August Dark

pen-park-twoToday is Narional Frozen Custard Day. Never mind. Frozen custard has gone out of my life. I miss it, but I don’t. There’s a brief synopsis of what maturity means. Or resignation. Oh well.

This post is about August, its resignations and its wonders — and about the fact that it’s starting to get dark earlier. Have you noticed that? Not a big dark, not the dark of winter, nor even the dark of October. Just darker, sooner.


There’s still time to be outdoors, picnics to go to, friends to see in the bright light of summer. If it doesn’t rain. Having grown up in the Catskills, I was amazed when I found out the rest of the Northern Hemisphere tends to vacation in August. In the Catskills it tends to rain a lot in August. Here in Virginia, it’s wetter too, but maybe not so much.


The picture above represents somebody’s fun from this past Sunday in a park near Charlottesville.  There were some wonderful trees as well.


All in fine fettle.  A landscape rich in the dark and vibrant greens that August provides for us.


A time to enjoy, not yet to mourn. And oh yes, don’t forget your hat.


August One is National Girlfriends Day

national gals day

Also, Narional Raspberry Day, also an attractive subject. Oh well. The girls have it. I’ll not subject any of my human friends. The lovely photo above is courtesy Google Image. and thank you. They do remind me of high school or something. Here are some other girls.


I’m not sure these are all girls. With geese, who can tell.They certainly are friends.


Ditto these two, spotted on a cold and lonely December evening, keeping each other warm with best regards…


These girls may be headless, but they stand together (sorry)


And these two were real. Not my friends, but I enjoyed seeing them.


This is an old girlfriend, looking cute — as was her wont.


And this friend (Calliope, I think) who graces the lobby of a hospital I’ve been to many times.Well, that’s how friendship is some times. Some people just grow on  you. Also, there’s her smile…


national girlfriends day

Yeah. That too.

What I’m Doing Part Two

cica-circle-july-2016Lately I’ve been telling some people they should take a look at this much-neglected blog (heh, heh, you know who you are). That amounts to being a not too subtle prod to myself. If you want people to look at a blog, you’d better produce a blog.I couldn’t agree more — so what I’m doing today is making a resolution to add something here, say, every Monday. How good a promise that is, I can’t foresee, but if you enjoy what you see here, please become a subscriber. I’m tryin’…

The blog will go on being mostly photographs I have taken (well, I have all these photographs…) with the occasional notice of what happened on this day in history, and, if I get really ambitious, stories of one sort or another. Who knows that might come of this? I expect to continue this blog to be non-political, non-religious. Yes, I have religious and political viewpoints, but I expect they are pretty boring (to other people at least), so, for now at least, I’m skipping that. Of course, there’s that circa-statuegentleman at left. He seems, oops, a bit political. Never mind.

In the meantime, today, I’m celebrating another visit to Circa, my favorite place for wonderful memorabilia. These pictures were all taken on a bright and sunny day in July. I used a reckless point and shoot procedure with my nice little Canon point and shoot camera, the sun too bright to see anything on the window, so I couldn’t see what might happen. That, of course, is part of the fun.

As often happens, the motif that day was circles, lots of them, which I’m fond of for so many reasons.  Doesn’t the circle represent all we’re about? The beginning and end of time, the completeness of the womb, the beauty of logic? Oh, I could go on and on. Obviously.

Not all the circles were complete, and not all of them circa-circle-3were beautiful, exactly — although they mostly seemed so to me. circa-milk-can



circa-wrought-ironAnd then, after the outside shining, there’s what you see, last shot in this sequence, when you peer in the doorway. Thank you, Circa.



Who I Am and What I’m Doing


Who I am today — not just for today, but with any luck, for the next couple weeks — is somebody who is doing Blogging 101, a challenge for the new year. Who I am — today and for the recent past and the desirable future (isn’t a future always desirable?) is an old dog learning some  new tricks. Who I have been — for a long time — is an aspiring, but very amateur photographer. What I hope to do — for the next couple weeks, and maybe the next year — is get back in the habit of posting here, mostly photographs…


At top, a picture from Lake Worth in Florida. At bottom, the Amtrak Station in Yonkers, New York.

Almost Comic

on this day onemagesJune 26, in 1794, was fought the Battle of Fleurus, which today is a municipality in Belgium, which has known many bloody battles.. Fighting this particular and not insignificant battle were on one side, a coalition army representing Great Britain, Hanover, the Dutch Republic and the Hapsburg Monarchy and on the other the army of the First French Republic. The French won.Although not without great losses and disruption.

In 1794, the French Revolution was still going on, or at least some part of it. The Republic had been established and so on, but the tumbrels were still running. Heads were still falling and perfection had not yet been attained. There are some who claim this battle, which battle of Fleurus-1794-battlemapeffectively ended the Dutch Republic (for then anyway) and effectively changed many boundaries of the European landscape, also led to the deposition and death of Maximilian Robespierre on the very guillotine he had done so much to promote — but that’s another story.

The other significance of the Battle of Fleurus — and the one that instigates this particular notice of it — is that it marked the first time hot air balloons were used in warfare. Used to good effect, one might add. Not as attacking modi, but as reconnaissance apparatus. Imagine — or battle_of_fleurus onesee pictures here attached, the bloody carnage going on below while floating overhead (no anti-aircraft firepower in those days!), a gaily colored balloon full of fierce men in uniforms, equipped with field glasses and — one supposes — some sort of communicating devices. No cell phones in those days either.

Apparently the balloon served to good effect and presumably was the precursor to some partsbattle of fleurusEarly_flight_02562u_(10) of air warfare as we now know them. But you can see the limitations. How industrious we are. How we make use of all available materials. And here’s a little picture of what Fleurus looks like today. The Internet will be happy to assist you in making hotel reservations if you should want to go there.

battle of fleurus_120848_H39URJ_0

On This Day

boniface Tomb of Boniface VIII-sarcophagus-GrottoesOn this day, June 23, 1295, the current Pope, Boniface VII “entered Rome” as they say, and made it — for a time being, at least — the center of the papacy. This is perhaps an historical event of not too much current interest, except to historians and maybe some of us who were raised Catholic. Boniface and all his troubles and triumphs and troubles again (he was Pope only from 1294 to 1303, when he was perhaps murdered) represents a bloody period in the history of the Roman Catholicism as well as the history of Europe in general, so it’s not too surprising to hear that he was a boniface Porta_Pia_Pagliari_Vizzottobloody type. What is a little disconcerting is to hear the story of the sack of Palestrina, a city which had surrendered with the understanding that it would be left standing. Boniface not only saw to that the city was utterly destroyed, but also poured salt on the ruins. He appear in Dante’s Inferno inhabiting the seventh ring of hell. Not for his conduct at Palestrina, but as a simonist, one guilty of selling church relics and favors.

Meditation on a Place



Several, maybe. There are so many wonderful places to be, it seems almost ungrateful to pick one, but I’m a fool for the ocean. The ocean never disappoints.

Growing up in a rural mountain area, I had never seen the ocean (except in pictures, of course) until I was well into my twenties. By then, even then, so many things that had been hyped in my childhood had turned out to be, if not, frauds, well, not as exciting as they were said to be. I’m not talking about sex or roller coasters here. Those are pretty reliable too. And I had not, nor have yet had occasion to see the Grand Canyon or the Taj Mahal. I’m talking about much smaller frauds here. Nonetheless, there was some fear. Suppose it was just a lot of water and so what? Among other things, I guess I mean, suppose I was not up to seeing it?

IMG_1237---Copy---Copy_editWell, you know why, don’t you? It’s all those pictures. When you’ve seen a million pictures of something it’s sometimes Maine_coasthard to really see it then. Some things — I’m being so tactful here — just look too much like their pictures. Yawn. And then there was the ocean. A definite Cortez moment (you know, silent on a peak etc.). The ocean was everything I’d hoped it would be.

I think it was the noise. One is never prepared, even by a lifetime of watching movies, for the actual noise the actual ocean makes as it throws itself, heedless. Second, of course, it’s much too big for a picture, so there you go. When you’re actually standing there looking into the face of the ocean, the first realization is that you can’t. The ocean is just too big to look at all at once. Part of it isn’t even visible, even though you can’t help knowing it’s there.

1024px-Winslow_Homer_-_Maine_CoastWhat really surprised me, what has really surprised me over a number of years, of decades, is this keeps on happening. The ocean continues to be too big to be boring, too noisy to be ignored, too beautiful. Some people maybe feel this way about standing on mountain tops. But the countryside, no matter how far the eagle’s eye can see, doesn’t move. Well, except if it does, that’s a very bad thing. The ocean threatens us and we love it. Well, I love it.

This last picture, is by Winslow Homer, and the thumbnail of the Maine Coast is from Wikimedia (many thanks). The other two are mine and were taken in Florida. But the remarks above apply to oceans everywhere.