Posts Tagged 'reflections'

Places That Aren’t

Street-signs-in-Ellicott-CityIt’s an odd thing when you look through your photos from 8 years back, and realize that several of the places you photographed (because of beautiful light, or a wonderful moment) don’t exist anymore. But the decimation that hits areas after floods or tornados reshuffles memory.

Was something really there, or was it a pleasant memory that you misplaced … and it really wasn’t on the street you remembered?  Photos I have of Ellicott City, MD are dimmed by this odd out-of-body sense that what I photographed has become a faint memory for everyone.

Places I have loved have been changed by construction: McMansions built where a Century Farm was, or the removal of several city blocks to make way for a thruway. I have been turned around in my home town because 275 year old landmarks have been removed for “progress”.

Losing people, the historical narrative of your family, friends or beloved pets is worse, at least from my limited experience.  Even though the loss of place seems small potatoes in today’s news cycle, the places that aren’t still tug at my heartstrings and haunt my dreams.



Musical Interludes


“Piano Bench”, by Cory Holt. Benches by the Bay, Sturgeon Bay

I’m in between concert performances with the chorus, although there will be runouts to sing some of the same pieces. There were 2 lovely formal concerts, but I think we left every emotion and bit of energy onstage.

We managed to not weep along with the audience during Ryan Murphy’s “A Lullaby” (link to video of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it is here). I managed not to tear up while singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (thinking about a family member who loved Kate Smith). We didn’t clash while singing the a capella “My Spirit Sang All Day” by Gerald Finzi (in practice it felt like we sometimes verbally collided or tripped over triplets).

Now, I need brain bleach to get the songs out of my head. Between listening to Big Band music, Ola Gjeilo’s beautiful work, and a Fountains of Wayne album (link is to an NPR tiny desk concert), I’m slowly getting out of performance mode and back to normal. I’ll take the tuxes to the cleaners and relax into a sort of post-performance melancholy. While we’re talking about music to kick away the blues, check out Jenny and the Mexicats in this NPR tiny desk concert.

Anyone else in a community chorus? Any ideas how to deal with the let-down blah feeling afterwards?


Brick reflections

Brick reflections

Life continuously seems stuck between the old and the new. New glass in an old rehabbed building reflects the old weathered red brick of an even older building. We live, we learn, we constantly rebuild our lives. Even sinkholes let us rebuild. I could take a ring road around the city, but I’d only be stuck in traffic, missing the morning light as it warms the bricks and makes the windows dazzle. (This picture was taken last year on March 17th, on an earlier St. Patrick’s Day).

Orange and other harvest shades

Orange adds warmth to a picture, hints at sunshine, and lingers like the memory of the sunbleached fields of autumn. It also lingers like the memory of kitchen stoves and refrigerators of my childhood (in the Harvest Gold era, when there were also burnt umber ovens and tangerine-colored culottes). The colors of copper and gold can both seem orange, depending on their shades. But the best color I’ve ever seen has been on Scotch bonnet peppers, with their promise of heat.

This photo is of some lusterware, a polymer clay art piece by the Gardener, and the edge of a mango. As in the other “shooting the rainbow” posts, I’ve put more color inspiration photos here, Including at least one where my camera’s reflection shows up in the shiny surface of the luster pattern.

Seagull in a pool of water

Seagull in a pool of water by rjknits
Seagull in a pool of water, a photo by rjknits on Flickr.

For Project Spectrum (September), I went to one of the beaches by the bay, and looked for natural yellow elements. The sand and yellow reflections on the water here, made for a fun picture. Alas, no knitting for the color yellow was done. I’ll post other images, once I’ve sorted through them. But this one sums up the end of summer and beginning of autumn for me — bittersweet and filled with rain.

Driving into the past

Driving into the past

Originally uploaded by rjknits

Sometimes, moments surface like the hopes and dreams of the past. While walking around town one day, after a hair appointment, I found an old car showroom suddenly filled with a car from the past, as though ready to be shown to a new customer.

Beautiful chrome, perfect tail lights, and the chrome logo for the Impala. I’m not a car buff, so I can’t tell you exactly when it would have been new. But when I got home I was pleased to see the mix of car repair shop across the street, 1940s row homes, and modern cars reflected in the window on the Impala’s body.

I don’t know if the car is genuinely for sale, if this is part of a body shop’s advertisement, or if this is a car enthusiast’s dream shelter for his restored beauty. I’m left with a daydream/story of the past being trapped under glass, unaware that visor mirrors are available on the driver’s side too, women don’t wear white gloves much, and most stations outside of New Jersey make you pump your own gasoline.

Why I don’t attend church more often

church silhouetteThere are things about church that I like in general. I like the peacefulness, the music, and sometimes the sermons. I like being part of a group of people all centered on the same thought or emotions. The church around the corner does good works, offers a sense of community, etc. The pastor is really trying to make the church welcoming, and sees the church as part of the equal rights struggle. All well and good.

I just wish people on the GLBTQ (and friends) committee wouldn’t come up to me and say, “You know what I like about gay people? You’re all so happy and throw the best parties,” thinking that I’ll be delighted with their openness.

Ahem: I haven’t thrown any parties, rave music isn’t played in my house, I have yet to deploy my butterfly wings in chapel, and I don’t wear rainbow antenna to church. Instead, I’m a kind of average singer who brings food for the food pantry, and who is normally good-natured, except about her commute. Am I just being crabby here? Or would it be appropriate to just say, “What I love about straight people is they have children so I don’t have to.”? Or leave the committee after politely saying, “Screaming now?”. That might leave the committee with just “friends” though. And they mean well, bless their little hearts. (BTW: This conversation didn’t happen recently. It’s just simmering up again as I realize that more U.S. states than not have anti-citizen legislation that makes it illegal for a certain group of consenting adults to marry or have rights.)

Below the Reflections

A lot of the mythology I’ve been reading has themes of reflections — faerie world as a reflection of modern life, the jealousies of the gods reflecting those of the people who live below Mount Olympus, the reflections or waves on water hiding the world beneath the depths.

If you’re interested in water + mythology, you might want to check out the Celtic myths. Here are a few that I really enjoyed in Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis:

  • “Princess of the Fomorri” — with boats coming up out of the ocean, away from their docks under the sea, a princess who needs a drink from a specific chalice, and a smart, intelligent healer, this Scottish tale has me looking at the deepy darks and shadows in a good way.
  • “Gilaspick Qualtrough” — has a sailor who tells tall tales experiencing an unbelievable adventure and casting his nets for a bell. This Manx tale includes the ocean god, a beautiful princess, and some amusing comedic scenes.
  • “The Ben-Varrey” — involves a fisherman, a mermaid, an evil Druid, and a cat with a fiddle and a jigging mouse and cockroach. Again, this one is from the Isle of Man and is a lighthearted tale with dark deeds mixed in.
  • “The Destruction of Ker-Ys” — which is a dark, dark tale from Brittany. Destruction, fire, flood, poisoning, and a tale of multiple revenge. This one is complicated by the presence of lots of false-faces and a bishop vs. a Druidess.

It makes a great deal of sense that the coastline areas (and smaller islands) of the British Isles would have lots of tales that about the changeableness of water. It’s a life-giving force, and yet it can take things away so quickly. Even wells have a changeable nature.

In a way, we all deal with the reflections of the real world all the time, not pondering the deeper realities. It isn’t healthy to look beneath the shadows of the waves all the time — it’s hard for us to breathe down there. But, sometimes, it’s useful to reflect on where we are, search what has changed in our goals, and try to push at the water a little to redirect our course. [Note: the Gardener has requested help securing portions of the garden against high winds. To everyone else who might be affected by Hanna or the other storms playing pinball with the East Coast (and Cuba, Puerto Rico, etc), please stay safe.]