It was 7 o’clock on a Monday evening and like every good worker bee I was sitting on the sofa at the end of my day’s work.

I might well have stayed sitting there for the evening before climbing off to bed but at the very end of the show I was watching, one character asked the other if they believed in redemption.

Now, that was enough to stop me in my tracks and I turned off the TV and just sat there for a while; not moving, just lost in thought. And so after a little while, I decided to head off to Lake Mirror to release the bad thoughts into the night sky and find some peace of mind.

So, I grabbed the camera (as always), along with the little glass globe that Morgan got me and a few wall tiles and headed off to see what I might be able to conjure up in the process.

At the end of this blog are a few pictures. The first two have been turned upside down, because with the globe acting like a lens, the image ends up upside down in the first place. The third one is as-shot and then the fourth shows my set up for the shot.

I was very pleased with the end results and while there isn’t really much variety to show off, I was really just looking for a single shot.

Hope you enjoy!

Anyway, back to the point of today’s blog. Redemption.

In a true religious sense, the concept of redemption is very much aligned to atonement for prior sins. It is the belief that a person who has committed some grave sins can actually find forgiveness in future acts.

On a wider level, redemption applies to any past errors that we have made and the belief that we can return from even the most serious of errors through determination and positive acts that restore our former position.

Like most of us, I have made errors, wronged people, broken promises, and hurt loves. It is humbling to see that in yourself but I suspect if you live long enough, then you get to witness your own failings on a giant screen in Technicolor.

Unless life cuts a person short though, we all get a chance to recover from our past and build a better version of ourselves that moves forward.

There may be those that don’t even recognize or acknowledge their past failings and I genuinely feel sorry for them. Because there is a wonderful sense of freedom that comes with seeing yourself as an imperfect soul.

Yes, it can be a source of self-pain and self-disdain. But once you have recognized the imperfections, it gives you a chance to redirect yourself and strive to be that better person.

Whatever the “sin” there is forgiveness. But in the first instance, you have forgive yourself. If you don’t forgive yourself, then how do you reasonably expect those you have wronged to do so?

And in truth, self-forgiveness should be earned. Not easily given. It should only come on the back of constructive changes that take you away from your errors. You have to be able to objectively step back a distance, point a finger at yourself and say “I am not that same person”.

If you can do that, then your life ahead becomes one of redemption.

In watching the sun go down last night, I resolved to move forward on a couple of things that inaction risked losing myself to. So I used the setting of the sun as a symbolic way of drawing a line in the sand and closing our the past.

Sunsets have that wonderful ability to bring closure to your day. And then if you are lucky (and you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t), the following sunrise gives you a chance to start all over again.

Yes, they are only symbols of closure and new starts, but most of what actually goes on in our minds are symbolic. We look for guides and reasons, signs and indications. This is how we plan our forward life.

Our past life, no matter how bad it played out, is our past life. Other than it got us to the point we are at today, it plays no part in how we move forward.

Troubled souls seek redemption in their future. Imperfect souls that accept the imperfection, find it.


Brittany visited yesterday evening, so even though there was heavy cloud dominating the evening sky, we still grabbed the camera and hoop and headed off for Lake Parker to watch the sun go down.

In truth, the sun fizzled out of view long before it hit the horizon and if I hadn’t been in such good company, there might have been an air of disappointment in the evening.

But instead, I just watched her hooping to the sounds of her music and focused more on her shape and moves than what the surrounding light was doing.

At the start of the evening there were a couple of people nearby so she hooped with a facemask, which is very much a sign of the times these days. But when they were gone the mask came off, the music from her phone mixed into the balmy breeze, and her dance seemed at one with the calm of the evening.

There are a few pics at the end of the blog and forgive my messing with some of them. I just chose to filter the sky in a couple of different ways to make up for its own lack of color.

In any event, as I sorted through the images this morning, the whole aspect of silhouette began to play out in my head.

In a photographic sense, the use of silhouette like in these shots allows us to focus on the shape and movement of the subject of the image, rather than the subject themselves.

I’ve noticed that when you choose to silhouette a person in a shoot, the person is best suited to be thin and wearing tight fitting clothing. Brittany is an excellent candidate for such shots and I am fortunate that she doesn’t mind the incessant shutter-clicks while she is losing herself in her own moment.

But, beyond photography, there is also a real value in silhouetting the subject of whatever situation we find ourselves in.

What I mean here is removing the actual person from the thought being processed and only focusing on their actions and behavior.

So much pre-judgment and profiling occurs when we witness a situation with a person we love or hate, a person who is the same color as us or a different color, a person who has our politics or the opposite.

And this profiling alters how we see what we see.

For example, most thinking people of my politics see the dotard as a pussy-grabbing, lying, racist and so every movement or tweet he makes is viewed from that perspective. Others see him as a man of the people who always says things in jest.

And some people see a black male, in ghetto-clothing walking towards them and they get nervous. Others see just a man walking towards them and they pass each other by with acknowledgement.

Sometimes we encounter a disagreement between those we love and someone we don’t and we find ourselves drifting to the the view point of the former, even though the latter may be more correct.

Some of us watch the same game of soccer as everyone else but we see all the unseen fouls committed on our players, while the opposition gets all the calls in their favor.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that when we create a silhouette of a person (or persons), it allows us to remove our bias from the equation and look more objectively as to how it has played out.

The benefit is not just the reduced polarization that we feel on an issue, but also it allows us to see the other side of the situation as being “people” too.

Reducing the feeling of us and them is a very important part of building a more harmonious world. People who choose to divide and incite hatred always use an “us vs them” scenario… never affording the opposition the status of being people also.

It is a mechanism that has traveled the ages in all four corners of the world, enabling wars against the “enemy”, and allowing us to shoot or bomb them without consideration that they are just people too. People like us.

Silhouetting allows us to extract our animus feelings of a person or people and look only at their actions and the impact of such. It allows us to establish bridges over a subject when we find a common ground even with people we are normally averse to.

And common ground always exists … both sides of any situation are people. They live and breathe like us, have families like us, dreams and hopes like us, and they bleed like us.

We just have to open our minds to the possibility that they may have more in common with us than we are predisposed to think.

Have a wonderful week!


It was a somber week. Work was decent but losing a dear friend took the wind out of my sails and I found it hard to elevate my thoughts away from sadness.

So, yesterday afternoon I decided to treat myself to a trail and I broke away from the computer and headed off to Circle B for a while. It was late afternoon and it broke all my rules of early morning trails, but I needed the escape.

Nature trails have the wonderful ability to recharge our batteries at the toughest of times and yesterday was no exception. They had a couple of trails closed off for alligator nesting season so it kind of forced my hand with the path I ended up taking.

But my whole time there I only saw three other people and that was a fleeting moment. For almost the entire journey it was just me and my thoughts and the wonderful natural world around me.

All five senses had their moment yesterday. The smells after prior rains were so wonderful, there was no mistaking that I was away from the human world.

And the humidity carried a taste with it that I happily gorged myself in.

Visually, there were creatures and plants and water everywhere and I was saturated in them.

I stopped along the way and touched the softness of a seeding little plant and it was so soft, you could just about feel the edges. (it’s in one of the photos).

But it was the sound that created most memories for me yesterday. A couple of moments along narrow paths, I was surrounded by the incessant growling of hidden alligators. It was all around me … left and right, in front and behind and it was wonderful.

I have experienced it at times before and so it didn’t scare me because I knew it was territorial rather than aggression. But its effect was to remind me that I was in their world and not mine. And I was alone.

It is a very humbling experience. And if photographs could capture it, this blog would be full of them. But instead you will have to settle for a little variety of birds and butterflies (including a wonderful snake who was crossing the path right in front of me). I hope you enjoy.

Anyway, the whole experience was truly one of being immersed in a world that was happy to swallow me up. The lack of humans meant there was no distraction from the natural world around me and by the time I was finished, the losses of the week were no longer relevant and life seemed balanced.

I wish I could fully explain the growls because for those of you that have never heard alligator growls, they are so base that you can feel them in the pit of your stomach.

I suspect we humans feel them in this way because it is meant to evoke a flight or fight response. If so, the flood of adrenalin I experienced only served to increase my happiness with the moment and not run from it.

And the fact that these creatures were all hidden from view heightened the experience even further. As I stepped slightly off the trail to get that butterfly shot, a growl suddenly stopped and I became aware that its owner could probably see me now so better to just step back on the trail and keep moving.

Sometimes recognition that the world does not revolve around us is an important aspect of being able to deal with grief. It helps put things into perspective.

Life and death existed in every inch of those trails yesterday. We humans focus heavily on the social relationships within life and when we lose someone we mourn. It is in our nature. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Perhaps if I had lost my life to an alligator yesterday, there would be those who mourn me today. But as the sun arose over a new day on those trails today, I can pretty much guarantee that there is very little mourning going on for all the other creatures that never made it to see this day.

Instead, I strongly suspect that the natural world is more about a celebration of life. A happiness to be here and a contentment in being able to live out the day.

As humans we place heavy emphasis on the social experience of life; the joy of sharing it with those around us. And when we love someone the joy increases. And we are right to do that. Because it is part of the human experience of life.

Unfortunately we have evolved to focus too much on the death portion of life and because it represents an unknown to us we then attach fear and loss to death that really is more damaging than anything else.

Religions tend to focus on life after death and creates a perception that we will see anyone we lose here again sometime up in the clouds. It soothes some people to think that way and that is fine. I call it the placebo effect of religion. It does no harm.

Perhaps if we disarm the fear of death and could learn to embrace it as a more natural part of the life experience, then the feeling of loss would be lessened and allow us to focus on the time we have here together.

Life can be a celebration if we focus on the here and now and those that we are fortunate enough to have in our lives. Sharing time, experiences, and love with whoever we value is a true medicine for all concerned.

I am not saying for a moment that the feeling of loss isn’t real. I am only saying that once we have experienced it, we need to stop, lick our wounds and move forward. And celebrating their lives with us is much more natural than mourning their loss.

Those we love, live in our world and share our experience. Those we have loved, live in our hearts and share our memories.


I was in the middle of watching a number of back-to-back Weird Al music videos last night and my mood was in a definite happy-go-lucky place.

Then, out of the blue, Ashlee’s Dad reach out to me and told me that she was dead and in a moment, the world suddenly stopped turning.

Ashlee was a dear friend who lived with me for a month or so a while back and to lose her so suddenly in a tragic road incident was mind-numbing.

Her Dad and I spoke for a few minutes and when I hung up, I just sat there alone in silence and so many thoughts rushed through my head.

Ashlee and me at Picnic Island

A huge storm blew in out of nowhere and the whole house was engulfed in darkness and torrential rain that lasted about a half hour and, as Morgan pointed out, it totally suited the mood.

Happiness can be a fleeting emotion and nothing steals it away like the loss of someone special.

And Ashlee was very special. She had a lovely soft side with a big heart and an even bigger smile. She will be greatly missed.

it is difficult to come to grips with any sudden loss and it always leaves so many questions unanswered. Her parents are wonderful people and my heart goes out to them at this moment.

Short blog, this one. But I just wanted to point out why the world is slightly less whole today.

R.I.P. Ashlee


Summer solstice is in many ways my favorite day of the year.

I am not a night creature and daylight is very much my friend. So, arriving at the longest day of the year is always a special and fulfilling moment.

Beyond it, the year regresses toward darkness until winter solstice again marks the turnaround.

So when yesterday evening came around, I fought off a feeling of loneliness and decided to recognize that special time of year by taking a stroll around Lake Mirror in Lakeland.

It’s a good lake for a stroll but not so great for photographs because it is just a few blocks from city center and therefore impossible to escape the buildings on each horizon.

So, waiting until that moment where the buildings become silhouetted is about the only time I ever enjoy taking pictures down there.

It was a mostly clear sky in the west so sunset failed to deliver that magical plethora of colors that we sometimes see here in the Tampa Bay area. But a few jet trails in the skies and some feathered friends taking off to wherever managed to add enough character to make the imagery interesting.

I hope you enjoy the little collection at the end of this blog.

But solstice is more than just a physical moment in our year when the northern hemisphere is tilted more towards the sun that at any other time. It is also a reminder of the ebb and flow in our lives.

We experience life through a series of moments that flow from good to average to bad and it is important to recognize that none of it is constant. Life takes us on a ride that reaches many lows but then inescapably returns to highs when it is ready to do so.

There are moments when we feel stuck in a rut of low moments and we wonder if we will ever get out of it. But then, we always do. People who give up during that downward swing do themselves an injustice in having a lack of appreciation of the bigger picture of life.

The bigger picture takes into account our seasons and can console us, during the bad times, that better times are just around the corner. And it also cautions us not to take for granted our good moments as they will inevitable disappear on us.

Our lives can definitely become moment-focused. Even the best of us get drawn in to having to deal with a tragedy. But dealing with it, doesn’t mean getting lost in it. We should always remind ourselves that “this too shall pass”. This is an old Persian saying that tried to describe the fluctuations that life puts in our path.

It’s why casinos will readily allow winners to keep rolling the dice, safe in the knowledge that winning eventually stops. And it is why patrons keep rolling the dice even though they are thousands of dollars down.

Understanding and accepting this aspect of life (it is called ephemerality, by the way) is a key ingredient towards finding inner peace. It is a soothing balm in bad times and a calm reminder in good.

So whenever I hit a low, I stop and lick my wounds for a moment. But then I put on a band-aid and move forward because there will come a day when I probably don’t even fully remember that hurt. I have confidence in that truth.

My Mom referred to me as her “cockeyed optimist”, largely for my reactions to bad times. But it is hardly real optimism when you KNOW that times will get better. I would define it as realism.

So keep things real, folks. When good times happen don’t get too high. And when bad times happen, don’t get too low.

This is just life reminding us that try as we might, we are not in control of it. Hell, some of us can’t even control our hair. I am not sure why I said “us” there … I meant you folks with hair.

Have a peaceful week, everyone!

Rainbow Connection

I was just doing what I do every morning. I was washing out the cat dishes. A little later than normal, admittedly, but I decided to do an early clean-up after daisy had finished her breakfast and gone off for a stroll somewhere.

I was using a garden hose to spray out her dish and I noticed that with the low angle of the sun coming through the trees, I suddenly found myself in the position of rainbow maker.

So, I grabbed my camera (now that’s a first) and got this shot as the spray from the hose reflected off the dish and landed on a nearby shrub.

In an ideal world, I would have captured this rainbow much differently; the state of the yard isn’t very flattering and that isn’t a shrub I would have selected to have the rainbow’s end on. But the light was cutting a narrow angle across the yard and who was I to argue with the early morning sun.

But that’s the thing about rainbows … sometimes you just have to take them where you find them.

So, here is the shot and yes, I know it won’t win me any awards … but it did allow my brain to kick into gear with a general wonderment on rainbows and how we connect to them.

Jim Henson’t Rainbow Connection is one of my very favorite songs. It holds such significance for an outlook on life that is closely shared with Victoria and Morgan.

His opening line of “why are there so many songs about rainbows” sets the stage for their significance. While their science is pretty simple to understand their connection to us humans is rather complex.

You have the end-of-the-rainbow brigade who muse about leprechauns keeping their pot of gold at the end of one and they assign an almost magical connotation to them that keeps them chasing.

And by the way, if there are such people reading this and they want to dig at the end of this one, help yourselves. This is actually an ugly old tree stump that I have been eager to get rid of for years. In fact, I can point out all the other places that I have spotted rainbow ends all over my yard – bring a digger!

Anyway, I digress.

The greater significance I believe with respect to rainbows is what I was taught as a child in Ireland. They signify the end of rain and the arrival of sunshine. Which given the frequency of rain in Ireland, was a genuine cause for celebration.

While physically, I see nothing wrong with rain, metaphorically when our lives experience a sustained period of rain, we ache for the respite of some sunshine.

Some very dear friends have been getting pummeled by rain these past weeks and between Covid, financial pressures, and job losses, I think that story is being repeated all across the world.

So, the significance of a rainbow becomes greater in such instances and the act of finding one heralds in a change of tide.

Rainbows become a physical representation of a change of circumstance and so our hearts respond in excitement when we come across one.

When it comes to change of circumstance, there are those who wait patiently for a rainbow and there are others (like me and my hose) that actively seek to make one.

Now don’t get me wrong … I know there are many kind of rain that we can have no effect on. But I am also convinced that there are many that we can.

Do what you can do and don’t worry about the things you can’t … this is very much my credo in heavy rains.

Yes, grab an umbrella for the latter, but firstly look for the things that you can address. Chances are that that you can find a hose somewhere to wash away some of the bad stuff too!

None of us are truly helpless in our lives, even though oftentimes we may feel that way. Finding things that you can affect change with is the mark of those who refuse to get washed away in the rain. These are life’s Rainbow Makers.

Have a wonderful week and may the rains soon be behind you!

First Sense

It was getting close to sunset and I made one of those last-minute decisions to grab my camera and try to catch it. I had, in all honesty, thought about it earlier but then kind of dismissed it as I wasn’t in a very good mood.

But the movie had ended on Amazon and staring at the choice of putting something else on or hopping in the car, I chose the latter.

As I drove over to the far side of the lake, my motivations dipped further as I could tell that there was a thick band of cloud hugging the horizon and so in all likelihood, this wasn’t going to be anything special.

When I reached my preferred vantage point, a young couple were walking back out to their car and so I was very much left on my own. Sometimes I have a friend with me, other times strangers and over the months, I have managed to include them in my shots.

But now it was just the sunset and me. And those clouds threatened to make it just me.

Thankfully the sun found a little gap between the clouds and horizon to give one burst of color that lasted a few minutes. And a couple of Osprey added some action to the evening skies that kept me amused.

But it was only right at the end, something told me to look behind me and I got to see the lovely colors with which the sun was spraying the clouds to the east.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this little selection and there is one of the osprey ones where I combined eight images to show how they hover and then drop like a stone when they spot a fish below. Those eight shots happened within one second and yes, he got his prey. It is never a good time of day to be a fish.

As I drove home, I parked my annoyance with missing a shot or two that I should have got and began to think about the last shot.

What was it that may me look behind me?

I had no vision of the scene as my eyes were firmly focused on what was happening on the westward horizon.

There was no “tada” sound to celebrate the beauty that caught my attention.

I wasn’t even turning to go home.

But yet I turned.

And in case you are wondering, this particular set of colors lasted only about 20 seconds or so as it softly muted to pink and then grey.

So, the timing of my turn was critical to bearing witness.

Was it a voice on my shoulder? Or a voice within my head? Whichever it was, we commonly refer to such an effect as a sixth sense.

I have an innate reasoning that always listens to mine and I am always baffled when others don’t. I don’t pretend to fully understand what it is, but it is a remarkable tool that I think most creatures on the planet have, to one extent or another.

I suspect it is linked to our “fight or flight” response mechanism that makes us subconsciously aware of something that we aren’t directly witnessing.

Cats have this in abundance and at the slightest suspicion they will jump for no good reason.

But we humans have it too. There are many moments in our lives when things just feel wrong without any good reason. There are other moments when we know we are being watched, again without good reason.

Relying firmly on the first five senses relegates this particular sense to sixth place and more often that not it becomes unused.

Yet I would argue it is more significant than most of the first five, at least in how we deal with win-lose moments that happen to us. Tricksters, con-artists, magicians … they all prey on defeating our first five senses. It is why we end up believing something that isn’t even remotely real.

So, knowing that something is right or wrong, without the confirmation from our other senses can be the difference between success and failure and in some cases, life or death.

Because I am now in the Methuselah age-bracket, I seem to have become a source of advice for some of my very close friends. When I can give the advice based on my own experience, I do. When I can give the advice based on my own intelligence and analysis, I do. But a recurring theme for me, when I am being asked about something I have little direct knowledge or a solid understanding of, I ask them how do they feel about it.

Do they feel good or bad? Does it feel right or wrong? What is their “gut” telling them?

At the end of the day, getting somebody to listen to their gut, is generally a win-win moment. If their gut was right, then the have acted correctly (and therefore won). And if their gut was wrong, they have acted incorrectly and now they can calibrate their gut response. (yet another win)

Humans are social creatures and we have evolved into societies where right or wrong, good or bad is given to us by definition. We teach our young accordingly and tell them to listen to their elders, or do what they are told, and it ends up creating hordes of people that conform to what each society deems is correct.

This is why in the middle east, stoning someone for blasphemy feels right to the hordes. It is why in america militias armed with assault rifles can strut on our streets and scream “all lives matter” as a response to racial injustice. It’s why extermination of jews in the second world war years was acceptable because they are vermin.

In each of these cases, governments have told their children what is right and wrong on a level that supersedes their own sense and created an army of sheepish followers that don’t even ask themselves what their own sense is.

Our gut instinct of right and wrong should be enough to tell us what to do in most of life’s moments. There should be no reason to instruct someone not to stone a christian, shoot a black person, or gas a jew.

Listening to our inner self and accepting its relevance is an essential part of making it through life and experiencing true growth along the way.

There is a lot of evidence for and science behind looking to the west for sunset. But if a voice tells you to turn east, then do. Who knows what you might find.

Paralysis of fear

Yesterday evening was one of those get-out-and-try-it moments for me.

The kitties had all been fed for the evening and the food for the wild creatures had been laid out for them and I arrived at that time of the day where I suddenly have time for me.

Often in these instances that moment will equate to relaxing into the sofa or taking the camera off on a shoot and other times will put me into a research or planning mode online in some area of interest.

Recently some of this research has been in the area of drones and I finally bought one a couple of days ago . It arrived on Sunday and so I took the first 24 hours to try to learn the basics, never having flown one before.

My big fear was that my own ignorance of how to fly one would lead to me destroying it on a maiden flight; assuming of course that I could figure out how to get it off the ground.

That fear was fanned during my research by one youtuber explaining that the reason he had just bought this same drone was because his prior drone experienced a GPS failure and just flew away from him, never to be seen again.

This definitely didn’t feel like a trial and error situation, but having studied the basics a bit, I took the leap of faith yesterday evening and headed off to the ball-fields on Walker Road determined to take her up.

I say “her” because all seafarers know that you are supposed to name your vessel after a lady. So I named mine “Maureen” after my mom. She was a true adventurer and loved traveling so she seemed the right person to be remembered thus.

Anyway, there I was, standing in the parking lot, finally having figured out how to trim to ground level, synch the GPS, and set the gyro (trust me, I had no idea what all this stuff was 24 hours ago either, so don’t feel bad). So there was nothing left but to push the take-off button and hope for the best!

It was a bit breezy but the rest of the conditions were perfect for a video shoot and just a few minutes ago I uploaded the video of Maureen’s maiden flight onto youtube.

It isn’t the most wonderful video you will ever see, but the video quality from the drone was surprisingly good and gives my mind hope that once I master the controls, she and I will capture some worthy video footage over the coming months.

If you want to check it out, here is the link (it’s less than two minutes, just fyi)

I give myself a 2 out of 10 at mastering the controls, but I expect to be able to get to a solid 6 or 7 once I have taken her out a few times. After that, the world is my oyster!

In any event, the two minute drive home had me feeling really proud of myself. Not just because I didn’t crash or lose her in my first flight, but also because I had stared down my fear of doing just that and overcame it.

Fear can be paralyzing and fear that is associated with stepping out of our own comfort zone and trying something new can be completely disabling. Particularly when there is a tangible result attached the failure. In this case, losing a $300 flying instrument.

But even when it is no more than the embarrassment of failure or looking stupid in front of others, fear can absolutely be sufficient cause for never taking the chance.

And think about that phrase: “taking the chance”. While such a step will always have a chance of failure, it also has a chance of success. And invariably success will never come without taking that chance.

Waiting for a sure thing is a fools errand. There is no such thing in this world other than our eventual death. So if you want to wait for a sure thing before living your life, by all means go for it.

I don’t buy into the concept of being too old to try new things. I think that is a cozy excuse given by lazy people. My Dad was always a learner, well into his eighties and together we unearthed understandings as the opportunity to do so came our way.

He was well into his sixties when he learned the sophisticated world of fiber optics and how microns (not millimeters) can determine the difference between success and failure.

So, if he can learn such intricacies at that stage of his life, I can learn to drone.

I guess what I am trying to say is that sometimes our fears are entirely red herrings and we place them needlessly in front of our ambitions without even understanding what the difficulties are or what we are giving up by not trying.

And that is the great shame. Because success in anything requires us to try. If we don’t try, then we have already failed.

Fear is the friend of failure but no friend of mine.

Breaking the mold

It was a Saturday drowned in work and one of the least enjoyable I have put down in a while. But now the cats were fed and everyone locked up safely for the night.

Must have been around 7:30 and I too had eaten, and watched a little TV and in truth I was probably staring at a go-to-bed decision within the hour. I came through a life-changing event about a month ago and it was definitely affecting what I wanted to do with my evenings.

But this time I caught myself before drifting into the obscurity of a quiet evening and decided enough was enough.

Marty (Morgan’s little fur buddy) looked at me in surprise as I got up, grabbed my camera and left. I didn’t even take the whole camera bag; just a couple of spare batteries and I was out of there.

The rain drops as I walked down the steps to the car only served to snap me further out of any residual sleepiness and within a moment I was on my way to downtown Tampa.

Even though I hadn’t taken a picture yet, I was still feeling chuffed as I drove the half-hour or so into the downtown area. Chuffed that I had gotten my lazy ass off the sofa and was actually doing something with my evening.

Despite the rain, the Riverwalk area still had fellow-adventurers out and I decided from the outset I would embed them into my shots. There were strollers, families, lovers, friends … all just enjoying the fresh air and ignoring the occasional drop or two that added a bit of dampness into their evening.

As I took my shots, I even got to chat with a wonderful family that were taking shots of their own and my evening grew from quiet loneliness into a warm adventure surrounded by like-minded night-adventurers.

Anyway, I hope you like the collection at the end of the blog … I was overall happy withe mix of colors and shapes and having people within them gave a more candid feel to the collection.

The “chuffed” feeling stayed with me on the drive home and i mused over the whole notion of how sometimes we need to break the mold and set out a new path for ourselves.

Inevitably, the box we put ourselves in is the toughest to get out of.

For whatever reason we create a behavior pattern that becomes our norm and then we find ourselves unthinkingly sticking with it. Which isn’t unnecessarily a bad thing if the pattern we have developed is one that is fulfilling or generates self-growth.

But oftentimes, the box is built around laziness, or depression, or just misguided comfort. And our lives shrink without a thought.

It is easy to imagine such lives fading into obscurity until one day you wake up and realize that you actually died a few years ago. Or worse still that the people who once loved you suddenly realize you died a few years ago.

These self-defined boxes are not just the domain of lonely old fools. They are built by us all. They can form around us without any realization and hide us away from the living part of life.

Each time I experience an awakening moment like last night, I remind myself of the one-life-to-live approach, which has very much been my life-mantra as far back as I remember.

So how do we even recognize these boxes that we build?

Well, periodically we should look at our behavior and look for routine. If new adventures seem off-putting and you have a well-worn set of reasons for not doing something different this weekend, then either the life you are living is absolutely perfect or you have formed a mold that makes you snugly fit inside a box.

If these molds have been set for many years, they can become hardened like concrete and very difficult to break through. But if we regularly challenge our behaviors they are little more than the styrofoam packaging that snugly protects a mug during shipping. It looks solid and restrictive but the slightest push can smash through it and give ourselves an opportunity to expand our life with a new challenge.

For my part, I have recognized the event and subsequent behavior that molded this little box around me and I reject the limitations it has tried to enclose me with.

There is a life out there. One life. That is all we get. Live it.

Rainy Season

This is the time of year when we get most of our annual rain here in Florida. And this week has been nothing if it hasn’t been seasonal.

Yesterday rained on and off for most of the day. I don’t mind, but it certainly puts the cats in a bit of a mood! They are not fans of getting wet and they suddenly become all affectionate and caring; I definitely become their rainy-day toy. Which is ok in my books. I will take kitty hugs any day I can get them.

They come and go through my open office door as they wish until I finally lock them up for the evening with their dinner and some treats. They were restless for most of the afternoon, waiting for me to call it a day so I finally gave in a little early and set them up for the night. I am so pussy (cat) whipped.

After all the wild creatures had their dinner set out too, I looked at myself and realized it was far too early to get myself into an evening-mode. There was still too much daylight happening outside, albeit raining.

So I figured I would grab a camera and head off to Hollis Gardens in Lakeland to see what might be blooming and enjoying the rain.

There wasn’t more than a handful of people there because of the rain, so I pretty much had the whole place to myself while I wandered around checking in-between leaves and under petals.

I got a few nice pics worth sharing and they are here at the end of the blog. I hope you enjoy.

When I got home and began checking on my pictures is when I got the news about my friend Joey (see prior blog) and it definitely lowered my mood considerably.

It drove home the notion of metaphorical rainy seasons that hit us in our lives. Those seasons where everything seems gloomy and our souls get soaked through.

Between the pandemic and the anti-racist unrest, the rantings of a dotard would-be-autocrat, and the huge anti-social social distancing aspects of Covid-life, life has definitely been in a rainy season of late.

We seem to be struggling on a significant level without break and the general response seems to be growing intolerance.

Our nerves are frayed and our stress levels are high and those of us who see a light at the end of the tunnel in November are desperately hoping it won’t turn out to be a runaway train.

So, I parked the images for a while and just thought about how bad everything was, after hearing about Joey. It must have been a couple of hours before I opened the images back up and began to look closely at them.

There was the first phase, which was a sense of pride in getting some very decent hand-held close-ups of things I could barely see with my eyes. But then there was the second phase where the life-aspect of the rain became clearer.

The gardens were rife with indicators that the rain had been incessant all day. Petals were strewn everywhere. Blooms were in disarray. The gardens looked very un-groomed and disheveled.

Yet, the torrential rains were in fact a key part of the growth that would next happen. The heavy soaking and the washing away of detritus would encourage healing and new growth throughout the gardens.

Much like the rainy season that is hitting the world at large these past months.

Failings to deal with pandemic to the point where we have had tens of thousands needlessly die has shone a light on the dotard to where most intelligent people can clearly see the emperor has no clothes.

Needless abuse of black men in blatant disregard for their lives has elevated the discussion of racism again to where it needs to be and protesters (not terrorists, Mr Dotard) are shining a light on the inequities of our society and a level that the whole world is clearly witnessing.

Once the new normal begins to take shape over the coming months it will do so on the back of this rainy season.

The bright sunshine of success keeps too many truths in the shadows. Only the heavy rains washes them out into the open to where they must be dealt with.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually dealt with things this time?

Change doesn’t come from the rantings of a dotard billionaire. It comes from grass-roots growth that feed on caring, kindness, and love.

And nothing makes grass grow like heavy rains.