Hope you and those you love have had a warm, safe and happy day. We shifted gears and spent the late morning hours at the local theatre enjoying "Sherlock Holmes". Then it was back home for a special meal of tamales, tortilla soup and fruit salsa & feta cheese over black beans. My better half makes a really tasty tortilla soup. It was a great day.
Before the day ends, I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas from our house to yours. And send you special thanks for taking time to stop by Sea Mist and Sunsets this year.
PS...We may not be the most sophisticated movie critics but are ready to see Sherlock Holmes again soon. Very fun movie.
Having spent more Christmas seasons in the Northwest than in CA, where I grew up, I find the Northern version more to my liking, though New Mexico is my favorite. Because it is typically cold and damp here in Dec the scents and sights are different. Fresh, clean smells and sparkling reflective colors abound.
Living near the town of Gig Harbor provides a another fun element to the holidays with their long held tradition of a lighted boat parade. Like other communities around the world, the season is kicked off with a tree lighting. That tree is what you are seeing behind the fisherman statue in the park; and reflected in the still bay water.
The boat parade happens a week later. If I am going to be perfectly honest, I haven't attended one in a couple of decades, as crowds and limited parking are just enough to keep me at arms length. However, part of this traditions magic is watching the harbor boats slowly come to life over the week or so prior to the parade. Then there is a flurry of decorating the day of the event. Once night falls, all the boats slowly circle the harbor a few times. Children's eyes grow big as they pass and boat captains are rewarded with much applause and gratitude for their efforts.
We have lived in this area for so long now, I recognize that some boat lights have gone out through the years which comes with sadness, along with the pleasure of knowing their parade lives on. A community built on the backs of it's early fishermen, Gig Harbor, like other fishing villages, reflects that hard work and the timeless celebration of it.
It was a pleasure to stand beside the magic of those lights for a bit last week. People passing, smiling, sharing a few words with me as we all soaked in the feel of the season. Then it was back to reality, making those earlier moments all the sweeter. Thank you Gig Harbor!
Maples have so many faces, shapes, sizes and colors.
How I love all that variety.
Oh, and those winged fruits.
maple |ˈmāpəl|nouna tree or shrub with lobed leaves, winged fruits, and colorful autumn foliage, grown as an ornamental or for its timber or syrupy sap. •Genus Acer, family Aceraceae: many species, including the common European field maple ( A. campestre), the North American sugar maple ( A. saccharum), and the Japanese maple( A. palmatum), which has many cultivars.• the flavor of maple syrup or maple sugar.
Like millions of us, I am drawn back in time during the holidays. Almost anything can trigger one of those memories, but music certainly stands center. Of course not all the memories are holiday related. The most recent trigger was running across this Christmas red clarinet in one of the local antique stores. Once sighted, the clock began it's backward spin.
When very small, my main musical exposure centered around the radio and a handful of record albums my mom would play. When our first TV arrived we were transfixed and then transported. So many firsts in each viewing. Among my favorites were old movies. It was the early 1950's and everything that came through that big tube was black and white. It all seemed like one big magic trick for the longest time.
My favorite movies were musicals. Those with great dancing got my gold star. Probably not necessary to say Fred Astaire was amazing but, in truth, he was. In some of those movies the big bands were given a good deal of footage which seemed magic as well. Benny Goodman's Orchestra stood out and I loved his clarinet playing and Harry James on the trumpet. It was during that time that I first saw the 1937 movie "Hollywood Hotel". I can't recount the whole movie but the thing I remember clearly was another first. Gene Krupa on the drums. He was something and his playing in "Sing, Sing, Sing" never left me. The piece. The drumming. The man.
It may not be a holiday tune, but the holidays got me there and YouTube had it.
Hmm. Doubt is creeping in. There is a chance, just a chance mind you, that I have watched too many episodes of NCIS. All I can think of when I look at this image is skeletal remains. Since I don't catch much TV, I'm beginning to wonder if I need a bit more, just to balance my perspective?
I do love what's left behind at seasons end. The fall season that is, not a cliff hanger.
A week ago, co-workers and I had the opportunity to attend an afternoon Symposium on Ocean Acidification held at the University of WA Botanic Garden facility in Seattle. The speakers and the grounds were excellent.
Fortunately we arrived a few minutes early and were able to walk about. Unfortunately, mid program I had to excuse myself, due to an obnoxious cough. Always better to depart under ones own steam, than to be carried out by an angry crowd. My walk to the car did provide time to catch a few more images.
Twilight on the fading perennials made for some interesting colors and light shifts. If you have to miss out on something you have really been looking forward to hearing, this is a pretty nice alternative. I'll return one day for closer inspection; spring and summer.
In case you have an interest in the ocean acidification topic, the symposium was put on by WA Sea Grant. I am guessing the materials from the presentations will be posted on their site soon. There is a link to a related interview there now. The details can be found here at the WA Sea Grant website.
The heavy rain, cold temps and stronger winds have been having their way with our regional fall leaves. Color came on a bit late and then seemed to begin its shift almost as quickly, or so it seemed to me. Mother nature's way of reminding us to pay attention, take in the magic moments and be grateful.
I have been making every effort to catch what I can, with camera and senses, when possible. Twice I have been caught up in swirling/dropping/blowing moments of yellows, reds and more; taking my breath, giving me the chills. The same kind of chills I get when listening to this version of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm On Fire" preformed by Jennifer Nettles and Ben Harper at this years Kennedy Center Honors.
The seasons go round.
Firing up, coloring up, clean and still, renewing.
Fall has many faces. Not all filled with the lush color of leaves gracing branches and ground. Admittedly those are the images that first come to my mind when making its way into my thinking each year. Just the word gets my heart racing, camera twitchy, motor runnin'.
But fall does have many faces here in the Northwest. And it can be clever. Pesky. But not to the extent of the insane fog in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Tule Fog. It is famous for the many dangers that march in step with its progress.
Instead the fog of the Northwest, though thick at times, seems to softly hover; framing, highlighting and dissolving by mid morn most often. Though not always. Some Sunday mornings it lingers long enough for me to finish my early chores and give it a good chase.
Such was the case on a Sunday morn in Manchester where boats were having a quiet foggy float. Seattle, in the distance, remained shrouded. Sleeping in.
I wasn't really sure this was what I saw last night, until pulling it off the camera card just now.
Had anyone asked me, when leaving work an hour early, if I intended to stop and take pictures on the way home I would have laughed. Strong cold germs are rolling through our work group and found me in the morning. By late afternoon I surrendered to the cold and fever. Heading home it seemed everyone who wasn't in line at the pharmacy was lined up in the commute. I made a silent vow to keep moving until my head hit the pillow no matter what.
The thing about making vows is, they seem to tempt failure. But this one failed in a good way. About a half mile from the spot pictured, I could barely see golden purple clouds over tree tops and knew the sunset would be something at Henderson Bay. We were all moving soooooo slowly I was certain it would be gone before I could catch a glimpse.
Much to my surprise, after cresting the small bridge to the bay, this view was there for the taking. Cars seemed to evaporate. I was able to pull over and take a few shots. Then I got a bee in my bonnet to take some shots at waters edge. I drove down to the area near those old pilings you see and spent some time with the camera in the cool fall evening air. It was an amazing place to be in that moment. Humbling.
I made a silent vow to rethink my vow failure theory.
Though running at high speed the last couple of months, my trusty little Canon G11 camera is always within reach. It provides great opportunities for shifting into a calmer gear when needed. As the coming weeks lead into winter, things will slow a "bit" work wise, which means more energy for posting some evenings. And I can tell you, there are a LOT of images just waiting for their time on seamistandsunsets.
This has been a wonderful spring/summer/fall for some of the local environmental events I participate in and others I've visited. Good weather days, good public involvement and a good deal of information shared with folks looking to make a healthy difference; one stream, one bird, one garden, one fish at time. Knowing that what we do individually impacts the world, gives us common ground. (No pun intended.) I have much of that captured in pixels and will be sharing it as time permits. They make me feel so very hopeful, these determined, hard working volunteers and committed professionals who move us forward. I'm honored to know many of them and to see the results of their efforts.
So, a toast to those environmental volunteers, professionals and those of you hanging in here with me during my dry spells. I really appreciate your visits!
Photo taken at one of our local antique malls, not out my kitchen window. :)
This sunrise, caught from our deck, was a gift. Now, only two weeks later, my morning commute is near dark. How quickly fall light shifts. Soon I will be coming and going in darkness once again. Not a bad trade off for the colors in the shifting tree leaves.
Do you see the face just left of the blue waterfall of clouds? Mother Nature. What a card.
A tree uses what comes its way to nurture itself. By sinking its roots deeply into the earth, by accepting the rain that flows towards it, by reaching out to the sun, the tree perfects its character and becomes great. ... Absorb, absorb, absorb. That is the secret of the tree.
"And we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos, we've begun, at last, to wonder about our origins. Star stuff, contemplating the stars organized collections of 10 billion-billion-billion atoms contemplating the evolution of matter tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet Earth and perhaps, throughout the cosmos." Carl Sagan
Jelly fish photo taken at the Monterey Aquarium in CA. My how I love that place.
Most of my days are spent with folks of all ages and perspectives. It’s energizing. They help me keep one foot in the present and the other poised for the next challenge. However, I seem to have a third foot, firmly anchored in the past. Like a three legged table, there is usually balance. When the call of the past is strong, balance is harder to achieve.
Today my table tilts. I hear hoof beats, voices, stories, songs. See sweat stained shirts and brows, saddle weary bodies. Feel in my gut the exhaustion and satisfaction of their hard work.
From a distance they were under-estimated, counted on, chastised and romanticized. Up close they were cowboys, ranchers, dirt farmers, ropers and rodeo champions. Before fencing and subdivisions, they annually drove herds to grass, across vast sections of the San Joaquin Valley in CA and up into the Sierras. Kept watch, protected. Defended when necessary.
Most, not all, lived full lives. Married, had children, grandchildren and greater. Passed on lessons of hard work, stepping-up, leadership and self-discipline. Each one was honorable, humble, serious, humorous and kind. Maybe that was luck, but I doubt it. They earned the respect of many without seeking it. Shared bonds of family, community, hardship and success. And, they all understood a good horse could save your life.
These men have been gone for a long while now. Those of us remaining that remember them, do so with respect and love. One of their nephews carries their stories on to others through Cowboy Poetry. They left many for re-telling. We each have some.
Who were these men? They were my uncles, family friends, first love and my father-in-law. Shortly before passing away in his twenties, while juggling college and cattle, that first love said to me, “Chris, I love this work. My favorite time each day is watching the sunrise from horse back. After that, the rest is easy.” Seems a good thing to remember on this Labor Day.
The nephew I mentioned earlier sent me a link to a video that I have been saving to accompany this post. (Thanks Dan) I've seen it so many times, it may be worn out: The Vaquero Song. The wonderful photography is done by David Stoecklein and perfect song by singer/songwriter, Dave Stamey. Thank you both for your generosity and the marriage of your work for this piece. The other photos were taken in Eastern, WA along the Palouse.
Sharing the images I chase down or create and the occasional stories that accompany them, has been my pleasure for almost three years now. My hope is that you come here and find something pleasing. However, what you will not find here are the images and/or work of others, without approval, if at all possible. (read passed away - with no lingering copyright attachments, ie, in the public domain) You will occasionally find quotes, links to other sites, youtube, ect, with the author / creator / artist credited.
I believe in the laws protecting intellectual property rights and the reasoning behind them. The folks whose interests they protect are typically the least able to afford any other avenues of protection for their work. They are some of the hardest hit by digital age piracy and the economic decline. Right below human services. Along the way I have periodically had folks take my images without permission, and recently with more frequency. There are better paths.
So, to those who would follow that lower path, please reconsider. I ask that you ASK. It is about respect and honesty. Lack of it ultimately cancels out generosity. The email address, in the "copyright" panel to the right, has been provided for just that purpose. I think you will find my limitations of use are few and simple, if your request is reasonable. To the folks who have asked along the way I am honored and thank you. You set the bar.
I've uploaded these images with thoughts of my Grandma Grace. She was shy, loved and grew beautiful flowers, made delicious cobblers and filled many of my childhood days with song. Her favorites were the old hymns and she was most happy when she was singing them while doing dishes. Her soft voice would carry out the little window over the sink to the garden, where rows of her colorful treasures grew.
When younger, she accompanied her singing with strings and there is a wonderful old picture of her playing her instrument in the garden, back in Missouri, as a teen. The instrument didn't complete the journey through the states Grandma lived in, while making her way to CA with my Grandpa and their children. Thankfully words are light to carry so the songs continued to spill out long after the strings quieted.
Grandma and Grandpa lived a simple, self reliant lifestyle. They dealt with the things that really matter; getting by as best they could while raising six wonderful children. They suffered losses and challenges, worked hard and rested little. Nothing was fancy but everything was dear. A family gathering with the children and grandchildren was the best of times. A shady spot, iced tea and shared laughter was the recipe for perfection; followed by dish washing and grandma's songs. Her favorite was He Walks With Me. How could it not be, taking place in the garden with dew on the roses. I make a trip to the Point Defiance Rose Garden, in near by Tacoma, each summer and think of her and that last song we played in her honor.
I don't remember ever discussing the particulars of religion with Grandma. She may have attended a church before I was blessed to know her, but by that point, she carried her church with her in those songs.
Had she asked, she would have found we saw things of a religious nature differently. It wouldn't have mattered. She was about heart and home and family. If you fell into one or more of those areas, you were bound to her by threads of love for life. If she was here, I would share this song by Iris DeMent with her. Comes close to my thinking and I have no doubt Grandma would have loved it.
Photos, text and artwork are the property of Chris Schutz. All rights reserved. Contents of this site may not be reproduced in any manner without permission. You may contact me via e-mail at : firstname.lastname@example.org