Sunrise, Sunset, swiftly flow the days…

Sometimes you just need to shut up and let the photos speak for themselves…(5 October, 2011  Oslo, Norway)

(14 October, 2011  Oslo, Norway)

(18 October, 2005  Maui, Hawaii)

(29 May, 2006  Chicago, Illinois)

(17 September, 2011  Firenze, Italy)

(18 October, 2005  Maui, Hawaii)

(24 December, 2007  Lebanon, Tennessee)

(16 September, 2011  Firenze, Italy)

(15 September, 2011  Manarola, Italy)

(5 October, 2011  Oslo, Norway)

(2 November, 2003 Smoky Mountains, Waynesville, North Carolina)

(9 October, 2011 Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

(25 October, 2011  Baltimore, Maryland)

(27 April, 2005 Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois)

(18 October, 2005  Maui, Hawaii)

(13 September, 2005  Manarola, Italy)

(29 May, 2006  Chicago, Illinois)

Bring the bacon baby, I’ve got the wintertime blues…

The title comes from a hilarious and spot-on song by John Hiatt, an anthem to the plague of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SADD.  Like many maladies once thought to be the exclusive purview of old wives, SADD is now a commonly accepted mental disorder thought to affect up to ten percent of the population in some northern regions.  As the days get longer here, tempers get shorter, you tend to overeat and oversleep…if you’re not careful you emerge like Punxsutawney Phil in the spring fat, crabby, and in serious need of orthodontia.  Treatments include light therapy, melatonin supplements, and even couch time with Dr. Feelgood, but what seems to work best for me is exercise and being out and about as much as possible.  That seems to be the regime that Norwegians have worked out over time…they embrace the outdoors in the winter like a religion, regardless of weather or temperature they are hiking or skiing or even just sitting outside the cafes on sheepskins soaking it up.  Like I always say, when in Rome…eat all the gelato you can find, that stuff is awesome!  (5 October, 2011  Oslo, Norway)

There’s a lipstick sunset, smeared across the August sky…

When John Hiatt sings “maybe love’s like that for me, maybe I can only see as you take away the light”, he’s wondering if love is recognizable only as it fades, like a sunset is only visible as the light is leaving.  The man knows about pain, and I imagine so does the guy rowing in the image below.  If you’ve never tried rowing as an exercise, I can’t say I recommend it.  Rather, I’d advise you to sit down until the feeling passes…rowing is a lot of work!  If you’re looking for exercises that burn lots of calories though, rowing is right up there with running, aerobics, playing basketball, and my new favorite- cross-country skiing!  There are more than 90 kilometers of ski trails lit by floodlights just in Oslo, and skiing them is free!  When you live like we do in a city second only to Tokyo as the most expensive place on earth, you have a keen interest in anything that is free.  So, keep your rowing and bring on the skiing, and we’ll both be happy with the bargain!  (16 September, 2011 Arno River, Firenze, Italy)

Sky, sky, blue and black…

Jackson Browne was talking about how true love hangs in through thick and thin, whether you have sunny blue skies or ugly black ones.  Black skies are not too tough to figure out, they result from the absence of light…night.  But what makes the sky blue?  To answer that question, you have to know something about the nature of light.  Sunlight is composed of different colors (wavelengths) of light…maybe you’ve seen this when the morning sun shines through a piece of crystal, breaking the light into that pretty array (spectrum) of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.  Moving from the red toward the blue end of the lineup, those wave forms become shorter, smaller.  It turns out the little blue waves scatter more easily than the reds when they encounter bits of dust, water vapor, political ads and other trash on their journey from the sun to our eyes.  So we look up, and all those crazy blue particles of light are bouncing around willy-nilly, while the reds and oranges are marching on locked in on target.  Our eyes see blue, blue, blue…hey, it’s all blue up there, apparently!  But what about sunset?  It’s usually some form of red, right?  Well, the sunlight coming to our eyes at sunset is really low down there on the horizon, which means the light has to travel through even more of our messy atmosphere, down low where the dust particles are bigger, water molecules more rampant, and politician yap more intense.  By this time the blue particles of light are pretty much beaten into submission, out of the game, and even the big boys…the reds and yellows and golds…are getting kicked around and scattered about.  To our eyes, the blue bits are gone and we we see the colors that are still there bouncing around, and we grab the camera because it’s just so pretty.  So the next time you get The Blues from too many Tequila Sunrises, you can just blame all the Dust In The Wind!  (16 September, 2011  Firenze, Italy)

B-double E-double Are You In?

Back where I come from, a beer run is something that gets done some ways through the party when you’ve run out of fuel but not out of the desire for it.  Garth Brooks and George Jones cut a song called Beer Run that got a lot of airplay, but there’s another version you probably haven’t heard by the great Todd Snider.  If you’re a fan of Americana, irreverence, and great wit, I think you may enjoy Todd’s version, and it’s a great introduction to his large and creative catalog.  If you like Garth’s music, you’re probably not going to want to bother with Todd.  The image below was shot on an island in the Oslofjord after a day of hiking, communing with nature, and discovering sunbathers au naturel…but that’s another story.  (22 August, 2010  Langøyene, Oslo, Norway)

I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes…

While Otis Redding left behind a lot of music, most folks know him for Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay.  It’s rare that I don’t think of that song if I’m near the water at sunrise or sunset…the combination of a space in time, slapping waves, and that low angle of the sun just cries for contemplation with backing blues.  Otis wrote the song with the great guitarist, songwriter and producer Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MGs) and recorded it three days before a plane crash took him in Lake Monona, near Madison, Wisconsin.  It was his first and only Number One single, and it was never supposed to be released because it wasn’t a finished cut.  When Otis whistles the last verse at the end of the song, he did so because the last verse wasn’t written yet…his whistle was just a placeholder until they could come back and “do it right”.  Thanks Otis, I think what you left us works just fine.  Oh, and if you don’t know Otis very well, could I suggest Try A Little Tenderness and I’ve Been Loving You Too Long…you might have heard of those too.  The image below was shot at the old Brygge on a lovely evening with friends in Bergen, Norway.  (16 August, 2011  Bergen, Norway)

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…

Known today as The Twelve Apostles, this gorgeous limestone formation along the Great Ocean Road was known as the Sow and Piglets until 1922, when it was thought something more catchy might help lure the tourist masses.  The site has only sported nine of these limestone stacks in living memory, and we’re presently down to eight of them, but I guess poetic license prevailed.  Erosion first creates a cave, then further erosion turns that into an arch, the arch collapses…Kodak moment!  On reflection, I think I prefer the original moniker!  (Port Campbell, Victoria, Australia, 31 March, 2011)

It’s another tequila sunrise…

Sometimes being up and about early in the day isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you, though probably if it’s a case of “still up” you will be rethinking your game plan eventually.  The song by the Eagles spoke about that low-down feeling that can make a boy go for the cactus juice, but I find the drink of the same name to be a fine thing in moderation.  The image below was shot at about nine in the morning at the Lysaker Brygge near Oslo…dawn comes late in these northern climes.  (10 December, 2010  Lysaker, Norway).

Whose woods these are I think I know…

Fresh snow blankets the woods and creates a contemplative and companionable silence in this photo that reminds me of the things I love about snowfall.  I guess most American schoolkids of the right age have read the Robert Frost poem that is the source of my title.  Frost apparently tossed the poem off in a few minutes time, after having been up all night writing a longer and more difficult poem.  It just came to him, the way things sometimes do when you least expect them.  (1 December, 2003  Bane’s cabin, Waynesville, North Carolina)

Country roads, take me home…

The first light of day is a magical time in the Great Smoky Mountains.  I know John Denver was singing about West Virginia, but I see no reason to be a purist about it since Denver wasn’t born with that name and never lived in West Virginia.  Still, it is a beautiful song that reminds me of my “home far away”.  This image was shot from the back porch of the Bane cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.  (2 November, 2003  Waynesville, North Carolina)