Mother Blue

I photo. I take day trips. I lightsaber battle. I analyze the stuffing out of myself.

Category: Nature

Summer Skies in Winter

My Reflection in the Dirty Window on the 6th Floor

I spent most of the past year and a half looking up.

My obsession with “up” was born out of another obsession (borderline paranoid neurosis) that was born out of purchasing a home. I am an excessive roof/gutter checker, i.e. I am terrified that I will awake one day to a huge hole in my box gutter, or an even bigger one in my roof. This daily practice has caused me to look more upwards more often than most people should. This habit has gradually morphed into my neck craning skyward whenever I venture outdoors. First it was to check out everyone else’s roofs and gutters and compare their maintenance/deterioration to mine. But all this measured structural analysis led my eye drift skyward on more days. I guess I didn’t realize until quite recently how striking Pennsylvania skies can be; or maybe I just don’t remember them ever being quite as dynamic as they were this year; or perhaps there was just more pollution creating more cloud covers and wacky weather patterns; or maybe I was just paying closer attention than ever before; or maybe I just chose to look up more often.

Clouds Over my House.

Looking up into the sky reminds me of my summers working as a sweeperette at Kennywood Park. Back in those days, I loved having the 4 p.m. shift. The late start to the work day helped me to avoid walking around the park in the wretched noon day sun. And as an added bonus, if the weather was pleasant, it gave me a chance to head to the local water park with a few of my friends who also had my same schedule. We would always dash straight towards the “Lazy River.” We spent the day talking and not talking while floating um, lazily, in oversized inner tubes on this man-made “river.” We held onto the handles of each other’s tubes in order to stay together amongst the long line of tubers. Usually we ended the day happy, sleepy, and near sun poisoned. The following hours would entail sweeping up the remnants of leftover amusement park fun while nursing our pinkish skin with aloe vera, praying for the cotton of our polo shirts to stop scratching at our blisters. Ah, the bliss of young summers.

Parking Lot Sunset.

The memory of one of those “water park days” came to mind the other night. I remembered sitting on the foot of my friend’s bed laughing, joking, and listening to music before getting ready to head out. The Bodyguard soundtrack was playing in the background. As the next track began to play, my friend stopped talking, sat down on the bed, and leaned back on her elbows. She tilted her head back, inhaled and then exhaled and said, almost in the register of a shout, “I love this song.” She belted out that tune like it was written for her. She was looking up when she first belted out her tune, and then she turned her head looked directly at me and began to sing in that jokey way only close girlfriends can. I followed suit. I remember the look on her face and sound of her voice as if it were yesterday.

That was the summer before “devastatingly” serious relationships started to rear their lovely, angst filled heads; the summer before my mother died; the time when college was just beginning, before  momentum of growing up took hold. I loved the innocence of those Kennywood summers, the simplicity of lying on a bed and singing out loud with a close friend. When living in those moments were all you were required to do. I spent most of those summers looking at the ground, sweeping. I barely opened my eyes on the “Lazy River” because the sun was usually quite bright, even on the most overcast of days. I looked for the moments I could peek through and let the sunlight in, but I was often left seeing the imprints the clouds left behind when I was forced to close my eyes again.

Driving back from the water park, the car was usually quiet and listless. Sometimes I would plop myself down in the seat and rest my head on the passenger side window. I was finally able to look up and out into the summer sky without sunny obstructions and daydream into the cloud patterns. Certain clouds would catch my eye and I would stare at them the entire drive, wondering if they would be able to hang on to our speedometer long enough and make it all the way to our destination. The screech of brake dust when we arrived in the parking lot woke me from my fixation. “Sigh. Eight more hours of work.” Summer was calling…

• • •

Excerpts from “looking up”. A few unposted skies from this past year.

After the storm

Cloud that Followed Me After the Storm.

Cloud that Waited for Me After the Graduation Party.

Winter Storm 1

Winter Storm 2

Winter Storm 3

Tightrope to the Clouds.

Waiting for Batman 1.

Waiting for Batman 2.

Jack's Cloud City (reminds us of The Empire Strikes Back).


Exploring Berlin, Waiting for Others (reminder)



Exploring my own “Berlin”. Wish you were here. Will call when I return.

Please Leave a Message…



Hope to see you soon.







Twin Lakes

Me and Twin Lakes, photo by Jackie

A Thursday afternoon lesson in randomness, detours, and the contrasting forces of nature.

Amongst the myriad of different things I had on my “to do” list, one particular item of note was that I needed to trek from Pittsburgh to Latrobe to pick up the Isaac Rullo images that were selected and juried at Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival over the July 4th holiday.

Equipped with my favorite travel companion: my son, Jack, camera and liquid refreshments in tow, we headed out… and nature stepped in.

About 40 minutes into our hour-long journey to Twin Lakes Park, the weather began to change, quickly. At that moment, I had never seen clouds roll in that fast, nor had I ever seen a bolt of lightning with such force and precision so live and in person. Sparks burst and flew all over the sky and all over Route 30 (Happy 4th of July indeed). The transformer box that was attached to a utility pole on the side of the road took the shear brunt force of the bolt. It was in that particular type of slow motion that is over in an instant. It was beautiful, it was startling, and in that moment, I wished I had captured this “something” on my camera.

Visibility was becoming less and less apparent and Jack was getting more and more quiet. The road no longer seemed a safe place to be.

The massive drops of rain and wind forced us into a nearby parking lot. There were a few cars that followed my lead but not the mass exodus to safety I had expected. I guess the hearty eastbound venturers are more used to random inclement weather than this city dweller.

We sat in the parking lot listening to the rain strike the outside objects and tap feverishly on the roof of our car. I asked Jack if he was nervous. Through the rear view mirror I saw him silently mouth the word “yes”. I dug into the annals of random useless knowledge archive and explained to him the safety of being in a car during a storm as it was explained to me many years ago. Our conversation drifted from rubber tires to raindrop patterns to other wonderfully mediocre things. Those lovely “eureka” moments of saying exactly the right things to turn fear and anxiety into exploration and humor are my most precious with Jack. The clouds finally, slowly, started moving away from our little hideout.

A nervous Jack

Feeling the window temperature contrast between cold and warm, something I always loved doing since I was a child.

The leftover fireworks tent along side the car

View through the windshield.

Do we venture towards the storm, or do we head back and make this journey all over again tomorrow? We were more than half way there and it appeared the storm was drifting and dissipating in varying directions. We took a risk and ended up at our destination in a little over ten minutes.

The art was picked up and placed in my car. The sky was still fluctuating between grey matter and blue skies. I was getting ready to suggest a walk to check out the beauty of this park, but Jack had already began to run with delight towards the water. Nature did a 180, and just like that I began to run as well.

Jack running within moments after we picked up the images.

I have taken to photographing feet as of late. I guess it shows where we are, where we have gone and where we are going. Here are Jack's.

Mine on the footbridge.

The Twin Lakes Forest

Nature walk.

My reflection in the lake.

Building on Twin Lakes.

No fishing, part 1

No fishing, part 2

Boats along side the lake

Walking the bridge.


All photos by Kim Rullo (unless otherwise noted).