Waking up to fresh layer of snow in winter is quite beautiful. The snow sparkles when it gets hit with the first rays of sunshine as the new day dawns. As pretty as all of that is, in order for us to function properly as a civilized society, certain things need to happen: snow removal and cleanup.
I must say, while winter is a fantastic time of year when it comes to photography & certain outdoor activities, 'winter cleanup' is not in my Top 10 list of fun things to do, but for me it is nice getting out there, [and even if only by a very small degree], changing my immediate landscape with a shovel and a snowblower. It's another opportunity to see, run into and chat with neighbors that we usually don't see, as we're all so busy with our coming-and-goings, it seems our relationships sometimes don't go beyond a "hello" or "hey, wassup!".
Since we're all sorta stuck-in until things are cleaned up, we're forced to, ...well, not really "forced to", but we interact more than usual and I think THAT is cool. Plans sometimes are made for hot cocoa afterwards, maybe plans to get together to watch a game, organize a snowball fight with the kids or just to hang out and be neighborly. So come to think of it, winter cleanup actually is kinda cool and I'm thankful for those things that happen from time to time and slow us down enough, so we enjoy more of what and who is around us.
I now gotta go meet my neighbors for hot cocoa...!
My previous story was about the crazy and unpredictable world weather patterns we've been having as of lately, and particularly in my area of Chicagoland this winter season.
Here I stand on the same spot as I stood just 2 days earlier as I was bike-riding in country trails while simply wearing shorts & a t-shirt on a very spring-like day. Within a span of 36 hours, the landscape had dramatically changed with the arrival of a cold front. With it, came changes to a lot of things we do, how we dress and many parts of our daily routine.
While I hear so many complaining about the cold, or the heat, or the rain, or anything else, I embrace these changes and find a way to enjoy the beauty within them. My grandma used to say, "...change is the spice of life", and I've come to the realization that it really is. It keeps me alive and is one of the things that gives me a reason to get up every day, as I find myself sometimes with a child-like excitement, wondering what that day will bring and what will I see.
Another thing I like about change, is my ability to make it happen. In many cases, change is not easy, but ...doable.
After all, -if you don't like where you are, change it! Unlike some of the elements in this photo, you're not a tree.
Crazy January Weather.
The weather and world climate has been a bit "funky" for the last few years with everything from severe storms, either droughts or too much rain in certain areas, to temperatures that in this case just leave you going like "...ok then!".
I live in an area NW of Chicago where typically at this time of year, I'd be shoveling snow off my driveway and wearing several layers of clothing sometimes just to go out and get the mail.
This 2011-2012 winter season has been rather odd. We've had just one day of snow back in mid-December with just a little bit of snow that melted away in 24 hours. That was it and other than a few really cold days (in the 20s), we haven't really had that bone-chilling cold we've come to expect from a typical Chicago winter.
Yesterday was January 10th and the temperature in Chicagoland reached the mid 50s. With bright sunshine and spring-like temperatures, I took a break from my work day, grabbed my bike and went out for a ride in the sticks. To be able to enjoy nature & ride my bike out in the open countryside wearing nothing but a long-sleeved t-shirt and shorts -in January- was downright wonderful.
We're supposed to go 'back to reality' tomorrow as it's supposed to get cold again and snow overnight. So while this crazy weather keeps us on our toes with its unpredictability, taking the time to live in the moment, and enjoy nature and life's beauty regardless of what's going on elsewhere, is simply, ...priceless.
While visiting family at a farm in rural Iowa, I stepped outside to photograph some of the animals and sights of rural farm life. In doing so, I came across a very happy and friendly cow who was incredibly eager to pose for photos. I'd never seen anything like it and as I looked back at the image I captured, I couldn't help but think of the power of smiling.
A smile is a universal language that even animals understand.
It's incredibly simple and happens in a flash, but the memory of it can last forever.
It may not seem like much to you at the moment, but it may mean the world to someone else.
Life is beautiful. Smile big and, like the cow in the photo, make everyone wonder what you're up to!
January 2012. Yes, ...2012 is here.
Like most people in the U.S. and perhaps around the world, I've been bombarded with articles, news, information, so-called prophecies and all kinds of stories about the significance of the year 2012 and the possible end of the world, courtesy of translations from an alleged Mayan prediction.
I had the opportunity to travel to Mayan territory in Mexico this past summer to work on some documentaries and as we visited the ruins of this antique temple, I couldn't help but wonder what the real significance of 2012 is.
Does it really mean the end?
Is it just the equivalent of Dec. 31st in our calendar, where one period ends and a new one begins?
What, -if anything-, will happen?
The more I think of it, the less concerned I become about it.
The world has been going through changes since its inception. Change is the essence of life and I don't think that is going to end anytime soon. What I do hope changes in 2012, is how we see the world, our world, and our relationship with it. There might be news of other possible Earth-like planets in the media, but for the time being, this is all we've got and I hope we all learn to do a better job on taking care of it.