Friday, November 26, 2010

Puppets And Giants

We went down to see Springfield's annual post-Thanksgiving Big Balloon Parade. And in typical fashion we made it there a half hour late. We had missed the Cat In The Hat; but caught the Big Wreathe.

Didn't see the giant Toy Soldier, but did witness Nicholas the Penguin.

Went without the famous Garfield the Cat. But instead got Raggedy Ann.

Good enough.

Dwarfed under the floating giants and barely acknowledged by the spectator, were humans scurrying about, tugging at ropes and strings, guiding and animating the otherwise inanimate.

Or alternately filling the spaces between, with marching and dance.

Despite the soggy weather it was festive and fun, a great event for the holiday weekend. Just over too soon, but that was our bad. After a waving Santa led the last of the paraders around the far corner, the crowds broke up and everyone went back to their holiday business.

We headed back to the car and steeled our nerves for some Black Friday traffic and shopping, when the bloggerette suddenly decided she hadn't had enough of the big city and made an issue of it to that affect. So we decided to extend our downtown visit a little and turned around to rejoin the other visitors, a good chunk of which had disappeared into nearby Tower Square...

...where the festivities continued.

There was a long line to get into the annual Festival of Trees raffle, so we opted instead for a good old fashioned -very old fashioned- marionette show going on nearby. Kelly and the baby found a place to set in the crowd and watch the age old tale of Cinderella, which was already mid-show.

Hmm. What form of entertainment was this?? No electricity. No lights or special effects. No high score, no explosions, no guns., no calvary. Yet all the kids were rapt with attention.

There was no intertubes, no streaming gigabits, no lasers, no choreography. Just a couple folks tugging at strings behind the scenes. Animating the inanimate.

With all the audio-visual-instant-gratification now flashing daily before our eyes, how can some bouncing puppets on strings still be entertaining?

Where's the fun? where's the challenge? must be in the imagining.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

November 20

We miss you and Love you, Mae.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

High In The Morning

The new weekend routine grumbles on with another pre-dawn-wake-up and dark-chilly-drive to the kid's workplace. Then a steamy drive-thru coffee, a half hearted rumination on a good spot for some morning photography, and finally a blinking bewildered gaze at a truck stop sunrise.

Saturday morning was rough; still a little punch drunk from a particularly lengthy work week I just couldn't get it going and get fully awake. So it was a compromise venture just a little further up the highway, then a few quick pics at the next exit, and a U-turn for home base...getting back in before I was even missed by the bloggerette and K-Girl.

Sunday however found a relatively refreshed noggin, more up to the task and simmering with an ambitious greet for this new rival, the Sun.

Aye, today I'd even meet it closer to it's own turf.

...about 1000 feet closer.

The woods are just about completely in winter form, with just a few die hard oak trees jealously giving up the last of their leaves. Meanwhile the forest floor is absolutely slippery with the rest of the trees' leaf litter, making for some heart stopping slip-ups on the steeper sections. But the relatively short hike though brutal for the unprepared, gives up quick rewards for the diligent.

While the sun lit up the eastern side of the mountain in a yellow blaze, it filled the valley on the western side more slowly and with gentler light.

I strolled around the summit a little bit, looking for different perspectives and examining graffiti old and new on the ancient lava rock...

...all the while Easthampton slowly emerged from the shroud cast by the mountainside.

Wake up, little people.

Just then it dawned on me that the air at these heights and at that early hour was so extraordinarily cool and fresh. It just felt...clean. Like pure oxygen. Momentarily high on life, I toyed with the idea of following the ridge for a bit and maybe making it over to the wind turbine and old Mt. Tom ski area antenna.

But reason, time, and calorie constraints kicked in to harsh my mellow. I was satisfied with the morning's modest stab at carpe diem; it had been enough exercise. It's one of those experiences that really are there for the taking at any time; yet regrettably taken too rarely.

The entire morning had been just me the fresh air and the mountain heights, not another creature in sight. Only heading back down did I finally encounter another hearty soul making his way up. But not breaking the peacefulness of the morning, neither of us said a word in passing.

But it turned out it this guy was none other than the Husky Hiker himself. Blogger and Mountain Man. I only realized this afterwards, reading his Mt Tom summit tweets when I got back to my car. A kindred soul on some level, methinks; I wish I had stopped for a few words. Maybe next time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Savings

The Kid has managed to find a part time job and in these tough times, this is good. But the job requires that dad drop him off at 6-o'-freakin'-clock in the morning, on the weekend, which in November and subsequent months especially, is not so good.

What to do but brew up a batch of lemonade and take the opportunity to get some morning photography done. I've been wanting to do this for some time anyway. Saturday I tried the Quabbin...

Once you're up and out there, crisp air in the lungs, steaming cup of coffee in hand, camera on stand-by and glasses fogged up, you can begin to appreciate the nuances of a world slowly waking up.

I'm a big fan of the sunset, but they say as far as picture taking goes dawn light is just as good if not better than dusk light. More yellowy-pinky, less orangey-reddy.

Dawn generally just gets less camera play as it requires a suspension of instinct to wake up in the dark and cold. (my instinct, anyway.) But we pulled it off and Sunday I went for round two at my favorite of favorite places to loaf in the woods, Arcadia. This time much closer to the critical hour and much more hurried, thanks to Daylight Savings.

It was just about as cold as Saturday and even though it was cloudy both mornings and the sun took it's time both days, when it finally did break through...


Everybody up. Fauna...

...and Flora, all surviving and struggling in the sudden lock-up of nature without warmth...

...and humans too, maybe struggling a bit less with the help of their crazy automations.

One thing I noticed photography-wise in these two mornings is that there seems to be a little less less time to get about and look for things to shoot as opposed to sunset. Once that sun is up it seems to go very quickly from that fresh yellowy glow to the standard harsh bright white of the day.

But maybe I'm just groggy.