Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Light of my Life?

Hydroelectric power is harnessed from many dams along the Columbia River on the Oregon -Washington border and is sent thousands of miles in various directions. These particular
power lines cross Highway 20 East of Bend, Oregon, and, I assume, carry current south to light up customers in Nevada or California. Like soldiers at attention, these towers stand unflinchingly in pairs across the desert's monotonous parade ground. It is an eerie feeling in this desolate landscape to see these metal and wire interlopers weave their path through fields of sage and bitterbrush, across dry creeks and scorched hillsides. Like the thoughts of a child who has stuck large pins in an unwanted doll, so were the minds of those who decided that this architecture suitable and practical for worthless space. The priorities of progress demand sacrifice. This grid brings convenience. It is not about art or beauty. Remember your Genesis. Is that what is meant by "Let there be light."?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ridin' into the wind

In front of the Deschutes County Court House in Bend, Oregon, I spied this simply designed sculpture. It showed a cowboy twirling his lasso in order to rope bicycles. I thought how much I would have liked to have tied my road bike there and snapped a picture, but, as it was, I had driven my car to the spot. Having been an avid cyclist all my life, and someone who rides every week, I appreciate how much this area and the state promotes bicycling. Nonetheless, as more people cycle, the more difficult it becomes for riders and automobile drivers to share the space safely. I read with sadness that last weekend a Canadian woman, who was touring the Oregon Coast Highway, failed to "unclick" properly from her pedal at a traffic light, fell into a passing car and was crushed. It is dangerous out there, and yet, in spite of the challenges, most bicycle riders agree that it is worth having such a great freeing experience. Maybe, that metal cowboy knows that too. "Yup, like ridin' a horse."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Living off the land

Every Wednesday, weather permitting, Bend, Oregon, has a farmer's market. I snapped a picture of this gentleman chatting with the lady in red. I didn't overhear the conversation, but I must assume, no surprise, it has something to do with agriculture. If you have ever questioned the validity of the adage "clothes makes the man", I think this should assuage any doubt. I believe that this fellow can grow a righteous crop of almost anything, knows plenty about chicken manure, and can fix damn near anything, except probably a computer. I love listening to these country folks. The experience generally humbles me . These farmers have learned so many skills and develop incredible knowledge of their occupation. They work long hours and have to endure the caprice of the weather, the insects and the market prices. In any case, it is easy to forget, when biting into that sandwich or eating green beans, what effort was required to deliver that to the table. I think the guy looks great, and deserves to be memorialized by this post.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

lights, camera.....

Looking from the pedestrian walkway on Colorado Ave, in Bend, Oregon, I was able to capture the reflection on the other side of the bridge one of the restored Old Mill buildings glimmering on the surface of the Deschutes River. Everything in the picture appears to be bathed in a violet wash, since this particular sunset was especially enhanced, because the setting sun's rays were refracted by smoke from a nagging forest fire burning on the western slopes of the Cascades.

In the foreground, the deep-purple mirror of the horizontal concrete deck and the vertical bridge pylons form a shadow box which takes the eye inward through a progression of watery, color-laden, rectangular shapes to the windows. Here, harnessed by glass and river, the white-gold molten sun is divided and cooled, and appears like a bank of stadium lights just before game time.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A little of this

This afternoon I drove 15 miles South of Bend, Oregon, to visit Kline Falls State Park. Having not carefully consulted my guidebook which told that the waterfall was a mile downriver, I proceeded with much gusto on a narrow overgrown trail upriver. After about an hour of climbing over rocks and roots in unseasonable heat, I decided to cool off at the above location. In this country, it is easy to find special spots to relax. I sat, had a nutrition bar, and thought about the trout, like myself, resting behind rocks and eating. After a while, I turned back. It would not be long before I would be behind the wheel, changing lanes, using my directional signal, watching for traffic and be in the thick of it.

Friday, September 25, 2009

joy of innocence

Yesterday afternoon, I snapped this photo of children on a jungle jim at an elementary school in Bend, Oregon. I liked the balance of each child sitting opposite one another at peace in the world of the playground. It was my intention to post a picture where the subject matter would be without a particular theme and not illicit further discussion in contrast to my previous posts.
Yet I have to admit that the story is not in the picture. I actually found myself nervous, standing outside the fence, camera in hand. I expected any moment a parent or passerby or a policeman to suddenly tap me on the shoulder and ask me what I was doing and why I was photographing children. Please don't think I'm unnecessarily paranoid. Our adult world is full of fear and a little crazy, don't you think?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

water, water everywhere.....

As I left the supermarket on an unseasonably hot afternoon in Bend, Oregon, I spied this motley collection of water and soft drink vending machines. I was suddenly reminded of an old episode of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, where a shy and reluctant Nevada casino visitor is magically spoken to by a brightly-colored one-armed bandit, which first implores, and then demands the guest to feed more and more shiny coins into its hungry slot. The mousy man, seduced by its voice to pull the handle, slowly transforms into a compulsive lunatic and proceeds to lose his life savings.
After having just resisted purchasing a lot of useless, non-nutritional crap in the market, I was hardly tempted by these allegedly thirst-quenching charlatans to give them even one thin dime, even though they had succeeded in reminding me that I could possibly want a drink of something. By clicking and enlarging this photo, you can read the text on the bottles on the face of the machine and try to decipher what is being sold. Much has been written about the bottled water controversy and is best described in Elizabeth Royte's Bottlemania: Big Business, Local Springs and the Battle over America's Drinking Water. It is a complicated issue. In any case, rather than becoming dizzy and faint on the spot from the stress of temptation, I jumped in my car, drove home and turned on the tap. I have to admit that it is convenient to carry water, and have bought it in the past by the box. Yet I felt my municipal home-brew left a good taste in my mouth and quenched something greater in me than thirst.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Clean as a Whistle (blower)

As a result of your stimulating comments on yesterday's post regarding healthy organic lollipops, I returned to Wild Oats market in Bend, Oregon, to read the content label on the back of the package . I learned that three unusually small suckers contain 17 grams of sugar. This sugar comes from rice, cane stalks (I assume sugar) and beet pulp (I assume sugar). Now I am no guru on nutritional information, but I had a feeling that if I bought a bag, I had better not cancel my dentist appointment.
Today's photo comes from a neighborhood dry cleaner. It assures customers that it cleans clothes in an Eco-Friendly manner. In fairness, dry cleaners in Oregon must dispose of solvents properly and, in order to be licensed, pay a fee annually into a clean-up superfund. Nonetheless, what made this establishment "green" and functioned differently than your washing machine or iron at home, baffled me. I thought momentarily of asking the lady behind the counter, since I didn't see any large tubs of the special "organic" detergent which costs up the kazoo at Wild Oats, but thought better of it, since there was already a language barrier, and my question might have been misconstrued and I didn't want to lose any shirts.
I am certainly in favor of earth-friendly economic activity, but have become increasingly annoyed by those who purport this goal, but capitalize on it for economic gain, without actually helping the cause at all. Without judging this small business in particular, note the misspelling of the word "environment" on the window as symbol of carelessness on such a vital subject. Is this a way to air your laundry?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet tooth?

This afternoon I stopped in at Wild Oats Market in Bend, Oregon. This market caters to health and environmentally conscious shoppers and is wildly popular in this community. The produce is attractively displayed, the meats and fish are allegedly of superior quality and the shelves are stocked with almost every imaginable "green" product. As I finished eating a strictly organic walnut salad with light balsamic vinegar dressing, my eye caught the above pictured display.
Does the expression "over the top" mean anything to you? I understand marketing, but really "organic candy" brought to us from "Yummy Earth." My tummy starts churning at the idea of saying to my granola-addicted friends. Yeah, that's a lollipop I'm eating, but its gluten free, fat free, USDA-approved organic, and it's made from "real fruit extract", so I'm cool. Now the reason there are so many boxes on display is that this manna is actually Halloween fodder. Parents can feel good that this year that little Brittney may come home with fewer tootsie rolls. What a good, wholesome holiday it will be! Look I am all for ridding society of bad stuff like refined sugar and preservatives. I understand the arguments, but then why do I feel some business is capitalizing on the pretense that eating the right lollipop represents a higher ethic? I wonder if the sweet little treat is "kosher?" Somehow we will lick our way into becoming better human beings or are we all "suckers" at heart? (Btw. Lollipop is spelled incorrectly on the sign.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

At the Movies

Each of us probably remembers fondly a childhood movie theater. As a child, growing up on the south side of Chicago, I would go to double features on Saturdays to the Jeffery Theater in South Shore. This ornate theater was long ago gutted, as the neighborhood deteriorated, and now houses the main offices of Shore Bank, a community based lender, specializing in low interest loans for low income people. After moving to Southern California as a pre-teen, my fifty cents allowed me to see every western or horror movie at the Strand or at the historic Fox Redondo Beach. The later, filled with murals and gilt with incredible filigree had been a famous vaudeville stage for L.A. beach goers of the 20's and 30's before being converted to a movie theater. It was torn down in the late 1960's to build King Harbor, an elaborate marina in Redondo Beach. Later, as a young adult, I saw excellent movies, while sitting in plush loges in the rococo-style Liberty Theater in Astoria, Oregon, the interior of which has been photographed and been blogged in Astoria Daily Photo. These venerable old movie houses, marquees with thousands of colored lights, huge flowing curtains hiding the screen and stage, thick cushioned seats, elaborate foyers with highly polished chrome snack bars, and bathrooms with hexagonal tile and porcelain fixtures, made movie-going such a special event.

In my post today, I snapped a picture of Bend, Oregon's former vintage movie theater, The Tower. According to Wikipedia, it was built rather recently in 1940 and had a seating capacity of 998 using two levels. The tower was 40 feet high and the name had been surrounded by 1200 feet of neon tubes of green and yellow. Like so many others of its era, the theater eventually closed. Today, through grants and local support, the Tower Theater is now a hub of cultural activity. There are plays, lectures, musical events and can be rented by the public for special events, such as weddings. It has been beautifully refitted and has an excellent sound system. Nonetheless, when I go inside, I miss the feel of the authentic. I want diligent, uniformed ushers with long flashlights, Movietone News on the screen, three or four cartoons as a warm-up, and John Wayne or Vincent Price in cinemascope. Everything else seems out-of-place.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Walk on the Wild Side?

Today I climbed up a hillside to a cave along the Dry River Canyon trail 17 miles east of Bend, Oregon, and snapped this picture. I was hoping to find petroglyphs, but unfortunately there were only odd patterns of mineral deposits made from dripping water. After my descent back down to the trail, which followed an ancient river bed, I walked for two miles through a desolate landscape of rock and juniper, with towering canyon walls on both sides of me. It occurred to me that mountain lions inhabited these parts so I began to listen closely and look around. If I had seen one from a distance, I probably would have tried to take its picture!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Light and Dark

For Shadow Shot Sunday I decided I would post this simple picture. I liked this forest scene because most of the information about the trees comes from looking at the shadows. On this quiet trail near Bend, Oregon, scruffy hemlock create almost parallel lines that appear woven into the path like a pattern on a scarf or a serape. They demonstrate that, while hiking, there are great views to be appreciated while looking down too. Nestled amidst the dust and rock are silhouettes of the animate and inanimate. These shapes of dark against the light remind us of a different way of seeing. Through looking at negative space, it becomes easier to see nuances. Distinct edges are clarified and the unique beauty of the object itself is enhanced. The shadow is not shadowy. Its presence makes the world around it clearer and brighter.

Friday, September 18, 2009

familiar footsteps

As shadows lengthen into evening and the twilight begins to fall, the quiet time arrives ever earlier on the cool autumn air. In Bend, Oregon the aspen is soon bare, its withered leaves mouldering and scattered on the pumiced earth, hardened and silvery-sparkled by marbles of frost. Out my window, remaining ever-constant, stands a young evergreen, prickly and proud, pushing up toward the chilled mountain air like a forgotten scarecrow in a now fallow field. It reminds me that it is now time to open drawers to search for last year's gloves and to put my trusty sandals in the back of the closet. Soon there will be the whiteness, but not yet. First occurs the gray procession of shortening days, as the next chord in the rhythm of nature's lovesong.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Beeing aware

Others have posted honeybee pictures, so I thought it was time for me to give this Bend, Oregon hymenoptera member it's debut. I have always loved watching these little critters and have been amazed, like so many, by their behavior. Years ago, when reading the 1962 nature journal, Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons, I remember Gibbons explaining how to locate a beehive. He suggested you put blue chalk on the butt of one of these little guys to identify your subject, then watch which way he flies off, time how long he's gone, get a bucket of sugar water and place it a short distance from the flower in the departure direction and hope the little guy is lured to your treat. If you are lucky, he selects your dessert rather than the flower. He stays a while, feasts and then flies off. This procedure is repeated, moving your sweet nectar continually in his departure direction, hoping he'll find you. Finally, our friend returns so quickly you know you're near his home. Then, Eureka, you see him come out of the old tree. I don't remember what you do once you find the hive, but it probably involves getting stung a bit in exchange for fresh honey. I have never forgotten this story and often imagine trying my hand at it. Of course I never have, but now that I've told you how it's done, "bee" my guest.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

airing thoughts?

I have shown little of the actual town of Bend,Oregon in my blog. I guess I am more of a country person or, when in an urban area, gravitate toward parks and rivers when I take pictures, rather than street scenes and businesses. This picture from Pilot Butte, a promontory located east of the main business district, gives a bird's eye overview of a westerly view of my community. This peak is a favorite for locals to walk, jog, drag or be dragged by the dog. This weekend I pushed an "all-terrain " baby carriage up the rather steep, three quarter mile dirt trail to give my visiting daughter and grandson some fresh air. It is actually an amazing place, for on clear days the 360 degree views are stunning. I take this hike often to think, exercise, listen to music or books on my ipod and to enjoy the scenery. I am making progress on this route, being able to walk it now without stopping to catch my breath. Of course, there are those younger, health conscious buffs that race past me. My initial reaction is to rue my aging physical being. Then I settle down and know I am okay. I remind myself that no one is giving me a letter grade at the top.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

sleeping giant

In the distance is the shattered remains of an ancient volcano near Bend, Oregon aptly called Broken Top. I have considered climbing it and may go as far as the saddle, but to reach the summit requires technical skills and equipment, such as rope and, no pun intended, that is where I draw the line. I chose this picture for Sunday since the western slope lies in dark shadow against the early morning sky.
I sometimes imagine what this terrain looked like many years ago. When I shut my eyes, I recall childhood memories of scenes from the 1946 Disney movie, Fantasia, in which really scary, big dinosaurs are quickly overrun and covered by molten lava to the percussive sounds of Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Sometimes while walking among all the pumice, basalt, and obsidian outcroppings of igneous rock, I wonder whether I will suddenly see steam ooze from the ground and feel a portentous vibration under my feet. Fortunately, I have lived another day without being part of a cataclysmic event and am happy to witness this amazing, hopefully dormant, landscape.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

seeing it through

Looking through the balustrades at Mirror Pond on the Newport Avenue bridge in Bend, Oregon offers an interesting glimpse of watery reflections of some large pine trees. There are several similar bridges in town, which still show similar ornate concrete columns and Gothic arches. It saddens me however, when I learn that an old bridge is being replaced because it is too narrow or shows signs of wear, because, odds on, the new span will be generally devoid of character and be purely functional. Taking a picture through cold steel rails fails to provide a decorative frame for a lovely vista that lies beyond. It makes a picture look like it has been taken from a jail cell. Rather than dwell on the economic conditions which stifle artistic considerations, or wax nostalgically by venerating the architecture of the past, suffice it to say, I am thankful that this bridge near my home still lasts to enhance the majestic beauty of this town.

Friday, September 11, 2009

view from the ground

In May, I left Bend, Oregon to spend a week in New York. Like so many tourists, I stopped at the World Trade Center site to relive the memories of 9-11-01. I remember walking the perimeter and finding it difficult to sort out my feelings. Then I focused on these signs on the tall blue wall. In glaring orange, they expressed negative messages and warnings. Ironically this was located on Liberty Street. Likewise the crane in the background had the word America tilting . I asked myself whether this picture symbolized, what so many had written since 9-11, that our country had developed a paranoid, restrictive attitude toward liberty, and lost confidence in its goodness. Also I felt that the machinery, noise and foreboding barriers, interfered with my ability to generate a genuine feeling of tribute for those that died. When the signs are down and the equipment gone, maybe I'll feel comfortable with the place where humanity had been imperiled. For now, that terrible location and vision still lives in my memory. It wasn't at this place, not yet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

down the line

At the rear of the amphitheater in Bend, Oregon , there is a quiet street which leads to some townhomes and a park situated along the Deschutes River. On a walk, the day before yesterday, I spied a multitude of black-eyed susans growing by a wrought-iron fence Later, upon closer examination, I noticed the harmonious combination of four distinct parallel color lines formed by the street, sidewalk, flowers and fence growing smaller to the eye as they recede. When looked at in this manner, the picture's focal point is beyond the curve at the back of the picture. I like the geometry as much or more than the flowers, if that is possible. In any case, this scene provided me another moment to enjoy playing with my camera and enhancing the quality of my life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

seeing double

At the edge of a wooded area in Bend, Oregon, there sits the remains of the chassis of some old logging equipment. I found the wheels and spokes especially intriguing as they related to the meadow of flowers in the foreground. Like a science teacher who has placed a skeleton before an anatomy class, this contraption's rolling stock demonstrates the physiology of the flowers which are carpeted before it. It also reminds us of the sun and its rays. Other posts have spoken of how nature reflects itself over and over in things large and small. This picture repeats this notion with unusual clarity.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

High on High

Several weeks ago I posted some pictures from some hikes to volcanic peaks near Bend, Oregon. I had been told by many that the trails to the these summits were good warm-ups as preparation for my goal to climb the trail to South Sister, the third highest mountain in Oregon.
Hiking sites report this trail is to be considered a formidable challenge and is rated exceedingly steep, but not technical. I left this morning in 29 degree weather and after 1 1/2 miles of significant uphill through dense forest, I reached a high mountain plateau. However flat and relaxing this meadow may seem, as shown in the upper picture, the majestic and ominous presence of South Sister at 10,400 feet looms in the background and I had 4000 vertical feet yet to climb. I took a number of pictures of the relentlessly ascending trail covered with scree and snow as I ascended relentlessly uphill above the timber line. Like most inexperienced day hikers, I grew fatigued, exacerbated by the effect of the rarefied mountain air. Finally after several grueling hours, I reached the summit and felt incredibly elated. In the second photo, looking North, the nearby peaks are Middle Sister and North Sister. In the distance, the skyline is graced by Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams. Mount St. Helens and Mt Rainier, which is over 350 miles away, are visible by looking at the enlargement. I have so many feelings and thoughts tonight about this experience which are personal. However, most of all, I wish to thank publicly those bloggers who posted on my previous pictures and offered encouragement as well as to various friends, family members and especially Tapirgal of Astoria Daily Photo and my son Adam, who wishes his father to stay young.

Monday, September 7, 2009

flowers today

It was a peaceful Monday afternoon of Labor Day in Bend, Oregon. It was clear that the tourist season was over. There were few people on the roads, in the parks, or on the river's edge. Needing a little exercise, I decided to take a short walk and take pictures near the new recreation center. In this area of town, wildflowers grow prolifically creating a lovely atmosphere for residents and visitors to enjoy and, not forgetting, a floral buffet for the bees. It occurred to me that other municipalities could spread flower seeds in their open space and create similar environments. Much has been done to clean up and beautify the urban and suburban environment, not that the results compare favorably to the aesthetic when there was less civilization. A flower pot hanging from a light post here, and a non-native tree in a planter there, does not bring back the prairie. Yet it is an attempt, however feeble and limited, to offer nature's beauty as a soothing palliative to combat stress. Even many mall parking lots, paved on former stands of old growth trees or long forgotten orchards, have obligatory green spots. Is it better to say some living appearance other than asphalt is better than nothing? I think so.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"A Labor of Love"

In keeping with Labor Day, I decided to snap a photo of a job site in Bend, Oregon as a tribute to the founder of the American Federation of Labor, Samuel Gompers and include this 1950 plate block from my stamp collection.

Samuel Gompers immigrated to the U.S. from England as a boy in 1863 and became a citizen in 1872. At a time when workers had low, daily changing wages, labored under terrible conditions and toiled for long hours, Gompers believed that each employee deserved an "American" standard of living, which guaranteed a safe environment and enough money for food, clothing and education for the families' children. This could be achieved by economic organization and workers voting for politicians who understood their needs. He developed the still current procedure of collective bargaining to establish contracts between management and labor. In 1882, he founded the American Federation of Labor, the AFof L, and was its president until his death in 1924. He staunchly supported women's suffrage and equal wages with men. He also affirmed the rights of negros to participate fully vested in the work force. During World War I, Gompers support of Woodrow Wilson assured the uninterrupted production of war materiels, and, at the end, attended the Peace of Paris in 1919 as an advisor on labor issues.

Certainly the industrial age has practically disappeared. The new era, dominated by technology, has engendered a new relationship between employer and employee with rights and rules mandated and overseen by the states and the federal government. Yet the imprint of Samuel Gomper's hard fought gains are unmistakeable in the workplace. Today, on Labor Day, his legacy deserves to be recalled.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fowl weather?

When it comes to paddling on Mirror Pond in Bend, Oregon, the ducks know that it is best to take heed of the swans. The other day, lured by carmel corn and bread, this graceful pair posed unabashedly for photos. By the way, a male swan is called a cobb , a female is a pen, and its young, a cygnet. Also, if you are wondering how to distinguish the sex of a swan, it is easier than one might think, even though males and females have similar color and plumage, the male swan is the only bird known to be endowed with a male appendage, according to a website I just read. (Not that I would want to pick one up and flip it over.)

On that note, I recall the famous Greek myth of Leda and the Swan. Leda was the young, beautiful queen of Sparta. Zeus coveted the lovely mortal and transformed himself into a swan. As she leaned near the water's edge to appreciate the romantic bird with its handsome curved neck and snowy feathers, the ruler of Olympus seduced her, and as a result, she bore Helen, who later becomes Helen of Troy. I suppose the story might suggest, among other things, that appearances can be deceiving or tells of the capricious hand of fate.

Whatever the case, the appearance of this exquisite animal on quiet water brings to the moment a magical feeling and a sense of serenity. The image of the swan inspires poets and lovers and children to express their thoughts on beauty, and its elegant presence transforms the mundane into the sublime.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Over There

Today I finished listening to the audiobook of the 1962 classic, Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, a fascinating narration of the events of the first month of World War I. This Monday September 7th, is the 95th anniversary of the horrific Battle of the Marne, in which over 2 million French, English and German soldiers fought and in four days over 500,000 were killed on the field or died later from wounds. Worse yet, since there was no decisive victory by either side, a stalemate ensued which prolonged the war for four more horrible years under unspeakable conditions. In memory of that tragic event, I decided to snap a photo of this plaque on Newport Ave. in Bend, Oregon. Even the peace in 1918 failed actually to resolve the issues between the combatants as the future demonstrated. Last Tuesday, September 1st, marked 70 years since the official beginning of World War II in 1939, when England declared war on Germany after the Third Reich's troops invaded Poland. Maybe I missed it, but I heard nothing from any government official noting this significant event. It is often said that there is much to be learned from remembering the past. The lessons are numerous and complex. In any case, thinking about, and feeling the highlights of history is similar to the way we try to understand ourselves. The impact of our parents' and grandparents' behavior, the events of the time and the choices we made, did much to determine our personality. Likewise, the world today can be better understood by cultivating a mild curiosity about the salient events of its past.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Looking Up

With September's arrival, Bend, Oregon, like so many other places, shows early signs of the approaching new season. Cool, moist coastal air edges its way inland over the Cascades to bring the high desert picture-ready, mutable skies. In the early evening light, this barely visible, totally quiet, dusty path, once filled with fresh wildflowers and brilliant leaves, is ideal for reverie. It is easy to disappear in memories of the past or to ponder the complexities of the present. It is the unexpected freshet that portends the taking of long pants, shoes, windbreakers, sweaters, and sweatshirts from the closet and gently directs thoughts forward. The breeze reminds of school, football and the World Series. It recalls colorful leaves and softened ground with sky-reflected puddles. The time is near when nature's lovesong assumes again its Autumn melody.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Days of Yore?

For the last several days in Drake Park in Bend, Oregon I have watched a group of young people, sporting medieval clothing and, equipped with shields and wooden bats, engaging in combat. I snapped this shot without bothering to ask the name of this game. Perhaps you know? There are two teams of about six players that line up across from one another At a given moment a signal is given and a battle ensues where it appears the object is to strike the opponent in the flesh with the bat. Skilled players show nifty blocking techniques with the shield. Upon being hit, the unfortunate victim lies on the ground until one team is completely conquered. The entire foray usually takes a couple of minutes, then the teams regroups and repeats the process. No score was kept, that I could tell, nor was the contest unnecessarily rough. It seemed like wholesome, almost relaxing, fun on a sunny summer afternoon at the park.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big is in

I introduce to you the big man on the block in Bend, Oregon. He is the paragon of physical fitness and awash with testosterone. He represents the ideal. How far we have come from Hellenistic art! He is willing to take on all comers. Are you ready for him? What's the matter? You mean you could be in better shape? He doesn't want to hear your excuses. Get it together for next year. He'll be back.

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