Aug 26, 2014

Gourds of the Artistic Kind

I usually take a walk after my evening meal.  Once the kitchen is cleaned up I take a step outside and inhale the fresh air and enjoy nature.  I like to hear the birds sing and the bugs making their evening sounds.  Now that it is nearly autumn the daylight has slowly begun to fade like a shadow creeping up the hill. Those long days made me feel alive. Before long we will be confined to our homes while we wait for spring again.  

This evening I strolled down the street of a lovely neighborhood that adjoins mine.  The houses are quaintly decorated with well kept lawns.  I often admire those large houses and try to imagine myself living in one of them.  I put my camera in a backpack and headed down the street looking for something to photograph.  Last week I noticed a beautiful gourd in the front of an eclectically put together yard.  The gourd caught my eye.  

I put my backpack down on the brick wall and began pulling my camera out.  A lady that I hadn't noticed asked me if I was collecting something.

I told her that I intended on taking a picture of the gourd hanging in the tree. She was thrilled that I liked it enough to take a picture.  She invited me into her yard so that I could get a better shot. 

She asked if I would like to see more of them.  "Of course", I said. How could I say no?  Before I knew it the brick wall was lined with the most beautifully decorated gourds I have ever seen. Did you know that it takes about 18 months to dry one of these? I learned a lot talking to this lady. 

She hand paints them. They are inspired by Native American culture.  The top fits the bottom like a puzzle and is covered with animals. I asked her if she ever sold her works of art.  Sadly, she only gives them to family and friends. She told me that she invests at least 200 hours of work into each gourd. No one will be able to pay her what they are worth. 

By the way, I have a new Canon 60D.  Needless to say, I am so happy with the results.  Who knows what the future may hold for this wannabe photographer. 

Aug 17, 2014

The Grasshopper and a needing a new camera

I was cleaning out a flower bed the other day and I noticed a grasshopper watching me.  I like insects, bugs, and especially grasshoppers.  As quickly as I could, I ran into the house to get my camera, asking the grasshopper to please stay until I returned.  He did.  I'm sure that I looked like a one-eyed monster to this tiny creature as I crept up ever so slowly to get the perfect shot.  When I was done, I told him thank you and went inside.  Isn't he lovely?  

My camera has died.  And it did so while I was in the middle of a photo shoot yesterday.  It is time to bit the bullet and get a new one. I tried to see if it could be repaired, but it is very old and the manufacturer said that the model is no longer fixable.  The thing is I didn't want to do it right now.  Things are starting to look up for me with a new job and a raise and I didn't factor a camera into my immediate plans.  But, I cannot go without being able to take pictures. It is something that I absolutely love to do.  I don't mind standing on ladders to get the perfect shot or laying on the ground either. Things look differently now.  I look at the world and all it contains and see a picture, a beautiful picture in my mind. I want to capture the essence of it. I feel driven...I want to create an infinitesimal moment of beauty so that I can leave my mark in this world, even if it is a small one.

all day long
we hear your scraping
summer song
as through
the meadow
we pass
such funny legs
such funny feet
and how we wonder
what you eat
maybe a single blink of dew
sipped from a clover leaf would do
then high in air
once more you spring
to fall in grass again
and sing.

Conrad Potter Aiken

Aug 13, 2014

Left-handed, well, not completely

Photo came from here
Did you know that about 10% of the population is left-handed? It is said that people who are left-handed are more creative, artsy, musical, perceptive, and genius. I really like the genius part. And I can believe that.  One has to be very creative in a right-handed world. I am a minority of a different kind and in ancient times we were looked down upon as inferior.   We’ve been called names like southpaw, whatever that means. At various times in history left-handedness was seen as a nasty habit, mark of the devil, a sign of neurosis, rebellion, and homosexuality.  This doesn’t sound very encouraging does it?

I never really thought much about being left handed.  But I’ve never been a complete one either. What do I mean by complete? Well, a complete lefty does everything with the hand opposite of their right.  You might say that I am dual handed.  There is a term for it, ambidextrous, and less than one percent of the population falls in this category. My father was this way too.  I must have inherited it from him. 

I have one memory as a child of having an issue with my leftyness.  During art class the teacher asked if anyone was left handed.  I quickly raised my hand and was given the “lefty” scissors.  I tried and tried to cut with them but to no avail;  it was then that I discovered when I cut things I use my right hand.  Before Kindergarten, I didn’t have much experience using scissors.  My mom was always paranoid that we would get hurt.  Therefore, we never had sharp objects around especially while playing.

I cannot sew with my left hand. If I tried to make a stitch with the left God only knows how bad it would be or where the needle would end up.  When I throw a ball the right hand is used doing that too.  I have no problems using a right-handed computer mouse or even a desk that lefty’s have such a hard time with. 

When I eat, I can use either hand depending on the cuisine.  When I eat North African or Middle Eastern food I use my right hand and the left for everything else.  Then there is the problem when a lefty goes out to dinner with friends.  I try to sit at the end of the table with my left arm on the outside so that I can move freely. There are religions/cultures that insist everyone try to be right handed.  When you eat it must with the right hand because the left hand is unclean and is used when you are doing not so nice things which make me cringe at the thought of those people who don’t use soap afterwards but water only. 

Here is where I draw the line, with writing. I am a total lefty. There is just no way of working around it. And believe me, I have tried.  I can write with my other hand and it can be read but it would take me forever and the words would be all over the page. 

I don't know whether I am right brain,left brain, or no brain. I just take life as it comes. 

To all the lefty’s out there in the world, Happy Left-Handers Day! Those of us who are ambidextrous, well, it is too hard to spell and not enough out there in the world to have our own special day.