52-Week Project {Everyday Life | 2017 | Weeks 20 ~ 21 ~ 22 ~ 23}

Hello!  We are going to call this an epic catch-up post.  Life, man!  It’s a beautiful thing, and I am absolutely reveling in how blessed and fortunate I am to be busy with a chaotic schedule.  Healthy, happy, active children; a loveable and chewtastic pup and my poor old geriatric girlie; a best friend and life partner who cherishes me more than I deserve.  Work!  Sometimes I get wrapped up in the “what I’m not getting done”s.  Does anyone else fall into that pit?  It’s an ugly place and we should abandon it.  A messy and full life is truly a thing of beauty.  Grab on to the essentials and let the rest go.  (P.S. Posting here is part of “the rest” when necessary.  I knew the risks going in and was prepared for requisite adjustments.)

So, how about some photos??  I’m not sure when this turned into a gardening series.  It won’t last forever.  I don’t think.  But for now, it’s hanging on.  Actually, one of the photos in this catch-up post will break the trend.  But I may well return to it.

~ WEEK 20 ~

For week 20, I bring you lilac buds.  Of the pre-bloomed variety because they are truly SO COOL.  So cool.

Wk20 | 52-Week Project | 2017
Photo specs: Nikon D810 | 35 mm | f 3.2 | 1/80 s | ISO 100

Have I already claimed a favorite pre-bloomed blossom?  I may have.  Well, right at this very moment, the lilacs take the cake for me.  How crazy are these little guys??  It’s so neat to watch all of these plants change by the day.  And they move quickly.  Even faster than my kids change.  Which is saying something.

~ WEEK 21 ~

So the natural progression is to share with you the {almost} fully blossomed lilac, because at the time I snapped these photos a couple of weeks ago, they were still opening up and I couldn’t find a single blossom with all of the itty bitty buds opened.  And now, of course, they’re spent casings.  If other stuff weren’t so crazy right now, that would be my next part of the series…photographing things post-bloom.  Many plants are just as cool at that stage, and some even more so.  Maybe I will incorporate that if I pursue another photo project next year.  That would be an interesting and moody angle to pursue!

Anyway, on the way to {mostly} blossomed lilac…

Wk21 | 52-Week Project | 2017
Photo specs: Nikon D810 | 35 mm | f 3.2 | 1/200 s | ISO 100

As lovely as they are, I generally enjoy these from a distance as their odoriferous nature conflicts with my pulmonary functionality.  They are so pretty, though, and my favorite color to boot!

Here is a bonus, a bit closer to fully blossomed.

Wk21-bonus | 52-Week Project | 2017
Photo specs: Nikon D810 | 35 mm | f 3.2 | 1/200 s | ISO 100

Ahhhh.  SO lovely.  And short-lived.  Here and gone in a breath.

~ WEEK 22 ~

This next one is crazy.  I’m not kidding.  Or exaggerating.  Even a little.  This is not a flower I expected any surprises from.  I’m not even sure why I bought these because I don’t really like them, truth be told.  I needed the color, but I’m a little annoyed at having them in my pretty areas.  Silly, but they’re just so basic…and I guess uninteresting to me.  Well, they were.  They are now redeemed because their pre-bloomed blossom is NUTS.

Ready?

This is a marigold.  Yep.  A marigold.  That same-old-same-old plant.  I think we all grew them in kindergarten.  I have probably killed the two my kinders brought home because that’s what I do with delicate and loved plants that come home from school.  Wait.  Youngest grew a morning glory, which we did keep alive the summer after kindergarten, but it didn’t really do much, and then by fall, it was dead.  Anyway, I digress.  A marigold.

Wk22 | 52-Week Project | 2017
Photo specs: Nikon D810 | 105 mm | f 3.3 | 1/800 s | ISO 100

Did you even know this thing looked so cool before it spills forth into its banal and actually-not-rabbit-or-deer-repelling self?  I have to say that I now have a new-found respect for this flower, and I no longer regret inviting it into my gardens for the summer.

~ WEEK 23 ~

Finally, in this catch-up post, we break away (momentarily? or not…don’t know yet!) from pre-blooms, blooms, and discussions of dead things.  And move on to … birds.  A logical progression, in some respects.  They both subsist outdoors, right?  But these are not birds that probably have much interest in flowers.  Actually, I don’t know whether that’s true or not.  I don’t know much about these birds, but I love them.  And I’m not really what I would consider a “bird person.”  I like watching hummingbirds, and birdsong is lovely mid-day, but I want to kill those mothers at 4:30 in the morning with the veritable cacophony they rain down upon my yard.  Loudness!  Backyard camping means bedtime VERY early.  Because I’m going to be awake from 4:30-6 a.m. till those birds are done calling the day awake.  Digression!

Let’s focus on a bird I do like.  The great blue heron.  This is my favorite bird, if only because it’s the one bird I would say I have some passion for.  I really like hummingbirds, but only just.

I have a few personal connections to blue herons that have probably triggered my love of this flighted giant.

Connection 1.

While I was in high school and college, my parents would rent this rustic little cabin on Cranberry Lake in the Adirondack Mountains.  I usually slept on a cot on the front porch, which faced the lake rather than the road and actually seemed like it should be called the back porch, but I’m told that’s because I’m not lake people.  Every morning around 5, I would hear the deep swoop-swoosh of a heron’s wings as it left the cove our cabin was nestled in…most likely in search of its morning meal.  It was loud but soothing at the same time, and I’d smile as I heard it leave for the day and then fall back to sleep in the silence it left behind.  (THAT is an acceptable and even enjoyable early-morning bird event.)  This occurred summer after summer after summer.  I actually can’t remember a time I slept on that porch and didn’t experience the heron’s morning exit from the cove.  It’s one of my favorite mental/aural images of an area that holds a very special place in my heart.  I credit this repeated experience as the foundation of my fascination with this animal.

Connection 2.

I worked for many years in downtown Rochester.  I parked, as pretty much anyone who works in downtown Rochester does, in a garage and trekked a short distance to my building.  Even when weather was rough, I generally loved this brief outdoor morning time.  Breathing a little fresh air is a great way to get the brain fully rolling.  Part of my trek involved crossing the Genesee River, and from the bridge on Broad Street, I would spy a lone heron down on the rocks.  It was there pretty much every day.  I looked for it as I crossed the river, and it gave me a nice glowy feeling to spot it standing stoically among the gulls, ducks, and detritus of the river.  There was something about that little slice of quiet that filled me up.  I think it pulled me to my happy place in the mountains.  Whatever it triggered, it was good.  I miss seeing that heron in the mornings.  We occasionally see them at home, but it’s a rarer event.

Connection 3.

Oh, and hubs and I attended a prom at the Blue Heron Hills Golf Course back in the day.  I can’t remember if we attended that one together or if that’s the one at which we decided we liked each other even though we were there with other people (hi Dave and Robin!).  But, that’s another connection of sorts!

Yes, a stretch.

¤¤¤

These birds are amazing.  They’re huge and graceful and use their beaks like a spear.  Can’t get much more wicked than that.  And they don’t chirp at 4:30 in the morning.  At least my Cranberry Lake heron didn’t.  They’re majestic.

Beau and I snuck a date day while the boys were at school and decided to check out Montezuma.  We weren’t sure whether it was something the kiddos would enjoy or not.  We tend to prefer get-out-and-be-in-it nature experiences, and we weren’t sure how much of this one required remaining in the car.  It was mostly by-car exploration, but there are a couple of trails and much animal eye candy, so we’ll be revisiting with them over the summer.

Anyway, there were herons everywhere we looked.  It was amazing.  We watched them stalk fish.  We watched them hunt and eat.  We watched them squabble.  We watched them glide gracefully through the quiet gray sky.  It was awesome.  Despite the remarkable experience, this is not a remarkable photo.  But it does show three herons.  And it was a shiny moment.

Wk23 | 52-Week Project | 2017
Photo specs: Nikon D810 | 105 mm | f 5 | 1/160 s | ISO 100

Thank you for your patience over the past several weeks of absence.  I do apologize.  I won’t even suggest that this neglect will not be repeated in future because I’m sure that it will.  Life is raw and real and it dictates priorities as much and often more frequently than we dictate them.  It is an ebb and flow, and I’m most successful when I allow myself to move with the current.  I wish you a beautiful week, with great hope that I will be posting again before it’s time to wish you a beautiful beginning to your summer.  Until next time!

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