Sunday, May 31, 2009

Clearing the Air

Cool, moist unstable air has hovered over the high desert of Bend, Oregon in the late afternoon these past few days, sending large pine-scented raindrops downward. These are like coveted marbles falling from the sky refracting the light into a horn of plenty of sunset colors. In honor of Scenic Sunday and See It Sunday , which has violet as its theme, I chose this twilight shot as a reminder that purple connotes royalty. The background of sky and mountains is a robe on which is woven a pattern pine trees. Like a loyal subject, I pay homage to nature's benevolent show of power of beauty and feel enriched by it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Play Ball

When Shutterday Saturday asked to tell some aspect of what I do, I could have chosen any number of activities, but today it is time to relate, that I am passionate about watching and playing baseball. Oregon's major league team is the Seattle Mariners and fortunately their games are broadcast in Bend on TV and radio. Last weekend, I traveled North to attend the opening of inter-league play and framed this photo of two remarkable Mariner players, Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey, Jr., sitting elbow to elbow. Both of these guys have had storied careers and will be rewarded entry into baseball's Hall of Fame.
Since childhood, I have spent countless hours captivated by this sport. To an outsider, it is a slow and strange game with far too many rules and statistics. It is played without a clock and the team on defense has the ball. It has a world series played by solely American teams and unlike other team sports, the players seem to stand around aimlessly inactive until suddenly the ball comes to them.
That being said, I am excited by the staccato-like pressure of the game. Stand at bat and feel challenged to hit the ball. Be in the field and catch the fly ball or the grounder. Make a split-second decision to throw the ball accurately to the right place. It is the heart-throb which comes from the unpredictable and of its anticipation.
Also the stadium is rich with color, sights, and odors of food. Missing is the aggression on the field and in the stands, something all too common in other team sports. The fan's joy is found in the game itself. I embrace this feeling totally and look forward to tonight's Mariner game against the Angels. It will be, in the words of a famous song, ".... a shame if they lose, but that's the ol' ballgame"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Twilight's Lovesong

After waiting all afternoon for thunderclouds to develop here in Bend, Oregon, it became apparent that inclement weather was forming to the East and that the boomers, I had so eagerly anticipated, would sound their drums elsewhere. Instead, the westerly edge of the front sent this graceful mauve tendril across the horizon like an ethereal reflection of the Cascade peaks.
I drove up the hill from my house and snapped a number of shots and then struggled to choose which one I wanted to show for Skywatch Friday. Such magnificent sunsets can not be ruined by a bad camera or an inept photographer. With enough shots from enough angles,and presto, the majesty of the moment emerges. Tonight the power of nature's content and form radiate as one for you to appreciate. I open the shade and let in the light for you to see.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

chlorophyl's clever call

This came to me for Think Green Thursday. These clusters, on a corner in Bend, Oregon, coalesce into a colorful collection of coraline-like crowns. As I clicked the camera, I concluded, that I had captured the confidence of this sun catcher and created a cogent comment on the continuing capacity of chemicals to clarify the character of color; thus causing me to come closer to the cosmos and confirming correspondingly, that I am completely cuckoo.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Healthy Living

The two signs on the light post advertise the recently completed annual Bend Pole, Pedal, Paddle. Teams compete by age bracket in a race where members have to downhill ski on Mt Bachelor, cross country ski on a designated course, bike ride 25 miles downhill to Bend, paddle a kayak in the Deschutes River and then run to a finish line. I got tired just writing that sentence.

Bend, Oregon, is teeming with people who thrive on physical fitness. I see joggers, bicyclists and fitness centers everywhere. Let's not forget the plethora of classes on pilates, yoga and other forms of health-related consciousness expansion. All these positive vibrations are "infectious." I am now swimming a mile almost every day, lifting weights and on the treadmill. It is not amazing that I have lost 12-15 lbs in the past six months.

I know that I am trying to live longer and impress my friends with my ability to outsmart aging. Of course I feel better too. Bend, Oregon, provides such a healthy atmosphere. Yet I am often reminded that being healthy requires good genetics, a good social fabric, good drugs and good luck. I don't mind fighting the battle to increase my longevity and enjoy the ring, but am reminded of a movie I saw years ago, The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman. In it, a knight who returns home alive from the Crusades finds himself in a chess game with Death. The knight lives as long as he is winning, but the ending of the film, as you can guess, is a forgone conclusion.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Stop, Look, and Listen

As a child growing up in Chicago in the 1950's, I fell in love with trains. There was a huge model railroad layout at the Museum of Science and Industry and I would press my nose to the glass and let my imagination ride the rails. My excitement with trains intensified because of the many railroad crossings in and around the city. My father, behind the wheel of our 1953 Chevy, twinkle-eyed, feigned irritation at being inconvenienced whenever we were held up by these long multicolored slow-moving freights. I would feel so happy I could burst. The sound of the bell ringing and the flashing lights, some crossings with gates, some without, or the rural crossing with the big white wooden X sign meant the possibility that a beloved train was coming. The train brought me validation and much needed emotional comfort. I counted cars, learned the names of rail lines, types of cars and cargo, lots of geography and exotic words such as gondola.
One of the appeals of living in Bend, Oregon, is that the Burlington Northern, Santa Fe has a line through town. I hear the train horn and immediately feel the urge to find my way to the tracks.
In this picture of a southbound freight, I liked the juxtaposition of the BNSF letters on the diesel engine and the bumper sticker on the pickup which says "Hooters." I suppose there is weighty symbolism here, but for today, the photo's focus is on movement color and sound. Feel the red signals winking back and forth, the low purr of the bright orange engines, the repetitious song from the crossing sign, the hum of the waiting cars' motors, and the beating of my childhood heart.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Most of us experience Memorial Day weekend as a festive time for families and the unofficial beginning of Summer. Campgrounds and parks are choked with vacationers enjoying the fresh air and bright sunshine. Not that I really want to rain on your parade, but I chose this dark scene of an impending thunderstorm in Bend, Oregon as reminder that Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was established as a federal holiday in 1867 to honor the Union dead after the Civil War and to focus on the terrible loss of life caused by war. It is noteworthy that the holiday only meant to exclusively honor the Northern soldiers, so much was there antipathy toward the South. Of course, the holiday wasn't observed in the South, because no one there wanted to pay homage to the Yankee dead.

The organizer of the first Decoration Day event wrote .."Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains, and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the Nation's gratitude—the soldier's and sailor's widow and orphan."

The name Memorial Day became official after WWII and the tradition of going to the cemetery and placing flags and flowers continues, but the true purpose of the holiday is overshadowed by the drone of race cars and the juicy odor of the barbecue.

It is argued that there are fewer conflicts in the world than in earlier times and that as a people we are making progress toward resolving them through peaceful resolutions. As Benjamin Franklin said.. "There never was a good war or a bad peace" So on this Memorial Day I think we should reflect a moment on these deeper issues as we enjoy our fortunate moments of tranquility.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Flower Bower

Today's flowers mirror the milky cloud clusters floating above in the azure blue backdrop. Like foam on the crest of a wave or the swirling seam in an eddy, this magnificent display is like a tiara adorning something greater than ourselves. Like pollen to bees, we are drawn to this visual sweetness and rest our eyes a moment for nourishment before moving on to new sights.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Turning Toward Your Shadow

A book I once read reminded me that a shadow is our perpetual twin. In this unusual photo it is hard to ascertain what object has casts its reflection as this wheeled structure. Located at the center of Bend, Oregon's Old Mill District, there is a statue which commemorates the lumber mill which operated at this spot for over a century. I suppose we are looking at the shadow of the wheel of time or the wheel of progress or a depiction of the machinery that churned once majestic forests into dust or simply looking to deeply for meaning when no intention exists except art itself. For Shadow Shot Sunday I prefer my eye to rest on the spokes and rim and imagine a giant bicycle turning through the sky and me riding the currents uphill and downhill into the distance.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Home on the Range

Most people associate Oregon with miles of lush green forests as a result of excessively rainy weather. I have often heard it said by out-of-staters that they couldn't live in Oregon with all that gray and wet. That viewpoint may apply to the Oregon Coast and the West side of the Cascades, but as you can see by this photo, which represents the high desert on the East
side of the mountains, much of Oregon looks like wild West. In the distance Mount Hood's snow-covered peak rises 11,249 feet and is one of many dormant volcanoes that form such a magnificent backdrop to Central Oregon and Bend in particular. If you come to visit, bring your skis or fishing gear or your canoe or off road vehicle but you can leave your umbrella at home. For Skywatch Friday this picture assures you that here the deer and antelope(pronghorns) roam and, most of the time, the sky is not cloudy all day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The other day when I snapped this image, I enjoyed the fact that the picture showed such a diversity of trees are found in Drake Park in Bend, Oregon, but was distracted by the little yellow markers which, like blossoming weeds, seem to be popping up out of the grass. On further scrutiny, I determined these flags do not locate the cup on the greens for aristocratic golfing insects, but have been placed by park maintenance to keep people from stepping on spots on the grass which have been reseeded. Consequently, in conjunction with the multi-hued verdant foliage, this "green" consciousness makes this photo doubly suitable for Think Green Thursday and the Thursday Challenge. The park is used heavily during the day by picnickers and downtown employees managing to relax or eat lunch and every evening practically, it is filled with folks enjoying some kind of festival. In addition , a plethora of resident Canadian geese and Western Mallard Ducks, who live in the adjacent pond, peck and poop perpetually in the park making this lush, comfortable spot a most colorful and vital destination in our to city.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere

It had been my intention for Watery Wednesday to show Daily City Blog followers the magnificent Olympic-sized pool the City of Bend, Oregon has provided for its citizens but I "floated off" in a different direction after seeing this shot. Amidst the haphazard and artistic arrangement of flippers, kick boards and peanut floats, a device squeezed between legs, to keep leaden-bodied swimmers, such as myself, level and afloat while doing the crawl, a big toe and several smaller ones round out the scene in the left hand lower corner. Pools are "awash" with diversity. Creating a cacophony of watery sounds and a myriad of colors and reflections, there is the source, the dripping flotsam, namely the swimmers. In and around its edges, pools demonstrate better than anywhere the self-evident, that humans are of vastly different sizes, shapes, color and physical condition and revealed amply in the scantiest allowable clothing. As the summer approaches, the cool refreshing water lures us,we land animals, to swim like fish or like tadpoles. Anyway sometime this season, at least once, hold your nose and jump in!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A new Way of "Seeing Red"

Having the purpose of taking a picture every day, like drawing or painting for me, helps me be more relaxed and less likely to become angry at trivial events. Of course, being retired and less stressed by the rigors of earning a living, also contributes greatly to a better attitude. This better state of mind makes seeing the red of this Japanese maple against the rich blue sky of the high desert of Bend in Central Oregon all the more pleasurable. This delicate tree with its filigree-leafed canopy, one of many that adorn the downtown streets near the tea shop where I am sitting, luxuriates in the morning sun and is my prime subject for this glorious Ruby Tuesday. When viewing her majestic quality, the lyric comes floating to mind; "Red is the color of my true love's hair" and today, "seeing red" means being at peace and appreciating beauty rather than feeling anger.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Flower Power

I rose early this morning to bathe my addled brain in something yellow for a Monday post. I thought I would snap a photo of a Bend, Oregon sunrise. Instead like a hungry honey bee, I lit on these small yellow native flowers. I was struck by their star-like pattern and realized also they looked like little gingerbread people. Then they reminded me of propellers on boats or planes. I suppose if they were white they were the shape of snowflakes or if clear like raindrops splatting on the pavement. How amazing it is how often in nature shapes are reflected and repeated in something else large or small, fluid or solid. In any case, it was a morning when these soft, fragrant jewel-like clusters left me with a sense of awe.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Time to Unwind

How many of us enjoy the leisure of a sunny Sunday morning sitting out on the patio of a local bistro drinking coffee, reading the paper and taking in the gentle breeze. Feeling the warm rays on my back while waiting for a croissant, I spied this shadow of an adjacent wrought iron table, chair and awning. It reminded me of a timepiece on a day on which time didn't matter much and an apt subject for Shadow Shot Sunday. It is one of the many relaxing moments I enjoy here in Bend, Oregon and imagine many of you are sharing with me this respite from the busy week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time for Reflection

This sculpture of a forlorn man peering into an empty wallet accompanied by two curious gulls is located on the corner of the busiest intersection of downtown Bend, Oregon. The subject matter is somewhat anachronistic since Bend itself is, for the most part, more affluent than many communities in Oregon. Perhaps it was the intent of the city to remind its wealthier citizens to show caring to those who have had misfortune. In light of today's economic situation, I felt this statute was fitting for Shutter Day. This poignant scene is symbolic for many folks throughout the United States and other countries as well. The turned up shoes, the blank stare of hopelessness depicts the mental frustration with the American dream. At this bench only the birds seem interested. Perhaps this photo can serve as a reminder to us all that fortunes are capricious and that this stranger could easily be ourselves.

Friday, May 15, 2009

In Tune with Life

The upbeat lyrics of Bobby Darin's classic tune "Lazy River" kept running through my mind as I framed this picture. He croons to join him on a lazy river in the noonday sun under a sky above where everyone's in love. On that "note" the reflection in the Deschutes River and the aquamarine sky above promise us romantic tranquillity for Skywatch Friday here in Bend, Oregon. Bring your loved one or find him or her here. Then sing happily ".....go up the lazy river with me."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reaching New Heights

I have spent a long time thinking about whether photos on my blog should primarily describe Bend, Oregon or whether they should include what might be called artistically pleasing images that don't specifically add pertinent information about my community. So I rationalize today and call this image a hybrid.
This gnarly old tree in Drake Park points gracefully over Mirror Pond, an impoundment of the Deschutes River. I am sure the tree has witnessed many a worried parent coaxing intrepid children who have shinnied up the trunk to return to the safety of the ground. Many years ago I would have been one of those children. Not that I am an old codger now, bent over like this tree, just old enough to remember the joy of being young. Like the tree directing one's eye to the shiny blue water, this image may renew our urge to climb like children and experience the excitement of seeing and feeling the landscape differently.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Tender Touch

The tiny detail of a lady sitting on a rock bench overlooking Mirror Pond in Drake Park in Bend, Oregon may seem to be a minor aspect of this photo for Watery Wednesday which, without pretense, resonates gently the quiet beauty of my city. In the background Mt Bachelor casts its majestic presence and bears witness to the beginning of a perfect Spring morning. Little does our unsuspecting subject realize that her solitary moment is actually part of a bigger picture, so to speak, that will be sent around the world for so many to see. Let us wish her the best from afar for this brief glimpse and thank her for sharing her peaceful pose for others to appreciate.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Flight of Fantasy

Generally, I enjoy photographing landscapes since they memorialize the blend of lovely shapes and vibrant color which compose Bend, Oregon's character. On this cool breezy day, to commemorate Ruby Tuesday, I chose instead to capture the flying red swan mobile which graces the round-about near my home. You might think this myopic long-necked bird knows only one way, South toward warmer weather in Galveston or at least out of town to new ponds and glens. However, like most water birds, this one spins periodically in circles and go nowhere in particular. Tomorrow, the red swan will be again amidst traffic projecting his urge toward new hopes and goals and vistas. Perhaps he will inspire us to visit your city, you never know.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lazy, Lazy Afternoon

What would a blog about the Bend area be without a picture of the Deschutes River! This remarkable river flows through my city on its magical path to the Columbia River. It is a fisherman's paradise holding lots of sassy redside trout for the patient and accomplished angler to lure. Today I walked along its banks and cast an assortment of flies in search of that big one and managed to coax one or two trout to rise to my fly. What a life! What an afternoon of seeing flowers, feeling the gentle soothing breeze and hearing the sound of water sliding by.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Where the West was One?

After having recently spent a week in crowded, bustling New York City, this cool gray photo of Highway 20 East of Bend, unfolding through the grey green sage of Central Oregon, evokes a feeling of lonely isolation. There are places still to travel where peace shares the sounds of the western breeze and the ever present tone of your mind tumbling down a quiet road.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mt. Bachelor from Lava Butte

What would a site about Bend, Oregon be without lots of pictures of Mt Bachelor standing tall among the peaks of the Cascades! This picture was snapped from the base of Lava Butte, an amazing geological, volcanic crater located off of U.S. 97 about 15 miles South of Bend. Or.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bend Beauty

For those of you who have never been to Bend, Oregon, it is located in Central Oregon on the east side of the Cascade Mountains and commonly known as high desert. Desert evokes cacti and flat sandy land, but Bend is nestled amidst white and Ponderosa pines and juniper and gets plenty of snow in the Winter. This photo is shot from an area of Bend known as Westside and looks at the volcanic peaks surrounding Bend's exciting ski area, Mt Bachelor. Jet trails created by air traffic from Portland, 200 miles away often create dramatic murals soothing to the eye.