Author Archives: Teressa Clark

Bright Square Challenge: Childhood Home

Childhood Home. Baker, Montana. May 21, 2017.

We were back in Baker to help my parents pack fifty-some years of accumulations housed at the corner of 1st and George. Across the street from Lincoln Elementary School, allowing Mom to watch the kids – all the kids across the years – come and go and play at recess. Two blocks from Baker High School, where Dad taught math and computers.

Early evening, sun descending, feeling nostalgic and needing a break from boxes, I took a walk with camera in hand. This is my favorite picture of that day.

So much light and laughter and love emanated from that house. Friends always used the backdoor – knocking was optional. They knew to help themselves to a pop (aka soda) from the fridge. Teenagers soon learned they were welcome to make themselves a peanut butter sandwich or scrounge for leftovers. If supper was on the table, visitors were invited to pull up a chair. I could go on and on!

So many bright memories. So much love.

Picture posted in response to Becky’s Bright Squares challenge. Prose because this photo led me down memory lane!

CMMC: April Color – Light Green or Neon Green

Figuring out what was light green or neon green was the hardest part for the April color week of Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge! Here’s what I finally chose.

Green Apples from Jack’s Tree. Central Iowa. October 2, 2017.
Frog. August 28, 2014.
New Evergreen Needles. Ankeny, Iowa. May 20, 2020.
Reiman Gardens, Iowa State University Campus, Ames, Iowa. April 13, 2021.
Panoramic Awareness Pavilion Panels (Sculpture by artist Olafur Eliasson). Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Des Moines, Iowa. January 8, 2021.

CMMC: April Close-Up or Macro

As I looked at photos I took at Reiman Gardens last Saturday (April 3, 2021), I found three of the same tree that I think work for the April’s Close-Up or Macro Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge.

The shapes and patterns of both the flower buds and the unopened leaves are interesting.

But it was probably the color of the leaves that first caught my eye.

Because I knew I’d never remember it is a Wayfaring Tree Viburnum, I snapped a picture of the identification tag!

Challenges: Bright Square and Flower of the Day

Becky over at The Life of B is challenging us to a post a bright square photo every day in April. The only hard and fast rule is that it must be square. Since I decided to join the fun with a photo of a flower, I’m including it in Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge as well.

Bluebells and Shadows on White Stone, Reiman Gardens, Ames, Iowa, April 3, 2021.

CMMC: Bright Rectangles

“Bright Rectangles” is the photo challenge theme for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge being guest hosted by Becky at The Life of B this week. Go to Becky’s blog post here and Cee’s post here for a little background and to see their photographs with bright rectangles.

Metal Plant Identification Tag on Rose Bush

I took these pictures Saturday, April 3rd, at Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State University campus. Plants aren’t particularly rectangular, but plant identification tags, stone steps, stone walls, railings, bricks, windows and their various shadows are!

Stone Steps and Wall
Sun Shining through Hand Rail
Wisteria Arbor
Sunshine and Shadow in the Events Hall

CMMC: March Alphabet – Words with “CH” or “CK”

When I started a list of possible subjects for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge I soon had a long list of words with “ch” or “ck” in them. I finally chose childhood as a common theme.

Childhood Rocking Chair

While extracting my childhood rocking chair from the piles of stuff in the basement, I had to move a box of children’s books my mom brought to me rather than throw away. There was also a bag of vinyl records my husband couldn’t bear to see discarded, including a few child friendly recordings.

Hickory Dickory Dock, Pinocchio, Tom Tucker & Dickie Bird, Donald Duck, Sherlock Hemlock, School

Three Charlie Brown stories by Charles Schulz!

Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

The last two photos are from my archive. Taken at a special exhibit at Reiman Gardens a couple years ago, they are of larger than life-size childhood games.

Checkers on Checkerboard
Chess

Reiman Gardens: “Mirror, Mirror on the Phal”

Last Friday – the day before the first day of spring – was windy but warmish. With hopes of buds on trees and new plants poking out of the ground, I grabbed my camera and headed to Reiman Gardens on the campus of Iowa State University. The discovery of the day was a special exhibit in the Hughes Conservatory: “Mirror, Mirror on the Phal.”

“Phalaenopsis orchids are like faces: if divided from top to bottom, one side reflects the other. Such symmetry occurs throughout nature. Just look around – mammals, insects, and many leaves exhibit this quality. Where can you spot symmetry?”

Reiman Gardens Website, https://www.reimangardens.com/exhibition/2021-patterns-unfolding/, 3/23/21.

“Of course, another place to see a reflection is in a mirror. The Evil Queen in Snow White made famous the phrase, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?” We think nature presents us with the greatest beauty, whether symmetrical or not. We see it reflected in the drama of a sunset, the simplicity of a Phalaenopsis, and even within ourselves.  At the start of 2021, we invite you to reflect and seek all the beauty you can find. Even just by looking in a mirror.”

Reiman Gardens Website, https://www.reimangardens.com/exhibition/2021-patterns-unfolding/, 3/23/21

The reflections in the hexagonal mirrors were so much fun! I’m planning to go back some afternoon – rather than the morning – just to take pictures when the sun is coming from a different direction.

They have set it up for one-way traffic through the Conservatory and masks are required. But it’s not a large place, so I was thrilled when I was the only one in there. The last photo is looking back through the exit doors.

Hoping you’ll take a few minutes to reflect on all the beauty you see – especially when looking in the mirror!

CMMC: Pick a Topic from Cee’s Picture March Challenge

My favorite of Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenges is the week we get to Pick a Topic from her photo. You can see it here. There are always so many possibilities!

Railroad Crossing, Elkhart, Iowa. March 21, 2021.

I went on a photo scavenger hunt for Railroad Crossing Arms. My first thought didn’t work: boring gray sky and too much traffic. So I decided to head north on a road running parallel to the railroad tracks. Found a RR Crossing in Elkhart where one of the taller structures in town – a water tower – and some spring trees could be captured in one photo. Even better, the sun finally came out!

Road to Alleman, Iowa. May 30, 2019

The picture of a road to Alleman with its grain elevators dates back a couple of years. I tried to duplicate it yesterday but the clouds in the original photo are ever so much better! Topics: road with yellow and white lines, tall structure, and blue sky with clouds.

The third photo is of the tallest building in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. And it’s one I’ve shared before – for a photo challenge with the theme “city.” Not only does it have a tall building, there is a traffic light too.

801 Grand, Des Moines, Iowa. August 31, 2019.

Remembering: Renewal of Vows

Wedding Bands. 1994.

I’ve been thinking about a photo challenge with the word “renewal” for a week. Music and prayer, walking and reading are sources of renewal. The buds on trees now growing more noticeable here in central Iowa remind me that spring, a season of renewal, is on the way.

But my heart continues to return to the day my best beloved and I renewed our wedding vows.

Wedding Day. 1994.

John had been receiving Hospice Care at home since March. We both knew his days were numbered and were cherishing our time together.

At some point ten or twelve months earlier we’d looked at a new wedding band for him since his original band had become too big, often sliding off his finger. Being the frugal sort we opted not to buy at that time.

When choosing to stop all cancer treatment in late February, we hoped to vacation along the Oregon coast together one last time. Visiting family on the way there or back was part of the plan. Covid-19 squashed those ideas.

By August, I was doing whatever I could to grant John’s every wish. Having not spent the money on travel, we had no qualms about buying new rings.

Renewal of Vows. September 3, 2020.

The words of my Facebook post that day sum it up:

Somewhat impromptu renewal of vows.
Over the last month John has asked me to marry him more times than I can count.
We ordered new rings a week ago.
Picked up the rings this morning then drove by Urbandale UCC scouting a suitable location to renew vows.
Pastor Dave was there and agreed to preside so we just did it.

– Facebook Post, September 3, 2020.
New Wedding Bands. 2020.

John died in October; I shared his Final Word in my post After All Souls Day; you can read it here.

The renewal of vows was less about the promises made and more about the love we shared every day for more than 25 years: a deep, abiding mutual admiration of each other with a longing and commitment to help each other become the person God called us each to be. While I truly miss the daily companionship of my best beloved, I am grateful beyond words for all John taught me and the way he encouraged me in life’s journey.

May you celebrate love today and every day.

CMMC – February Pick a Topic

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge the third Wednesday of February is to use her picture to pick a topic (or two or more!) for your pictures. Click here to see her picture; it shows yard/gardening tools as well as a portable outhouse on a trailer with trees in the background.

Abandoned Outhouse. Neumann Ranch Dump, Montana. August 2008.

In my search for a picture (just one!) with a garden tool, I discovered photos of an old outhouse that had been hauled to the ranch dump. Tipped on its side, it’s definitely no longer in use!

Besides just general messing around with a camera in hand that day, Dad intended to dig a few potatoes. So here’s a picture of a shovel in use.

Digging Potatoes. Garden at Neuman Ranch, Montana. August 2008.

Same ranch, same characters, same intent and maybe the same shovel four years later. This time with trees in the background.

Dad Digging Taters. Garden at Neuman Ranch, Montana. August 2012.

Switching things up, I remembered an outdoor cleanup day at a church that might show some tools. To my delight, I found a photo that shows a bit of fun while getting the work done with a rake.

Caleen with Rake. Muscatine, Iowa. November 2012.

Finally, for a little winter work, here’s a broom and a snow shovel being put to good use.

John and Don Clearing the Deck. Muscatine, Iowa. December 2007.