All Quiet…

It’s been a time of busyness, and stillness, in my life. There isnt a lot going on, and days are pretty much the same. A trip to South Carolina is on the itinerary for this weekend. My daughter and her family are there. After that, I’m not sure what the plan might be. There’s always someplace to go, I just need to decide where it will be. For January, I’m thinking about Mesa Verde and Cortez. I spent yesterday having coffee with a friend. It’s been a long time since a spent a whole day with one person. Last night, I took a couple of the grandgirls to a concert. Piano, clarinet and violin. Things like that are always good. On my jacket, is a US Army pin. It’s there in honor of the uncle who took the place of an older brother, in my life. They had questions, so I explained.

His given name was Marcus, but everyone called him “John”. At nineteen, he found himself as a door gunner on a chopper in Viet Nam. The mission was to extract a group of soldiers from a particular area. He didnt make it through.

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There I stood, surrounded by strangers who had come to hear this beautiful music, crying and covering my face with a coat sleeve. Embarrassed? No. It’s good for kids to see the deeper part of their elders, and to know it’s okay to miss someone. I dont cry often, and I dont mourn. Sometimes, though, it just happens.

On an up note, the friend I spent the day with happens to be very photogenic, and enjoys being in front of the camera. We decided to meet up again, when I get back from SC, to do some shooting. If she’s cool with it, I’ll share some pics here, and on the new page – Don’s Private Portfolio.

 

Thanks for commenting, Liking and sharing.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.

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Fort Morgan

On a country road, it’s easier to be mindful and focus on the moment. I practiced, today, as I took a day trip to Fort Morgan, Colorado. Starting with my breathing, I slowed down, in and out deeply, several times. Afterward, I turned my attention to the road. As the lines moved toward and past me, I felt the movement of it rolling beneath Maggie’s wheels. Some areas were smooth. Others were cracked and rugged. The vast blue sky was empty of clouds, changing from cobalt overhead, to cerulean nearer the horizon. Around me stretched broad farmlands, amber and tan. Farm houses jutted from the fields, surrounded by protective trees, which provide shade in summer and much needed wind break in winter.

Breakfast was at a local restaurant named “Home Plate”, although it was actually lunch time. It’s the kind of place that you might expect in a small town. The building itself is kind of Southwestern style, but very open and well lit, with lots of tables. Definitely family owned, even the kids are busing tables and bringing out food. My meal was sausage patties, eggs, hash browns, biscuit and gravy, with coffee. It was all good. If you’re going to Fort Morgan, you might want to check it out.

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Afterward, I mad a couple of passes up and down Main Street, where this couple was making the rounds in this beautiful carriage. I was trying to be stealthy, shooting through the windshield, but that lovely smile tells you that I got busted.

You can see in the photo that the street is decorated for the holidays. Maybe I’ll make another trip at night, when everything will be lit up. It took me a minute to figure out that Christmas carols were playing through speakers at each of the intersections. They only need some snow to make it a real Hallmark town. If it that happens, I may go back to see.

On my way back to Denver, I decided to jump off the main highway, and get back onto State Highway 52. After only a couple of miles, I saw these guys kicking up dust in a corral off the road. At first I drove by, but had to turn around and ask if I could make a few frames. Here as some of those shots.

 

This is why I love taking the back roads. If I’d stayed on 76, I’d have missed this. These are the things that resort travelers never get to experience.

Thanks for following, liking, and sharing.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.

VagabondStew Cover Photo…

Have you ever looked at the cover photo for this page? There’s a lot going on. It’s just one shot, not a composite, but look at the jumble of folks that are captured there. The obvious focal point is that guy with the rainbow bicycle. On the far left, though, is a group of young people enjoying a song. Then, there’s a guy who looks like Barack Obama, walking away. On the far right, is a guy with a great big smile. It just seems like a really happy moment on 16th Street.

Life is like that, and it’s what VagabondStew is about. It’s a mashup of people and stories, photos and philosophy. I dig getting people involved, and writing about the marvelous things they do.

That’s all. Just some thoughts on the Monday after Thanksgiving. Have a great day. Thanks for reading, sharing, liking and commenting.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.

Andy In Love

Andy was in his early twenties, when we met. It was late spring, and he’d been on the road for three days from Barstow, California. I’d found him standing on a ramp to I-70, outside Denver, with his thumb in the air. Destination: Topeka, Kansas.

“What’s in Topeka?”, I asked. I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me when he said, “My dream girl.”

Well, what do you know? Love on the blacktop. He showed me a photo, on his phone. She looked to be about his age, brunette, with a round face, dark eyes and pretty smile.

They’d met online, and had been chatting via Skype for a couple of months. After a while, they’d decided that he should make the trip. Of course, they were both broke, so here he was, dirty and hungry, and happy as a fly on a cow patty; two days away from the best thing that had ever happened to him.

When we got to my exit, he got out, smiling. He was a little closer to his Dream Girl. I gave him five bucks and wished that I could be there to see that first real kiss.

Feeling Good…

I had a really fine weekend. There were no Stew Wagon or homeowner projects, so things were very laid back. I met some remarkable people. Spent time with a couple of friends. Also, a few articles that had been waiting, got read. It’s been a long time since I felt truly relaxed when I went  back to work.

Snow fell on the west side of the Divide, while I was gone. Coming back up, last night, roads were good, until I started up County Road 3, to the Meadow. It was mostly snow packed and icy. The hill down to the meadow was treacherous, so I turned off the Overdrive and did a lot of brake management. Maggie has new snow tires and handled it well. Once I’d got her situated, I stepped out into the wonderful blue powder, enjoying that sound that only fresh, frigid snow makes. I didn’t hurry to do evening preparations (covering windows, stowing loose things), as I wanted to savor the moment. Deer and rabbit tracks crossed the level place, as did some hunter’s boot prints. Surrounding trees wore a new frosting. Looking back, along path of the little stream, the scene was idyllic.  I was again stricken by the marvel that this is where I get to stay.

If I were smart, I’d lie and tell you that it was horrible, and how much I hate this place. After all, the more I say about it, the more people will want to come here. My response to that is that there are lots of national parks and forests. Just get out there and find a place that you love, and enjoy it. I’m blessed to have this place, and to work in such a marvelous setting. If you’d like to join me, the mill is hiring, and there’s a whole forest to pick your spot in.

Once again, thanks for reading, commenting, liking and sharing.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.

 

Imaginary Photos…

Every photographer has them. They’re the ones you didn’t shoot. Things you saw while you were doing something else. Unusual light, falling in an familiar place. People doing amazing things, when you don’t have your camera.  Faces.

This week, there was a young electrician contracted at the mill. She is beautiful, with pale blue eyes, like shadows on snow. The subject of photography came up, and I told her that I’d like to get her in front of my camera. “Yeah. I did that once”, she said, “but didn’t like it.” In another setting, I might have given a little more effort, but a work environment isn’t that place. Although her job here is finished, and I probably wont see her again, my mind holds images of her dirty face and blonde hair, underneath a hard hat, and those blue eyes looking out. I may not have gotten the shot, but I have the Imaginary Photo.

The shot above is of a face painter at a Cinco de Mayo festival, a couple of years ago. She and a partner had set up a small table on the grass, with a money jar. They were doing faces for five dollars each. I was there all day, and their line never stopped. I asked if I could take some photos for my blog, and they gave me permission. This is, I think, the best of the lot.

A couple of things come out of this, for me. First is, there will always be missed opportunities. When they appear, take a moment to click that Imaginary Photo. You’ll be glad for it, later on. Also, if you’re able to shoot, but need to ask, don’t be afraid. Just walk up and do it. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky, like I did with the face painters.

The world is full of beauty. If you keep your eyes open, you’ll see it.

In the meanwhile, thanks for commenting, liking and sharing.

~Enjoy the Life you’re living.