Saturday, April 11, 2009

What an Amazing Sound...

I guess I tend to get obsessive about things, especially when I'm running away from emotional pain. I find something that will put me SO in the moment that I don't think about what hurts.

Now, I am totally fixated on the birds returning to Long Island. Spring is very slow in coming this year. I'm not seeing much in terms of new growth and the weather has (for the most part) been dismal. But each day I'm seeing more (and a wider variety) of birds, if I just go looking. It puts me in the moment, so that's where I've been.

I've mentioned the osprey nest. I cannot stay away. I was out watching them yesterday and noticed that they were very reluctant to leave the nest unattended. There must be eggs up there, and I want to be there when chicks eventually peek over the side. I can't imagine how they's a LONG way down. It's something I don't want to miss.

Yesterday, I was sitting and watching when I realized I was hearing a very unusual sound. It was like moving air with a soft whistle. The whistle was multi-pitched, like a chord and the chord would rise and fall slowly and very rhythmically. It's really almost impossible to describe, but it was a beautiful sound. As I became conscious of it, it made me think of the sound I'd heard when I'd heard a swan fly overhead.

I've never lived in a place where swans were indigenous. Until I lived on LI, swans were like decoration to me. You'd see one or two that had been purchased to adorn the retention pond at a high end condo complex. Certainly their wings were clipped and they weren't flying anywhere. Out here, we see swans regularly, usually a pair occupies a particular body of water. But this year, there are a multitude of swans everywhere. I'd noticed a huge flock of swans on the river that feeds into the sound right where I watch the ospreys. I counted, there were 30 of them. They're so territorial (and aggressive) that I was more than surprised at the number of them in one spot.

Back to the point. I heard the sound and I thought I recognized it as the sound of a swan overhead. I turned around, and there were SEVEN swans just about to fly right past me! They are's amazing to think of them getting off the ground. It has to take amazing power to keep them airborne. And the flapping of the wings was the source of that soft and beautiful whistling chord. There was no way to get them all in a single frame, but I managed to capture three.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Birds

I know that one reason I don't post as frequently is that I can sum up what's going on in a pretty short statement. I watch birds.

How much can I say about this. I've found a few spots where I find beautiful birds to watch (and photograph)....and I can sit there for hours (literally) and watch, and fire off hundreds of shots.

I was out today, but not for as long as I would have liked. It was the prettiest day we'd had in over a week, and I headed out to try and photograph an osprey nest I've been watching. What incredible light there was this morning however, there wasn't a lot of activity. One of the birds was away from the nest the majority of the time, and the other was up there just keeping watch. I missed a couple of incredible opportunities, I'd look away or get distracted by something else, and one of the ospreys would leave or return to the nest. But, I am patient...and I will wait.

I had a time constraint today, and I pushed it just as long as I could before I had to leave. Nothing had been going on for quite awhile, but I gave myself just ten more minutes. My stalling paid off.


I can't wait to go back there tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Day three of the one week bloggathon.

I'm thinking maybe posting regularly will start to feel natural again. I sure appreciated what everyone had to say in the comments about our old community. Maybe we can pull ourselves back together.

Warning...this entry will definitely feature some wallowing in self pity...just so you know and want to click out now.

Passover begins tonight, and therein begins my emotional distress. For most of the last 20 years we have celebrated this holiday with our close friends, our Jewish family, in Allentown. We didn't make it there in the fall for the traditional Yom Kippur break fast, and a variety of circumstances precluded us from going tonight for the holiday celebration. I'm having a terrible time with it, and struggling with a world class case of homesickness today.

I'm making a little Seder for the four of us, we'll at least have that. But, with all my heart I want to be with that same crowd of friends as we retell the story.

I'm thinking that perhaps I'm hurting from this a little more than I might because it comes directly on the heels of my trip to Indiana. I was already struggling with homesickness and bittersweet nostalgia. I've come to realize that, I'm ok with being in NY on a day to day basis. I don't love it, there's still a lot of emptiness associated with it, but there are some characteristics of the area that do engage me. Where I get into trouble is when I start thinking about my life either in PA or in IN. The feelings of loneliness and of being uprooted overwhelm me. The scab is ripped off the wound and I completely fall apart. That's where I am today...and it really sucks.

Another thing dawned on me this morning that I KNOW plays a part. When I made the decision to convert to Judiasm, I gave up all the major holiday traditions that I was raised with. It wasn't easy, especially when those holidays are going on all around you for weeks. But, I was committed to that decision and I just swallowed the loss. Then, as out family grew and we made new traditions with friends, that void was filled. This time, through circumstances beyond my control, I have lost all my holiday traditions again. Now, it's easy to think "start building new ones!" But realistically, the traditions evolved through the raising of our children over the last 20 years. The children are now mostly grown and the friends of 20 years are celebrating in PA tonight without us. Traditions take time....lots of it. And, we're one year into this.

My rational mind knows everything that's wrong with what I'm saying here. I'm constantly scolding myself about being such a big baby. I repeatedly find myself stuck in the same place within different situations. I can't go back, but I don't know how to move forward. Part of the intertia comes from fear of facing more hurt. I really am afraid to attach to anything for fear of losing it. In the last three years I lost my sister, I lost the two places that I considered "home", and now my holiday traditions are slipping out of my grasp. I would LOVE to find a way to get ahold of come to my senses and move on. But for the life of me, I just cannot figure out how.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Break the Silence

Martha at Menagerie posted an entry about how infrequently she has been blogging recently. She has the week off work, and proposed a challenge inviting her readers to join her in a mini bloggathon and post every day for the week The point is to help some of us regain some consistency in posting.

I know that I have really lost my momentum. I've been reduced to posting about once a month. It's a combination of having a lot of things competing for my time, an apparent loss of readers, and the feeling that I have nothing of interest to share.

So, I accepted the challenge. I miss what I used to get from frequent posting. Things just have not been the same since we moved to blogger. I feel overwhelmed by the number of blogs I come across that are of interest. I can't begin to follow them all. I want to follow my old favorites but often miss their new posts. And I have to decide between spending my allotted blogging time reading or writing.

I definitely do not spend near as much time at the computer as I once did. Through blogs, I have been introduced to so many creative ideas that I feel compelled to DO rather than be satisfied with a vicarious experience. At any given time, I could be doing what NEEDS to be done around here (NAH!!), or be out taking pictures, or editing the hundreds of photos I have that need work, or sewing, or......well, you get it. But I feel a sense of loss in sharing with my online friends, and perhaps this little challenge will help me to recapture a bit of that.

I'm really going to try to post SOMETHING each day this week. It may not be much, but if it's more than nothing then I've succeeded. There is value in this. I know it from the quality of friendship that I have found. Thank you Martha for encouraging me to recapture it, before it entirely slips away.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Well, this is a situation that just a few years ago I never would have imagined. I'm in my hometown in Indiana...staying at the home of my oldest childhood friend, four doors down from the house where I grew up. It's just weird.

Arielle was accepted to Indiana University, and she and I made the trip out here so she could get a look at the campus. We flew into Indianapolis yesterday and drove to Bloomington. We visited with my cousin and his wife, then took my nephew and his girlfriend out to dinner. We spent the night in Bloomington and today was pretty well consumed by campus tour/orientation for accepted students.

I didn't go to IU, but several members of my family and many of my close friends did. I have enough of a history there that touring the campus brought back a lot of memories. The weather was awful, but I really loved every moment of walking through the campus.

I expected this trip to be essentially a formality. I thought Arielle was already to a point where she was feeling like she'd made a decision. But, she really liked IU. She says she's got some research to do and a big decision to make. It looks like it's going to be IU or U Mass.

I don't really know which I'd be happier about. I'd like her to be close, where it's easy for her to get back to us. There's also a piece of me that would like to have her out here in Indiana. I'd have a reason to come back here from time to time.

But, being here has not been without its emotional pitfalls. I had made plans to come down to Bedford and visit my friend, but as I was leaving Bloomington and heading this way I was so anxious I felt sick. The tears stung my eyes as I drove past my grandmother's house. I was overwhelmed with sadness when I went past my home. It's like an empty shell...the family that occupied it for the last 100 years has abandoned it. I felt a bit like a traitor.

I cried a bit when I first arrived at my friend's, but she was expecting that this would be a difficult visit and was prepared to mop me up if she needed to. It wasn't that bad, but the fact that I'm up here now in her guest room instead of down the street in my room is just too unnatural to put into words.

It makes me wonder if I want an excuse to come back here. Just like the PA situation....I can't visit the friends I love without having to wrestle with the pain over what I left behind.

It's a short visit....just one night. Tomorrow we head back to NY. But first, I'm visiting the cemetary. I need to be with Meg and Daddy, my baby sister, Schuyler and my grandparents for just a little while. I'm afraid it will be too long until I'm back here again. I know it's going to break my heart. But I just need to go.