Early Bird

By Vladimir Brezina

The early bird captures the shot…

Early Bird 1Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Early Bird 2Key Biscayne, Florida

Early Bird 3Start of the 2014 Everglades Challenge, Tampa Bay, Florida

A contribution to this week’s Photo Challenge, Early Bird.

Blur

By Vladimir Brezina

Ice skating in Central Park, NYC, some years back…

Blur 1
Blur 2
Blur 3
Blur 4

A contribution to this week’s Photo Challenge, Blur.

Immortal Beauty

By Johna Till Johnson

Maria Radner

Maria Radner, 1981-Eternity

Among the victims of Germanwings Flight 9525 was Maria Radner, a German opera singer. She was a 33-year old contralto who specialized in Wagner.  I hadn’t heard of her before—no surprise since I’m new to opera, and have yet to warm to Wagner’s music.

But a commentator on one of the news stories posted the video below. Maria Radner sings “Urlicht” (“Primeval Light”) from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, the Resurrection Symphony.

It’s just under five minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite so lovely. Looking into her serene blue-gray eyes and insouciant half smile, and listening to that soaring voice, all I can think of is that although a deranged man was able to take away her life, the beauty she brought into this world is immortal.

The lyrics translate as follows:

I am from God and want to return to God!
The loving God will give me a little of the light,
will illuminate me into the eternal blessed life!

She got that wish.

I only wish that it hadn’t happened quite so soon.

Ephemeral

By Vladimir Brezina

Ephemeral

A contribution to this week’s Photo Challenge, Ephemeral.

Graceful

By Vladimir Brezina

The photographer was pretty graceful, too…

Graceful(Fort Lauderdale, Florida, February 2015)

A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Graceful.

Orange

By Vladimir Brezina

Orange 1
Orange 2
Orange 3From the 2013 Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

A contribution to this week’s Photo Challenge, Orange.

Ice on the River

By Johna Till Johnson

Ice on the river

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me!

Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

This is quite possibly my favorite poem ever. I once memorized part of it to recite for Vlad’s birthday. It always gives me shivers, in part because Whitman was, literally, talking directly to us, “men and women generations after me”.

But this past February, there weren’t many “crested and scallop-edg’d waves”—only acres of ice floes, bobbing sluggishly in the current. It’s hard to believe that lively, open water will return–but spring is less than a month away!

Ice floes have their own bleak beauty, though, especially during a snowstorm. I recently took a walk along the East River and up alongside the Harlem River. This is what I saw (click any photo to start slideshow):