Monday, June 29, 2015

Dunno ...

This solitary stem is growing in a patch of 
black mulch near a downtown bus stop.
It has a homely character all its own: scraggly
fronds reaching skyward give it an
odd beauty, a summer version of Charlie Brown's
little Christmas tree standing proudly in
the otherwise vacant bit of earth.

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Summer Morning

In between the hot humid days that have hung in the air 
this month, we have seen quite a bit of rain. 
The storms that have flooded other parts of the country, 
such as Texas and Missouri, have wended 
their way into Indiana. As I look out my window 
to the south, the sky is bright blue above 
a curtain of gray clouds; southern Indiana is 
experiencing storms, accompanied by the real threat
of tornadoes.

I like to get up early in the morning,
sometimes leaving early to walk around downtown
to take pictures, Here, about a month ago, the sun
bounced brightly off the glass of an office building, and
cast its aura through the pale, pink blooms
on the trees outside the Federal Court Building.

These walks often make me think that we have
quite another storm brewing in our midst at street level.
Here, the beauty of the morning is sucked
away by the reality of homeless men sleeping
on the sidewalks. I am not afraid at these times.
Instead, I feel embarrassed, as though I've walked
into someone's home, unwittingly crossing 
an invisible wall, one that exists on 
the sidewalk just outside a hotel.
The number of these folk is increasing;
people caught in a void of no job, no home,
little food. Snared by some
vortex of bad luck and/or poor choices,
 they are the stormfront, warning us of future
upheavals. Every day, I tell myself,
There but for fortune go I,
and one of these days, it could just as
easily be me or any number of my friends.
The chasm is growing.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Certain Order

The waning ends of storm fronts that wreaked havoc
on other parts of the country, have made their presence 
known here. The river is a bit out of its banks
and the days are cloudy, promising more storms.
But out of the heat and rain, a certain order has appeared,
a blessing. I swam under gray skies tonight,
peppered by a light shower, and was happier than
I had been in weeks.
 Even though I have been unhappy with my 
progress of late, niggling aches and pains 
melted away with the harder work.
I got out of the pool, not even realizing I was
bleeding from an earlier encounter
with another swimmer's hand paddle,
(Just a little flesh wound honey! It's nothing!)
feeling both a bit tired and re-energized.

There's no accounting for the pleasure
just looking at you brings me.
Your broad shoulders and strong hands
speak of the power to protect and
of a thousand tender caresses.
You watch the younger women with
taut, firm bodies and curves,
inviting you to explore their secrets.
I am older, with secrets of my own to give,
shrouded in a body worn by the years,
and pale skin showing the map
to my heart. 
This heart, whose beat is strong and low,
quietly stoking a constant fire
 feeds a secret of its own --
I love you.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Stylin': A Gazillion Billion Million ...

Oh ... crickey (or words to that effect),
I completely forgot about the June Theme Day.
Well, no matter.
After all, nothing's more stylish than
three thousand or so bikers, all gathered 
to ride around Indy for a charitable event, 
the 22nd Annual Miracle Ride.

While this incarnation of the event began in 1994,
I remember other Miracle Ride gatherings in the 1980s.
Made up of motorcycle enthusiasts from a startling array 
of backgrounds, the volunteers raise money for
Riley Hospital for Children. The money is intended to treat
children with a wide array of illnesses and injuries.

This year, the cyclists met on Speedway's Main Street,
where the parked machines occupied over a half mile, from
16th Street down to 10th Street. Their owners attended
a party in a big tent, while others visited nearby 
restaurants and breweries.

As for the "stylin'" part, 
there definitely is a particular look:
Black leather and nylon, decorated with studs, 
zippers, and some fringe made up the
dominant theme, while sunglasses and bandanas
completed many ensembles.
There's no telling how many professional
folk have adopted this look,
but there could easily have been
at least one ex-governor among them.
(It's rumored that his little boot-clad
feet don't even touch the ground
when his 'cycle stops at intersections.)

To see how other members of 
the City Daily Photo world-wide 
community have interpreted today's theme, 
just click on the above link 
or the on CDP badge 
to the right of this post.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Day Before

Early Saturday morning, I went on-line to order
my ticket for the Indy 500. I could have printed it at home,
but I wanted a "real" ticket, one imprinted with
a picture of last year's winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay.
There weren't many good seats available,
but that wasn't a problem: I wanted general
admission so I could just find a nice place sitting
on one of the grassy mounds inside Turn Two.

People were lined up outside the IMS corporate
offices waiting to pick up their tickets.
While there, I heard one of the officials say
that over 100,000 folks attended Friday's
Carb Day, that included final shake-down runs
for the thirty-three starters of the '500,'
an Indy Lights race, as well as a rock concert.

All over town, people were in the midst
of their own preparations for the race.
The manager of the mattress store was inflating
a display character at the front of his business.
Oddly, the mattress was having a bit of difficulty
achieving the appropriate erect position.
There appeared to be some kink in his system
that prevented him from becoming
firm enough to, uh, stand.

A couple blocks from the Speedway, 
a man got ready for his race party, lining up
at least a half dozen coolers, four propane tanks,
and a grill to prepare food for his guests.

Back at the Speedway Shopping Center,
the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and 
the Mr. Peanut Mobile were introduced at
the entrance to Kroger, where they would share
billing for the grocery's promotions.

I thought the Mr. Peanut van resembled 
a character from Star Trek. A Worf?
At any rate, the Weinermobile's license plate
read as YUMMY, while Mr. Peanut's
I kept reading it as "Nut Mumbles."
Go figure.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Some days are just like that ...

Most days, my little camera is in my pocket,
easily at hand when I see the way the evening sun
describes the delicate turn of a flower's petals,
or when a bit of sun breaks through the gray overcast
 to bathe the Speedway golf course in its warmth.

Then again, there are those times when
the morning sunrise casts a cold eye on a set
of box springs and a mattress,
wrapped against the morning dew
in a torn plastic shroud.
Oddly, the items were propped
against a wall in one of the stalls at
the carwash near where I work.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Swim Practice and an Indy Car Race: Best Day Ever

I left for swim practice at about 7 a.m.
Saturday morning. It was going to be a full day: 
I addition to my backpack full of swim supplies, 
I had a ticket in my wallet for the 
2nd Annual Indianapolis Grand Prix.
After practice, I went downtown where I stopped
at a grocery for my track lunch, a sandwich 
and bottles of pop and orange juice, then caught
a bus to the track that dropped me off 
at the front gate of the Speedway.

I headed towards the mounds inside Turn 2
where I found a spot to watch the conclusion of
the Indy Lights race. The Indy Car race was
scheduled to start at 3:50 p.m. so I had 
time to walk around the infield where I found
another nice piece of grass outside the road course
Turn 7. I settled there to enjoy the company 
of other race fans and to bask in the lovely sunshine
as I ate my little lunch.

While the race was a so-so affair,
won by the "usual suspects" (Will Power of Penske Racing),
just hearing the sounds of the engines and seeing
the  low-slung, flying road sculpture took me to my happy place.
Admittedly, these latest incarnations of race cars
are not the most attractive creations; their wings and anglets 
seem like engineers' versions of frippery. 
I want to strip off the carbon fibre ruffles to see 
whether there is a sleek racer below.

After the race was over and awards were made,
 the track was opened to the spectators
to give folks the opportunity to walk as much of
the IMS oval and road courses as they liked.
Many hundreds of people passed through the gates
to check out the smooth pavement, to inspect the
SAFR barrier on the outside of the walls, and to take
pictures of the place to record their visit.

People walked around to see the most famous,
best known sites - the scoring pylon and the Pagoda.
 A number of them rolled through the course
in their wheelchairs, obviously enjoying the chance
to sample a small bit of wind in their hair,
imagining for a second they are driving
the same track as their heroes have done for
nearly one hundred years.

Carrying his daughter on his shoulders,
a father walks through Turn One, his hands free
to record pictures of the front stretch.
Below, president of the Speedway, Doug Boles,
took the time to meet and talk with visitors 
he met underneath the new scoring pylon.

I didn't get a chance to speak with Mr. Boles,
other then to tell him how much I enjoyed the track walk,
and to say, "This should have been done ages ago.
Look at the people: they are all happy and they love this place.
They would never hurt it."
Then the darkened skies released the rain,
closing the track for the day. 
People quietly headed for the gates and shelter.
The place is hallowed ground.
We will all return. Soon.