Friday, December 8, 2017

Another season another state ... and more

In the last 4 months I tried several times to start writing a post, but there were too many interruptions.  My choice for a heading photo kept changing.  I had decided on a photo of the solar eclipse in Tennessee, then fall foliage on our street in Nashville, then finally decided to post a snow scene I took today in Georgia - anothere state, and another season for sure.  My good camera is in Nashville, but luckily my Nikon D40 is still here so I could take the photos below.

I also looked out from each window: from the windows in the backyard where a little bird was taking shelter on the window screen, from the front yard waching the vehicles moving slowly along, and from the window I can see behind my computer. (Click on collage to enlarge.)

In July I had been staying in Brentwood, TN, at our daughter's house, during my post knee operation therapy.  My last therapy session was on Sepember 7, 2017.  I needed to have these sessions finished so I could drive back to Georgia to keep clearing our house there.  I had not driven anywhere since early July.  I read that Brentwood, TN, had been ranked the 5th best small city in the US out of 1,200 cities with a population between 25,000 and 10,000 people, but I saw little of it (Nashville ranks no. 13 out of the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas.)  Lots of people converged to Nashville from many states and from out of the country to see the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.  Our eldest daughter, who lives in Pittsburgh, PA, came down with her husband to view the eclipse.   This was a Total Solar Eclipse - see its path in the pics below.

A total eclipse is quite rare.  This was the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the United States in 99 years.  Most cities on the path of this eclipse organized activities around this unique event - Nashville, being the largest city on its path, assembled creative ways to entice people to come to the city, to the museums, parks, restaurants, cafes and more.  Almost 500,000 visitors came to Nashville and hundreds of millions of people watched from other places.

Armed with our special eclipse glasses we drove the 11 miles from Brentwood to Nashville shortly before the eclipse.  We thought the freeway would be jammed but it was almost empty, the streets too.  The sun was bright with few clouds around.  No other people were on our street - they had gathered at the park nearby.  Our group kept looking up, but I could not stand too long and sat on a rock by the front of the house.  There was a pretty Rose of Sharon shrub near me I had not seen before.

We stayed in our house driveway and waited.  First I saw what is called "shadow bands."  Seconds before the eclipse totality thin wavy lines appeared on the ground - ephemeral and rapidly moving as you can see from my pictures below.

Then it started to get darker.  The birds stopped singing, the street lights came on, and it became cooler and very quiet - a bit eerie.  It was not pitch dark, just a strange weird darkness.  I tried to take pictures with a couple of cameras, through my cell phone, my iPad and my eclipse glasses but they did not come out too sharp.  It was a very special moment, and then it was over.

Just a few days later, on August 25, 2017, Major Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast and the city of Houston.  It stalled over the area for several days producing devastating and catastrophic flooding.  Some areas received more than 40 inches of rain in less than 48 hours, some up to 51 inches (1m30.)  Houston is a boom town of approximately 2 million people and spreading over 600 square miles (1,600 sq km.)  Over 40 people were killed, 100,000 homes were damaged and 500,000 vehicles waterlogged by flood waters - resulting in $190 billion in damages.  (Pictures courtesy CNBC.)

The images on television were terrible but my husband did not understand them, because of his progessing Alzheimer's disease.  By profession he had been an environmental planner and river planner.  I remember well how, years ago, maybe in the 1980s, he had told me that Houston was the example given as a city waiting for a major flooding catastrophe.  He told me it was not "if it happens" but "when" because he said that the city of Houston let developers build on massive flood plains and wetlands.  They refuse to institute any type of land use plan.  I wanted to tell him - "look, you were right, see what happened to Houston" but his eyes were vacant.  More deaths and property damages are caused by flooding than by tornadoes or hurricanes.  Lack of development control and sprawl contribute to flooding, but Houston is happy to proclaim that it is free of any control.  However, when a major disaster hits, they expect Federal Aid (meaning US tax payers) to come and pay for the damages (and they do...)  This will not change then.  In 1845 the Berlin Academy of Sciences sent geologist Carl Ferdinand von Roemer (1818-1891) to evaluate the mineral assets of Texas.  Roemer, called now the Father of Texas, said at the time that the Brazos River prairie close to the Houston area was an "endless swamp."  He did not feel it would be a good place to build a city... (below map from NYT and photo of Ferdinan von Roemer.)

I had planned to write extensively about Houston explosive population and lack of local control, but before I could there was another major disaster called Hurricane Irma.  Starting on August 30, 2017, Irma hit the Caribbean, producing winds up to 185 mph.  Ten trillion gallon of water of rain fell on Florida.  Irma was expecting to hit the state of Georgia by Septembert 10, and metro Atlanta by Monday 11.  I had finished my knee therapy the previous Friday and decided to drive from Tennessee to Georgia that Sunday, against the opinion of my family who thought it was dangerous - I just wanted to be home in case a tree fell on the house.  I thought there would be a lot of traffic on the freeway going south, but it was very light - the freeway going north was jammed.  It felt strange driving down the highway with hardly any cars but many first responder trucks.  There were convoys of ambulances, energy crew trucks, some coming as far as Michigan and Indiana - all driving south to offer help.

I had brought flash lights, batteries, water and some food with me, but in West Cobb County where our house is located it just rained.  Other towns of Georgia, including the Atlanta area, suffered damages.  (Pictures courtesy the Atlanta Journal Constitution.)

Before returning to Nashville in September, I called the Smith Gilbert Gardens (I have written posts on it several times, look under "gardens" on the side of my blog) to offer them my beautiful philodendron.  It is about 20 years old and too large for me to move to Nashville.  I knew it would die in our backyard during the winter and was not sure what to do with it.  I was so pleased when a young man from the gardens came to pick it up.

Looking through my pictures since July and giving information about them would make this post much too long.  I tried to drive back to Georgia from Tennessee at least once a month and stay ten days to keep sorting, giving away and moving items, but it is going very slowly.  In October, by coincidence, I came back on the Sunday of the Chalkfest festival on the Marietta Square.  I went and took many pictures of the artwork on the asphalt and I'll show them in a future post.  In November when I came back to Georgia I found a bag with color prints I had taken in 1993 on a trip to Morocco, Paris and London.  I had not seen these photos since then (I'll show some of them in a future post, too.)  Then I drove from Nashville to Georgia again this past Monday, December 4th.  That day was very sunny and warm - 70 degrees F (21C.)  The weather changed quickly since today, three days later, we are having a snow storm.  I don't remember seeing snow here so early in the season.  It is very pretty.

As I write this, at 4:30 pm on Friday 8 December, it is still snowing.  It started this morning before 7:30 am and it has not stopped.  You can see from the bird feeder that there must be 3 inches of snow, at least.  The shrubbery is bent under the weight.

The electricity has been erratic, coming on and off all afternoon.  While the electricity was out I went back outside to take more pictures.  It is not often that we have that much snow here; we had none in early 2017 and just one day in early 2016, a very light snow.  I like the look of the brown pine tree trunks against the white snow.

Addendum Saturday morning December 9, 2017 - It must have snowed all night because at 8:30 am when I went out the accumulation on the bird bath looked like 10 to 12 inches high.

 I took some pictures, then as I was donwloading them I saw that the sun had come out; everything looked so bright through my window behind the computer.

I bundled up again and went out to take more pictures.  The snow is melting now but it is quite beautiful indeed and I can't stopped looking at this winter wonderland, so unusual here in Georgia.

Second Addendum: Saturday afternoon.  I just could not stay in the house and clean up when the sun and snow looked so tempting outdoors.  I fetched my Canadian fur hat and my down coat, which I had not moved to Nashville yet, took my cane and went for a walk with my old camera.  I'll place the photos in order in the collage below so you can go on the walk with me.  Please click on the collage twice to see well.  First, I took the path behind our house (you can see the back of our outbuilding on the right) and walked to the lake; a tree had fallen in the lake.  Then I came back to the road and walked carefully because packs of snow were falling down from the wind and branches were on the pavement.  I passed our neighbor's house that is for sale at $1.2 million.  Then went by the little white house across the street that has a red barn and finally went up the path leading to the Kemp Farm.  (It is a road with eclectic houses, McMansions near tiny houses then a farm.)  I saw no one else on the road but cars passed me; two even stopped asking if I needed a ride.
3rd Addendum (last one):  Monday December 11, 2017, 12 noon.  I drove around in the neighborhood and saw many branches and trees down; snow is melting but there is still much left.  The news on TV said that our area, West Cobb County, had been one of the worst hit by the snow storm.  Our road even made the news too yesterday with around 100 trees down (it's a long road.)  This morning at around 8:00 am the snow was still thick on top our cars and the bird bath.  The sun was coming up so I took a photo of our back yard with my cell phone.  Then later I played with it to make the photo more attractive.  I think our little old barn looks seasonal for the holidays, don't you think?

 I do not know if I'll be able to write another post before Christmas.  I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and Joyous Holidays.

Anyway you celebrate them, enjoy yourself and be happy!


Elephant's Child said...

It is lovely to see a post from you. I have often thought of you and wondered how life has been treating you.
So much happening, so little of it positive.
I am sending oceans of caring your way. Take care, and enjoy happy moments to the full each and every time they materialise.

Linda P said...

It's good to have a blog post from you with an update of what has been happening in your life and in the States where you and your loved ones live. Thank you for sharing information and photos. I'm glad that you were able to give the philodendron to the Gardens. I'm thankful that you're able to drive all those distances when necessary. I hope you are not snowed in, something that can happen to us, although at present snow has been slight. I hope that you have neighbours nearby that you can contact. Thinking of you, your husband's health condition and wishing you well. Looking forward to another update when you can as I know electricity can be a problem. Best wishes for a happy Christmas and a peaceful new year.

DJan said...

I am thrilled to have a blog post from you! I wrote you an email to ask how you are doing, and when I didn't hear back, I was worried. Now I can rest easy. Things seem to be progressing as well as can be expected, and I'm glad to hear you can walk around on your new knee. I am amazed at all the snow! It's beautiful, though. :-)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I was happy to see your blog on my dashboard. Knowing your husband’s health issues, I was concerned that you had decided to no longer post. This came as a welcome surprise. Driving back and forth from TN to GA has to be tiring but hopefully some alone time has been good for you. The pictures from you window of the winter wonderland are just lovely. That snow is coming our way today but we only expect a dusting. Enjoy the holidays andI hope you will continue blogging.

Moving with Mitchell said...

So good to see a post from you and, as always, interesting, thoughtful, and beautiful. Wishing you happy holidays.

David said...

Hi Vagabonde, Missed you! Glad that you're recovering from the knee surgery. I've done 2 hips now...but no knees yet! Going back and forth between GA and Brentwood must be getting a bit old by now. It will be more relaxing when the move is complete. Our son's family lived in Brentwood for a while...nice town for sure. The solar eclipse passed right over us here in Loudon and Monroe County TN...with a gathering of folks at a friends house for an 'eclipse' party. Great that your philodendron was rescued! Would have been a shame otherwise. Love your snow photos. We took a few here in East Tennessee as well but didn't have that much snow. (FYI...I used to have to travel to Houston on business. It was and still is one of my least favorite big cities!)

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

bayou said...

Hello Vagabonde, so good to see a post of you and assuring us that you keep focused and positive and all what you write and show is such a special window into your world! How good to have found a special place for your splendide plant. We finally managed to find our house in Wales and are in the process of buying, I still hope it is not too late...
It must be so hard to see that your husband was so right about Houston and can not see it now. Stay positive, dear Vagabonde, sending you boatloads of positive vibes and a happy Christmas. May 2018 be good to you. Je t'embrasse bien fort, Anke.

Down by the sea said...

It was lovely to see a post from you, I was only thinking of you the other day! Sorry you have been so busy I hope the operation has been a success. The snowy pictures are wonderful. It must have been amazing to experience the eclipse, and sad that your husband didn't realise that his predictions had come true. Have a good Christmas, take care. Sarah x

Magic Love Crow said...

Merry Christmas My Friend! So good to hear from you! You have been missed! Please take care of your knee! Thank you for sharing all the pictures and information about the solar eclipse! You got some amazing pictures! You couldn't see the eclipse where I lived! We have rose of sharon shrubs too! I am so sorry about your hubby! He was absolutely right about Houston!! This must be so hard on you and your family! I'm happy your philodendron has went too a good home! I truly love your winter pictures! We are getting our first snow storm right now.
Heres to an amazing 2018!!! Please take care of yourself! Big Hugs, Much Love and Many Blessings to you and your family!

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, my posting as well as my following of blogs has been sporadic this year. So I find myself happy to have come to day to your blog and to discover this posting that catches me up on what has been happening in your life. As we age, it seems we must let go of one thing after another.

For myself, I try to follow my mom's injunction to look for good in call change. And it's clear to me that Mom would have loved your attitude. For you find good wherever you are and in whatever life is offering you. I so admire that.

Take care please of your legs. Walking on snow that is packed down can be dangerous because packed snow can become ice. So just take care. Peace.

claude said...

Contente de te retrouver sur la toile, je commençais à m'inquiéter. Je t'ai envoyé une carte postale de la Martinique à ton ancienne adresses.
Ce fut une année à catastrophes, ouragans cyclones et j'en passe. Ici lundi on a eu une forte tempête qui a causé quelques dégâts mais rien de trop grave.
Je vois que tu es dans la neige, ici pas encore un seul flocon.
Les Fêtes vont vite arriver. Ici il n'y a plus de magasins où je pourrais te trouver quelque chose, la ville se vide de ses commerces.
Nous ne sommes rentrés que depuis 15 jours et je n'ai eu le temps de ne rien faire, sauf le boulot du bureau de mon Chéri. En plus, je suis perturbée par une très mauvaise nouvelle concernant mon frère. Du coup je ne pense plus à rien.
J'espère que vous vous plaisez bien dans votre nouvelle belle maison.

Jeanie said...

Rick was planning to go to Atlanta after his Nashville trade show to ride bikes, see some people, but then the snow came so he came home. We're getting it now but I like it much more in your neighborhood than mine!

A busy year for you. Yes, me, too. Too much doctoring but as you saw on my post if you've had a chance to look, things are looking up. Radiation done, tests good. Face healed. Now time for the holidays. I'm behind in my Christmas cards but glad to know you are still where you are and haven't moved. More soon!

Meanwhile, till the card arrives, do hope you find a little Merry and Joy this Christmas.

Mae Travels said...

You are as always facing so much and so bravely! It's good to see how you have spent the second half of the year, and I hope you will be able to keep us informed more often in the coming months. You were really lucky to be in accessible range of the solar eclipse, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which I didn't get to see.

best... mae at

Pixel Peeper said...

So glad to hear you recovered from your knee surgery!

Beautiful photos of all the snow you had and of the eclipse. My oldest son (he lives in Greenville, SC) got to experience the eclipse, too. One of my co-workers drove to Nashville, because his son had just moved there, and got to experience it.

Many of those "Irma here we come" trucks ended up right here in Lakeland. We were very grateful to have them!

joared said...

Glad to hear from you and thanks for all the photos you’ve shared. Sounds like you’ve benefited well from your knee surgery. Such tragedy from the hurricanes. Regret your husband unable to be aware of how his own life’s work relates to current events. Writing of the Houston lack of building limits reminded me of years ago when we moved to Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ.

A desirable expensive living area there, Paradise Valley, had homes built with no consideration given to the location of washes. — dry except during rain downpours when the dry wash suddenly become a river. Families unfamiliar with the desert weren’t aware of the risks when they bought their new homes and builders werent prevented from building in the washes. I always recall visiting a family whose home was in just such an area. A “hundred year flood” we were told (they had a couple more a few years later) occurred and the water poured through this family home. Finally, they just opened their front and back doors allowing the torrent of water to run through the house.

Spectacular winter scene! Reminded me of our first home, in the Midwest, set in an area with trees around and our special blue spruce. The snowy scene through our picture window looked much like your photos. Hope you’re successfully continuing to gradually make this transitional move from your home to Nashville area.

Terra said...

A lot has been going on with you and I hope your knee is healing. I like the pretty photos of snow you include in this post.

Thérèse said...

Bien des changements auxquels s'adapter pour toi. Les événements locaux et internationaux ne sont pas faits pour arranger les choses.
Que 2018 soit pourtant une belle année pour toi et ta famille. L'opération de ton genou est maintenant derrière et tu peux très certainement trotter comme avant.
Merci pour toutes ces nouvelles et les photos les accompagnant.

Honest Abe Lincoln said...

I had not seen or heard from you in what seems like ages. So I enjoyed the new news and information. I am 83 and will be 84 this October. My wife of 63 years will be 82 in October. What a trip. I should do this journey like you did and that in itself would inspire me to do something more meaningful than things I have done. I see names of people who Left comments that I used to write to or leave posts with so I will give them a goose too. Hello from Brookville, Ohio. Abe and Pat Lincoln.

Carola Bartz said...

First, I hope you fully recovered from your knee surgery.

That snow is serious stuff, especially since your state usually does not get hit by so much snow. I hope the deep freeze will soon be over, I don't think it's much fun to have weather like this for a long time.

I'm glad you were able to watch the total solar eclipse. We drove up to Eastern Oregon to witness it and I'm so glad we did. It was a very magical moment and quite different from the rainy total eclipse we had in Germany in 1999.

Those hurricanes were terrible. We had our share of natural disasters this year as well with those terrible fires in October that destroyed entire neighborhoods in my town. We were quite on the edge for a week, sitting on packed bags, ready to leave on a moment's notice. The worst week in my life. We were the lucky ones since we didn't lose our home like so many others did.

Have a good 2018, Vagabonde.

Glenda Beall said...

I, too, have been concerned about you. So glad you are doing well and driving such a long way. The photos are fabulous as usual. I saw that snow in Atlanta and in my area two hours north of you. I hope you enjoy your new home. Moving is hard on anyone and doing it alone must be quite a chore. Stay well and I look forward to your next post.

Kay said...

We were in Missouri for the totality and it really was amazing. I just loved seeing your photos!

Your snow photos are fabulous too. I miss that winter beauty but not the cold.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

What gorgeous photosand a super post. Sorry about your hubby. Mine has dementia but over the last year the low dosage of cialis every other day has icreased blod flow to his brain and has slowed down the memory loss much to our delight. Still he does has moments of anger outbursts. We are having a more traditional winter for our area. It iscold and snowy. Christmas was white. Now we are heading to Valentines. Days are longer. It feels good to be heading towards spring even though it is lond away.

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