On the horizon

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 “The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week’s photo challenge is “horizon.”  Last week, I posted a photo on my usual Wordless Wednesday that could definitely represent this photo category.  On a jaunt around my neck of the woods searching for images to captivate with my camera, I came upon that cornfield stretching as far as my eye could see.  The day was framed with blue skies and abundant sunshine.  Traveling on a side road, I drove up a small knoll and that picture awaited and begged me to capture it.  I think it does personify the photo challenge since as far as my eye could see, that cornfield was my horizon at least from my vantage point that day.

But today, I combed through photos taken last Saturday when my husband and I ventured into our nearby city and several of those also lent themselves well to this photographic category.  And as always, this photo challenge caused me to contemplate and examine how I could apply that term horizon to life. 

Since my husband and I live daily in the empty nest, we have some spare time on our hands.  Those fall weekend hours that used to be spent on sports fields watching our kids compete are now involved in chores, home repairs, or yard work.  But we like to escape the same old hum-drum of life every now and again. 

Since my husband did not grow up here in our area and he is an ardent history buff, he has a list a mile long of historical sights and museums he would enjoy visiting.  Broaden our horizons, so to speak.  So off we trotted to one of our city’s historical sights.  Hubby delighted in visiting the museum and reading all the placards.  I found my hey-day shooting tons of photos.  It was a win-win situation for both of us.

As we wandered through the park along one of our three rivers, I couldn’t help but be captivated by looking up at the horizon, which happened to be the summit of hilly landscape where several houses and buildings perch.  What a view from there!  I’ve been to the top of that horizon and seen that view for myself.  It is breathtaking especially at night when you behold the bedazzling lights of the city from there.

You can travel up to that horizon and back down this cliff side by riding on the incline as pictured in my photo. Gazing at the horizon is awe-inspiring.  But as in all aspects of life, we need to find balance.  If we only keep our eyes fixed to the horizon, we miss some amazing sights right around us. 

It’s kind of like a ‘take time to smell the roses’ thing.  Setting your sights on the horizon is a worthy goal but I want to enjoy the journey on the way there.

Live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point. Climb slowly, steadily, enjoying each passing moment; and the view from the summit will serve as a fitting climax for the journey.” ~ Harold B. Melchart

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

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One of these things is not like the other

My answer to this week’s Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge –  ‘Curves’ – displays two  photos as different as night and day.

City curves…

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…or country curves.

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Whichever you prefer.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Color my world (please) part two

blogDSCN0573And so the story continues.  Empty nest mama living a quiet life of peace and solitude with hubby feels sad on occasion because: (choose one)

a.  her children have all grown up and moved away

b.  sunshine is missing in her neck of the woods

c.  the view outside her window is colorless

d.  all of the above

If you chose response d, you win a gold star today!!  You are an ace pupil.  You’ve been reading Mama’s book of Opportunity for quite some time now and you thoroughly comprehend the subject matter.  You probably have even read her previous edition copyrighted in 2010.

So on this snowy day – yes, it is snowing again in my snowglobe world here! – this 12th page in Chapter Two, I shall reward you (and me too!) by providing a plethora of colorful photos from the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, taken last February on my mini excursion to the ‘islands’ with my husband.

They are a much more welcomed sight than the sideways snow squall I’m watching out my kitchen window right now.  Really!  The snow is blowing sideways like my snowglobe got knocked over.  Even the hawk that just flew out of a tree behind our property is fighting to fly against the barrage of snow and having a hard time of it.

So let’s fly away ourselves to a happy place via photographs!  Hope you enjoy the explosion of color in case your world is as barren as mine right now!

The spectacular, gigantic glass art pictured above hung from the dome and greeted us when we entered the conservatory.  Read more about this fascinating work created by Washington artist Dale Chihuly here: http://www.chihuly.com/

We left the snowglobe and stepped into verdure so lushly green I really did feel like we had just landed on some tropical island.  As we meandered from one section of the conservatory to another, feasting on all the colorful sights, I could not stop photographing everything, probably due to the color deficit I experienced looking outside at my landscape every day at home! I was drawn to the vibrant colors like a butterfly to sweet nectar.

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I even enjoyed the southwestern room with cacti of all sorts and shapes. Then we visited the rooms where the Orchid Show unveiled sights of glorious color in flowers so unique and intricate and fragrance so sweet.

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After this uplifting few hours of vacation time away from the bleakness and dreariness of winter, our respite ended and we traveled back to our country home….to the sight below.

Perhaps, being the astute reader you are, you will understand why I feel so color-deprived and why I love this quote by Victor Hugo ~ “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.”  

blogDSCN0653©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

City lights or country nights?

blogDSCN6877The city beckoned to us yesterday so  we briefly joined the hustle and bustle.

From our little country plot into the city is a pretty short drive and really not horrendous considering the traffic gridlock you can find in other cities.

Our nearby city has some God-created natural land aspects that make it a little more difficult to travel around like rivers and hills which require bridges and tunnels for vehicles to negotiate.  Add some construction into the mix and traffic snarls can line up in a snake-like fashion.

Middle daughter lives in the city.  Hubby and I wanted to take her out to dinner to celebrate her birthday yesterday, so we picked her up at her apartment and headed to the another area of the city where we decided to dine.  Hubby is more adept at city driving than me because he learned to drive in the concrete jungle and he navigates the city streets daily.

Being the rural girl, I learned to drive on country roads and highways.   It’s not that I can’t drive in the city, of course I can, I lived in the suburbs of a couple large cities for years.  I just don’t like to deal with the traffic of the city.   Call me wimpy, I don’t care.  (“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  That’s what a character named Wimpy in old Popeye cartoons used to say.)

Middle daughter has inherited her fine sense of direction from her former city dwelling dad and she’s learning her way around the city very well.   I tend to get lost much more easily than the two of them, so in areas I’m unfamiliar with I’m not what you would call adventurous.    In other words, I like to know exactly where I am and where I am heading.

As we were meandering around the streets of our fair city, I was glad hubby was driving as he knew how to get from point A (daughter’s apartment) to point B (area where the restaurant was).   I didn’t have a clue.   But on the way back from the restaurant to daughter’s apartment, we definitely traveled the not-so-scenic route.

Clueless me foolishly asked hubby if he knew where we were.   His answer was “Yes, this should take us to (this particular area of the city).”

“Are you sure?” I replied.

And he admitted he wasn’t completely sure, but that he’d manage to figure it out on the way.  See that would freak me out if I were driving.

We arrived at our destination with no difficulty, parked our car, and started walking along the river towards the  yummy dinner that awaited us.   The scenic sights of the city though caused me to stop and haul out my camera to take a few photos.   I do love living in the country, but there is something exhilarating and exciting about being in the city from time to time.

blogbirthday dessertAfter my short photo session, we entered the restaurant and had a lovely and delicious dinner together, just middle daughter with her mama and daddy.

It was pleasant and we had some delightful conversation.  We wished daughter a happy birthday once more after her lip-smacking, delicious dessert was placed before her –  s’mores fondue, a warmed pot of chocolate ganache and marshmallow crème with glazed graham crackers and fresh strawberries for dipping.

Daughter thanked us and then paused and added this thought, “Thanks for giving me life.”

In this day and age, that statement is very thought-provoking, and I had to fight back the tears that started welling up in my eyes.    Imagining what my life would be like without middle daughter’s life, or any of my three children’s lives, is like imagining a world with no flowers.

As each of my children grew and bloomed, the Master Gardener used my being their mama to mold and shape me into the person I am today.  Looking at my beautiful daughter,  I uttered a silent prayer to my Lord who entrusted those three lives to my husband and me and I felt humbled to be so blessed.

blogDSCN6889As summer wanes, the days are getting shorter, so by the time we left the restaurant, it was already dark.

The lights of the city caught my eye and enticed me to draw my camera out of my purse once again.  The city’s landscape at night is beautiful and this picture is only a small portion of it.

I’d have to disagree with author Somerset Maugham who wrote, “In the country the darkness of night is friendly and familiar, but in a city, with its blaze of lights, it is unnatural, hostile and menacing.  It is like a monstrous vulture that hovers, biding its time.”

To me, the darkness of night in the country is comfy and comfortable.  It’s like an old friend.   But our city with its blaze of lights doesn’t seem hostile or menacing to me.  Unlike the city Maugham was describing, I wouldn’t call our city a monster.   It’s just a different kind of friend.

Nice place to visit.  But still… I wouldn’t want to live there.

©2010 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com