Month: March 2009

The real meaning of “Long-Term Planning”….

While sitting here awaiting the arrival of the first Monarch Butterfly and Ruby-Throated Hummingbird I decided it was time to seriously address some of those more somber matters one has some responsibility of addressing at some point in their life. That is especially so if you end up at some point without a spouse. In my particular case with no children, it is even more critical that I address the issue. Admittedly, I have procrastinated long enough.

So for the past two weeks I have been working on my Living Will, Power of Attorney and my Last Will and Testament. I have also been talking with a few funeral homes comparing the costs of my burial and working on pre-arrangement plans along with taking care of getting a headstone for my grave.

My grandfather bought a family plot in one of Little Rock’s older cemeteries back in the 1940’s so deciding on a cemetery and purchasing a plot is the one thing I did not have to be concerned with.

I suppose when you live alone the biggest challenge when dealing with this subject is organizing your important documents and associated materials in such a manner that someone knows where they all are and can make heads or tails of them at that time and not find themselves mired in a living nightmare which could certainly be the case. Doing that along with an extensive details on how your household is run and maintained is extremely important and time consuming, especially if you become incapacitated at some point and are not able to take care of yourself. Not a fun project but certainly one that has to be done.

Hopefully all this will be finalized over the next week or so and then to paraphrase a very famous quote from the very popular movie “The Shawshank Redemption”……

“It will then be time to get on with living or get on with dying!”

Just thought I’d post a brief note to address my blogging hiatus. Oh, I even did a “draft post” to be posted when I do meet my demise which will be posted by one of my sisters. How cool is that!!

Hummingbird Watch Alert….

Edie’s Humming Birds - 03

According to the hummingbird website I frequent which tracks hummingbird migration, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird has been spotted by several individuals in locations around central Arkansas. So within a few hours of learning this latest information I have the hummingbird feeder up and ready for business.

I’ll have to keep one eye trained on the feeder activities now until I see my first visitor of the season. Especially look forward to their activity this year and have high hopes of getting some good photographs during the summer months.

Edie’s Humming Birds - 05

The photos featured in this post are from several I took at my sister’s house a couple of years ago before I started putting up a feeder myself. Last year was my first year of having a feeder and I enjoyed those little critters immensely the entire season. They get to almost be “pet-like” in a sense and I guess that is partly because they seem to be so trusting. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the only hummer considered common to Arkansas. In fact, our local Game & Fish Commision ask that if any other species is observed to contact them with that information.

Photography is the art of….

Computer - 015

In an apparent moment of inspiration many years back as I was sitting and pondering the big debate of those days with regard to photography and its place in the art world, I penned the following which I felt adequately described the art of photography:

Photography is the art of showing our fellow man the infiniteness of beauty, tragedy, love, despair, happiness, and suffering hence giving him the knowledge that these things exist, should he pass by and not see.  ~ AEG

Sometime later as I was reading one of the photography magazines of the day, I by chance ran across a quote attributed to an obviously famous photographer, since he was featured in the magazine, which was eerily similar to my declaration. I remember feeling quite dismayed at the time full well knowing at that moment that I would no longer be able to legitimately own what I had written. At least not without the threat of being accused of plagiarism at some point in the future.

And now, years later after trying to re-discover the author via several photography forums, I remain at a loss with regard to any authorship of a similar quote as mine. If, however, I were to publish my declaration on the front page of a newspaper, I guarantee the person in question will immediately step forward from the shadows of obscurity.

Nevertheless, I stand by my defining statement and will continue to support photography as an artistic medium. Photographs do not seem to demand a financial bounty as substantial as paintings and it is doubtful they ever will. The valuation of some photographs however has increased over the past couple of decades rising from several thousand to over a million. But I suppose in the end that should not matter from an artistic standpoint.

And with regard to my declaration? Well, after all I was not trying to be inventive or become famous because of a simple statement, but simply trying to make the larger point at the time that photography is, indeed, an artistic medium.

Here Come the Monarchs….

Monarch Butterfly 2

A couple of weeks ago Christine Kane whose blog, “Let’s Paint Nature”, I visit on a daily basis, posted a painting she had done of a Monarch butterfly which is probably one of the most recognized and beautiful creatures on the North American continent. Christine’s post was for me perfect timing because it immediately reminded me that it was near the time when the Monarchs begin their 2000 mile migration back across the United States from Mexico to their summer habitat which primarily includes the extreme Northern United States and Canada.

And although this beautiful creature resides in other countries around the world, only on the North American continent does its migration, both the distance covered and complexity, confound scientist and layman alike. When the Monarchs begin their fall migration they will travel some 2000 miles from Canada to Mexico in their yearly trek. And as amazing as that may sound in itself, given the size and delicacy of these fragile creatures, it is the spring migration back from Mexico to Canada that confounds human logic.

As we speak, the Monarchs are now beginning to leave Mexico and when they reach the Gulf States they will mate and give birth to a new generation. The parents will die and the new generation will continue the migration north. Reaching the Northern US, this generation will then mate, give birth to the next generation and then die. This new generation will then complete the migration north to Canada where they will once again mate, give birth to yet another generation and then die.

If you are counting, then we have now reached the fourth generation since the first generation left Mexico a few months earlier. Whereas the three previous generations only lived some thirty days or so, this generation will live some nine months. This generation will not only spend the remainder of the summer in Canada, but will migrate the entire 2000 miles back to Mexico in the fall where they will winter until the cycle begins again.

It is simply mind-boggling as to how this event unfolds and is accomplished. NOVA has published a documentary which has aired on PBS in the past which you must watch if this act of nature interest you in the least. I have posted the link below to the Nova/PBS site where you can watch the 50-minute or so documentary, broken down into six 8-minute segments, plus or minus. Please note that according to the website, if you live outside of the United States you will not be able to view the video. More copyright issues I suppose!!

“The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies”

Also I have included a link below to the site where you can monitor the Monarch’s trek during their current migration back across the United Sates north to Canada.

“Monarch Butterfly Journey North”

Monarch Butterfly 1

The photos featured in this post are from the Wikipedia site and their reference material concerning the Monarch butterfly may be viewed here.

How will the world remember you?

While out cruising in the old neighborhood where I grew up as a kid with camera in tow this past week, I happen to drive by a particular house and after realizing what I was looking at my thoughts responded with an, “Oh my God! That’s the house and the bushes where it all happened. I can’t believe those bushes are still there after all these years!” At that point a great childhood memory came flooding back over me. I recall sometime back relating briefly the particular experience on someone else’s blog but now I have pictures.

Paper BoyWhen I was around fifteen or sixteen I had a paper route. At the time we had two major newspapers published out of Little Rock. They were the Arkansas Gazette which was the morning paper and we also had the Arkansas Democrat which, except for Sundays, was an evening edition paper. My paper route was with the Arkansas Gazette so I had to get up around 4:00 am every morning, seven days a week, to deliver papers. The Arkansas Gazette delivered my bundled papers to a DX Service Station some fifteen city blocks or so from where I lived. I would ride my bicycle from the house to the station every morning….in the dark of course. I would get my papers, fold them so I could give them a good toss, and was on my way.

Now on one particularly warm and humid summer morning I headed out to my paper drop. One of the streets I traveled was a very subtle sloping road which was very, very smooth. On this particular morning one moment I was slowly coasting down the street with a warm summer breeze brushing past my face…..moments later I was flying over the back end of a parked car and landing head-first into a very large bush. Why you ask? Well, I had actually dropped off to sleep while coasting along and my bicycle and I crashed into the back of a parked car. You can only imagine the shock of it all.

Being briefly dazed I was trying to figure out what had just happened. I finally regained my senses and I got untangled from the bush, brushed my self off and did not seem any worse for wear except for the scare of it all. My poor bike wasn’t as fortunate. The impact had bent the front wheel and handle bars way back and you could no longer turn the front wheel. The back bumper of the car I hit seemed fine, not that it would have mattered otherwise I suppose. It wasn’t like I was going to go up and knock on the front door and admit to what I had just done. After all, it was totally dark and four-o’clock in the morning. So I hurried off trying to push the crippled bike the remaining six blocks or so to the station where I picked up my papers.

Now….having related all that, below is a picture I took this past week of the house and bushes where the event occurred. What amazed me was that the bushes, except for the remains of one, still seem to be there after some fifty years. Although my incident with the bush left it all but undamaged, it would appear that the bush has not been so fortunate at perhaps some other more recent moment in time. Now there is a rather large stump with just some remnant of the bush still trying to exert its existence on the world. Be sure to click on the photo to enlarge….

Paper Route Home

Although I suppose this incident could have, on another day, had much more serious consequences, it simply remains one of the fonder trials of my life that continues to supply some measure of humor. Besides, I may be the only person in the world who has gone to sleep riding a bicycle. Everyone wants to be remembered for something……right? 🙂

Me, Woody and his friends….

Assuming, with a few exceptions I’m aware of, that most of you who visit this blog are probably grown adults, I am wondering if I am the only one who still maintains a toy collection. No, I don’t mean the toys I had as a child but rather the toys that I have adopted – given my current age. As an example, after watching the movie “Toy Story” I, like many of the other kids, just had to have the “Woody” character. So some dear friends got me one for a birthday gift. And before that, it was E.T. who captured my heart.

A couple of years ago I gathered all my current toys together for a group portrait. Everyone seem to enjoy the experience but as always Woody garnered most of the attention. And deservedly so since he seems to look after the rest of the clan.

Woody & Friends(Click on image to enlarge)

Certainly I don’t sit in the middle of the living room floor and play with them (like I would admit that) as if I were six years old, but they are the toys of my life, at this time in my life. No matter how old you become, it seems some things just don’t ever go away and thank God for that. These little characters surround me in my little office as I toil away at my computer and are a few of the treasures that almost always bring a smile to my face and take my mind away from my troubles, perceived or otherwise.

I am reasonably sure almost everyone has something that fills the toy void. You know, a lot of us adults begin to refer to them as “collections” so as to not infer or admit they are really our beloved toys. They take us back to a time when we had no cares or worries, even now they work their magic, even if only momentarily.