Articulated

With Sunny Delight fall weather still on our horizon, my pal Ms Eileen and I decided it would be fun to grab our cameras and tromp around a pumpkin patch or two this weekend. By the time we dragged ourselves away from investigating farm machinery, though, there wasn’t enough light for my little point-and-shoot to capture field-plucked produce.

EGADS

Luckily, a quick handover of—and tutorial on—Ms E’s fancy Nikon gave me the chance to grab a few thematic shots as dusk fell.

At first, I felt a bit remorseful about my pumpkin neglect. But having spent the last few months breaking off pieces of my personality and (alleged) skill set so that I could recombine the chunks to suit a variety of needs, is it any wonder I got caught up by items redolent of some-assembly-required?

…the parts which create the whole can be precise, organic, or—especially as age takes its toll—an intriguing and rather high-maintenance mixture of both…

 

(top to bottom: The sum of an old farm truck’s parts add up to plenty of charm; A meet-and-greet lasts but moments; ferris wheel-esque farm machinery; a pumpkin-wielding Ms Eileen amongst the mums; sunlight catches the curves on farm machinery at rest; diagonal grooves wrap around a steel rod)

Declarations

“I yam what I yam,” exclaimed a certain working-class philosopher who burst onto America’s comic strip scene in the midst of the Great Depression.

Unfortunately, despite decades of post-Popeye discussion about—and laws belatedly protecting—diversity, modern life seems engineered to cheese-press individuals into a homogenized lump.

Now I’m not saying that society needs to give sociopaths or the discrimination-prone a pass on their behavior. However, I think it’s worth acknowledging that just as the demure appear to wither under the spotlight’s glare, those who are built for brashness often lose their verve when encouraged to tone things down.

Surely it makes the world less boring to have a mix of the reticent and the audacious, the earnest and the sarcastic, the what’s-your-rushers and the catalysts? After all, when allowed to stay true to themselves, each type does a fairly impressive job of co-existing with the other.

…there’s no denying that on many occasions a whisper’s as good as a shout—but for me the bold and the beautiful have a rather contagious exuberance…

(top to bottom: The tools of the tap beautify an Oregon brewpub; proceed-at-your-own-risk construction icons warn passerby in Venice (Italy); San Diego signals that in California, the car isn’t always king; #11 proudly declares itself a Columbia River Gorge landmark; anatomically inclined petals at the Vancouver (WA) Farmer’s Market)

Snazzy

Recently, I ended up less relaxed after a semi-vacation than I was before I left. It’s sure great to have such a knack for doing things ass-backwards!

Revised goals: stop wringing myself out like an old dishrag over things I can’t control, adopt a zoot suit swagger, and give self-doubt the stink eye.

Let’s say I get to cross everything off my list—now wouldn’t that be a gas?

…when feeling ho-hum, it’s relatively simple to get inspired by those who bring a little devil-may-care flair to less outspoken environments…

(top to bottom: Making a statement in Santa Rosa’s only historic ethnic/working class neighborhood; street-side chess in Sebastopol; dusk brings sexy swirls to a low-key Santa Rosa street; in Northern California, a homeowner’s glowing peaches brighten a sidewalk stroll; a gorgeous 40’s era Buick 8 convertible finds a shady spot to view Sonoma Plaza Park)

Embossed

I can’t help but respect those who keep their internal sandbags filled no matter how grueling their life experiences. Especially since there’s no denying I could benefit from exhibiting greater resilience when events fall with a thud on the less-than-stellar side of the line.

Despite my admiration, however, it’s harder for me to connect with people who simply close the door on disappointments, hardships, and catastrophes before marching onward toward the light.

Instead, I prefer those who’ve found a way to both integrate and acknowledge their sorrows and setbacks. While it’s more and more common for our bodies and souls to undergo challenges, I’m unequivocally drawn to that tiny federation who finds neither shame nor joy in displaying the scars of their misfortunes.

…it’s tempting to grind down the telltalle marks of life’s struggles to mere etchings, but I can’t help but see the benefits in bearing witness to unhappiness, frustration, and trauma…

(top to bottom: Directional in San Francisco; meditative at California’s Boomer Beach; inspirational in rural Oregon; educational on Hawaii’s garden isle)

Germination

After two weeks of rain and pollen overload, my adopted state and I aren’t really on speaking terms. I’ve tried hard to be on Team Suck It Up, but there are only so many times one can say, “Wow, the grey skies sure make the lush greenery look even greener!” without wanting to beat one’s (congested, throbbing) head against a damp wall.

It’s a true statement, though.

Which is why, when the skies stayed intact for a bit, I ventured off to see what was going on with our deservedly lauded landscape. Funny how I’m finally immune to charming rakes, but it doesn’t take much for the Pacific Northwest to re-seduce me.

…since Oregon rains have a way of encouraging growth and rooting people’s dreams in fertile soil, maybe I should stop constructing an ark and instead go with the proverbial flow…

(top to bottom: Terracotta plant people relax at the Oregon Garden; PNW conifers tipped with new growth; Flat roofs + Oregon rain? Frank Lloyd Wright’s Gordon House may be on its second life, but it’s still going strong; peonies fresh from an Oregon field; at the Oregon Garden, pollinating mason bees work for their room and board)

PSA: Take a virtual tour of The Gordon House—Frank Lloyd Wright’s only Oregon building—and learn how moving it from one part of the state to another let it escape destruction