Weekly photo challenge: Wonder

This challenge was very challenging for me. I have seen so many things in my 54 years that have filled me with wonder.

I thought about posting one of the awesome natural features I’ve seen at the parks in this country, or across the ocean.

Grand Canyon Coast of Hawaii

I thought about posting one of the incredible man or woman-made creations on display here or there.

I thought about the wonder of something incomprehensibly large like the universe, or amazingly tiny yet complex like an insect or a newborn fawn.

But when I remember the moment in my life when I was filled with the most wonder, it was the moment I held in my arms my first child.

Weekly photo challenge: Windows

I was on the WWII tour of Europe with some of my daughter’s high school classmates, and a good friend of mine, Jan. Jan was making a point of visiting every cathedral we were near for a project she was doing. Otherwise I would have missed it.

We were in Paris, and had just visited, and been awestruck by the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, rose window.

Then Jan said, “My sister told me there is another cathedral close by that she loved and that we shouldn’t missed.” So Jan led the way, and sure enough, a few blocks from Notre Dame, we came across the Sainte-Chapelle. When we stepped into the upper chappel I thought I had been transported to a magical, spirital place.

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

I sat in one of the chairs that lined the walls, listened to very tinkling soft music that filled the space, and soaked in the light that shone through the colorful windows that gave the illusion of supporting the structure. “Supported by slender piers, the vaulted ceiling seems to float above magnificent stained-glass windows.” (http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Cathedrals/Paris/Sainte-Chapelle.shtml)

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

I’ve never since experienced anything like it.

Rose window at Sainte-Chapelle

Weekly photo challenge—Opportunity

I’d like to take this opportunity to catch up on a couple of things meriting mention.

First, I’d very much like to thank everyone who has bought Dancing in Heaven, and those who have read it and given me feedback. In particular, I’d like to thank Nancy who blogs as dogear6 at My Life in Photos. Nancy was kind enough to write a review of Dancing in Heaven for me that I have linked on my Dancing in Heaven page and that you can read here.

Second, I’d like to thank Sue who blogs at Dreamwalker Sanctuary for the Versatile Blogger Award. You can read interesting facts about Sue and the Versatile Blogger Award at her Versatile Blogger post. As I told Sue, it was kind of her to nominate me, but I would not be officially accepting the award as I have already done so in the past. You can read about my seven fascinating facts, and who I nominated for the award, at my post, Rapunzel Speaks and Gives out Awards.

Now, on to the entertainment portion of today’s program.

In the fall of 2006, I was taking a photography class at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of our requirements was to prepare a slide show. I decided to do one about the Ohio River, set to the song Old Man River performed by Bee Adair. Which is all rather insignificant. But I spent a lot of days journeying along the river, looking for photo opportunities.

The other thing you need to know is that every two or three years, Cincinnati hosts a Tall Stacks event on the riverfront where riverboats gather and a big festival is celebrated. Tall Stacks was being held in 2006.

One day I was driving east along the river and I pulled over into a park to see if there was anything photo worthy, when a couple of red and blue flags caught my eye. Being curious, I wandered over and much to my delight, found the Mississippi Queen and the Delta Queen moored side-by-side. The river was low and they were waiting until it rose to continue their journey to Cincinnati.

I got there just in time to see them pulling in their landing ramp, untying the large ropes strung to sturdy trees, and casting off up (or maybe it’s down) the river to Cincinnati.

I entered the photograph in a contest and received an Honorable Mention for it. The photograph appeared (in a very small version) in the 2007 Best of College Photography Annual.

The Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen on the Ohio River east of Cincinnati

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunset

In January of 2009, Mark and I took a trip to Key West. I was expecting beaches like you’d find in Florida or South Carolina, and was surprised to find out that there were very few beaches there and they were small. It’s really more of a boating place. And the boats were magnificent, as were the sunsets.
Sunset on Key West

Sunset on Key West

It was nice of this sailboat to pose for me.

I need to get done with my self-publishing project and get back to my Nikon.

Weekly photo challenge: Fall

The brown, dry, and curled oak leaves gathered in the space between the sidewalk and grass form an autumn border of sound as my feet at times kick through.

Arthur leads with his enthusiasm keeping our pace brisk. It’s of no matter to me. The destination is not important. Our walk is determined by time not distance.

The blue dome of the U.D. chapel beckons from a distance, but it is too far to reach today.

We pass the Meyer-Boehmer and Reis Funeral Home on the left. The tall ornamental grass is dry and brittle in the yard by the lot where I passed with posters for Annie, two years ago now.

My fall pants and long shirt are too warm for a brisk walk on this day. The shade from the trees that line the walk ahead is inviting.

Holy Angels church looms across the street with its milestone memories of a wedding, a funeral, and the last time we took Dad to mass.

My gaze falls to the sidewalk and I see the remnants of smashed cherry-sized, light peach colored fruits that have fallen from the tree. It’s a stink-bomb tree, I think and memories of my childhood days when we passed beneath the stink-bomb tree on our walk to South Street school flood my mind.  I hear again our cries of disgust as we tread through the fallen fruits, our  shoes squashing, sometimes slipping, the odor making us gag.

Ginko fruit
A smashed fruit from a ginko tree.

The ginko trees have a pretty fan-shaped leaf that turns a bright and stunning yellow in the fall. Only the female trees produce the smelly fruit. I turn and walk back through the cool shade they provide.

Leaves of a ginko tree

Weekly photo challenge: Up

As we approached Niagra Falls on the highway, I saw off to my left what looked like a broad stretch of steam rising from the ground. From a distance, the Falls announce themselves like a boiling pot of water from which only the steam is visible. But the Niagra water droplets shooting into the air are not hot, they are a cool, fresh mist that rises as the water falls.

As I stand above the falls, the mist rises up and arches over, spraying me with a light and cool sprinkle that wets my hair, and clouds my glasses and camera lens.

The water’s fall is awesome in its power.

The mist’s rise is magical.

The American Falls on the Niagra River as viewed from Goat Island in Niagra Falls State Park — August 28, 2011
The mist rises up from the Horsehoe Falls viewed from Terrapin Point on Goat Island — August 28, 2011

Weekly photo challenge: Flowers

Claude Monet is one of my favorite painters. I love impressionism. Monet spent a lot of time at his home in Giverny, France surrounded by beautiful abundant floral gardens. His gardens inspired his fabulous paintings. You can read more about Claude Monet and Giverny here and view samples of much of his floral artwork here.

One of the highlights of my 2004 trip to Europe with my daughter and her high school group was a stop at Giverny.

Giverny flowers, France
A flower among flowers — My daughter Anna at Giverny, France 2004