One Very Cold January Day

Sunset Over the Adirondack Mountains
Sunset Over the Adirondack Mountains

January 20 was a cold windy day in an upstate winter. I was on my way for a visit and photo shoot in Burlington Vermont. It was a day long journey that included travel by train, taxi, ferry, automobile.  The Vietnamese Roman Catholic community in Burlington would soon celebrated Tet, the lunar New Year with a Mass and a party. I was, on my way to visit with friends in that community and to photograph both Mass and Tet Party for them.

+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++

The journey starts with a long train trip from City Rochester to much smaller Plattsburgh – both in upstate New York, US. A train switch in Schenectady sees me on the Amtrak “Adirondack”. Older cars on older tracks made for a slow and rocky ride. That said, we arrive at historic Plattsburgh Station spot on. A taxi is located – this took some doing, with the ride shared with a State University of New York student returning to campus (however, no reduction in fee). The Ferry Depot sat a couple of miles outside of town.

Once on the Ferry it is but a short ride across the still open waters from the shore to Grande Island – the Vermont terminus. A relatively short but necessary walk uphill in bitter cold and stiff breeze seems very long indeed. Thankfully my friend/ host provided a car and driver to meet me – his car and he drove.

The car ride went from Grande Island to Burlington. The trip: an immediate drive over a causeway to the mainland and then a drop down to my friend’s place in Essex Junction and my destination for the day.

The hot air blasts from the car’s heater and I thaw as we traveled the Causeway.

Then it happened.

I glanced back and before my eyes, far left to far right,  stretched the most lovely sunset. The sun, as commanded by earth’s movement, dips below the Adirondack Mountains and shadows them. A rainbow of fiery colors beams across sky and reflects off the frozen waters of Lake Champlain. I’m speechless as the beauty engulfed me.

Well almost speechless. “Stop,” I manage to yell.

My friend does stop but in an proper way. I snapped off several as I shudder in the biting and very cold winds crossing the frozen Lake.

Back in the car I smile and bask in the glow of this perfect ending to a long strenuous day of travel.

Perhaps there is even a moral to this story. Be aware of where you are both ahead and behind. Sometimes, it pays dividends.
Adventure George
an old man reporting on another adventure

 ++ Across The Lake – a short series of images of sunset over the Adirondack Mountains – shot across frozen Lake Champlain. Whiteface Mountain at 4867 feet, an Adirondack High Peak, is highest seen in this picture. This is a series that almost didn’t happen. You can see a few images CLICK HERE ++

Horned Vegetable Creature

Vegetable Monster MNE_4534_resize

Horned Vegetable Creature
written by thecook210 aka Adventure George
copyright: ©2013 GCheatle
all rights reserved

This is my story

I’m a cook. I like to experiment with various dishes: dishes that might become menu options.

So it was that late one Sunday morning I prepped vegetables for a chicken cacciatore recipe. It was in the design process for possible inclusion in my collection of recipes for groups of twenty or more.

The peppers, both red and green were chopped and the mushrooms quartered and the sweet onions sliced. They sat in piles, some on the chopping board some on the counter top nearby. I turned to collect the needed spices. And as I did, it was then that I first heard the noise.

Usually music plays when I cook, but today I had chosen silence. Sometimes silence is distracting. But today was different. Today it was what I refer to as “blessed silence.” The incessant chatter that life sometimes generates was gone. No one was around. It was just me and the quiet.

It was because of this quiet that I heard it, the noise.

It was a gentle slush, much like the sound of a slight breeze on a lazy sunny summer afternoon – just enough air to move the very smallest of the leaves. It wasn’t so much that I heard it. I felt it – someone or something was there. Yet it was enough of a sound/ sensation that I turned around to see if someone had entered the kitchen.

Nothing! No one was there.

I returned to the spice cupboard, my focus to retrieve just the right one – just the right blend. A spice can add much to the flavor of a dish. It can distinguish it from others dishes with the same basic ingredients.

As I collected them, I heard the noise again.

Again I turned quickly. This time I was fast enough to catch movement over by the chopping board. Movement, but no one was around.

Spice jars in hand; I returned to the counter and dumped them. Then I saw it. I must have seen it before but just didn’t believe it and so saw it not. But now it was such that I couldn’t deny it.

The separated vegetables just chopped had collected – coalesced –were in process to make a whole. When I saw what was forming, my blood ran cold. There was an involuntary shiver throughout my body. And the words “Oh My God” formed unbidden on my lips. Instinctively I moved back.

There before me, and starting to move, was some sort of vegetable insect.

Its features were not fine and delicate like most insects. They were wide, almost club like. It was a bug with thick light yellow-green horns attached to the very top of its head. Scales were formed along its “skin” and two white leg-like appendages on the lower body.

Momentarily I was frozen to the spot. My desire was to run. Yet at the same time, from somewhere deep within me there emerged a more primal instinct.

Kill” It said.

This instinctual voice repeated and very loudly, “Kill this bug.”

It demanded action on my part. “Eliminate it.” “Stop it, now.”

My hand flew to my well used chef’s chopping knife on the counter. I grabbed it and chopped down through the very middle of the bug. Again my hand rose. And again it swung down and cut the insect.

Again and again it rose and descended until there was nothing left but pieces of mushrooms and red peppers and green peppers and sweet onions.

It was over and I was out of breath. The horned vegetable monster was no more.

I poured myself a mug of coffee and sat on a nearby stool. And as the adrenalin drained out of my body, I asked myself what just happened. I wasn’t so sure. But one thing I did know. I wasn’t going to tell anyone of this.

And I haven’t -not until now. And I tell you because I’m sure you won’t judge my mental state or pass this story on to others.

End End End

Scars of the Past

Remains of 1897 Shipwreck still visible low tide – Higgins Beach, Maine

Remains of the 1897 Shipwreck of the coastal schooner the Howard V. Middleton, are still visible a hundred and fifteen years after. August 11, 1897, in dense fog and at full speed, the Middleton ran aground in the Atlantic Ocean on a ledge off  Higgins Beach, Scarborough, Maine.

The collision forced a fatal breach in the hull.

Its cargo of coal salvaged as were other ship board items along with personal the effects of the crew. But the ship itself was past saving. A September storm forced the wreck further onto the beach. It is still visible today along Higgins Beach at low tide.

The scars of the past stay long after the causal event.
see more pictures of Higgins Beach at my Flickr site – click here

New Orleans: Hurricane Isaac in the light of Hurricane Katrina.
As I write this, Hurricane Isaac has come ashore at New Orleans one of my very favorite Cities.

Folks in New Orleans, like many of us, bear scars of the past.

For New Orleans and much of the rest of the Country, the arrival of Hurricane Isaac is lived in the light of Katrina. Ironically Isaac made land fall seven years to the arrival of Katrina.
The scars of Katrina are many and run deep.

Our scars are many and run deep.

Like the folks in New Orleans, the scars of the past affect how we see ourselves and the world. Decisions are made in the light of memories and consequences of past situations.

Sometimes these are positive and helpful in the big picture. And sometimes not. Regardless, they are there.

For some of us, the trauma that produced our scars are due to the caprice of nature or happenings beyond our personal control.
• an accident
• illness
• birth condition
• behaviors of others
• result of work related/ life style related stress

For some of us, the trauma is directly related to our own past decisions and behaviors.

The question is not do we have scars?
It doesn’t take much living to develop wounds and experience traumas.

The question is how do we live with them?
The problem is not how to get rid of these marks of wear.
The challenge is what does it take to go forward in life with them.

In my older years, I’ve discovered that there is no magic way – no one answer.
I’ve learned through experience, however, we do it one day at a time in the light of the grace of our God and our friends.

Personally, I’ve adapted the three A’s of one of the recovery groups, as a working model for doing it one day at a time.

Aware – I realize that there are remains of the past happenings that at some of life’s low times shows themselves. Some times this is a quick realization – a sudden jolt. Some times it is dawns slowly.

Accept – this is the way it is. I’ve done what I can to “make amends.” I am responsible. In many ways, it is over and done. But in the course of life, we may be reminded of it. The “record” if you will is still there, perhaps officially and perhaps only in your memory. Perhaps we look at ourselves and are reminded regularly.

The truth is we can’t get rid of them not matter how much we want them gone. Acceptance then is the answer.

Adapt – scars are one of those givens in life. The key for me is to move beyond awareness and acceptance and adapt.

Wow – this gets long. I’ll save my thoughts on “adapting life’s givens” for another post.
I’ll end here.

“Preacher Fish” Discovered

Dispatch – Scarborough Maine
“Preacher Fish” Discovered Along the Atlantic Seaboard

Adventure George of Rochester New York on his recent expedition to the Maine coast discovered “this most unusual and distinctive fish.” Found near the Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-op dock (Scarborough, Maine), George dubbed it the Preacher Fish. This was due to the large open mouth and large observant eyes. A.G. said, “Any of you who know preachers will recognize the resemblance. They are ready to talk and always looking for that next volunteer.”

When sought for information, the Maine Fisheries Department said, “It sounds like a fish tale to me.” When asked for his response, George said, “It sure looks like a head to me. Government often gets things backwards and all turned around.”

Before it could be sent for further study, the fish head was carried off by a large black-backed sea-gull.

End Dispatch

Hike to the Past – Mason Lake

3 of our several Hikes in Jessup River Wild Forest – The Adirondack Forest Preserve – MARKED

set of images on my Flickr account are available
click here to view them

Sunday afternoon brother-in-law Rich led me into the Jessup River Wild Forest around Mason Lake.  Rich was a man on a mission. He sought the campsite of a previous bushwhack. On the trail and when questioned, he was last there in 1985. Let me figure this out. That was twenty-seven years ago, right?

“I’ll remember it when I see it.”

“I think this is the trail.”
(Well it is a deer trail but do they travel to the campsite?)

“That tree looks familiar.”

It seemed like forever. But we did reach the site – verified by the debris covered remains of the fire-pit. And Rich’s vision verified by exact placement: “this is where we washed dishes;” tents erected “here, and there.” I did draw the line at locating the latrine pits.

It was fun for me to share in Rich’s excitement. I enjoyed his stories of previous trips to the Mason Lake area. And yes, I took pictures of the forest and “things” in the forest as we walked to and fro the campsite.

Plus, the walk helped me greatly in my quest to regain my core body strength.

Jessup River Wild Forest is a defined part of the New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve.

What follows is from the Internet – website place and text below:
http://www.cnyhiking.com/JessupRiverWildForest.htm

The Jessup River Wild Forest area consists of 47,350 acres of State Forest Preserve lands in the towns of Arietta, Indian Lake, Lake Pleasant, and Wells in Hamilton County. This Wild Forest is bounded by NY 28 to the north and NY 30 in the southeast, as well as three wilderness areas: West Canada Lakes Wilderness to the west; Siamese Ponds Wilderness to the east, and Silver Lake Wilderness to the south.

The state lands in Jessup River Wild Forest border, or are in close proximity to, the communities of Indian Lake, Piseco, Speculator and Wells. NY 30 bisects Jessup River Wild Forest and serves as the main access corridor.

Many people enjoy hiking to the fire towers on Pillsbury and Snowy Mountains, snowmobiling between Piseco Lake and Indian Lake, canoeing on Fall Stream, or camping on Mason Lake. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also popular activities throughout Jessup River Wild Forest particularly in and around Perkins Clearing, the Jessup River and the Miami River.

Sunset Color

Glory of Sunset seen over Lake Pleasant

Day is Done – Gone the Sun
On some days the setting of the sun is a glorious experience both in color and form.

The Passing of Days – The End of Life
A life passed is often marked by the colors of the life lived.

The beauty stays with us in our memory.

These thoughts wandered through my mind as I sat in the still beauty of this sunset over Lake Pleasant in the ancient Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The beach along the shore at Camp of the Woods in Speculator is one of my very favorite places. And on some days, witnesses spectacular sunsets.

George of Rochester
now in the mountains

see other images from this sunset on my Flickr account
click here

April Snow in Rochester

words and images copyrighted ©2012 GCheatle

A Spring Snow Storm.  The weather folk say our first major snow storm of the year.  Winter recorded none.  These images show the world outside my Flat here in Rochester western New York – earlier today, Monday April 23.  Heavy wet snow with more predicted for the rest of today.  Forecast up to six inches locally with higher amounts in hills and west.  Messy driving.  Schools closed or with delayed openings.  Downed lines with resultant power outages.

This Spring our weather is a  roller coaster ride.  A week ago Rochester reach record high temperatures.  Flowers and flowering trees abounded.  See my Walk in the Park images – click here to view them.  Freezing and near freezing temperatures for today and tomorrow.  The temperature rises to 60 F on Wednesday.

For now a few more pictures from today.

Spring Snow In Rochester
©2012 GCheatle

Lonely Tulip in Spring Snow
©2012 GCheatle

Spring Snow in Black and White
©2012 GCheatle

King Kong in Roanoke

Recently I was in Roanoke Virginia to cook for a group of NYS FITS builders. Volunteers all, they worked for two weeks with Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley. While there the group bunked at Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church in Vinton. I was soon to learn that somewhere in the Valley roamed a Great Ape, known simply as the Kong after the giant quadruped of movie fame – King Kong.

On a slow day, Joanne my long-suffering co-cook, and I set off on a geocache quest. We ended at Roanoke’s mountain “star.” From this vantage point, I gazed off over the Valley and City and reflected on the location of the Kong, that mighty beast. A local at the overlook shared that he heard the giant ape was downtown – somewhere near the train yards.

Roanoke: Valley and City
King Kong Reported in This Area of Roanoke

My search, refined, I determined to find and digitally capture this monster whose name sake terrorized that great metropolis, New York.

It was on a later trip into downtown Roanoke that I was able to continue my search for this elusive beast. On this occasion I was with a small group that included Photo Eric, his bride of some years, Deb, and FITS volunteer Claude.  On the way into the City, we went through an out-of-the-way neighborhood. At one place it provided a vantage point to see the City. I persuaded the driver to stop, and despite his impatience, managed to look long enough to see what appeared to me, Kong in the City. I quickly snapped a digital image.

Is that the Kong on that modernistic building?

Once in the City’s downtown and after a walk with the group around the Market District, and after taking some rather good photo shots, if I don’t say so myself, the group settled in at a downtown coffee shop. I quietly left the group while they were having coffee, and if you know my love for coffee, this was a sacrifice on my part.

I headed towards the my earlier Kong sighting. I questioned locals as to the exact location. I wended my way; closer to the rail-yards, closer to that glass and beam building.

Suddenly, there he was, on the third floor balcony of the Taubman Museum of Art. Tall and proud, defiant and angry – a roar in his throat, a small plane in his hand: The Kong stood.

The Kong of Roanoke, now captured in high-definition digital images. My hunt was successful. I have my trophy shot of this magnificent beast, the Kong of Roanoke.

The Kong of Roanoke - on Third Story Balcony
Kong - Shadowed in the Taubman Museum of Art Building
Ever Defiant at Life - the Kong Rages

Clouds Thicken and Darken

Taken from the series of images on Fairyland Point Blues. These images are from Bryce Canyon National Park, Fairyland Point Overlook. The time of day, the darkening skies in the distance but sun in the forefront added to the evanescent of the scene and softened the pinks and blues.

image By George
copyright ©2008 GCheatle

title picture

Flowers From Maxine’s Garden

title picture

Sunday Afternoon
In Maxine’s Garden

Sunday afternoon, a time to rest and relax and take it easy and just do what I wanted. Answer no phone calls. Take no visitors. Enjoy myself.

As strange as this may seem, my wish was to immerse myself in Maxine’s front yard garden. Maxine, my landlady and occupier of the first floor flat, plants flowers in the front yard in place of a lawn. It takes the entire front yard.

For the past couple of weeks, whenever I walk up to the front entrance I hear my name called. “George!  George!”

I look around, no one is there. Finally I answered, “What?”

Clear as could be, the response came:  “Take our pictures.”

Oh great. Now I hear flowers talk. Regardless, Sunday afternoon I was taking pictures, just as requested.

Up and down the steps. In and out of the house. Try this and that shot. Plan, shoot, view. And do it all again.

To shoot the images and to work with them in the computer took my full attention. It consumed me throughout the afternoon hours.

At last I uploaded the finished photos to my flick account. Then I relaxed. Stress load reduced. Feeling the accomplishment.  All was good.

see these finished images at my Flickr site. Click here to go see them.
images are ©2011 GCheatle – all rights reserved