Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Photos

winter then and now

Looking back just 1 1/2 years ago, I never would have guessed I would be so housebound, or that this would become my new normal.

Days dwindle down quickly, especially in winter. First light turns into fading light. The list of things I can reasonably accomplish grows shorter by the day. However, the amount of time I think I need to get through each day grows larger. For example: food prep and cooking, exercises, walking, doing my laundry, and endless weeding out of papers and other items I no longer need.

Still, I’m more as ease with my aging body than I was just one month ago. Today it’s way too cold to walk with D in the afternoon. Besides, there’s no way I can keep up with him. Our attic (remember the renovations?) has been my home away from home on most days. It’s quiet, with windows at each end, and plenty of space to get moving, or go through my exercises.

I cry more than I did a year ago. I’ve always been a weeper. However, it hasn’t been easy to weep at will when I feel pain or am discouraged. Yet if I don’t, it won’t help me accept present realities. In addition, though I’m content to post only as I’m able, I’m not thrilled with the constraints I now have.

Here’s an early haiku and poem about ‘frozen grief’. It seems I’m still learning to deal with this. Not just grief from my childhood, but the grief I’ve experienced at the hands, mouths and attitudes of people who wanted to change or take advantage of me.

winter sun
6 February 2014

winter sun pierces
my paralyzed heart waking
frozen grief at will

***

Buried deep, forgotten
Denied, minimized, ignored
Silenced, unexamined

Held at bay
‘It wasn’t that bad’
‘Others had it worse’

Ashamed of my own story
Just another privileged woman
Who doesn’t get it

Afraid to shine a light
On darkness that seems
To have overpowered me

You mean you’re this old and
You still haven’t gotten over it
Beyond it, done already?

Normal
We want normal
How much longer will this take?

Winter sun does its work
In the fullness of God’s time
Not one moment sooner


Thanks for stopping by today. Or tomorrow…
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 December 2022
Photo found at pinterest.com
Attic photos taken by DFraser and me in 2018

from the podium

Beethoven at Longwood

I seem to have gained a year overnight. Birthday #79! Here’s one of my oldest poems, first posted in March 2014. I didn’t write it for my birthday, but today it’s just right! I pray your day is filled with gratitude, thanksgiving, and hope for our weary world. After all, the wrens and sparrows haven’t stopped singing. So why should we?

from the podium
Beethoven in floral garb
conducts ode to joy

* * *

Things that gladden and soften me,
making me deeply happy and grateful to be alive:

the carolina wren and white-throated sparrow
singing outside my window at dawn

opening notes of orchestral music
warming my heart, releasing tears, relaxing my body

walking in our neighborhood at sunset
as fading light catches the tiptop of trees and steeples

being with our family for sit-down meals
to celebrate birthdays and each other

the sound of waves breaking rhythmically
on sandy beaches and rocky shores

the smell of damp pine needles on the ground
following a rainstorm in the deep South

unexpected moments of deep grief
for Mother and for Sister #3

playing the piano for no one but myself,
weeping for the beauty and comfort of music

the smile in David’s eyes
when I walk into the room

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 March 2014, lightly edited and reposted 20 November 2022
Photo credit: DAFraser
Longwood Gardens Orchid House Display

Walking at Valley Forge | Photos

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today. Yesterday evening, D and I looked at his photos taken during a visit with our West Coast daughter and her husband. Today I miss long walks and hikes through Valley Forge. I also miss visits with our West-coast daughter and her husband since Covid days began. The photos below were taken in April 2018.

Nearly two weeks ago our daughter Sherry and her husband Scott arrived for a long-anticipated visit. Yesterday we drove them to the airport for a flight back to the West Coast. Always it’s too short. Always I weep my eyes out, during and after (not without happy breaks). Always I feel softened and vulnerable. Always I love this break from routine. Always I’m loathe to say goodbye.

The day after they arrived we went for a late afternoon walk through part of Valley Forge National Park. Two things strike me when we visit the Park. One is the stillness and quiet, despite being just a stone’s throw from crowded highways and huge shopping centers. The other is nonstop birdsong, whether we’re walking by the meadow or through a wooded area.

Here are a few photos, minus the beautiful birdsong. The photo at the top shows us (minus D who’s behind the camera) just beginning our walk.

Looking out over the meadows, it’s tempting to think they were always there. Before the 1977-78 winter encampment during the Revolutionary War, almost all Valley Forge was forested. During the 6-month winter encampment, most trees were cut down for firewood and buildings.

Reclaiming the land as a national memorial involved delineating swaths of forest, creating managed meadows, and leaving space for a series of state highways, walking and biking paths, visitor facilities, monuments, memorials, reconstructed troop huts, and other renovated facilities such as George Washington’s headquarters during the encampment (a gift to the Park). The Park covers 3,500 acres (1,400 ha), gets over a million visitors per year, and is open year-round. Click here to see a visitor’s map of the grounds (not true to scale).

Here’s a little jack-in-the-pulpit beside a trail through the woods.

Now we’ll pause to ponder the look of young poison ivy in Pennsylvania. Isn’t it beautiful in the late afternoon sun? And don’t forget as you hike through the woods that so-called ‘dead’ poison ivy vines (often as thick as ropes) are also virulent.


The lovely little flowers below are not poison ivy.

On our way back to the parking lot D got a photo of an elusive red-winged blackbird. In the last photo below, I’m almost to the parking lot. Notice the shaded picnic tables to the left, and facilities for visitors on the edge of the parking lot just ahead.

Thanks for stopping by!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 May 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser, 29 April 2018, reposted 13 June 2022
Valley Forge National Historical Park

Farewell, Scotland! | Dear Readers 2

P1070327

Edinburgh Castle, high above the city

This week D and I have been looking at photos/slides taken in 2015 during our 50th wedding anniversary trip to Scotland.  It was fabulous! We flew out of Philadelphia on September 1 and spent nearly 2 ½ weeks in Scotland. Here’s one of my Scotland posts. A tiny peek into a stunning trip. Don’t miss the panorama below, taken from Edinburgh Castle. Click to enlarge (2 times if needed). 

For the record,

  • D drove us safely over 650 miles on the ‘wrong’ side of the road without any scrapes or bruises. Every now and then he had just a bit of what he called ‘terror on the road.’ Especially on the narrow, winding back roads we enjoyed for most the trip.
  • We have over 2000 photos to help us remember this fabulous trip.
  • We left our pedometers (Fitbits) at home, which is most unfortunate since we climbed up and down the equivalent of at least one mountain each, and walked over 100 miles each in cities, towns and forests.
  • We ate breakfast most days like royalty (thanks to our Bed & Breakfast master chefs!), learned to depend on TESCO and The Cooperative Stores found all over Scotland, and enjoyed more versions of yummy carrot-red lentil soup than I knew existed in this world. Usually served with an enormous, thick slice of heavenly bread.

We spent time in Edinburgh, North Berwick, Stirling, Glasgow, Oban (Isle of Mull and Iona), Grantown-on-Spey (Cairngorms National Park), Huntly (George MacDonald’s home), and Aberdeenshire (Castle Fraser).

Most amazing and somewhat strange was being together and doing only what we chose to do on any given day. The weather was mild, sometimes chilly damp and windy, but overall stunningly beautiful.

Here are several more photos from the first day of our trip. Enjoy!

First, a panorama looking down from the Edinburgh Castle to the City. Click on the photo to get a closer look. Can you see the ferris wheel?

P1070428

Here’s a flag of Scotland whipping around in the wind above the Castle. Note the wind-worn edge.

P1070379 - Copy

Now we’re down on the street, walking away from the Castle.

P1070333

This colorful window garden caught my eye–one of several in a small, quiet courtyard just off the busy street.

P1070459

This magnificent organ was in the church where John Knox once preached. No, I didn’t get to hear it being played–one reason I have to go back some day!

P1070477

Finally, here’s a little street beauty from a residential area just below the Castle.

P1070356

I hope you all had at least one or two happy adventures during the last few weeks. If not, here’s hoping you survived whatever other adventures came your way.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 September 2015, lightly edited and reposted 11 May 2022
Photo credit: DAFraser, September 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland

Cooper’s Hawk | Photo

Yesterday morning I was watching the back yard while I ate breakfast. Suddenly, there she was, sitting on a large old flowerpot next to our garage. She looked like a statue, except for her head and eyes that kept turning from side to side, craftily scanning the yard for food. Maybe a lazy squirrel or a small bird for breakfast? Yummy. But…we went out to get in our car and she decided to find another hunting ground for now.

You can see and read more about Cooper’s Hawks here. We’ve also seen them in snowy mid-winter, flying through bare trees after a tasty bird.

In case you’re wondering, the yellow post in the foreground warns us if we get the car too close to the brick wall.

Cheers!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 March 2022
Photo taken by DAFraser, 18 March 2022

Good News and three choice photos

Good News! I am not a candidate for the health challenge no one wants to face: hypogammaglobulinemia.

So I’m back to floor exercises to help ease pain in my legs and feet, walking, playing the piano, writing, resting as needed, and eating mostly vegan food on behalf of my heart and kidneys. Peripheral neuropathy and osteoarthritis in my lower spine are more than enough for now. That, plus the reality that the end of my life keeps approaching, one day and night after another.

Just for fun, above and below are three recent photos of Christmas cheer and Smudge. D took the photo at the top; I took the rest with my iPad. Am I besotted with Smudge? Yes, indeed! Especially when he’s behaving well.

Checking out the Costco box

Drowsy on our heated waterbed

Cheers to each of you!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 February 2022
Top photo taken by DAFraser; photos of Smudge taken by ERFraser

Food for soul and body | Longwood Gardens 2021

larger than life
roped off yet inviting
sparkling fountains sing

Several photos caught my attention this morning. In the photo above, a number of visitors to Longwood are standing and sitting around, watching water dance and sing in the air. D and I are sitting on a small bench, taking a short break before walking on to the meadow garden. Most visitors that day were on the older side of life. Probably grateful (as were we) for a splendid day after weeks of stifling heat and humidity.

Here are three more photos of the Italian Water Garden, minus sound effects (water falling and cascading down; no piped in music):

I’ve decided to begin writing haiku again. It’s relaxing and peaceful. Food for soul and body. Last night I slept well, though you’d never know it from my dreams. I was caught in the maze of our strange, disconnected health systems here in the USA, trying to find my way (late, of course!) to the next diagnostic test site.

So here’s to writing haiku, and to you! Today it’s cool and rainy where I live. Maybe the rain will turn into sparkling fountains.

Cheers!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 October 2021
Photos taken by DAFraser, 10 September 2021 at Longwood Gardens

Knackered Friday?

One of my all-time favorite posts! I know it isn’t Friday, but it’s coming!!!

Are you knackered? This great word comes from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia and beyond. Here are several visual definitions included for the benefit of all who are too knackered to read on.

First, a photo of Smudge (above), taken several days after he was rescued dripping wet, voracious and exhausted, by our granddaughters and their mother. Knackered. As in all tuckered out.

Here are four other helpful overviews, thanks to Google,
beginning with my personal favorite:

And three more, in case you need further insight:

Me either!

Here’s to an unknackered weekend!
With sincere apologies to my many friends
who know far more and better
than I do about knackered.

Dare I ask: Are you knackered? Feel free to share your experiences!
Or not.

***

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 April 2017, reposted 7 October 2021
Photo/Image credits:
Megan Naugle Fraser, Smudge, taken 11 August 2013
Knackered Mom: doodlemum.files.wordpress.com
Knackered Dog: memesuper.com
Knackered Cat: tumblr.com
Knackered Relaxing Oat Bath Milk: fieldandstyle.com

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Knackered

Late Summer at Longwood Gardens 2021 | Photos

The sun was out; the sky was blue; there was a lovely breeze in the air; humidity was low; and school was back in session! The perfect recipe for a not-too-crowded visit to Longwood Gardens. Plus, it was our one-day-early 56th wedding anniversary! All photos were taken by David.

Below is the central pond in Longwood’s famous water lily garden. Since there’s no easy way to capture the whole show, I’ve picked out some favorites, including one young platter still unfolding/unrolling its brand new pad. A small water ferry for a princess!

The corner pond below borders the conservatory hallway just next to an indoor desert garden display. The photos below highlight gorgeous leaves and one spectacular snow-white water lily.

We could have spent the entire day in the water lily garden. However, the sun, our determination to see the flower walk, and my yearning to walk through the meadow yet again kept us going. Besides, we were hungry for lunch. So when we walked back through the conservatory, here’s what we saw hanging from the rafters and lining the path to food and more late-summer beauty.

Finally, here’s what we saw when we sat down to eat our Happy Anniversary lunch at Longwood Gardens Café:

David’s lovely salad bowl

My cup of vegetarian chili full of surprises beginning with hot pepper.
Need I say more? 

We had a beautiful day roaming here and there. I’m hoping to post some of my favorite flower walk and meadow photos. But not today.

Thanks for stopping by!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 September 2021
Photos taken by DAFraser at Longwood Gardens, 10 September 2021

Carolina Fraser’s Grand Prize Photo

Greater Roadrunner, Los Novios Ranch, Cotulla, Texas

This was my absolutely best news of the day! One of our granddaughters, Carolina Fraser, won Audubon’s 2021 Grand Prize for amateur photographers. Are we psyched about it? Absolutely!

If you’re interested in seeing all of Audubon’s 2021 Amateur Awards, here’s the link. The photos are fabulous.

Below is the write-up Carolina submitted with the photograph.

Category: Amateur
Species: Greater Roadrunner
Location: Los Novios Ranch, Cotulla, Texas
Camera: Nikon D500 with Nikon 500mm f/4.0 lens; 1/3200 second at f/6.3; ISO 2000

Story Behind the Shot: One of my favorite places to take photographs is among the oil pumps and open space at Los Novios Ranch in South Texas, where wildlife weaves through cacti and birds perch on fence posts. On a blazing hot summer day just before sunset, I found myself lying facedown at an uncomfortable angle, my elbows digging into a gravel path as I photographed this roadrunner. I manually adjusted the white balance until I captured the bird bathed in golden sunlight as it took a dust bath.

Bird Lore: An icon of the southwest, the Greater Roadrunner is uniquely adapted for living on the ground in dry country. It can run considerable distances at 20 miles per hour and derive the moisture it needs from lizards, rodents, and other prey. When water is available, it drinks readily, but it seldom if ever uses water for bathing. Instead, frequent dust baths are the rule for roadrunners, along with sunbathing on cool mornings.

The other news of the day is pretty routine. We enjoyed a lovely, very warm walk early this morning before today’s temperature soared into the low 90s. Other than that, it was all about household stuff, and making sure the bird baths were clean and ready to go.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 July 2021
Photo of Greater Roadrunner taken by Carolina Fraser

%d bloggers like this: