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Black and White Challenge #3

The soft light of spring.
The soft light of spring.

To see in color is a delight for the eye but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.

~ Andri Cauldwell

Seeds of time.
Seeds of time.

No color version today.  You’ll have to use your imagination for that because I want to use my blogging time and space today to take a walk around the meadows and maybe into the woods.  We’ll see how far we get.

Fluff 'n feathered.
Fluff ‘n feathered.

The reasons I want to walk rather than concentrate solely on one photo for the Black and White Challenge are twofold:

  1. Spring is beginning to take over.  The grasses are greening and growing, plants are popping up all over, buds are forming or unraveling on some of the trees, birds are in the midst of their spring migration, the crocuses are finished for the season while the daffodils begin to open, and the dried plants and grasses from the meadows are not going to be the dominant feature out there for much longer.  Oh, we still have weeks to go before the Green Man replaces all the browns and golds and grays with green, but it’s surprising how fast spring pours across the land.  I want to take the time to honor and enjoy the texture, shape, and details of the dried plants before they give way to the new life of spring followed by the fullness of summer.
  2. I’ve never taken a walk here on the blog where the images are all black and white.  I thought it would be an interesting challenge/experiment.
Return for deposit.  (And wouldn't there be less trash if we had to do that?)
Return for deposit. (And wouldn’t there be less trash if we had to do that??  For those who prefer littering over returning the bottles, they could leave them on the roadsides as usual for someone else, someone who could use the deposit money, to return.)  Bottles found during the never-ending clean-up here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.

As someone who walks the same trails nearly every day, one of the things I’ve noticed lately is that more and more trash is making its way to the surface.  If you’re new here, I’ve written numerous blog posts about the immense amount of garbage we’ve found on the ranch, starting with Let’s Talk Trash, and the cleaning up process (which is almost constant since we’re always finding piles of rubbish).  (I picked out a few more, representative trash posts for you here, here, and here.  The last one is an open letter to the people who live in this area.)

Focal black & white, just because.
Focal black & white, just because.  (Beer can in the cemetery.)

The ubiquitous beer cans (mostly Coors Light, but I was surprised to find a Miller Light can the other day) are popping up all over.  In the woods, in the meadows, in the thickets along the driveway, even in the cemetery, new piles of trash are bubbling up from below.  In the woods, a mound of trash that includes old, rusted paint cans is rising to the surface.

My mockingbird friend.
My mockingbird friend.

But I didn’t come here to talk trash.  Well, maybe a little because it’s part of what goes on around here, and you can’t take a walk without noticing it.

A bed of oyster shells.
A bed of oyster shells.

Nature leaves behind a lot of trash, too, but it’s easy to find it beautiful, maybe because it is natural.  That thought makes me wonder if I shouldn’t somehow find a way to appreciate what the humans left behind.  M and I have done that with some of the things we’ve found, using them as sculptures in the woods, to decorate the outbuildings, and in the gardens in functional and/or decorative ways.

You'll find all kinds of odds and ends in the meadows.
You’ll find all kinds of odds and ends in the meadows.

I don’t know if it will ever be possible to even begin to appreciate the plastics that litter the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, but there is a kind of beauty in the things that rust and rot, and maybe I think that because it’s what should happen.  Things should age and decompose.  Plastic does not.  It falls to pieces, yes, but those pieces do not decompose.  Knowing that, and knowing the harm plastic does to life (wild and otherwise), makes it more difficult to accept it.

Sweeping out.
Sweeping out.

I’m still trash talking.  Yikes.  This was not the direction I intended to go when I started this post.  It must be all the inner and outer spring cleaning I’m doing.  I’m beginning to find some space within to be more accepting of what is.  That doesn’t mean I have to love, or even like, what is.  To me, right now, being more accepting means to be more grateful for the experience of what is, and what those experiences teach me.

The Kingbirds have returned.
The Kingbirds have returned.

That’s about it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  For the record, the rules of the Black and White Challenge are simple:

  1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in black and white.
  2. Each day invite another blogging friend to join in the fun.

My invitation today is extended to any of you who would like to jump in and join the fun.

Thank you to Woodland Gnome for inviting me to the challenge, and thank you for dropping by.  Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

A ribbon of grass.
A ribbon of grass.
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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

31 thoughts on “Black and White Challenge #3

  1. The older sophisticates and children see clearly in black and white, so it’s said – guess they can distill to essence without the fan dance of color.
    Color dazzles us so much we don’t see what else is there. Loved these pix. (I did one today almost black and white …just a bit of antique tone to age it for post…does that count? giggles I’d like to do challenges but every time I try, I get bombarded by ideas that are so off the track…who’s doing the posting, I ask them.)
    And that trash does seem to just bubble up…like the earth is determined to spit it out and draw it to human attention…like “Hey, you dropped this. I saved it for you. Now you can have it back.”
    The bracket fungus is gloriously ruffled and subtly tinted

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great post today, Robin. I love your photos- and I love that you are trash talking. My partner and I have noticed what a HUGE amount of trash is all along the roadways in our area…. suddenly! I don’t know whether the county has stopped paying crews to pick it up, or if a hoard of careless people have been driving through. We’re seeing plastic bags blow into ponds and marshes, and bottles and cans everywhere. I was taught as a child to put trash in its place. What is going on? Thank you for highlighting it today. Giant hugs, WG

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    1. Thank you, WG. 🙂

      I keep wondering what’s going on, too. I don’t understand the mentality around here, and the way people just toss their trash out their car/truck windows.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We actually wondered whether a pickup on its way to the dump lost its load along one windy country road. Seeing plastic bags floating in the pond where I’ve been spotting swans is just way over the top. It occurred to me last night that perhaps the same crews which cut grass in summer also pick up roadside trash…. which would explain that what we are noticing around W’burg is several months accumulation of thoughtlessness…. Even along the Parkway beaches, there are mountains of drink cans, beer bottles, etc. People go there to fish and enjoy the peaceful beauty, and leave their garbage behind. Just unconscionable. Looks like storms heading your way today- stay dry 😉

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  3. I love black and white. It may be because that’s how I learned to photograph and develop film. I can identify an Adams or Weston or Farm Security Administration photo immediately. There was a photographer called Lewis Hine who photographed child laborers at the turn of the last century and in spit of the subject matter–that they were documentary and not meant to be art–they were beautiful pictures. There’s something about line and form and light and shadow. Texture. Color isn’t necessary in the right picture. Not that I have anything against color!! Thanks for making me think of all those B&W photos.

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    1. I looked up Lewis Hine, Arlingwoman, and you’re right. They are beautiful pictures. Sad, too. There was one of an 11 year old girl who had been working for a year in a mill staring out a window that really captured my attention (and heart).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m really surprised that you don’t have to pay a deposit on bottles and cans here (in most of the States, anyway.) We have to pay between 5 and 20 cents on beverage bottles up in Victoria, and even though I hardly ever go to the bottle depot with my own empties, there are plenty of people who sweep the recycling bins the night before pick-up to collect and return as many bottles as they can. Definitely keeps the trash levels lower (though not gone, unfortunately). Harumph. How’s that for trash talking? 🙂

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    1. It’s good trash talk, Dana. 😀 Some states in the U.S. (only 11 according to Wikipedia) do have deposits on bottles and cans (“bottle bills”). Apparently the makes of beverage containers and the grocery store and convenience store lobbies are against it. I was curious about who was against bottle bills and found a list here:

      http://www.bottlebill.org/about/opponents.htm

      I’m not surprised to see Anheuser Busch on that list (given how many of their beer bottles and cans we find on the roads around here).

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  5. I love your black and whites; the photos certainly are a way to honor and say goodbye to the dying winter. I wonder about all that trash. Is it coming up from the ground or is it from intruders on your property? I take it you have quite a large piece of property. I’d be worried if it was intruders, drinking beer on your property! Be safe, Robin. By the way, are you feeling better?

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    1. I am starting to feel better, Cathy. Thank you. 🙂 Good question, but I don’t think it’s intruders. I think it’s old trash for the most part. Somebody drank a lot of beer when they lived here. A lot of the beer cans look old and they’re coming up from underneath thick piles of pine needles. Quite a bit of the property would be difficult for intruders to access. The woods, for instance, are not accessible by land unless you drive up to the house, get out of your car, walk through the backyard, and then take the trail. We’d notice that, particularly at night since it would set off motion detectors. Or you could get there by boat. Pull up to the dock, tie up your boat, climb up on the dock (and if it’s low tide, that’s gonna be quite a climb), and then take the boardwalk to the woods. There is marshland on either side of the wooded area and it’s difficult, at best, to walk through the marsh. The meadows could be easily accessed, I suppose, if you parked on the street and walked in, but there’s not a lot of trash out there. It’s mostly in the wooded areas.

      The stuff out on the road, however, is always new, and I’m beginning to think it’s the same person driving by in their pick-up every day, flinging their MacDonald’s bags and beer cans out the window. M and I have thought about putting a camera out there to see if we can catch him or her.

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      1. It’s good that intruders can’t get onto your land easily, Robin. That really is annoying about the trash on the road. Maybe you should put out a camera. But what would you do? Turn him over to police? Good luck!! I wouldn’t want to approach someone who does that because they probably don’t care and would be very rude.

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        1. That’s what we wondered when we considered a camera — what would we do? I’m not sure the police would care. I’m not even sure what the litter laws are here in Maryland. In the end, we’ll end up doing what we’ve been doing and continue cleaning up after those who don’t care.

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  6. It must be disheartening at times to continually find trash. I do love how you made art out of it with the photo of the bottles. Great choice for black and white. Reading through your week is getting me ready to start working on my challenge. (It wouldn’t be cheating to write 5 posts this weekend then schedule them to post for the next 5 days would it?)

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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