Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #815 – Light @ the end…

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THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!

The light at the end of the tunnel is an ironic expression. It seems to mean the end of a rough period. Or as those that have returned from a near death explain, it is truly the end.

How do you see it ? Is it a bright light or a dark light?

monos en theos…†…jim

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #534 – Preying mantis using his god given talents to hide in plain sight!

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I have been overwhelmed with  the gifts  that have shown up from my simple request of a praying mantis  to show himself for photographs and observation. I was happy and felt my prayers answered. Next day, with no further asking,  another one appears and I get to  find more than I had asked for. I watch him lie in wait, to attack and devour several small skippers all the while getting to observe and photograph. I am awestruck and a bit amazed.

So while my praying for praying mantises was for one purpose.  God not only answered my asking, He showed me more than what was just before my eyes.

I was amazed at the mantises  ability to be there and strike, to be seen and yet unseen.  Only by going slowly through my  images of the attack could I see the simplicity of  plan.

The mantis used its  God given tools: his color, his shape and quickness.  Ironically his camouflage and ability to remain hidden and the ability to not stand out was his strongest asset. It was how he was provided with the ability to gather his daily bread.

Oh how often I try and use my gifts as camouflage and fit in, rather than stand out. So much to learn grasshopper. ††† en theos ††† jim work

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #530 – One that you don’t see or hear much about – the male black widow

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I found this male black widow occupying a web along with two other live males and one dead male. The female was also in the same web. I wish I had a photo to show the size comparison between the male and female, but they seemed to be having a tiff and were at opposite ends of the web.

The blacker colored female was easily 3-4 times the size of the brown colored males. It hardly looked like it would be a fair fight. In researching the myth that the female cannibalizes the smaller male after being impregnating is not totally true. Nor has it ever been documentmented.

And it is now being reported that the reverse of who ate whom also exists.

“Black widow spiders get their names from the belief that the female devours her partner after sex. But this gruesome ritual doesn’t always happen after mating and sometimes, the roles are even reversed, researchers say.

For choosy female black widows, sexual cannibalism is an extreme way to assert their partner preference, with less desirable males more likely to be chased down and eaten after they insert their sperm-coated palps into a female.

But in the species Micaria sociabilis, males are more likely to eat the females than be eaten, a new study found.” Megan Gannon – Live Science web site

It is just a spider eat spider world we live in, find some peace ††† en theos ††† jim work

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #528 – Ode to a surviving skipper

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I figured that being as the little skippers had led me to a couple of encounters with their demise and the opportunity to capture their end. I had one gone to a spider and most recently another to a praying mantis. I owed a photo of an alive and well one. Albeit not the most moving of images it was what I was following when I was taken down other paths. You just never know where following the beauty of nature will take you.

“She liked being reminded of butterflies. She remembered being six or seven and crying over the fates of the butterflies in her yard after learning that they lived for only a few days. Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn’t mean they were tragic. Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see, they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that.” 
― Lisa Genova, Still Alice 

Images of small things from the biggest county in Texas #523 – A little skipper in a bit of a bind!

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Having spent most of the previous day out in the damp and doing a lot of macro photography which makes me be in a stooped position most of the day. I woke up this morning with a very sore back and my mobility was painfully limited. So most of my shooting today involved me planting myself by our beds of lantana and just taking a wait and see what I was given.

It happens so often, I “look” at an area and I think that there is nothing here. But as you calm and settle and surrender the thought  that there has to be at a better place. A place with more. It forces you to look. I was amazing at all the life that was there for my feasting. I spotted this small skipper down deep in the plant. I ever so slowly moved in close. Every move was my best photo ninja move. It was working , I got to within an inch of him. I moved my lights moved around, he just stayed here just for me. It was just going too smooth and in  looking at the skipper he just seemed a little out of place,  just kind of wrong, but hey he was being so still and I just figured he was holding on with one or two legs just for me.

I went in to process my images and I saw what was going on. There were two extra green legs holding the skipper in place. He wasn’t being cooperative, he was being eaten.

I went back later this afternoon and found the spider looking for his dessert.

Be careful, it’s a jungle out there and it all doesn’t happen just for you! ††† en theos ††† jim work

Photos on the journey #473

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Mom & Dad on their wedding day, July 5,1941 Anne Mae EnWright  Work & Lawrence Oakley Work Jr.

Happy Fathers Day to all you dads, you know who you are!

Well happy fathers day to you dad – seems like forever that I have seen you, touched you or smelled you. But, in reality you come alive to me several times everyday. Today is  no exception. So hard to find that you have been gone 22 years, you would be 96 were you still here.

I can remember so clearly the day that you left. Checking on you early that morning, you were sleeping soundly and breathing peacefully. I went to make us a cup of coffee. In the midst of it brewing, while gazing out your kitchen window, I felt you pass bye.

I went back to your room, you had a far off stare, now sleeping peacefully but not breathing. I knowingly searched for an unfelt pulse, realizing that once again I would not find what I was looking for. I put my head on your chest and heard nothing but the solitary echo of my own heart. It was a loud and solitary beat. I savored the moment, once more finding myself somewhere I was not ready to be. I had a lot of growing up to in what felt like much too short a time.

I told mom you were gone, we cried together on your bed, tears falling on the bed covers, mixing with your smell. I called the funeral home and finished brewing coffee for one. I went outside for a walk pondering the change. Trying hard to put on clothing that felt too large a size for me.

I rounded a corner to witness your best friend and neighbor lowering his flag to half mast. My worry came down along with the flag. I walked back to your home my vision sharp through the blur of unending tears.

I have tried to fill your shoes even though your were an eleven and I a nine. As always, I found myself two bricks shy of a load. I know that I could never totally fill your shoes, but now mine fit me just fine.

PEACE ††† en theos ††† jlawrence

Photos on the journey #465

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I started Memorial day by watching the movie “Honor Flight”.  You can rent it via I tunes, grab a couple of hankies and watch it. A touching  documentary about a bunch of WWII vets being taken to Washington DC to visit the memorial made in their honor. My sinuses and throat are still tender from both the tears I shed and the ones I held back.  It was such a tribute to what is appropriately called the “worlds greatest generation.” Of boys that traded Keds for combat boots. They collectively left for far away unknown places  to face untold atrocities and to come back men that just as quickly traded the boots for wingtips and went to work. Memories were put in a box along with medals and a lot of stories.

My dad was part of that war. It is not that I don’t have lots of physical and mental memories of my dad, but I miss his smell. I so vividly remember the Valentines morning that cancer took him from me. When the funeral guys came to pick up his body, they could not fit the gurney through the narrow hall way. While they were busy pondering how to get the contraption to him, I picked him up and carried him to the gurney. It was probably the first time that I followed his generation tradition of just simply getting things done. I went back to his bed and burrowed my face in his pillow and savored the smell of him.

Dad told me stores of the war, but they were always of fun and manly camaraderie, little of true blood and guts war stories. He was a Navy combat photographer and had lots memories recorded on film and etched in his brain. He shared only the good stuff and carried the rest of the burden as they all did. Dad told me of surviving three PBY airplane crashes in the Pacific. How he once floated with other crew members in the open sea for two and a half days. Never once suffering as much as a scratch until he cut his arm climbing into the rescue craft. He laughed that he “didn’t even get a purple heart for that one”.  Other memories carried him to some dark places and he collected more wounds later in life from an unbroken brown bottle trying to forget the war.

As a child, the neighbor hood boys all played “war”. We talked about how many “Japs” (sic & apologies) our fathers had killed. Unlike our father’s generation, us “baby boomers” talked and we all knew each others stories. So all my friends knew my dad was a photographer and that he probably didn’t kill anyone. That really never made him any smaller to me. One day rousting through one of his boxes of memorabilia, I found a photo of him posed without a shirt. He had a mustache over his lips and a Lucky Strike between them. More importantly to me, he was wearing a 45 automatic pistol holstered under his arm. I felt much like Jem must have felt when Atticus shot the rabid dog in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. There was a big part of my dad that I never knew.

I have the razor with which I gave my dad his last shave, I have photos, knifes, tools, cameras, and lots of stuff, but I sure miss his smell. I also miss that ironically, with two photographers in the house  I have not one photo of us together. Here’s to ya Dad, happy Memorial Day.  Thanks for both the freedom and the silence.

PEZFULEZFEELIN’@U ††† en theos ††† jlawrence