Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #804 – No Vacancy


There is little to compare with West Texas skies.

The wind rattled the old sign

Thunder shook the ground

I strived to capture a lightning bolt

I grew afraid, cowered in the truck

Added the lightning via the safety of photoshop.

Everything is not as you see…monos en theos…†…jim



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Two days ago I sat in my shorts and dirty t-shirt basking in the beauty and warmth of a bluebonnet patch. Early this am up to attack my writing drills I was greeted with this mysterious view in the western darkness. A great prelude to the coming blood moon eclipse coming early tomorrow morning.

Our balm had faded to sand blown in the 40 mph winds as I stranded to hold my camera still at a 1/15 of a second at 1600 iso. All the while staving the 37 degree chill in my briefs and too thin shirt. The dogs thought me crazy and kept looking to see what the heck had the attention of their strange two legged leader.  I quickly agreed and retreated from outside images to inside words and warm coffee. Image making is fun, but word-smithing can sometimes be a little more comfortable.

I don’t normally post such fuzzy grainy images, but I hope this will keep me from having to braving the 2:00 am call to the blood eclipse. I already gave.  One needs to save their bravery as I have too little to spare.

” A good photograph is  knowing where to stand.” Ansel Adams

I think I will stand inside.   en theos monos ††† jim



One of the early bloomers here in the desert Southwest is this nickel sized prairie fleabane daisy. It was a challenge trying to catch an in focus image of this possessive little spider in our 35mph wind gust. I was fortunate to have gotten focus during a short lull in the wind. This little bee decided it was a good landing spot as well. The spider said no, and chased the tiny fellow along on his way.

It’s a jungle out there, go take a peak!  en theos monos ††† jim


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In the recent gusty wind of West Texas, one of our “dog warning” signs was blown from it’s post. I found Clovis laying near it with more of a sheepish look than a sheep dog. Before I could say anything of his presumed laziness, he reminded me that there are two signs, his “on guard” sign and another one that states the he ” can make it to the gate in 2.8 seconds can you?”

He can do that, and he can get there just as quick from either a laying or a standing position.

Let sleeping dogs lie. ††† en theos ††† jim


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I found this feather seemingly floating in the air ala the intro from the movie The World According to Garp. It appeared to be unattached and just a blowing in the wind and never leaving. Of course life is a box a chocolates and there was just the thinnest of a spider web holding in in the midst of the air.

It is a lot like I feel.  Going through the motions, but getting nowhere!

enjoy the chocolate ††† en theos ††† jimwork


Photos on the journey #489 – Leaves at the bottom of the bubbles.

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Somedays you just have to look harder to find what is right in front of you.

It was a bit windy yesterday, and I sat by our little fountain while trying to make an image of a mud dauber at work. He was fighting the wind has much or more than me. I gave up attempting to stay in focus in the wind. He stayed with it and made me feel all the more a sluggard. I turned my attention to the slower moving bubbles and was fascinated how I could see the sharp image of the leaves on the bottom of the fountain in clear focus. I added some stars to the specular highlights via Knoll Light Factory photoshop plug in.

Does make oneself to try to be more mindful and take what you are given, not just what you want.

Peaceout ††† en theos ††† jlawrence

Photos on the journey #435

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So sorry for the lack of posts the last week & a half. After fighting off a nasty case of the stomach flu, we headed to City Of Rocks State Park in New Mexico to meet up with our son, Joshua for a week.

Beautiful park with the freedom to climb, crawl and probe in and around several acres of huge boulders in the middle of nowhere. If you go there, be advised, there is neither Wi Fi nor a dump station around for 30 miles.

New Mexico and West Texas have a common friend this time of year, the wind. We spent a bit of time chasing hats and hoping our trailer would not blow over. The night skies were well worth the price of admission.

Pezful EZ fellin’ @U ††† en theos ††† jlawrence

Photos on the journey #432


Ah, what a strange weird trip it has been.

It has been a very trying week. We went to Monahans Tx to get several spring sports photos done. With the oil boom on in west TX., if you can find a hotel, you just plain don’t want to pay what they are asking for a place to sleep. A room at a hotel that two years ago cost us $75 now is over $300. So we took our little hybrid  travel trailer and stayed at Monahans Sandhills State Park. A nice facility and it always allows me a reminder of my childhood days in West Tx.

We got there on Sunday for work on Monday. We awoke to the early morning sounds of high wind gust and snow, yes snow blowing in horizontal alignment with the wind. The day ended up being a total wait things out in the trailer and hope we did also go horizontal in the 70mph gust. All work was blown away with the wind.

Tuesday fared a little better and we got one photo session done in an albeit blustery afternoon.

I then awoke at 4:00 am on Wednesday with the flow blown flu. Everything for that day had to be canceled and I slept 20 of the 24 hours. I managed to muster enough to get the trailer ready for travel and hooked up on Thursday and we followed the wind a 100 miles to home.

I feel cheated, I hate to lose that much time, every year the inflation on time seems as disproportionate as motels in West TX.

The wind was a blowing but I never found an answer my friend.

Pezful EZ feelin’ @U ††† en theos ††† jim

Photos on the journey #430


Off my front porch there is a lone oak tree that still has one leaf that refuses to fall. We have had up to 60 mph gusts the last few days and yet it still remains. It so reminded me of the beauty of the words of O’Henry’s THE DYING LEAF. Enjoy the wikipedia “Cliff Notes” version below or better yet, Google the title and you will find several sites to read the whole short story.

“Johnsy has fallen ill and is dying of pneumonia. She watches the leaves fall from a vine outside the window of her room, and decides that when the last leaf drops, she too will die. While Sue tries to tell her to stop thinking like that, Johnsy is determined to die when the last leaf falls.

An old, frustrated artist named Behrman lives below Johnsy and Sue. He has been claiming that he will paint a masterpiece, even though he has never even attempted to start. Sue goes to him, and tells him that her friend is dying of pneumonia, and that Johnsy claims that when the last leaf falls off of a vine outside her window, she will die. Behrman scoffs at this as foolishness, but—as he is protective of the two young artists—he decides to see Johnsy and the vine.

In the night, a very bad storm comes and wind is howling and rain is splattering against the window. Sue closes the curtains and tells Johnsy to go to sleep, even though there were still one leaf left on the vine. Johnsy protests but Sue insists on doing so because she doesn’t want Johnsy to see the last leaf fall. In the morning, Johnsy wants to see the vine, to be sure that all the leaves are gone, but to their surprise, there is still one leaf left.

While Johnsy is surprised that it is still there, she insists it will fall that day. But it doesn’t, nor does it fall through the night nor the next day. Johnsy believes that the leaf stayed there to show how wicked she was, and that she sinned in wanting to die. She regains her will to live, and makes a full recovery throughout the day.

In the afternoon, a doctor talks to Sue. The doctor says that Mr. Behrman has come down with pneumonia and, as there is nothing to be done for him, he is being taken to the hospital to be made comfortable in his final hours. A janitor had found him helpless with pain, and his shoes and clothing were wet and icy cold. The janitor couldn’t figure out where he had been on that stormy night, though she had found a lantern that was still lit, a ladder that had been moved, some scattered brushes, and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it. “Look out the window, dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall. Didn’t you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wind blew? Ah, darling, it’s Behrman’s masterpiece – he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell.””

Pezful EZ Feelin’ @U ††† en theos ††† jlawrence

Photos on the journey #429



I had pulled off the interstate into a small and sad West Texas dust town. I saw her about a half mile before we came to the stop sign. For selfish reasons I changed lanes so as not have to pull to a stop right beside her. I wanted a good excuse for the avoidance, like I only had big bills, as if that would be a prudent excuse. I had no real rational other than to just not have to see her. I just didn’t want to deal with a panhandler.

On coming traffic made me stay until the uncomfortableness of not looking at her grew. I stole a quick glance at her. Actually I locked my eyes on her hand scribbled cardboard sign. In large shaken hand lettering it read simply “stranded”. There were some other smaller words around it but I could not read it a lane away. I tried so hard to keep my eyes fixed on the sign.

My eyes went quickly to her washed out blue eyes.  She held a 100 mile stare along with the sign. Salt and pepper hair was neatly bound in a short excuse of a ponytail. Wrinkles about her squinting eyes showed we shared the same age. Dressed neatly, no baggage except what she carried unseen. Neatly pressed and folded.

She could and probably was someone’s grandmother. What had happened so as to be left stranded along a road?

The traffic cleared and my hurried look was thankfully ended, but the shutter of the minds eye had burned a memory. I had looked at her for maybe 1/2 a second. I make images all the time at a 1/250th of a second, sometimes even shorter and faster portions of time. A small slice of life and the unseen. Whole stories are held in the briefest of an exposure. So why am I so amazed that this image was seared onto my internal memory card.

It was Valentines day, I took my wife to lunch at a little diner, less than a block away from the stranded lady. I tried to delete the image, I needed it erased, wiped from my hard drive. We ate, but I kept replaying that scene. It felt much like when you find a washed out photograph, and you have no idea who the people are. You just know that they are somebody, family.

I planned to go back to her after my lunch. A chance to identify the people in the found photo, to hear her story. I drove back to the corner, but all that was there was trash and dust blowing around in an endless circle. I went closer but even her shadow was gone. I looked helplessly for her cardboard sign. I needed it, I was the stranded one now.

Pezful ez feelin’ @U ††† en theos ††† jlawrence