KEEPING MY EYES OPEN, no matter what…

We just returned from the first long trip we’ve taken in two years. The pandemic quashed our plans for excursions last year, but by March of this year we were “two past two” (two weeks past the second shot) so it was time to get back in the saddle and plan a serious trip. A family member had a stroke last year and we were eager to lay our eyes on him, instead of relying on second-person reports. We could combine seeing him in Massachusetts with visiting family in New York and day trips to Manhattan by booking a flight to Boston, renting a car and driving to New York, and flying back to Seattle from JFK. We hadn’t been back to New York, where we’re both from, for several years.

So that was the plan.

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The text below alternates with pairs of photographs from the trip; each pair includes an image of the human-built environment (mostly from Manhattan) and an image from one of the gardens and parks we visited.

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A series of snafus made this trip beyond memorable. Let’s say it was successful overall, with wrinkles. The trouble started before we boarded our Alaska Airlines flight in Seattle, when I began frantically digging through my backpack for my phone and realized that it was missing. No!!! I was crushed. We called the van operator that took us to the airport and asked them to look for a phone. Just before we took off we talked with them again, and, whew! – they found my phone and promised to hold onto it until we returned.

I was grateful but my emotions were all over the place as I thought about being incommunicado for ten days, days with an itinerary that involved about twenty friends and relatives. How would I manage?

Let me say here that this is the problem of a privileged person; I know that. Many people in Sudan, for example, own a mobile phone but are malnourished. The current vaccination rate there is only 0.2% of the population. Wealthy countries like the one I live in need to step up and help. I also know that spiritually, there’s more to life than having a phone.

But back to the story.

Sitting crumpled up on a plane with a mask on for five hours doesn’t exactly sooth one’s nerves – especially in the current atmosphere of high anxiety about flying and unruly passengers who cause trouble in the middle of long flights. At least I had ample time to hatch a plan: as soon as we arrived and procured our rental car, we would bee-line to the nearest phone store where I would buy a cheap replacement to use during the trip. New York time is three hours later than Seattle time but our morning flight should leave time to accomplish the task, I reasoned.

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After arriving in Boston we located the rental stand and were directed to a shiny new Nissan. Opening the doors, we realized the car had been rubbed clean with so much chemical disinfectant that we couldn’t breathe without the windows rolled down. A few choice words flew around as we figured out how to start the car and open the trunk. “Let’s just get on the road” I thought, “this is too stressful.”

We whizzed through a city neither of us know (at least we had Joe’s smartphone for navigation) and got to the store well before closing. Of course, we soon confirmed what we knew must be true: the least expensive phones aren’t exactly cheap. Worse, I learned that one’s contacts reside on one’s phone, which in my case was 4,000 miles away, sitting in a drawer in Seattle hotel. That meant no phone numbers, no texting, and no communicating with people, unless I figured out another way to get their contact information. Needless to say, I don’t have any phone numbers memorized other than mine and Joe’s and I haven’t carried a paper phone list in years.

Watching the salesman set up the new phone, I tried to maintain a calm facade, while alternately seething, berating myself, and trying to talk myself into accepting the situation. Back and forth my mind went…

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“Can we set up my email account?”, I asked the man. But when he tried to activate it on the new phone, Gmail wanted a four-digit authorization code. Guess where they sent it – to the phone in Seattle, of course! I didn’t want to tell the strangers keeping my phone safe how to unlock my phone so they could read the code to me – that wouldn’t be smart.

Now it looked like I would be without phone numbers AND email for the entire trip. Maybe you’re thinking, cheer up, it’s healthy to disconnect! Or you might wonder why I didn’t try again, and again. One time, Gmail locked me out for two weeks because I forgot my password and tried incorrect passwords too many times. There was no recourse except to wait until the company reactivated my email account. Thinking about being locked out of email for weeks made me cringe – I couldn’t risk having that happen again. Joe came to the rescue – he had been cc’ed on the family emails with the details for our big get-together the next day. At least we had an address for the reunion and the ability to contact family.

Leaving the shop with a rather rudimentary phone and a troubled face, I tried to reason with myself as we wound our way through Boston to a restaurant. I don’t recall dinner that night but I know that once we checked into our hotel, we collapsed.

That was just Day One!

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The following day we visited the sibling whose stroke radically changed his life last fall. He had been actively immersed in academia at a prestigious college in Boston; now his days are scheduled around speech therapy appointments, meals, and exercise. But he’s as positive as he ever was, his sense of humor is intact and he’s working hard to rewire his brain and get back the skills he lost. It felt good to be with him. Reassured, I left to meet a dear friend I hadn’t seen in ten years who drove down from Maine for a rare, in-person visit. As always, we picked up right where we left off, plunging into conversations about anything and everything. It was wonderful.

I was swinging from the low of worrying about a lost phone to a high of happy connections with friends and family – but the day wasn’t over yet. The first of two big family get-togethers was that evening. We all know these reunions can be simultaneously awkward and heartwarming and our gathering fully lived up to that expectation. Exhausted from a day of emotional intensity and far from home, I slept poorly again.

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The next morning we hit the road for New York. Joe drove and I navigated, which means that I had an opportunity to unwind a little. I was grateful for Joe’s patience over the previous two days but as we got closer to the heavy traffic of metropolitan New York City at rush hour, patience wore a little thin and his long-buried New York edge emerged. Later on we would joke about needing to purge the tough, New York attitude (which one absolutely needs to get on with life in the city) before returning to the Pacific northwest, where politeness and a forgiving outlook on life are the norm.

Seattle has experienced a boom and traffic there can be beyond aggravating, a fact of life we’re both glad that we don’t deal anymore, now that we live in a more rural environment. New York traffic is another matter – it’s famously busy and you have the added stressors of unpredictable, rude, aggressive drivers and terrible roads.

We were back in the fray and we were out of practice.

A stop at a sibling’s house for conversation and snacks was a welcome respite. None of our respective siblings, nieces and nephews who reside in metropolitan New York live in Manhattan. Most live on Long Island, so we chose a centrally-located hotel there. Of course, it happened to be hosting a passel of noisy hockey fans the night we got there, as well as an undetermined number of college sports teams.

We slept poorly. Again.

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Seven more days of family visits and excursions ensued, including a hot, tiring but satisfying day in Manhattan, where we viewed inspiring art exhibits and enjoyed just sitting outside a cafe, watching the street life. There were visits to gardens in and around the city. We had an intriguing conversation with a Guyanese caregiver who was waiting for the same train we were. We endured a loud, heated argument at another family gathering that shocked everyone present. There was a poison ivy-laced walk through a preserve, pressured smartphone searches for places to eat, and hours spent navigating busy highways and sitting in traffic jams. We took a spontaneous tour of our old neighborhood, which we hadn’t seen in nine years. We enjoyed a richly rewarding afternoon of coffee, conversation, and a garden visit with John Todaro, a fine art photographer I’ve admired for nine years. That was a high point!

We were struck repeatedly by the intensity and scope of sensory input during the trip: noisy people, rich food, hectic traffic, unfamiliar sights, strong smells, muggy, oppressive heat we could hardly bear, beautiful skies – our senses were assaulted with a range of impressions the like of which we hadn’t experienced in a long time.

We’re both retired now. We live in a quiet, extraordinarily beautiful place that always seems peaceful – even the weather changes slowly here and rarely throws us for a loop. Over the last year our lives shrank; sensory and social input was more limited than we had ever experienced. On this trip we felt as if we had jumped straight into a fire.

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Eventually we settled down, slept better, and began to relax. Even the horrid smell in the rental car began to dissipate. But true to form, an unexpected event threw us off again, this time on the flight home. A passenger who apparently ingested something he shouldn’t have was talking rudely at full volume, then became very quiet. I noticed him struggling to maintain an upright position as he headed down the aisle to the bathroom. I heard the stewards call for medical help. After a half hour or so, apparently they determined that it was safe to continue on to Seattle; the flight didn’t have to be diverted. At the gate we were met by a uniformed phalanx of police and medics. With rescue truck lights flashing, medical kits, and handcuffs at hand, the pros handled the situation with aplomb, diplomatically convincing the unmasked man to exit the aircraft. Finally, we deplaned and called the van to take us to the lot where our car was parked. It arrived with a thrilling gift on board – my phone! The battery was dead but oh, the familiar feel of the case felt good in my hand!

I thought about the hundreds of emails in my inbox. They would be deleted, answered, and dealt with soon enough.

Heading home through a Pacific Northwest rainstorm, we sighed with relief when we pulled into the driveway. The air was fresh and smelled good. Everything was in place. We were home.

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As stressed as I was from the emotional roller coaster and lack of sleep, my eyes were always open wide. Again and again, I looked and I thought about what I saw. I was inspired by beautiful paintings, imposing sculptures, interesting photographs. A store called Printed Matter with 15,000 artists’ books on the shelves offered more food for thought.

But not only art inspired me.

There was delicious food. There were energizing interactions with strangers – the warm, spontaneous, to-the-point kind that New York is famous for and we miss dearly. There were heart-warming visits with family – little ones we’d never met and grown-ups we hadn’t seen in over a decade. There were gardens galore, filled with irises, peonies, wisteria and water lilies. My ears delighted at the sound of birds I grew up with, singing their hearts out at the height of spring: cardinals, mockingbirds, Baltimore orioles – even Blue jays and Red-bellied woodpeckers made me stop and smile. The owner of the neighborhood pizza joint we used to frequent recognized Joe instantly after an absence of nine years (and oh, the taste of a real New York slice!). We dined on Peking duck served by white-gloved waiters, wolfed down Trinidadian roti from a busy lunch spot in Little Guyana (a neighborhood in Queens), and savored perfect Agedashi tofu at a Japanese restaurant.

But back to the point: returning to the practice of paying close attention, no matter what disruptions and distractions are going on, is a practice that keeps me going. Look at this amazing world we live in, study what you see, watch the light, think about how shapes relate to each other, examine details. This is a refuge. Not an escape from anything, but a refuge. Be nourished by it, every day.

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62 comments

  1. Lovely travelogue. It kept my interest throughout. So many wonderful details
    A lost phone, your sibling’s stroke, good food, traffic, family argument, art and gardens, and more. But there was a certain wistfulness about it because of all the reconnecting after so many years. Having some idea where you live I breathed a sigh of relief too when you arrived home. What a memorable trip and great recounting.

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    • Thank you, Martha, that means a lot, coming from a far better writer than I. There were so many opposing impressions packed into a short time – I just wanted to begin to make a little sense out of it. Thanks again for reading and generously commenting.

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  2. Lynn in the City… πŸ™‚ Too many words for me; I’m sorry; but I got the picture.. Great idea to make culture/nature pairs! Only in nr2 the culture shot ‘wins’. And nr8 is a draw. The rest tells me that nature is the place for you. But maybe that’s nothing more than projection.. πŸ™‚ Have fun and keep shooting! Say Hi to Joe; Lockdown is almost over here and we can start playing with the band again; finally!

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    • Glad you got the picture, Harrie. πŸ™‚ It’s true, nature is the primary place for me but I thrive on city life, just not too much at once. I’m really glad the Netherlands is opening up and you’ll be playing again soon – Joe says good for you! Celebrate!

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    • We can be strange indeed, and I hope I didn’t paint too dismal a picture of a great state and city. I do love spending time in Manhattan and the outer boroughs, it’s energizing. But I could do without parts of Long Island…and then there’s the rest of the state, which is quite beautiful, but as you heard, we’re happy to be home now. Thanks for being here, Adrian, and take care of yourself! πŸ˜‰

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  3. Beautiful pics.
    I once left my phone in the Austria.Rogner-Bad, designed by Hundertwasser.
    We had to travel back around 50 miles.
    But this mistake had two nice follwing ups:
    Firstly we found an installation in the garden of the rogner-Bad we hadn’t noticed the days before.
    Then, beinig again at the Rogner-Bad, we deiced to travel home via Linz, a town we didn’t know yet.
    And Linz was very interesting, all the culture there.

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  4. How all these memories and re-unitings must still be swirling around in your mind. It’s been a long time since I heard of or thought about Merrick, which is 20 minutes southeast of where many of my memories reside.

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  5. Wow, that’s a shotgun blast of a travelogue. What exhilarating reading, you really did a wonderful job capturing a sense of the pandemonium!
    When my mother left Washington Heights for upstate, she missed many things – family first of all, but also the varied foods, restaurants and diners with personality, the daily jokes, stories & theater (including sidewalk dramas), the cultural life, the energy, the conversations and comments from complete strangers – and said it was a couple of years before she fully realized how exhausting life in NYC can be. I’ve experienced the city and LI only as a sometime visitor, and always find it energizing, but also get the exhaustion. There were two terms I read in histories of WWI, “box barrage” and “creeping barrage,” related to artillery attacks, and they always seem appropriate for the full-throttle New York City Bombardment. Last time I was there, a couple years ago, I stayed out in Flushing Meadows and spent a little more time in transit to places, but burned through less cash & adrenaline.
    Well thank heavens you remembered your camera, great album and the philodendron shot is a stunner, and the colorful debris on a sidewalk is wonderful too.
    I hope the Manhattan flashbacks are winding down and you’re sleeping better!

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    • You expressed the essence of what I’ve felt for the last nine years better than I could. (Though the exhausting part didn’t really hit home until this time). I like knowing that your mom conveyed her feelings clearly enough that you can describe them so well; credit to you both.
      The city is particularly energizing for me but we were all over the place on this trip and I hope next time we’ll be in the city a little more.
      Love your barrage analogies – Joe will like those, too.
      One def. burns less cash staying outside Manhattan and transit is so easy, why not? You were smart (no surprise).
      We are sleeping very well now, thank you, and yesterday, after the holiday crowds cleared out, I ventured over to Bowman Bay. So relaxing!
      I think we were really out of practice regarding travel. That added to the stress. Yet another learning experience…
      Have a good day, Robert, thanks for your thoughts.

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  6. What an amazing trip, both horrible and enjoyable. But I was easily able to identify with your overload of that mad world of the city and sensory overload.

    (I experienced it in a smaller way with a 2-hour wait for my cardiology appointment in a busy large hospital this afternoon – bright lights, constant sounds and voices bombarding me from every direction as I sat in the waiting room. Couldn’t wait to get home to the peace of ‘silence’ and birdsong in my apartment. It was like a fast-forward film clip or video or crowded restaurant with people talking non-stop).

    I rarely use a mobile phone and don’t even have the latest smartphone with the internet, but the day I accidentally left my old-fashioned small mobile phone (cell phone I think you call it) at home, I panicked all the way into the city and home again. It’s not like I ever use it for chats or catching up with friends or family. I just use it to call for taxies or to make medical appointments.

    Loved your urban scenes paired with nature. Such an interesting series in the ‘big cities.

    I enjoyed your adventure, but give me parks, gardens, seaside & birdlife any day. Or even the occasional nature reserve when I can get there.

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    • Overload is right and I can see how you, too, would be glad to get back home. The panic one feels when one forgets one’s phone is a special kind of feeling – and one I can do without!! πŸ˜‰ You too!
      Thanks for writing, Vicki, and enjoy those beautiful birdsongs. πŸ™‚

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  7. Wow, first of all I love the pairs of pictures. All of them, so fantastic! And you chose them so well. I love the associations they offer and of course the photos itself. The reflections in the buildings are so wonderful, but of course I love the structures too. You show us that we can find art (and wonder) everywhere. A great idea. I suppose you chose the pairs afterwards at home or did you have this idea in mind when travelling? And your little adventure, as I called it, was a real big one! Oh dear, travelling without a phone nowadays is unbelievable right πŸ˜‰ Last time my phone didn’t function I made a list on a piece of paper, but I don’t carry it around with me. What was it called in the good old times: adressbook πŸ˜‰ But I am glad you got more and more relaxed and could enjoy your journey. The coincidental encounters and various dishes must have been wonderful. On the other side I understand you so well, when you were overflooded with impressions, sounds, noises, smells… I think most of us feel like that at the moment after this long time of “involuntary retreat”. I had to laugh about Joe and the shopowner, who recognized him after 9 years. You must have been good customers πŸ™‚ I am glad to hear about your family and that everything is fine! I appreciate your last sentences. You are so right about it. Anyway you have a special talent to see and put things in the right picture. I will have a look at the links later.

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    • It’s very gratifying to read your comment, Almuth! I’m more of an intuitive creator than a planner; the idea for pairs of photos sprang to mind while I was puzzling over how to deal with images. What could I include? How could they complement the text? And there were far more nature-based images than there usually are after trips to NYC because we spent more time in gardens than we usually do. Once I had the idea, I struggled to find the pairs, and some work better than others but overall I think the photo pairs reflect the nature of the trip.
      An address book, yes. I have some old ones – they’re fun to look through. I bet you have some, too. I resorted to an online search for my old friend’s number and was lucky to find it. So much for privacy! I used WordPress to contact John Todaro. Crazy.
      We didn’t realize that the enforced quiet of the past year would make any trip, let alone one to NY, so intense. Oh well!!
      Thank you for just being Almuth, and understanding things well, and asking questions when you don’t. Sending a hug from over here!

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      • I think you chose the pairs really well! Because of that I asked, it worked so good πŸ™‚ Privacy, right, but you were inventive to find your friends. At least that was possible. Hannover already is a happening right now, I can’t imagine what NY must be πŸ˜‰ I am glad you had such a good time! Liebe Grüße von Almuth

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  8. I’m especially intrigued by pairing 5., and 6. is exquisite. How beautiful is that hanging plastic? And the B&W is stunning. I find the juxtaposition of the manmade in color and the ‘natural’ in B&W thought-provoking too. I keep going back and looking at it.
    Glad you survived the somewhat harrowing trip. Long trips are always full of the unexpected, but this round seems to have handed out extras. I find your views of it interesting – as always.
    Living with less intense sensory input and then going back to the rush of the city is definitely a notable experience for me, as well. I don’t realize how much I’ve changed until I go to my old neighborhood… although it has changed for the more intense, while I’ve changed for the destressed chill. πŸ™‚
    Lovely photos here, and thanks for sharing the link to John’s stunning work. So happy to hear you enjoyed that anticipated visit. ❀

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    • How gratifying to hear your take on that one particular pair, one that I don’t think most people will get. Thank you. I love juxtapositions and finding unexpected relationships between things. I’ve been called the queen of loose associations – or was that in my imagination? πŸ˜‰
      Yeah, we survived but we didn’t need the extras! Funny expression, I like it. And “destressed chill” – that’s a good one, too. πŸ™‚
      I’m happy you enjoyed John’s work – he is very, very good. You might find it interesting to know that he collects 19th-century portraits – you know, the posed photographs people had made for them, in sepia and other processes. Yet he doesn’t do portraits. Something subtle filters in from looking at those old photos and studying them closely, something that really does inform his work. I think I see it in the balance and the smooth tones, and a certain classicism or perhaps timelessness. It’s hard to articulate.
      Have a nice evening…gorgeous weather but the rain this weekend should be good, too, right?

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      • You got it… Loving the sun but will enjoy the change to rain. πŸ™‚ Interesting John is influenced by 19th century portraits. Your description choices of smooth tones and classicism hit near the mark for me. I was moved by the repetition of soft grit. The captured textures of paint, decay, sand, stone are so delicately presented rather than amped up for harsh contrast, like so many photographers render them. There was no lack of detail, but somehow there was that lovely blending into one smooth image. A quietness full of what would usually create busy static.
        One of the beauties of old photos is the imperfections of age spots and flaws in the originals, and yet the process set what feels like a slight smear over the whole plate. I wouldn’t have thought about it without being told the reference, but it’s the thing I couldn’t put my finger on about his body of work. Like a whisper of wind whisked the surface of the image so you could clearly see the myriad of particles and textures as one.

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        • Sheri/Lynn–thanks so much for these thoughtful and unexpected comments. It is interesting how, over time, that patina transforms what the photographs actually mean. Even the typography on the backs of the old prints reads different a century letter. To me, this transformation can be inspiring in really interesting ways. But the best examples convey something that is lovely and sad to a degree that I find irresistible.

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        • I too find them lovely and sad. Part of my research for my time travel novels set in 1910 as a base, is to go through many old photographs. So many small details I would have missed if I tried to capture the time without seeing the images, both about their daily lives and environment and about the ethos of the people. Something in the faces that you just don’t see anymore.
          As an older gal, I see the same thing when modern actors play parts from the ’70’s – which I remember. They can wear the fashions, create the backgrounds, but the energy in their faces is completely different than those who were there at the time.

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    • You said it! Vincents (there’s a link in the text above) is on Staten Island. I don’t expect you find yourself in that borough very often. πŸ˜‰ I moved there when I got a job with the NYC Dept of Health, which was way downtown. I found an affordable apt. near the ferry for a nice commute. What a bizarre place SI is!

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  9. I loved reading about your recent journey East, Lynne. I’m glad it was rich in experience, even if a bit too spiced with anxiety! And I always like seeing the world the way your eyes see it…especially love your photo of the fallen leaves and tiny blossoms. Beautiful.

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    • Anne, I wish there had been time to get together – hopefully, next time, or maybe you’ll come out went. Thanks very, very much for the encouraging words. I appreciate it and I hope all’s well with you.

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  10. Your text is so compelling that I need to spend extra effort to contemplate the photographs. Thank goodness I can visit the whole post again (and again), skipping over the text the next times. All the photographs exhibit your usual care and deliberation; none seem touched by the aggravation and anxiety of the day. Isn’t it wonderful how making photographs can take us away. As you say, it’s a refuge. I find it amazing how the color palettes of the paired photos are alike. I would not have guessed that the built and natural environments shared such similarity of color. The pairing in #2 may be my favorite. The distance between the subjects is far, but the two photos work so well together, sharing not only colors but the property of fragmentation. The pairings in #2 and #3 hit me as appropriate as soon as I saw them. There was a lag before I figured out why (maybe) they did. In #3 it was the dimpled-surfaces similarity. Number 6 is another pairing that hit me that way; lines were the analyzed reason for my resonance, but the (strong) feeling of correct pairing came first. Number 7’s pairing was obviousβ€”no lag for those two photosβ€”but no less enjoyable. You’ve taken us on another outstanding trip, Lynn, warts and all. Your candor is admirable. Thank you.

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    • The colors were what jumped out at me first – it is surprising, isn’t it? I’m glad you like #2 – it’s a bit of serendipity, isn’t it? In #3, yes, that’s what I was going for, and the repetition of shapes. #6 worked better after I heightened the clarity on the city photo to bring out the draping. I had to look long and hard to find a photo that worked with the gallery image in #7 so it’s nice to see that juxtaposition works for you. Thanks for your thoughtful support, the positive words about the text, and the candor, which as you know, I do struggle with sometimes – too much? too little? πŸ™‚

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  11. Your post is an affirmation: paying close attention can be a surprisingly effective antidote for the days when one’s emotions have gone south. And if it’s directed through a lens, so much the better. A most compelling example of this practice would be your hanging Manhattan plastic juxtaposed with a tropical leaf.

    Enjoyed the post Lynn and the personal visit as well. Thanks so much for the kind words.

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  12. For various reasons, this will certainly be a trip that will be well-marked in your memory, whether for the anxiety you felt, for the sweet moments you experienced or for the great pleasure of returning home and the peace built there.
    For me, I loved the magnificent last paragraph, and the photos. I loved the sets, tuned in by movement and tonality and by their ability to bring the apparently opposite together: the city and nature.
    Something that only a very close look like Lynn’s can harmonize.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    • I thought it would be interesting to try to make “duets” by pairing a city picture with one from nature. It’s really good to hear that you enjoyed them. And thank you for mentioning the last paragraph, too. You have a thoughtful, philosophical mind so and you’re an artist so it makes sense that those last words might be music to your ears. πŸ˜‰ Have a great weekend, Dulce!

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  13. This trip sounds amazing in so many ways, both the good and the not so good. I think I’d have freaked as much as you to be without the info on my phone, but in the end it sounds as if it was all really worth it, and nourishing even if stressful at times. I get that contrast between a quiet peaceful life vs the stimulation of galleries and good conversation and being with family and long-term friends. I think we need both. Some lovely intriguing photos. The philodendron leaves are a favourite, and the woman in the gallery. What a whirlwind it was!
    Alison

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  14. Well, that was certainly a plunge of massive proportions! I suspect that I would have to be anesthetized in order to survive any big city at this point. You described the difference in energy so very well. I left big city life back in the early 70s… and it seems there’s no going back for me. Actually there’s very little left for me back there at any rate. My last trip to the East Coast was at least a decade back… and I went well out of my way to bypass NYC from Boston (where my roots lie) to DC (ended up in bumper to bumper crawling by inches traffic). NEVER AGAIN!!! I couldn’t WAIT to hit the open road again or to cross the Mississippi or better yet climb over to the other side of the Rockies. I’m so very glad you made it through the ordeal and can now recuperate. Welcome to the PNW! πŸ˜‰

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  15. Repeat after me…There’s no place like home!!!! πŸ˜€
    I live in a somewhat quiet part of the world although not like you and Joe do. Yet even though we have a big University with 20,000 additional people coming to town (and two other decent size colleges…Amherst and Hampshire) it is fairly easy to stay disconnected from that much of the time. I avoid cities with a passion. Although there are things like great culture and delicious food there the negatives are too much. I am impressed that you are able to relive it through telling us of the trip with all its hardships (relatively speaking honoring your caveat at the beginning). Modern technology has really got its tentacles in so much of our being now. Every day there is more evidence that Kaczynski was on to something although his way of dealing with it was not so good. I hope you are winding down and reflecting more on the good experiences with your family.

    That’s an interesting concept of comparison images. I am particularly taken by the textural contrasts in number three and the light distribution in number 9.

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    • I should say that I really enjoyed the time in Manhattan, though the sensory overload was tiring. What I’ve come to dislike over the years is Nassau County, the first part of Long Island outside the city itself. There’s no need to go into details other than to say there are few redeeming qualities there. Further out east, where John Todaro lives, is a different story – it’s beautiful. I still like the stimulation of a big city as long as I can get back to nature. I do agree with you about technology, except that again, it’s not all bad – here we are at our computers. But we need to balance it with more nature than most of us do or are able to do. I appreciate your thoughtful, sympathetic comment, Steve. We’re both winding down now, reconnecting to our slice of paradise here…and yesterday my son came up so that was great.
      Re the photo pairs – it was surprising to see how closely aligned the water lily leaves are with that architecture, right? Thank you! Enjoy the rest of your weekend…

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  16. Hi Lynn, Whew…what a trip! Filled with the good and bad aspects of travel. And a surprise ending about your phone. πŸ™‚ The shock of traveling after this long hiatus added to the emotional component of your journey.
    After digesting your story, I returned to your pairings and marveled at the subtle qualities that made them work so well together. The marriage of colors, textures or shapes invited me to look further. Excellent work and post.

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    • You’re right, it wouldn’t have been as difficult if we hadn’t been sequestered for so long. Needless to say, we’re glad to be back. I wish we could have had another day or two in Manhattan but I treasure the time we did have there. Thanks for the vote of confidence in the pairings, which are a stretch sometimes. But it was a really good exercise. Keeping it fresh!! πŸ˜‰ Have a good week, Jane.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Apologies for a late comment, Lynn. Sorry to read about the frustrations during your first major trip away. I read it late one evening shortly after you posted…didn’t sleep well that night! πŸ˜‰ Glad you could pull out some good times. Your last paragraph is an especially good reminder for stressful times, to remember who we are, what drives us, and what is important. Sometimes easier said than done but it seems that you have realized it. Good post…but I’m looking forward to some thoughts and images from Fidalgo Island again. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maybe we shouldn’t have attempted such an ambitious trip so soon after restrictions began lifting. But yes, we did have some good times, for sure, and it was good to connect with family, old friends, and new friends. Life always challenges us to think about what’s important,s doesn’t it? Thank you very much for such a thoughtful response to the post. Of course, there’ll be plenty more posts that focus on the near landscape but I think you’ll enjoy another one coming up – photos of gardens from the NY trip. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person


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