My Mother's Hands

A special Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in the world.  The words Thank you hardly seem adequate for everything that you have done.

To my own mother, I can never thank you enough for accepting and loving me just as I am.

This is a photo I took a few years ago when my aging mother was incredibly sick and I did not know if this would be the last photo I took of her or not.  Luckily for me, she has gotten better and is still here today.  It is a photo I enjoy - for me, it tells so many stories - the many gardens she planted and harvested, the many meals she cooked, the clothes she mended and I’m sure the many hours hands spent folded in prayer for the health and safety of her children.

Excerpts from a poem I found called Her Hands capture some of my thoughts about my own mother’s hands.

Her hands held me gently from the day I took my first breath.
Her hands helped to guide me as I took my first step.
Her hands held me close when the tears would start to fall.
Her hands were quick to show me that she would take care of it all. 

Her hands are now twisting with age and years of work,
Her hand now needs my gentle touch to rub away the hurt.
Her hands are more beautiful than anything can be.
Her hands are the reason I am me.

    - Maggie Pittman 

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Thank you, Mom.  I love you.

What's cookin'?

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Do you know where you're going to?

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When I looked up and saw these trolley lines, I thought about the thousands of people who pass by here every day. Everyone who passes by here has a story.

Do you know where you’re going to?
Do you like the things that life is showin’ you?
Where are you going you? Do you know?
                         -  excerpt from “Theme from Mahogany” 

The house my grandfather and his family built.....

Waaaaaaaaaay back in the late 30’s, my grandfather and his family ventured out to the prairies, settling in central Alberta on a farm.  A farm without a house. So he moved his family (wife and 9 children) into a 14 x 14 hut on the farm (which in a previous life had been a chicken coop).  Speaking to my father recently, he laughed as he mentioned that it was so tiny that some of the children slept under the table!

But my grandfather had big plans for his family home.  So he, his wife and their children built the home of their dreams.  No more sleeping under the table.

In the mid 40’s, my grandfather moved his family closer to the town (and built another home) and so this house stood empty for some time. That was until my father married and he and my mother moved back to the home that he had helped build some 14 years earlier.  They remained there until the early 60’s, selling the farm and moving out just before I was born.

The house my grandfather and his family built has now stood empty for many years.  

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Thanks for listening....

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Music is well said to be the speech of angels.
                                                  - Thomas Carlyle, Essays, “The Opera” 

Thought for the day

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Save for circumstance....

I was walking along the street and passed right by this alley. But something caught my attention and I retraced my last few steps. 

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A Homeless Man

When compared to mine, his dreams are very humble
he does not seek much out of life at all
A small flat he could call his home to live in
compared to most his wishes seem quite small
At sixty-seven years he’s on the street and homeless
a winter dawn is breaking cold and gray
With a long gray beard and looking thin and shabby
he walks uptown as he does every day.

Some may say at his age he should not be homeless
that life’s many chances he left them go by
But they don’t know him or his circumstances
he is a person just like you and I
So many of us lacking in compassion
beyond our own selves we can’t seem to see
We applaud the wealthy, see them as successful
and condemn all of those in poverty.

Where did he sleep last night? the thought just chills me
perhaps on a park bench in the park nearby
I feel so lucky I’ve a warm home to go to
and a comfortable bed on which to lie
Save for circumstance his lot in life might have been my lot
his life story must be one of living hell
But who knows if there is a life hereafter
his soul may go to live where angels dwell.

A wintery dawn above the city breaking
and the nip of winter in the morning air
And a homeless man uptown is slowly walking
a gray bearded man with long gray straggly hair
There’s many more like him around this city
people like him nowadays no longer rare
And when compared to him I feel I have been lucky
and by circumstance I have been treated fair.

 - Poem by Francis Duggan

It's Blossom Time

Although it’s not blossom time everywhere in the world, the sun is indeed shining in my back yard and the garden is awakening. I thought I’d share some blossom goodness while listening to AT LAST by the “First Lady of Song” who was born on this day 93 years ago - the amazing Ella Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917 - June 15, 1996). 

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Must let you know that these blossoms are not from MY back yard - another month or so here! Taken last weekend while out on a business trip.


Marinas and beaches

Well, my time in Tunisia was coming to an end and I realized that I had seen only a very small part of this country.  Colorful towns with bustling markets, beautiful mosaics, amazing ancient ruins, hillsides covered in olive and lemon groves…. and beaches!

Grabbed the pocket camera one day while on a walk in search of a lunch spot.  Strolled along the promenade next to the marina in Yasmine Hammamet.  

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The golden beaches of Yasmine Hammamet.

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The parasols wave in the breeze!

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Tourists stroll along the beach.

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Bislema, Tunisia.  Merci.

Views from Dougga....

Dougga is spread over 65 hectres on steep, sloping terrain.  The ruins remaining bring to life the everyday life of its inhabitants - their shops, baths, latrines, and gymnasiums.  Even the grooves in the stone streets are testament to the chariot wheels that once travelled here.  

This site was rediscovered in the 17th century and people lived here among the ruins until the 1950’s at which time they were moved out to the nearby town of Nouvelle Dougga (New Dougga).

Below are the ruins of the Dar el Acheb - one of the largest houses in Dougga.  Although its purpose is unknown, it may have been a temple or even a wealthy family mansion.

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The Licinian Baths have much of its original walls still intact.   These baths were donated by the Licinii family to the city in the 3rd century and they were primarily used as winter baths.

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 A few mosaics remain among the ruins of Dougga.

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Few statues remain at Dougga, many having been taken to the Bardo Museum in Tunis.  Here are a few headless statues.

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The gorgeous countryside as viewed from Dougga.

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I have to admit that when I first saw the landscape stretching beyond the ruins of Dougga, I felt like I could be in the Italian countryside somewhere.  It was so beautiful. Herds of sheep were grazing in the shade offered up by the groves of olive trees.

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The Punic Mausoleum of Ateban rises up among the olive trees and dates back to 3rd century BC. It is the only surviving Numidian/Punic structure in Tunisia. It stands just under 70 feet high and draws on influences from both Greece and Egypt. The mausoleum was almost completely destroyed in 1842 after a British consul in Tunis removed the stone of bilingual inscription on which it all rested.  It was later rebuilt by a French archeologist in 1910.  That bilingual inscription is now housed in the British Museum.  

Dougga_IMG_0819_1.jpgAnd with one last glance out across the pastoral countryside and a final glance over my shoulder to amazing, ancient ruins , I bid goodbye to Dougga.  

About

Welcome to my travel photo blog. Photography has been a part of my life for a long time – back in the day the Pentax Super Program was always near at hand. But it wasn’t until I started travelling around the world that photography became a vehicle for me to show others about the absolutely amazing and complex world we live in. My hope is to share with you glimpses of what I’ve seen. Enjoy!

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