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Welcome to My World
December, 2003

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These photos are unpopulated. Perhaps later I'll add photos of the many people who shared their world with me this month.

First Snow
Six inches fell on Friday, Dec. 5. I played hookey from work and spent hours exploring Naaman's Creek to the northeast and Perkin's Run to the southwest. Acres and acres all to myself.

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Breck's Mill Race
Reflections on the surface of moving water are fascinating, especially water in transition from smooth to turbulent.

TV Noodle
This is a small drawing, four by five inches, drawn absently while watching TV. It was scanned and colored in Photoshop to produce the image you see here. I rarely draw, but this little piece seems full of promise, either as the first of other drawings or the start of a mathematical study of images created by simple rules. Three rules in this case are that lines end in half circles and must curve slightly and overlap.

Last Photo of Bobie
My faithful companion of over eighteen years died this month of starvation. She had simply stopped eating. We were sitting nearby addressing Christmas cards when she jerked. There were several more jerks and gasps for breath, during which we showered her with affection, gratitude, and tears as we comforted her as best we could and thanked God for her presence in our lives. Then she was stiff and glassy eyed. I cannot look at this photo without experiencing a seesaw of grief and joy. I must have hundreds of photos of her, having had her since she was weaned. What a patient cat. How fortunate I have been to be able to care for this small creature with all her endearing and exasperating habits.

Caroling at Retirement Communities
I went along to photograph one group of carolers from Westminster Presbyterian Church as several groups took Christmas cheer out across the city and suburbs. Many people were delighted to hear us, coming out of their rooms or singing from their wheelchairs. Those were the best moments. Then, two days later, carolers showed up at our door here in Arden, where I was home-bound with a cold.

The Landlord Game
This week I got a call from the PBS television show called “History Detectives.” They are tracking down the history of the Monopoly game, which began as the Landlord Game, a game invented by a Quaker who wanted to teach Henry George's principles of the Single Tax on land. It was Single-Tax idealists who founded Arden, our utopian village. What I did last week was photograph a 93-year-old neighbor’s game board, a board hand-made by her father-in-law in 1906. That’s the board seen here. You can learn more about the Georgists on the Arden Club website.

Soup Night
Once a week in cold weather, my wife makes a big ol' pot of soup and friends bring bread, wine, dessert, and more. Of necessity, we cannot invite all our neighbors, so the number attending has never been more than thirty-one. These meals are so enjoyable, many of us hate to see warm weather return or the weekly ritual interrupted by holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Who would think people would prefer each other's company to television or the Internet? Hey! Do an Internet search now for good soup recipes, buy a large table and extra chairs, buy a bunch of bowls and soup spoons at garage sales and thrift stores, and then invite your neighbors over. Who knows—some might show up! Click here to see an essay on false appetites and true, inspired by a conversation last winter at a soup night.

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