Inspiration

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: New Dawn

Daily Prompt: How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).

Sunrise Revisited

Those who have followed my blogs for a while now, know how much I love to photograph sunrises and sunsets. This may be a bit repetitive, but it was fun putting all the best in one blog. My photos often inspire my poetry. The first sunset photo was taken of the harbor at Wrightsville Beach with an old style 35mm Canon Rebel G camera back in 1998:

Harbor Sunset

liquid drops of sunlight sparkle in the bay,

and reflect a sky awash in sunset hue,

Harbor Sunset

Harbor Sunset

the trees along the shoreline form a silhouette in gray,

and the clouds amass in shades of dusky blue.

suspended for a moment between darkness and the day,

I pause to fill my senses and renew,

and with deep appreciation I continue on my way

as the sunset in the harbor fades from view.

My next favorite encounter with the sun over water was while on a cruise off the coast of Alaska. I just happened to awaken about 4AM, and saw the faintest light peeking out behind the curtain. I stood there and watched as the sun slowly cleared the sky of the dark shadows of night and let spill in the colors of  a magnificent sunrise. Later that day, the sunset was more the play of light upon the water and not color that captures the eye. These were taken with my digital Canon Rebel xsi.  This experience inspired the following Haiku poem:

Sunrise , Sunset at Sea (Haiku)

we watch the sun rise
light vanquishes the darkness                                 IMG_8448 IMG_8592
and color returns

the calm sea reflects
ribbons of orange and pink
we stand mesmerized

as the sun rises
it paints a path of gold light
for us to follow

as the sun lowers
bands of dark purple and blue
bruise the evening sky

rays of pale sunlight
reach out across the water
the sun bids farewell

we watch the sun set
the shades of night seep in
the sky veiled in gray

the calm sea darkens
a weary sun now at rest
color fades to black

 

 

Last summer I took this photo off the coast of Scotland:

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The rays of sunlight  spilled  from the clouds like rain:

 

on a sea of inspiration

cruising round the British Isles

with sailboats as companions

tacking toward the setting sun…

and in coves,  ships find safe harbor

as the captains in their  cabins

dream of voyages  to come…

the sun bids clouds to gather

as rays of gold rain gently down

and  illuminate the sea;  for a

a sunset over Scotland forms

a memory not forgotten

easily.

-pc 2013

Finally, one needn’t be at sea to enjoy a summer sunset. A s the Fourth of July was winding down, my  mother looked out the window and saw this lovely sunset. I took these photos off my back porch:

 

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My favorite chair in my favorite room looks out at the sun rising over the neighboring houses. Until my husband retired, I was up

before dawn and able to catch the sun rising more often . Now I fall back asleep in between my first meds of the day at 6:00 AM and the next bunch at 7:30AM.But each sunrise is so special, heralding the gifts it brings light, warmth, life, and another beautiful day to enjoy, we should not miss it or take it for granted.  As Ke, says to Tuck, in my book, Escape from Mount Sanctuary, upon seeing the sun for the first time, “In all my imaginings, Tuck, never could I have envisioned a world of such glory.” “For certain, Ke, it is a world beyond imaginings.” The awe in his voice matched mine. We stood together then, hand in hand, on the precipice of our new wold. We were spellbound by the beauty before us, and humbled by a grand design we could not even begin to understand.*

If I had not been up early to catch the sunrise after a  rare southern snowfall, I would have missed taking this sunrise photo, my most unusual yet. My garden globe was situated perfectly to catch the sunrise after the storm.

As the characters in my book learn during their journey, we inhabit a beautiful planet, one t hat welcomes the day with the rising sun, and it calls us to rest as it sets.

To read more of Escape from Mount Sanctuary, it is available in print and Kindle editions at:

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Mount-Sanctuary-Imagine-discover/dp/1499353707/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409335777&sr=1-1&keywords=escape+from+mount+sanctuary

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Staying in Focus: My Eye Upon the World

I didn’t get this polished and finished for writing 101, but wanted to share it anyway. The topic was to write about my most valued possession.

If I had to choose my most valued possession, I’d have to say it is my camera. Not that my camera is an expensive, professional piece of equipment, by any means.  It is a digital camera, a Canon Rebel XSi and I have several lenses for it including  a large telephoto lens. It takes excellent pictures. I consider this camera. or any camera that I’ve had over the years, my most valued possession because it is my eye on the world. It is through the lens of this camera that I define my world, from the big picture the smallest details. It captures those fleeting moments my eyes fail to see and it preserves memories in the pictures I take, giving me a visual record of my life, from childhood to senior citizen.(Now that is  a lot of pictures! ) My camera is the first thing I grab when it starts to snow, or a butterfly alights on a nearby bush. IMG_8548a Photo05_3I keep it close at hand to catch the light from the setting sun as it paints the color of the houses across the street a rosy glow.

a path of gold from the sun to me

a path of gold from the sun to me

It was my camera that witnessed with me my first sunrise at sea in the waters off the coast of Alaska.  It caught the plume from a humpback whale, and the play of light over the ocean off the coast of Scotland. From majestic mountains to a close up of a flower petalIMG_0015 - Copy, from cloud formations to bubbles in the sky, my camera and I make art where we find it, preserve memories as they happen, inspire my poetry and essays to Photo01_1 Photo01_2 - Copy Photo02_1 - Copy - Copyshare with my readers. I first became interested in photography when I received a Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas when I was seven or eight years old. My family began taking road trips when I was twelve, and each summer we travelled the USA, Canada and Mexico. My little camera got a lot of use. In my teens I had a rangefinder camera, but it wasn’t until I was married that I received my first SLR from my husband for Christmas. I still believe that camera, a Canon Rebel G,took the best pictures of all. I was leery of all this digital stuff taking over the world, but now I wouldn’t go back for anything. Digital cameras are amazing. Within minutes of returning home from vacation, I have my photos downloaded into my laptop, uploaded to Facebook, WordPress and Snapfish. I can run off albums using Photoshop Elements 10, make calendars and books on Snapfish, and have 8 x 10 s framed and displayed before bedtime. I haven’t really explored photography using smart phone or my Kindle Fire HD-X tablet but I imagine technology will nudge me in that direction sooner or later. Someday when I may have forgotten much of my life experience, someone might slip a book of my photos on my lap and the pictures in it may spark a memory here and there. My camera, my eye upon the world, is valuable to me because it  has helped me leave a legacy, a story in photographs of one who lived and what she loved. Here are a few more reasons my camera is my most valuable possession. IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMGa IMG_0003aIMG_256a5IMG_2893IMG_3067stonehenge

 

SURPRISE!

SURPRISE!

 

 

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Staying in Focus: Escape from Mount Sanctuary

ANNOUNCING the release of my novel for children:

 

 

Book Cover small

 

Although written with children in mind, the story is one you will never forget, a story of friendship, acceptance and tolerance for those different from us, of family and courage and sacrifice. It is a cautionary tale written to remind us how beautiful, yet fragile, is our world,  and how important is our stewardship of  it. It is  a story of  a boy coming of age, for readers of all ages.

 

Escape from Mount Sanctuary now available from the Kindle store at Amazon.com. It’s a bargain at only $.99. No Kindle, no problem. Simply download the FREE Kindle app  and you can view the book on your computer.  Here’s a link to the site:

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Mount-Sanctuary-Imagine-discover-ebook/dp/B00JYJ5AZI/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_dnr_2

 

On the lower right hand corner of the page you will see a link to the free Kindle app. The book will be available in print on demand in the coming weeks if you prefer traditional books.

Book Description

 April 25, 2014
What if you had the chance to discover the world all over again? In Escape from Mount Sanctuary, a young boy named Ke does exactly that. Ke has lived his life in special caverns built to shelter survivors and their descendants beneath the Earth’s surface following a cataclysmic event ages ago. Ke learns that there is an “outside” to his world, a world long thought abandoned. Ke is intrigued, especially when he meets a girl (Mira) from an outside settlement and a wolf named Tip, who possesses special abilities. With this pair of adventurers, Ke and his elder friend, Tuck, embark on a journey into a world far more wondrous, and dangerous, than they imagined. During their journey, Ke, a naïve young boy with dreams of becoming a storyteller, learns much about friendships and family, self-reliance and sacrifice. By journey’s end, they all come to realize that courage is not measured by one’s size or one’s age, but by the conviction in one’s heart. Their story celebrates the joy of discovery, the wonder of our world and the rewards of perseverance. It encourages its readers to follow their dreams wherever they may lead. It is about discovering the world all over again.

We are back from vacation and I took a few more reflection photos of Echo Lake in Pennsylvania. I have three seasons of photos now – we have not been there in winter yet. Every time I think I have photographed this lake from every angle, it presents me with something new to focus on.

Spring:

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Summer:

 

 

IMG_0002 Photo06_3 IMG_5123

 

 

Fall:

IMG_0003blue sky  Photo06_2

 

 

Reflections on Photography

 

Some people reflect for relaxation

and some of them seek revelation

I find both in  the many reflections

I see through my camera’s view;

sharp and focused, crystal clear

my camera captures visions;

through the lens I take  a peek

and find the answers that I seek;

photography is my door to

achieving revelation through

the relaxation that it brings to me.

 

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: I Beleive

Daily Prompt: For today’s prompt, tell us three things that you believe in your heart to be true. Tell us three things you believe in your heart to be false.

_________

I believe that…

1. To quote the Great Bard, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

2. “Love is all you need” – The Beatles

3. If all of us would adhere to two simple instructions from Jesus in his teachings, we could change the world forever.

1, “Love each other as I have loved you.”

2. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I do not believe that…

  1. Hate is stronger than love
  2. Evil will conquer good
  3. we are alone in this universe. It is just a matter of time.

For my fellow Dr. Who fans:

IMG_1505

Could it be? We spotted this blue police box in Glasgow! It is the only one we saw during our 12 day visit to the British Isles. As I said, it’s just a matter of time.

Staying in Focus:Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance

Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance:In my earliest memories of dancing, I’m under my auntie Nancy’s dining room table, (which had been pushed off to the side of the room), watching my mom, dad, aunties, and uncles all dancing on the hardwood floor to a never-ending stack of 45 records, dropping one after the other. I remember foot-high stacks of 45s all around the record player. The song that I remember playing most? Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke. Every time I hear that song, I remember auntie’s spontaneous dance parties. What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?

Sadly, I have no fond memories of dancing from a personal perspective. I have absolutely no sense of rhythm and my mother’s sincere attempt to help me by enrolling me in dance lessons lasted about one lesson. I suppose my earliest exposure to dance was watching the various animated characters waltz and twirl their way across the movie screen in Disney films.  A little later, I was an avid fan of American Bandstand, enjoying the music and the gyrations of people in tune with it.

I love music in many forms from classical to rock, folk to pop.  I was 7 years old in 1960, 11 when the Beatles made their Ed Sullivan début, a time when music and dance wove their way into the tapestry of our lives.  Everybody wanted to be in a band.  We all had ‘nine transistor’ radios. We all knew the top ten hits and grooved with Cousin Brucie.

However, school dances were fraught with anxiety. I wanted to attend, to hear the music and participate  in high school activities, but the thought of trying to dance in front of others filled me with fear.

I tried dancercise with a friend once. I was going left when they were going right and I never did figure out that grapevine step. I know the instructor was relieved when I failed to return, because I messed up her choreography.

My lack of rhythm with dance and music accompanied my inability to sing, as well.  I attended a Catholic school and every morning before school started, we were required to attend Mass. One day, in fourth grade, I think, we attended Mass in the choir loft with the church choir director playing the organ.  She was on the lookout for new voices for her choir. I employed my usual strategy of just mouthing the words, without sound. She wasn’t fooled, however, and brought me down next to the organ so she could hear me sing.  She asked me if I were an Alto or a Soprano. You tell me, you’re the one with the, organ and sheets of music in front of you, I wanted to say, but I just shrugged my shoulders. She listened to me sing the next song and obviously couldn’t figure out what I was, either, because she promptly returned me to my seat, and never asked me to sing again. I was happy though; relieved I didn’t have to pretend to sing anymore. Instead, the nuns assigned me to leave the choir early and go down to the teacher’s lounge and put on a kettle of water for their morning tea.

It’s just as well I decided early on not to pursue a career in the performing arts.  There’s not a lot of need for a tone-deaf singer/dancer with two left feet and Parkinson’s disease!

I did not despair, however. I can exercise to the “Oldies” with panache, stretch and meditate to new age music as I do my yoga and tai chi practices and pedal my exercise bike to hundreds of songs on my iPod. Music and movement are in my life, just not in the form of dance.

We each have our own special gifts. Some people can dance and sing, some people, like me, enjoy writing and photography.  I am most grateful for my special gifts. Speaking of which, I have finished the manuscript of my book and am getting ready to upload it. (See my Focus on Fiction Blog for the latest updates and a sneak peek at Chapter 2 ). patcoyle76.@wordpress.com

Once I received my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I realized there was no going back for certain things – like dancing, and that there was a time to let go of others like tennis and driving. To every season, there is a purpose and mine now is to enjoy the gifts I’ve been given for as long as I can. Still, one can wish…

Belated Wishes

I wish that I had learned to dance

to glide with grace

my feet in place

I wish that I had learned to dance

(long ago,  I had the chance)

I wish that I could really sing

notes as pure

as birds in spring

to be in tune with everything

(I would have loved to sing)

I wish that I could walk with ease

and go everywhere I please

(and never worry my feet might freeze)

Moving now is a challenge, though

Count your steps

Heel to toe

Moving is a challenge

(though it wasn’t always so)

and when I had the chance

I wish I’d learned to dance.

-pc2009

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object:Staying in Focus

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object This week we had a rare event in North Carolina – it snowed. Anxious to see if there was anything interesting to take a picture of, I was up and about just as the sun rose. My gazing globe caught my eye and I thought that maybe it was reflecting the snow. Imagine my delight when it caught the sun just as the clouds parted and the sun appeared amidst bands of pink, orange, and blue. I’ve learned over the years to always have my camera ready because the next great picture  is just over the horizon, or reflected in a gazing globe on a snowy morning in midwinter. IMG_2565

Staying in Focus: Sweet Sixteen: The Bracelet

Daily Post: Sweet Sixteen

Write a post inspired by your sixteenth birthday

On my sixteenth birthday, I received a silver charm bracelet from my parents. Dangling from the silver chain was one round charm with the words “Sweet Sixteen” embossed on it. I wrote this poem last year, for a poetry class I was taking at the time. It is now an entry in my scrapbook memoir.

the bracelet

reflecting the spring  sun

with a delightful sparkle

I move my arm gently

to hear the delicate tinkle

of a single charm

IMG_2626

“sweet sixteen”

dangling alone from a

bracelet of silver links

empty but waiting, like me

to be filled with the moments

of my life;

reflecting the autumn sun in a

burst of brilliance,

so many memories dangle now

filling the links, elbowing for attention,                    IMG_2628

places I’ve been,

milestones, celebrations

an aspen leaf, a graduation cap, a heart

here and there, a  few scratches

mark the passage of time

but the sparkle remains

and the once delicate tinkle

is louder now,  confident

sounding more like wind chimes

singing their song in the

blowing wind,  singing

the moments of my life –

pc 2013

I will leave both my silver and gold charm bracelets to my granddaughter, Evelyn. I have identified each charm on the bracelets, and what it meant to me, so she’ll know a little more about me and the things that mattered most to me, the places I visited  and the hobbies I pursued. We continue to exist as long as someone remembers us and a charm bracelet is a great starting point to adding color to those memories.

Staying In Focus: Daily Prompt: My Hero

Me and my dad, 1954

Me and my dad, 1954

Daily Prompt: Heroic

When you were five years old, who was your hero? What do you think of that person today?

 

Like many little girls, when I was five, my hero was my dad.  I could not imagine life without him. He worked d hard to provide for us, but always had time for us. His family meant everything to him and he was happiest when we were all together.

He encouraged us to achieve in school, so proud when we graduated from college, an opportunity he never had. He was there for all the important events in our lives.  He taught me how to swim and how to drive, how to bait a fishing hook, hang tinsel on a Christmas tree and change the oil in my car. He walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, was always there to listen and advise.

He loved our annual vacations when we would load up the Ford station wagon and set out to explore all the lower 48 states, Canada and Mexico. We watched Old Faithful erupt under a star-studded sky, ate dinner out of a chuck wagon with the cowboys in North Dakota, were avid cave spelunkers, gazed into the Grand Canyon, danced with Native Americans, climbed to the top of the world in Jasper Alberta, Canada, watched fireworks over the ocean in Long Beach California, had a snowball fight on the fourth of July in the Grand Teton Mountains. These experiences combined to form the kind of person I became.

And the one thing I feared the most in life would be to see any sign of disappointment in me mirrored in his eyes. I am proud that I never let him down. He died in 1994 at the age of 74, of congestive heart failure. I spent several days helping my family prepare for the funeral, and then drove home to get my family ready. That’s when the flood gates failed and I could no longer stop the tears. I cried an ocean on that 30 minute trip, but it still took a long time to come to terms with his death. I would come across something and think, “I’ll show that to dad,” and then suddenly remember he was gone.

Today, I think of him as my hero, and my guardian angel rolled into one. And somewhere in time, maybe in a parallel universe, a little girl stands on a table top, her father standing near. She believes he will be there always to take care of her. He looks at her with love and pride in his eyes. He is her hero and always will be, somewhere in time…

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Don’t Miss the Magic

Daily Prompt: You have been transformed into a mystical being who has the ability to do magic. Describe your new abilities in detail. How will you use your new skills?

Don’t Miss the Magic

One really doesn’t have to be a mystical being to experience magic, for magic is all around us, unfolding every day; but were I a mystical being, my task would be simple:  to open people’s eyes to the magic that surrounds them.

There is magic in the rising sun IMG_8448as it heralds the break of day. There is magic in the wisps of fog, which wreathe a distant mountaintop, and in crystal dew, shining like diamonds in the morning sun.

There is magic in the delicate wings of a butterfly Photo05_3and the intricate veins of a leafIMG_8125

There is the magic of birdsong in the morning, and in the mystery of the stars in the evening sky. There is magic in the velvet petal of a rose,IMG_0015 - Copy
in the first flower of spring and the vibrant leaves that dress the trees in autumn splendor.IMG_2260

I see magic in the very existence of bubbles,

a bubble armada

jellyfishIMG_0973 - Copy - Copy - Copy

My Whale Ivory

My Whale Ivory

 


and whales.

 There is magic in birth, the creation of life; the soft touch of a newborn baby’s skinevelyn2and in a hug from a 20130828_190029great grandchild. 

Where would we be without the magic of family?coyle family

and friendship:

Pat and Bill,Geoff and Denise Pat and Kathi; 1971 IMG_1165 cropMost of all, there is magic in falling in love,n1015159936_332755_8561 in living a life together, sharing and enjoying he magic that is our world.IMG

Don’t let it slip by unrecognized. Take time to see it, feel it and enjoy it for momentary is our life and elusive the magic it brings.