Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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This didn’t have to happen

It’s happening regularly across our country. Over and over, it seems daily, I read the stories. This one happened yesterday, and not so far from me.

Look at the photos; the SUV is wedged entirely under the trailer of the semi truck. It was a dark and rainy morning, the SUV was traveling on the divided highway when the semi pulled out in order to make a turn.

The SUV driver is dead but he might have had a chance if the truck had side guards installed on the trailer. Most industrialized countries around the world have these safety devices on their trucks.

Our country doesn’t, because the trucking industry protests the weight that would be added to the truck. They say the guards will cost them money – by making those loads that are already at maximum weight be reduced. They say the guards will mean more trucks are on the road.

The truth is most trucks aren’t at the maximum weight and won’t have to decrease their load. The truth is we could probably get the weight limit increased for the 800 pounds side guards might add. The truth is we might be able to get tax credits or other benefits for truck companies willing to help make our roads safer.

Some truck companies and trailer manufacturers are beginning to consider adding guards, not because it’s legislated, but because it’s the right thing to do. They’re willing to absorb the weight and the cost because it could save lives.

There are a lot of potential solutions, but none of them came in time for the driver of this SUV. He was 75, the same age my dad was when he was hit from behind by a semi and pushed into the semi in front of him. This man’s name is William. So was my dad’s.

It just hits so hard. Another man, probably a husband, a father, maybe a grandfather, someone’s brother, neighbor, church friend, local man about town, another man is dead.

And it didn’t have to happen.

We’re working on it but we’re slow and we’re fighting uphill. We don’t have the money that the truck industry has, and it’s harder for us to influence decision makers.

But we’re not giving up and we’re not going away.

Please, if you can, support our efforts. We’re working both with industry directly and within government to get side guards installed on trailers. You can donate to the Truck Safety Coalition via PayPal at their website. Funds donated will go toward our work to make the highways safer for all of us.

And there’s another way to help. A bill is being worked on that will require side guards, and I’ll ask you to call your Senator to ask for support. I’ll let you know when to call.

In the meantime – stay safe.

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102 today

I can’t imagine what it’s like to turn 102. But I’ve been watching and I can tell you it isn’t easy. It’s not romantic and it’s not fun.

Most of all it’s lonely.

My husband’s aunt turns 102 today, though we had a little birthday party yesterday in her room. She ate a couple of bites of cake and peered at the birthday cards through faded eyes.

She was glad for the company, and we were glad to spend some time with her.

Aunt Vi and her cake.

Most of the time when you sing Happy Birthday you wish the recipient many more years, but that’s not what I wish for Aunt Vi now. For her I wish a smooth transition to her next chapter, one without fear or pain. I wish that she be allowed to drift away feeling unfettered, free of regrets, joyful in a life well lived.

And for today I wish peace to the 102 year old birthday girl.

Celebrating.


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“I want your smile”

I think this morning, the Sunday morning after Charlottesville, we could all use a smile. Not to trivialize what happened there, what is happening in smaller and less splashy incidents all over our country, but to give our broken hearts a tiny bit of relief.

The sun always rises.

There’s this guy named Trent who writes a blog and weekly asks us to tell him what made us smile during the previous week. I haven’t followed him long, or even regularly, but I happened to read him this morning and knew that I wanted to share the things that made me smile this week.

I wasn’t on an adventure, not camping with Katie-girl, or off exploring by myself. I spent this week at home with the camera, just shooting regular stuff — the things we all see but rarely stop to really look at. Like things in my garden, during this end of summer time when the gardens always look their best even though they’re becoming a bit frayed around the edges.

A pop of color.

And it rained a lot this week, as happens on late summer afternoons. Gushing downpours that wash away the humidity for a bit.

It’s a monsoon!

I stood on my front porch and shot the rain hitting the driveway. Sometimes it seemed as though the drops were creating tiny little fireworks, as if they were celebrating summer.

Celabrate!

After the rain I took Katie-girl to her park. The temperature had dipped down into the high 60s (15.5c) cool enough for a sheltie to enjoy a summer walk. We were surprised mid-walk by another thunder storm.

The light before the storm.

The wind blew and the rain drove down in sheets. We got wet, though the camera was safe inside my pack. Katie and I both smiled.

And of course I’m totally smiling over the fact the orioles are still visiting my feeder. Sometimes they get confused as to which feeder, but they’re still visiting.

Wrong cafeteria, girl!

I expect them to leave for the season any time now. I’ll miss them all. This morning there were two males and at least four females all vying for the feeder. I think that signals that they’re getting ready to head out for their winter home.

Gotta get my share before all those girls come back!

And last night I went out into the backyard after midnight to look for meteorites. Here in Michigan it’s supposed to be the best time to see them, and I did see one which was amazing. And no, that’s not the it, that’s a plane. The meteorite was much much brighter. Still I thought this was a cool shot.

All kinds of light last night.

Our backyard is too full of light, mostly from the neighbors huge yellow light over his garage, to really get great pictures of the night sky, but I had fun messing around with the camera anyway.

Starry starry night…

So these are some of the things that made me smile this week. What about you? What did you smile about? Care to share? Just link to Trent’s blog, we all need another smile!

She always makes me smile!


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My drive home – a study in green (plus a few other colors)

Click on any photo and you’ll be able to scroll through larger versions of all the images above.

I stopped at a few places on the way home. What would have been a five hour drive turned into nine. And I got rained on. A lot. Still, it was so much fun.

I have lots of other things to show you, but they weren’t necessarily dominated by green…so they didn’t fit here. I suppose that will mean a post with random photos coming soon.

On the other hand, Katie-girl has much to say and you know how hard it is to silence a princess.


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A walk in the woods…and sunset too

Yesterday, after the fog lifted I wandered in the Leelanau State Park hiking trails that wind through cedar and beech trees, then up to the dunes that separate the woods from the shore of Lake Michigan.

Come with me for a walk in the woods!

It’s a magical place, and I was lucky – there were very few bugs! I loved how the light sifted through the newly minted leaves.

Spring green.

And though there were few bugs, there were plenty of natives scurrying around in the leaves on the forest floor…

Anything good to eat down there?

…and scolding me from behind tree trunks.

Stay away lady!!

I enjoyed the cool trail through the damp deep woods…

What’s down there?

…but after a bit the trail left the dark woods and began to climb up and around sandy and more open dunes. The trees changed too, from deep dark forest to open and airy.

Let the sunshine in!

Eventually the trail spilled out onto perfectly beautiful dunes and provided a view of the lake. What a pretty picture!

Such a pretty place.

I probably should have climbed over those dunes to the lake. You never know what you’ll find. But it was getting late in the day, so I headed on through the woods. I met a new friend sleeping in a sunny spot on the trail. He wasn’t as excited to meet me as I was to notice him, and he silently moved away.

See you later lady!

And just before the parking lot I found a sweet little patch of forget-me-nots.

As if I could.

Later in the evening I waited in anticipation for sunset. I must have run down to the beach a dozen times, hoping that this was the one great shot. Turns out it was a pink and purple, more gentle kind of sunset. Still it was pretty. I’ve put together a short slide show for your enjoyment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

That way you don’t have to do all those stairs yourself.

Magical


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Foggy morning

No swimming today.


Overnight I listened to a lighthouse fog horn warning ships that the shore wasn’t visible. This morning the horn was still blowing and the lake had disappeared behind a heavy veil.

My plan for today was to explore nearby orchards; I’ve never been here when they were in bloom, and I saw several on my drive that looked promising. But in the fog?

Mysterious beach.

I thought about it while I was eating cereal, staring out into grey nothingness. Contemplating. After all, a flowering tree is beautiful in the sun, but might it be more interesting in the fog?

Certainly worth a walk.

Going for a walk.

Everything is so green up here, and the fog made it seem to drip green dew into the green air.

Green green everywhere.

At the top of a hill was an orchard in full bloom.

Standing in formation despite the weather.

I’ve tried many times to catch the patterns and symmetry of orchards. It’s hard to show the patterns, they’re so large. But every time I’m up here, whatever the season, I try.

Trunks create a pattern.

I guess I find orchards fascinating.

Rows line up.

I love the patterns and textures, especially when they’re in bloom.

So pretty.

Later this afternoon the sun came out. I went for a walk in the woods, and on my way back I drove by the orchard to see what it might look like without fog.

Hills full of orchards.

Turns out they are just as pretty in the sunlight.

Sun shines through blossoms.

I’ve got to organize the photos from my walk in the woods. Maybe you’ll see those tomorrow. But the sun is still shining here, sparkling on the water. There’s a chance we’ll get a sunset tonight.

If so you’ll probably see that first.

Sun diamonds.


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WordPress Photo Challenge: Evanescent

ev·a·nes·cent [evəˈnes(ə)nt]
adjective:

Soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

Only here a moment.

I saw this unusual trillium on my walk in the northern fog this morning. I’ve never seen one like it. Trillium season is so short I’m lucky to get an extension by being in the north this weekend.


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The skies they are a changing

I’m off on a little vacation; just me myself and I plus one cat. And a really big lake.

On the five hour drive north I saw a couple sights worthy of stopping, even though it was a drizzling, damp, grey, kind of nothing in particular sort of day.

New corn.

Still, there was evidence that spring was marching on regardless of the dreary weather.

A hillside full of trillium.

At the lake mist was still clinging to the hilltops above the gentle giant of a lake.

Misty morning on the lake.

I went for my first walk along the shore, glad to be near the water, not caring what the weather would bring. And then I noticed a lightening of the air; the sun was fighting the low hanging clouds.

A bit of blue to brighten the day.

But looking the other way down the beach, the clouds were piling in.

Purple clouds.

The sun and clouds tussled the rest of the day, until late in the afternoon when the sun finally broke free.

Sunshine, clouds, it’s all good.

I thought perhaps there would be a spectacular sunset, but now mist is moving from the horizon toward shore. There probably won’t be any sunset at all.

An lake freighter slides through the mist.

Which works out fine, because I don’t think I can stay awake that long anyway.

Happy to be here.


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On loss and spring


I’ve been to a lot of funerals held in winter and I used to think the hardest thing in the world was to walk away after a winter graveside ceremony, bowed with grief, huddled in a coat against the wind and rain or snow. Though you knew your loved one couldn’t feel the cold it was just so hard to leave them there in the darkening light of a winter day.

I used to think that was the worst.

But yesterday, when a local family had to leave their young man behind in the cemetery, the sun was shining and the bright blue sky was filled with puffy white clouds. It was a perfect spring day.

And now I wonder. Maybe losing a young life in the midst of the hope that is spring is the worst.

Yesterday a family had to come to grips with a life ended way too soon. I don’t know them, or the young man gone, but I understand their shock. Accidents happen, but never to your family. Never to someone with an infant and a wife and loving parents and a huge extended family.

Never just as spring is blooming with promise.

How can someone just be gone when so much around us is bursting into life? How does a young wife with an infant son survive without the loving husband, the doting father, at her side?

How does a family walk away from a new grave, bowed with grief, when bright blue skies are smiling down? It just seems wrong. Certainly the sky should be crying too.

But this young wife is strong, and she has a strong family to help her. She has good friends to listen and provide support. They know that sometimes the road takes an unexpected turn; they know how to navigate grief. They’ve been there before.

She’ll be OK eventually. And her son will grow up surrounded by people who will tell him about his daddy. How he loved his family. How he will always be there in their hearts.

It takes family and friends to get through grief filled but beautiful spring days when life is bursting from every tree and shrub, every bulb and seed, but tears are hiding behind every eyelid.

May the beauty of spring moving on into summer give some comfort to a family whose hearts have been broken once again.

And may that tiny little boy know that he is truly loved.