Wild Birds of Flame

Sparks leap to the sky

Gone before they reach the stars

Wild birds of flame dance

Aww, that cute little boy is trying to escape the smoke in his jacket!;-)

At first I was amazed by romanticism of your haiku.

The Arctic is truly remote, can sometimes feel hostile but is often breathtaking and the people are what really make it worth staying. As a photographer and adventure lover yourself, you’d have a blast here.

Here in the Arctic they are 2x the fun – it’s usually windy and rarely above 55F although we do lose a little of the romance that can accompany a bonfire as our sun never sets during summer.

That must smell so good. I wish I had a wiener, marshmallows, and a beer. What is that boy looking for in his jacket? Is that guy in the back going to swing? This looks like a great thinking spot. The last time I was at a bonfire, I fell asleep next to the warmth of the flames…gotta do that again.

The little boy was just trying to stay warm in the chilly fog and all the fixings for Smores were present.
The location is my front yard – the beach along the Arctic Ocean, a wild and wonderful place.

They had all the fixin’s that night (marshmallows, Hershey bars and Graham Crackers) and they did it right -Smores first, BBQ second.

That kid is a sweetheart and I couldn’t blame him for hunkering down – I was wearing earmuffs that night to keep the wind out.

I love the thoughtfulness of the man in the photo. I really appreciated your background story above as well. Very interesting!

It’s also unfortunate that I can only show you 100 miles or so of the northern most part.
Alaska is so large, Texas and California would both fit inside it.

What are they burning?

At first I thought I could see the ribs of a boat, imagining that someone died and this is the send-off for his belongings. Romanticising… But I see / I think they are palettes and bigger timbers. Maybe from a house? From some deliveries? Come to think of it, how do things arrive from the ‘outside world’? Does everything have to arrive by plane or boat? Or is it possible to drive there? Of course, it’s Alaska, so it’s part of the continent, (a piece of the main) – but maybe the route is impossible/impassible/impractical/impracticable for large trucks?

How do they heat their homes, their buildings?

How far has that wood travelled to get there?

How often do they burn stuff?

Is that a pet that the young man-boy is looking at inside his jacket?

And then you are there, Maria. Did you come across them? Did you go out with them to do or to watch the burning?

And again the sense of the place with the flat plain stretching beyond, is really captured.

David, I LOVE your inquiring mind – I’ll do my best to answer your questions (and I’d still like to see photos from your time in Finland) –

  1. The photo is of my friend and coworker, Maasak, at a bonfire on the beach this past Friday ‘night.’
  2. The wood was from palettes from food and goods deliveries.

  3. A) Things arrive from the ‘outside’ world via plane.
    B) They can and do fly vehicles in, but a large amount of those (and other goods) arrive ONCE per year on the annual barge.
    C) There is NO port, nor dock, anywhere in this area so the barge is pulled in by tug boats (I haven’t lived here long enough yet to see this event but I look forward to it like a kid waiting for Santa) and then pulled ashore with heavy equipment.
  4. No, it is not possible to drive here.
  5. We are about 450 miles north of the demarcation of the Arctic Circle so you could use a 4-wheeler (ATV) in summer or a snow-machine (snow mobile) in winter but there aren’t any gas stations along the way so you would have to pull a sled with extra fuel and food to achieve such a feat and camp along the way.
  6. We heat with natural gas and electricity.
  7. There’s no telling how far the wood has traveled. The wood probably came from a gorgeous forest in Oregon, no telling where it was milled after it was felled and even then it would be shipped to some palette company somewhere before being purchased by the manufacturer or supplier of whatever was shipped in on it.
  8. We don’t typically burn trash here, which surprises me because nothing leaves the Arctic (except people) and with the way residents whinge daily about a few mosquitoes I’d think they’d adopt the SE Asian habit of trash burning to rid an area of mosquitoes. However, I digress – there are bonfires weekly. Just drive the coastal road (we do have roads in and around the village) and you’ll come across half a dozen or more each weekend evening.
  9. The young boy was bored, cold and trying to keep warm – no animals attended the event (jelly fish and squid washing up on the beach don’t count).
  10. I was invited to this event and it synched perfectly with my nightly habit of walking a mile of the beach so I stopped by on my way back – grateful for the warmth of the fire (that fog was accompanied by a steady wind that made it a nose-running-chilly night).

Bonus info:

  • There was a BBQ associated with the bonfire but the food was prepared and kept inside a building across the street.
  • I walk the beach daily, usually twice per day and generally for an hour or more each time, but rarely see anyone… unless there is a bonfire.
  • The geography runs as follows: The ocean, the beach (dark sand and dark pea gravel mix) a dirt road, a few buildings and then tundra… as far as the eye can see. When I took the shot of Massak at the bonfire, the ocean was to my left and the dirt road, buildings and tundra were off to my right.
  • We are still treated daily to the midnight sun so there is no sunset, there is no dusk, there is no twilight. It’s as bright at 14:00 as it is at 23:00 or at 03:00. The sun does not move up, nor down – just around to the right throughout the day/night as if on an invisible track. laugh

I love the pensive look my friend Maasak is giving – he appears completely mesmerized and I’d have loved to know his thoughts at that moment.

Haiku – Gone Fishing

No sound but the wind

Water and ice hide the bounty

Left on shore to wait

Can’t help identifying with the boat. So left and lonely.

Ready for action and adventure, to said the sea and carry the brave hunters. Don’t be sad, come summer in the Arctic – the snow is melting and everyday reveals a new gem to me.

The Arctic is truly an amazing environment – seemingly empty but teeming with life, you just have to look a little more carefully to see it.

You know, they still create these boats by hand and use them to hunt whale from the edges of the ice.
Amazes me that 4-6 men can catch a whale for their village in such a vessel.

Alaska has it all – beaches, mountains, rainforest, desert, trees, tundra and some of the most welcoming people I’ve met anywhere. Come north to the future, hit the top of the world and experience the land of the midnight sun.

I was watching a show about Arctic living this weekend and totally thought about you! How many layers do you need to wear on a typical day, or are there brands of REALLY awesome cold weather clothing you guys rock?

Today was 28 degrees (F) and I wore a sleeveless tank, and a merino long sleeved cardigan over Smartwool leggings with ONE pair of socks, and Ugg knock-offs.

Outside, I did add a fleece scarf and my Hally Henson parka. The wind was down so I skipped the hat. However, weather.com promises temps will rise to 40 (F) this week… Heat Wave!!!

I find Haiku perfect for the Arctic. I have a coworker who will tell you that desolation is a condition of the soul. The landscape is never desolate; we can’t see what’s below the ice and snow so we project an emotional condition onto what we do see. She may be right.

As the snow slowly melts and the ice recedes, objects lost last fall (I’ve started a quirky collection thereof), plants, and animals (sea gulls, swans, ravens, fox, lemmings, shrews and more) appearing -if only momentarily- everywhere.

Arctic Alaska is like no where else on earth. At times it gives the 3rd world a run for the money and at other moments the stunning beauty stops me in my tracks and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

The “soil” is like the best pea-gravel you’ll come across (set atop Perma-frost – Google will give great intel on that term). You quickly learn the darker the soil, the more chances of getting your vehicle stuck.

Chief One Feather

We pushed through and broke free of the crowd to the sidewalk.  Chief Seattle kept me company and while I studied the bronze likeness under the glow of street lamps, a husky voice addressed me from behind, “I’m Chief One Feather, homeless, got anything for me?”

As my friend met his request I noted the shiner quickly developing under his left eye and a white, shining pearl caught the street light – a top tooth had broken through his bottom lip.  Chief swayed forward, and back, balancing on the curb’s edge. 

He smoothed his long, ebony hair back from his angular face and over one shoulder with shaking hands.  He wasn’t drunk enough to ignore my stare; he laughed and exclaimed, “You should see the other guy!” then recounted the details of his recent bum-fight.

Cigarettes spent, story told, I asked if he wanted a ride to a hospital.  Chief’s face slowly twisted in an expression of disgust, he spat at my feet, crossed the street and silently disappeared into the night.

Not a story I was hoping to read while drinking my English breakfast tea… But, still a good one. I guess, you didn’t spit back.

I didn’t spit back. I game more of a shrug and subtle head shake in response.

Worked in downtown, seen some nasty behavior of homeless… Not a supporter in general.

There is this guy i met had blood all over his body and when i offered help to take him to hospital he said if i can give him a little cash he will manage to hospital. I gave him cash . It was a shock to see him on a television carrying animal blood which he smear his body then out in the street to be given charity. This is soo bad.

He carried the animal blood to stage an injury, get pity and cash? Wow!

I stopped giving money to the homeless after living in NYC. I started keeping protein bars in my bag and offering them instead of cash. That’s when you realize how many just want money for drugs and alcohol.

I have friends who give out socks – homeless have a lot of issues with their feet. The power bars are a great idea!

Ah, so you met one of Seattle’s street residents? Their actually quite vicious. I’ve had a few encounters with some over the years, but in recent times I’ve become as condescending to them as they have been to me. Luckily you only got spat on.

One of the funniest instances is that my friend got chicken bones thrown at her when she refused to give money to one. Not sure why they believe they are more entitled than other street residents from other cities. Oh, well.

I lived in Belltown for a couple of years and try to get back when I can to visit friends who still live there. Pioneer Sq and 3rd ave from Pine to Bell were always my least favorite spots. This encounter took place outside the 5 Point.

In the words of the song, ‘Don’t look at me to see if I’m alright’.

But it’s a hard road to follow.

Nice story – at least he spat at your feet and not in your face.

It’s heartbreaking to see people in this condition. We do what we can- and hope that others follow suit.

Once I offered homemade food to one of the homeless people in SF, instead of asking for money, he asked for water… It took me a long time to figure out he was saying “water” because most of the homeless here have physical and mental problems. They probably don’t even know what pity is… Totally agreed to “but you can only offer to help in whatever way you can.”

Your experience with the water is intriguing. Sometimes they don’t want anything and other times they want your sleeping bag – but that’s a story for another day.

Well told. I guess he wanted money and the chance to share a story…but obviously not pity.

So many of them are often on the edge Colleen – but you can only offer to help in whatever way you can.

I am very familiar with the homeless during my career. On the street one day about 15 years ago there was one on a street corner with the ever clever dog and sign, “Hungry! Need money to buy food”.

Which 75% of the time = alcohol. I made him a full 9 x 13 casserole for the next day and stopped and handed it to him. He tossed in the street shouting, “Give me money!!” Ya.

In fairness, there are a ton of truly down and out good people in this world who are homeless.

Just 5 Little Words

In Observance of Valentine’s Day I offer the following:

Leave me wanting more

Why bother playing it safe

Just 5 little words

Modern Valentine 2014 - MariaFalvey.net

“Every day is Valentine’s day!”

Must always want more. Can’t always play it safely. That’s Impossible! 🙂

That’s brilliant! Honestly missed that one – thank you very much. I know that I would get attached quickly and easily if I visited Gran Canaria.

Exciting stuff always. 5 little words “Can i be your Valentine?”. Hope you had a fabulous one.

You have to be good to and love yourself as well as others. I featured Phoenix on Wordless Wednesday during Valentine’s week and this haiku to remind people there are a lot of different kinds of love (love for pets, friends, etc…) 😀

The mood (serious, playful, lustful) will definitely influence the words chosen.

So many words, in so many languages, with so many choices of medium with which to express oneself. grin What would your 5 be?

Wordless Wednesday – Gourmet Persuasian

Sharon Chen and Gourmet Persuasian offer the Perfect Pico de Gallo

Sharon Chen @ Gourmet Persuasian

If I could choose only one thing to have for a salad dressing, it would be fresh lime juice…

I’m with you on lime juice. I love it on just about everything.

Here in Texas they claim it helps to repel flies – I haven’t tested that hypothesis but I’ll let you know if I do.

Making me hungry Maria. Love how all the limes are scattered around.

Sharon has some of the most beautiful food shots ever and if you visit her site, you get the recipes too.

This is what Agness loves the most – green salads – so healthy and nutritious!

In Texas and other parts of the SW Pico isn’t a salad, it’s used as a garnish and as a dip – visit Sharon’s site and you’ll find great recipe and serving ideas for all your foodie moods.

I admire this composition for color and texture and I believe it’s cilantro you’re looking at there. Check out Sharon’s site for all kinds of amazing food, recipes and photos.

All those colours. I pretty much just want to bathe in that.

This photo is so rich in color, texture and composition… I’m thinking Sharon should consider creating cards and framed prints from her post images.

Here in Texas we use limes with everything from beer to cocktails to entree garnishes. Fruit of the gods!

Sharon is an amazing cook and her photography is so good, I always end up in the kitchen after reading her posts.

I am actually obsessed with fresh salsas, especially after learning the authentic way of making them in Mexico. Pico is just another everyday dish there. I love it too! Hope you enjoy.

The Traveler’s Note

The day is filled with color, texture, scents and sound. People speaking, factories whirring, traffic humming, but at this hour the sky soothes the bustle with ebony velvet.  Others are snug beneath their blankets, overcome by slumber yet busy still, as dreams fill their nighttime schedule.  I lie awake, waiting, yearning for the quiet to be fractured by its presence.

In my mind’s eye I see it coming, swiftly passing backwater towns, sensually winding its way through the mist and picking up the scent of evergreens despite its brief encounter with them. The track is miles from here, far too great a distance to catch sight of the single headlamp illuminating what lies ahead.  Nonetheless, I wait.

My eyelids (tired and heavy from not wanting to miss a moment of the day that had passed) now attempt to convince me that my own dreams are so enticing I should relax, let go and sink into the comfort of the bedding.  With a blurred view from beneath my eyelashes’ flutter I hear it as if it’s just at the end of my block.

A single, sonorous note lasting no more than 5 seconds, but heralding it’s arrival, and I’m no longer drowsy.  I have the image of the sleek, aerodynamic carriages, one after another, moving as though gliding along ice.  Once again, now much closer.  A 5 second blast assures me I am not alone this night; someone else is awake, is traveling, en route and as it passes I receive the third and final auditory gift that dissipates more quickly than it arrived.

A train whistle in the still of the night, has a great soporific effect and I slip silently into slumber.

chalabala - Fotolia.com - train sopeeding through the night
Photo Credit:  © chalabala – Fotolia.com

While I do love trains I also love air travel 🙂

Next time I lay awake waiting to hear the train whistle – I really will know I’m not alone… got a lot of great readers who are doing the same.

This one is so smooth! The magic between the lines almost made me “slip silently” at the end.

Who can better put in writing the feeling we all know? – “My eyelids tired and heavy from not wanting to miss a moment of the day that had passed…” Ahh, so lovely.

I was lying in bed listening for the train the other night – made me think of how I do that very same thing everywhere I travel. In the morning I wrote the Traveler’s Note.

When I lived in Vancouver we used to hear the train whistles and the steel on steel as it lurched around sharp corners. I like the fact that you can usually set your clock to the train schedule.

A train whistle, the sound of a river, rain, thunder, birds starting the day a few hours too early … none of these sounds I find disturbing while asleep. Except once when I had a hotel which was located next to a train station and it seemed like there was an earthquake every time a train passed which was about every 30 minutes … for the entire night.

There are definitely times when you can have too much of a good thing.

I like this… because I can relate to both positions in the story. For me, this is kind of like the perpetual “grass is greener” feeling. When I’m a grimy and tired traveller, all I want is the comfort of a familiar bed, especially at night. But when I’m too comfortable, all I want is to be getting a little dirty on the road.

It’s a great gift to be able to travel and explore the world without going anywhere. But be careful with the Freudian imagery:)

In Reno, Nevada I live at the top ridge of this enormous “bowl” the city sits in. Trains come through a few times during the night. This “bowl” creates a perfect acoustical environment for everyone to hear not on the trains but the jets taking off 10 miles away at the airport. A girlfriend texted me about 1 a.m. several years ago saying, “Do you hear the train?” I did. She said, “It sounds like a friend I want to be leaving with.” I said, “Me too.” We still text each other from time to time upon hearing it, “There goes our friend again…” It’s really cool.

LOVE hearing the train whistle at night, and I’ve always lived close enough to hear one.

Many people think the train whistle to be lonely but I don’t – instantly I start imaging who is on it, where it’s going.

Think you and I must be traveling romantics through and through.

Haiku – Beyond the New Year

Countdown to midnight

Resolutions forgotten

The new year begins

Single Sparkler for New Years or any Holiday - from pixabay

But this year, since the holidays coincided with my move, and now my job (and man lol) search, it is a season of change and growth.

Muse and the song, Feeling Good

  • – – – – – – –
    It’s a new dawn
    It’s a new day
    It’s a new life
    For me And I’m feeling good

Daily resolutions are more immediate, e.g. wake up, write down the toughest thing that you need/want to get done and try to start working on it as soon as possible. I got off a semi-hellish overnight bus this morning so today was an exception. The most important thing I needed to do was take a power nap. DONE!

They say 80% of resolutions made every year fails. Thanks i do not make resolutions cause i will definitely fail or forget.

I stopped making resolutions all together cause I never seem to be able to stick to it anyhow.

I think you have an amazing amount of self-discipline… unless you’re about to tell me that your resolution was to not make resolutions laugh

I’m resolved to avoiding all things virtuous this year… think I’ve got a good shot at keeping that one. Ha!

I want my resolutions based always from within not by a calendar. The bright, beautiful sparkles epitomize all that is possible as I strive to achieve the best that I can be as a person.

Anton’s Whim

People watching downtown – my favorite pastime.

This day proved no different while seated outside a coffee-house, indulging caffeine and nicotine addictions simultaneously and watching passersby.  A crisp and brilliant autumnal afternoon to take in the sights and sounds of Philadelphia.  That’s when I saw her, easily into her 70s walking with a light and agile step.

Her short, burnt-orange hair peeked out at the world from under a man’s leather 3-way cap. Her make-up was thickly applied, painfully bright and accented by large, tinkling earrings. Following this line I noted her black, fitted leather biker’s jacket that flowed to leather pants tucked into high-heeled ankle boots.

Attracted to all things shiny, my eye sharply returned to her left wrist where a loosely fitted diamond tennis bracelet sparkled in the afternoon sun. As I watched her flow down the block toward me I overheard her conversation and realized there was much more to her bracelet.

At the end of the glittering string was her companion and conversation partner, Anton.  She artfully dodged the kid on a skateboard and smiled at a baby in its stroller – all the while, deep in conversation with Anton, her miniature poodle sporting a classic French cut and identical leather gear.

They passed and I finished my coffee, then went about my duties as a good tourist, but that moment stayed with me for hours.  As slumber arrived on my doorstep late that evening, my last thoughts were of Anton; did he enjoy being a human’s fashion twin?  Did she selected a different outfit for any given day, or did she lay options on the floor each morning and let Anton paw at his favorite?

Perhaps I had it all backward and it was Anton’s whim being fulfilled.

Partners in crime… I can imagine the two of them chit-chatting as they take off their outdoor clothes when they get home.

Apropos the age of the woman and the makeup… do you have the phrase ‘mutton dressed like lamb’ ?

Poodle in Biker Jacket from Inventor Spot

Whatever makes people and their dogs happy! You’ve got me thinking — when I’m in my 70s, will someone be watching me from the sidelines noting my eccentric style? Will I have a dog? Will I be the subject of a blog post? If you’re writing it, that’s OK with me. 🙂

When we’re in our 70′s we’ll be seated at an outdoor table noting the eccentricities of the young around us and we’ll write about them together. 😀

Um, but actually. I had a friend once who had one of these little dogs and it LOVED being dressed up. It would get all sassy and play around with a different outfit on. They had hair clips and everything for it.

I’m sure you have some snaps of that doggie Vogue and I want to see them! 😀

I can’t get enough of you Maria. Now it’s a dog and fashion. I like the way you put your lines, it gives you a vivid picture of the situation.

I just write what I experience and some sightings are just too good to keep to myself; gotta share them. 😀

Dan you know either the dog or it’s owner would have been entertaining on their own but together it was mind blowing.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting and if we don’t speak again this week… Happy Turkey-Fest.

I appreciate the compliment and it’s heartwarming to read that you connect with my micro-stories. Enjoy Sunday! 😀

Haiku – Take Flight

Birds take flight above

Clouds transition, grey to pink

Slowly day subsides

Sunset over east austin October 2013

Lovely picture and very appropriate for this time of year.

We often see lots of birds migrating over the last month or so. Every year our house seems to be on the flight path of the geese and they make a lot of noise when they travel!

Birds in flight are wonderful. Filled with envy now.

Beautiful! I am so drawn to birds and to flight! It looks as though we share a source of inspiration!

Birds in flight are mesmerizing. I’m so envious of them – they make it look so easy!

I believe they can stand independently of each other (photo/text) but make a great combo.

I have a great time making them… maybe I’ll post some of the ones I created about my coworkers – those are “special” laugh

You know this post turned out to be a happy accident. While photographing the sunset, that flock swooped in.
Then when posting, I didn’t even consider the whole winter angle – it’s still humid, 80 degrees and all the trees are still green here.

Beautiful photo, Maria, and I sighed as it made me think of the proverbial birds flying south for the winter. As the weather is changing the bright colors always help to keep the faith that warm weather will return. Well, in 4-5 months 🙂

I was in the right place at the right time to get the birds in flight.
Living in a place that is far too hot for far too long, I rarely think of the winter migration – just enjoy watching them swoop and dive.
Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

I love that cotton candy sky! I’ll pretend the birds are heading somewhere warm (Key West?!) for the coming months…while we sit here and shiver;-)

I love watching birds in the morning on my way to school. I was never able to take such a good photo as you did though. Lovely!

They’re amazing acrobats and I envy them. They make it seem effortless. This shot came out well but I took 6 or 7 in succession and I used my phone = pure luck! Keep trying, you’ll get a good one. 😀

Love spotting huge flocks like that and keeping my eyes on them for as long as possible. The cohesiveness never fails to fascinate me.

Since my pocket camera is having issues, I’m exclusively using the Galaxy 3 , which takes better photos than the point and shoot. From what I gather, the biggest improvement from the 3 to 4 is the camera (and video). Either will have to work for the time being until ‘real cameras’ are acquired

If the flocks are you’re thing you gotta stop by some day – this happens every afternoon and I gotta say, it truly is an uplifting sight on my walk home from work.

Sounds like we’re birds of a feather where the “camera” is concerned.

Wordless Wednesday – Ogoh-ogoh

James Clark @ Nomadic Notes

Ogoh-Ogoh Parade, Ubud, Bali - James Clark, Nomadic Notes

James Clark of Nomadic Notes snapped this while he was in Ubud.

Ubud is filled with amazing artists who create these figures to use during during the Ogoh-ogoh parade.

Incredible talent!

James has several more shots from the Ogoh-ogoh parade you should check out.

His entire site is full of great intel and eye-candy but I think my favorite feature is James’ weekly
Nomadic News series… always learn so much about great reads, good food, cool gear, etc…

Definitely not something you can easily ignore and during the parade, there are MORE of them!

They are intense and the entire figure is incredibly constructed.

I’d love to visit a week or so prior to the parade and see these in the making.

The skill involved with making one of these figures is incredible – just look at the details in the face and hands. Wow!

If you click through to James’ site you’ll find all kinda of amazing photos on Nomadic Notes. 🙂

I agree – wild eyes!

The figures they create for this parade are incredible and you can see more from James on this event

It is paint, and many other elements but it’s not James Clark – He’s the Photographer. grin

You can read more about the Parade and the wild figures they make for it

Amazing talent in creating this figure, huh?

I can only imagine what attending the Ogoh-ogoh Parade must be like where you see many more like this.

Definite Wow factor at play.

If you click on Nomadic Notes, you can see many more images James has taken throughout his travels.

Thanks too for letting me know how you “Stumbled” over here. 🙂

I love the post you did on the Hopi woman and the similarity with Star Wars. Intriguing, for sure!

The Ogoh-ogoh parade in Ubud will confuse and bewilder evil spirits so this guy is helping us out. 🙂