Inflection Point

IMG_0543Good news, everyone: My brain finally, at long last, is done. All the power lines are insulated and all the relays are built. What a relief.

I don’t actually know when my brain finished developing – they just say the brain keeps going until around age 25, a line I cross this month. The Big 2-5; a quarter-century; 10 years since the beginning of high school (weird); more or less the same age as my parents when I was born (also weird). The brain’s completion of its development sounds final and resolute, but we know it isn’t – the brain’s flexible enough to change and adapt for all of our lives.

Good thing, because life is full of change. My job’s changing from the county beat to the faster-paced, higher-stakes Fayetteville city beat. I’ve been reading a couple pieces of journalism (like this one and this one) that have me jazzed up about being a journalist and telling stories. Where I live and what I do have changed drastically in just a fraction of a lifetime, something I imagine is true for a lot of people. We all let go of old fears and go to new places. It’s good.

Reflecting on this kind of thing just seems appropriate as the world around us begins hibernating and the planet takes another slow breath.

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I hope things are changing well for you. Thanks for looking.

Dan

Pumpkin Season

IMG_0494I’ve gotten fonder of the warm months in my old age, but nothing beats October. It’s got my birthday and that holiday with all the candy and real historical significance, outside and inside become the same temperature, and trees really get rolling on those striking fall colors, revealing the yellow and red pigments that were hidden under the green all along. Autumn technically begins in September, but nature’s switch seems to flip only in October.

It’s an invigorating and fun time of year, and after a stubborn summer, I’ll take it.

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IMG_0489Not many photos this time around; over the weekend I drove down to West Fork’s Bullwick Farms to get some pumpkins and photos of pumpkins. If you live around here and are looking for some, you might try them out, because their specimens are pretty much perfect.

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IMG_0516Thanks for looking! And happy fall.

Dan

High Water

IMG_875322I couldn’t tell at first that the tan, four-legged, tailed creature wandering around the middle of the golf course in the distance was a cow. Dusk was dimming, it was too far away to photograph or see, and for a surreal, stupid moment, I thought a lion had escaped some local zoo in the flooding — I’d read about something along those lines recently in southeastern Europe. This flood wasn’t a hemisphere away; this was Springfield, Missouri, last Friday, in the aftermath of then-Tropical Depression Bill. I was up for Father’s Day weekend to see my dad, also named Bill, and the rest of the bunch. We took off to see the water as soon as I got there.

These first few are from Rivercut Golf Course, inundated by several extra feet of the James River after days of rain. The water broke a record more than a century old, and it attracted an audience. Onlookers drove and walked past here and other swollen rivers and lakes in the area all weekend. The cow ended up OK, if you’re wondering, but for the night it was stuck on an island of green.

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IMG_876727We drove around past sunset, and from the car I also caught an abstract little scribble of the crescent moon and a fainter Venus above it in the sky.

IMG_877829The rest of these photos have to do with water, too — little demonstrations for myself of how beautiful and powerful it can be. Egyptians have had the right idea, I think, accepting and celebrating their main river’s periodic flooding. We’ve spent a lot of time and effort trying to control our rivers and building golf courses next to them; every now and then they remind us how they once were.

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IMG_8785My obsession with fungi is getting a little out of hand, but how can I resist these delicate, translucent beauties?

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The same James River that was running over the golf course goes down to Table Rock Lake; the river picked up a little more steam on the way down.

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IMG_8853It was a good Father’s Day weekend up there; I hope you can say the same where you are. And happy summer!

Thanks for looking,

Dan

Flood Watch

These days we’re seeing a whole lot of this:

IMG_863411The typical June brings about 5 inches of rain around here; so far we’ve gotten almost 3 inches and more are on the way, thanks to a Caribbean visitor named Bill. May was so wet that not even two weeks of sunshine was enough to dry out the earth, so keep your eyes peeled for flash flooding today and tomorrow, especially around rivers and streams.

Here in town, the rain’s effects have been beautiful, nerve-wracking and occasionally weird.

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_C1_1707This past Saturday, a woman named Meredith and her bridesmaids, family and imminent family-in-law crowded into Fayetteville’s Salon on the Square to get gussied up for an evening wedding. The place is in a beautiful old building with tin ceiling panels and honey-colored wood — I’ve wanted to get some images in there for a while. The energy of weddings (and wedding prep) is always good photo material, too. Lots of laughing, lots of color and lots of hairspray.

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_C1_1446Every few minutes one of us would glance out the front door to see what kind of rain was falling at the moment. Weather wasn’t their friend this day; 12 dry days would break Saturday with two or three fast and heavy downpours. The wedding was supposed to be outside.

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_C1_1690I don’t know where the wedding wound up, but I imagine (and hope), after agitated phone calls, a few quick changes of plans and other hallmarks of every wedding day, it turned out OK.

The rain let up the next day, so I spent some time exploring parts of Fayetteville I hadn’t seen before.

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IMG_85761That brings me to the weird. Each night, a herd of small animals ambles onto the patios and sidewalks of my apartment complex. They’ve been around all summer, but all of the water seems to have helped their numbers.

_C1_8746When I first saw them, I nicknamed them leopard slugs because of those spots; turns out that’s their real name. Anywhere from less than an inch to 6 inches long, they trundle across the pavement all night at a few inches per minute, munching on whatever organic material they encounter. Slugs seem like absurd creatures to me — they’re not going to outrun anything, and they’re nothing but soft morsels for anything large enough to try. But still they mosey through their quiet lives every night as the rain falls.

IMG_866912(I didn’t make it do this, and I really wonder why it was twisting and rearing up. It seemed fine a minute later.)

IMG_869115Stay dry out there, and thanks for looking.

Dan