A Fleeting Moment, Without Beginning Or End

This week’s photo challenge – posted by the Daily Blog – is titled “Fleeting Moment“, and is a picture of a moment captured on the street.  Readers were challenged to capture a moment on the street: to test their skills in street photography.  Now, while my photo wasn’t exactly taken from the street (the subject is parked in a parking lot – I took the picture from the street), I think it still qualifies.

Notice the For Sale sign posted on one of the rear windows of the white van – a sign signifying the owner’s desire to leave behind this physical reminder of times past: a fleeting moment within a fleeting moment.

Every Friday evening, like clockwork, owners of classic vehicles – from old Beetles to muscle cars – gather together in the parking lot of the local McDonald’s to park their rides and show them off.  Why a McDonald’s, you may wonder?  The chosen McDonald’s is actually called the Nostalgia McDonald’s, and is decorated – both inside and out – with a retro, late 1950’s theme.  Many of the featured vehicles are from that same era, making those visiting the fast-food restaurant feel as though they have stepped into an ongoing moment from the distant past.

I chose to take a picture of these particular vehicles because I believed them to exemplify the theme of a “fleeting moment” in a couple of different ways.  The owners of these vehicles do not keep them for economic reasons: they have terrible gas mileage, the parts are not easy to come by for repairs, and finding an exact replacement – should they get into a car accident that totals their vehicle – is next to impossible anymore.  These owners keep these old vehicles around because, to them, they are physical representations of the memories they hold.  When these particular drivers get together every week, they talk about the issues that affected them in years past, almost as though time had not continued to run its course after their occurring.  They talk about the war, about the economic hardships the country was facing, about the changes rapidly developing technology had brought about.  To these drivers, their every Friday might be but a fleeting moment in the grand scheme of things, but to them, it is a moment that never really ends.  I can only hope that one day I’ll be able to continue the tradition and sit around with other vehicle owners from my generation, showing off our 2007 Jeep Liberties to all the gawking hybrid and electric car drivers looking on.  We’ll pass the time talking about the war, about the economic hardships the country faced during our time, and the changes rapidly developing technology has brought to our culture – our fleeting moment stretching on into infinity.

Creativity, Art, and Tacos

My photo response.  (Finally.)

The theme for this week’s photo challenge – hosted by the Daily Blog – was entitled “Create“, featuring the photographer’s definition of the word “create”, as well as a prompt for the reader to photograph something that objectified the word “create” for them.  Recently, I have not exactly been the paragon of creativity.  The only time I am “creative” anymore is when I create Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and put together business orders.  So, for the purpose of this post, I had to be a bit inventive.

This image makes me want to create another taco…and another…and…

This is a taco, made from chorizo filling.  If you have never had the opportunity to try chorizo before, I would highly recommend that you do so.  Chorizo is a type of spicy sausage, and can be purchased at your local Mexican market.  No taco is complete without tomatoes, of which I made sure that my taco had plenty of.  I am a huge fan of avocados, so they – in addition to a dab of Crema Suprema – acted as the dish’s garnish.  My “creation” tasted delicious, and was filling while being aesthetically pleasing.  Perhaps this example of “creation” wasn’t as flashy or visually appealing as a picture or other work of art – but it was edible!

To Be So Close…and Yet So Far

The word of the week is “Close” – or at least it is if you are a follower of the Daily’s Post’s weekly photo challenge. I have been wrestling with this theme all weekend, dismissing each idea for my photo response almost as soon as I thought them up. I finally came up with an answer I was happy with this afternoon while on my lunch break.

The temptation to get closer to all of the cold water was great…and almost could not be ignored.

It was unmercifully hot and humid in Chicagoland today – the kind of weather that inspires worshipful feelings in even the most unbelieving of hearts towards the miracle and saving grace that is centralized air conditioning. While driving my Jeep back to my place of work after my lunch hour, I could not help but notice the many water fountains spread around the parking lots near where work – or ignore just how much I wanted to jump into them.

Every time the wind blew, you could see a miniature rainbow form out of the water. (If you look closely on the right side of the fountain, you can see the tail-end of one.)

The freezing cold waters of each man-made pond called out to me in siren-like tones, inviting me to come closer and closer. The cascading water was hypnotic to look at…and tempting to swim in. It was the one thing I wanted to be close to, and couldn’t be further away from.

Friendships Are Like…

The theme chosen for this week’s photo challenge was ‘friendship’ (the original post “9009” can be viewed here). How do you portray your definition of friendship via picture? What does friendship mean to you?

I have been lucky to have had many friends over the course of my lifetime, and have never had a problem making new ones. This is a handy trait to have as a Navy brat: friendships come and go because your friends come and go, and true long-lasting bonds are few and far between. All of my friendships have been based on a firm sense of camaraderie, and enjoyment over time spent in each others’ presence.

Friendships are like sunsets: warm, bright, and long-lasting. They always make an impression.

The picture I have included with this post was taken somewhat recently on my way home from work. What does this have to do with friendship, you may ask? My answer to that is: only everything.

Living so close to the Arctic Circle (in my case, being stationed in Iceland with my family) means that you are subjected to conditions outside of what you are used to. The winter is cold (as low as negative eighty with wind chill), the summer is mild (never above sixty, and rarely ever that high), and the sun only appears to rise and set once a year (half of the year the sun never sets, and the other half it never rises). To see a sunset was a rare thing, and a sight to be treasured. To this day, I have never lost my love of watching our sun’s cycles, seeing lightning streak across the sky, or “viewing” a summer breeze gently card through a tree branches (both lightning and trees cannot be found in Iceland). I view my friendships much like I do my sunsets: I feel awe at their existence, pleasure at my ability to experience them, and joy at the happiness they bring me. Perhaps seeing a sunset isn’t so rare an experience for me nowadays, but the wonder has yet to fade. Much like a sunset, I will never take the gift of friendship for granted again.

Here Today, Possibly Gone Tomorrow (Maybe)

“Ah, Hope! what would life be, stripped of thy encouraging smiles, that teach us to look behind the dark clouds of today, for the golden beams that are to gild the morrow.”
— Susanna Moodie

~o*O*o~

TODAY” – this is the theme of this week’s photo challenge, meaning that the participant may only use a picture that they took on the day they first read about this week’s challenge (no archived photos allowed).  Despite having the email about this challenge in my inbox for the last several days, I did not actually open it until today – sitting in my Jeep, getting ready to head home after work.  As I did not care to submit a photo of a near-empty parking lot (the first thing I saw after reading the email), I decided to start driving home and search for inspiration along the way.  Thankfully, I found it right just before I arrived home.

The sun was determined to shine today, no matter what the weather report said.

After turning down the road that leads to my subdivision, I happened to look out my driver’s side window and saw the sun making a desperate bid for freedom from the clouds it had been locked behind for the better part of the day.  Even though most of the star’s light is hidden, you can still see a few of its rays escaping from beneath it, shedding some illumination to the population living below.  This picture is very much a metaphor for how my TODAY has turned out: even in its darkest times – dealing with angry customers, tardy co-workers, or confronted with unwelcome truths – there was still some light able to come through, still a silver lining to my dark cloud.  I needed only to look “behind the dark clouds of today” to find “golden beams”, to know that at the end of every disappointment is the opportunity to find something beautiful.  All you need to do is look.

Birds of A Feather…Hang Out Together

I’m in training for a new job all this week via teleconference at a building not so close to my house.  The drive is not so bad: it’s mostly highway driving, which is something I actually enjoy.  We are given several breaks throughout the day in order to break up the monotony of staring at a computer screen for hours on end.  (The key to remaining engaged in online learning for eight hours straight is being very good at entertaining yourself.)

When I came into training this morning, I expected it to rain for a good portion of the day – not that I minded.  (Rain tends to put a damper on one’s daydreams of escaping outside and soaking in the sun’s rays, making the thought of staying in all day far more palatable.)  A couple of hours into my class, I heard a tapping noise coming from one of the windows on my right-hand side.  Curious, I looked over to the window and saw a cardinal outside on the ground, staring in at me.  As I watched, this same cardinal flew up and then into the glass over and over again, determined to gain entrance into the building.  What could be powering his insistence on flying into my classroom, I wondered?  (I felt like the window had become a mirror, showing the cardinal’s actions as a reflection of my own: both of us staring at something we were determined to achieve (knowledge, in my case…classroom access, in his), both of us too stubborn to quit.)

If at first you don’t succeed…well, that glass can’t hold up forever!

After he flew away, I assumed I wouldn’t see him again…and I was wrong.  For the entire time I was at training, he was my constant companion, and distraction.  My picture does not do him justice – he would not stay still long enough for me to better capture his image.  Thankfully, he did not try to follow me home.

What a welcome back to another day of work!

Blue Waters Above and Starry Skies Below…Wait, What?

The moon is easing through its waning gibbous phase here in the mid-west.  Every night more and more of it disappears from sight – that is, if I am lucky enough to see it at all.  This is not the case for those onboard the ISS.

This picture was taken May 5th by astronaut André Kuipers. The image belongs to ESA/NASA – I take no credit for it.

This picture – featured on the European Space Agency’s Flickr account and website – is of a supermoon, taken by André Kuipers (a member of the Expedition 31 crew serving aboard the international space station).  The term supermoon is used to describe the point in the moon’s elliptical cycle in which it appears closest to Earth.  The best part about this picture?  Look above the moon…at the planet Earth.  Despite being a bit out of focus, it is still a fascinating part of this photo, and gives the viewer the unique opportunity to gaze at the night sky from a different perspective.  Thank you, André, for sharing your talents with us once again!

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