To The Class of 2020 - Sam

The last of my High School subjects, Sam and I started in his small-town downtown area before heading to the forest preserve.
One of the parking lots downtown features this great brick wall covered with meandering vines. That's the backdrop for this first photo:
Sam K Class of 2020

And a cool fire escape. I looked around the corner and knew it was a great spot to take photos:
Sam K Class of 2020

But I admit I'm most comfortable taking photos in the woods
Sam K Class of 2020
Another local senior headed to the University of Illinois - Congrats to you Sam (and mom Mary)!
Sam and Mary

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Sunday Morning Hike

Finally getting back out on the trails after six weeks due to plantar faciitis in my right foot. We didn't walk very fast, but covered over 4 miles, the longest distance I've walked continuously since the foot started hurting. The trail looks completely different now, with lush greenery filling in the once empty spaces between branches.
We started early, before road noise and people could interrupt the woodland sounds. I now recognize the pheasant's call from the tall prairie grasses. It's all there if you listen carefully.

Bird house

White Prairie Flowers

Shadows and the MOon

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Finding Calm

I'm at a loss for words given current events. My heart aches, so I retreat to that which brings me solace: Flowers, nature, the outdoors, ambient sounds of gurgling water, the birds and even the buzzing insects.

I met with running friends last weekend at Allerton Park to take photos of the peonies in their full glory. Through our running connection, I learned a few of us also shared a passion for photography. This was the first time we gathered for a photo-centric outing and I suspect we will do this again in the future.

Choosing to hold our outing on Sunday evening meant less crowds, nice evening light, and by chance, no wind...

Sunshine Day

Some Sass

Blushing

Artist's Milieu This is Yahsin - she shoots with film and develops her own photos. This is something I plan to take up once I retire. You can see the expanse of the Peony garden - we are lucky to have this gem a short drive away from town. This was my first visit with the flowers in bloom. I made a visit several years ago, during the summer.

Pink Bomb

We found calm in the presence of beauty, nature and the singing mosquitos.

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June 2020 Free Calendar Download - Chicago Skyline

This month's free calendar download features an iconic Chicago skyline building - the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). Taken from a boat while on an architectural tour of the city last June. I highly recommend these tours - when the pandemic is over, come visit Chicago!




To download June's calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> June Calendar 2020 - Willis Tower

Illinois entered into Phase 3 of re-opening post shelter in place. Retail businesses are allowed to operate, restaurants are allowed to serve patrons in outdoor seating configurations. Limitations still exist with respect to group gatherings which means the gyms and public pools remain closed

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To The Class of 2020 - Addison

I'm about half way through my Class of 2020 Seniors - and here is Addison, the daughter of long time friends / co-workers, fellow runners and Tae Kwon Do family. I've known Addison since she was maybe 5 years old. Her dad, Chris, works with me and inspired me to run a full marathon. He is also a Full IronMan Triathlete, having completed that grueling event three or four times.

The idea for Addison's Senior portraits originated from Luke's mom, who works with Addison's mom, Amber (small-ish town means less than 6 degrees of separation between people). I consider Addison as a low maintenance person, who doesn't conform to cultural norms (like typical senior photos) but her mother wanted them, so she showed up. No outfit changes, just what she was wearing, a total first for me.

In hindsight, one outfit completely worked because I simply focused on Addison - her lovely smile and beautiful blue eyes.

Addison, Class of 2020

We met at a local park that features a sculpture garden, so Addison picked out an edgy, stainless steel sphere to interact with.
Addison, Class of 2020

Addison, Class of 2020

I, of course, am drawn to the beauty of woodlands and other natural areas, so this one is my favorite (and one of the last photos we took that fall evening):
Addison, Class of 2020

Addison completed her High School requirements last December and immediately jump started her higher education journey by taking college classes at the local community college. She will start at Illinois State University in the fall, studying speech pathology. Congratulations Addison!

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Tulips and Aging Gracefully

I seldom pass the opportunity to purchase cut tulips in the store. They beckon me with their teardrop shape and graceful stems. I know I will be rewarded with a week of ever changing blooms as the tulip fully opens and finally withers.

Sping Delight

The Flame

Lean on Me

This bouquet lasted me almost 10 days! On the last morning, even with mostly yellowed leaves and wrinkled petals barely holding on, they still gave me immense enjoyment and caused me to reflect on the prospect of aging. If the tulip can die gracefully, and in each phase of aging retain beauty, giving joy to those around them, then that is how I want to age. (Because let's all be real - each passing year brings new aches, loss of some ability and physical changes that we don't like).
Fade Gracefully

Like the old tulip - open, wrinkled, withered and faded - I aim to open myself up to new ideas, new technologies; to not get bogged down in what used to be, to not close myself off from the world and people. To be flexible and flowing; to open up and show the insides that had been hidden in youth. To embrace the imperfections, the wrinkles, and know those marks still give off your beauty. To give love and joy to those around you - like the fading tulip.

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To the Class of 2020 - Luke

I'm continuing my Class of 2020 recognition. This week is Luke, the son of a good running friend. Luke loves soccer and plans to attend Eastern Illinois University in the fall. Luke's family lives across the street from a beautiful forest preserve that I like to explore by running or hiking. Luke's mother, Michele introduced me to the trails out there and through our weekly summer runs, I no longer get lost in the woods. These photos were taken in the forest preserve.

Luke, Class of 2020

Luke, Class of 2020

Luke, Class of 2020

These soccer photos were taken at the local pitch.
Luke, Class of 2020

Luke, Class of 2020

Congratulations to you, Luke!

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