Veterans Day 2019

Here in the States, November 11 is Veterans Day. Originally it was established as Armistice Day, the day Germany formally surrendered at the end of WW I: November 11, 1918. In 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day, to honor U.S. veterans and victims of all wars.

In 2015 my husband and I took a long awaited trip to France. One of the places we visited was the American Cemetery in Normandy. The cemetery covers 172.5 acres and contains the remains of 9,388 American soldiers. There are graves of Army Air Corps crews shot down over France as early as 1942, and graves of 4 American women. But most of the graves are of those soldiers who died during the Invasion of Normandy.

It is a sobering place, as you look out over row upon row upon row of crosses and stars of David. My husband said, “There is such sadness here.” My thought was of all those men, overwhelmingly young, who would never have a chance to have a career, or fall in love, or get married, or live to see their children grow up. They would never see their lives open up before them.

Here is a closeup of an infinitely small section.

fullsizeoutput_1347
The American Cemetery at Normandy                                                                Image: ©Hannah Keene

Posted for the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Bravery.

Winsome

This is a shot of my friend’s brand new puppy. New, as in, he had only been in his new home for about 30 minutes. In this shot he is 6 weeks old. His name is Mitchel.

fullsizeoutput_8c1
Mitchel at 6 weeks                                                                                                           Hannah Keene 2019

Posted for Ragtag Daily Prompt Challenge: Winsome.

Cosmic Photo Challenge: Misty Memories (Photos and Poems)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hannah Keene 2019

Far and away my true love lies
Just beyond the hill
And many a day I long for arms
That would hold me tightly still.

But far and away the grey gull flies
Quite far beyond the hill
And brings sweet memories back to me
Of a love that lingers still.

~Hannah Keene 2019.

Posted for K’lee and Dale’s Cosmic Photo Challenge: Misty Memories (Photos and Poems).

A Boy and His (Shared) Dog

I am finding myself somewhat nostalgic and sad lately. The daylight is beginning to fade sooner and sooner, and while fall is usually my favorite season, September 2 marked the first year anniversary of my husband’s death. So I have been looking through family pictures of late, and went searching for these, as they are among my favorites of the past year – the first year without my husband of 44 years. While the post itself is far longer than six words, the title is exactly six, so I hope I can still use the Six Word Saturday hashtag.

I have written before about the fact that my good friends, Martha and Arthur, and I share our two dogs. Theirs is Teddy the Labradoodle and mine is Zoë the Miniature Schnauzer. When my husband and I returned to Northern California three and a half years ago and moved into our retirement community (St. Paul’s Towers), the grandkids were just 1 and 3½. Teddy was bigger than the 1 year old, obviously, but he was also awfully big for the 3½ year old. About a year ago, when they were 3 and almost 6, the two of them decided that it was time for them to start walking the dogs instead of just accompanying me when I walked them. So they became the walkers, and I became the accompanying and supervising person. The 3 year old was still rather scared of Teddy, but was comfortable walking Zoë. The almost 6 year was adamant that he wanted to walk Teddy by himself, without me holding on to the leash. Here is the result: he walking confidently on ahead with Teddy last February, when he was fully 6+ a few months. My granddaughter, Zoë, and I are lagging behind, in a perfect position to capture a photo.

Walking the Dog at Twilight

fullsizeoutput_1145fullsizeoutput_1146

fullsizeoutput_1147
Images: Hannah Keene 2019

Posted for Six Word Saturday. Well, at least there’s exactly six words in the title. 😉

A Wall Mural of My Neighborhood

Most of you know that I am a City Girl. Having moved back to Oakland, in Northern California, three years ago, I am in seventh heaven. I love the weather, the diversity, the opportunities to attend events…….. I could go on and on.

But one thing that is guaranteed in cities, at least here in the states, is graffiti. It doesn’t bother me particularly. It’s part and parcel of urban living. But it’s not exactly beautiful. And large expanses of empty walls are basically an open invitation to “tagging,” which is the process of spray painting the graffiti.

Oakland, along with some other cities, have found what seems to be an ideal solution. Businesses hire local mural artists to display their art on the large walls. It’s a win-win situation: the artists are local, and often, but not always, people of color. The artists earn money, something always in short supply for working artists, and because they are local, the gangs, in general, don’t tag over the murals. And the works are signed by the artists and copyrighted.

I drove over to the Grand/Lakeshore Avenues area of my neighborhood yesterday afternoon (Friday) to beat the weekend rush for dog food and groceries. As I was walking out of the parking lot, I noticed that there was a brand new mural covering the faded old one. Brand new as in, “Oh my goodness, is the paint still wet???” And as I walked along it, I marveled at how well the artist had captured the Lake Merritt neighborhood. He had painted the finger of the lake that is south of me, and which is actually the larger of the two fingers and has the iconic promenade. But more than just painting the lake and the promenade structure, he had painted the birds, the various water fowl that are here in the lake. As I walked, (and I was walking from the end of it to the beginning, toward the street) I was softly exclaiming, “Oh, there’s a seagull and a cormorant. And there are the Canada geese.” And then I saw a pelican and noticed that the pelican had a sign tied on his neck with a red ribbon. The sign said, “HONK.”* It was then that I realized that the artist had painted all the species of water fowl that we have year round at the lake. So I was not surprised to then come upon the mallard ducks, and then finally the egrets. It was obvious to me that the artist was truly local, and knew the lake well. I felt that the mural had been painted with such love of the neighborhood that I caught my breath. After I got home, I looked at the photos and noticed that the mural was truly new. It was dated 8/2019.

I will present the photos in the order they are supposed to be viewed as you walk from the street into the parking lot and the stores.

Egrets and the Necklace of Lights

fullsizeoutput_ecd

The ducks and a pelican. Notice the reflections in the lake and the ripples in the water around one of the ducks.

fullsizeoutput_ece

A closeup of the pelican. Notice his neck sign.*

fullsizeoutput_ecf

The Canada geese. See yesterday’s post Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Animals for photos of the geese.

fullsizeoutput_ed0

And at the end of the procession, a cormorant and a seagull. Notice the OWRC** inscribed on the prow of the boat.

fullsizeoutput_ed1

And finally, the artist’s signature and © on the log. Notice the raccoon sitting on top of the log. You have to work to notice his mask and look even harder to see the rings on his tail extending along the log. Yes, we definitely have urban raccoons. They can be quite bold.

fullsizeoutput_ed2

I hope you have enjoyed the tour!

*The sign made me think of the wonderful children’s book, The Trumpet of the Swan, by E.B. White, in which the Louis, the swan, has no voice and so wears a bag with a small chalkboard and chalk so that he can communicate. I have no idea if the artist was purposely referencing the book or not.

** The OWRC stands for the Oakland Women’s Rowing Club, which was founded in 1916. It is the oldest continuous women’s rowing club in the U.S. The women are also known as The Ladies of the Lake.