Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flower Games

I got a new lens last weekend. A 50mm 1.4. It is now my most favourite lens, and I think the flowers liked it too. I wandered funky neighbourhoods with old colourful houses, and saw many interesting things, but it was the flowers that charmed me this day.

They seemed a bit reckless as they were trying to escape their confining yards. Reaching over fences, sneaking out between the openings, stretching out their limbs as though they were challenging each other to a contest to see who could reach out to the sidewalk the farthest.

A flower riot. That is what it was. Quiet but colourful chaos.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An Open Window

There is an old abandoned shed near my house that I have been watching for quite some time now. I noticed that the house on the property seemed to be vacant, and one day as I was passing by, I saw a man doing some work on an old car there. I approached him and asked if I could come and take some pictures of the crumbling shed. He told me to come soon because the house and surrounding structures were about to be demolished to make way for a new subdivision. The elderly couple that had lived in the house recently passed away, and he was there to take care of the remaining odds and ends.

So I waited some more. I'm not sure why. I think that even though I received a warm welcome to enter the property, some part of me still felt as though I was trespassing. And each day, as I passed by, I felt as though I was going to lose something if I didn't get in there. So, on an overcast afternoon, shyly aware that the neighbours might be eyeing me suspiciously, I gathered up my gear and my courage and went in.

This place was nothing short of fascinating. The roof has completely caved in on one side, and as I peered through the open window, I could see piles of wood and old junk, shelves with old canning jars, and one lonely light bulb hanging from a wire in the center. I wonder what it was used for? I suspect this elderly couple had grandchildren, as there was a rocking horse painted on one outside wall. Maybe the jars were placed there by a little girl playing house, once upon a time.

My favourite though, was the outside. The weathered walls were covered in green....moss and ivy. The paint was peeling and wearing away. And the window...oh, I gasped when I saw the window. It too was blanketed in green, with mossy cobwebs and the most beautiful rusty spiral latch.

I think a lot of love went into creating this place some time ago. And over the years, sadly, it could not be taken care of. A reminder to me that nothing is permanent. That change comes in with the wind, whether we like it or not. And although I am someone who struggles with change, this little shed with its whimsical window latches inspired me to make a change to my blog. And that is why I used it for my header. A window, open and accepting of the natural laws of change and renewal.

And it isn't just the look of my blog that is evolving. My new website is now online. Take a visit and be sure to check out the *paws and whiskers* gallery. I discovered a new love for taking pictures of people's pets!
The look of The Four is also transforming into something beautiful and new. We have moved away from the square picture format, so that we can be more free to express ourselves creatively in other ways. This past post was breathtaking.

I will be sad when they tear down that old shed and build some generic cookie cutter houses in that beautiful space. But I am so glad I wandered in, and was able to absorb a bit of the story of that place before it is lost forever. It was loved in its time. And I will always love the images I captured on that wistful melancholy day.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

To Be a Grasshopper

I've been a tree hugger since an early age. My backyard was a forest of pine... old stumps became kitchen sinks, chunks of moss made a velvety carpet under my toes, and blankets and dolls were dragged across the crumbly forest floor as I set up house amongst the towering turrets.

If I wasn't in the trees, I was edging the pond, capturing tadpoles to bring home as pets, anxious to see if tiny legs would sprout and fish would turn to frog.

Oh, and the caterpillars and ladybugs. How I adored these creatures...feeling so protective as I gave them new jar homes and fed them grass and clover...even if the caterpillars never morphed into butterflies before I set them free and the ladybugs eventually flew away...I enjoyed their short stay, and hoped that they appreciated my hospitality.

How comforting it is to know that even now, as a big kid, I can still plant myself in the middle of a meadow and be consumed with my simple surroundings for an hour or more and not realise how much time has passed. My toys might be more expensive, as camera lenses and tripods have replaced Cabbage Patch dolls and plastic dishes. But the time spend in nature, the fueling of the imagination, and the simple bliss of an uncomplicated afternoon makes me feel like a child again.