St. Valentine's Day, 2011...

Just wanted to send out some Valentine wishes. Hope a lovely day is had by all.
~ Lisa :)

"Men always want to be a woman's first love - What women like is to be a man's last romance."
~ Oscar Wilde

(The Jam has been my favorite group since they happened on the scene in the late 70's, and Paul Weller is king in my book. This is such a lovely and romantic song, and this rendition is beautiful.)

"Let the world stop turning, Let the sun stop burning, Let them tell me love's not worth going through. If it all falls apart, I will know deep in my heart, The only dream that mattered had come true...In this life I was loved by you."
~ Bette Midler

"LOVE: The irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired."
~ Mark Twain

"My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep. The more I give thee, the more I have, for both are infinite."
~ William Shakespeare

"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity."
~ Henry Van Dyke

"We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly."
~ Sam Keen

"To love someone is to see a miracle invisible to others."
~ Francois Mauriac

"Life is a flower of which love is the honey."
~ Victor Hugo

"Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise."
~ Victor Hugo

"Love comfortheth like sunshine after rain."
~ William Shakespeare

(This video is of Russian classical pianist, Evgeny Kissin, playing one of many pieces I dig by my favorite classical composer, Chopin. Kissin is far and away my favorite of the contemporary pianists. There are so many entries that could be made to the list of romantic classical works, but Chopin's music really resonates with me.)

"He who love touches walks not in darkness."
~ Plato

"For you see, each day I love you more. Today more than yesterday, and less than tomorrow."
~ Rosemonde Gerard

"I have found men who didn't know how to kiss. I've always found time to teach them."
~ Mae West

"Do you love me because I am beautiful, or am I beautiful because you love me?"
~ Cinderella

"Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other."
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

"Soul meets soul on lover's lips."
~ Percy Bysshe Shelly

"There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved."
~ George Sand

"One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love."
~ Sophocles

(Not necessarily a typical love song for a Valentine's Day, but it is about 'Love' and...I just like the there!)

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Raining Zen...

Today has been an extremely rainy day. Brilliant. It has been falling pretty consistently for several hours, and I have no complaints. Earlier this morning (around 7:30) I decided that a drive over to Tybee Island for some photos was in order. It had been awhile since my last outing, so the time was ripe. Overcast weather is my favorite time to snap pictures. The mood is ideal. I also was in need of I needed...something. Don't really know what. I just needed a regroup. To find a neutral space to re-energize and bolster my creative self.

My picture taking odyssey would start at a turn off with a boat ramp along the road over to Tybee. I had initially thought I would stop there to get some shots of the wide plain of marsh grasses that grow thickly to the horizon line. As I signalled and slowed to turn, I discovered some other visitors hanging out on the small dock that sat along the bank to the left of the ramp. There are several tall wooden pillars that brace the dock along it's edges, and sitting atop the pillars were some large and apparently dozing pelicans. I parked and got out of the truck as quietly as possible. Moving slowly, I was able to get rather close without causing them to take flight. I snapped away and got several nice photos. Then I left them to their slumber and headed on to Tybee.

My main destination was the area around the Tybee lighthouse. There is also an old fort along the beach right across the street from it. On an earlier visit to that same area, I had taken note of the public beach on the side of the fort opposite of the lighthouse. At that time I had seen some signs about it also being a site for protected wildlife (sea turtles, I believe). I made my way to the big parking lot that sat between the fort and the beach.

Except for a couple of cars, the huge lot was empty. It was also starting to rain a little harder. Not wanting to have come all that way for nothing, I pulled up to one of the pay stations for parking fee prices. Although it was monitored, the paid parking is pretty much a do-it-yourself operation. The first two I pulled up to were out of order. I was beginning to think that something was trying to tell me that it wasn't my day for a visit to the beach. The third time was the charm. My intent wasn't to stay too terribly long. The rain was the deciding factor on that score. It was $1.00 for 40 minutes, and $1.50 for an hour. Only had $1.15 in change, so it looked like it was going to be 40 minutes. I paid, got my receipt, hid my purse under the seat, and grabbed the truck keys and the camera. I was ready.

My excitement was palpable. As I entered the wooden railed foot bridge, I knew I was there for a reason. No idea what it was. Something I needed. Stopping, I snapped a couple of pictures. Whatever it was I didn't really need to know what to call it. Tangible. Intangible. Didn't really make a difference. I was on an adventure. I felt serene. I was standing in the chilly morning air, a slight drizzle falling on me, my stomach slightly aflutter with the butterflies of contentment, and the roar of the ocean calling to me over the rise. Things couldn't get much more perfect than that. Reaching the crest of the bridges arc, I continued down the other side to the tan mottled beach sand. Dunes covered in patchy sea grass, assorted bushes and chunks of weathered trees surrounded me. I had a couple of options as far as paths to the beach. One looked less traveled than the other, so of course...I picked that one. There was also a big sign on the far side of the dunes warning of the rip tides that ran along the breakwater. "Stay off the rocks", was the main instruction. Reading what I could, it intrigued me. Had to investigate.

My hair was pretty damp by that point, and my hands were getting cold. None of it really bothered me though. Not even the droplets of water covering the lenses of my glasses. I was in such a wonderful zone. One advantage of the rain was that it made the sand a bit compact, so it was easier to walk on in my tennis shoes. As I got nearer to the water, the sounds of the waves crashing got a bit louder. When the beach opened up in front of me, one of the rip tides broke against the line of barrier rocks. The wave hit the line at an angle, so it broke in a beautiful progression as it went down the line. Foamy water lapped up over the sands, rolling the collection of small shells that covered the ground at my feet. The rain was at a steady light drizzle, a soft breeze danced around me, and the waves crashed against the rocks sending a spray that I never felt...the rain was dominant.

At first I had felt alone. I had seen a couple walking along the beach as I crossed the bridge, but they were almost to the dot stage when I reached the water. After taking in my initial impressions of the water, I quickly realized that I was far from alone. There were a number of birds running around. The usual grey and white seagulls, but there were also two other types I didn't recognize. One looked like crows, but I knew they weren't crows. The others were smaller and dark brown to black brown. Scared of me they were not. At one point, I crouched down to get some shots of the water, and they came walking up to within a few feet of me. Maybe they thought I had some food for them. I snapped a few, and they went about their business of looking for some food of the shelled variety. Then I noticed something move out in the water. It was a dolphin breaking the surface. It wasn't close, but close enough to provide a good picture. In theory anyway. I tried a few times to capture it, but it became kind of funny. I would snap the picture just as it went below the surface. Oh well. As I continued to watch the crashing tides, the rain picked up. Didn't matter. I had a little more time before the meter would run out, and I wasn't ready to leave.

I spent the remainder of my visit to the beach just wandering around. Walking past a vacant blue lifeguard stand. Spying a wooden swing that I would love to have sat on had it not been cold and wet (filing it away for warmer weather). Stumbling on a huge gathering of seagulls, and yet another type of sea bird I can't identify. (Me thinks I'll be spending some quality time with Google to see if I can find out what they all are.) It was just wonderful. It was inspiring.

That's what it had been all about. Sending me some calm, and giving a reboot to my inspiration. To my creativity. It much needed. I have a children's book to finish writing and illustrating, and a novel to write. My day of inspiration couldn't have come at a better time.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Day of Rain...

A rainy day is my favorite kind of day. It started raining here last night, and it's been raining all day today. Been enjoying the mood, and the creative energy I always feel on a day like today. So peaceful and centering. The first picture in this post is one I took early this morning. I needed to venture out to the grocery store, and was moved to snap some pictures at a marina not far from here. There were fog advisories on the weather channel. Couldn't pass up the opportunity. The rest of the post is just me spreading around the rainy vibe. Enjoy...

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a Lullaby."
~ Langston Hughes

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"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain."
~ Author Unknown

"I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain; What a wonderful feeling, I'm happy again."
~ Arthur Freed

"Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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"The best kind of rain, of course, is a cozy rain. This is the kind the anonymous medieval poet makes me remember, the rain that falls on a day when you'd just as soon stay in bed a little longer, write letters or read a good book by the fire, take early tea with hot scones and jam and look out the streaked window with complacency."
~ Susan Allen Toth

"The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall."
~ Helen Garner

"There's always a period of curious fear between the first sweet-smelling breeze and the time when the rain comes cracking down."
~ John DeLillo

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"Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply..."
~ Edna St Vincent Millay

"A rainy day is a perfect time for a walk in the woods."
~ Rachel Carson

"Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet."
~ Roger Miller

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"Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth;
without rain, there would be no life."
~ John Updike

"Don't threaten me with love, baby.
Let's just go walking in the rain."
~ Billie Holiday

"I believe in running through the rain and crashing into the person you love and having your lips bleed on each other."
~ Billy Bob Thornton

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"I think fish is nice, but then I think that rain is wet,
so who am I to judge?"
~ Douglas Adams

"It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent."
~ Dave Barry

Friday, February 4, 2011

I DO Believe in Fairies, I DO, I...well, maybe not...

There is nothing more magical than a forest filled with the possibility of fairies. From J.M. Barrie's mischievous Tinkerbell, to the Fairy Queen Titania in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream", fairies have been occupying the world of fantasy and wonder for a long time. I've often ventured into that realm through my own imagination. But, casting the fictional/imaginary fairies really exist?

Recently, I was about to make my usual 'well wishes for the weekend' post on one of my Facebook pages, so I was "Googling" some fairy art for a picture to add. I had just typed "fairies" into the search box, and as I was scanning my results I came across a photograph. It didn't really look like much. A bit blurry, with some distorted shapes in it. I hovered my cursor over it, and there was a picture description of it being an actual photo of fairies. "Real" fairies. Okay, that peaked my curiosity. I went to the page and found a lot more photographs, said to contain actual images of different types of fairies. Were they photographic evidence? Really? The photographer was adamant that they had a clairvoyant say beyond the shadow of a doubt that the oddly shaped and out of focus blobs are definitely fairies. Huh...okay...hey, maybe they are...maybe they aren't. As someone who has distaste for people scoffing at my beliefs, I certainly don't want to poo-poo anyone elses. It's just that when I looked at those photos, they looked doctored to me. I'm just sayin'...


Fairies have many names (wee folk, fair folk, Fae, among others). Different cultures might include more types of mystical beings under the moniker of 'fairy' (i.e. gnomes), but it is pretty universally thought that they are supernatural, preternatural, ethereal creatures. Some cultures think of them as actual races independent of humans. Others think of them as 'spirits'. Some think of them as evil. That they abduct babies and small children while leaving changelings in their place. If you sense fairies are near, it is recommended that you not lie...they hate lying, and there will be dire consequences if they catch you in one. Others think of them as tiny whimsical and cute winged...people. For as many happy and cute fairy tales, there are just as many dark ones. Fairies are indeed the subject of myth and legend. Were these ancient tales of fantasy formed from actual contact? Personally, I can't answer that. Nor can anyone that has never encountered these questionable and elusive creatures.


I would say that the most famous account of supposed evidence as to the existence of fairies, is the story of the Cottingley Fairies. Photos taken of two school age girls posing with "actual" fairies made quite a stir in 1917. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a big believer of their story, and even wrote a book called 'The Coming of The Fairies' to support his beliefs. (At the link reachable by clicking on Conan Doyle's name, you'll find more of the famous photos.)

To this day the photos still draw attention and spark the imagination. However, the photos that amazed people in 1917 don't have the same shock value they once had. I think just about anyone who looks at them will automatically think the fairies to look like carefully placed paper cut outs. There are still some that think them to be real, but I think those people 'want' them to be. I can kind of understand their feelings. That would really be cool.

There are two films based on this story, 'Fairy Tale: A True Story' & 'Photographing Fairies'. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a trailer for 'Photographing Fairies'. I recommend it even if you are not interested in the fairy's a great film.

While I was surfing around looking up some more info on this subject, I came across some tabloid fodder from the UK. A highly publicized story in Derbyshire, England. The remains of a fairy had been found while a man was out walking his dog along an old Roman road.


Pretty cryptic, huh?

A UK artist and magician, Dan Baines, had created the creepy find. He posted the pictures on his website with a fictional account of how they were discovered, and the photos quickly gained attention. He would soon post a statement coming clean, and calling it all an April Fool's Day prank. However, the pictures continued to circulate sans his statement. Some thought the model was such good quality (too good) and the story was so convincing, they believed that it was all real. Even with the artist's statement, people still believe in it's authenticity and have even cried Government conspiracy. In April of 2007, the model was sold for 280.00 pounds on EBay, and is part of a private art collection now. Yet another example of people needing to believe. 
Now for the most compelling argument as to the existence of this fantasy creature. The dragonfly. We've all seen them. Depending on where you live, you might see them many times a day.

They buzz around you as if checking you out. sometimes in small groups, sometimes solo. I've always loved to watch dragonflies. Beautiful bright colors. Large beating wings. There is just something so special about them. Very hard to get photographs of, too. The times I've had a camera on hand, I've never managed to get a picture. They would hover as if waiting for me to get ready, and when I was set to snap they would zip off.

There are many 'believers' that say fairies most often appear to us as dragonflies. Here's one account:

"In the spring of 2000 I was walking in a sheltered part of a creek surrounded by woods with my two small children and my best friend. We were in awe of our surroundings and we all felt as if we were someplace magical. As we were turning to leave we realized that we had dragonflies on all sides of us. I pointed across the creek to a large bunch of them when one of them landed on my finger and sat there for a minute. The children swear that they could hear giggling. There was a rustling in the brush all around us as if there were many little things running around, but the sounds weren't like the animal sounds we knew. All of us knew that we had entered a secret place of the faery. None of us will ever forget that day, and we have never been able to find that place again."

So...will I be able to look at dragonflies the same? Probably. Unless, of course, one alters its appearance and appears to me as a little human with wings. That ability is called Fae Glamor. They can shift their appearance to suit their needs. That might be why there are so many varying descriptions of fairies from the beautiful to the hideous. The only rather universal reports have been to the mischievous nature of them. They are known to like to "play" with humans....poking, prodding, and the like.

Now that I've done some looking around and reading about the existence of fairies, what do I think now? Do I believe? At this point, it's just a romantic notion. I think it to be highly unlikely. As someone who leaves just about anything to the realm of possibility, I don't claim disbelief often. However, I'll keep the door on this topic cracked a little. There's a tiny part of me that hopes I'm wrong. ;)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 2nd...Celebrations & New Beginnings...

Wednesday is going to be a high 'energy' day!



Blessed Be & Merry Meet

Imbolc is celebrated in different ways in different cultures. It's origins go back to the Middle Ages when it was observed in Gaelic Ireland. It is a festival known as the Feast of St. Brigid, and relates to the beginning of Spring. It marks the halfway point (also known as a cross-quarter day) between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and is celebrated on February 2nd in the Northern Hemisphere, and on August 1st in the Southern Hemisphere.

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Other cultures from days past, and in the present day have their own versions of the Imbolc celebration. There are some basic differences, but some of the other holidays names associated with this day are:
  • Christians: Candlemas
  • Romans: Lupercalia
  • Irish Gaelic: Oimelc
  • Eqyptians: The Feast of Nut
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( The Goddess Brighid ~ Celtic Goddess of fire and inspiration ~ also represents femininity, fertility, and love )

If you would like to read more details about Imbolc's history, Rituals and Ceremonies, etc., check out this link: All About Imbolc

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( The Wheel of the Year ~ shows the Pagan/Wiccan Sabbats, which are attuned to the cycles of nature ~ it is a modern concept, and is thought to have been created by Wiccans in the 1950's)

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Wednesday at 6:30 PM/PST, is when February's new moon will be at it's full cycle. For those of us in the northern latitudes, it is significant because our days are about to get longer.

New Moon's signify a new beginning. I'm completely down with that. A new and fresh approach to moving forward is nothing but a good thing!

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( Aquarius )

"New Moons signify rebirth, beginnings, a clean slate, the start of a new cycle. This new moon highlights Aquarius qualities (inventive, independent thinking, unconventional, humanitarian) and 11th house themes (friendships, group relations, relation to humanity as a whole). Aquarius is natively ruled by Uranus (radical change), who is in the last degrees of Pisces and linked up with Mercury (thought/communication) and Venus (relationships/finances). In Aquarius, the Moon is eccentric, unpredictable, fun, friendly, and a humanitarian without the emotional attachment.

This Aquarius-New Moon (blending of heart & soul between the Sun and Moon) occurs on February 2 and blends energies with Mars (action/motivation) and all three get friendly with Saturn-rx (reality/hard work). Elsewhere in the sky, in addition to the aforementioned Mercury-Uranus and Venus-Uranus links, Venus is also optimistically aligned with Neptune(hope/insight). This new moon phase is indeed an ideal period to break away from bad habits, old ways of thinking, toxic relationships and/or overall negativity in your life."

( From the site: )

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Mythology: Aquarius was known as the God of the Waters to the Egyptians, Greeks and others who experienced dry climates in their regions. In Greek mythology Aquarius is also identified as Ganymede who was carried off by Zeus disguised as an Eagle. He was carried off to Olympus to be the cup-bearer to the Olympian gods. According to ancient Sumerians, Aquarius was a wicked god who brought global floods.

History: Aquarius is one of the oldest constellations. As a water-carrier, his fame goes back to the Babylonian empire where his image was carved in stones. Vital information about Aquarius was always included in the ancient star catalogs of Ptolemy, Aratos of Soli, and Eudoxos of Knidos.

( 'Aquarius' by Boards of Canada )

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'Gong Xi Fa Cai'
( Wishing you prosperity in the coming New Year. )

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Happy Xin-Mao (Metal Rabbit) year! February 2nd is the New year's Eve, and the celebration will run until February 15th, the day of the Lantern Festival when celebrating will be at it's peak.

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Want to see what your Chinese Zodiac Horoscope Forecast has in store for you in The Year of the Rabbit, 2011? Find out by clicking here.

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( Plum Blossoms ~ a symbol of the New Year, they signify Courage & Hope )

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( Cai Shen, God of Prosperity & Profit )

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For more details of the Chinese Zodiac, and each 'Animals' significance, this is a great link:
The Chinese Zodiac

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