Haiku ~ Groundhog Day
It is that time of the year again. A little bit of fun in Punxatawney that yields a surprisingly inaccurate result…
Phil sees his shadow
A frozen morning
Birds call for the struggling sun
One twelfth completed
Today we had our first major snowfall of the season in Southern Pennsylvania. A few inches of wet, sticky snow. I took the opportunity to create a temporary piece of art on the lawn using the yellow paint left over from the yellow submarine oil tank.
This is not only a tribute to the late, great, Frank Zappa, but also a useful warning to all who pass by! Anyone watching be contort to get this sprayed without getting my feet in the way, and shaking the can in the cold air may also have considered this to be a one-off performance art too!
The snowfall had been unexpected and fairly heavy. It was not unusual for a few inches to fall in a day but the blizzard had deposited nearly 2 feet of snow overnight, and it was even deeper where it had drifted or, to be more precise, had been blown by the wind.
He had been obliged to break his journey and find shelter in an abandoned barn during the storm. Now he was behind schedule and the deep snow that covered the track would make journeying onward much slower. However, he had no choice as he had a valuable cargo to deliver in his backpack. Many people were relying on him getting through to the outpost, and his return to his kinsfolk with the medicine would be eagerly watched for.
He kicked some snow into the morning fire to make sure it was extinguished, and placing a wad of tobacco into his cheek, he pulled on the heavy pack, tightened the straps and wearily headed West…
Week 4: Portrait: Headshot – You shot a selfie, now shoot a “selfie” of someone else!
As I mentioned in my earlier post on this subject ‘… (portrait) is largely unexplored territory for me to date, other than through reluctantly granted periodic “family portraits,”’ so I felt that this was going to be a tough assignment.
Help came though in a totally unexpected way – through Winter Storm Jonas! Bizarrely, as the storm was heading towards us, the majority of my family left to go on a pre-planned ski trip in Vermont, thereby missing the storm in its entirety. I, on the other hand, was left at home in PA to look after the place, but mainly because I no longer ski due to an accident in the Austrian Alps 10 or so years ago. Staying with me was one of my daughters, and as I was spending 8+ hours shoveling snow to dig a path to the road she, obviously, decided to build an igloo.
Aha! I thought, I will strike a bargain and, as part payment for providing some material for her to use as a roof, she agreed to let me take a few pictures of her. I particularly liked her choice of headgear and I had her pose inside her igloo too to provide an interesting backdrop. I admit to taking several shots over a short period (1-2 minutes) and I stuck to using my 20mm f1.7 (40mm equivalent) lens simply because I wanted a large aperture as the light was fading.
After some minor touch up in GIMP I also tried a black and white version, so this week I offer up two images to the challenge!
I would be interested to see which one is preferred, as it’s a tough choice for me.
I have just come back into the house after having spent time out in winter storm Jonas, shoveling the snow outside the back door for the dogs, and also to cutting a path to the chicken run to see if the hens are ok. They are, by the way, in fact so “ok” that one of them was in the nest box laying and was quite cross that I disturbed her!
So, I dry myself off, make a cup of tea and think about what I should write today. I post some pictures of the storm to facebook for friends and family to see and, as I procrastinate, I see that someone has posted a link to a challenge to write the saddest story you can in 4 words.
Quick as a flash the following phrase springs to mind:
“Man dies shoveling snow”
Whoa, there – not another bleedin’ subliminal message, thinks I. As a “man of a certain age,” what am I to make of that?
Well, a quick search of the wonderful wide web tells me that around 100 people in the US die from heart attacks in the winter while shoveling snow, although there are thoughts that the real figure may be more than double that. Although it’s mainly sedentary men who this affects, causing those of us who consider ourselves to be “fit” to think we’ll be alright, this is not always the case. Apparently plenty of younger, fitter guys (and their families) befall this unnecessary tragedy too, as the exertion of lifting snow, coupled with cold air which works to constrict arteries, creates “a perfect storm” for a heart attack.
So, to keep this message short and sweet I offer another 4 words and a sobering, but humorous image, that everyone should heed as Storm Jonas makes its way up the East Coast:
“Be careful out there”
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