I have a long story (regarding the bottom photo) which I’ll make shorter, and I originally posted this–or at least a portion of it–on Facebook, so if you’ve read this already I apologize for the redundancy. This is a fire alarm call box on the corner of Allen and Elmwood in Buffalo (it’s also visible in the top photo on the right-hand corner). Relics from a bygone time, I suppose…here’s images of others and they are even available on ebay as collectables). At one time there were many of these around the city, I remember them from my youth. Now there are only a half-dozen (I know this because I saw a city-worker inspecting it one day and he told me so…and yes, this still works). Anyhow, I was talking with a couple youngish co-workers the other day regarding an incident that happened on this corner and they used this as a point of reference but were unsure of what to call it…they didn’t know what it was (“It’s not really a fire hydrant but it has something to do the the fire department,” one said). I mentioned to them that it was a fire alarm…that in the event of an emergency one would break the glass and pull the lever and help would arrive. And then after a somewhat long and uncomfortable silence and perplexed looks I also mentioned that there were not always cell phones available.
Anyhow, that story aside, I was out taking photos in my neighborhood a couple evenings ago as it was such a nice summer night. And after taking the above photo I began to walk down the street when I was stopped by the couple in the above photo; they asked me for spare change. After giving them what was in my pocket I asked if I could take their photo. “You’re not with the mafia or police, are you,” the woman questioned? I’m still not sure what she meant by this, but after assuring her I was not with either organization they both readily agreed. The woman rummaged in her bag for some lipstick and then quickly fixed her hair before throwing her arm around her friend. They wanted to know why I was taking pictures. I told them I just enjoy it and that I enjoy meeting people. After introducing myself and shaking hands all around, I learned the woman’s name was Rosemarie but goes by Rhianna. Her friend simply told me, “They call me D.O.D.” At any rate, we chatted for a few minutes and they actually thanked me for taking their photo. This sort of surprised me but I thanked them in return for allowing it. By stopping to talk to people, I find, that the invisible barrier is broken…instead of two street people and a guy with money in his pocket, it became just three people. Simple as that. But why am I sharing this? Honestly, I am not sure, but I felt I needed to.
This image was taken at around 5pm this evening while on my way to the health club. It is at the intersection of Allen and Elmwood in Buffalo, just around the corner from where I live and my favorite section of the city. It was/is a crisp cold evening with nary a breeze in the air; after working all day rushing around a busy kitchen it felt good–really good-to be out in the open air…it felt good to be on a bike. As I straddled my bike waiting for the traffic light to change, I was taking in the sounds and sensations of the evening…the air on my face, the sounds and smells of the traffic. And I took out my pocket point-and-shoot to snap a couple pictures…to capture it. And I thought I’d share.
It’s odd, I think, how autumn has sneaked up on me. It seems like it was just hot and humid and sunny (like it was for the better part of this past summer), and now today I received my annual delivery of firewood (not to mention that it is cool and damp outside). Four cords, that’s how much I get every year. I know to some (who heat with wood) this doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is to me. It’s enough to carry me through the fall, winter, and spring months, and still have a little left over. I just have a small wood stove that is an auxiliary heat source, not my main heat source. But when to weather is cool or slightly cold–not frigged–it is enough to heat most of the house, as it is tonight. The wood stove is strategically placed next to my office space in the front of the house and is currently blazing away. It’s bitter-sweet in a way. While I love the change of seasons I lament the loss of summer (and another season gone by…the passing of time). The picture above shows the wood after it was just dumped off the truck…in the very spot where I grow my front yard garden. Normally I have my teen-aged son help me haul it down our narrow alleyway to the backyard and and stack it, but today he had school (I usually have it delivered on a weekend)…lucky him. When he was leaving for school I asked him if he was glad that he didn’t have to haul and stack this year; his answer…”um, yes.”
These were taken over two days. The top and bottom were taken today, and the middle three were shot yesterday. What a difference a day makes. Today there was nary a cloud in the sky and yesterday it rained for most of the day. The clouds broke just before sunset yesterday and it had the perfect conditions for color and depth. The way the setting sun shone on the backs of the clouds was amazing. And today brilliantly blue sky, not a cloud. Nice.
This was a view from my handlebars on my way to work this morning; I was at a traffic signal at this corner. There’s a lot going on in this picture. There were a group of guys doing something where they had to take up the sidewalk (pavements to my friends in the EU). I’m not sure what they are doing but whatever it is they were doing it to the opposite corner yesterday. You can see the guy in the lower left…he’s the one creating all the smoke with a concrete saw; it was loud. The group on the right were discussing loudly–arguing–over how to do something. And there’s the guy in the center who just finished fueling his car at the petrol station behind them. I’m not sure if he is looking at me–sitting on a bike taking his/their picture, or if he is looking at all the activity as I am. Incidentally, the gas at this satation was $4.13 US/gl this morning…I know that’s not a lot to other parts of the world, but it sure has people squawking around here. But what you, the reader of this blog, cannot see, is the car to my direct left and adjacent to me. A man in a suit in the driver’s seat who appeared to be about my age and looking bored (I of course, have no idea what this man was thinking or feeling, obviously I’m projecting). And when I looked over and saw him it made me remember. It made me remember how grateful I was to be on a bike–out in the elements with the sites, smells, and feeling of wind on my face. This morning I was heading into another stressfull day at work and already a few minutes late, but this respite–however brief–really made for a nice beginning to my day. And this is what I was thinking as I sat on my bike on a chilly Spring morning looking over my handlebars.
I’ve posted pictures of crows before but am finding them ever fascinating lately. And tonight–after just recovering from a cold and feeling I needed some air–went for a walk on a foggy evening at dusk and took a few more photos. I’m not sure if I’m just noticing them these last couple years but they seem to have multiplied in our area (or possibly migrated) by multitudes. At dawn and dusk in certain areas of the city they are virtually everywhere..hundreds–thousands–perched on every possible thing or flying from one to another. And caw..cawing to each other in their own special language. What I think is really interesting (and a bit scary) is how smart they are…here’s a little info from the PBS website:
New research has shown that they are among the most intelligent animals on the planet. They use tools as only elephants and chimpanzees do, and recognize 250 distinct calls. One particular talent they have been discovered to possess is the ability to recognize individual human faces and pick them out of a crowd up to two years later – a trick that might make even Hitchcock shiver with fright.
And let me just reiterate one sentence:
One particular talent they have been discovered to possess is the ability to recognize individual human faces and pick them out of a crowd up to two years later.
I’ve been taking pictures of these birds for the last couple of years and only recently learned of their above said intelligence…but have always felt like they are looking back at me. Look at the one above…sort of makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up…hopefully they realize I am their friend and not foe.
To read a bit more about them at the PBS site, click here.
Dusk and dawn are my two favorite parts of the day; the first signs of the beginning of a new day or the end of the current one…and the light is incredible. The above photo (Big Sky) I took last evening. As I rounded the corner on my bike the scene before me–or more accurately, above me–quite literally stopped me in my tracks. The series of four photos below (Birds in a Tree at Night) I took this evening as I left the health club. I was riding my Mundo so I could use the rear of it as a platform to stand my mini tripod on to steady the camera and experiment with different exposures. And the bottom photo (Greek Church) I took on my way to the health club while there was still some light in the sky. It’s a church which I pass and often admire but tonight as I passed the light was just right so I had to capture it the best I could. It’s slightly askew because the bike tilted a bit just before the shutter snapped. As usual, click any for a larger view.