I caught sight of this stunning daffodil on the way back from a walk with my wife. The sun was at the perfect angle hit the patch of ground in which this flower is planted. I peaked through the trees and buildings to create a stunning orange hue. I just had to capture it some photos. My favorite is below.

A lovely daffodil

Panasonic G7 with 25mm lens • ISO 200 • ƒ/5.0 • 1/640 sec

The Land Of Stories

I was muddling through my day when my brain became lost in some dialog for a story which had popped into my head. It wasn’t memorable, I’ve already forgotten it, but it led me to ponder.

From whence do these stories come?

Most days, in fact, I’ll find myself lost in one imaginary conversation after another. Battles are fought, lost causes are pursued, mercy is shown, and justice done. Over and over and over these stories come into my brain. Most are just random visions of would-be worlds which fly through my consciousness and are gone again. Others stick around in the back of mind, churning through my mental landscape as I pass through my days. One of these became In The Land Of The Penny Gnomes, but I have others still boiling up to the surface of my imagination.

A few of these latter dreamscapes have even iterated through generations over the course of my life. I’ve watched the technology evolve, society unfold, collapses happen, and rebirth achieved – all via daydreams in the back of my skull. In all likelihood I’ll never share most of these tales 1, they seem to exist to stir my soul up to dream and imagine and write. Some might coalesce into something I feel would like to be shared, and now that I’ve allowed one story out more might follow. Who knows?

But what is the source?

Inspiration can be just about anything. Pens, television remotes, razors, and even smart phones filter through my imagination and are transformed into spaceships 2. A Minecraft world becomes the exploration of a lost civilization 3. A tuft of grass becomes a city, built on organic technology. As my vision coalesces I wonder what the people who live there are like. What is their history? What is the political landscape? What struggles are they facing? Are they religious, and what do they worship? And on and on and on. But inspiration is more a conduit than a source, and so I’m left wondering at the very nature of human imagination itself.

I wonder if this is why my sub-conscious created The Realm. It’s nice to think there is a place of thoughts and dreams, feeding our minds with visions of the fantastic and interesting.

If you tend to daydream, and maybe even write, what sparks your imagination? Do the daydreams float on the surface of your thoughts, or are they more like a piece of gum your mind is chewing? Let me know!

  1. They aren’t any good, to be honest. They’re just mine
  2. My Nook With Glow Light was a wonderful ship, indeed. It’s difficult to read when you’re imagining to which star system your reader is going. 
  3. And one such world became Welcome To The Valleys

Petal to the meddle

It’s beginning to look like spring around the Philly area 1. It’s a welcome relief from our extended winter 2, but it’s brought on the sudden onslaught of allergies. So spring has arrived, and I’m grumpy because of it 3.

But even in my grouchiest moods I have the instinct to seek out beauty. So when my wife purchased some hydrangeas to use as centerpieces for an upcoming party I reached for my camera. The Sun had migrated to the other side of our house, but the light pouring in through our dining room windows bathed the plants in a nice even light, which fell off to some gorgeous shadows opposite the window. I desired to capture some of the texture the petals boasted, which was no easy task considering I don’t have a true macro lens for my G7 4. I didn’t get as close as I might have liked, but I do like how the photos turned out. My favorite is below.

A blue hydrangea

Panasonic G7 with 25mm lens • ISO 200 • ƒ/1.7 • 1/80 sec

  1. Though it is not quite feeling like spring just yet, that’ll come later in the week. 
  2. For a given value of “winter.” For Philly, this was bad, my friends from colder climates would say we are whining. 
  3. I am nothing if not a series of egregious contradictions. 
  4. And I wanted to go sans adapter. 

Adobe Spark in spring

I’ve been fascinated with Adobe’s Spark offerings for a few years, they are really what keep me on the platform. Adobe Spark Pages is perhaps the most intriguing due to its potential, but I’ve not make a great deal of use of it. As my vacation came to a close on Monday night I decided it was time to play with this tool again. So I share the link here, “Signs of Spring,” Adobe Spark style!

Click or tap the image below to see the Spark Page in action.

Adobe Spark Page

The need to read

Today marks the end of my post Holy Week vacation. I take this week off every year because I’m often not fit for human interaction by the end of Easter Sunday. As I’m not preaching the last two Sundays in April this year I almost decided to power through this week. I’m glad I didn’t.

This year’s post Easter pause has been different because there is a little human on the way. As such, we had a number of tasks to accomplish around the house and this is how I spent the first part of the week. I am not fond of having tasks during a vacation, as it messes with my ability to decompress, but these things needed to be finished and so I threw myself into them without complaint 1. Compounding my stress was the sudden onslaught of allergy season, which turns sound into stress and the presence of people into anxiety. It was a great week to be cooped up in the house with three other humans 2. But then something came to the rescue.

About mid-week I came to the realization I’d not read a novel in over a month, which is never a good sign of where I am in terms of my psychological health. So I determined that I would spend what leisure time I had reading instead of puttering around with video or other distractions.

From Wednesday on I managed to plow through The Southern Reach Trilogy, by Jeff VanderMeer. It was glorious. The books themselves are both fascinating and frustrating, offering little in terms of resolution 3, but I could not put them down. The more I read the more calm I became, and the more energy I had for social interaction 4. Breaks in my concentration also became less jarring, a mercy for which I am quite thankful.

If nothing else, this vacation reminded me how essential reading is to my well-being. And now I’m off to look for a new novel in which to marinate, even as I turn toward my tall pile of non-fiction. For me writing is an introspective act, both good and essential. Reading, on the other hand, is freedom. What a wonderful gift.

About the featured image

This decorative bird cage hangs in front of a house down the street from me. It’s door is welded open, giving the impression that whatever was kept inside escaped to freedom.

Decorative Birdcage against a blue sky.

Panasonic G7 with 14-42mm lens • 35mm • ISO 400 • ƒ/5.6 • 1/4000 sec

  1. And the bathroom looks good that color, so it’s cool. 
  2. The weather was terrible. 
  3. Which is something telegraphed throughout the entire trilogy if you pay attention. 
  4. Perhaps because I was lost the novels and so human interaction became minimal as a matter of consequence. 

Signs of spring

Spring has been rather reclusive in 2018, so when I went out this afternoon to drop off something at a friends house I brought my camera with me. Even though it was chilly it looked like spring, and I want some photographic proof spring had arrived 1

I captured some typical spring photos of new buds on trees and fresh flowers, but my favorite image from the walk is below. There’s just something about the image of children’s toys and sidewalk chalk that reassure me winter is, indeed, on the way out. Good riddance!

A toy mower out on the sidewalk

Panasonic G7 with 14-42mm lens • 42mm • ISO 400 • ƒ/5.6 • 1/800 sec

  1. Aside from the allergies. Though this year I’ll deal with them. Just no more snow!