The neighbor across the street has a plastic Santa with a light bulb inside it. I always know the holidays are here when it suddenly appears by her garage. I've never actually seen her put it out—I've come to believe that the incandescent Santa arrives on its own. It's a fickle Santa. One year it decided not to show up at all and the neighborhood was much the poorer for it. So far, this year, I am still waiting. As I write this I look out the window and into the hazy day. The neighbor's garage is sans Santa.
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One of the best things about cell phones is that I can now talk to myself in public. Not that many years ago it was considered odd to have a conversation with oneself. Now people are talking aloud seemingly no one just about everywhere. True, they usually have some kind of Bluetooth earpiece attached to to them and they are, theoretically, talking to an other human being somewhere. But, who knows for sure?
The doggie paddle was the first thing I learned how to do in Cook's Pond, a muddy swim hole in my New Jersey hometown. I dearly wanted to swim with the big boys out to the raft. But keeping my head above water had to be my first priority. The raft would wait. The doggy paddle came before the kick board which came before the breast stroke. I seemed to swallow a lot of water back then. I guess the murky pond was safe. I never did get sick.
A fair! There is nothing like it to stir the imagination. I've loved fairs since I was a young boy on the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore. Fairs, carnivals, circuses and boardwalk, they will forever gladden my heart.
The confluence of major life events has had my head spinning with a special kind of disorientation. It is hard to keep track of where I've been, where I'm going, and exactly where I am. Contemporary life does not allow us to feel the passing of loved ones, nor appreciate aging and illness. More likely, it merely forces us into task-based activity.
Banks, lawyers, doctors, creditors, insurance agents, advisors, and accountants. Oh my. I dream about them and not in a good way. When someone dies, gets sick, or infirm, it activates an entire industry, like switching on an silent-and-ready, gigantic machine. Those of us left in mere mortal state navigate through the morass, unable to deal with the actuality of loss. There are too many forms to fill.
One doesn't touch a wolf in the midst of revolt. Most every day I look through my images to see what resonates with me. Today I stopped at this photo taken in Parma a few years ago. Italian graffiti is so much more imaginative than what we generally find in America. It's angrier, wittier, and often more poignant. Don't touch a wolf in the midst of revolt. Words of wisdom with a hint of Italian drama.
Head stuff swimming around in the skull—if I don't get out and move, my brain moves around inside itself. Kinetic energy. I've been on the phone too much, blabbing with far-away voices. Recorded voices, technical-support voices, customer-service voices. My brain goes round and round, trying to grasp the post-modern world. It isn't working.
In the middle of an art fair I looked up. Atop a canvas tent a plain banner fluttered in a foggy breeze. Below was the spectacle of event. Artists, patrons, food vendors and children mingled amongst artifacts of the creative spirit. Yet, above it all was the homely banner. Boring and ordinary, it captivated me.
July Fourth in our town seemed somber this year. Buried in the facade of its usual silliness, it somehow felt just a wee bit forced in its frivolity. Perhaps the same parade with the same floats year after year has numbed us all. Maybe the economy has blunted the usual patriotic optimism and fervor for everyone. Or, maybe it was just me.
Hands are the most fascinating part of a farmer's market. This is a recent discovery of mine, thanks to the telephoto lens. I started watching the rummaging hands of market shoppers only a few weeks ago when I zoomed in to reveal a few paws hard at work searching through tomatoes—a show that I'd never noticed before. The hands are like puppet shows. Young, old, deliberate, or frantic, they dart around with anthropomorphic personality. Hands search for the perfect tomato. They grope for the reddest of cherries. Some remind me of the giant claws that grasp for treasure in those old arcade machines at amusement parks. Hovering over the green beans, they plunge down into the center of a huge pile of them. Up come the hands, dropping half their load as they maneuver the lode into plastic bags. Then they repeat the cycle, seemingly insatiable in their appetite for more.