Weekly Photo Challenge: Door

A gate with a knob counts as a door, right?

This GRILLO door opens up to a little alley beside the GRILLO shop near Baltimore. My family and I spied the store from across the street, at an Italian restaurant we stopped at after a very long drive. We spent awhile throwing around theories about what it could be. A shop that sells grills for cooking? A specialty shop that sells grillz?

Of course we’re all morons and “Grillo” is just a family name and had nothing to do with the stores contents. It was, in fact, a pretty swank jewelry store. So there you go. I guess it still could be a grillz store but I doubt it. Which is sort of disappointing, to be honest.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Door.”


Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

The Muses are the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. They are the personification of the arts, science and literature. In countless works were they called upon to guide the creator in their deeds; to inspire them, to make them great. I can say with total assurance that I’ve never received the divine blessing of any ancient goddesses and if I had, I probably wouldn’t talk about it.

These days, a muse is simply a creative stimulus; it can be anything that inspires a person. Artists, designers and creative individuals of all careers have rewarded people with the prestigious title of “Muse”, all throughout history. Nowadays it’s not un-common for anyone with open eyes to experience something that acts as a constant fountain of ideas. It isn’t about divinity, rather an open mind to the world immediately around you.

There’s no one specific thing that I could call my muse. Instead, there are plenty of subjects I find myself revisiting time and time again.

Things like:

My home. I’ve spent a lot of time in the same little area and I still find things to photograph and enjoy. Although I’m pretty critical of it, I’ve been able to cultivate my own unique appreciation for the place I’ve been raised. It doesn’t hurt that through a camera lens, I get to pick and choose what my home is to me and leave the rest conveniently out of frame.


Nature. I consider myself lucky to live in a place with no shortage of pretty things to look at, and no one does ‘pretty’ quite like Mother Nature. I don’t know what this is a picture of even, I just like to look at it. The living land around me is a constant source of motivation; something so easy to appreciate, even without understanding it.

Dandi-Poofs get a special mention for being practically synonymous with my childhood/happiness in general and for being plain fantastic. If you can’t understand why that is just by looking at them, then I don’t know what to tell you.

I also gravitate towards:

Animals. There’s a special thrill that comes from photographing something living that you can’t control or direct. It feels like more of an accomplishment somehow; extra credit if you succeed at this in the Literal Wild. I blame Pokemon Snap for the delirious rush I get whenever I take a great photo of an animal, and really for my love of photography in general. Thanks Nintendo!

Birds are extra special. They come in so many different “flavors”, if you will. Flamboyant ones like the peacock and flamingo (or those guys with the feather mohawks!), elegant ones like swans and cranes, proud eagles and falcons, and even hilariously silly ones like the spoonbill. Birds are just the greatest. There’s a reason that the act of simply watching them is considered a legitimate pastime and hobby.

They aren’t the only things with wings that I love, however. I also really like:

Insects. All of them really, but moths in particular. They’re basically butterflies’ unpretentious cousins. They come in a crazy range of patterns and colors, some of which I can’t fathom being useful camouflage in the wild. Not to mention their many sizes and adorably fluffy bodies–the feathery antennae are a charm point as well! They also have super hairy legs which makes me happy for reasons I don’t quite understand and try not to think too deeply about.

Last but not least:

The things I love the most will always have a place on my camera’s memory card. I certainly don’t think I’m special in this regard, and this one should be pretty self-explanatory.

WordPress Photo Challenge Pingback: “Muse.”

Weekly Writing Challenge: Ice, Water, Steam

“What does it mean to be the same thing in different forms?”

My answer? ‘Not a whole lot‘ yet, ‘Everything‘ at the same time.

This idea that we are multifaceted beings, things of depth and dimension; capable of change or consistency, is not unique to us. All things in life work this way; all things grow and change, but keep a little of what they were. After all, our youth, our beginnings, are our bedrock and soil. We build and grow upon our past into something else, hopefully something better. Something that contributes to the world. Humans aren’t made special by this, but it’s incredibly important.

If we think of things in thirds; like we are ice, water and steam, then the idea of our childhoods, adulthoods and elderhoods surely come to mind. With it, so does our past, present and future. These three aspects of ourselves are the Big Three, the triad of who we are; the three individuals made into a whole that will be remembered by the world.

As a woman, I could delve deeper. I could spend time talking about The Three Faces of Eve; the Child, the Wife and the Seductress. There is this idea that women fall into one of these three categories: the spritely, innocent, child-like girl; the wise, calm, gentle home-maker; the sexually liberated, experienced, independent woman. Any well-crafted character, any human, will be parts of all three. Then there are the Hecate sisters. Without getting into the history of the triple-goddess, she represents the Maiden, the Matron and the Crone; Waxing, Full, and Waning. They too speak of these three aspects of womanhood, mixing the idea of the Three Faces of Eve into only slightly more complex traits.

We are all of these things eventually, but can we be all at once? Can we change from one to another with relative freedom?

No, we may be made up of water, but we aren’t as easy to change. The Elder and Crone may keep their childish curiosity or the Maidens love-ripe heart, but she will never be able to free herself of the burden of her losses and curated wisdom. That time, that innocence, that person, is untouchable and unobtainable. Just as I can’t reach into the future to my elder-self full of knowing, I also can’t recapture the worry-free, oblivious girl of my youth.

Water flows freely into one form of matter into the next and can transform back again. We aren’t so malleable. We need to pay damn close attention to the people we turn ourselves into, because part of that will always be with us. If we’re like ice, we need to be careful not to crack. If we’re steam, we must remember not to lose ourselves. If I am water, I have to steady myself onto the path I want, not just the one of least resistance.

We are not three definite things at once. Instead, we are an amalgam of everything we experience at every moment and eventually that will lead us into a form of ourselves that our past selves wouldn’t recognize; there is no going back. I can only make who I will be into someone better than myself and my past.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Water is powerful. It is both gentle and strong. It makes up the majority of everyone and everything. It has a hand in many of nature’s deadliest disasters. It sustains us and our earth, without it, we are but dry bones.

Coming from Virginia, or “The Land of Mercurial Weather”, I have experienced a lot of nature’s different forces. It sometimes feels like we Virginians are at the mercy of almost any and all of Mother Nature’s various whims, with exception to maybe sandstorms. There is no desert in Virginia.

But water plays the biggest part here, as I suppose it does everywhere. From the carpet of dew outside every morning to the Summer thunder storms to the coastal hurricanes, Virginia enjoys its fair share of water. My photo here shows the small part of water that I deal with the most; it’s clinging to every surface after the downpour, almost as if apologizing for any havoc it may have caused just before.

I love that no matter what it was doing before, after it’s gone, everything looks so vibrant. Squall or gentle shower, water is my favorite force of nature.

WordPress Photo Challenge Pingback: “Forces of Nature.”

Platalea Ajaja – Because it’s More Fun to Say

The Roseate Spoonbill.

I don’t even know, you guys. Look at it.

Boasting the most uncanny bill I’ve ever laid eyes on and intimidating the hell out of the ducklings in the habitat next to it, this bird stole my heart a couple years back. Part of the Threskiornithidae Family, the Roseate here is related to the far less humorous looking Ibis and of course, the Spoonbill. They aren’t particularly rare birds and are in no danger of becoming extinct; they live all over the coast of everywhere, apparently. They certainly don’t hang around the bodies of water near my home, however.

After searching around for awhile, desperately wanting to understand just what it is I’m looking at, I’ve realized there isn’t all that much information readily available about Rosie, here. Comparatively speaking, at least. It’s almost as if the scientific community and we as a people have seen this bird and just sort of shrugged and said, “Yep, that sure is a bird, alright.” and walked away.

Though not the most majestic of animals, I really like the Roseate. I give it a 10/10, would photograph again.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

Intricacy is defined by its complexity or detail. A lot of things could be considered intricate even if they aren’t always outwardly so, like people. Some things are only understood as intricate by people who have an intimate knowledge of that thing, like music. I chose to show an obvious intricacy, one that is plain to see but sometimes hard to appreciate, the intricacy of old architecture.

This photo was a quick shot of some very high windows of an old building in Atlanta, Georgia. I only barely noticed them from where I stood across the street and it made me wonder why people put such effort into something so hard to actually appreciate. All the same, I’m glad they did.

I suppose at the end of the day, that’s what’s at the heart of intricacy. It’s an expression of excellence and patient planning, something whose creation is every bit a piece of art as the finished product. It almost doesn’t matter if no one else is able to see it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

This is a photo I took recently while out on one of my walks. I brought my camera along because it’s finally looking (and feeling) like Spring here in Virginia so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take some great pictures.

I like this photo way more than I was expecting myself to. I took some decent shots of the flowers close up and on angles, and they were okay too, but this one from above shows off how the flowers spiral around each other as they grow, giving me a greater glimpse of natures architecture. I think it’s pretty rad.

Also, one thing I didn’t notice until just recently–there’s some kind of bug situation happening near the bottom left corner, just photobombing it up. I . . . really don’t know what is happening there.