My New Neighbors, The Angels Of Death.

Well… they’ve got wings and they are looking over me, anyway.

I discovered this morning that I have new neighbors. I had suspected them earlier, but they keep to themselves. But less than 100 meters from my front door, high in an oak tree, is a family of turkey vultures!Neighbors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think these ones are juveniles; one did his best to look all scary:
Scary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And did his best Angel Of Death imitation:
wings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But he couldn’t fool me–I saw what a sweet, sweet face he has:
face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the neighborhood, flying dinosaurs! (Click pics to embiggen!)

The Promise Of Spring (Yeah… Promises, Promises)

The trees are not budding
The grass is still brown
The remnants of snowbanks
Lay all around town
The flowers aren’t blooming
Except one or two
But there, in the distance,
A brief flash of blue?

There’s rain in the forecast
And that’ll bring mud
Some seasons are lovely
But this one’s a dud
It’s this way for ages,
A very strange thing,
But one—just one—bluebird,
And, suddenly… Spring!

bluebird

Yeah, it’s pretty gray in Cuttletown. The green in the background is from evergreens, not new leaves. But this morning (it rained last night) it was as if the birds had all arrived at once. Songs I haven’t heard in months, old familiar friends back from points south.

The winter birds, with the exception of the jays and the cardinals, have been studies in black, white, and grey. Even the goldfinch was wearing winter colors, and barely recognizable. So when I saw this bluebird, I had to check to be sure it wasn’t a trick of the light and yet another junco. But no! Actual eastern bluebird! So Spring is here!

Which I’ll keep telling myself for a few more weeks until the leaves and flowers start arriving.

A Thousand Words: Beautiful Couple

A picture is worth a thousand words, or so I hear. This beautiful couple showed up in a local stream, in a pond just upstream of an old mill building.
Hooded Merganser pair

It’s early spring (duh), and these gorgeous Hooded Mergansers are on their way north. For the time being, they are showing up wherever there is open water. I have shots from four different nearby locations in three days, from a tidal bay to a roadside stream. (click to embiggen, of course)
Male

Female
Isn’t this a beautiful world?

Olympia, mostly.

You might think me a bit frightened, seeing this menu–looking at it now, I just want to be back there. (This pic is from Nafplion–all others are from Olympia.)

The helmet of Miltiades. At the Olympia museum. I remember reading, last year, how the flames of the wildfires were surrounding this museum; seeing the charred stumps this past summer, I was, and remain, humbled by the dedication of the museum staff. These truly are priceless artifacts, and yet lives were in danger. Miltiades is known centuries after his death, but the people who saved the museum? Anonymous… at least to the vast majority of the world, including visitors to the museum.

The frieze from the Temple of Zeus… a stunning bit of work, and a grand example of the severe style. Note the serene, almost blank look on the face of the Lapith woman…

… while the faces of the Centaurs…

… are contorted with effort and pain. A sculptural morality lesson; the higher motives of mankind (rationality, logic, etc.) will always win over the bestial animal nature.

Beyond this arch is the … erm… THE … Stadium at Olympia. The original Olympic Stadium. Where the Olympic Games were originally held. Yes, I ran there. No, you don’t get to see that photo.

Also at Olympia. Without words.

I have hundreds more pictures, of course. Thousands, really. Seriously. The temple of Zeus at Olympia was one of the wonders of the ancient world, and very deservedly so. Today, of course, the magnificent columns are strewn like so much cordwood, the result of an earthquake. Even what you see here is not “what remains” so much as “what has been restored.” The gods have all died, and left the rocks to fend for themselves. Anonymous museum attendants save their memories from random wildfires.

No, no verse with these pictures. Nothing I could write would do justice.

Happy New Year!

Thank you all, all of you, for 2008. I could not have envisioned a better year if I had been able to plan it all out for myself in advance.

I have tried putting a year-end thank-you to verse, but it was all just too trite and nasty, not representative of the deep gratitude I feel toward so many of you. So, consider yourselves the ones who left Cuttlefish speechless. And instead, I’ll just post a few pictures for you. None are remarkable for any reason other than that I took them. I was there. Finally. And some of you reading know that I could not have done that without you. So… completely inadequately… thank you.

So very much.

And have a great 2009!

I just realized that an unusually substantial number of my memorable moments of 2008 occurred in Hotels. Not that unusual, given the amount of time spent living in them this year, but still… so if you are one of the people who crossed paths with me in a Hotel, consider yourself doubly thanked. New York, Chicago, Sofia, Bourgas, Thessaloniki, Delphi, and especially Athens. And I am sure I am forgetting some. I love you all.

(click pics to moderately embiggen)

Chicago (not my favorite view, but the best I have a pic of):

A close-up of a Greek vase…

My favorite statue:

I love this shot–a column from the Athens agora:

The back view of the Parthenon. No photo will ever do it justice.

A simple pot… but it was the casket for an infant. I can’t imagine being the parent… or the person who found it.

The size of these columns simply does not come across in photos.

The changing of the guards in Athens. A beautiful ceremony–of course, in the past few weeks there have been protests here.

The theatre at Epidaurus. Acoustically perfect; I could hear every word spoken from where I took this pic. Standing where the speaker is standing, it sounds like you are in your own bathtub. You hear yourself perfectly. An amazing place.

Nafplion. I can’t do it justice, so I will just post one image. The water is bluer, the mountain is higher, the everything is everythinger…

I think I’ll cut this short here–I took (literally) thousands of photos, but I suspect evil spirits will prohibit me from posting all of them on this post. More later… or perhaps sooner, one never knows. These shots are reduced in quality, but some of them (I don’t think any of this post’s) I use as desktop images in their higher resolutions. Anyone who wants anything here in hi-rez, just ask.