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Posts Tagged ‘family’

It was the autumn of 2019, and Theresa and I were building a fire in my backyard while we waited for Angela to bring Antonio and Fatima, and supplies for cooking hot dogs and s’mores. It was already dark, so it must have been fairly late, perhaps 9pm. I had been working second shift during that summer, so it was normal for me to be awake and active at that time of the evening. We hadn’t prepared for a bonfire, and I was scrambling to find branches out in the yard to keep the fire going long enough for everyone to enjoy it. Theresa handed me a LED headlamp that she had recently bought, in anticipation of her future travels. I strapped it on and flung my gaze out over the dark backyard, looking for any hint of fallen sticks that I could retrieve to burn. The light was piercingly bright, and I barely registered the beautiful way that the grasses sparkled, seemingly with dew.

I moved about the dry yard, and from somewhere deep in my mind floated up this relization that it was 9pm after a warm late-summer day—there shouldn’t be any dew on the ground.

The grass was not damp.

There was no dew on the ground.

I crouched then, peering close into one of those apparent dew-drops, and discovered a myriad of tiny gleaming eyes peeking back at me. I know I uttered an exclamation as I realized that the yard was inhabited by thousands of tiny jumping spiders, apparently all watching me with their prism eyes as I bumbled about picking up sticks. I couldn’t stop sweeping that light over the grass, watching it come alive in the spotlight, then immediately recede back into complete obscurity once the beam had passed.

I glanced back over toward the fire, where Theresa was absorbed in whatever task she had at hand, and I debated whether or not to call out to her in the excitement of my realization. I knew she wasn’t fond of spiders, and I didn’t want to risk her enjoyment of what I knew would be a memorable evening with family. Eventually I moved toward the wooded back part of the yard to find some heartier fare, then carefully picked my way back through the sparkling grass to the firepit, where no sparkles were to be found. Then, I couldn’t help myself any longer: I told her what I had discovered, and let her see it for herself.

It ended up being a very enjoyable evening indeed.

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Last week I had the opportunity to fly to Oregon to visit with family. I brought along my trusty Nikon Coolpix S6800 because I knew there would be no end of photo opportunities in what is arguably the most beautiful and ecologically diverse state in the country.

It didn’t take me long to realize that my little camera was no match for Oregon’s sweeping landscapes. Every time I tried to capture the stunning views of picturesque barns nestled among rolling pastures and pine forests, I was invariable disappointed in the results. Even the photogenic coast couldn’t be captured satisfactorily. I can’t fault the camera, though: any image is no match for the experience of seeing the beauty of the place in person.

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What I did end up capturing were just a few of the many details that combine to make Oregon the spectacular environment that it is. And when it comes to detail, my little Coolpix is king.

This friendly traveler was pleased to pose with an ocean backdrop, but I think he was disappointed when we didn’t offer a tip.

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Another coastal visitor is unaware of being photographed, but creates a great view nonetheless.

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Amazingly, these barnacles can be heard, clicking and clacking, living and breathing, even above the constant roar of the tide.

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Perhaps one of my favorite characteristics of Oregon: there is no shortage of amazing trees everywhere you look.

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Photo by Theresa Brown.

Photo by Theresa Brown.

The coastal life is nothing less than profuse.

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I feel as though I could spend a lifetime trying to capture Oregon’s details, and it would never be enough to portray the wonder of the place. You just have to see it for yourself.

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Until next time…

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Quite possibly my earliest music memory involves the song “Hurting Each Other” by The Carpenters. I distinctly remember hearing the song, probably played from an album in my mother’s vinyl collection, while my sisters jumped on my parents’ bed, and I sulked quietly by, studying the wooden bedknob at the footboard. At least, that’s how I remember it. I don’t know why I was sulking, or maybe I was just indulging my overly serious and melancholic side even at the ripe young age of three years old. Who knows. But when Karen Carpenter belted out the lines:

“Can’t we stop hurting each other?
Gotta stop hurting each other
Making each other cry, breaking each other’s heart
Tearing each other apart.”

I knew that this song had a very distinct relevance to my life as the youngest of eight. Being a toddler, I could only think of it in the most literal aspect of course. But it did make me wonder for the first time if we might stop our sororal pestering and pinching and biting (guilty), and just be at peace and get along for once.

Nearly three decades later, we still haven’t quite gotten the message, but I suppose that is pretty standard for most families. 🙂

Now that I am grown and have a turntable and Carpenters albums of my own, I still can’t listen to one without getting that funny little lump in the back of my throat. Be it nostalgia, the persistently relevant lyrics even decades from my first listen, or the simple fact that it is darn good music, I can’t fight my emotional attachment to these songs. I’m sure they will be something that I return to time and time again for all of my decades to come.

And in case you haven’t had the pleasure, or simply need a refresher, please enjoy this performance and feel free to make your own music memories:

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