Darling buds of December

The buds of May are many moons away, but I have been appreciating the promise held in the buds I see on the trees and shrubs now. I am especially drawn to their little budding forms when they are encased in ice and/or dusted in snow. buds7

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Most of these were taken on various morning walks with the dog this month. (The combination of morning light and post-ice-storm sparkle can be totally mesmerizing. I’ve been caught in its particular snares before.)

late hangers-on

Some leaves just haven’t gotten the memo that it’s time to let go.

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These are the same trees I posted about 3 years ago. That year, the leaves turned bright red, before being tossed down like a red carpet overnight in a rain storm. This year, the leaves have been continuing to cling. Most are pretty shrivelled, some have lost most of their color. But in the angled morning light, I liked the way their mottled coloration looked like watercolor.

umbrellas saved for a rainy day

It’s been a rainy day, today.  I didn’t think to grab an umbrella when I was out during the day, but I dug up a few from my photo library back at home.

When you have the opportunity to travel and visit exciting locations, you generally hope for clear skies and moderate temperatures. But sometimes (especially in some parts of the world) you get rain. If you are lucky, other visitors will come equipped with colorful umbrellas to add splashes of color to liven the scene.

These were taken near(ish) and far (some very far), mostly quite a few years ago.

First are visitors to Brú na Bóinne in Ireland, the site of ancient burial mounds in 2014. (I was in Ireland for a conference in Dublin.)

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Tourists with umbrellas visiting Brú na Bóinne.

The next photo was taken in Kyoto, when I visited in 2004. The specific locale may have been Nijō Castle. This was back when I only had a pretty so-so point-and-shoot digital camera. I was happy with a lot of photos at the time, but now when I look back at them, I’m sad I wasn’t able to take better quality photos. (This one turned out okay, but a lot of the ones I otherwise like are pretty blurry and/or grainy.) (I was in Japan for  a conference in Nara.)

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Tourists with umbrellas in Kyoto,

This next one was in London in 2015, on the Millennium Bridge. (I was in the UK for a conference in Glasgow. Magically, it didn’t rain at all for the nearly 2 weeks we were in Scotland. We visited London for 2 days, and it rained both of them.)

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Tourists with umbrellas in London.

This is another one from my trip to Ireland in 2014. I believe this was in the garden of Malahide Castle.

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Visitors with umbrellas at Malahide, Ireland.

Next we a visit to Plimoth Plantation (in Plymouth, Massachusetts) in 2014. (I was in Massachusetts because I live here. And visiting Plimoth Plantation for my daughter’s school project.)

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Visitors with umbrellas at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts.

And finally, a couple of photos from Versailles, France in 2007. (I had a conference in Saarbrucken, Germany, and visited Paris afterward.)

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Tourists with umbrellas at Versailles

This is possibly my favorite of the umbrella photos, because it appears to tell a story.

 

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Woman pursued by group of umbrella-weilding tourists at Versailles.

 

late fall show

The curtains have closed on the fall production put on by the big trees, but some of the smaller ones decided to put on their own show. Whoever was in charge of wardrobe design for this production sure picked some striking color combinations. I was also impressed by the lighting, which really brought out some of the technical details of the sets and choreography. I can’t wait to see what they can pull off next season.

chocolandscapes

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I’m sure anyone who regularly eats chococolate has had the disappointing exerience of having some that was exposed to heat before you had a chance to eat it. You eagerly open the package, and find that instead of a silky smooth and evenly dark brown surface, you have a blotchy discolored mass. Even more disappointingly, the texture of the chocolate is usually a bit changed, and not for the better.

I recently had several such moments, but instead of unadulterated disappointment, my disappointment was tempered by surprise and admiration. Somehow, my chocolate had transformed itself into little canvases, with fascinating abstract landscapes.

I ate them anyhow. After taking a few photos.

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What do you see in these? In the first one (shown once cropped, and once in a hand), several people saw a winter scene.

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What else do you see? I mean, aside from chocolate?

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Somehow, I have made it to day 29 of (almost) daily blogging.

more concrete abstractions

These are a few photos of some abstract compositions that caught my eye.

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I was surprised to see that all 5 of these photos were taken in 2013, but on several different days, over 4 different months. And probably at different locations. Was my world more full of cracks in 2013? Or was it just a time when I had heightened awareness of things crumbling around me? (Because now feels like such a time.)