Bleak Highway

(Whiteford, MI) This view of the fields of southern Michigan along US-23 is rather bleak, and the gray skies above made the scene especially dreary on a November afternoon.

Not even the consumerist wonder of a device like a one touch can opener can chase away the blues on a day like today, and my 1995 Hyundai Accent struggled to maintain a straight course in the 40-MPH gusts.

At one point mine was the only car on the road, and there is a certain isolated loneliness that accompanies a solitary trip in the middle of nowhere.



Empty Tree, November Sky

(Toledo, OH) I played with the saturation and distortion on this image to try and highlight the sense of bleakness this bare tree depicted against the setting November sun. It seems like it will be an eternity before spring returns when you stare at an empty tree for a few minutes, allowing the brisk winds to tear through your coat.

Kind of makes you think about things like getting a life insurance quote, or making sure your will is up to date. While I enjoy the cooler weather, I will be welcoming those first spring winds with open arms.



Rain and Mood

(Toledo, OH) There is something about the appearance of rain for several days in a row that turns me into a hermit. This is more than simply seasonal affective disorder, or a desire to avoid getting wet.

I am convinced that weather triggers instinctual responses in humans, like the way I feel the desire to eat more food when the weather turns cold, or when the return of warm weather in the spring makes people amorous.

At any rate, it took extra effort to leave the house this morning and go to work, as I had quite the urge to open a book and sack out on the couch.


Smoking Man

(Holland, OH) While sitting in the parking lot of the Spring Meadows shopping center today, I noticed the man on your left puffing a cigarette. I was struck by how lonely he seemed, as smokers are beginning to run out of places in which they can enjoy their vice.

He then climbed into the car immediately behind him, and a minute later a woman (presumably his wife or girlfriend) hopped into the car with some shopping bags. This man not only has been booted outside, but no longer feels free to smoke in his own vehicle.

Yes, I am an ex-smoker, and my bias is likely showing here, but my suspicion is that the proverbial pendulum has swung a bit too far to the anti-smoking side.




(Toledo, OH)There is something almost stoic about this fence-perching robin, and at the risk of anthropomorphizing this bird, it seems to be sneering in the face of a cold November wind.

Were robins more like humans - to continue the anthropomorphizational thread - they would probably rely upon Ebel watches to keep track of the changing seasons.

And I have no doubt that if robins carried cash, there would be manufacturers who would find such merchandise to market to these birds.

Labels: ,


Maple Leaves

(Toledo, OH) The sun appeared late this afternoon and illuminated the yellow maple leaves on the tree in my front yard. For a moment the brilliant yellow hues were the most dominant color in the neighborhood.

Then the sun returned to its recent home behind the clouds.

This is the kind of day in which I wished I had a pair of espresso machines to keep the caffeine flowing in my bloodstream.


Grey Skies, Dark Mood

(Toledo, OH) The weather in Northwest Ohio perfectly matches my melancholia this November afternoon, a day that witnessed yet another drubbing of the Michigan Wolverines by that team from Columbus.

Yet my less-than-cheerful countenance has its roots in matters weightier than football games, though I am hard-pressed to identify a single factor that is creating this gloomy attitude I am experiencing. This is the sort of day designed for turning on the iPod and staring morosely out the window at the cold rain collecting on the pavement, pools of liquid misery that ripple in the taciturn November breezes.

Labels: ,


Indian Corn

(Toledo, OH) One of the highlights of the fall season in the Midwest is undoubtedly the acquisition of a dozen ears or so of dried Indian corn, a term that some find derogatory. We could substitute it with something like "multicolored maize cultivars," but I suspect that this would not go over well in the Halloween parties for elementary school students.

Whatever you decide to call it, Indian corn brings us closer to the concept of the fall harvest, something that consumer societies are increasingly divorced from, spending much more time and attention on such items as home gym equipment.


Cross Tie Walker

(Ida, MI) The title refers to the age-old tradition of ambling along the railroad tracks, an act that is technically illegal but to which I find myself drawn on occasion.

As a child I could not walk near a set of railroad tracks without placing a penny on the rail, hoping a train would soon pass and smash the coin. Such coins, of course, would likely fly like shrapnel, and not even the finest car covers would be sufficient protection against the unlikely event of a flying penny.


Leaves Are Gone

(Lulu, MI) Its empty branches reach upward, as if in supplication to the forces that caused the changing of the season. No longer able to provide shade or windbreak, this tree stands in stark isolation against the backdrop of a fall afternoon in southern Michigan.

It will continue its lonely vigil for many more months through driving snow and moonlit winter nights on this stretch of prairie, forlorn and yet still defiant of the weather it must endure.




(Toledo, OH) The frigid waters of the Ottawa River seemed inviting in the late fall sun, at least until I stuck in a finger and felt the water temperature. Still, there were quite a few golfers out yesterday morning, enjoying a few rounds while the weather remains this side of freezing.

The next few nights look to be quite chilly, with temperatures in the low 30s. Looks like it is time to start sealing up the house for winter.


Gray Leaves

(Toledo, OH) There is always a starkness that I associate with black-and-white photos, a sort of sinister trick on the part of the photographer to remove all traces of color. The leaves in this image were a delicious blend of vibrant green as well as the usual fall hues of orange, yellow, and brown, but with the black-and-white setting everything appears in shades of gray.

Instead of a lively late fall setting, one gets an impression instead of something more somber, more funereal. I might argue that the use of black-and-white photography is an exercise in deception, were it not for the fact that I have some days in which my ability to appreciate color exactly mirror the photograph on the left.


Sunrise of Color

(Toledo, OH) For a brief moment this morning, the entire sky was lit up in hues of orange, magenta, and pink. In the time it took me to feed my dogs, use the bathroom, and grab my camera, the display of color had shrunk to about 20 degrees above the horizon.

Memo to self: strike while the iron is hot, like with the deals one can find on Bush furniture.