Tag Archives: beauty

Seven fading flowers and a quote…

As every flower fades and as all youth
Departs, so life at every stage,
So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
Blooms in its day and may not last forever.
Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To find new light that old ties cannot give.
In all beginnings dwells a magic force
For guarding us and helping us to live.

Serenely let us move to distant places
And let no sentiments of home detain us.
The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.
If we accept a home of our own making,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.
We must prepare for parting and leave-taking
Or else remain the slaves of permanence.

~Hermann Hesse 
The Glass Bead Game

Urban Simplicity.

Bleu…how I felt and what I saw…and on starting over (in words and pictures)


“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.”
~Lee Iacocca 

So a couple things. One is….isn’t color incredibly beautiful? The way the light changes. Sometimes I forget this. There is the phrase, the blue hour (or l’heure bleue), that refers to that point of morning or evening when the sun is just about to rise, or in this case, has just set but there is still light in the sky. And the angle of the light radiating from the sun through the hemisphere creates this incredibly beautiful blue hue (yes, post uploading processing helps, but just a little). But I’m jumping ahead as I often do. Let me begin again.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the symbolic day when Jesus went into the dessert to meditate for forty days, and when Christians are supposed to metaphorically replicate this and look within themselves (to step into their own personal desert), to assess, to renew, to serve. I really enjoy this time of year (and that may sound odd because it is sort of morose),but I do. Introspection suits me. But I’m jumping ahead, again. Let me start over, again.

In the times in which we live, to be a chef one must be an extrovert, or at least a pretend extrovert. I fall into the latter category. I am nearly 100% INFJ but on the job I have to act as an extrovert’s extrovert…calling out orders all day, correcting, and even reprimanding, but also nourishing, complimenting, and encouraging. In short, it can and is exhausting some (most) days. And this is what I have been doing for more than half my life during this incarnation. Pretending to be an extrovert. Thus said, let me begin again.

I had such high hopes for the beginning of this Lenten season…high hopes of personal change. And then yesterday happened. I had an altercation with an employee that escalated to a yelling match dropping f-bombs left and right. I am no angel, I never said I was. Everyone has their buttons that can be pushed. And when this happens–when it’s over–I internalize it. Last night I barely slept. And today I could not and cannot appreciate the depth and breadth of this sacred and mystical time of Lent. But I can start over. Begin again. We all can, I suppose. Every day.

This morning I worked my first job, and then rode my bike to a very short shift at my second job. And when that was over I got on my bike and rode in no particular direction. Not too far, mind you, as it was cold. But I just rode. And when I stopped I was facing the scene in the bottom photo. It took my breath away. I’ve taken many photos from that spot, which is Hoyt Lake at Delaware park, but I was there at just the right time tonight. It looked almost mystical. When I walked to the edge of the lake the snow was so deep it was up to my thighs, and when I set up my tripod it was stunted because I stood on the snow but the tripod’s legs pushed down into it.

And as I stood there with my gloves off my fingers began to sting in the cold, my feet crunched in the cold snow, and my breath fogged up the camera view finder. But it was incredible; it was beautiful. For a few moments I just stood there. And at that moment nothing mattered or made sense to me. How silly, I thought to myself, it is that we humans treat each other (as an employee and I did yesterday as we yelled at each other in a heated argument)…even though we are interconnected.

So tomorrow I choose to start over. It is my choice, after all. Will things be perfect…nope. Will things be rectified with the employee in mention…doubtful. But I can begin again. Anew. Because in the finite time that we have on this planet in this current incarnation each day is like a little cross-section–a little slice–of our entire life. And I do not feel like wasting it. Standing in nearly the same spot, but trudging through snow while dragging my camera, tripod, and heavy bike, I took a few more photos, which really seemed to connect me to this time and place…to the present.

Anyhow, this is what I was thinking as I stood in the cold while looking at the same blue that countless people and generations have seen before me. The thing is, sometimes I can see it and sometimes I can’t. Tonight I did, and it was beautiful. Tomorrow I (and we) begin again. I just hope I don’t screw it up.

Urban Simplicity.

Five photos, two scriptures, a song, and a bad day made good…

So I had a “bad day” today. I know it sounds silly, but I did. Everyone has them from time-to-time, and today was my turn. It’s a very busy week for me at work and in my personal life and stress can really affect me in a negative way. I tend to internalize things. The thing is that I am fully aware that a person can choose how they want to feel. Yes it is true, and I fully believe this. But sometimes when I’m in the midst of stress and chaos I forget. All too often I forget. And when I left work today it was beautiful outside…still cold but the sun was out and the sky was blue. And I’ve mentioned this before but photography can, in a way, be a form of personal therapy for me. So I heeded my own previous advice and took a few photos of our Creator’s miracles that are right in front of me. But I have to say, and I even chuckled about it to myself (and that’s a good sign) that as I was removing my camera from its bag a lyric from the R.E.M. song, Bad Day, rang in my ears…”It’s been a bad day, please don’t take your picture.” (click here to watch them sing it live on Letterman) 

Anyhow, staring through the lens and really focusing on something has a calming effect on me. It really does. I’m sure it lowers my blood pressure. And as I took in the sights and sounds around me I couldn’t help but think how I had a change of mind. And that’s really all it takes sometimes…change your thoughts and change your world. And as I rode home feeling the cool air (cold, actually) on my face and taking in all the greatness that was right in front of me, all around me, and in fact within me, I felt grateful. And these two scriptures come to mind when I think of this.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2
“Be sure to fix your mind on Me and to apply your intelligence for Me and you will live in Me for certain and never suffer any doubt thereafter.”

Bhagavad Gita 12:8 

And then later in the evening–just a few minutes before writing this post–I had a text conversation with a very dear friend of mine. A friend whom I treated poorly earlier in the day. We both forgave each other. And it made me remember what is truly real and what matters to me in this lifetime. People matter. So does beauty. So does love. Stress (fear) is unreal and something I fabricate myself. So if I am able to choose my thoughts and feelings, then I choose love and compassion. This is what I choose to start my day tomorrow (and to end my night tonight). It’s not always easy, but it is possible. Tomorrow is another day, and another very busy day for me, but it’s okay…I’ll view it as a challenge, one which is able to be overcome.

Urban Simplicity.

Five photos, two scriptures, a song, and a bad day made good…

So I had a “bad day” today. I know it sounds silly, but I did. Everyone has them from time-to-time, and today was my turn. It’s a very busy week for me at work and in my personal life and stress can really affect me in a negative way. I tend to internalize things. The thing is that I am fully aware that a person can choose how they want to feel. Yes it is true, and I fully believe this. But sometimes when I’m in the midst of stress and chaos I forget. All too often I forget. And when I left work today it was beautiful outside…still cold but the sun was out and the sky was blue. And I’ve mentioned this before but photography can, in a way, be a form of personal therapy for me. So I heeded my own previous advice and took a few photos of our Creator’s miracles that are right in front of me. But I have to say, and I even chuckled about it to myself (and that’s a good sign) that as I was removing my camera from its bag a lyric from the R.E.M. song, Bad Day, rang in my ears…”It’s been a bad day, please don’t take your picture.” (click here to watch them sing it live on Letterman)
Anyhow, staring through the lens and really focusing on something has a calming effect on me. It really does. I’m sure it lowers my blood pressure. And as I took in the sights and sounds around me I couldn’t help but think how I had a change of mind. And that’s really all it takes sometimes…change your thoughts and change your world. And as I rode home feeling the cool air (cold, actually) on my face and taking in all the greatness that was right in front of me, all around me, and in fact within me, I felt grateful. And these two scriptures come to mind when I think of this. 
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
“Be sure to fix your mind on Me and to apply your intelligence for Me and you will live in Me for certain and never suffer any doubt thereafter.”
And then later in the evening–just a few minutes before writing this post–I had a text conversation with a very dear friend of mine. A friend whom I treated poorly earlier in the day. We both forgave each other. And it made me remember what is truly real and what matters to me in this lifetime. People matter. So does beauty. So does love. Stress (fear) is unreal and something I fabricate myself. So if I am able to choose my thoughts and feelings, then I choose love and compassion. This is what I choose to start my day tomorrow (and to end my night tonight). It’s not always easy, but it is possible. Tomorrow is another day, and another very busy day for me, but it’s okay…I’ll view it as a challenge, one which is able to be overcome.


Urban Simplicity.

Three more from a garden…

Though I took these photos today they are really a continuation of a previous post. My apologies if I’m boring you with flower photos all summer but I just can’t help myself…they look so beautiful to me when viewed up close. At any rate, there’s only another month or so of them left before we move into autumn (my favorite season)…at which time I’ll no doubt post photos of trees in transition. I really like all of these photos but if I had to choose just one it would be the one directly below…a droplet captured at its point of departure. Click any for a slightly larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

L’automne … six photos

I was going to try and write something profound here…something to the effect of how amazing Mother Nature is and the incredible beauty that surrounds us always–that all we need to do is open our eyes to it–but I don’t need to, or at least I can’t put this natural beauty into words. These images–and the palette of colors found quite literally just outside my front door–speak for themselves…

Urban Simplicity.

Rural Western New York

Sometimes I forget. Or, being in the city for most of my time, I don’t remember. I don’t remember how truly beautiful the surrounding countryside is. This is only 40 miles/64 km from my home. I visited my niece and her husband yesterday at a farm they operate in North Java, NY. The lush green and rolling hills are breathtaking. Fog was just breaking as I took these photos. It felt good to stand and feel the wind on my face and not see another house or person in view…just trees, rolling hills, and pasture. Lovely. Click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A Few Random Photos

Here’s a few random photos I’ve taken over the last few days. The one above and immediately below were taken this evening, and were in fact the reason of this post…the sunset was so incredible–even on a cold night and in an inner city–that I felt the need to share it. They were both taken looking west, down Virginia Street (aka Calle Virginia), on Buffalo’s Lower West Side. The next photo was taken last evening while grocery shopping on my bike. An entire murder of crows flew overhead–hundreds of them–and while it looked graceful and beautiful it also freaked me out a bit because of the intelligence they are said to have. Below that is nothing more than a manhole cover in the snow that I took just after our but brief recent storm. And lastly, when exiting a store this evening I noticed everything had a glow to it…it was one of those incredible moments just before the sun really begins to set but it’s no longer full daylight and it’s angle casts a hue across everything. Anyhow, I looked up and saw the perfectly straight line of a jet cutting through a blue but pink tinted winter sky. I took out my camera in the parking lot and snapped a few pictures, my favorite is the one you see. I find myself looking skyward a lot these days; not sure why, I just do. And it’s interesting, I think, if one person looks up, so do others around them. And that is exactly what happened tonight as I stood in the parking lot on a cold winter’s eve taking photos. As people passed they looked up. A few looked at me as if I were a bit crazy (which I may be, but who cares) and a few commented how beautiful it looked. And it was. As usual, click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

An Evening View From My Handlebars…

It was such a beautiful evening tonight as I pedaled home…unseasonably warm for this time of year, not a breeze or cloud to be found, and the nearly full moon shone high in the sky (if you look close you can see a star or planet clearly visible to the moon’s lower left). It was such an awesome night I snapped a few photos and thought I’d share. This photo was taken here. (click for a larger view).

A Couple More Pics…

Still in the same theme of you see way more on a bike than when diving a car (and have much more opportunity to appreciate it, and take a few photos), I thought I’d share a few more. This was the sky as I pedaled home from the health club this evening. Breathtaking, I thought. So I stopped curbside to admire it for a minute, then snapped a couple photos. Autumn is my favorite time of year…and I am making special effort to appreciate it before the harsher weather comes.