Today is Christmas, or at least it was when I started to compose this post. We don’t have snow or even coolish temperatures that would warrant wearing a sweater or scarf. What we do have is balmy weather. Yesterday, while walking through our neighborhood I stopped to watch these skateboarders as they skillfully rode up and down ramps and performed tricks on their skateboards. Their grace reminded me of ice skaters gliding across ice. This is the closest I could come to capturing a winterish scene for a holiday salutation. On this note, I extend warm greetings to all of you during this holiday season and may you find joy, peace and delight in the coming New Year.
The Fernbank Forest, Atlanta’s largest urban forest, has reopened after a two-year ecological restoration project. Invasive species were removed to allow native plants to flourish. This 65-acre forest supports a diverse ecosystem and includes trees that are up to 300 years old. Although the Fernbank Forest is open to the public, access is through the Fernbank Museum of Natural History and well worth a year’s membership. Yesterday was the first time that I had walked in these woodlands. I was in awe of this beautiful and pristine hardwood forest.
This is the first picture I took on November 9, 2016. I had spent a sleepless night in utter shock and disbelief over the outcome of the presidential election. At 5:30 am, I grabbed my camera, leashed up Nathan, and headed out to walk, hoping the fresh air would ease my heavy heart. The morning was quiet and peaceful, yet provided little solace. I was able to lose myself in a moment of beauty when I saw the delicate shadows of leaves dancing upon the leaf sacks above.
This morning was the last time this month that I will be walking Nathan in the dark. Sunday, we gain an hour and hopefully a bit more time to linger in the morning. After a very hot summer and early fall, Atlantans are finally enjoying crisp, cool mornings. The leaves are at the height of their color and the landscape is a feast for the eyes. I always walk Nathan through a wooded area in our neighborhood which traces the path of the old Atlanta-Decatur Trolley Line. At one point during our walk I glanced upwards and saw these delicate, yellow leaves fluttering in the light cast from a neighboring street light.
I headed out into our neighborhood one evening last week to photograph after the day had cooled off. I had been itching to get out and take pictures which is something I scarcely did over the summer because of the heat and increased humidity. When I had ventured out there hadn’t been many people mulling around. When the streets are devoid of people to photograph I start poking around the backs of buildings and peering into windows. As I walked past the Dollar Store in Oakhusrt I noticed this reflection in the church window.
My hometown of Decatur has seen tremendous growth over the past several years. The size of our city is 4.7 square miles and it is fully built out. Since the demand for housing continues to grow the only way to expand is to build up. Consequently, old buildings in our downtown area have been replaced by residential developments. Vacant buildings are virtually nonexistent. To my great surprise, I came across this building which had recently had it’s windows bashed in and appeared abandoned…or was it? On the back wall, red overalls hung neatly as if waiting to be donned.
Waiting in line to get into the 9/11 Museum ( on the right)
The day we visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum we also stumbled upon a memorial in a park in Chelsea that was erected to honor the victims of the shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando. It had only been a week since the tragedy in Orlando and I was still in a somber mood. This was an especially low day for me. I was unable to complete my tour of the 9/11 Museum after witnessing a young Marine break down and sob uncontrollably amongst the hundreds of people viewing the exhibits. At the park in Chelsea a gentleman sitting on a bench next to me admitted that he had been crying intermittently during the past week. He remarked, “First that beautiful young singer, then the nightclub, and now that 2 year old boy. Poor Orlando.” Sometimes it is hard to imagine how people recover from such tragedies, especially when the incidents involve senseless acts of violence.