"WELCOME TO COWGARAGE.COM"

An exploration in noticing, focusing on ORIGINAL WORK by Dave Imbrogno, using photographs, photo essays, observations, photo/word poems and some random thoughts

WHAT IS NEW AT COWGARAGE.COM ?

To find out click on the cow
jumping over the moon to see
all posts from newest to oldest.

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WHAT IS COWGARAGE.COM ?

What is CowGarage.com?
How did it get its name?
What happened to the Cow?

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HAPPY EASTER TO EVERY BUNNY.

http://www.cowgarage.com/2010/04/15/6337/

NO CLOSER INTIMACY

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When I was younger,
I thought that sex
was as intimate
as one person could be
with another
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Then, my mother died,
right in front of me,
fighting Altzheimer’s
until her last breath.

I was selected
from among the siblings
to sit with her
until they came to first
harvest her corneas then,
take her body away.

Not long afterwards
I placed my hand
on my father’s brow,
and felt his warmth
slowly fading away,
as he let go of a conflicted life.

This was perhaps the first time
I touched him in that way.

Before my dog of many years
died in my arms,
his breathing first turned into the “death rattle”
that I first heard from my father,
a sound that haunts me to this day.
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With age I have come to learn
that sex is not the most intimate thing
that people can share.
There is nothing more intimate
than sharing one’s death.

As I hurtle with increasing speed
towards my sixth decade, these
and many other similar experiences
have stirred things deep within me.

Thus, I have embarked upon this journey
through some very  “Grave Matters.”

This journey is just beginning.
Please join me …
one page at a time.

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* *Your candid comments are always welcome and encouraged. Please scroll down to do so.

 

No Closer Intimacy” is part of

GRAVE MATTERS
an ongoing series of books, being created “one page at a time.”

SEE MORE from “Grave Matters”  -or-

SIGN UP for updates from CowGarage.com

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SECRET PREVIEW PHOTOS OF THE REPLACEMENT FOR THE WINNEBROGNO CAMPER

Below is a secret animated preview photo of Santa working on the replacement for the Winnebrogno camper. They were smuggled out of the North Pole by corrupt elves. (It cost me 50 bucks!) 

Inside sources say that Santa should be delivering the camper by Christmas. I should have some real photographs of the NEW Winnebrogno camper just after Christmas. (If I am extra good and, THAT ain’t going to be easy.) 

 

Santa-Trailer-2

FAIRY RINGS INVADE OHIO

Story and photographs by David Imbrogno

Late summer and fall is when “Fairy Rings” of mushrooms appear. These strange autumn apparitions are said to be the places where fairies danced the night before. They are also said to be the resting places of dragons.  Other explanations abound.

 

THE DANGERS OF FAIRY RINGS

But beware. Legend says to never step into a Fairy Ring. If an exhausted dragon doesn’t come crashing down on top of you, you will most likely come under the power of the fairies.

It has been observed that sheep and cattle instinctively know of these dangers. Grazing nose to the grass, as they approach the edge of a Fairy Ring they mysteriously navigate around it and move on. This is true and, there is a good reason why they avoid the rings. I will explain …

 

You might compare Fairy Rings to a grass fire. A spore starts the ring like a match in dry grass. The Fairy Ring “burns” outward in a widening circle.  The underground strands of fungus expanding in advance of the ring stunts the grass. Thus, sheep and cattle approaching the ring, encounter the coarse, dry grass surrounding it and simply maneuver around.

But, within the ring, the fungus has completed its job of digesting debris and enriching the soil. Here the grass is lush and green. If the cows and sheep were to look up, they might have seen the grassy bounty within … or perhaps they know bounty is there but also fear that entering the ring to eat it isn’t worth the risks of plummeting dragons or coming under the power of fairies.

William Blake's vision of the formation of a Fairy Ring

 

A RING OF CONNECTIVITY

A Fairy Ring is made up of individual mushrooms linked together by an underground network made up of strands of fungal mycelia. Over sixty species of mushroom form Fairy Rings. There are two basic groups, one found in the forest and one in fields and meadows.

 

Many species that make Fairy Rings are edible. This is one of the most common, a species of Campestris, similar to the mushrooms found at the grocery. However, note that “there are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters but, there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.” With sixty species of mushrooms forming Fairy Rings, be very careful. If you are brave, see this Fairy Ring Cookbook .

 

THE PARTY EXPANDS EVERY YEAR

I found this Fairy Ring a few miles down the road. It is young and very small. Even so you can see the coarser grass surrounding it and green grass within.

Rings have been traced spreading over large expanses of land with ages estimated at many hundreds of years. One of the largest rings ever found is in France. Formed by Infundibulicybe geotropa, it is thought to be about 600 metres (2,000 ft) in diameter and over 700 years old. On the South Downs in southern England, Calocybe gambosa has formed huge fairy rings that also appear to be hundreds of years old.

 

YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET …

Finally, in autumn, when most plants are declining, the fungi take over. As the cool wet weather of November approaches they reach their peak.  Fungi come in almost every imaginable shape and color.

If I ever figure out how to photograph one of the most spectacular, I may do my next mushroom story about the glow in the dark Jack-o-Lantern fungus. One species of  Jack-o-lantern is named Omphalotus illudens.

The name sounds like a Sesame Street character. However, unless you know what you are seeing, suddenly encountering one of these glowing apparitions on a moonless night, in the fall forest, feels nothing like a Sesame Street skit.*

Fairy Rings are act one in a series of amazing fungal characters to come. Go outside often and keep watch.

 

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Another Roadside Attraction
is part of an ongoing series of books,
being created “one page at a time.”

SEE MORE from “Another Roadside Attraction

or …

SIGN UP for occasional updates from CowGarage.com

 

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BURY ME IN THE SAND

 

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The sands of time once gathered round my feet.

Now they blow in drifts and dunes,

sometimes waist deep.

Now that I can no longer kick my way through,

I’ve learned to move a bit slower,

and just make do.

Some day the sand will rush in and cover me.

But, for now I am at least a head above it,

until I become just another buried memory.

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– Photo and poem by David Imbrogno
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, 2011

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Bury Me in the Sand” is part of

GRAVE MATTERS
an ongoing series of books, being created “one page at a time.”

SEE MORE from “Grave Matters”  -or-

SIGN UP for updates from CowGarage.com

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HUMMINGBIRDS and IRONWEED

The season is late.  Folklore says that when Ironweed blooms, there are six weeks until the first frost. Ironweed began blooming over a week ago. The Hummingbirds are scrambling to prepare for their fast approaching trip to Central and South America.
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Click on the first photo below to step through a late season hummingbird gallery.

[cincopa AMOAVvacCVtr]

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MY REALITY HAS BEEN SUSPENDED

Every now and then I get tired of “realistic” photographs and I start playing with hand-coloring photographs, photographic constructions and other manipulations. As spring progresses, I suppose that I will be attracted back to flowers, trees, birds and their kin but, for a few weeks at least, all rules are off.

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You can explore some of these visions in two different ways.

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First, here is a short musical, video dissolve of the images. I suggest viewing the show in full screen by clicking the star-shaped icon in the lower right of the screen. Please, leave your candid reaction in the “comments” below 
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You can also explore the photographs in more detail along with a written explanation of each by browsing through the gallery below. Once more, I suggest viewing it full screen by clicking the expand arrows <-> in the bottom right of the frame.  To return to regular view hit the expand arrows again or, hit escape. Hover over the photo to see the text.

 

[cincopa AUAAHk6luxC7]

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Words and photographs © 2012 David Imbrogno and CowGarage.com. You are welcome to share for non-commercial purposes only, if you credit David Imbrogno and www.CowGarage.com .

8 X 8 SIGNED PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE. Email me for more information at Connect@CowGarage.com .

THE HOUSE AND LAND AT BERLIN CENTER, OHIO

Because of high use, this page has been moved. Click below to go there …

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CLICK HERE to go to the new location”

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A WILD GRAPE VINE AS BIG AS A TREE

Wandering the Kentucky back roads I encountered a wild grape vine as big as a tree. At first I thought it was part of the big Sycamore upon which it grew.

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But, looking closer it became evident that it was something special. My “to do” list now includes a return trip to Warsaw to measure the giant vine to see if it is a record.
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * See more Roadside Attractions here

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A CHILD’S GIFT TO THE ONE WHO DIED


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An uncle who played a big part in my formative years died recently. At the funeral, a few rows behind me in the church, a young girl noisily cut paper and fidgeted in her chair. The usual assumption would be that she was “another unruly child.”

But then, as we all marched silently out of the church, I passed that young girl’s chair. On it she left a gift for my uncle. I was stopped “dead” in my tracks. Her noise and fidgeting created a memorial to him unlike any I had ever seen.

Funerals are too quiet. Perhaps we should celebrate with some fidgeting and noisy expression of our grief, our unease about the mystery of death and, our need to address the tumultuous emotions that surface when facing the unknown.

Perhaps that struggle is best engaged less like an adult and, more like a child.

 

OUR FAMILY STORY GOES INTERNATIONAL

My brother, two Italian aunts and I went to Italy. There we found the house and farm where my father was born, as well as that of our Grandmother, Grandfather and Great-Grandparents. This trip evoked a story, The Key to my Grandfather’s House, which was perhaps the deepest, most significant inner journey of my life.

This very personal, yet universal story of immigrant roots, is now being translated into Italian by the Italian magazine Mmasciata. Here is the introductory page …

 

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This first installment, is an overview and introduction written by Irene Napoli, an Italian relative who found the story on my CowGarage.com website. The the internet and social media never ceases to amaze me with the connections that they enable.
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The Napoli-Imbrogno farm in Cosenza, Calabria, Italy

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ere is a link to a PDF of the entire December edition Mmasciata. You will find “The Key to my Grandfather’s House” story on page 7 of the PDF. Italian speakers should be able to zoom in and read the Italian.
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Click here for the PDF
Mmasciata, Dec 2011
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NOTE TO ITALIAN SPEAKERS:
If you are able to translate anything in the article into English, please pass it on to me and I will send it along to others.

The rest of the story will be published, chapter by chapter, in upcoming editions of  Mmaasciata. If you would like to read it now, in English, you can find it here. As usual, your candid comments are very welcome.

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Finally, after the translation is complete, I plan to publish The Key to my Grandfather’s House, as a small book with both the English and Italian text. I am also working on a follow up story. Subscribe here for monthly CowGarage.com updates for more.

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Thanks,

DAVE

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GRASPING AT THE SMOKE OF 9/11

 A brief photo essay with words and photographs by David Imbrogno
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A spontaneous memorial for 9/11 in New York City

Briefly on 9/11,
the world was one.
Even newspaper headlines
around the earth
proclaimed it.

But just as the flow of a river
cannot be captured in a bucket,
oneness, is equally as elusive.
Oneness is like smoke,
impossible to grasp.

The smoke of 9/11
brought us all together.
Then, it did what smoke does.
it dissipated.

The I-beam cross, part of the remains of the World Trade Center

The smoke of 9/11
may be dispersed
but it is not gone.

The smoke of 9/11
has rejoined the wind.
The wind
that carries the smoke
of every war,
The wind
that carries the smoke
of every joyful campfire.
The wind
that now carries the smoke
and the ashes
of 9/11.

Artful graffiti on the plywood walls around Ground Zero

The wind carries
the joys,
the sorrows,
and the longings,
of every breath,
that every person
has ever breathed
throughout all of time,
including
the 2,819
who died,
on that
deceptively beautiful
autumn day.

Photos of the missing and the dead lined the streets, all with the heading “Remember Me”

I will always be haunted
by the photographs of people
hanging from, jumping from,
and crawling around
the gaping holes in the buildings,
hundreds of stories high.

There are somethings once seen,
that cannot be unseen.

There are somethings once known,
that cannot be unknown.

A red cross marked an emergency aid station

Bob Dylan’s song chants one answer,
He sings that the answer is
“Blowin’ in the Wind.

As we breath,
the ever present wind
picks up our every breath
and merges it
with the breath of
everything
and everyone
who has ever lived.

In that way at least,
with every breath we take,
we will always be one.


© 2011 Dave Imbrogno and CowGarage.com, All Rights Reserved

 

THE EYE OF THE STORM

Hurricane Irene hurled some spectacular clouds all over the heartland. We are happy to be outside of the danger zone and grateful for the sky show. This video was made using only seven still images from the hurricane skies as well as a few Lake Erie “lake effect” clouds from earlier this year.

For the most spectacular view, hit the full screen icon <-|-> at the bottom right of the screen.

 

 

BABIES ON THE ROOF – NO ROOM AT THE INN

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When 40 plus baby Purple Martins become teenagers where do they stay? At night, mom, dad and as many as five teenagers crowd into the nest box. But, by day, they head for the roof.
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The roof is a good place to get some air and, to watch and learn. It’s a great launch pad for their first experimental flig
hts.
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One night I heard noises coming from the nest boxes. Concerned that a raccoon, snake or other predator made it past the predator guard, I rushed out only to find that the noise was coming from the Martins themselves, as the jostled for a comfortable position in their stuffed full nest boxes.*

A few parent birds couldn’t take it anymore and risked their lives by spending the night outside the box, huddled as tight as possible against the outside wall, hoping not to be seen by a passing owl.
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There is always an adult or two with the teenagers. They are still too young and inexperienced to be left alone. When the Coopers hawk, which stalks them daily, comes anywhere near it is the adults who first cry the alarm and head for the sky where they can out maneuver the hawk and, with the support of the flock (and the nearby Red Winged Blackbirds), even manage to chase the hawk away. The older teenagers join the hawk expedition. The younger ones dive into the nest box.

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They are gone too soon. After cleaning out, painting, and setting up houses, watching the spring skies for scouts, checking nest boxes, changing nest material for the young birds who don’t have the hang of nest building yet, being awakened at 6 am by noisy adult birds trying to establish their position in the colony, being dive bombed by anxious parents when I mow or tend to the colony, and having a few special birds just sit no more than five feet away, looking at me with some unknown level of understanding  and acceptance … suddenly, they are gone. They won’t return from Central and South America for almost seven months. I suppose that it is their transient nature that makes them special.

 


DAWN, THE PERFECT WAY TO TOP OFF THE DAY

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3 AM, APRIL 2

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by David Imbrogno

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They make fun of me
those early morning types.
They think their way is best
but it’s just a bunch of hype.

They think they run the world
but it’s only a coffee high.
They go off like bottle rockets
which disappear into the sky.

They poop out shortly after night falls
when anything left undone
will stay that way until they come alive again
when the night is displaced by the sun.

They are the reverse
of vampires
or werewolves
howling at the dawn instead of the moon.

That’s why I stay safe in my bed
away from the fray
until they burn off some energy
or just go away.
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Me, I keep on going.
I can get it done.
I go for as long it takes
even if it means from sun to sun.

Cats and dogs, mice and cats
it’s the tension that makes the world go ’round.
People of the sun, people of the moon
can’t we meet somewhere in the middle?

… like maybe noon?

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THE BARN, A CATHEDRAL OF WOOD

THE BARN is over one hundred years old. It has seen over 36,000 sunsets. Inside, it is a cathedral of wood. After living with and caring for the Barn for over four years I feel responsible not only for its upkeep, but for communicating it’s character and presence.

Explore THE BARN by clicking on the brief Vimeo show below. Turn on your sound. You can also watch it full screen by clicking on the small star shaped icon in the lower right corner of the screen next to the Vimeo name.
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EASY SPRING WEEDING

Stop straining your back pulling weeds on your knees.  Here is the easy way to do spring weeding. If you would like to watch it full screen, hit the star shaped icon in the lower right of the video screen, next to the Vimeo name. Don’t forget to turn on your sound.
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BE YOUR SUBSTITUTE

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At what point do you begin to change

from what you were

to what you become?
to what you become?*

Is art, religion, spirituality and life itself

all about trying to return to what you were

before mothers, fathers, families,
wives, husbands, children, friends,
expectations, school, co-workers,
priests, life experiences, books, wants, needs,
sex, rumors, assumptions, beliefs,
and you yourself,

 

began to substitute

human constructs

 

for what you were born with?

 

Or is it simpler than that?

 


COWGARAGE, THE MUSICAL

The wait is over. COWGARAGE THE MUSICAL is finally here. Years in production, it premiered at the Back Forty Theater today. Turn up your volume and put on your earphones for this very moooving performance.

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CROSSING FENCES

Yesterday I photographed the dandelion riot along the pasture fence. It must have been my internal GPS that brought me to the exact same spot as last winter resulting in this almost identical pair of photos, of the same place, from two different seasons.

I guess that means that I have to find the exact same spot again and photograph the other two seasons. 

Anticipating the response from the Dandelion haters, I quote Henry Ward Beecher,


“He who hunts for flowers will find flowers; and he who thinks weeds
will find weeds.”

[cincopa AcEAun6InBzD]

 

RECORD BREAKING SNOW IN NE OHIO

The year 2011 broke the all time record for snowfall in one season here on the North Coast of the United States (NW Ohio along Lake Erie). Over 110 inches fell. Below are some photographic highlights.

You might also check out the post “In the Spring We Eat Cucumbers,” which explores the pros and cons of snow and how that just might give a glimpse into the secret of life.

Now, enjoy the photo gallery of the Big Snow of 2011-12 below. You will find some tips on how to best to use the gallery (like viewing it full screen) just below the gallery window.[cincopa AADAehKiE8Hm]

You can best enjoy the above gallery by

  • Just letting the show run, or
  • Clicking the left or right arrow < | > to step through at your own pace, or
  • You can also browse the photos on a Cooliris wall gallery by clicking “View With Cooliris” in the upper left.  While in Cooliris try viewing the photo wall full screen by clicking on the expand arrows <–> in the lower left.

 

THE LAST OF THE SNOW HIDES IN “WHITE SHADOWS”


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Like moss finding shelter from the sun
on the north side of a tree, snow finds its last hiding place in “White Shadows.”

These White Shadows lasted for just a few hours. A mild night with a warm breeze quickly turned the shadows from white, back to black.

Enjoy the three minute video slide show below, with music and captions. At the end of the page there is also a photo gallery if you want to take a closer look at the regular and panoramic photographs from the show.

NOTE: I suggest watching the show full screen by clicking on the star shaped icon in the lower right of the screen, near the Vimeo name. Click it again or hit escape to return to the regular view.
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“WHITE SHADOWS” VIDEO SLIDE SHOW

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“WHITE SHADOWS” PHOTO GALLERY

Take a closer look at the photographs from “White Shadows.”
Click on the first photograph to step through the gallery or, pick one that looks interesting.


[cincopa AAFAdj6x5QgB]

IS IT TIME TO GIVE UP TRYING TO BE HANDSOME ?

With yet another birthday past, is it finally time to give up on trying to be handsome and go for something new … like being colorful ?

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RESTLESS LEGS

In 2010, Mark Agricola, also known as Restless Legs, joined the elite group of “Thru Hikers” who have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in one season. He began at the southern terminus of the trail on a rainy April morning. Then, after experiencing three seasons and almost 200 sunsets on the trail, he finished in October.

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Get the sense of what it is like to dream about then become, an Appalachian Trail “Thru Hiker.” CowGarage assisted Restless Legs with putting together this presentation. All photographs were taken by Restless Legs along the trail.


IT IS BETTER TO HIT CAMERAS, THAN HIT YOUR SONS

My father was once hit by my grand-father over his interest in drawing and other gentler pursuits.  These were things that my immigrant grand-father thought were useless towards what he was taught a man’s purpose in life was … to make a living for his family.

A generation later my father replayed this experience.  He didn’t hit me.  Instead, he hit my camera.  He knocked it out of my hands, smashing it against the wall.  The issue was the same.

This act was a replay of what my father had been taught. However, it also resulted in a major insight for him and a major step forward for generations of his family to come.

Perhaps he recognized his own suppressed artistic longing, those creative urges in him which morphed from things like the soft pencil drawings he made for mom early in their life, to his ending up in a more expected and practical pursuit of art … a career as a draftsman.

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Wherever his insight came from that day,  it moved him to quietly fix the camera that night.  I found it the next morning,  sitting on the dining room table, repaired and working. He never said another word about the incident.  Neither did I.  We didn’t have to.

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From that day forward, he rarely took issue with my more artistic pursuits.  Later in life he would quietly listen and look at my work when I was sharing it with others.  He  even made encouraging remarks about it now and then. I like to think that he may have lived out some of his own artistic longings through watching his son.

From a grandfather that never had the luxury to even consider anything artistic, to a father who tried to but couldn’t break through, to a son who was finally given silent permission to follow his heart, each generation builds upon what the other has learned.

Since that time  I have made over 5,000 photographs, exhibited some, and had a much richer life for it. It is a surprise to me that in a back-handed way, my father was actually a significant influence in making this happen.

I wonder what my grandfather and father would think of the opportunity for such a massive outpouring of personal expression which is made possible by the internet.  I wonder too if the upcoming generation understands the pain, suffering and sacrifice it took to arrive at this new freedom.

 

Multi Media Bar

Previous
NO CLOSER INTIMACY

When I was younger, I thought that sex was as close as one person could be with another. After sharing the death of my mother, father, a good friend and two beloved dogs, I discovered that there were things even more intimate. Read on to find out what I have learned about these and other "Grave Matters."

FAIRY RINGS INVADE OHIO

Late summer and autumn is when "Fairy Rings" of mushrooms appear. They are said to be they places where fairies danced the night before. They are also said to be the resting places of dragons.

BURY ME IN THE SAND

The sands of time once gathered round my feet.
Now they blow in drifts and dunes,
sometimes waist deep ...

HUMMINGBIRDS and IRONWEED

Folklore says when Ironweed blooms there are six weeks remaining until the first frost. Ironweed bloomed over a week ago. The Hummingbirds are scrambling to prepare for their fast approaching trip to Central and South America.

MY REALITY HAS BEEN SUSPENDED

Every now and then I get tired of "realistic" photographs and I start playing with hand-coloring photographs, photographic constructions and other manipulations. I share these visions here.

A WILD GRAPE VINE AS BIG AS A TREE

Wandering the Kentucky back roads I encountered a wild grape vine as big as a tree.

A CHILD’S GIFT TO THE ONE WHO DIED

Funerals are too quiet. Perhaps we should celebrate with some fidgeting and noisy expression of our grief, our unease about the mystery of death and, our need to address the tumultuous emotions that surface when facing the unknown.

OUR FAMILY STORY GOES INTERNATIONAL

My very personal, yet universal story of immigrant roots, The Key to my Grandfather's House, is being translated into Italian by the Italian magazine Mmasciata.  This is the first installment.

GRASPING AT THE SMOKE OF 9/11

Briefly on 9/11, the world was one. Might we have held on to the oneness of 9/11? Politically and socially, perhaps. Emotionally and spiritually, that is more difficult.

THE EYE OF THE STORM

Hurricane Irene hurled some spectacular clouds all over the heartland. We are happy to be outside of the danger zone and grateful for the sky show.

This video was made using only seven still images from the hurricane skies as well as a few Lake Erie "lake effect" clouds.

BABIES ON THE ROOF – NO ROOM AT THE INN

When 40 plus baby Purple Martins become teenagers where to they stay? At night, mom, dad and as many as five teenagers crowd into the nest box. But, by day, they head for the roof.

DAWN, THE PERFECT WAY TO TOP OFF THE DAY

Cats and dogs, mice and cats, early risers and night owls ... who really rules the world?

THE BARN, A CATHEDRAL OF WOOD

"The Barn" is over one hundred years old. It has seen over 36,000 sunrises. Inside, it is a cathedral of wood.

EASY SPRING WEEDING

Stop straining your back pulling weeds on your knees. Here is the easy way to do spring weeding.

BE YOUR SUBSTITUTE

At what point do you become your own substitute, a parody of yourself ?

COWGARAGE, THE MUSICAL

The wait is over. COWGARAGE THE MUSICAL is finally here. Years in production, it premiered at the Back Forty Theater today.

CROSSING FENCES

I went out to photograph this dandelion riot along the pasture fence. I assume it was my internal GPS that brought me to the same spot as last winter resulting in this almost identical pair of photos from two different seasons.

RECORD BREAKING SNOW IN NE OHIO

This year, 2011, broke the all time record for snowfall in one season here in North East Ohio. Here are some highlights of the big snows of 2010 and 2011.

THE LAST OF THE SNOW HIDES IN “WHITE SHADOWS”

Like moss finding shelter from the sun on the north side of a tree, snow finds its last hiding place in "White Shadows."  

IS IT TIME TO GIVE UP TRYING TO BE HANDSOME ?

And, what are the alternatives?