Sunday, March 31, 2013
This is one of those views I never tire of seeing. I am particularly partial towards being perched high above the water with an expansive view. This location is near the southern end of Cape Cod Bay as viewed from a bluff in Manomet. The beach may not have sugary white sand and warm turquoise water but it is mighty spectacular still! I just pretend the air temperature is 80 degrees instead of 30. The water temp ranges from the 40's in winter to the high 60's in summer. New Englanders sure are a hearty bunch - they like to swim in this cold water - unlike me who thinks any water below 80 degrees is cold.
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Domestic animals are pretty smart: I notice how they always enjoy a soft place to lie down in a warm pool of bright sunlight. They even seem to remember which location offers the best warmth depending on the time of day and sun angle. What could be better than that? I could do well to imitate that behavior. In fact, I think I'll go find a sunny spot right now.......
Friday, March 29, 2013
Some of the signs of spring jump right out in an explosion of color. Like these crocuses seen amidst and grays and browns of the ending winter.
But some of the signs are harder to see in the early days. Like this magnolia tree (upper right corner) whose branches are slowly beginning to push out buds. Soon the tree will be covered in broad leaves and providing glorious shade from the summer sun.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Every time I walk this path I expect to meet Hobbits walking on it, too. I guess I've read or watched the Lord of the Rings too many times for my own good.
The path ends at the beach where I think this must be a signal from Bilbo or Frodo.......
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood"....... begins the Robert Frost poem whose meaning scholars still can debate. How are paths chosen in one's life? Significant choices made or unmade? Selected or rejected? A choice is easy with the benefit of hindsight. But decision-making in real time does not often offer that feature. Pick A or B, but pick we must.
21 months ago I chose retirement after 40 years of working. First of all, I recognize how fortunate I am to be able to have had the choice to retire - many don't. But was it a good choice? Only now when I can look back can I try to answer that question.
The answer is yes and no. Like many of life's choices, it isn't a black and white result. Yes, it's great to have my own schedule, yes it's great to not have to get up early and commute to work, yes it's great not to have to put up with mindless bureaucracy, yes it's great to have time to do much of what I want, yes it's great to be able to stop and smell the roses. But the fact is, after a lifetime of work, what I seem programmed to do is work. I haven't figured out how to turn that off yet. I miss the work and the people I worked with - they were a talented and committed group (and some should have been committed - just kidding). I miss the importance of what I did, the responsibility, the power, the intensity of the life in air traffic control. Would I go back if magically I could? Which path would I choose?
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
A month ago in Mexico I had to wear a hat to block the sun......... (Photo by Amy)
Now back in Massachusetts I had to wear a hat for a different reason - to block the cold. And I can only stay by the water instead of in the water. What a difference 1800 miles of latitude can make.
Monday, March 25, 2013
This is a small portion of the breakfast cereals for sale in one random supermarket in Massachusetts.
The aisle stretches in both directions with brand after brand of just breakfast cereals.
Do we need so many choices of breakfast cereals? In today's world, the answer is simply - yes, because that's what a free-market economy creates. Competition with resultant survival of the successful. That's the spirit of entrepreneurship that helped make this nation what it is today. But as we continue to populate the world in ever increasing numbers, we can't forever live with the notion that more is always better. The earth is finite and some places have already taxed the resources to the point of exhaustion. It seems the business concept of survival based on selling more and more of something is reaching toward some practical limits. Fewer and fewer people can pretend to have the almost unlimited opportunity that existed a century ago. The "haves" and "have-nots" grow farther apart. Is the best that humanity can do really just survival of the richest? Isn't there more to us than the crude behavior of animals - eat or be eaten? I think I'll sit down and eat a bowl of cereal and contemplate that thought...........
Sunday, March 24, 2013
It is interesting to pause and think about the amount of external visual sensory input we process just in the act of driving an automobile: front window, side windows, rear view mirror, side view mirrors. Here are many of them all together. Since it is winter, I just stopped in the road to capture this image. Not as much traffic this time of year going to Manomet Point as there is during warmer weather.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
After what is maybe the last snowfall of the season, all sorts of strange critters were seen scampering about on this path through the woods.
This sidewalk has been shoveled and readied for feet.
Shortly after sunrise, the snow is still stacked high on the branches. Not deep enough to cause much damage but, deep enough to cause much beauty.
A small pond in Manomet.
Pond Panorama - click on image to view full width.
Pond Panorama - click on image to view full width.
But the storm has passed and the sun has started breaking through the remaining clouds.
As the temperature rose to near 40, the dripping, falling, and melting happened quickly. By the end of the day, only in shadows did any snow remain. Click on the arrow for a short video clip.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Last year it was about 70 degrees at the beginning of spring, this year ice is still forming on the local ponds. But at least it melts quickly and fractures in a very photogenic manner under the early morning light..
And just when the ice is almost all melted, along comes another snowfall during last night of 4-5 inches. It may not be warm outside but, it is spectacularly beautiful anyway!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Recently, I published a blog post about one of the greatest inventions/legacies of humans. That was the concept of a public library. Here is perhaps an even more important one: the dedication of natural areas to be preserved in natural form forever. Center Hill Preserve in southeast Plymouth offers, beach, marsh, and woods for all to enjoy.
Plymouth, like many towns and states across the nation, recognizes the value of conservation land and purchases and sets aside such properties. A great way to spend tax funds from all the people, for all the people, forever. It is not a passing fancy to satisfy some political whim but a real contribution for our children and their children who inherit this planet we leave behind.
And for a moment of Zen, here's what it sounded like on a late winter day. Click on start arrow to listen.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
It may be cold outside still, and most of Massachusetts is covered with snow but, the crocuses know to push up from the earth toward the daily increasing sunlight - another spring is born.
Soon, the marshy edges of Bartlett Pond will start to take on a hint of green.
And these lobster traps will be pressed into service once again as the local trapper heads back to the sea.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
A foreboding sky over Cape Cod Bay as viewed from Manomet bluff.
Soon, these trees will start to bud in the annual rite of spring.
And this boardwalk will feel the slap of happy feet walking to White Horse Beach.
But today, the final day of winter, the northeast United States is treated to another beautiful snowfall! (Panorama - click on the image to view full width).
Monday, March 18, 2013
The traditional St. Patrick's Day Parade was held yesterday in South Boston under clear and bright blue skies with a chill breeze. Temperatures hovered in the mid-thirties but that did not dampen the spirits of the many revelers who attended.
Parades are ultimately about people - the opportunity to gather outside, meet old friends, make new friends, watch people behaving and misbehaving, see and be seen, have a few laughs, and maybe support good causes. The photo above shows the river of humanity streaming out of the Red Line's Andrew subway station before the parade started. I hear this river of humans continued with each arriving train for the next few hours.
I knew I'd be in for a lot of green today after seeing these women before I even boarded the train. My strategy was to board at the beginning stop, Braintree, so I could get a seat. I barely achieved that as thousands of others apparently had the same idea. Each stop heading into town saw packed platforms and folks cramming into already packed trains. (It was like an Independence Day celebration except it was cold.)
This was my favorite green feature of the day.
He even bent down to let me get a good top shot.
A few green tutus and many little green hats were spotted.
And a few big green hats, too.
The Sheetmetal Workers Local had a Tinman in the parade.
Green pants were popular, as were these flyers advertising a local doctor's clinic to get your medical marijuana prescription since it was approved by Massachusetts voters last year.
More green hair and a reminder to drink responsibly. Overall, the crowd was younger than I am. I doubt some took that advice to heart but I left before the serious partying began.
Just about green everything.
I'm not sure what an Irish pirate mixed with clownface means but there he was.
More green hats.
I didn't seen many green kilts and garters - it was really too cold to bare much flesh, unless.......
.....you were these two women representing PETA. I am a vegan too, but you won't catch me parading around on a cold winter day in my bathing suit - but these two women were quite popular as they passed by. Perhaps it helped a few in the crowd think about being vegan and not killing animals for food or pleasure.
Many carried their shot glasses around their necks so they could share a drinking moment with friends. Of course they were drinking water or soda since drinking alcohol in public is prohibited - yeah, right.
Thousands milling about before the parade began in earnest.
The sidewalks in places eventually became impassable - a good time to stop for a lingering kiss.
Some brought their pets - mostly small.
Some looking rather gruff but happy for a scratch behind the ears.
The Boston Police motorcycle corps led the whole shebang. They know how to dress for warm.
It was a great day to be out and about among the lively young folks celebrating the patron saint of Ireland. There are more people of Irish descent living elsewhere in the world than in Ireland itself - ten times as many live in the United States as in Ireland. The Boston area has the greatest concentration in the United States. As they say, "Éirinn go Brách."