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The above photo was shot in early Autumn at sunset. I was standing at the edge of Buffalo Harbor, that magical point where four great bodies of water converge…Lake Erie, the Buffalo River, and the Erie Canal as they empty into the Niagara River and tumble over the Falls twenty miles downstream.

So I began posting this blog nearly nine years ago in response to things in my life and changes I was making (click here to read my very first post). And now I am taking one month leave for the very same reason(s)…things that are happening and my response to them. But unlike some blogs and bloggers that say they are taking a break and basically never blog again, this is for a specific period: 30 days. This is the longest I’ve gone without posting. Maybe I’ll be back sooner, I’m not sure at this point. But I will be back by the 1st of November, that is for sure. I enjoy this blog too much and it is a good outlet for me…it can be cathartic in some ways. I’m also taking a break from Facebook; I even deleted the app from my phone. I will be checking emails, of course, and Facebook once a day for messages, and I may post a photo or so on the Facebook page of this blog (click here for Urban Simplicity on Facebook). But nonetheless I am having an “electronic fast” of sorts. I simply need to re-think some things. Thank you for sticking with me, I hope you are still here when I return. I’ll see you in the beginning of November, inshallah. Until then…peace, salaam, shalom.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike (#707 & #708)…

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#707…a cardboard box containing 3 loaves of freshly baked  honey-oatmeal whole wheat bread, a dough rising bucket, 3 bread loaf pans, a camera bag with an extra lens, a book bag with books, a chef’s coat, and a pair of kitchen clogs.

#708…a small rucksack containing a complete change of clothes (it was raining earlier in the day), two bottles of wine, a plate of rice pilaf, two books, a laptop computer, a camera with an extra lens, a pair of kitchen clogs, $32 in groceries, and a small paperback copy of the Bhagavad Gita.

Urban Simplicity.

Things that can be carried on a bike.

It’s all about the light…

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“Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

~ George Eastman

So today was my day off. Sort of. I had off of work (in the traditional sense) but I had tons to do, including work for school, which I’ve recently enrolled. Anyhow, as a de-stresser I thought I’d head to the waterfront on this first day of autumn and have a few beers and take a few photos. I’ve been to this location more times to count, and you’ve seen many of the photos. So tonight I did something different, in a way. I’ve been fascinated with sunset photos for quite some time…how the light changes and how you can manipulate the light with the camera settings (I’m in love with long exposure). Anyhow, I set my camera on a tripod at sunset, focused it, and took the same shot every ten minutes for an hour. When it became too dark, I put the camera away, ordered another beer, and just watched the boats pass in the night. And that was the true de-stresser🙂 Click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Five or nine quotes from Leonard Cohen (and a video, too).

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“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

“Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as a secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.”

“How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me?”

“I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone
who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.”

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.”

“Reality is one of the possibilities I cannot afford to ignore”

“The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.”

“My reputation as a ladies’ man was a joke that caused me to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights I spent alone.”

More Five Quotes.

Urban Simplicity.

Au revoir l’été (goodbye summer)…

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The first leaves fall

Change color

Drift in warm breeze

The sun

It shifts in the sky

Taking a different view

Shadows grow longer

Nights earlier


But the days are warm

Your hand still lingers


As you loosen your grip

Slowly slipping away  

And your cousin, Autumn

Once a distant thought

Is now in full view

But it is now you


Who are retreating

And will soon be a memory

Like so many summers before you

A sweet warm memory

Au revoir mon ami

Nine. Eleven. Red. White. Blue.

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So this is the tippy top of our incredibly beautiful city hall. It’s lit up red, white, and blue tonight in remembrance of 9/11. I had been to the waterfront this evening taking photos and was on my way home when this stopped me in my tracks. Like many Americans (and probably non-Americans alike) I’ve been thinking a lot about 9/11 today…and how it changed things. It was our loss of innocence in many ways. Everyone has their stories about where they were when they first heard about it. But my most personal story came the day after, when details of the people who perished began to be announced. One of the planes carried children. Half a classroom is what I remember them saying. I can’t remember if they were on their way to Washington or New York (with parents, teachers, and chaperones) but at the time they were the same age as my son, who is now in his twenties. I was at home and when I heard this news I remember literally crumbling to the ground. I also remember yelling–cursing–at God. How could you let this happen?! I yelled. What kind of God are you? And then as days and weeks passed I heard of the heroic actions that not only professionals did but also everyday citizens. Some of them lost their own lives trying to save others. As this was the conversation of nearly everyone for so long, I also remember hearing a conversation in the steam room at the local JCC where I steam and swim. Two older gentlemen were talking about this terrible event and one finally blurted out–almost wailed–“Where is God, where is He during this?” After a really long pause–an uncomfortably long pause–the other person said, almost whispered, “God is in the response. God is in the response to all of this. We can either choose hatred or we can choose love. And I want to choose love,” this man continued. “I want to help any way I can, even if it is simply sitting in a steam room and discussing this.” I personally was not at this horrific event, nor did I lose someone close to me in it. But I mourn them. They were part of us and we part of them. We can either choose hatred or we can choose love. And today I choose love. Our country–if not the world–is broken. And we need to fix it. If we want to survive as a species, it’s the only way. Seriously. We don’t need to “like” everyone, but we do need to love them as fellow citizens on this rock we call earth. It really is the only way. Love.

Three Evenings. Six Photos.

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So I had to work this past weekend. All of it. This, of course, is not unusual for someone in the food-service industry. It’s the norm, actually. But for some reason this past weekend bothered me more than usual. It was Labor Day weekend, it was beautiful weather, and I felt like having off work. But alas I did not. With this said, I luckily work early morning/afternoon hours which allowed me to have much of the evenings free. So I rode to our waterfront–which is a mere 2 miles from my front door–where there is an outdoor bar with music and one of the best views in the city. In a way I was pretending that I had the holiday weekend off. So I’d sip my beer and snap photos in the ever-changing view in front of me and watch the sun set over the Canadian shoreline. And as the light changed so did the view. I snapped probably 100 photos, but these are a few of my favorites. The sky was crystal clear each evening, and the setting new moon present. In the second to last photo the planet Venus is also visible. And in the bottom photo is a silhouette of a local tall ship, the Spirit of Buffalo. Anyhow, being there on the water really soothed me; it’s just what I needed…a sort of visual therapy. Click any photo for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

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