Benchmarks

A bench is like an old shoe.  Whether in use at the moment…

…or long since abandoned…

…its former occupants leave their mark.

All over the world, these are the true thrones of the people.

They provide company…

…entertainment…

…a sense of belonging…

…a place to rest…

…to reflect…

…to escape the worries of the workaday world…

…or not.

Oh, the stories they have heard…

The sights they have seen…

Those benches have been warmed by the flesh and blood of people who have loved…

…and sometimes lost. Who’s to say?


But the next time you see one, sit and rest a spell.  As you take the bench, and watch the world go by, don’t judge too harshly.

Listen to the stories it has to tell.  They won’t be so very different from your own.

All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck.

Click here for more interpretations of Travel Words Bench Series#9.

Click here for more interpretations of the Weekly Travel Theme: Benches.

A Few of My Favorite Things

Sixteen months ago, I wrote my first blog post.  Since then, I’ve met fascinating people, made many friends, and discovered a new form of storytelling.  I’m like the Tortoise, not the Hare–slow and steady. Finally, I get to post for the hundredth time!

Through this blog I share my passion for travel, photography, writing, storytelling, and that which I hold dearest, my family. But if not for you, this blog would not exist.  There is an Armenian folk saying…

Three apples fell from heaven.

One for the teller,

One for the listener,

And one for the one who took it to heart.

Thank you for being here, for reading, for caring enough to follow this blog, and for sharing your thoughts, your stories, your lives with me through your blogs.  To mark this milestone, here are a few of my favorite posts from the past sixteen months.

Sunday Post:  Doors

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward Movement

Oceans (and the Irish Coastline)

Sunrise in Gibraltar

Flowers (are like people)

One Village

Weekly Photo Challenge: Create

To Shorten the Road

Reflections (On Life and the Art of Aging)

Where Are We?  Where’s Walter?  And Where is That Fleeting Moment?

Editing Monet’s Garden

All words and images c2013 Naomi Baltuck

When We Come to It

So many  bridges.

Bridges of concrete…

…iron…

…and steel.

Ancient ones of stone…

…brick…

…mortar….

…and wood.

 

Some are famous…

…celebrated in story…

…and song.

Some draw pilgrims from all over the world.

So different…


…yet they serve the same purpose.

To span distance…

…to connect…

 

…to deliver us from troubled waters.

There’s an old saying…it is better to build bridges than walls.

Click here for more interpretations of Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week: Bridges.

Click here for more interpretations of Jake’s Sunday Post: Bridges.

Click here for more interpretations of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Bridges.

Click here for more interpretations of Ailsa’s Weekly Travel Theme: Bridges.

All images and words c2013 Naomi Baltuck

Broken Mirrors, Dark Secrets, and the 7×7 Link Award

My daughter Beatrice has nominated me for a 7×7 Award.  Her blog, Adventures for the Faint of Heart, is funny, fresh, an inspiration to writers, and especially young writers, as you will see when you read her tagline.  I’m a big fan of hers, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother.  Thank you, Bea, for the nomination, kind words, and especially for the  original illustration.

To accept the nomination, after thanking the person who gave it to you, you must tell something about yourself no one else knows.  So here you go…

Since 7×7 is the theme, I’ll tell you I’m one of seven children, that it took seven years to write and sell my first novel, The Keeper of the Crystal Spring, and seven more to complete my newest novel, Real Troopers.  Bea says I must have broken a couple of mirrors in my wild and wicked youth.

Next, you have to choose seven of your posts that fit the criteria below. When the doctor asks me how much it hurts on a scale of one to ten, I say, “How should I know?”   This decision was so subjective, and once again I ask, “How should I know?”   Please feel free to decide which is which for yourselves.

Most Beautiful Piece: Editing Monet’s GardenIt’s Monet’s Garden, what else can I say?

Most Helpful: The Secret Object I Keep Hidden in My Underwear DrawerBecause.

Most Popular Piece: Befriend the Ides of MarchParty time!

Most Controversial Piece: The ‘S’ WordYou know what I’m talking about.

Most Surprisingly Successful Piece: The Real ThingAnd the moral is, see for yourself.

Most Underrated Piece: Remembering Fort Detroit–Social studies.

Most Pride-worthy Piece: Survival StoriesProud of my sister the artist, proud of the people of Ptigliano, and proud of some pretty good storytelling.

Now, it is my privilege to nominate seven other worthy blogs…

The Urge to Wander–An exceptionally classy travel blog with great photos, history, and stories.

She Kept a Parrot–Lovely photos, and thoughtful personal stories.

Annika Ruohonen Photography–Stunning photos of Finland, and gentle observations of life.

The Obamacrat–A passionate blogger with a strong sense of justice and a good heart.

Talinorfali–Musings every day of the year from my  first follower.  Thanks for the warm welcome!

Musing by Moonlight–Intelligent and varied, and because I like it.

Crossroads-Cathryn Wellner–Two sixtysomethings’ journey, and also funny animal videos!

Editing Monet’s Garden

Last May, while traveling in France, my sister and I went to Giverny to visit Monet’s Garden.  The line to enter was horrendous, and once we got past the ticket booth, we became part of the swarm of tourists overrunning his house and garden.  We must have heard a dozen different languages spoken, people from all over the globe had come to see for themselves the inspiration for Monet’s most famous paintings.

It was eye candy, a stunning profusion of color!   But instead of the rare and exotic flora I expected, all the flowers were, well, your regular garden variety.  Irises, roses, tulips, pansies, alyssum, forget-me-nots…nothing I don’t grow in my own garden.  Yet they were artfully arranged by height, texture, and color to maximize the effect.  And after all, they were in Monet’s Garden.

I wanted to capture at least the illusion of solitude and serenity, and to photograph the garden as I thought it must have been back in Monet’s day.  I waited for lulls in tourist traffic to get my shots.  But while waiting, I watched hoards of humanity shuffling by, and I caught glimpses of peoples’ lives that I found as moving as anything I saw in those historic gardens. Mothers and children, old couples holding hands, a little boy with eyes only for the baby chicks, an awkward teenaged boy who had eyes only for the teenaged chicks, and a family with four generations of women all sharing a park bench.

While we writers strive to capture a mood or feeling or effect, we should also observe the stories happening all around us.

The first  is like a very pretty still life, or a posed portrait of Mother Nature.  The other is a vibrant, sometimes messy picture of the world, brimming with humanity, and all the joy and heartbreak that life and love have to offer.

There is beauty in it all.

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All images and words © NaomiBaltuck

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Travel Theme: Plants.

Click here for more interpretations of The Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant