Moon Light

Thursday, September 19, 2o13 – Moon in Pisces, dramatic and nebulous.
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Beautiful and Mysterious. . .a dark beauty!

As I view the moon through the view finder on my nikon d7k a sense of wonder about the nature of who I am and the fascinating world I find myself in sparks. It is as if the proverbial “I am” calmly directs my eyes to see the beauty in the darkness. An awareness of privilege is birthed in my mind and I know I am observing something otherworldly. A moment of dazed amazement settles within me as cerebral processes reconcile a vague understanding that we’re all united in some inexplicable way.

These images I compose in my camera reveal the beauty in the dark night. The noise from the lake creatures grows louder. An occasional splash gets my attention for a brief second, then I return to the view finder in my camera. It’s Thursday, September 19th 2013, and on this night, the first night of the full moon, it is not visible from my vantage point in the yard. It is just beyond my view, hidden by the trees. Yet it’s illumination reaches into the darkness and reveals the dark lake in a way not often seen. The lake is framed by shadowy vegetation and bejeweled with the faint colors of neon lights. The clouds appear soft, ethereal and bright against a lighter grey-blue sky. From my position on our dock a thicker and amber-colored cloud creates a canopy over me. Like a Sukkah full of mysteries and gifts yet to be revealed. This is a Pisces full moon and I am responding by taking off on an imaginative photographic journey.

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Friday, September 20, 2013 – The Moon has moved into 8 degrees Aries and is Rising over Lake Agnes.

MOT_9681I like to wake up early to catch the sunrise but this evening we got home from dinner in time to see the full moon rise over Lake Agnes. Aries is referred to as the infant of the zodiac. Perhaps because it is the first sign. I think that Aries can represent immaturity and the fixation on self gratification. I know it can also represent clarity as in KNOW THYSELF.  This moon shines brightly against a clear blue sky unimpeded by nearby clouds, or neon lights below. It rises above and shines it’s light.  It’s message to me is KNOW THYSELF and WHAT YOU WANT out of life. With knowing myself comes understanding I can choose. I can choose to see beauty, and to be happy, or I can become distracted by the lower lights or nearby clouds.

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It is a whole new side of beautiful. The lake under the light of the full moon reflects the dark side of its beauty. Iridescent hues of light streak its’ surface silhouetting the shoreline and our dock.

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The red light on the water tower across the lake is dwarfed by the full moon. A lone cloud  can be seen on an otherwise clear sky.    There are no creatures of the night other than the creatures that are singing and dancing to the light of the moon.  Dark does not mean anything occult or evil, it isn’t bad.MOT_9688Like looking from the outside in. It’s different. It makes me think about what I can’t see and do not understand. In darkness I meet my insecurities and fears. An experience decidedly uncomfortable like pronouncing a diphthong. This poignant glimpse of dark beauty has left me feeling inspired.

Home Sweet Home

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I rarely spend my weekends in Tampa anymore, opting instead for a slower, and less congested pace.

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I live in Polk City on a beautiful lake.

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It holds many amphibian and reptilian aquatic secrets in it’s belly, and some of the largest and strangest flying insects I’ve ever seen.

Yet the allure of the peaceful water, the lovely reflections of the sun as it rises and sets over the lake, the many feathered visitors, all work their magic on me and a new and special relationship is developing here.

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I am committed to enjoy my immersion into this lakeside way of life. I’ve taken on the bugs, and the lake with its overgrowth of bull-rushes, cattail and arrow-heads with gusto!

The insect-life and aquatic vegetation are prolific, and determined to keep their hold on the shoreline environment. I work long, hard, and competitively to claim my ground, my shoreline and develop a white sandy area for myself where I can loiter peacefully. A space away from all the amphibian, reptilian, and aquatic life-forms that inhabit the lake. The insects have just begun to accept me as a harmless nuisance in their environment. The lake has not yet understood that I am not going away, and in me it will find a formidable opponent.

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One who is decidedly intent on conquering my share of the western bank of the lakefront and transforming a small piece of the shoreline to suit me.

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One of the first tasks I embarked on when I arrived here was immediately introducing Hibiscuses to the property. Tom has lived here for 18 years, and never planted anything. The vegetation on the property is natural to the area, and sprouted up on it’s own. Breaking the ground to introduce a new plant was shockingly hard. The ground was like concrete! Once I managed to get the young trees planted, I was thrilled. I planted about a dozen plants. They bloomed immediately, graciously and beautifully for three weeks. Then the natural environment attacked them. Some plants suffered systemic effects from the insect attacks.

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Their foliage, and blooms were deformed. Some plants stopped blooming. I had to launch an aggressive counter attack on the insects with safe to use herbicides, and immune boosting treatments for the plants. Some of my plants are recovering better than others. A few of the “El Presidente” Hibiscuses rich red flowers are now anemic looking, almost transparent with weak traces of red. All but one plant survived, and it lost its life to our new yard man who mowed over it with his mower. Ouch!

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El presidente is doing well.
El Presidente is doing well.

The remaining plants are all at some stage of recovery, and all but two plants flower regularly! I have accumulated quite an extensive collection of Hibiscus portraits that are posted on my flickr sight, this blog and my pixlexia facebook page.

The effort to battle mother nature for survival is immense, costly, and at times discouraging. I am on a long learning curve. But I am persistent, I’m learning, and will get my way with this old lake. An old phrase from a movie I saw a long time ago comes to mind . . . “what one man can do, another can do”. I will tame the lakefront!

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The landscape struggles, insect nuisance, intrusions from aggressive aquatic vegetation, are ongoing. I am getting my head around that. Still, I am absolutely in love with the waterways and wetlands of Florida. Despite all the reptilian dangers that they hold in their belly, yet our relationship has never waned!

Florida is usually associated with it’s beautiful beaches, but there is much more here.

Life in Florida, yes it is that good!

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St. Augustine

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It’s  Saturday evening, we’re in Tom’s Cadillac driving down King’s . All around us there are people engaged in having a good time. Young couples walking hand in hand enjoying each other and the night. Others scurrying to happy hours in bars and taverns everywhere.  It’s dinner time in the small town. All the eateries are full, parking is scarce and people are walking.  The town is buzzing with action. I remember why I like this little town so much. It’s not only rich in history, surrounded by wonderful water, but it’s fun.  Fun is the best way to describe the historic district of St. Augustine, and Anastasia Island.

 

We stayed in a bed and breakfast on Cordova Street in walking distance to everything we wanted to see.

Standing on the stairs of the inn, to the Right is the way to the Columbia Restaurant, Flagler College, Flagler Memorial Church, the Lichtner Museum area, as well as shops on Hypolita Street, Scarlett O’Hara’s place, and the Rhett Butler Piano Bar.  To the Left is the way to the Ghost Tours, shops on St. George Street, the pirate museum and the Fort. We walked everywhere in St. Augustine. That’s what makes this such a cool place, it is all walkable.

It was so relaxing getting up and knowing we had breakfast waiting at 9 a.m. in the main house. Our room was the garden room located on the side with it’s own entrance from the parking lot. We really enjoyed this because it was much more private. The walk to the main house dining area was just a few steps up the front porch. Our room key unlocked the front door and gave us access to refreshments in the afternoon. After breakfast, I enjoyed the morning breeze from the bistro on the front yard.

One of my favorite places to photograph when I visit St. Augustine is the old Fort. Something about the fact that these structures have been around for so many years appeals to me. I  visualize in my mind what it was like so many years past as different generations of people strolled on these same streets. It all looked different then, each decade since has brought its own trends and styles, its own particular brand of issues, and pleasures. Yet, the energy of the area remains. It’s exciting, relaxing, and fun! Laid back with it’s own pace of hectic.  A Town waiting for new stories created by it’s many visitors to add to it’s rich history.

 

I have my own contribution to St. Augustine’s stories. Each time I visit I build on my experience and deepen my relationship with the quaint and nautical city:)

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As viewed from Ballast Point Park
As viewed from Ballast Point Park

Tampa is home. It’s where I’m from. It’s made and shaped me, and even though I technically don’t live there anymore, I still drive in to Tampa Monday through Friday for work. Yet, I am beginning to feel a little distant and almost removed, as if I’m becoming more the visitor then the resident. Tampa is not now, nor can it ever be a place that is totally in my past. It will remain somewhere entwined with my present, always.

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Tampa holds my “remember whens” and my many eclectic “this and that” moments from another time.

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All these well aged pieces of me, now weathered by the storms of my life, imprinted my psyche with a rich green patina of a place I call home. Even though that home was not always pretty, pleasant, or safe, yet, it is home. It is Tampa.

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A Tampa that I now view through a different lens as I walk on its streets with my Nikon strapped around my neck and my shutter constantly clicking.
Downtown Tampa Bridge near Performing Arts Center

I enjoy the downtown area, especially the new river walk that’s developed in the last few years. It always feels nice strolling along the river.

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I’ve spent many weekends watching the Hillsborough River roll lazily along its way and observing as it pours itself into the Gulf of Mexico. Watching it triggers a sort of nostalgic feeling in my mind and I enjoy visiting the riverwalk.

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It’s like I am seeing an old friend again.

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Tampa is a kaleidoscope of people, personalities, nationalities, affiliations, and buildings. It’s Ghetto, Retro, Modern, Trendy, Vintage, Shabby, Urban Chic motifs are everywhere.

One can get the impression that Tampa is trying to make itself into something it hasn’t yet quite identified.

I get an image in my mind of an indiscriminately designed decoupage of people, buildings, and styles converging against a lush green, sunshine filled wetland. It’s quite the canvas! I’ve taken many photographs here and they always show me something new, something beautiful that I hadn’t noticed before.

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No matter how far I travel, or what town I live in, I will always be a native of this town. Yes, Tampa is home, and as Dorothy so appropriately said it “there is no place like home”.