A Silver Lining

Slice of Life 2020: Day 20

Flowers, birds, bees, sunshine and a little spare time. That’s all it took to get us outside today. I bought a new battery for my second camera, plugged it in and off we went to see spring. Art class will be held outside!

Stepping away from our screens, we ventured across the street to a neighbor’s yard. There we saw snow drops, daffodils, camellias, and violets.

“Your shot’s a little blue,” I told my son and pointed to the white balance icon. He changed it over to sunshine, a first for this year. After he made that change, all his photos then reflected the proper golds and greens of the day.

This short outing was such a nice change of pace. There was no band, baseball, or meetings to keep our day compartmentalized, which gave us the freedom to just breathe in the fresh air outside. We didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything! That’s the silver lining to this cloud we find ourselves in right now: a second chance to slow things down and enjoy the people and life around us.

Scenes From Around Here

Slice of Life 2020: Day 18

These are a few of the scenes from around here today. We had a boy reading, a boy playing trombone and a mom at her Zoom Video Class station. I have to admit I was nervous about pulling off the virtual classroom for my ninth grade English and Creative Writing classes. We had student presentations today, which meant that documents had to go up live, a tricky endeavor for a first-timer. Then, getting everyone’s audio and video straightened out was interesting and took awhile. I had one student go to the chiropractor during class and she just kept the class going on her phone the whole time. People are isolated and just need the interaction time.

After school, I had a crick in my neck like nobody’s business! Too much screen time. But it was novel this first day!

Grateful that my own kids were pretty independent and productive. Although they were getting grumpy by the end. That’s when I decided to take my camera out for a walk to capture some of the lovely spring scenes happening in my yard.

Glad for a chance to escape in nature away from the grumps and the tech.

Extracting One Last Sip

Always striving for ways to unplug, I jumped at the chance for us to take a short “fall break” camping trip up to north Georgia at the end of September. It wasn’t very fall-like; the temps hovered near 93 most of the day and the leaves were a crispy green, struggling to hang on. Nature was past her bloom, waiting with anticipation like a paratrooper standing at the edge of an open cargo door.

“You’re almost done!” I wanted to scream as I layered on another coat of deodorant. “We’re almost done,” the weatherman had said before we left. “Cooler temperatures by the weekend.”

This was Monday.

Sweat condensed at my brow.

Somehow, two boys joined us for this trip. It was a hard sell. The creek up there was running low. The bugs were over-abundant. The humidity at 100%. Night time temperatures in the upper 60’s.

“We’ll burn a fire,” I suggested, realizing the idiocy of it as it rolled off the tongue. Eyes rolled.

“Okay. We’ll do a photo walk,” I offered next. “Bring the 80D.”

Teenagers think that carrying a big camera and lens suggests that you are actually somebody important that can take quality photos. I didn’t want to burst their bubble. Basically, when you carry a big camera, there is an expectation that you can actually take pictures. You’ve got to keep the camera equipment scaled back so you don’t let people down. “Oh!” They’ll say. “That’s nice, but his eye’s out of focus.” Or, “Great composition, but her face is blown out.”

So, to avoid all that, we bring out the big guns to practice when the crowds are far away. A North Georgia campsite would be a safe place.

Nature, on her last leg, was our first subject. Drooping flower heads and leaves riddled with holes caught our attention. Squatting down in the creek to shoot water cascading over muddy rocks cooled the buns a little.

Then, “Mom, take some sick shots of me holding the camera.” So, we did that for awhile.

The woods provided some shade and little relief from the heat. Maybe this was bearable, just slightly.

No tick bites.

One more sweaty meal at the picnic table and it was time to vacate the site.

Was this a fun trip? Kind of. It was really just a media, homework, laundry and dish washing break. Yet, being unplugged gave us pause to notice the workings of late season bees on shriveled flowers, extracting one last sip of summer. We were doing the same with cameras and a tent, capturing one more outdoor adventure. Tomorrow would be October.

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Fiddle Heads!

Slice of Life 2019: Day 19

Fiddle Heads!

Hidden beneath brown leaves

they push up as little sheathes.

Soft, orange, and hairy —

At first they look scary.

Like a fresh born baby before its bath,

or a drunk at his draught.

A closer look at the tender shoot,

as it erupts from its mother’s root,

reveals a baby fern unraveling,

uncoiling and upwardly traveling,

seedlessly toward the sky,

spindly and spry.

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