In spite of my splitting headache due to either allergies or a sinus infection, Oklahoma spring is almost here and I am glad. Dingy browns from dead leaves and barren ground is being replaced with pops of color from blooming redbud trees and yellow jonquils. The days are mildly warm and with the change to daylight saving time, longer as well. A perfect excuse to get out there and enjoy life. I am ready for spring cleaning, resuming my diet and exercising more. I want to take day trips, sleep outdoors and catch fish.
Spring does come with its share of risks. Lack of winter rain and hot days are the perfect combination for wildfires and strong thunderstorms can spawn killer tornados. But Okies are resilient when it comes to nature. We pick ourselves up and start all over again.
I am concerned that our state budget is in such bad shape that our legislature will actually close down 13 of our State parks. The park system provides a wonderful way for families to enjoy the outdoors, free of charge in most cases. I can’t imagine the savings from closed parks is going to do much to solve our budget woes.
One of the things I enjoy during the spring is yard sales and the Farmer’s market. The Farmer’s market is a great way to support local business and get something good to eat in return. Yards sales are just fun. It’s like rummaging though my grandparents old sheds when I was a kid. They kept everything.
Spring doesn’t last long in Oklahoma. Soon it will turn too hot to really enjoy being outdoors. Unless you like standing in front of an oven door, because that is what it feels like on hot windy days. All the more reason to enjoy spring.
I love landscapes, although I rarely do justice to the beauty that captivates the natural eye. For this assignment, I chose several of my favorite landscape photographs to showcase, including a few that were used for previous Photo 101 themes.
My first two photos were taken last summer (August 2015) in The Badlands National Park, South Dakota. This stark area earned it’s name. The rock formations were formed from wind and rain erosion and there is little vegetation. If you ignore the greenery in the foreground, I imagine this is what the moon would look like.
On this same trip, we drove through the Colorado Rockies. The towering peaks never cease to amaze me.
As we drove down the highway, we came across a creek of melted mountain snow.
Several years ago we visited The Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. The sandstone formations are incredible.
The golden grassland of Nebraska.
Waves breaking on the shore of Galveston Bay, Texas
To recap the week, here are some photos that I took earlier today, trying out all the different techniques. Even if the subjects aren’t exactly exciting, it was fun practicing.
Establishing Shot – This is at a local cemetery (to capture the feeling of solitude). I took a long-angel photo down a line of head stones, using the ornately decorated one as the foreground focal point.
Orientation – This picture was taken at a local park. The man sitting on the picnic table was feeding one of the geese. The first picture was taken vertically, the second horizontally. I can’t choose which one I like more.
Rule of Three – The same goose from the previous photograph. I placed him in the upper third of the photo. I was actually standing behind a tree because he wasn’t too happy to have his picture taken.
The water in this photo is part of a stream system that dates back thousands of years. Native Americans once lived along these backs and used the water for drinking, bathing, and cooking. The fish that once swam between its shores feed the tribe. Many tribes lived along these shores and the names the gave this water reflects it value and importance in sustaining life: Water, Cool and Sweet; Clear Good Water; and Cool Goodwater. Today, it is called Soldier Creek, named for the White soldiers who camped along these shores while forcing the native residents to leave their homes.
My husband once told me a story about a visit from his brother Charles’ and his family . Charles lived in California and although he was born and raised in Oklahoma, he must have forgotten to tell his children that Oklahoma had obtained Statehood many years before. The cousins were genuinely surprised by the lack of teepees dotting the landscape, or stagecoaches circling the women folk in case of a raid. Too many bad Hollywood westerns may have given them the wrong impression of this beautiful state. Visiting Oklahoma is not at the top of many people’s bucket list, unless you are like my friend Michael who wants to visit so he can say he has been to all 50 states. Yet there are hidden treasures that can be found, even for long-time residents like myself. Take for instance, Medicine Park.
My husband and I first visited this quaint, cobblestoned town in the fall of 2011. And I do mean cobblestoned! Almost every building is constructed using red stones found in the nearby Wichita Mountains. Medicine Park is an old resort town, once popular among the affluent and known for its healing waters. I was struck by the rustic beauty of this quaint town.
A tree-line path hugs a stream that flows through town. Geese, ducks and large tortoises can be seen near the water’s edge. A small bridge crosses over to a diving platform, used by swimmers during the summer months. Back in the 1940’s this place bustled with activity, but that day there were few people to disturb the tranquil quiet. Who knew Southwest Oklahoma could boast of such a unique and beautiful place.
An attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are uncontrollable or chaotic. Implies a task that is extremely difficult or impossible to do, primarily due to chaotic factors.
I never gave much thought to this phrase. At least not until I actually tried to herd cats. I live with four felines that keep me on my toes. Each one of them is special in his or her own way. And in no way controllable! Over the next few blogs I would like to introduce you to my wonderful cats as I am sure they will be fodder for future blogs.
Poe, named for the poet Edgar Allen Poe, joined our family in October 2013. Black as a raven, we adopted Poe from the Human Society when he was about 8 weeks old. What made Poe stand out in the crowd was how he carried his toy in his mouth. I know this is not uncommon with some cats but I had never seen a cat do that before and I fell in love. As a kitten, Poe loved those wands with the feathers and he would vault like an acrobat to grab it. Once it was his, off he to the bedroom. I guess he wanted to make sure it was safe. If he thought I was ignoring him too much, he would bring the wand to me so we could play.
Reinette, our “little queen”, wandered to our house only a few weeks after adopting Poe. She is also black as a raven, which we thought rather odd since stray black cats were uncommon in our area. We could not find her owner so we decided she could stay. Reinette is more of an outdoor cat and not overly affectionate. She doesn’t demand much and isn’t much of a bother. Unfortunately Reinette had not been ‘fixed’ when we found her and before we could take care of her, she ended up pregnant. My daughter was thrilled but she didn’t understand that it meant we had to find homes for kittens. I think I fretted over Reinette’s pregnancy as much as my own. I kept looking for signs that she was ready. I made her a birthing bed, which she ignored. The night of the birth she didn’t show a lot of signs. It was only when I woke up to a tiny mew that I realized she was giving birth – on my bed! All you can do is sit back and be glad that she decided to let us be a part of it. Reinette gave birth to three males and a female.
We gave two away. The other two are for another day.