Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's Samhain Time Again

Yes, faithful readers, once again it's time for the annual Roy's World Samhain post. For those of you who may be new to this, Samhain (pronounced SAH-wen) is the old Celtic New Year, commemorating the fading of Summer and the onset of Winter. and which was so popular a celebration that the Church considered it necessary to "Christianize" it  into All Hallows Eve (eventually Halloween) and All Saints Day. It's all about recognizing death as an organic part of the cycle of life, seeing the fading of Summer into Winter as a reflection of the human cycle. It was thought that the veil between Life and Death was especially thin on this day and communication between those worlds was particularly easy. If you want to read a fuller account of Samhain and it's transformation into Halloween, click here.

We're still getting rain from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and it's downright chilly as well, so today was a good day to go out and get some appropriate Samhain pictures.

For this year's music video I've decided not to beat to death that lovely PBS Danse Macabre animation and Lorrena McKennitt's live performance of her All Soul's Night; if you want to see them again you can click that link in the first paragraph above. Instead I've decided to post a video of the song Into the West from Peter Jackson's movie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (music by Howard Shore, lyrics by Fran Walsh). It's also all about Death as part of the journey of Life. The first time we hear the theme (orchestral only) in the movie it plays softly in the background while Gandalf has this conversation with Pippin:
Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… And then you see it.

Pippin: What? Gandalf?… See what?

Gandalf: White shores… and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.
Then this version with the lyrics - performed by Annie Lennox - plays over the closing credits. It's a lovely piece of music and perfectly fitting for Samhain. Enjoy!

Photos © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Like Stained Glass

While out walking this morning I noticed that the sunlight shining through Autumn leaves made them look very much like stained glass. So naturally I started taking pictures.

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Up On the Mountain

I hiked up to South Mountain yesterday, going up to Whitmer Rd., which is up the side of South Mountain a bit, running along the border of Michaux State Forest. I got there via one of my favorite hike routes, Peiper Rd. and McCulloch Rd., going up to the mountain on Baltimore Rd. and coming back on Airport Rd. I discovered that while Fall foliage is a bit spotty down here in the Cumberland Valley, up on the mountain the leaf color is going strong.

I took a lot of pictures, and 16 passed quality control. I'm only posting four here; check out the rest on my Picasa web album of the hike - they're well worth the visit! Meanwhile here are some scenes to whet your appetite: some barns on Baltimore Rd. with South Mountain in the background; Thompson Hollow Rd. at Whitmer Rd., which I was very tempted to wander down but didn't due to time considerations; an abandoned cabin on Whitmer Rd.; and some unusual yard decoration on Airport Rd. Enjoy!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Color

I had a long, 10 mile hike out towards South Mountain planned for today, but when I got up this morning I just didn't feel like wandering that far afield today. So instead I headed up to the Peace Garden in the Shippensburg Memorial Park (click here to see the post on our visit there on Memorial Day) and then took the long way home to find other scenes worth catching. The theme that jumped out at me this time was Fall color, so that's what I ended up looking for. Well, there's some color, but I think I may have taken my vacation a week or two too early to catch the foliage at its peak in this area. Oh well...

In any case, here are four shots that passed quality control today (web album can be seen here). The first two are in the Peace Garden, the entrance and the little Japanese bridge. The third shot is of a gate house on West King St., which serves as the entrance to an octagonal stone house way up on top of the rocky hill to the right, where General Braddock's fort from the French and Indian Wars originally stood. And the fourth shot is of the entrance to Shippensburg University on North Prince St. Enjoy!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, October 14, 2012


Fall flowers, berries, seeds, and husks all point to the fading of the year from Summer into Winter. I gave my camera's macro setting a workout on today's walk. Ten shots passed quality control when I got home; I've posted four here and you can see them all in the Picasa web album. Included here are: a busy Bumblebee in some Bushy Aster; Spotted Knapweed husks; a Yellow Sow Thistle puffball; and some Multiflora Rose hips.

At this time of year I'm both happy and a tad bit melancholy. I have no idea why the melancholy; I love both Autumn and Winter, so maybe it's a fragment of the old "migrate or die" instinct still hanging out in my collective unconscious. In any case, I feed the happiness by going out in Nature and reveling in the changing season. And the melancholy always draws me to this song - Richard and Linda Thompson's "Dimming of the Day". Enjoy!

Photos © 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Celebrating Idleness

Today is Day One of my 7-day vacation from work (yes, it's a paid vacation)! I can't afford to go anywhere; I'd originally considered going back up to Newport for a visit but the state of my finances just won't support it, and I also suspect my wounded psyche still wouldn't be able to deal with just a brief visit to a place I love (and still miss) dearly. So I'll be here in Shippensburg, wandering the area with my camera. As I told a friend in an email this morning, I plan to hike and photograph and also just relax in general. I may also work on transferring my photo portfolio to Picasa, and also create some new calendars of this area for my catalog. But those are just "maybes"; I'm planning to relax, and that means I'm going to ignore all "musts" and deadlines. So there!

Today I took a brief walk to find some Fall color before coming home and catching up on my favorite TV shows that I missed this week because (a) I went to bed early to be up early for the opening shift at work the next day, and (b) because I worked the closing shift and missed them because I was at work. Now I'm all caught up. Today's shots - some Fall Asters in a garden on Morris St.; a pair of very colorful Maples in the Spring Hill Cemetery; some mushrooms growing in a fairy ring near the Roxbury Rd. entrance to the cemetery; and that very bright red Maple in the gazebo park across the street from my house. That thing is positively glowing; it actually reflects red light onto my walls through the front windows!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, October 08, 2012

Encroaching Autumn

I went walking along the Dykeman Walking Trail today and noticed Mama Gaia is starting to dab some Autumn color on the landscape. I shot some good pictures on the walk, and you can see the entire web album here. Here are four of them to whet your appetite: one of the culvert causeways over the creek that runs through the park; an immature Warbler of some sort (at that age and at this time of year they can be tough to tell apart; I've narrowed my list of possibles to Tennessee Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Mourning Warbler, or possibly a Yellow Warbler - anybody with a better knowledge of Warblers please chime in!); White Wood Asters; and some Autumn leaves lying on the trail. Enjoy!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Dressing Up for Autumn

I went walking up King St. in hopes of getting shots of the decorated store windows, but there was a major problem with reflections. Still, the window in The Lollipop Shop (first photo) came out well. I'll probably have to wait for a sunnier day to get the rest. So I kept walking and got some outdoor displays on residences: two "still lifes" on a front porch on King St. and a decorated fence on Queen St. Of course, Mama Gaia is the best decorator of all; the Red Maple in front of the gazebo across the street from me makes a striking image. As usual, the web album is here.

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger