Hearts Meet Heavy Metal?

A bumper sticker on someone’s beloved (very) old Jeep. He parks and reads every afternoon on the street corner. The owner is white haired and has probably owned the Jeep for a very long time. Wouldn’t be surprised if he maintains the Jeep himself.

Bumper sticker in Oakland, California.

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Hannah Keene 2019

Posted for A Photo a Week Challenge: Yellow and Friday Follies Season 4 Episode 7.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

K’lee and Dale’s CosmicPhoto Challenge: Living in the Light

I’m taking this a different direction today. If we were NOT Living In The Light:

We would not be able to see light and shadows play over beautiful fallen leaves.

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We would not be able to see the light making patterns and changing the colors of the water.

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We would not be able to see shadows.

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And we would not be able to see reflections.

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And we would be so much the poorer for all that.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Animals

My animals are a little different because I live across the street from a lake. And because I’ve already posted pictures of the dogs. So here it is – Canada geese! I was so excited when we moved here that I would finally be able to see a Canada Goose.

Let’s just say that my excitement has waned a little. Since Lake Merritt has been a wildlife refuge since 1870, and was, in fact, the United States’ first official wildlife refuge, the Canada geese have been stopping here twice a year on their annual migrations. However, some decades ago (no one seems to know exactly when), the geese decided that the small temperature fluctuation here in Oakland meant that Lake Merritt would make a great home year round. So…… they stayed. And thrived. And mutiplied since they have no natural enemies here. So they have become something akin to pests. However, they are still beautiful, and I still enjoy them. I’m just not so fond of the bird poop they leave all over. In quantities.

Nonetheless, here they are.

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Images: Hannah Keene 2019

Posted to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Animals

Birds Of A Feather Stick Together

Hannah Keene

Or do they? These are both pigeons but the brown one is the oddest colored pigeon I think I have ever seen. I’ve seen a completely brown one around the lake, and one that is an all over combination of brown and white, and those two were odd enough. But a pigeon that has an entirely brown body except for his white tail feathers? I have to say that I’ve never seen that before. While this pigeon doesn’t get shunned when they are all hanging out on the grass or on the dock, he often does seem to be wandering around a little separated from the group. And these two, at least for the moment, seem to be distinctly suspicious of each other. Although I may be being anthropomorphic, and they might just be deciding who gets the food.

Here is another one who has a beautiful, but unusual, completely black head, neck and chest. You can see some of the individual ruffled feathers along the left side of his neck. And his legs and feet show up as a gorgeous orange.

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Black Pigeon on Wharf                       Image: Hannah Keene 2019

Can pigeons even see color? I honestly didn’t know, and so I looked it up (And how easy that is with computers!) It turns out that pigeons can not only see color, they can see millions of different hues. They also can see ultraviolet, which humans cannot, so they are often used in search and rescue missions at sea. Scientists say that pigeons may be better at color detection that any other living animal. Who knew? And here I was, thinking of them as the rats of the air.

Abandoned Chair

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Image: Zebras Child 2019

It was left at the curb for either someone else to take and use, or for the trash collectors to pick up.

I love living in a city. I love access to museums, opera, symphony orchestras, theater and restaurants. And it literally makes me happy to walk down the street and see and hear so many people of different nationalities, languages and ethnicities. For me that makes life richer. I also love seeing what people discard. Most of the time it’s things like broken desks, or the packaging of an overly large item. But every once-in-awhile I see an item that seems to call out, “Wait! Stop and look. I have a story to tell!” And then I have the opportunity to imagine it’s history, and try to convey it’s uniqueness with my camera.

I came upon this chair while the grandchildren and I were walking the dogs. And I wondered. Had this chair been placed at a table where someone both ate and struggled to pay bills? Was it part of a set but finally got too rickety to hold its owner’s weight? Did someone place it at a desk where they worked on writing their first novel, or tried to find a job? Did they work from home? And what happened to make them abandon it? The considerate owner had placed its back legs in the uneven roots of the tree, trying to make the chair as out of people’s way as possible. That’s what gave it that delightfully off kilter angle that was both arresting and sad. It probably wouldn’t have been half as interesting to me if it had simply been placed straight up on the curb. Or even had it been laid on it’s side. I would have thought of it as just a used chair. But this askew chair up against the richly textured bark of the tree caught my eye and seemed to say, “I once was new and cared for! What have I done, other than become old? I am still able to hold my back up straight and proud. Please stay awhile, and hear my story.”

Preserved Beauties

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Image: Zebras Child 2018

I had purchased these roses because they are my favorites: a lovely peach color, lighter in the center and ringed by a deeper hue. Sometimes the outside petals have the darker color on the tips, as you can see in the bottom rose. Once I got them home, and in the confines of my apartment, I realized that they were heavily scented. Their perfume was wonderful, but I am allergic to the fragrance. My nose started stuffing up almost immediately. What to do? I thought about giving them to a friend, but I truly loved their variegated color and didn’t want to part with them. So I put them out on the balcony. It was the end of December and while it is very rare for there to be a freeze here in the Bay Area, it was quite cold. I didn’t know how the roses would react, but the one thing that was certain was that I couldn’t keep them inside the apartment. So I took a chance and put them outside, careful to place them where I could see them from the couch. I expected that at most they would last a few days or a week. To my utter astonishment and delight, they lasted more than a month. The day I took this photo would have been my husband’s and my 44th anniversary. The fact that the roses had lasted that long was as if he had sent a bouquet.

Posted to Ragtag Daily Prompt: Rose