Yesterday I attended a special celebration in Auriesville, NY with my second family, the Buddhists. They were celebrating the completion of a pagoda-like structure on top of their headquarters building, a former Jesuit dormitory. The structure serves as a roof and observation deck covering what was once an open elevator shaft. Buddhist leader, Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi dubbed the roof Noah’s Ark. Like the biblical story, it protects residents from violent storms and flooding. It also symbolically represents the Guang Huan Mi Zong health dharma protecting the world from the flood of suffering and disease. The Buddhists were also celebrating the birthday of one of the Chinese students studying the health dharma.
Going with the Ark theme, I decided to photograph the three kittens that found a home with the Buddhists. A male and two female siblings who seem to be the progeny of a Lilac Point Siamese and a Yellow Tabby. A gorgeous sunset followed as if on cue to start the celebration.
I talked with old friends and met several new Buddhist Monks that recently joined the group. It was a very enjoyable evening with my always hospitable friends.
Last week my Dad, Frank Skrocki turned eighty-three years old. I drove down to Hudson, NY to visit with him yesterday. We talked about our lives, gardening and cooking. We identified a flowering vine that spread to his yard. He told me about the curious praying mantis that clung to his siding for a couple of days and the different garlic varieties he grew this year. We didn’t talk much about Hudson except for the rooster he heard crowing the day before. The city he knew is gone, replaced by one that is now foreign to him. We took a walk around the block and we were both surprised by changes. We discovered a farmer’s market just a couple hundred feet from his house, the new Democratic headquarters he never knew was just half a block away.
The changes to Hudson are not the kind that most people lament. They are positive changes that brought commerce, people and life back to this once dead river town; but my Dad misses the old days when he still knew all the stores on Warren Street and a lot of the residents by name. Today he barely knows the name of his next door neighbor and I know this is not an isolated situation. It is our changing culture that put most of us in the same situation. I like the changes in Hudson and still have hope that Amsterdam can see the same kind of positive change.
Here are a few sights from Hudson, New York.
This week I had the opportunity to photograph a waterfalls in Hamilton County, New York at the base of the Adirondacks. Tennant Creek Falls, more popularly known as Hope Falls is just off of Route 30 north of the Sacandaga. Arriving at the parking area near the trailhead, you are greeted with a plethora of signs to keep you off adjacent private property and advising you to vote Republican. The hike to the falls along the Tennant Creek is relatively short, but the right of way does cut through private property. Signs remind you not to wander off the established trail. My photographer friend Linda Buckman was kind enough to invite me on this hike to a beautiful, serene and relatively untouched part of upstate New York. The day was overcast with a 50% chance of rain. Starting out early Tuesday morning we were able to beat the rain and get some wonderful photos.
Kudos to Ed Smathers for giving a presentation on waterfall photography at last month’s meeting of the Amsterdam Photography Club at the Coffee Beanery. I was able to use some of the techniques Ed spoke about to get my waterfall images.