All the Elements

I haven’t done a photo challenge in a while but when I saw today’s word, elemental, I knew exactly which picture I wanted to share. This past June was my two year wedding anniversary. A friend of my husband’s had a birthday party at the site we got married. It was pretty surreal for us to see the place 2 years later and walk the paths to see if anything changed. While walking down one of the trails, I happened to look back and saw this brilliant array of natural colors. I stared for a second and then I snapped a picture of the moment. It was so quiet and it was just us on the trail and I just remember experiencing this powerful moment of joy at the fact that we were standing here, loving each other as much, if not more than the day we married. ♥♥

Highbridge Trail

Thank you photo challenge for the prompt today. I’ve been looking for an excuse to post these pictures.

A few weeks ago I posted a story about encounters with Canadian geese while walking in the Gorge Metropark. The park has 3 trails: Glens trail, Gorge trail and Highbridge trail. Most people walk the Gorge trail because it takes you down to this huge man-made waterfall. It’s a 57 foot tall, 440 foot wide dam that used to generate electricity to residents (I have one picture from winter). Now there are talks of removing the tam because scientists believe its actually harming the ecosystem and obstructing a clean, healthy flow from the Cuyahoga River.

Highbridge trail is the more intensive back route of this park. You get to see the Gorge from a different viewing angle as well as seeing the power lines and generators used to provide power it at one point.

There’s also this HUGE bridge. I can’t even fathom how they built this through a forest but walking up on it, I was amazed. The bridge connects both sides of State Road to give humans a shorter drive distance; driving through the park vs. around it.

I wish it could have been a wildlife bridge then it wouldn’t be so invasive but hey, the removal of the Gorge is one step in the right direction. Maybe the bridge can be converted later.

What do you think about human structures encroaching through natural habitats? Let me know in the comments below!

Passing Through

My mom is throwing a birthday party for my grandma in two weeks. She’s turning 75. The party is going to take place at a shelter inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I went up there today to have a video chat with my mom so she could see the place and have the exact picture in her mind’s eye. She lives out of state, you see, so she was only going based of stock photos from the web.

After I showed her the shelter, I decided to walk to the trails. My husband and I came to visit two weeks back but we didn’t have enough time to walk anything. I noticed a trail called the Overlook and was definitely interested in finding out what I was going to “look over”.

You know, walking through a forest is something else. It made me realize how we’re all passengers in this world; in our lifetime however long it may be. Nature was here before us and it will certainly be here long after we’re gone. Yes, we manipulate it, change it, kill it, but it always finds a way to adapt, survive, and in some cases evolve.

I probably walked about 35 minutes and it was just beautiful. Really brings you down to Earth in a literal, massive way. I don’t know how this place will look a year from now, 10 years from now, 50 years from now, but I enjoyed it today and I’ll enjoy it again each time I go back because every day is always new and different.

How does nature make you feel? Do you agree with what I said? Does this make you want to come to Ohio and explore with me?! Let me know in the comments below!

Cellphone Cameras

Sometimes your cellphone camera can surprise you. It’s amazing how far technology has come along and it’s only getting better and better! Both pictures were taken with the Google Nexus 6P. For the second one, I tried to take the picture without grabbing the flower but the wind was blowing too erratically and I love sunflowers too much not to take a picture!

Focus

The Jerk: Part 2

This week’s photo challenge is pretty neat. I have a couple posts talking about friendship including one showcasing my husband and best friend, as well as my pets. I figured I’d do a part 2 of the jerk since he’s constantly around me. He’s my reading buddy, nap cat, and monkey boy. He was my unexpected fur friend after the passing of my pup. I never thought I’d like cats but this jerk has my heart with his grumpy cat eyes.

 

Test of Time

I have to confess. When I saw the word “evanescent” I immediately thought of the band Evanescence. Am I the only one?

This word has a cool meaning and pairs perfectly with my post from this morning. Check it out if you haven’t.

John, from this morning, had a show and tell story for me a couple of weeks ago. I forget how the conversation started but he ended up telling me about the tree that grew through the car. I looked at him like he was crazy. What do you mean a tree that grew through a car??? He was like, “Take a walk with me. Let me show you” So we make our way to the back of the plant and out the door and he wasn’t kidding:

Of course I needed the whole story after that! 20 years ago, the owner decided he wanted this car. I don’t know cars but it says Continental on it so he wanted a Continental. The problem is, it was all the way in Arizona. So he sent someone to drive cross country to pick this car up and drive it back to Ohio. The car gets here, and it needs a new exhaust. He paid for the exhaust to get fixed and it hasn’t left this driveway since! I don’t know if he just lost interest or what.

I asked John how this tree came to be! He said one of the “doodlies” must have planted itself and over twenty years it just grew. Doodlies are what us young people call helicopters. They look like little seed pods with wings basically and when they fall off the tree they float down like helicopter blades whirring. The tree literally came out of nowhere and did not let this car deter it! It just goes to show you how nature was here before us and can easily take the land back if we let it. You can tell this tree figure out how to grow through this car to the point that it’s actually lifting it off the ground:

Now the owners are contemplating donating this old car and John and I are making it known that this tree, this strong, little tree, has to be saved! If anyone wants this car, they’ll be taking it without the bumper cause this tree is staying.

Medici Family

When my husband and I honeymooned in Firenze (Florence) back in 2015, this was one of our stops. In case you don’t know who this is, it’s the statue of David by Michelangelo. We learned all about him and were told that this is usually the main attraction for tourists. Obviously we were no exception but he wasn’t what enthralled us the most.

Everywhere you look in Florence you’ll see signs of the Medici family in some form or fashion. From the buildings, bridges, artwork and even to the actual bones of the family, some buried, some in the Medici Chappelle. They were the richest, influential family of their time!

From the left you have the beautifully painted ceiling, called The Chapel of the Princes. It’s located in the Mausoleum of the Medici Chappelle. It’s shaped like an octagon because at each point there are bronze statues that are supposedly sarcophagi that contain the Grand Dukes. The entire room is made up of different colored marble and semi-precious stones. This is one of many works of architectural art that celebrate the power the Medicis had for several centuries.

Next you have the Ponte Vecchio which has an amazing history! This bridge was built in 1345, commissioned by the Medici family because they wanted easy access from Uffzi to Palazzo Pitti. As we were told, during WWII, instead of blowing up the bridge and blocking access, the Germans were so awed by the bridge that they decided not to destroy it. There was also a huge flood in 1966 that this old bridge withstood. Today you’ll find TONS of jewelry shops on the bridge. But back in the 13th century there were butchers, tanners and fishmongers on the bridge. They would literally throw their animal waste into the river. Even today that river smells and tourists are highly recommended not to go in the water because you may catch some nasty water parasite. In the 1500’s it was decreed that only goldsmiths were allowed on the bridge hence why there’s only jewelry shops now.

The last picture is one of many Medici bones, immortalized forever, in the Medici Chappelle.

Nature Reflecting

It’s pretty ironic that I just took these pictures yesterday while strolling through downtown Cleveland. I stumbled upon these as I was walking towards the wind turbine that I didn’t know was at the Great Lakes Science Center. I remember thinking that these are pretty awesome pieces of art. But then I had a second look of sorts and looking at these trees and flowers reflecting back I almost wondered if they were thinking sad thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful day. We’ve finally gotten some sunshine in a sea of rain but the plants started to look sad to me. Instead of looking at a forest, they were looking at concrete structures and wires around them you know? Maybe they’re looking at their reflections wondering how long they’ll get to stick around until that construction project up the way affects them. But what do I know. Maybe they were admiring their fresh, spring hair-dos.

Don’t Do This

So the photo challenge word today is danger. I went through my photos to find something related and I thought of two different instances I consider dangerous.

My daily drive to and from work is usually 45 min to an hour one way. That’s a long time to be in the car. I don’t say I get distracted because it’s kind of hard to do that when you drive manual transmission but I sort of drift sometimes maybe? I essentially get caught up in the landscape and notice how beautiful it is and since my eyeballs don’t have photo snapping abilities I usually grab my phone and take a picture — yes, while driving. The second one was taken through my sunroof though doing traffic so I was mostly stopped when I looked up to take that one! I have no excuse for the first one… So, don’t do what I do. It’s dangerous to take your eyes off the road even if you’re looking at the road through a camera lens.

Now, I am not an insect person. If you read my misadventures in the shower, you know I have irrational feelings of vulnerability around insects. However, when photo opportunities arrive, I can’t resist. The reason I sort of fear bees is because I got stung in the neck once and it was very traumatic. Praying mantis’ (manti?) look like aliens so I felt that that alone justified my fear. I learned later that praying manti are the gentlest of insects and there’s nothing to be afraid of. They’re pincer legs look dangerous but it’s all show (for humans anyway). Bees on the other hand, their stingers can still be dangerous (especially if you’re allergic!) but since they’re on the fast track of becoming endangered, we need to do all we can to boost their numbers.

So there you have it. Don’t pic and drive and don’t kill the scary looking insects. Find creative ways to be safe and save the critters! (seriously, don’t take my advice on the former but definitely the latter :P)