Sunday, October 28, 2012

Giant Yew and Tombstones

England is home to many remarkable trees. In Much Marcle we visited an elderly yew that stands in the churchyard of St Bartholomew's. The span of its branches is as wide as the church. Rows of tombstones stand at tipsy angles, sheltered by its Ent-like presence. We took turns sitting on the worn bench inside its partly hollowed-out trunk. Surrounded by the tree and its long-buried neighbors, all was silent except for the rustle of leaves and the creak of branches. What a place to contemplate the meaning of "old." 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ghost Pumpkins

It wasn't that long ago when they were a rare sight. Now these pale pumpkins with the seasonally evocative name can be found everywhere. At the garden center and the farmers market, they steal attention from their orange cousins. They lounge in piles next to the apples at the grocery store.  As far as I know, they don't taste good. Have you ever seen a recipe for a Ghost Pumpkin Pie? But their creamy color, or lack of color, attracts us. We buy them to sit in baskets by the door or arrange in tableaux on the mantel. It's pumpkins as objets d'art. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Home Run In the Ninth

This past Thursday, the Washington Nationals were in a do or die situation: win the game or be eliminated from the playoffs. A churning sea of red-clad fans (well, yes, some of them were rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals) clapped, chanted and waved their little red towels. The score was tied for most of the game. Then, in the bottom of the ninth inning, on the thirteenth pitch to him, Jayson Werth hit a home run. Fireworks accompanied the roars of jubilation. Professional photojournalists know how to prepare for that seconds-long window of opportunity when they can and must capture the image that illustrates an event. This time, I just got lucky.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Balloons and Puppets

One day each year, Mt Vernon Avenue becomes an outdoor art gallery. This neighborhood teems with small children and dogs. Youngsters can make sand paintings or spin art. One "performance venue" delights the little ones with singalongs and puppet shows. Where there are kids, there are balloons. When the sun comes out, they glow like stained glass. A baby clutched her balloon like a teddy bear. It popped. She jumped in her father's arms but did not cry. I sat in the shade and watched a red balloon, then a blue one drift across the sky. The escapees carried off their weightless cargo of helium, leaving behind wailing, disappointed toddlers. Delight and disappointment. Such is the nature of balloons.