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"Don't take my picture, a$shole"

I don't normally photograph homeless people or children. In America we can photograph anything we see from a public space. There's no reason for a person in public to expect to have their image be private. But still as a matter of respect, I just assume someone who lives on the street should be treated more like someone in their home in this respect. I try to leave them be. And, children? I often see great images involving children, but I tend to avoid photographing them simply because, you take a picture of a kid, and the parent may get uncomfortable. There's plenty of great images to shoot without taking pictures of kids or the homeless.

Having said that, I loved this image. Effectively he took this picture of himself. I was taking this picture of sunset light falling in Pioneer Square, Seattle, and just as I hit the shutter, this man burst into the frame and yelled, "Don't take my picture, a$shole!" You can see his stride is long as he photo-bombed my shot and I pressed the shutter just as he was starting to yell.

I loved the image so much, I had to keep it.


After the race

Weyzata Yacht Club, Weyzata, Minnesota


Blowhole, Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma


Honeybees and potatoes

Late August and my backyard is, for Denver, a jungle. I stop pruning and largely stop weeding in mid-August. I love to let the garden ... just go at this point in the year. It's like a kid in its last year of college. Let it have the time to enjoy all that hard work.

There are plants everywhere, so many the garden is full of life. Sure birds and squirrels, but bunnies too, and that brings the occasional fox. Now, just now for example, the insects within 10' of me include honey bees, gnats, flies, honeybees, wasps, bumble bees, honeybees, yellow jackets, some very fast insect that is between the size of a gnat and a fly, Japanese beetles (!), dragon flies, crickets (so loud!) and honeybees. I don't know who has the hive or if these honeybees are feral, but it's just so fun to watch them work the flowers, including purple prairie coneflowers (echinacea) and mint. I think it's been an hour now that I've sat here watching them fill their pollen sacks. What a treat to sit and enjoy a cocktail (a martini with a juniper-forward gin that I've been oak aging for weeks, Lillet and a splash of Dolin's green vermouth).

I will soon harvest my hops and make bitters for the winter with dried lemon peel. I've just finished infusing an oak-aged vodka with all the flowers from the herbs in my backyard: With a dose of simple syrup, I call it Backyard Chartreuse. It tastes like it smells right now. Both will remind me of these moments when we are deep in winter. Imagine a cocktail with the bitters or an after dinner prandial with the Backyard Chartreuse when it's snowy and dark this winter! They will taste like summer's sun.

Of course late summer means that, like winter in GOT ... autumn is coming. Other men -- and me before I had kids -- know that football season starts soon. For me, it's just that the chrysanthemum are beginning to bloom. Squash vines are slowing. My grapes are turning purple, and I've got two potato towers that I'll harvest, hopefully just around time to enjoy at Thanksgiving.

These changes in the seasons remind me that we are the ones who remain stable. We are the ones with memories and plans that span the seasons. When these myriad honeybees are lost to winter, it is our identities that will persist. Our consciousness is a constant amidst so much change.

But times like this invite us to reject that shadowed truth. While the seasons change so dramatically, while the power of summer rules so emphatically in late August, how much more do we change within it? What could we learn from these honeybees?


Moths and hootenannies

I don't much write about personal stuff, but as I'm getting nearer to the Ozarks, I'm feeling closer to my childhood and so many of the things that shaped my adulthood. I can't imagine the grown-up me would be doing this crazy stunt of a Route 66 2+ week RV road trip if I hadn't spent all that time doing stupid stuff as a kid in the Ozarks. I'm sitting in the RV (too wet to sit outside, rained all afternoon) in Oklahoma City. I can remember as a boy learning to play the washboard (don't laugh, it's not as easy as you'd think) and sitting out on summer's evenings just like this. The grown-ups played bluegrass, standard after standard. I was fortunate to see men play wash basin basses, un-ironically. The folks called such evenings "hootenannies." Are there even hootenannies anymore?

There was a sodium light on the deck by the back door where they played. As a boy, the darkness was so dark, it was like the depths of the lake. I became pretty sure the point of bluegrass at night was to hear that singer's voice that bluegrass mountain voice (think, Ralph Stanley), as it penetrated the dark and kept your wyrd at bay.

There were moths. I remember them as giant, almost the size of a little boy's hands. Eerie. Tan with little blue eyes, well, not eyes, but they looked like eyes. Dots on the ends of their wings. Evolution's way, no doubt, of redirecting a predator to attack the tail ends of the wings. Nature gets pretty smart with life balanced on the edge of a steel string.

The moths were attracted to the sodium light. Sodium lights burn yellow. The moths fluttered around the light, and when they did, when their wings spread wide, for a moment, the powder on their wings caught the light and the sodium light strobed: bright yellow-tan erratic flashes in the corner of my eye.

Right now, far to the South, maybe over Fort Worth or Dallas, there's a thunderstorm, and out of the corner of my eyes, I see the sky flash bright sodium yellow. How can I help but wonder if there aren't Texas-sized moths down there.

It's good to be going home. I wonder if I haven't been there all along, even since I left. How else could I see such things?