Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sun & Moon...

It has been stormy here on the marsh. For the past few weeks we have had constant predictions of possible scattered thunder showers. The best way to describe weather here in Savannah is 'unpredictable' my opinion, the weather peoples' forecasts of a 40-50% chance of rain are their way of covering their butts. They don't know for sure what the elements are going to do, so they put a blanket forecast out and leave it at that.

Since moving to Savannah roughly 5 years ago, I have been able to catch a couple of storm fronts rolling out over the marshes. The storm fronts here look like puffy grey blankets being spread over the Georgia coast and pulled out to sea. Breathtaking to witness in person. Yesterday evening the radar on the Weatherscan Channel showed an amorphous green blob of 'storm' heading our way, an angry nucleus of red and yellow at its center. I grabbed the camera and headed to the spot I photograph the most here on "my" marsh. The two photos above and below are of what I saw. So beautiful. A fairly strong cooling breeze added to the scene, the scent of rain swirling around me.

The photographs in this post stretch over the days of this past weekend, beginning with Friday, the day of the Summer Solstice. The day was long as the solstice always is. The tide was also quite high. One of my regular photo subjects is the dock remains by me. I used them to show just how out of the norm the water height was, the grounding posts being completely submerged up to what was once the platform of the dock. The marsh grasses, which are usually quite visible, were also hidden by the high waters. The only hint of their existence is the dry detritus from the grass floating on the waters' surface.

I threw this picture in, not because it has any real relation to the Sun, the Moon, and the tides, but because I like it. I took it on the day of the high tide, so I'll use that as its purpose here. Glenn found it under the confederate jasmine growing over the door of the screened in porch. A nicely fashioned nest by a fastidious bird...either the nest was found before they officially moved in, or the nests purpose had been served.

The main area where the high tide was extremely evident was the tidal creek. The "tidal creek" exists for the tides. When the tide is out, it's a bed of very wet mud that reeds like to grow in, and herons like to feed in. When the tides are in, it takes on the vibe of a wild and marshy pond ( the "creek" has one outlet).

An every day high tide June 21st's was not. The waters reached beyond the the wide line of reeds and cat tails to the bottom of the bank slope. Low hanging tree branches on the far side of the creek were dipping below the surface.

In addition to the dock being a clear indicator of just how high the tide was, the tree in the picture below (indicated by the yellow arrow) also proved that it was deeper than usual. That tree is on a raised section of the bank that normally juts out over the lower water. The tree and its exposed root system, plus the bit of raised ground, are usually several inches above water.

This view of the tidal creek, looking down its length toward the end leading to the marsh, confirmed how much I wish the tidal creek always had water in it. It really is beautiful out there during the more watery times. When I first walked out our back door to start my stroll, there were two of my neighbors (a father and daughter) from farther up the creek. They were both standing on a surf board using long poles to punt along. The father had a passenger on his board, a brave wiener dog (dachsund) who was riding on the end of the surf board like a figurehead on a ship. Cute.

The Sun had its day, and Friday brought the Moon's day. A Full Moon in the sign of Capricorn. A "Super Moon", no less. The moon's position has great effect on the tides, and this moon was in extreme perigee. It was in its closest proximity to the earth. Big and beautiful. As I left work it was encircled by clouds...I love photographing a Full Moon that is accompanied by clouds. When I got home, the clouds had dissipated, so I plan B'd it. I used the trees as a frame. I got some interesting shots that I'm happy with, but I wish the size of it to the naked eye were more apparent in my shots.  Oh well...I would have a second chance on the following night of the 23rd...

This night I lucked out and got the cloud cover missing from the previous night's pictures. I always say that I look forward to being able to get a camera that photographs the moon better. One that shows it more in its true form, and also captures the stars. To photograph night's blanket, and show its true beauty.

For all of this camera's shortcomings in the night photography department, I do like the pictures I get. There is something ethereal about them. Abstract, even. There are some images that appear to show the celestial satellite's aura...if the moon has an aura.

This ends my chronicle of this past weekend in pictures. On to July, and its Aquarius Full Moon.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice...2013...

(Jimmy Cagney as "Nick Bottom", and Anita Louise as "Titania, Queen of the Fairies", in the 1935 production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by: William Shakespeare)

Today is the Summer Solstice, and I am happy to say that our temperatures here are a tad cooler. At least the breeze gracing us with its presence is. People all over the globe are celebrating...some the Summer Solstice, and some the Winter Solstice. Those of us who live north of the equator are officially entering what is typically the hottest season of the year.
(Celtic Knotwork Sun; By: Kristen Fox)
The word 'Solstice' comes from the latin word 'solstitium'..."sol" meaning "sun", and "stitium" meaning "stand" or "stand still". Today is the longest day of the year as the sun reaches its zenith, or the highest/farthest point in the sky which gives it the appearance of 'standing still'. (On the flip-side of things, in a couple of days on the 23rd we will see the Full Moon up close and personal as it will be in its closest position to looking forward to that...I dig the Moon.)
(The Oak King & The Holly King; Artist: Anne Stokes)
There is a story in pagan lore of the Oak King and the Holly King, 'oak' representing the dark half of the year, and 'holly' the light. The Summer Solstice (Litha) marks the battle that declares the Holly King the victor, and the light half of the year begins. Then the second battle of the year will happen on the Winter Solstice (Yule), when the Oak King will be victor, and the dark half of the year will begin. Both Kings seemingly at odds with one another, but two halves of a whole. As I type this, either the battle rages or it has been won...let there be light...
(A decorated Swedish Midsummer Pole)
People all over the northern hemisphere are celebrating in many different ways. Whether you are having a barbecue and hanging out by the pool; dancing around a Midsummer Pole (like they do in Sweden); celebrating the Sun's power over darkness by building a bonfire; or if you were one of the many who greeted the rising Sun at Stonehenge...wishing everyone a happy Solstice!

(A Summer Solstice gathering at Stonehenge)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day...2013...

(My dad with me, and my brother Mike...was taken on the patio of an old farm house we lived in at the time.
I have a post about that house: )
‘Tis Father’s Day today. Time to give props to dads everywhere. It’s the wee hours of Sunday morning, so the day has just begun. Since I have to work later in the day I figured I would take a moment to make mention of my dad. If I wait until I get home, the day might get away from me.

Jerry Patrick Brown was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. Although he has lived in Los Angeles, California, for many years, he has always been a southerner at heart and holds the people and this part of the country dear. He is a creative soul with a great sense of humor, and a talent for writing. Some of my early memories are of when he co-owned a commercial production company in Atlanta, Georgia, award winning Provence Productions. (On a side note, I was actually in a commercial in my youth. I want to say that I was around 6 (?)…I still thought boys were yucky, so I know I was pretty young. It was for Sears Winnie the Pooh children’s clothes. The spot was shot at the Atlanta Zoo, and I had to hold hands with a boy. EW! *grin*)
I’m trying to Reader’s Digest things a bit, so I’m going to fast forward a little to his move across the country to L.A. A very talented writer, he entered into the entertainment industry where he wrote episodes for a number of television shows. He also holds the credits of Story Editor, Creative Consultant, Producer, Co-Executive Producer, and Head Writer. (Another side note: I have a piece I wrote that I had been adapting into pilot form for TV a number of years back, and I asked him to give me some notes. It was my first stab at writing a teleplay. A very different animal from book writing. He read it, and we sat down at the kitchen table to go through it. These were the first words I heard, “Page one.”  ~ I suppose I might hear crickets from some who read this…a writer would get it, and trust me…it’s funny. It might not have been at that moment, but now I can laugh. *grin*)

(My dad, and mom, c. 1966)
I ended up with two creative parents. My mother was an artistic soul, her interests and talents leaning toward the abstract. My dad is also artistic (I do look at writing as an art form), his talents centered on the written word. I got creative genes from both.
Writing has always been something that I have enjoyed, and over the years I have cultivated my talent. However, my leanings are more toward book writing than teleplays. I was involved with a theater company, “The Company of Angels”, for several years and during that time I produced and directed. I also became a produced playwright for my play, “Rednecks & UFOs”. I remember my dad coming to see “Rednecks”, and watched him laugh the whole way through (it is a comedy if the title didn’t clue you in…). I was proud that he enjoyed it since his genes were involved in its creation. (One more side note: I remember the very first cast read-through of "Rednecks". The room was filled with laughter. When we stepped outside for a smoke at the act break, almost all of the actors (most of which accepted their roles as they were friends of mine) didn't get the jokes until the read through. They said that reading it out loud with all of the actors together brought the humor out. I was kind of surprised.  I knew it was funny...I wrote the damn thing. *HAH*)

I have been told often over the years that I am like my dad in many ways, and no better compliment could be paid to me. My parents divorced when I was quite young, and I lived with my mother most of the time. I would see my dad mostly on the ‘every other weekend’ bit that a lot of kids of divorced parents do. It wasn’t until I moved to California myself that I really got to spend time with him, and in some ways really get to know him. That move was at least twenty years ago. (My how time flies.) Now I am back in the south having moved to Savannah, Georgia, almost five years ago. In some ways it doesn’t feel that long, but in terms of seeing my dad it feels a lot longer. Hopefully I’ll get to change that in the not too distant future.

From the hot and humid marsh, “Happy Father’s Day, dad!”

Oh, and before I forget, “Happy Father’s Day” to my brother, Mike. J
Last, I'm adding another post link about my dads time on "Hercules". It also has a bitter sweet angle as it's also about an actor on the show, Kevin Smith, and his tragic passing.:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ah, The Humidity...

This year’s Summer Solstice is near, Summer making its presence known even as I type this. We have been having some heavy thunderstorms as of late, but no real cooling has been involved. Step outside, and you’ll be plunged into the sticky and humid heat of the south. No use in trying to shake it when going back indoors…it stays with you. And mosquitoes and sand gnats are both added bonuses (and, yes…I am being sarcastic). Living on the marsh has its annoyances, but it’s worth it to just tough them out. Especially during the evenings in that window of time when day is giving way to night. The period of dusk when neighbors withdraw into their homes for dinner, the news, or conversation about the day’s events. Day is hanging on by a thread, and the peaceful sound of crickets, cicadas, and pond frogs provide a calming soundtrack to a stroll. My favorite time of day.

After I clocked out of work today, I made the usual drive home. As I crossed a bridge spanning the Savannah River, I glanced at the numbers on my dashboard that show whatever the outside temperature happens to be. 100 degrees. Yipes! The hot and sticky coastal south….and it’s far from over folks. Although summer is here in many ways, it officially begins at the Solstice on the 21st. Then it will be several unbearably hot months until my favorite season of the year. The cooler (and moodier…no wonder I relate to it so much) autumn. Here’s hoping summer doesn’t over stay its welcome…
Over the last couple of weeks we had rain in the forecast on a daily basis. Scattered thunderstorms mostly. The radar revealed patchy clumps of green moving up from Florida, bits of stormy flotsam from the tropical storm hitting down there. I stayed hopeful, rainstorms being my Jell-O…there’s always room. Plus, we can use it here. It was Monday that we had the last batch of threats for rain. The sun was supposed to peek out for a bit during mid-day, but things were supposed to get rather grey and foreboding into the afternoon. The sun seemed intent on staying its course, beating down from on high. My sense of hope waned a bit when rather suddenly the sun was blotted out by the moody grey of storm clouds. I made it outside for two strolls that day. One under the blazing sun, the other under a muted grumbling sky. Got some nice photos of both. Since then it has been nothing but brain baking sun, and I am more than over it now. Our local weather gal says there is a chance for scattered storms tomorrow…I’ll believe it when I see it…
In an effort to do some sort of homey beautification on the front porch here, I added a new door mat, and a plant. Yes, ‘a’ plant. I have tried a bit of flower pot gardening during the five or so years I have been back in Georgia, and ended up with a bunch of dead plants. It hurt my pride as I have always had a bit of a green thumb. I will concede that my green appendage days were when I lived in the dry heat of southern California. The thick and humid conditions here, coupled with the shaded porch conditions, have squashed any real plant therapy for me. Tending plants is extremely therapeutic. I miss it…

(Top: the sunflower door mat I got from work; Bottom: the caladium I planted)
Anyway, I did some Googling about good plants for areas that receive very little sunlight. Most of the plants on the lists I found are rather…well, for lack of a better word, ‘tacky’. They were just too common. Plants one usually sees in commercial areas. Around parking areas in front of office buildings. The last plant I found was a keeper. A caladium. With strangely textured leaves shaped much like a garden trowel, it looks rather fake. It reminds me of fauna one might have found in prehistoric times. It doesn’t flower, but it is strangely beautiful. It seems to like its new home, so I seem to have chosen wisely.
Off the screened in porch in back which overlooks the tidal creek, there are a couple of hydrangea bushes that the previous owners planted. This past season they were pruned back by the grounds crew (they needed it desperately), and though they haven’t grown out much, they have bloomed quite a lot. Big balls of blue and pink. Really pretty. The confederate jasmine that domes the screened door bloomed a month or so ago, but the small white star shaped flowers are now brown. When it was in full bloom it had a really lovely strong aroma. I would prop the door from the kitchen onto the porch open, and the wisteria-like scent would waft in. It was nice.

(Not my Orb Weaver, but one very similar...I dig the abstract art of the shell)
I did encounter another sign of summer’s return day before yesterday as I left for work. As I always do, I closed the front door and started down the sidewalk off the porch that leads to the parking area. As I passed the Magnolia tree to the right of me, I felt something stringy across my face. I had walked into a spider’s web. Specifically the web of an Orb Weaver. I love those little brightly colored and spiny creatures. They tend to weave wide webs across open spaces so as to catch flying insects. I managed to back out of it before I completely destroyed all of its hard work. I could see the connecting strands in the sun’s rays, so I found a way to maneuver around it. It was gone when I got home, but a new one was back the next day. Fascinating that something so small can create something so large and expansive in such a short time.
What to say about work? Work is just that. Retail work doubly so. I could launch into a massive colorfully worded rant about the retail game, but why sully my pleasant update? I’ll finish off this work mention with “it’s my job, not my life”.  Moving right along…

There’s an old saying: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I say, “When life hands you lemons, toss them back and demand grapes!” I want to make wine! Next week I have three days off in a row. I feel two ways about that. I wish I had a few more hours at work (the tax man wants his due), but I am looking forward to the free creative time. I have a few projects that have been waiting in the wings far too long. There are others kicking around the corridors of my brain, but I am determined to complete what I already have lined up before introducing anything else to the list. (Knocking wood)

I best sign off for this installment. I have another list of blog posts to add, this being the first of a few that will most likely be done over the coming weekend. More musings, a review or two, etc…