Morning photo: Lingering …

Sweet October

After a chilly and rainy spell in mid-October, Indian Summer made a comeback late in the month, except here in Austria, it’s called Altweiber Sommer (old women’s summer). In the lowlands of the Danube River Valley there still hasn’t been a killing frost, which means there are garden roses hanging on to brilliant summer hues, and in the fields, wild mushrooms still abound. I wonder if it will last into November?

Morning photo: Autumn vibes

Pray for grace

I sometimes see my photos in dreams, and also dreams in my photos. A couple of days ago, I visited the tree in the last picture in this set in my dreams, walking hand in hand and feeling a new radiant love. For some reason, I woke up with a prayer on my lips, not a traditional prayer but the following Michael Franti groove, of which I’ve posted an excerpt. Catch a great live version of the song here:

“I take a moment to myself
So I can hear myself
To feel myself
And be real myself
Life’s addictions and afflictions
‘Cause abrasions from their friction
Sometimes it’s easier to live in fiction
I can run, but I can’t hide
From the pains that reside down deep inside
There is no pill that can be swallowed
There is no guru that can be followed
There’s no escapin’ from my own history
Those that I hurt and those that hurt me
I was dead for a million years ‘fore I was born and
I’ll be dead for a million more after I’m gone
So I live to give somethin’ that can live on
Like the way you hum a song when the music’s gone
Like the warmth of the sand when the sun goes down
And I’m sittin’ with myself, nobody else is around … “

Morning photo: Streets of Vienna

In the city …

By and large, cities aren’t exactly my thing. But there are a few metropolitan areas where I’ve always thought I could live — for example L.A. and San Francisco, because they’re just so damn cool, or Munich (where I did live for a while) because it’s really more of an overgrown village than a city. Vienna, the capital of Austria, is definitely one of the places I could hang my hat.

I hadn’t really spent a lot of time here up to know, just a few visits as a tourist, but even during those short trips, I had the feeling that, beneath the urban hustle and bustle was a city with heart and soul. I felt some of that a few weeks ago, visiting during a huge demonstration and march in support of humane refugee policies. Since then, I’ve had a chance to start exploring the city along the Danube just a bit more, and even better, getting to know some of its people. I’ve only scratched the surface, but what I’ve found so far is a place that values art and community deeply and deliberately fosters a culture tolerance and openness. Vienna has a collective conscience, in contrast to the dog-eat-dog mentality that marks so many modern urban agglomerations, and there are killer coffee and pastry shops on nearly every corner — but that’s another story!

Can’t get enough of our Blue Marble?

New NASA website features daily deep space views of Earth


Remind yourself, once a day, of the fragility of our planet. Via NASA.

Staff Report

A high-tech space camera on a satellite orbiting 1 million miles away is giving Earthlings a daily view of the planet via a new NASA website. The images gathered by the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) enable the world to see images of the full, sunlit side of the Earth every day. Continue reading

Morning photo: Rainy day(s)

Finding color on rainy, gray days isn’t all that hard, especially in the fall, when the plant world erupts in one last blast of color before winter’s grays and whites take over. Keeping my iPhone dry deep in the pocket of a raincoat, I set out for a short walk along the base of the Pöstlingberg, where residential streets give way to small urban garden plots, hedges and farm fields, looked for the brightest splotches I could find, including backyard fruit trees and berry bushes along the trail.

Morning photo: #Fleamarketfinds

One man’s junk …

Since I didn’t need a pair of used — but shiny — wingtips, I didn’t buy anything at the Linz fleamarket this morning, but I still had a good time. Fleamarkets can definitely evoke some pretty strong feelings if you let yourself drift down memory lane. I recognized several toy cars that I coveted as a toddler, and at another stand was a collection Pez dispensers that also brought back a flood of childhood remembrances. But the best part is watching the negotiations between buyers and sellers — the Italian shoe salesman explaining the intricacies of a small espresso maker, or the Matchbook car dealer, knowing that he has some real treasures, and refusing to sell himself short.

Morning photo: Snaps

Die Waldschänke …

After a few days of good old Central European gray and drizzly skies, the sun burst forth on Monday morning, so we headed up the hill to a local Waldschänke — a mountainside eatery that’s favored by hikers seeking a view over the broad Danube Valley around Linz. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the type of place that requires hours of strenuous slogging — more like a short walk up a country lane through farmyards and orchards, just enough exercise to work up a bit of an appetite for some country cooking.


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