Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Soldier's View

These are Carl's thoughts about our recent visit to The Wall.

Strange how things affect a person. My wife and I spent 3 days visiting Washington DC. We spent some time at Arlington National Cemetery, The Jefferson Memorial, The FRD Memorial, The Lincoln Memorial, The WWII Memorial, and The Korean War Memorial. Maybe because I served in Viet Nam that I had trouble speaking when we approached the Viet Nam War Memorial. For some reason, for me this simple Wall with so many names on it gave each person a place of honor in history. All I could think about was how thankful I was to be standing next to my wife, and how grateful I was that she was not standing there with our grandchildren, pointing to my NAME. I can only imagine the grief that must overcome those who stand and look at the name of a loved one.~Carl Hill~

Saturday, May 26, 2007

In Memoriam

There have been pages upon pages of words written in tribute to our soldiers, both fallen and veteran, so I'm not going to even try to compete with these great testimonials. What I will do is to tell you what an unbelievably moving experience our trip to The Wall was. The Wall I'm referring to is the Viet Nam Memorial . When you approach, there is this hushed reverence that overtakes everyone. Some stand back, in awe, trying to absorb the magnitude of the highly polished gray marble. It can't be done. Others stroll by each panel, glancing to their left or right, as they read a few of the more than 58,000 names engraved there. 58,000 names, each of them representing a life lost to further the cause of Freedom. Each of them died doing what they knew to be right. Each of them left loved ones behind. My husband and I walked quietly, pausing before many of the panels, glad in our hearts that none of our friends' names are there. It doesn't matter. We remember them all.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Home, Sweet Home

We returned home last night from the Home, Garden and Flower Show in Fryeburg, ME with mixed emotions. Sure, it's always good to be home where the beds are familiar and you can get comfortable by lounging around the house in your bath robe. But, there's a lot to be said for being on the road as well. For instance, we talked with hundreds of enthusiastic viewers during the three day event. So many of them had kind words for my work and I talked with several camera enthusiasts who asked for tips about purchasing new equipment, what kind of software I use and even where they might go to have film developed. Do people still use film? The answer is YES and I always recommend they go to a reputable camera shop to have their images brought to light. Let's face it, people. You truly get what you pay for and the one hour " shop while we zip your film through our handy machine " places are not treating your images with quality and respect. It does matter! A camera shop will take the necessary time with your raw film and won't short change you when it comes to the exposures. The Fryeburg show was a great experience and I'm looking forward to exhibiting there again next year. We talked with a number of other vendors who say that the wet weather we experienced ( it rained most of the weekend ) only dampened the clothing of the people there. The spirit was still there. There is one drawback to returning home, however. I have a mountain of laundry to do and the suitcase needs to be repacked for our next adventure. We leave on Thursday evening for Washington, DC ( remember the aborted trip from six weeks ago when we got the Nor'easter? )

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Come To The Fair!

I 'm currently at the house to load the truck for our 3 day exhibit in Fryeburg, ME. We'll be there on the 18th, 19th and 20th for the 6th Annual Home, Garden and Flower Show so if you are able, come visit us. The weather doesn't sound too good for the weekend so I figure an exhibit like this can lift a person's spirits. The art show is in Expo1 near the main gate and I understand that's where the "Meet The Chefs" cooking demonstrations will be held. One thing I've learned from doing these shows is that wherever there is food, there are always people. The other day, while visiting Sabbaday falls, I happened upon one of the first flowers that bloom in spring, a trillium. It gave me hope that the rest of the season would be along shortly. Oh, I know, six weeks ago, the weather acted as if spring had arrived but we all know how false that was. Now, I can see it in the multitude of rushing waters, in every tree that rushes to grow it's leaves and even in the urgency of the birds looking for nesting materials.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weather Woes

Over the years, I've come to terms with the fact that I cannot control the weather. Even when I consult the experts, my plans sometimes need to be put on hold. This is one of those days when the gloomy skies have turned against me and the mirrored glass like surface of rain puddles dance with droplets. On Sunday, the weather was perfect. We headed off to hike into Champney Falls but when we arrived at the trailhead, the parking area was alive with activity. I should have expected it. The weather was cool and those miserable little black flies haven't woken up yet. When they do, their appetite will be voracious. Anyway, The types of photos that I wanted didn't include dozens of hikers and we didn't have the time to wait for the area to clear. I had to be at Artistic Roots in Campton for 2:00. Our next stop was Sabbaday Falls, a short and very scenic walk into a narrow gorge filled with a fast moving waterfall that takes an abrupt 90 degree turn mid flow. A sign tells of a basalt dike against the right side of the gorge that prevents it's erosion. At the base of the falls is a naturally formed bowl or basin that has been carved over time by the force of the water. Here, in the shadows of the steep rock walls, there is still ice. It has the look of decaying flesh, rotting and imperfect. The warmth of summer will eventually claim it's victory and the ice will vanish, adding it's water to the torrents. Still, it's there, for now, and provides a chill to the air. The walk is relaxing and there were few other visitors to be kept safely on the path by heavy railings. One of these days, I may muster up enough nerve to cross these barriers to get an unobstructed image, one that the average visitor won't have.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Packing Is A Thankless Job

My sleep was interrupted this morning by a fight with my former boss. There ought to be a law against previous employers invading your dreams, don't you think? By the time I got through reading him the riot act, I was too awake to fall back to sleep. Instead, my thoughts turned to the very long list (yes, I'm back at it again) of things I have to accomplish today. Normally, there wouldn't be much of a rush but today I have to get my husband's car serviced and pack for a few days away. It isn't anything exotic this time, just a short week in North Conway. Still, the suitcase needs to come out of the closet after having only been there just a few days. While in North Conway, my husband will still travel back and forth to work and I will have a different sort of scenery to wander through in hopes of capturing that perfect image. Anyone who knows North Conway in May isn't getting too excited about that happening. The buds on most trees are just barely swelling and the only leaves that have begun to show their true colors are the Poplars. There are traces of green in the woods, a few ferns and the slightest hint of what will become trillium and lady slippers. I did spot some trout lilies blooming on my way back from Campton yesterday. So that's the photo of the day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It's A Matter Of Perspective

Tickets to the game:$48.00
Tickets for bull riding:$240.00
Hotel and food for the weekend:$350.00
Fun with the grandchildren: Priceless

Okay, so maybe I went over the top with the analogy but we did have a great weekend. Sometimes, we tend to take life's experiences for granted but change or add just one thing, two grandchildren, and everything is different. I mean, I've been to a dozen baseball games and I'm always watching the action, who's about to steal, how many outs there are and who's on deck. This time, I looked at the whole experience through my six year old grand daughter's eyes. Could she see everything, was she enjoying herself, did she have enough to eat, was she getting too much sun???? As I'm writing this, I realize that's what grandmothers are supposed to do. I wasn't there as a photographer to grab the action or make a record of the up and comers who were playing the game. So, I didn't take too many images. I only took pictures of and for the kids, the mascot-Fungo, even the fun and games between innings. Go figure! I am here to report, however, that the NH Fisher Cats have a great stadium on the banks of the Amoskeag River and the facility is clean, safe and reasonably priced. The quality of the game was professional and we had great seats. All together the weekend was a huge success. I can't wait to do it all over again real soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Flu-Like Symptoms

Our weekend to St. Albans, VT started out with an unremarkable trip to the northwestern part of the state. During the first two days of the exhibit, we visited with hundreds of people who stopped to admire my work. Even our hotel room at the Econo Lodge was comfortable. Yes, everything was going according to plans. That is, until I woke up Sunday morning not feeling very well. I felt worse as the morning wore on and by lunch time all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. Carl stayed to greet potential customers and I climbed between the sheets to take turns shivering and sweating until the show ended later that afternoon. All I can say is that day was a blur and I'm really glad I wasn't alone. I've already marked my calendar for us to attend the 43rd Annual Maple Festival in 2008. I'm still not one hundred percent but this weekend is devoted to two of my other passions, the grandchildren and baseball. We'll be spending the weekend in Manchester, NH, where we'll enjoy two nights of pro bull riding and cheer for the Fisher Cats at an afternoon game. The newly formed single A franchise is an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. The photo of my grandson was taken in August of 2005 while we were catching a couple of Paw Sox games. And yes, that is THE 2004 WORLD SERIES TROPHY he's touching. It was a major high to be able to have our photos taken with the symbol of an 86 year long struggle to achieve Baseball's highest honor. We all, as Red Sox fans, have loved ones who died before seeing the events of October 27th, 2004. I, for one, will never forget those games.