In February, I said that Arkansas was in the middle of an alternative winter.
In March, Arkansas finally experienced winter-winter.
It’s a similar pattern that we’ve been following for a few years now. Last year was the exception; however, in general, we have begun to expect winter to give us one final show just as the trees really start to bloom.
When I saw the forecast, I knew it would be an interesting time for photography.
After all, I’d been walking around in mid-February carrying my jacket over one arm. The daffodils have come and gone in some places over the past two weeks or so. (I suppose you could say they are already pushing up daisies. Okay, I know…that little joke was bad. I can do better than that. I promise I’ll try harder next time.)
So, naturally, the tornado warnings earlier in the week and the impending Daylight Savings Time switch had to be surefire signs that a couple of inches of snow would be on the ground by Saturday night.
It’s Arkansas physics.
Having lost an hour already on Sunday morning, I still decided it was in my best interest to wake up a little earlier than normal to take photographs of the snowfall before it melted.
It turned out to be a very good decision. By mid-afternoon, most of the snow was gone, but I had a successful morning of photography…numb fingers and all.
I hope this was winter’s last big show for the year, because it’ll be hard to top that.
I’ve heard of plenty of people who claim to live with no regrets, but I’m not sure I completely believe them. Not only that, but I’ve been thinking (a.k.a. confusing myself) about a bigger question when it comes to regret:
Which do you regret more? The things you didn’t do…or the things you did?
Decorative wall art pieces are full of inspirational quotes about taking chances because living with the regret of not doing something can eat away at your soul (or something like that).
However, how often do you see bathroom wall art telling you about the other side of that sentiment? (One would think the bathroom is a logical place to regret something you did do…like ordering tainted meat for dinner. Too much information? Sorry. I regret sharing that thought with you now. See? I regret something I just did. But I digress…)
It really is an interesting question (particularly for someone as meticulously observant as myself).
Now, I’m not talking about the really big decisions like moving to another continent or dropping everything to become a professional boxer (or something like that). I’m talking about the everyday decisions we make that usually aren’t the decisions the wall artists are writing about.
I say that we need to examine the basic stuff you regret actually doing almost immediately…even when your gut says, “Take a chance!”
Say, how about a list?
Simple Things That People Usually Regret Once They Have Already Done Them:
New Haircuts/Hairstyles. EVERYONE has at least one regrettable decision they’ve made about a haircut or style. Mine was a perm. I was sixteen. My hairdresser tried to stop me, but I was being stubborn. It wouldn’t be the first or last time I made a questionable hair decision.
2. Fashion Choices. You only thought whatever was “in style” looked good at the time because, by golly, a magazine told you it was “in style.”
3. Playing With A Small Animal With Sharp Teeth. Just go ahead and add this to your list of stuff you will regret immediately if you do it. I have no photographic evidence of this one, but I was five, the hamster bit my finger, I wasn’t supposed to be playing with him in the first place, and I tried to doctor the wound without telling anyone. (Mercurochrome was bright red. I didn’t do a very good job of hiding that little problem.)
Without getting too sentimental, I will say that I have taken a chance on at least one thing I do not regret and I’m glad I’m working on it…photography. I also don’t regret this shameless plug for my Etsy photography shop.
I get it–everyone has something major in their life that they feel they need to do in order to avoid regret for not taking the chance later. But, you have to admit, you’ve probably made plenty of small decisions that leave you with small pieces of regret.
As long as they’re funny enough to laugh at later, maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to take the chance.
(By the way, I don’t regret writing this. Not yet, anyway. I don’t think. Maybe. Possibly. Potentially.)
My friends will often stop me mid-conversation and ask, “Gee, Meticulously Observant Observer. Where do you get your inspiration?”
Then I wake up and realize that I’m dreaming. (Possibly daydreaming…although I don’t know when I would have the time for that. The fact that most people call me by my real name is a dead giveaway that I’m making up this entire conversation.)
If anyone did ask me that question, though, I’d have to say that most of my inspiration can be gathered from my favorite set of right-handed ink pens.
Although they aren’t marketed as such, they still serve a right-handed function when I pick them up. Hence, they are my favorite right-handed ink pens.
“But, how can a pen possibly provide you with inspiration?”
Well, since you (most likely didn’t) ask, I’ll just say that it’s a whole lot easier for me to pick up my favorite right-handed ink pen and write something when I have an idea than it is to wait for my computer to get going.
“But…the pen really didn’t provide any inspiration then, did it? It was just…there.”
True. I suppose I’m much more likely to turn an idea into an inspired idea when I have my favorite set of right-handed ink pens with me, though. Otherwise, the idea might just float away, gone forever.
“You’re confusing me. Can we talk about something else?
O…kay. Did I mention that I won more ribbons at the fair this year for photography?
“Oh, that’s nice. So…where do you get your inspiration for the photos?”
Summer always seems to be the shortest season in terms of perceived available days for relaxation versus actual days for relaxation…but the longest season in terms of “it’s-going-to-be-hot-for-six-months-so-you’d-better-get-used-to-it.”
So, here I am, sitting at my computer on the eve of another academic year, and I thought I’d complete that “old-as-the-hills” assignment that we used to do in school entitled “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.” (Or, in my case, “What I Did With Approximately Two Weeks.” Three months off is a myth, folks.)
My first major vacation-y event was something I probably could have done in any season, but one of my all-time favorite bands happened to be touring close by during the summer…hence, it became part of my summer vacation. I say I could have gone to this concert during any season, but since I’d been trying to get to one of their concerts for, say, eleven years, I suppose I was just kidding myself. So, in June, I finally went to a Steely Dan concert. My apologies to anyone who had to listen to me sing along with them at the top of my lungs, but, by golly, I’d waited a while for it.
And it was good.
I’ve become pretty good at squeezing little side trips into a packed schedule, but this year I wanted to go on a real trip. I addressed it in my previous blog post, but never included some of the stunning scenes I woke up to every day on beautiful St. George Island, Florida. It was my first trip to that particular beach and my first trip to ANY beach in four years. My apologies to anyone who had to stop dead in their tracks while I took photographs, but, by golly, I’d waited a while for it.
And it was good.
On the way back, I did the nerdiest thing I have ever done in my life–stopped in Seaside, Florida to seek out the “Truman House.” One of my favorite movies ever is “The Truman Show,” and it was filmed in Seaside. I found it, had a nerd moment, and grinned for a week. Twelve hours later, I was back in Arkansas.
Then, it was back to work.
Tomorrow is the first day of school (although, technically, it’s the fourth week of the new academic year for me).
And the weird dreams have already started. I’m trying to forget last night’s brain cornucopia. I was trying to run a rehearsal with a potluck going on next door, all while people felt the need to keep pulling me aside to tell me I was crazy. (Something about my sense of humor…) I tried to argue with them, but it was hard to hold my ground as I went through the potluck line and put beef stew, fried rice, Lucky Charms, and milk on the same plate. I finally got fed up (haha) and took off in my car, driving in reverse over swinging bridges constructed of thin rowboat paddles and shouting something about trying to break the Olympic record.
(Figure that one out, Freud.)
And that’s what I did on my summer vacation.
And it was good.
With that, here’s to a great academic year for all!
*I also started an Etsy shop this summer. I’m updating listings as I create more work, but right now it’s primarily for my landscape photography. I am selling 8×10 prints. Please take a look! You can buy photographs here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MeticulousObserver
The Natural State really lives up to its name. We have no shortage of stunning views and opportunities for immersion in the outdoors. I recently had the chance to take a brief evening trip up to a place I’ve enjoyed many times over the years.
Petit Jean Mountain is a highly unique geographic feature of the Arkansas landscape. My little car had a few Casey Junior “I-Think-I-Can” moments as it chugged its way up the twisting road (even though I wasn’t pulling several cars full of elephants…it’s a steep highway and the horses under the hood probably would have been terribly winded trying to hike it, much less approach the speed limit…but I digress…).
I’m always impressed with the views from atop Petit Jean. Even a cloudy or hazy or BLAZING HOT day is worth the trip. (For the record, it was a hazy, BLAZING HOT day.) I’ll admit, while I knew I was unprepared to do any serious hiking, I was also unprepared just to simply walk around in the heat. It was a last-minute decision to actually make the little road trip, and I ran off without my water bottle. By the time I made it to the lodge, I parked and went directly towards the vending machines. As luck would have it, the machine spent a lot of time spinning its wheels only to tell me that everything was sold out. Fortunately, it refunded my paper money–in the form of quarters and nickels–and I went into the lodge to buy a bottle of ice cold water with change (my apologies to the clerk).
Of course, with it being the summer tourist season, I wasn’t the only person sightseeing–far from it. When I reached the overlook, a few other cars pulled into the parking lot, including a family of awestruck adults and two very bored small children. I can only assume that the kids were suffering from acute electronics withdrawal…a common syndrome these days.
The parents were gazing down across the breathtaking landscape, taking in the view. The kids were less than impressed.
The conversation cracked me up.
Kid No. 1: “Why did Petit Jean wanna come all the way up here?”
Mom: Silence…snaps photo of river.
Kid No. 2: “Moooooom! Why did Petit Jean want to come all the way up here?”
Mom: “I don’t know. Maybe she liked it here.”
Kid No. 1: “What are we doing all the way up here?”
Dad: “We’re looking at all this nature.”
I suppressed my laughter, spent a few more minutes looking at “all this nature,” and rolled back down the mountain, becoming a mere speck on the landscape to the spectators on top of Petit Jean.
You’ve all heard the saying about how it’s safe to under-promise and over-deliver. Regardless of how far you go with that philosophy, you would have to agree that if you’re offering one service, one menu item, one ANYTHING, it would be wise to actually provide it.
(NOTE: On some mobile devices, the photo below appears to be sideways. I’m not sure why that’s happening. It seems to be just fine on my laptop. If it bothers you too much…well, just tilt your head until it looks normal. Sorry…and oops.)
I said I would post photographs; therefore, I’m going to post them. I had a nice outing along the Little Red River feeding my photography addiction. If you have the chance to visit the area, it’s a great place to relax, especially during this incredible heat wave. While you wouldn’t want to attempt swimming due to the cold water temperatures, the cold water temperatures have the bonus effect of cooling the air at the banks.
I have added the new landscapes to the photo gallery and included a link below for your viewing convenience. Check this one out and click the link for more of my work! Enjoy!
I’ve updated the menu on this page and added a Photo Gallery. Please browse through some of my original landscapes and nature photographs. This gallery is currently for display only. More details about purchasing photographs will be coming in the future.