Tone Poem Tuesday

I still feel like we’re trying to come up for air…which means, how about some more Rossini.


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A Shrouded Moon

Taken the other day:

More posting on the way, I hope! It’s amazing how much work there is for the living to do when someone has died.


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Coffee memories….

I’ve become pretty good at making coffee over the years (I’ve even written about all my various methods of preparation). While it took me a long time to get to drinking coffee, I have to admit my mother’s influence on me in this regard. She often spoke of how she loved coffee all the way back into her childhood, and coffee was one of her essentials, all the way up to the end.

I recall, with some embarrassment, by first attempt at making coffee, when I was in kindergarten and we were living in La Crosse, WI. One Saturday morning I wanted to make coffee for Mom, so I set out to do just that. The problem was that I didn’t understand how coffee worked. I thought it was just like making hot cocoa: spoon the powder stuff into a mug, add hot water, stir, and drink. So that’s what I did. Mom was very nice about it, even as she explained to me that no, that’s not how coffee works, and that I should leave the coffee-making to her and to the machine on the counter that made all the weird noises. (“Hisss…hissssss…WHEEZE…drip drip drip! WHEEZE, drip drip drip! WHEEZE, drip drip drip!”)

Here’s to jitter liquid and to things we learned from our mothers.


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Sixty years….

On this date in 1963, Maestro Erich Leinsdorf was to take the podium in Boston….


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Tone Poem Tuesday

Oof, things are busy right now. Here’s some Rossini.


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To the eternal flame

Erie County’s Chestnut Ridge park is one of my favorite places and has been for years. This park, larger than New York City’s Central Park, is set on the side of one of the higher hills to the south of Buffalo, and it is dominated by streams and gorges and beautiful meadows and one large hill that’s the regions preeminent spot for sledding when there’s snow…and there are even a few waterfalls.

One such waterfall is particularly beloved, not just because it’s beautiful in itself, but because there’s a hollow spot worn into the shale bed over which it drops, and from this hollow spot leaks a small flow of natural gas. This gas burns with beautiful golden light that prances and dances behind the flow of the water. (Sometimes it goes out, but it easily re-lit.)

The approach to the Eternal Flame Falls is not super-easy, but it’s not super-difficult either–and it’s better now that the deep descent into the gorge has been tempered by the addition of stairs. It used to be that you had to descend sharply down the wall of the gorge (I’m not sure of the height of the descent, but I think it’s at least a hundred feet at that point) by a root-covered trail, but now you descend the stairs. The walk along the gorge floor is still occasionally tricky, at times even requiring one to step in the stream (albeit in a spot where the depth is very manageable), but it’s absolutely worth it as one finally comes around the last bend and stands before the waterfall.

Along the way there is another waterfall in the side of the gorge, but this isn’t the one we’re here to see:

But finally, there it is:

As luck had it, when I arrived at the Eternal Flame Falls, I was alone there. For a full ten minutes, maybe fifteen, I was entirely alone: just me and the sound of the water tumbling down that shale wall, with the golden light magically flickering there. I don’t know if that’s because the weather was cold, or if it’s deep enough into fall that such outings aren’t as popular as in summer, or…well, who knows. I was alone.

The one other time I’ve gone to the Flame, I had Cane with me, and it was a warm summer day, so there were lots of people there. In fact, Cane and I arrived just as guy was proposing to his girlfriend. (She said yes.) There was a feeling that day of “Get up there and take your picture of the Flame because it’s someone else’s turn in a minute” that I managed to completely avoid yesterday. In fact, no one else came until I was already making my exit. I took my time with my camera, composing my shots and deciding what angles to take. I got some closeups of the grotto with the Flame in it, and I took some wider shots of the entire cataract, also using shutter-priority to get the soft-flow look that is so popular with water photography.

On my way out.

Full Flickr album here.

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Something for Thursday

Another item that makes me think of Mom.


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This is what happens when you go to take a long-exposure photo but you forgot to tuck your filter wallet in your pocket, so you have no ND filter to put on your lens. (My camera does not have a built-in ND filter.)

Oh well! Live and learn.

But hey, it turns out that even the most competent people in the world mess up once in a while….


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Tone Poem Tuesday

I have many associations with this piece, and one of them is my mother. When I was a teenager and getting into classical music in a big way, I discovered the New Year’s From Vienna concerts, and she made them a part of her New Year’s traditions as well. Eventually she even undertook a river cruise on the Danube, many years later, so she saw some of the vistas that are exhibited in this video.

I think of many things when I hear On the Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II; Mom was already one of them…and so she’ll be forever, now.


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Mom, at Stonehenge

At one point Mom was talking about taking us to London to celebrate her 85th birthday. Alas….

I don’t know what I believe about death, but I hope there’s something of Mom that can now go wherever she damned well wants.


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