Welcome to my Magical Wonderland (6/15/2008)

Still true after all these years!!!
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It is a place where giant dragonflies keep you company as they buzz over the waters.

It is a place where the turtles say hello from the trunks of the fallen trees in the middle of the water.IMG_5226It is a place where turtles swim in the waters with most of their bodies submerged and heads above the water – where they quickly dive beneath the surface when they sense that you are looking at them.

It is a place where butterflies stay still enough that you can get close to them to take their pictures.IMG_5217It is a place where the butterflies play with your shoelaces when they think you are not looking.

It is a place where the green heron hides behind the branches of the tree that has fallen over the canal, and moves around as you approach, trying to make sure that you cannot get a clear picture of it.IMG_5230It is a place where the large great blue heron takes off overhead from a spot just near you, and you did not even realize that the bird was there.

It is the place where the startled deer swims across the canal when it notices your approach.

It is the place where the geese hiss at you when you pass them and their little ones.

It is the place where you can say hello to the folks and get a smile in response.

It is the place where canoes glide silently over the waters as the folks who are rowing chatter amongst themselves and navigate around the trees that have fallen into the waters that happen to block their way.IMG_5225It is the place where little children stagger aimlessly on their tiny feet across the trail while their guardians try get them to move in a general forward direction.

It is the place where the grand old river rushes noisily over the rocks, and where the cormorants perch on the branches of the fallen trees in the middle of the river.IMG_5210It is the place where squirrels, and bluebirds and cardinals show you the way on the trail.

It is my magical wonderland, and if I am lucky, I get to visit it for a few hours every once in a while.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

These pictures are from past Christmas vacations.  Most of them were taken along the sea shore.

 

Submitted for the weekly photo challenge.

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

Memories of a Road Taken

I am not sure that this blog fits properly into the week’s photo challenge since the description of the challenge also includes the concept of experiencing something surprising on the road.  I suppose that seeing things for the first time in far-away places that you are very not familiar with very often presents you with the unexpected and includes the element of surprise. So, hopefully, these pictures are not too far off the mark in addressing the theme in spite of my hesitation….

This is a nostalgic trip down memory lane with reminders of a visit that we made to West Africa many years ago.  During the course of that trip we made a road trip from Dalaba, Guinea, to St. Louis , Senegal, and back, with a stop along the way in Dakar.  Everything we experienced was new to us!

Even though the roads that we initially traveled on during this trip were paved, the travel experience was more suited for the adventurous because of the state of these roads and the nature of the driving.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAComing out of Labe in Guinea and on our way to Tambacounda in Senegal we found ourselves on a dirt road that stretched into the distance.  In fact the dirt road runs for over a hundred miles.  The fact that a main road connecting two countries was actually a dirt surface was astounding!   But life is tough for the people of Guinea even today.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe finally got on to a paved road closer to the border with Senegal.  (The construction of this road was funded by the Chinese government.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe highways in Senegal were for the most part in good shape.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis thunderstorm in the distance looked quite ominous.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey had some good local roads.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe encountered some older forms of travelOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand some strange advertising.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVehicles were overcrowded with people taking up every inch of space both inside and outside the vehicle.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe extent to which the vehicles were overloaded was amazing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe encountered crowded roads in the cities and towns.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe finally headed back to GuineaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand back to the dirt roads leading to Labe.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPeople live simple and very often happy lives in places like this in spite of the absence of modern development.  They tackle problems on a day to day basis and let the future take care of itself.