Category Archives: Opinion

It’s Black and White

I don’t usually engage in Facebook dares, challenges, and things of that nature.  But there is one in which I’m presently engaged that is both fun and interesting.  One of my friends (a “real” friend) challenged me to post a black and white picture each day for a week.  The pictures are supposed to not have any people in them, and the post is not supposed to explain the photo.  Lastly, part of the challenge is to pass the challenge along to a new person each day.  (I’ve been picking people I thought would have fun with it.)

The interesting part is seeing how different a photo looks after I edit it to gray scale, that is, black and white.  I hesitate to say they become more “artsy” but there is a distinct difference in how they present the subject.  Perhaps it’s because black and white requires a bit more thought to interpret.  I’m reminded that I once heard that Alfred Hitchcock preferred black and white for movies because it was better for storytelling.  And I cannot recall off the top of my head that I ever saw a color photo by Ansel Adams.  I’m guessing they knew a thing or two about the field.

There might be something to this black and white challenge worth pursuing.

Before and after.

Hidden Rocks In The River

I was walking along a trail today and an older woman pointed to the nearby tidal river.  “Look”, she said “there are a lot more rocks now.”  She was referring to the large number of rocks and boulders that were visible along the shoreline, since the tide was low.  It occurred to me that there were no more rocks there at that time than at any other time.  They are always there, just sometimes covered by water.  Depending upon the depth of the water, the rocks present varying levels of potential danger to boats.  At high tide, there is little danger because the water is deep.  At low tide, there is little danger because the rocks are plainly visible.  It’s that in-between condition that can be dangerous.

It seems to me that our attitudes about ourselves can be like that.  If our hang-ups or self-doubts are deeply submerged, they have little overt impact.  If they are out in the open, they can be dealt with as needed.  It’s when we allow them a little leeway, and they nibble at the edges of our thoughts, that problems can arise.  They can exert influence upon our decisions and our relationships and we may never even realize it because they are neither quiescent nor overt, but subtle and sneaky.  I guess what I’m saying is, we need to be constantly watchful and not let that in-between condition prevail.

You only see the rocks when the tide is low.

I Refuse To Act My Age

I’m 57 years old and 60 is fast approaching.  I was recently told that I don’t act my age when I showed someone a home obstacle course/jungle gym I’m building.  This was meant as a good hearted rebuke, but I take it as an affirmation.  I freely admit I don’t act may age because I’m not convinced that age is a limitation.

There are plenty of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond who don’t “act their age”.  Daniela Barnea, 73, recently won three gold medals in swimming.   Jacinto Bonilla at 77 competes in CrossFit and even had a WOD named after him.  Paul Tetrick, 85, has won more than 12 USA Cycling Time Trial Championships.  A quick online search will turn up so many “seasoned” athletes it will make your head spin!

Growing older is inevitable barring illness or injury.  To my knowledge there is no law that says we have to grow old in our spirits, though.  Certainly there is nothing that mandates allowing our bodies to fall apart from disuse or misuse.  I honestly do not see myself growing old with anything approaching complacency.  As Dylan Thomas wrote “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” I plan to go down kicking and screaming until I draw my final breath!

It’s almost finished!

Expectations

I took a lunchtime walk yesterday on the Kennebec River Rail Trail, as I usually do during the workweek.  The day was moderately sunny, although it had begun rather cloudy and certainly cold-a chilly 6 degrees Fahrenheit at my house.  It was around 30 degrees at noon.

I started out bundled up with my heavy winter coat, knit cap, and wool mittens.  I usually shoot for a 30 minute walk.  By the time I was five minutes in I had to remove my cap because I was heating up.  By the time I reached the half way mark, I had also removed my mittens, and shortly thereafter I had unzipped my coat.  I actually had worked up a light sweat by the time I got back.

Here’s the thing:  I had prepared myself for my noon walk based upon expectations I formed at 6:30 in the morning regarding the temperature.  What I should have done was check my smartphone for updated weather information prior to my walk,  instead of relying on outdated expectations.  As it turns out this principle applies to a lot of things in life: make decisions based upon reality not preconceptions.

A hand holding a thermometer in front of some icicles.

Baby, it’s cold outside! Or, is it?

Make America Kind Again

There is a photo I recently reposted on Facebook.  It shows two little girls walking down a lane, one with her arm over the other’s shoulder. Superimposed on this black and white photo is “Make America Kind Again”.  You know, I’ve been thinking about that.

Regrettably on more than one occasion I have posted something snarky, typically regarding politics.  Local and national, I’ve snarked them all.  But with the extraordinary vitriol coming out of the Presidential race and many “down ballot” races, the level of nastiness has reached new heights…or lows, depending on your perspective.  And it’s not just politics, it’s also racism and immigration, poor versus wealthy, us versus them, and a plethora of other issues.  The common denominator is plain old meanness.

The people who are supposed to be leaders are not leading, they often are exacerbating the problem. Here’s the thing: for every one of the meanies out there, there are thousands of us who aren’t mean, or who don’t want to be but got swept up in the hysteria.  So, here is my radical idea:

Be kind.

Seriously, be kind.  I challenge everyone who reads this to do at least one kind act per day.  Do it in secret or post it online, but be kind at least once per day.  Buy a stranger a cup of coffee.  Tip a waitperson double.  Volunteer somewhere.  You see where I’m going with this, use your imagination.  If we all begin to act in kindness, maybe we can counter the meanness out there.

It’s worth a try, isn’t it?

Love is greater than hate.

Love is greater than hate.