Sunrise Sunset

It is a cold morning here in Gaithersburg, with the wind and the sub-zero temperatures making me glad to be indoors.  But I am beginning to feel warmer already.  I leave today to the land of my birth, to the place of my childhood.  It is a trip that I used to make more often. It is a trip that has been delayed this time more than it should have.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I step out of the airport in Chennai I will once again absorb the feelings of being in a familiar place.  But I also wonder how much the place has changed since I last visited.  Will I still experience the familiar chaos, noises and smells?  I wonder how much people have changed since I last saw them.  People grow older, and perhaps wiser, and sometimes more frail.   I wonder how much I have changed.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Evanescent

ev·a·nes·cent [evəˈnes(ə)nt]
adjective

  1. Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

In an expanded spirit of the theme, I have picked some pictures that may fit the theme in more ways than one.  These are all old pictures.  The situations that some of them represent can never be repeated.  Some of the others took place just because I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and this happened by chance, and it may never happen again.  They all have to do with memories.

The pictures below were taken in 2005 and 2006 respectively.  One had to be there at the right time of the year, at the right moment in time of the day, and on a day with the right conditions, to be able to see these.  The conditions along the C&O canal where these pictures were taken have also changed since the time I took them, so that these conditions may never be duplicated.  It was an evanescent moment in time that one could have said was a figment of my imagination if I did not have the pictures to show.100b1052100_3112The following picture is from 2009.  It was humid on that particular morning, and this caused the mist to rise from the railing on the bridge at Broad Run Trunk on the towpath.  I had never seen this before, and perhaps I will never see it again.  I just happened to be there at the right time.IMG_0616And then there is this series of pictures taken in 2009 of the train that appears out of the mist on a cool morning and then quickly vanishes from sight, as if it had never been there in the first place.  Nobody else was there to see it.  It was like that tree falling in the woods.  It was an evanescent experience that is only remembered today because of the pictures.IMG_0640IMG_0642IMG_0644IMG_0645The following picture is from 2005.   The broken-down building below used to be the Pennyfield Inn, and it used to be next to Pennyfield Lock. The building was built in 1879 and was finally demolished in 2009.  It is now replaced with an open space that feels like it has always been there.   (The building actually has an historical context in that President Grover Cleveland used to stay here during his fishing expeditions to this area.) The Pennyfield Inn is now just a memory.  It existed for only a fleeting moment in time in the grand scale of history, and now has disappeared. 100_0919This picture from 2005 illustrates the evanescence of the life experience.  One of the kids in this picture has just finished high school, the second is in college, and we just celebrated the college graduation of the third.   The circumstances of the old picture below are now but a distant memory.100_0344Here are other submissions to the challenge.

 

The Graduate

We had to first find her in the crowd.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere she is with her childhood friends.  The three of them have known each other since their elementary school days.  They all ended up getting their undergraduate degrees at the same time from the same university.  They are moving on together but in different directions.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe received at least one very thoughtful gift to prepare her well for the next stage of her journey.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell done, girl!  Many more exciting adventures in life await you.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Weekly Photo Challenge: Atop

As a family that likes to spend time outdoors walking and hiking in the midst of nature, we frequently find ourselves atop different natural formations during many of our outings.  Here are some pictures taken during a  vacation in Scotland.  This first shot is atop a small hillock in Pentland Hills, just outside of Edinburgh.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This cow was observing us from atop another of the hills in the park.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA climb up yet another of the hillsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfound us atop a peak with a cairn.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe following picture is of us atop Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of us feel the urge to explore any and all random hilltops that appear within our field of view. So it was that, while we were at Hushinish in the Outer Hebrides, and in the midst of gale force winds and pouring rain, the kids clambered atop a hillock that we sighted in the distance in order to see what lay beyond.  (Can you see them in the picture below?) The effort awarded them an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean through the storm.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd this was the view of the North Sea from atop a cliff near the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse at the northern tip of the Outer Hebrides.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe climbed a hill behind the town of Ullapool on the western coast of mainland Scotland.  It was a long way to the top.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe got a view of Loch Achall (which had been hidden from view so far) from atop the hill.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a picture of Loch Broom and the town of Ullapool from the hilltop.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe picture below includes The Minch, the strait that separates the mainland from the Outer Herbrides.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, here is a picture of us atop a cliff at Durness, along the northern coast of mainland Scotland.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is almost always a thrill when one looks out over the distance from atop natural formations.

Pictures From a Vacation

Our extended family gathers quite regularly during Christmastime.  It does not matter where we meet or what we end up doing.   It only matters that we are there to spend time with each other – to renew, reconnect, share, and support each other every day from sunrise to sunset, and beyond. We take pleasure in simple activities and in celebrating milestones.  There is rejuvenation, comfort, and joy and laughter, in activities that tend to repeat themselves every year. We celebrate the young ones in all age groups. Over the years some have grown up into young responsible adults who are discovering the world on their own, while others are in the process of coming into their own.  The numbers increase and the process continues to amaze and never become stale.  Our gathering is a celebration of existence, of life, and of simply being there.  Here are some pictures from this year’s gathering.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYBODY!