In Search of a Story

My blogs have had the tagline of “Anything Goes” since the beginning, which could indicate either an aimless drift in a random direction, or, if you want to be kind, some sort of attempt on my part to include all of my disconnected interests in my postings.  You decide!  But one of the things that I hope you do discover in the blogs is that some of them tell stories of some kind or the other, be it that of the tree that grows in the woods, or something as silly as talking about the experience of consuming a bowl of cereal, or perhaps something else that takes my fancy at some particular moment in time. With this kind of a mindset, my response the topic of this week’s challenge comes somewhat easily.

My story for the day touches upon the “bomb cyclone“, a term that I had not heard of until very recently.  As I understand it, a bomb cyclone weather phenomenon is characterized by a rapid and large drop in barometric pressure, which leads to extreme wind speeds that can cause a lot of damage.   It leads to the story, in pictures, of last weekend’s walk along the C&O canal. This particular outing happened to take place after a bomb cyclone had passed through the region.

It was a sunny morning on the trail as we set out on our walk.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe encountered quite a few fallen branches on the trail due to the aftereffects of the storm, and, being good citizens, we spent a significant bit of our time cleaning up the trail for those who were going to come after us.  (We were not about to break any speed records that day.)  And then there were the sections where we could do little to help, sections that would require professional equipment for cleanup.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe did encounter cyclists who must have had to carry their bikes over fallen trees.

We did make it to our destination close to the mile 31 marker where Edwards FerryOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand lock 25 are locatedOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbefore turning back to return to our starting point.

The story would not be complete without a picture of the bald eagle that we encountered,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand a picture of the chopped up pieces of a fallen tree that we saw beside the trail, a little too late for Valentine’s  day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We did about 7 1/2 miles of walking that morning.  That is my story and I am sticking to it! 🙂


Out Of This World

This week’s photo challenge proved to be somewhat thought provoking for me.  I was not sure exactly how to approach it.  In the simplest sense, one is almost always trying to take outdoor pictures that are noteworthy and perhaps “out of the world”.  In another sense, one also tries to capture outdoor images with the camera that are unusual, and that may seem out of this world.  But nothing is really out of this world in the real sense, is it? How often does one take pictures out of this world? Does this picture of the moon and Venus qualify?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Looking through my archives, I realize that I have already posted a bunch of pictures in my blogs that could fit this theme – pictures of the skies and the earth that seem like they are not of this planet.  Here is one that might not have appeared before.  This was taken in the area of the Smoky Mountains. The planet is on fire in the morning light.  The town of Gatlinburg lies below us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All in all, it was tough figuring out what tack to take for this week’s challenge.   In the end I decided to go with pictures that could be considered out of this world to some people, but may be more commonplace to others in their own circumstances.  Here goes.

This is the fruit of Queen Anne’s Lace.  This wild plant is quite widespread close to where we live, but I am pretty sure it would seem to be something out of this world for some of the natives.IMG_2023I wonder how many people have taken the time to notice something as simple as what is seen in the picture below.  Even the simple things can seem out of this world once you open your eyes, and perhaps your imagination.IMG_9624And then there are things that could seem exotic to some of us but are not so unusual in other places.  I have already forgotten which part of the world this flower is originally from.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWould something like this, a mud pool, be considered out of this world?  You can see them in New Zealand.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom this perspective it might be difficult to recognize that the picture below is that of the face of a snapping turtle.  Look at the eyes.  Isn’t this out of this world?  We actually came across this creature in the park not far from home.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bang On The Drums All Day

I have one of these childhood memories that I am not quite so sure about these days.  It could be a figment of my imagination.

As a kid, for some reason on the other, I had a fascination with music played by bands.   I must have been in either elementary school or middle school when I recruited my brother and sister for a session of playacting where we pretended to be members of a band.  We had no instruments and had to make the sound of the instruments through other means.  In the case of the guitar, it mean pretending to be strumming a guitar while making guitar-like sound with the mouth.  I think we had a fake trumpet also.  But the centerpiece of this fake performance was a piece of borrowed furniture that played the part of a piece in the fake drum-set.  I think it is called a pouf, or maybe an ottoman, in the western world.  It looked like a beanbag but was better designed to keep its shape.     It was covered with stronger material than on a beanbag, perhaps leather based, and stuffed with material that allowed it to better maintain its shape when sat on.  It was quite tightly packed, and one could bang on it with a stick and produce a deep sound.

The siblings were assigned their roles in the faux band, and off we went.  I think this “tribute to music of the west” only happened a couple of times, and it only lasted  a couple of minutes or so when it happened.

But I was reminded of this when I listened to some big band music recently. Perhaps it was music like this that was my inspiration as a kid, but I cannot be sure.

Faces In The Crowds

Places in India, especially in the cities, tend to become very crowded during the daytime.  We live in one such location in Chennai.   You can see a few  pictures illustrating the street scene in this older blog that I posted a while back.  I used to go up to the terrace of our house and look down on the activity in the street.  There were the pedestrians and the numerous two-wheelers – cycles, scooters and motorbikes, and then there were the heavier four-wheelers, be it the cars, the trucks, or the buses.  It could be chaos as they all jockeyed to occupy the same space.  I saw this person on a motorbike at one point at the corner of the street.  There was something about his face that got my attention.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a second picture I am submitting for the weekly challenge.  Because of the effort level involved, our group tended to get separated as we were climbing Vidhyagiri hill in Shravanabelagola in Karnataka.  As illustrated in the picture below, we tended to get surrounded by other groups and sometimes become just another face in the crowd.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Thin Line Between Belief and Reality

The body is running on reserves.  The breathing happens in fits and starts, but it is strong when it happens. There is a determined rising of the chest.  There is no struggle.  There has been very little movement in the rest of the body for some time, but his right foot moved when I was least expecting it.  I keep a steady eye on him.  I believe he is listening when I speak.

I ask him to move his foot if he can hear me, and there is a clear movement of the foot.  As I am departing I wish him my final goodbye.  I tell him that all is good and that there is no need to worry.  He has our best wishes for the rest of his trip.  He is more than half way there at this point.  I see see his face crinkle up for an instant.  I am pretty sure I did not imagine it.  It must have taken a lot of effort.  He must have heard me.

Farewell Uncle.


Waiting For The Inevitable

The machine feeding air through little tubes into both nostrils (tubes so small, they seem so inadequate) plays the rhythm of a regular beat in the background.  It’s repetitive sound is like that of the bellows of a pump, and it sounds like it is coming from far off in the distance, from outside the room.

Eyes are closed, and he is seemingly at peace, who knows what if anything is going through his mind.  Can he hear the voices speaking to him?  Give us a sign, a smile.  I know we are being selfish.

There is the silent scream as pain wracks the body while I watch. It is visible only in the eyes.

And then it is back to a to a deep, deep, sleep that nothing, not even my melodious (maybe only to me :-)) voice, can disturb – must be the effect of the pain medications.

Death hovers in the background, waiting patiently as the body slowly consumes its reserves of energy, waiting for the inevitable.

May it be a peaceful one.