Little Scotty’s Insanely Visual Day

I had a feeling it was going to be a special day. My daughter and I were driving to a town near Utica, NY to pick up the kitty she was adopting.

It was a good day for a drive in the center of the state. Sunny, on the warm side, (it said it was 92° in Mariah’s car although I think it may have been being dramatic about it), and just a lovely day to meet a new family member.

She came over a bit before we had to leave, and she spent a little time with Miles, explaining that even though he wasn’t going to be the baby anymore, we all still loved him as much as ever, and that he was a role model now, and a bunch of other stuff that he did not understand but he seemed to enjoy the attention.

Anyway, the end result was meeting this little guy.

I am almost positive I heard him say something in backwards Latin when I took that last one.

We brought him back to his forever home and hung out there for a bit. He got pretty sleepy and so his Aunt Bella babysat while Mariah and I ran to Country Max to buy a kitten kit. I was saying that jokingly, but they actually had one. It was a litter box, food bowl, water bowl, scoop combo. I thought it was the greatest product mashup of all time, but it turns out I’m easily impressed. We also bought some food, (which I learned during one of the frequent updates I’ve been receiving he is now devouring), a few toys, and box of litter and, voilá, instant kitty start-up kit. The store is near my place, so after we got her all stocked up I had her drop me off.

I came in and sat for a while, then started feeling like Miles would have fun if he and I took a long walk. That’s when the pictures started in earnest.

I’ve posted pictures of Miles’s favorite trail, but they were from early in the Spring, before the green had returned. That was not the case today. Not only are the trees in their finest regalia, but the dappled sun on the path looked like some impressionist had painted them. Miles seemed to enjoy passing between the light and the shadow, but for the most part he was far more interested in reading the guestbook signings of those who had come before him. And I am reporting that approximately eighteen gazillion scent-leaving organisms came before him. At an average separation of three inches. He sniffed a lot today. Here’s a secret (which is no secret at all): that means he had a really great day too.

We like this particular trail because for a good, long section we walk through some wooded area, and this spot is right at the beginning of the good part. I love it because as the path curves it passes a tree whose trunk has curved as well. They compliment each other perfectly. It was the first of this sort of poetic juxtaposition during the day, but it would not be the last.

I need to state something at this point that is very important and I’d be a real douche if I didn’t mention it. I took a ton of pictures and every time I did Miles was either fully engaged in studying the scents or just patiently waited for me while I took the shot. He was a perfect gentleman.

As we approached the part of the trail that goes by water we noticed that the perfect clarity of the sky and the dappled sunlight made for some very lovely reflection shots.

The first one I took was very nice. The second one, this one, was a little better. Miles was a little pissed when I took the second shot, but when I showed him all the little details that made it better than the original he backed off.

We actually had a much worse argument a while ago, long after the walk, when I was attempting to enjoy myself in the purest way known to mankind: eating a handful of cheese puffs. He, the “affirmative team,” felt he should have some, and if possible, all of them. I, the “negative team,” was quite sure that he shouldn’t. He laid his chin on my leg and lifted his eyes to gaze upon me worshipfully, which in my opinion is freaking cheating. It’s just cheating! And so I insisted that he lay down. He was extremely verbal in voicing his dissenting point of view. So then he got in trouble for back-sassing.

I may have digressed. What was I even talking about? Oh yes! Reflections! I was actually intrigued by the huge, toppled flower pot, but the algae in the water had turned it a light shade of green and it made for what ended up being one of my favorite shots of the day.

Miles liked it too. He wasn’t being a butt about cheese puffs at this point.

There are actually just too many good shots from the walk. I’d like to post a bunch more. It was just such a rich visual experience from start to finish, and in what I see as both unfortunate and happy, I simply can’t include them all. But I do want to show two more.

The first was one of my favorite shot of the day compositionally-speaking. There are probably some that are better, again speaking in terms of technical composition, but they are accidental. I got lucky. This one I set up myself, standing several places until I framed it just so.

The second picture harkens back to a post I did much earlier in the pandemic, when the scope of it was truly being understood and it was clear that things were going to get much worse before they began to improve. Miles and I were walking the same trail, and we came to a short tunnel where the path passed below another. It had been festooned with chalk graffiti, with messages of hope from the entrance to the exit. I posted pictures of several of my favorites on Instagram and Facebook.

Some of the hopeful messages can still be seen, although they are beginning to fade. New messages have, in certain cases, been superimposed over the older ones. The tone of them seems to have changed. The original spirit was markedly more optimistic. This feels a bit grittier. Feelings seem to be fraying somewhat.

By the time we got home Miles was ready for a nice cool drink of water, which he helped himself to before laying right next to his water dish and taking a little nap.

For me, however, there was to be no nap on the kitchen floor. I stopped doing that sort of thing not long after college. Okay, slightly long after college. Anyway, I stopped and I knew that my wife would be home soon, and that we had an errand to run. That’s when Act III of the day’s visual splendor took place.

Instagram followers will know that I love to post pictures of sunsets, which usually come appended with the hashtag #skyfire. Tonight was the OED definition of skyfire, or would be if it was in the OED, which I don’t think it is, because my spellchecker is all kinds of pissed off about it.

Again I took a ridiculous amount of pictures over a period of just a few minutes, as obviously when the colors are this intense it means the sun is almost fully set. If you want to find the perfect shot, it’s a good idea to take as many as you can and cross your fingers, hoping that there’s at least one good one in the batch. Again I need to talk about composition, and I need to talk about it happening completely by chance. Because this was one of the coolest examples of man-made and natural in unintentional perfection.

I was blown away by the way the power lines appeared to have been stretched across the clouds. Well done, iPhone out the window of a 2007 Toyota Corolla! You did all the work. I just stuck my arm out and pushed the button.

You might think that would be the end of it, but then Miles and I took an evening “business-only” walk, and we came across a field full of fireflies. Miles actually stopped before I did. Just to watch. He’s cool that way.

It really ended up being even more wonderful, in retrospect, than it did at the time. Starting with a fun ride to get Elliot Steele Varengo, (he’s been bombarded already with calls of “ELLIOT” in E.T.’s voice all day. I’m not sure he’s seen the film so I don’t really think he gets the reference), then the walk through the woods, then the sunset, then the fireflies. And now, with fully two-thirds of the phone’s memory devoured in a single day, I look forward to the beauty tucked away in tomorrow’s folds.

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