Category - travel

Farewell, “Alive Now”

….and thanks for all the fish?

For the past several years, it has been my unique and singular privilege to have photos from my visits to the UK (and other destinations) featured in “Alive Now,” a bi-monthly journal of prayers and meditations published by the Upper Room Ministries here in Nashville.

Sadly, “Alive Now” has just published the last issue of it’s ‘print edition’ – another victim of the relentless transition to digital media in the 21st Century.

On the other hand, I’m pleased to report that this final issues features not one, but two of my photos from England and Scotland – and this time, one of them (finally!) made the cover.

The cover photo is from Jervaulx Abbey – a Cistercian monastery that lies in ruin on a private estate in Yorkshire England. The interior photo is from St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Scotland, a destination known more for its golf than it’s ecclesiastics. St. Andrew’s Cathedral was once the largest church in all of Scotland, now all that remains is the East Facade, seen here through the arch of the West Gate.

I am forever indebted to Nancy Terzian,  Beth Richardson and Gina Manskar for their support and patronage over these past several years. The inclusion of photos like these in their publications has provided some much needed validation of my fascination with these ruins.

It is appropriate, I guess, that the theme of this final edition of “Alive Now” is “Thresholds,” as we all pass through the thresholds of our daily existence to whatever awaits on the other side.

Thank you, Nancy, Beth, and Gina.


What Did He Just Say???

So here’s what all the fuss is about...

This is 17 month old Juniper Rae, Ann’s first and quite possibly her only-ever grandchild.  She is the primary reason why Ann decided to pull up stakes and move to Portland back in July.

Sunday night, we all – Ann and I, eldest son James, younger son Robert, Rob’s wife Melissa and Juniper – all tuned into the professional verbal wrestling match aka “The Presidential Debate” btw Hillary and Drumpf.

Her parents don’t let Juniper have a lot of screen time, and she doesn’t see much TeeVee, so this was an exception.  But as you can tell from her expression, even a 1-year-old can look at Trump and wonder whatthefuck just came out of his incoherent noise hole.

Oh, and I have to put a dollar in the “swear jar” for saying “fuck.”  Actually, I put in two dollars.  Figured I may as well pay in advance for the next one…

Guess Where?

So, I spent a few days up in Portland, Oregon over this past weekend.  It was a bit of a “guerrilla strike” – one day of travel, three days there, another day of travel back to Nashville.

The weather was mostly… like this.  Which, according to rumor and/or legend, is fairly typical of Portland (and the Pacific Northwest in general) for most of the fall, winter, and spring.

Those of you familiar with my… ummm… unique domestic situation will know why the visit – which is about as much as I’ll say about it here.

Photo Challenge #2:
“Pendennis from St. Mawes”

For Day 2 of Ken Gray‘s Facebook 7-Day Photo Challenge, we’re reaching once more into the photo-wayback-machine.  This is one of the very first manifestations of my fascination (preoccupation?  obsession?) with medieval castles and abbeys

I made my first trip to the United Kingdom with my then-future-ex-wife Georja Skinner for five memorable weeks in the spring of 1976.  The tour covered almost the entire UK.

We started with a couple of days on the Isle of Sark in the  – a tiny refuged in the in the English Channel most notable for the nearly complete  absence of motorized vehicles.  Once in England proper we went as far west as Cornwall, north through the Cotswolds, Wales and the Lake District, and made it as far north as Edinburgh in Scotland.  Unfortunately our car was broken into outside of Edinburgh, and – in a demonstration of what international travel newbies we were – our passports were stolen.  We had to beat a hasty retreat back to the U.S. Embassy in London to secure temporary passports so that we could eventually fly home.

But I digress: the photo here was taken across the bay from the town of Falmouth on the south coast of Cornwall.

One either side of the mouth of Falmouth Bay are two fortresses built during the reign of Henry VIII to defend the English coast from invasion by the Spanish Armada. On the west side of the bay is Pendennis Castle; we spent a bit of time on the east side of the channel, at a nearly identical installation called St. Mawes Castle. While we were at St. Mawes, a spring storm rolled over the coast, and I captured the layers of clouds as they rolled past Pendennis with my Nikon F2, a 300mm lens and (I think) Ektachrome 400 film.

I have a print of this shot on the wall in my “library” (it’s just a small room with bookshelves, but I like the pretense of calling it “the Library”).  The print was made and framed back in 1976 – it’s the oldest photo of mine presently on display in the house.  I had it and several other photos from the era (like yesterday’s “Ground Strike“) scanned a few years back.  They’re all digital, now….

The image that appears at the top of this post has been “landscape” aspected to fit the way “featured images” are displayed in these posts.  Here’s the full “portrait”  aspected image, which shows many more layers in the clouds and sky:


Addicted to #TheStupid

The photo atop this post is not offered as one of my Great Works of Art.

It’s just a moment that struck me while Ann and I were wandering around downtown Portland, Oregon on Monday.

The “pose” you see here is hardly unique to Portland, so this is certainly no commentary on the common preoccupation on staring at tiny screens.  You see that in Portland, you see that in Nashville, you see it everywhere: people staring at tiny screens.

But in this particular moment, I was struck by this thought:  We live now in an era when we have all of the recorded knowledge of mankind literally at our eyeballs and finger tips.  There are no unanswered questions.   We live in an invisible digital ocean of information, and we spend a good deal of our lives retrieving that information.

So how come we wind up with somebody like Donald Trump within striking distance of the presidency?

Enquiring minds want to know.  I wonder if I can Google that…