Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #57: Taking a Break

Some of you may have noticed that I only posted one photo early this morning. (At least early my time.) That’s because I have found myself exhausted by always putting up at least two posts a day. So I’ve given myself permission to only put up one post, if that is what I feel like doing. My older daughter, son-in-law, grandkids and I are going away for a four day weekend before school starts again for the kids. I’ve scheduled single posts per day through next Monday, so if I don’t want to add any more, I can relax for 5 days while we all are on a mini vacation, plus the additional first day that I’m back. I might be checking in on comments, etc, but if I don’t, I’ll catch up when I return.

Here is an idyllic photo of a bench and the lake to add to the challenge. Wishing you all a good 5 days!

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Lake Merritt                                                                                                                 Hannah Keene 2019

Posted to Patti’s Lens-Artist Challenge: Taking a Break.

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.

So Beautiful

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Image: Hannah Keene 2019

I found this beautiful greyhound waiting for his master (mistress?) outside our Whole Foods a few days ago. I approached him slowly with the back of my hand out to let him sniff (or not). He was very friendly, so I stayed and pet him for awhile. Every time I pulled my hand back, he leaned into me and wanted more attention, so I obliged. He was an absolute love. I stayed for quite awhile, hoping his human would finish shopping so that I could talk to her (him?). Seeing the grey on the dog’s muzzle, I judged him to be older, which means he was probably adopted as a retired racer. Greyhounds are a very sweet and calm breed, unless, of course, they see something to chase – squirrel, cat, rodent – anything that is running away from them. But they are excellent pets because of their sweet disposition. And they are also very good as certified therapy dogs used to visit patients in hospital. Just be prepared to put in the miles walking them each day. I waited quite awhile because I wanted to find out if, indeed, his human had recused him after he had been retired from racing, and how long she had had him. Finally, however, I had to do my own shopping, and he was gone by the time I was ready to walk home. Admittedly, I’m a dog girl, but I don’t love all breeds equally. Greyhounds, however, definitely make my top 10 list. And do you notice how much their lithe body resembles a female deer?

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