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The Dawning Of Monday January 4, 2016

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2016, Outdoors, Photography.
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I left home before the sun rose this morning, although at least it was getting started.

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Much preferred to the gloomy gray of yesterday.

A Very Gray Winter Day January 3, 2016

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2016, Outdoors, Photography.
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Cold and gloomy today, as this is a color photo.

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Happy 2016 January 1, 2016

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2016, Outdoors, Photography.
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The Rose Bowl is on television, but  I’m facing away from the television right now. The scene out the window, even with the reflection of the Christmas lights, is more compelling than watching Iowa play at the moment.

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Happy New Year!

Beginning of a Day, Beginning of a Year January 3, 2014

Posted by Christine Coleman in Outdoors.
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Sunrises and sunsets are two of my favorite things to see. Each one has its own uniqueness: colors ranging from yellows and oranges to pinks and purples with any variety of shades in between, enhanced in any variety of ways if there are clouds. There’s a promise in each sunrise, for a unique day ahead, while each sunset brings its own closure.

While I certainly am no photographer, I do enjoy snapping pictures of sunrises and sunsets with my phone or, if I happen to have it with me, my camera. So when I saw the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was on beginnings, I knew just what I’d post.

January sunrise

Since it was so clear overnight, it was incredibly cold this morning. I kept an eye on the window as the sky began lightening before 7 a.m., wondering if the -14F temperature would bring about a nice sunrise.

As you can see, it did. No filters on the photo and no editing — this is how it looked from my snow-covered deck in the brief few seconds I could stand to be out there without a coat to snap a few pictures from my phone.

A January 3 sunrise — the beginning of a day, the beginning of a year, a time filled with promise in all that cold air as the days begin to lengthen ever so slightly.

An Unexpected November Sunrise November 20, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2013, Outdoors.
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11-20-13

With today’s weather forecast calling for rain all day, I was a little surprised to look out and see this sunrise begin to unfold a few minutes ago. As I stepped out onto the deck to take the picture, I was even more surprised to hear birds chirping.

The sunrise was a nice, albeit brief, gift as there already are just grayish-blue skies off to the east right now. And the heavenly quality to the clouds was an appropriate sight for today — it would have been my Dad’s 74th birthday.

Happy birthday, Dad.

It’s a Cold November Morning … November 19, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in 2013, Outdoors.
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11-19-13

The sun doesn’t rise until after 6:30 a.m., there’s frost everywhere — but at least there is sun. So much better than clouds, so much better than darkness.

Just trying to find the bright side … literally and figuratively.

Of Springtime and a Heart Balloon November 14, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Outdoors, Writing.
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This is a Throwback Thursday post of sorts — throwing all the way back to May 9 of this year. It was a cloudy and at times rainy spring day and, late in afternoon at work, I happened to look out the window and see this.

balloon heart

Yes, a heart-shaped balloon. And it was in the puddles outside the dock door, of all places. The rain and May breeze had obviously knocked down many blossoms from the bushes that line the edge of the parking lot to add to the scene.

An unexpected sight, for sure, yet also striking as you can see — the contrast of the red with the gray, the reflections in the puddles, the pink petals scattered all around.

Where the balloon came from, who knows? And it wasn’t there long before blowing over by the dumpster — and then I left work for the day.

Seeing the picture again, it seems like there could be a interesting story written about it. Maybe the balloon was intentionally let go, over some ill-advised comment from a boyfriend to a girlfriend after giving her a heart-shaped balloon …

For tonight, though, that’s all. More to ponder, and to write, another time — when I feel like dreaming of springtime and blossoms.

One Holiday At a Time, Please November 13, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Goals, Outdoors.
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The first “it’s WAY too early for that” moment for this fall was on Nov. 1 as I was driving home from work. A few blocks from home, I turned the corner and there it was — an entire yard glowing with holiday figurines ranging from various snowmen to penguins and Santa, the house and trees festooned with a variety of lights.

All on the day after Halloween.

Can we wait until after Thanksgiving, please?

Can we wait until after Thanksgiving, please?

Very early last Friday morning came the second such moment. My clock radio was set for 5 a.m. But instead of the ’80s or ’90s or current song playing to awaken me, instead it was Bing Crosby. Nine minutes later, after hitting the snooze, the radio popped on again. Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

Reminder: last Friday was Nov. 8. We don’t need a station with all Christmas, all the time, starting on Nov. 8.

Now, I’m not a Scrooge by any means. I love Christmas. I decorate each year, and I do love listening to Christmas music. But at the appropriate time — which to me is after Thanksgiving.

Once upon a time (sure, why not use fairy tale language and hearken back to the old days when I was a child?) Christmas music really was special. You would hear it on the radio nonstop on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, perhaps a song here and there after Thanksgiving leading up to the holiday. But not 20 different versions throughout a day of this pop starlet or that wannabe diva pouring way, way too much over-the-top vocal theatrics into “O Holy Night.” Even the songs I really love — like “Do They Know It’s Christmas” from back in my day or Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” lose their specialness when you hear them on the radio multiple times a day weeks before Thanksgiving.

And the lights and decorations and even people with trees up already — yeah, I get that Christmas is awesome and decorating is fun and all. But for eight weeks?

Time goes by quickly enough (which I said a little something about yesterday) plus Thanksgiving gets totally overlooked anymore. Too many skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, ignoring the time to stop and reflect and give thanks for all that we have.

Bravo to the neighbor just down the street from the house with its Christmas decorations and lights ablazing already. They have an honest-to-goodness Thanksgiving display in their yard right now. No, not some neon turkey glowing in the window or an inflatable one blowing around their yard. It’s a hay bale, with several pumpkins (uncarved, not just Halloween leftovers), cornstalks and artificial leaves and flowers surrounding them — all lit with two spotlights on the ground in front of the hay bale. It’s the one and only Thanksgiving display in my neighborhood, and bravo to them.

Let’s just enjoy and appreciate one season before moving on to the next. That way, we really can appreciate and enjoy.

Missing Summer In November November 9, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Outdoors.
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The lesson, most likely, is that I need to real to appreciate today and the current fall season and the early darkness. Wishing it was June with more daylight isn’t going to change the fact it’s Nov. 9 and dark at 5 p.m.

On another day, I will work harder at enjoying the moment. Today actually was a pretty day for the fall — abundant sunshine, temperatures in the mid-50s. But, of course, it was dark at 5 p.m.

Here’s a photo from the days when it wasn’t dark at 5 p.m., of a beautiful sunset along the Mississippi River at the appropriately named Sunset Park in Rock Island, Ill. It was taken 16 weeks ago tonight, on July 20. (Thank you, Instagram, for the 16-week calculation!)

sunset - July

Ah, I can remember the feeling of standing there and watching nature’s beauty as the sun descended and the sky turned into a kaleidoscope of yellow, pink and soft purple. Being at the park that night was impulsive, the result of being not far from there as sunset was approaching and taking a quick detour.

Obviously, it was a wise impulse.

Happy for the Sunshine November 6, 2013

Posted by Christine Coleman in Outdoors.
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The weather has been so dreary lately — gray, rainy, cool. Typical late October/early November weather, I suppose, but I’ve been missing the sun.

sunlight-02When I was driving back to work from lunch this afternoon, off to the west there was — amid the layers of clouds — blue sky. Soon the blue spread across the sky and chased the gray and, a while later, there it was: sunlight.

Even though I was in my office, it was so pleasant to look out the window and see the sunshine. It would come and go, with all the clouds still in the sky too, but seeing the sun was a nice boost.

As the time ticked away, toward the way-too-early sunset (which I can’t see since I’m on the east side of the building), there were moments when the red and yellow leaves on the bushes at the edge of the parking lot seemed to glow. It was stunning — and, unfortunately, I did not capture it via photo. Instead I just enjoyed the brightness, enjoyed the leaves and enjoyed the brief vacation from November as, for a few brief seconds, it seemed like summertime (overlooking the colors of the leaves) once again.

It’s a long time until spring, so best to take the moments of enjoyment when they appear.