Sea Blue Lens


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This Is My Life

It’s time for the next installment in the {In the Picture} self-portrait project. This month’s theme, optional as always, was “My Life, Right Now.” The idea was to capture a memory, an emotion or mood, something that would reflect our everyday life, right now.

Since I am retired now, I suppose you could say my whole life is a vacation. Nevertheless….

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

I have been missing the easy access I had to the beach when I lived in Maine. A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I took a day trip to Ventura, where we had lunch, poked around the many second-hand shops on Main Street, visited the mission, and wrapped up the day by getting our feet all wet and sandy at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It might have been short, but it felt like a real vacation! I took a lot of photos, but these were the only ones with me in them. That middle one is SOOiP (straight out of the iPhone) and not very flattering, but who cares? It records the fun I was having and that’s what counts, right?

Window On My World

I will always remember this summer as the beginning of a new chapter in my life. In Maine, I worked full time and lived in a rented apartment that looked out over a river. Now I live in California, my time is my own, and my view is of chapparal and mountains.

Dreams Fulfilled

And…instead of an apartment, I live in a cottage that is mine to make exactly as I want it. I’d been considering the possibility of this move for over four years before it actually happened. During that time, I’d visited and had taken photos and measurements of the cottage. I drew up a floor plan to see where my furniture would fit. I’ve spent the last three months bringing that floor plan to life, and it’s turning out just the way I imagined it. As you can see, I”m enjoying the fruits of my labors. For me, this is the picture of retired contentment.

And that’s it for another month. This was a fun theme, and I can’t wait to see what Christy has in mind for us for September. I knew this would be a year of changes for me and I wanted to record it in self portraits. Having {In the Picture} to look forward to each month has helped to give me focus and keep me going when I might otherwise have given it up, and I’m grateful for that.

You can see what everyone’s been up to this month over at Urban Muser’s {In the Picture} linky party.


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Photo-Heart Connection: April

Renewal

It looks chaotic, at first. But when I look at this image, I see possibility and new life bursting out in all directions. Many blossoms have already opened, but others are still closed tightly, waiting until the moment is right to spread their petals to the sun.

This is a mature tree, and this is not its first spring. It has experienced many cycles of the seasons, from flower to fruit to falling leaves and bare branches. To some eyes, that bare winter tree might seem dead. But its life is far from over, and with the warmth of spring the buds swell again. A new chapter in its story begins.

When I saw these beautiful blossoms and buds against the clear, deep blue sky, lifting their faces to the sun, I felt a connection and kinship with them. They seemed symbolic to me of my own life right now, one chapter ended and another beginning. Retirement is perceived by many to be the end of a person’s worth and usefulness, but I’m filled with excitement. What I see is the potential and purpose of all those buds on this old tree, and I can’t wait to see each one open in its turn.

Linking to Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart Connection for April.

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Out to Pasture

Golden Hour

I’ve hinted around a bit that there are going to be some changes in my life. I will be retiring at the end of April, and a month after that, I will be moving from Southern Maine to Southern California. I am anticipating my retirement with unadulterated delight. I’ve always been one who has worked to live, not the other way around. To have the time to pursue all of my many interests, including photography, is my idea of bliss.

The moving part of this scenario is a bit more complicated. I’m excited about the new prospect in front of me, but at the same time, I’m leaving behind much that is precious. It will be wrenching to move so far away from friends and family that I love dearly, and from this beautiful, unique place that has felt like home since the first time I saw it.

This is not the first time I have uprooted myself and moved far from the known and familiar. I am a native Californian and grew up in the West, so in a way this is a return to my roots. I will be moving close to others who are dear to me, and I’ll make new friends; I always do. (That doesn’t make parting from the old ones any easier, though.)

I’m moving from a small town here to a small town there, and I’m looking forward to exploring that community, getting to know people, and finding ways to get involved. And, of course, finding new subjects to photograph.

My new home will be very different. Instead of a river flowing past my windows, I will be gazing at this:

New Morning

Instead of seagulls and mallards, there’ll be hawks and quail.

Callipepla californica

Instead of buying eggs at the health food store across from my office, I’ll be collecting them myself from the hens that laid them.

The Girls

Instead of a rented apartment, I will be living in my own little cottage next door to my sister and her husband. It has a patio, and a garden, and an apple tree right outside my bedroom window.

Green Delicious

And a fireplace. A real fireplace! The whole cottage has been freshly painted in my choice of paint, and is just sitting there waiting for me to come and make it home.

I will miss my ocean sunrises. But I’ll have mountain sunsets to look forward to. And stars like I haven’t seen since I was a child.

And the Sun Sank Slowly . . . .

And there will still be an ocean. It will be farther away — an hour and a half instead of fifteen minutes — but close enough so I can visit when I’m feeling parched for the sight and sound of my beloved sea.

Atlantic Morning

Pacific Afternoon

The “Sea” in my name will be a different one, but I will still be me, and I’ll still be here.

Adventure awaits!