Category Archives: Just Stories

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First Sunset of 2016

All afternoon I toyed with the idea of going out to one of my usual spots for the first sunset of 2016.

Ventures out had me wondering how smart that would be. Cold penetrates differently now and my bones don’t react well to the cold. I don’t particularly like being stiff and sore.

Besides, glances out the windows had me wondering if it was going to be any big deal. Lots of clouds, no real sun light. The makings of a dud.

Got that one completely wrong.

I happen to be out as the sun set anyway and I always carry my point and shoot in my pocket. The sky was lit up and in order to capture it at that moment would have meant stopping the car in the middle of the road and abandoning it as I scurried around looking for an ideal spot to stand.

Didn’t think that was a good idea.

By the time I got to a safe spot to park the car, which was a matter of a couple of minutes, the light show had already been cut in half. I scurried over to a good spot and did what I could with the cheap camera and lowering light.

Results aren’t great, but I got something.

One of my other fascinations is with light reflecting on water.

The river is high and flowing fast and with the low light I knew there would be some blur to the image no matter how it turned out. The end result would be, or could be, a pleasant surprise.

I’m pleased.

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Welcome to Smallville

I knew the Welcome to Smallville mural was around somewhere, but for as many times that I drive through town, I’ve never bothered looking for it.

Didn’t bother looking for it this time, but I stopped at an intersection and there it was.

Forecast had been calling for partly cloudy skies all day, but I was sitting under a low, overcast sky with no clearing in sight. I had a feeling my sunset cruise was going to be cancelled due to lack of sun, so I decided to go wandering around in Smallville in areas where I normally don’t go.

This town has been around since the early 1800’s. There’s an old section down by the creek. Old sections of towns have old dumping grounds filled with old stuff. Figured I may as well start there. I like finding old, abandoned stuff.

And that I did.

Buried in and tumbling down a hill, old stuff all over the place.

I imagine 100 or 150 years ago… just throw that there stuff down the hill by the creek.

And that they did along with the occasional newer item, as you’ll see in the pictures below.

Nature is slowly winning this garbage battle, but I imagine it could be another century or so till it overtakes it completely and that depends on whether humans keep adding to the pile.

As a testament to our warm fall weather, I came across a fungus that I can’t recall ever seeing sprout this late in the season. We did have recent wet weather and for this area, relatively balmy temperatures.

These were huge, also much bigger than I normally see, one on each side of a big old tree standing at the base of this garbage dump.

I know it’s edible when it first sprouts like this and I toyed with the idea of taking a big chunk of it home for dinner. But the tree is a good 75 years old, growing at the base of this garbage dump for it’s whole life and I didn’t have the heart to hack off a chunk of this beautiful fungus that struggled to come out this time of year.

At that moment, it didn’t seem like the right thing to do.

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Another no Name Ditch

It’s just another no name ditch that feeds into the Fox River.

Not far from my house and I walk over if fairly often.

I’ve stopped in the past to take shots of reflections, but it’s not an easy ditch to explore.

A bike path, a relatively busy 2 lane road and an old railroad bridge all cross the ditch at the same point. The ditch is forced to flow under the road through a concrete pipe.

From here to the river is private property and based on the growth along and over the ditch, walking it would be a challenge.

Something I had never done was see what the ditch looked like as it came from the east.

So, over a guard rail, across the road and over another guard rail.

East was almost as intimidating as west. I settled for a couple of shots of reflections off water. The darkness of the ditch made one come out a bit blurry, but reflections are a bit blurry to begin with.

With a lull in the traffic just behind me, I could hear the tinkling of water over rock.

I hunched down and moved some brush. The sun was setting, the brush along the sides and arching over the steep little canyon walls made the ditch dark. About 50 feet away and through all the foliage I could barely make out a limestone wall about 5 feet tall and what little light was reaching it was reflecting off the water trickling down.

It was a little waterfall.

I sized up the ditch about eight feet below me. I sized up how to get down to it.

There’s a twisted ankle, there’s a slide down into the ditch.

My back wasn’t up for the small adventure today. Practically crawling up another no name ditch probably would not have gone well.

Next week perhaps. Weather’s not supposed to be too bad. Calling for sunny.

Do some stretches, limber up a bit and hope I don’t break an ankle when I hit the bottom.

Sounds like a plan.

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I See a Spider

I see a spider.

I’m sure of it.

Who would think a spider would be sitting on the water in a swamp.

I’m sure I see a spider.

Or a well camouflaged leaf.