Nature’s Guests

In the thick of things, we are just guests to the bigger forces of nature. The rain and clouds were here before us.

It’s been a stormy evening with thunder and lightning shattering the dark sky. I’m here sitting on the floor, just listening to the sounds of nature battling it out for supremacy. This is one of the wildest, relentless storms I have witnessed in a while, the first this summer. I came home this evening to the sounds and sight of rain pouring down and the first booms of thunder in the background. Bright flashes of light made me jump out of my skin. It is rather calm and soothing, just sitting here to myself, letting my thoughts wander while the heavens shouted out from above.

A few years ago, I witnessed a first for myself. I was outside in a thunderstorm with only three walls of thin, rain-resistant fabric keeping me dry and safe

I stayed in the tent and tried to imagine that I was really in the wild with help miles away, not just a few feet away in my house. A few weeks later, my family and I would be going camping and living in the rustic outdoors. That means no electricity, plumbing, or phone/Internet service whatsoever. The tent session was in preparation for the day we go camping by testing out my wits in a thunderstorm. The tent held up well the whole night and through this treacherous morning so it wouldn’t be a problem when the real games commence. In a style reminiscent to The Blair Witch Project, I used my phone to film myself talking about my stay in the tent and various things around me, while the rain came down outside and thunder rumbled, adding to the spookiness. There wasn’t much light in the tent so when I played back the video all I could see was a creepy silhouette of myself hiding under a blanket.

I listened to the appropriate song for this occasion, “Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks, seeing how the thunder sound effects in the song mesh with the real world sounds, making it really authentic. I must had been in the tent for almost two hours, waiting for the loud but fairly tame storm to pass. The storm did pass eventually but not without a few flashes of Ben Franklin kite power appearing as I was just about to leave my sanctuary, scaring me out of my skin. I finally did get to fold my blankets up and head outside into the morning light. That stupid water hole of our’s was full of, well, water again.

Like the brave storm chasers, we need to learn how to become one with nature and tackle her beastly villains we call storms, wind, and rain. No one can control or change the weather, but we can be tough and try to see the real beauty of our planet Earth at work. Amazingly, our world’s cycles of random weather have been going on for billions of years. Patterns and seasons may have changed and become unpredictable but Earth still follows her unruly task of making us selfish humans realize what is out there for a minute. Okay, so the planet isn’t trying to seek revenge on people and only has crazy weather because of changes in the air, but humans still need to realize that the home they inherited thousands of years ago is being ruined by their selfish actions and greediness just to get a leg up in the world. Photographers and geologists alike are the few that really appreciate the true essence of the Earth.else could care less. They are more than just guests, they are the ones who shake hands with nature and become something like friends.

Guest

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Rainy Days and Mondays

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They don’t get me down. I love them. Bring on the rain.

I’ve always been a perpetual wallflower, shy enough to never want to subject myself to the vulnerabilities of a large crowd or the lone spotlight, but every once and a while cutting in on the dance floor and trying my hand at the social game, only to float back to the space where everything is normal again and not chaotic.

There’s nothing wrong with the wallflower, he is a silent and pleasant type, keeping his space and not stepping on anyone’s toes. Content in his own world. Blending in with society’s buzzing bees, the sharks that roam the oceans, catching all the tiny prey. Sidelines and outskirts on a rainy afternoon, tucked safely away in a corner. Pondering the mysteries of the universe, writing away, musing about fascinating things, the future and its apparent awesomeness, only discovered as ordinary when it actually comes. Being the center of attention in public would mean going out of your comfort zone, presenting yourself to vulnerabilities. The shields are up at all possible times.

The best days are the washing machine slowly humming, laundry circulating in a bath of sudsy bubbles. Complementing the downpour outdoors. Hearing the noisy machine takes away the staleness of the afternoon, adds a little excitement. Adds to the sacredness as well, especially in between booms of thunder, bolts of lightning, the dark house quiet and still.

When the rain finally clears up, what’s left is a dry sticky humidity in the air, not really making matters better. It’s rare to see a rainbow unless you are in the right spot or have a clear, unobstructed view of the horizon.

On a rainy afternoon, I’d be inside sleeping on the futon with my feet outstretched, socks off, toes flexing. A thick army blanket draped over myself, head resting on the soft fabric.

Other times, I’d sit next to the window, listening to the rain splatter into muddy puddles, watching the streaks race down on the glass, colliding into a single water organism. Dreary skies, non-activity all around, the occasional car splashing through dirty water on the street, bright headlights navigating the murkiness.

Playing video games on my non-existent Xbox to alleviate the boredom. Getting lost in a fantasy world. Letting the depressive nature of the situation be drowned out by the even more depressing nature of gunfire and bodies being shot down all around. Or if you’re more softcore, letting a cheerful and challenging puzzle game pass the time.

My rainy afternoon wouldn’t be any different than other days. I’d still find comfort sitting behind my computer screen, trying to come up with some descriptive word that could describe what the outdoors is like at that moment. I’d probably be watching Netflix or listening to some soft tunes that go perfectly with the weather.

Sunny days are much cheerful, happier, and productive than rainy days but they don’t pack the same symbolic punch that a cold stormy afternoon or night would. And that’s what’s perfect, knowing there’s a natural danger on the outside that four walls and a roof divides you from, unlike my tent last year that fell down on top of me during a fierce thunderstorm – the scariest moment in my life. I yelled out for help, stranded in a crumpled mess of walls and poles, sitting in a puddle of water, thunder preventing me from venturing out in fear of getting struck, even if I was only a few feet from home.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Safe inside, toasty warm, while water pitter-patters on the roof… describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

One Word Photo Challenge: Storm

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Rainy days and Mondays don’t get me down

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It may have been just a light rainstorm in which I captured photos for Jennifer Nichole Wells’ One Word Photo Challenge this week, but nevertheless, I captured the beauty and essence of rain/water.

During another one of my photography walks around the park, rain falling on my head, I captured scenes that would describe what a storm is like.  The raindrops on the leaves left after the light rainstorm, a few clinging to the last reds of Spring. The flag reflecting in the puddle left on the ground. The water rushing into the stormdrain at a ferocious rate. It was quite a dreary moment, my head getting soaked, and the place quite silent except for some cars passing through the puddles on the road, making splashing sounds as I walked by on the sidewalk, hoping to not get drenched in humility.

The last picture is of an oncoming storm from last year. The clouds overhead are monstrous and cast a gloomy shadow over the city below.

There happens to be a storm occurring right now just outside my window. I wish I could provide a soundbite of it.

Share Your World – 2014 Week 51

I’m sharing a bit of my world a little late, in the final week of 2014, but it was fun to answer these questions provided by Cee. Read on to see another dimension of My Awesome Life.

Would you prefer snowy winters, or not, and why? 

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Strategically placed bike in a snow bank

Yes, I would, because they allow me to think differently, to go outside and view the world as something more beautiful. Snowy winters are great because they make me feel like I’m walking in a winter wonderland, not to sound too cliché. That’s not happening so far this year in Michigan though, at least not where I am located in the lower part of the mitten, because there is no snow. We had a brief period of snow in November that had me all excited, seeing everything being covered under a hibernation blanket, but then it all melted. Last year at this time, we were experiencing one of the most brutal winters in a long time, snow getting to at least six inches high, having to be plowed away into huge hills such as the one that inspired the picture I took above for my 365 project this year.

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

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I don’t have an umbrella, but should get one though! It does rain frequently here in Michigan and I usually get caught with my head bared when I am out in the open, drenching my clothes, on the brink of catching pneumonia. If I did have one though, I would probably keep it right near my coat, so I could pick up both at the same time when going out in the rain.

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?
Mixing my food together gives it a new, distinct flavor, in my opinion, and I usually enjoy it more because my taste buds are being overwhelmed with the delicious flavors of this fusion. The food being separated just doesn’t feel like a meal. Too bland, too boring. I love when my mashed potatoes, butter, and corn run together, or the cranberry sauce and green bean casserole end up becoming a little more than just friends at Thanksgiving…

What is set as the background on your computer?

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An overhead view of the Amazon rainforest

This hasn’t been changed in a while.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week, me and my family visited the eldest daughter in Wisconsin as well as her soon to be husband and his son. We had a mini Christmas in a Baymont hotel room (me getting everything on video). I am grateful to have had such a fun time, to have these memories to share forever, to have received a hug from my sister before we left her again for Michigan. Next week we will be in January (shouldn’t this be Share Your World Week 52? Unless it was started in the second week of 2014…), and I am looking forward to starting college at Western Michigan University, beginning my Bachelor’s degree program. I’m also looking forward to expanding my photography skills, maybe signing up for 500px. There has also been a bubbling idea of mine to do a project next year of taking a photo of one part of my body every day (I’ll have to calculate how this will exactly work though).


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A Walk With My Camera

My walk with my camera was pretty nice. I took a lot of pictures not thinking twice. Rain drops falling on my head, creating spots on my t-shirt and shorts. Cars were rumbling by, their inhabitants unaware of my photographic intentions. It was a fairly depressing day, so quiet and somber. I’m trapped in this little hole of mine, unable to break free and explore the wide open world. I thought about leaving this terrible prison but it just didn’t feel right today with the weather being so unattractive. My hair slicks in my eye, causing it to twitch. I try to find interesting shots but there is nothing around here that wows me. A couple shots of the boulevard, some trees, some of the interesting hues in them but other than that this place is uninteresting. I go up the entrance to where the flag is waving high and mighty. A picture of a colorful tree looming over a bench. On my way back I see a car with an interesting design on it. On the hood is an artistically spray painted image. I walk by this at first, not wondering if I should take the picture with the people home but a couple seconds later double back and get the shot, feeling satisfied. As I continued on, I saw some kids walking the other way, just getting out of school. There was a school bus just passing before them. One kid was kicking a soda can, about in the fourth grade I believe. Another was carrying a small instrument in a case, clarinet or french horn perhaps. They didn’t seem to notice me as I walked on by but I simply shrugged off my moody blues and made them acknowledge that I wasn’t just a creepy loser with no path in sight.

The sky is dark, few clouds in the sky. So wet. So sad. 365 days of photos is hard to accomplish. Trying to add more life into my style, more variety. I walk on home, around the corner, back to humble abode, back up the lazy steps and into the mess of a house. I see my uncle, he asks me where I went, I say around the park. He thinks I’m a stalker.

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Charles in Charge

Well, hello there! Does the cheesy 80’s sitcom come to mind? If it does then you may have come to the right place, maybe. This is about a man named Charles who thinks he’s king of the castle but just until his egotistical bubble pops and he’s sent crashing back down to Earth and opens his eyes to see that he is in fact a loser like all the other losers strolling around. It’s about the camping trip we had planned for the summer in August. It turned out to be a disaster…

The camping trip was hell, Charles in charge, being an ass, turning the camp into Gilligan’s Island, bringing everything except the kitchen sink. Bought a $150 canopy, sold it later on and I swear I saw the same one at the Jackson fair, judging by the identical box on the ground. Chaz starts (or attempts to start) fires every time with some success, walks around with silly straw hat, uses whole tank of propane. Drank 10 beers, still drives. Totes, totes, totes, for just three days, but wears same clothes. Brought way too many chairs, I really couldn’t decide which to sit in. I prided myself in getting my tent pitched before his, which I did. When it comes to people like Chaz, I really get a competitive edge, which I should feel terrible about, but it’s Chaz so no.

Weather was hot and unbearable. Mosquitoes, gnats, bees buzz about like motorcycles, can’t touch us from bug repellent, MC would be proud. Always resorting to rubbing my face with a towel to cool things down, but works as good as a lawnmower in a cornfield.

Went fishing for the first time, caught nothing but got a few bites. Worm gone every time. Stuck in seaweed and other messes, losing a bobber and some line. Had a fisherman look with a camo jacket, sleeves rolled up, and shirt wrapped around my neck to avoid sunburn.

First attempted dinner on a campfire sucked, ended up using propane. I literally spilled the beans in the fire, ending up eating the “enemies” food, according to Jack and Emily.

Slept in tent , felt miserable, bee/flies buzzing constantly in my corner, repellent only kept them off for about 10 minutes, the cheap stuff. Still a better story than Twilight.

Raccoon, joked about it being in the tent, ate food from our picnic table under Chaz’s Christmas lights pavilion. Was it Roger, our three legged raccoon who used to visit us on occasional nights while we were still living way back in the sticks?

Em’s car brakes failed, had to be towed away along with Jack and Emily. They left me some food in a Styrofoam box, didn’t heighten my spirits much. Rain poured after I wished there would at least be a thunderstorm to authenticate the experience.

Fight ensues between Mom and Charles, “We’re all God’s children”, Charles said. Tells us about his days as a youth, getting swirlies, pants pulled down, etc. Big discussion about keeping secrets and holding back lies about one another, Charles tries to establish firm ground with “our side” and forget our differences, but it seems all hogwash. Like the Sith trying to forge peace with the Jedi. That ain’t ever going to happen.

Peed in the woods; different setting feels nice even with mosquitoes threatening to bite you a nice blood. TMI, I know.

Finally succumbed to going into town for food and supplies. Ate at Jet’s Pizza, big screen showing The Open, every detail fleshed out, every wood fiber of ESPN’s broadcasting desk looking realer, every wrinkle and sweat drop magnified on the players faces, blades of grass looking crisp. Mickelson won the Open, his fifth major, further more the ‘good guy’ of golf.

Trip home back to normalcy, Kashmir beating into my ears. A hellish three days at this Crooked Lake, dysfunctional ending as usual. Next time I go, there won’t be any “Charles in Charge”. I guess the good thing about this camping trip was that I avoided using the rustic facilities for both reasons: number one and especially number two.

One With Nature

It’s been a stormy evening with thunder and lightning shattering the dark sky. I’m here again lying in the tent, just listening to the sounds of nature battling it out for supremacy. This is one of the wildest, relentless storms I have witnessed in a while and also the second one I have witnessed today. I woke up this morning to the sounds and sight of rain pouring down and the first booms of thunder in the background. Bright flashes of light made me cower under my thin black blanket. It was rather calm and soothing, just sitting there to myself, letting my thoughts wander while the heavens shouted out from above. This was a first for me, being outside in a thunderstorm with only three walls of thin, rain-resistant fabric keeping me dry and safe. Of course, I was much braver than the person before me, my uncle Jack. He chickened out and left the tent at the first sign of the storm, retreating back indoors. In SURVIVOR, that would be the equivalent of quitting the game. And yet Jack has never been one to tucker out challenges that come his way. Oh well, I guess I know who he would play in the Wizard of Oz.

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I stayed in the tent and tried to imagine that I was really in the wild with help miles away, not just a few feet away in my house. In a few weeks my family and I will be going camping and living in the rustic outdoors. That means no electricity, plumbing, or phone/Internet service whatsoever. We will be forced to use other unconventional means of ‘relieving ourselves’. In outhouses for that matter. If I am going to use one of those nasty things I am wearing a gas mask and bringing a can of Lysol with me! Of course that’s not possible since I don’t even own a gas mask. As for the rustic part of the camping trip, I do not believe that people like Zeke or Charles will be able to live without their computers.

ImageAlso, Charles and mom will likely eat at a nice restaurant than bother with cooking food on the fire. It’s their choice but the whole idea of going camping is to live without the luxuries and necessities of every day life and learn to survive.

Well, back to my tent session… I am preparing for the day we go camping by testing out my wits in a thunderstorm. The tent held up well the whole night and through this treacherous morning so it shouldn’t be a problem when the real games commence. In a style reminiscent to The Blair Witch Project, I used my phone to film myself talking about my stay in the tent and various things around me, while the rain came down outside and thunder rumbled, adding to the spookiness. There wasn’t much light in the tent so when I played back the video all I could see was a creepy silhouette of myself hiding under a blanket.

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I listened to the appropriate song for this occasion, “Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks, seeing how the thunder sound effects in the song mesh with the real world sounds, making it really authentic.

So this is Day 1 and my uncle already ran away from the challenge – facing mother nature in her darkest hour. I must had been in the tent for almost two hours, waiting for the loud but fairly tame storm to pass. The storm did pass eventually but not without a few flashes of Ben Franklin kite power appearing as I was just about to leave my sanctuary, scaring me out of my skin. I finally did get to fold my blankets up and head outside into the morning light. That stupid water hole of our’s was full of, well, water again.

This is only just the beginning. Tonight is one of the biggest storms this year and we are sleeping through it. The end of my army blanket is soaked as I forgot to zip the tent back up after I left, much to Jack’s dismay. Jack is much braver tonight, deciding to endure the fierce storm instead of seeking the safety and common sense warmth of his bed indoors. C’mon that would be too easy! We need to learn how to become one with nature and tackle her beastly villains we call storms, wind, and rain. No one can control or change the weather, but we can be tough and try to see the real beauty of our planet Earth at work. Amazingly, our world’s cycles of random weather have been going on for billions of years. Patterns and seasons may have changed and become unpredictable but Earth still follows her unruly task of making us selfish humans realize what is out there for a minute. Okay, so the planet isn’t trying to seek revenge on people and only has crazy weather because of changes in the air, but humans still need to realize that the home they inherited thousands of years ago is being ruined by their selfish actions and greediness just to get a leg up in the world. Photographers and geologists alike are the few that really appreciate the true essence of the Earth.

Everyone else could care less.

With these survival tent runs, I am really starting to see just how wonderful our planet is once all of the material stuff is put aside. Night 2 is here and my journey has only begun…I still need a bear and an ax murderer on the loose to freak me out. And a tent that is actually in the woods.

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