Monday, November 24, 2008


Zentonym©: [zen-tuh-nim] noun: Something which disturbs the Zen-like quality of ones surroundings, by emitting a loud noise or attitude, or by displaying a cool, unfriendly demeanor. ~ The Smitten Image's Suburban Dictionary.

There are a few areas around and about my place and Frank's where we like to walk. As you know by the many photos I've shared, they're picturesque areas - all of which include a body of water of some sort. It's impossible to wander through these paths and shorelines and not be struck with the beauty of our surroundings. Every season brings a splendour of its own.

Generally, we encounter other walkers, many of whom have one or more dogs with them. Benny is a friendly pup and would like nothing more than to sniff and be sniffed by another canine. There's a bonus in it for him if the pet-owner also shows him some affection. Most people find it impossible to resist a happy, bouncy little dog running at top speed to greet them. Many of them know Benny by name, and will also oblige Frank and me with a bit of passing conversation when we catch up to Benny.

Recently, at one of our usual locations, two youngish women have begun taking daily walks along the path. We usually meet them head-on at the beginning of their quick-paced walk, their heads tilted downward, yet toward one another in loud, steady, animated conversation. The unusual, and somewhat off-putting nature of their activity, is that they don't look up. Ever. They do not appear to notice their surroundings, nature's activity or other people on the paths. They seem totally oblivious to the beauty of their environs, and they're missing out on a lot.

One lovely morning, before this wintry cold settled in, Frank was alone with Benny as they strolled down the path between a pond and the creek. Similar to the day when this photo was taken, the wonderful Great Blue Heron graced these women with its presence, as it ambled majestically across the path directly in front of them. The women never broke stride, never looked up and never knew what an incredible gift of nature they had just ignored. How important can your daily non-stop conversation be, not to notice such a beautiful creature walk right in front of you?

Between Frank and me, these women have encountered one or the both of us and Benny with some degree of regularity. Their eyes flicker upward only briefly - enough to avoid bumping into us. Benny does his usual "look how cute I am!" scamper and hop as he runs up to them and... nothing. It's as if a dead leaf blew past them. One morning, I decided to greet them despite the lack of eye contact. "Good morning!" In unison, they responded with a "gmng." Their eyes never left the pavement and their conversation scarcely skipped a beat. I thought I should try harder next time.

Last week, our paths were covered with a few centimeters of snow. It was the first accumulation this year and Frank and I trudged along trying to maintain our upright status, while Benny was all charged up and raring to go. He ran off ahead of us stopping only to bury his nose occasionally, eat some snow and run back toward us to encourage us along. The women were finishing their walk and approached us as we began our own. I didn't wait for eye-contact, which I knew by now was not forthcoming. This time I simply said "Good morning" and when I got my "gmng" in return, I pressed on with "It sure is a beautiful one, eh?" Again, I saw one set of eyes glance not even toward me, but upward, as if noticing the weather for the first time. One of them grunted with a mild, feigned enthusiasm "yeah." And that was it. The other one pressed the resume button on their mechanical conversation, and they tuned out the rest of the world once again.

The very next morning, I stopped briefly, but often to take some shots since the snow-covered trees looked quite lovely. This time we could hear them approaching loudly from behind. You'd think by now they'd acknowledge the people they encounter daily, but their steady conversation - important and busy, cut through the tranquility of the day like an approaching siren. They were quite far behind me, and I stood with my back to them, camera poised to take a shot of the cedar-lined path - the breeze creating a mini snowfall in front of me.

Through the years, I can't guess how many times I've stopped or changed my route slightly to allow a photographer to get the shot he or she is after. I'd say there were at least as many times when others have extended that same courtesy to me. I'm not suggesting that these women intentionally ignored my attempt to get a shot. I doubt they would be that rude if they had noticed, but they didn't. Without so much as a pause, or a "good morning" they walked right around me, and into the shot. To add to our growing distaste for the pair, Benny gleefully trotted alongside them for a greeting. One of them must have twitched her eye slightly because she saw him approach with his usual excited, tail-wagging bounce. This is when we heard her utter her first voluntary words to anyone other than her walking partner. "Get Down!"

Frank dislikes their presence because they mess with the quiet, Zen-like surroundings which are otherwise so soothing and relaxing. We are calmed by the incredible species of birds we see each day, and by the sound of the water which trips and bubbles over rocks as it makes its way out to the lake. Throughout summer there are numerous flowers which add brilliant colours to the the sunny fields, and the trees in the nearby cedar groves share their undeniable magic - whether dotted by emerging ferns, accented by the hues of autumn or covered in a blanket of snow. A living being can not walk these paths and off-paths without feeling the wonder which surrounds them. I have to question why this is all invisible to these women. What makes them adhere to the paved path, unable to look outward from the tiny space of their own conversation? Why can't they feel some sense of harmony with nature - the air, water and land to which we're all connected?

I do realize that despite my feeble attempts, I can't change how others behave, so I know that I am simply going to have to refuse to allow it to bother me. It's truly their loss. They're young. Maybe someday, they'll open their eyes and have a good look around them. Perhaps they just need a camera or a dog, or a walk off-path, into the magic of the cedars.

Below are some photos which were taken on our walks last week.

You know it's winter when apples no longer float on the pond, but sit upon its frozen surface. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

The entrance to the pathway which we take on our morning walks is lined with cedars. The trees offer shade in summer and protection from the cold winds of winter. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

The breeze stirs the freshly fallen snow, and creates a mini flurry of snowflakes - best seen at a larger image size. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

Leaving the paved path behind, we broke through fresh snow to follow the creek. (please click to enlarge photo)

Last winter, Frank spread birdseed at various points during our morning walks. As he cleared the snow from specific logs and rocks, Benny would transform into manic mode, biting and eating the freshly-swept snow. With this new dusting, it was evident that he hadn't forgotten that routine. Here he is, with his snow-covered face, waiting for Frank to clear the snow. Maybe next time, Benny. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

The sun filters through a patch of snow-laden brush. A tree log might be home to a few small, woodland animals. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

A small cluster of snow-covered red berries stands out among the otherwise barren branches. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

Just before dusk, our afternoon walk takes us to another part of the field, where the south cedar grove awaits us. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

The sky beyond the creek reflects the vibrant hues of the setting sun behind us. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

Inside the grove, this cedar balances the fiery sun in the crook of her elbow. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

Exiting the grove, a beautiful sunset guides our way home. (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)

How can the beauty of this day not touch even those in their state of Zentonym©? (please click once, and then again to enlarge photo.)


Anonymous said...

A beautifully written post and the photos are exceptional as well. I love your dog, Benny. What a warrior he is.

The people who grunt might have some mental problem. Here, where we live, the old mental institutions closed their doors and set the patients out in the street years ago. Only the worst of the worst are housed anywhere and then for their own welfare.

It is hard to say what the problem with them is but it is anti social for some reason. Don't let it get you down. I could tell you some things to do that would begin to wear on them and no doubt would cause them to begin greeting you but I won't do that now.

Mental P Mama said...

We have people like those gals here, too. Very sad, and very zentonymic. Love your beautiful shots, as always. And I really want Benny to come for a visit;)

Frank Baron said...

Good thinking, writing and photography. You hit the trifecta! (Again.) :)

It truly IS their loss. I hope someday they become aware of that. Aware, period. ;)

Cheffie-Mom said...

So well written. And the pictures are wonderful. It sad that people miss the beauty of life right in front of them. We should all take the time to Stop and Smell the Rosemary. (:

Shauna said...

I'm new here! What a great blog :)

Leah J. Utas said...

I'm annoyed just reading about those two. Thankfully your photos restored my equilibrium. And that glorious pic of Benny in the snow put a smile back on my face. That is about the cutest thing ever.

Travis Erwin said...

Bennie just wants to be Santa-Dog.

the Bag Lady said...

Hilary - people like make me shake my head. Maybe one day they'll wake up and see the beauty that surrounds them - especially if your photos are any indication of what they are missing!
Benny, as always, steals the show with his absolute cuteness!

the Bag Lady said...

oops - "people like THAT make me shake my head...."

Anonymous said...

I think they maybe they are international spies plotting their next mission. They have to be outside so they aren't overhead, and they are just really, really focused on this planning stage. It could happen...

Although how they could turn out BENNY is a true testament to their concentration.

Clowncar said...

What they all said - well-written and beautifully photographed.

That couple reminds me - oddly - of many of the parents picking up their kids at school. They stay in their cars, engines running, radio on, while all these little kids tumble out of the school, interacting with the leaves, the snow, the puddles, whatever is around. Watching that tumble of kids (and walking my own kids to the car a block away) is one of my favorite parts of the day. The adults in the cars seem to seal themselves off from it. And by their behavior are teaching their kids to do the same.

RiverPoet said...

Your photographic skills are only exceeded by your wonderful love and appreciation of nature.

While I also can't imagine (1) not appreciating the natural beauty of the world along your walk and (2) appreciating Benny's exuberance, I realize that some people take their walk as seriously outdoors as they would in a gym. They walk as though they are on a treadmill, and they might as well be. They take no appreciation of the world.

To me, my walk is for my sanity and that of my crazy Bulldogs; any fitness benefits are a bonus. Like you, I enjoy the beautiful visual art that is the world of the outdoors.

Thanks for sharing yours with us - D

Dr.John said...

You post beautiful pictures and I enjoyed them all.
Sometimes we need to look at other people not as a problem but as people. It is possible they have been hurt by their contacts with others.
Its possible they have some deep grief that keeps them from seing beauty in the world.
Feel for them.
Keep saying Good Morning. Keep smiling.
Add a little something good to their world.

Kat said...

You are blessed to see the beauty in nature and all around you. You do not take it for granted. You appreciate all the little and grand things. My parents have this gift and I hope to pass it on to my children as well.

I can only imagine those women have a deficiency of some sort. Whether it be social skills or even something mental. I just don't know.

But how luck we are that we do see. :)

SandraRee said...

Always, wonderfully written and your photography touches my soul... every single time Hilary. :)

Daryl said...

See I knew you were a nicer person than I am ... if they'd walked into my shot after being rude over the course of time I would have said loudly distinctly 'thanks for ruining my shot'... people like those two truly make me want to be evil....


Yolanda said...


Anonymous said...

As frustrating as it is to "meet" such self-absorbed people out on a walk --esp. a walk as gorgeous as yours is!-- it truly is their loss. Perhaps instead of shaking our heads in amazement, we should pity them. Those two women are missing SO much beauty, so much wonder, so much magic.

Your apple shot is fantastic. I thought you had set that picture up yourself, but now I see it was completely natural.

Please tell me you are going to enlarge and frame the berries in snow photograph! Or at least make & sell cards with that picture on them. If I took photographs with as much beauty in them as you manage to capture, I would be selling my wares at craft fairs. You have a great deal of talent in your fingers and a wonderful eye for detail, Hilary.

Thank you once again for taking us on a walk.

PS: We knew a dog like Benny a couple of years ago. His name was Jack and my kids loved to walk by Jack's house and play with him in his backyard (with his owner's approval, of course). Benny is ADORABLE, esp. when he is playing Santa Claus in the snow! ;)

david mcmahon said...

Beautiful shots, especially the berries.

We had snow on the weekend - and we're a week away from summer!

Country Girl said...

Those berries look like Bittersweet, Hilary.

And those women are bitter, and combined with the gorgeous surroundings, you could call that bittersweet, too.

Lovely shots. Sorry to hear about the two loud-mouth bitches. I mean women.

Nah, I mean bitches.

Sandra said...

The pictures are all beautiful but I especially like the one of Benny and the last one.

I may be "generalizing" but I find that a person who doesn't warm up to a sweet little dog, is usually someone I won't warm up to. I feel that that cold attitude toward a harmless animal reflects a "stingy spirit."

Hilary said...

• Thanks for your kind comments, Abe. I agree that these women are anti-social - at least to anyone outside of their own conversation, and really I don't let it get me down - just a bit bothered. I'd love to hear your ideas on reversing their pattern of ignoring us, if you'd be willing to share. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, MPM. I suppose there are people like that everywhere. It's just a shame - more for them than anyone else. I'm sure that Benny would be thrilled with a visit. Do you have any cats that he can torment? ;) Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks muchly times three, Frank. I hope they figure it out soon. We can't have them keep ruining your Zen for much longer! ;)

• Thanks very kindly, Cheffie. Only a chef would stop and smell the Rosemary! Such Sage and Thymely advice. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Welcome, TTSC and thanks for the kind words. I hope you'll be back soon. :)

• Ack, Leah. I'm sure glad that your equilibrium has been restored. I wouldn't want to be responsible for getting in the way of all the writing that you're dong lately. Benny sure is a clown, eh? Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

• Ha, Travis! Or Santa Paws. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Baggie. I know. They're a head-scratcher, eh? I'm glad Benny could bring some levity to your day. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Susan, that might explain the colanders they wear on their heads. You might just be onto something. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Clowncar. You're absolutely right. It's been a number of years since my kids were that young, but there were always those parents that tuned out the world around them, often blocking safe sidewalk passage and traffic with their vehicles, as they waited for their child while partially pulled into a nearby driveway. I'm so glad you and your kids enjoy that part of the day together. It's something I bet they'll never forget. Thanks for your very thoughtful comment. :)

• Thanks very much for the kind words, RiverPoet. You're quite right about some people treating the outdoors as treadmills rather than enjoying the real thing which we try to simulate in a gym. I've been there myself at times, iPod in ear, counting the minutes until I could go inside to escape the cold. My camera has allowed me to see my surroundings quite differently though. Now I look for excuses and reasons to be out there. But even so, I've never tuned other people or animals out. I always preferred to chat for a bit, pet a dog or watch a squirrel scold me along the way. Again, it's their loss. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Dr. John. You have good, caring advice. Their demeanour suggests that they're just self-absorbed, each happy to hear their own voice and put it in motion while they wait for the other to similarly fall silent when she needs to inhale. Yours is certainly the kinder approach. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Wise words, Kat. I have no doubt that you'll instill your love for what's around you in your children. It worked for your Mom and it will for you too. I sure don't think that there's anything mentally wrong with these women. I just think they each like themselves a little more than anything else. I could well be wrong. But I don't think so. ;) Thanks for the ultra kind words. :)

• Thanks kindly, Sandra. Very much appreciated. :)

• But Daryl, just think of how much more angry you'd be when they totally ignored you. Actually, I'd like to see you in action. Join us next time, willya? :)

• Welcome, Yolanda and thanks for the kind words. Please visit again soon. :)

• Thanks so much, KC. You never fail to make my day with your kind words. I believe you're correct about it being their loss. I hope for their sake that eventually they'll see what they're missing. That apple stood right out to me on the white ice, in the middle of the lake. It's only been a couple of weeks since we were still pulling them from the trees and eating around the worms. ;) I wasn't planning on printing any of these photos, though the thought has crossed my mind from time to time. I might just look into it. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'll give Benny a scratch behind the ears for you, when I see him next. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, David. Snow in summer is way worse than a bit before winter. I hope it warms up for you soon. :)

• Say exactly what you mean, CG. No holding back now. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Sandra. Your observations are probably pretty accurate. Unless someone is fearful of dogs for any reason, their lack of warmth is quite off-putting. Thanks for the kind words. :)

blunoz said...

Another superbly written post with more of your amazing photos. I usually try to pick out one photo to tell you is my favorite of the bunch, but I'm having a hard time deciding from this bunch. The first one that really struck me was the one of the red berries with the snow piled up on top. It's always amazed me how snow can pile up so perfectly on top of any exposed surface. Another one that I really liked was where the orange sunset is peeking through the elbow of the silouetted tree. Beautiful shots!
Thanks also for enlightening me and adding to my vocabulary. I like your "zentonym" term, and it's very fitting for the pair of poor and inconsiderate women who you encounter on your daily walks. God bless you for making an effort and reaching out to them to help them look up and acknowledge their surroundings.
Keep up the good work!


photowannabe said...

Boy, I can't imagine anyone so self-absorbed as to miss the glorious Nature you have captured. I would definitely sound like a broken record..oo-ing and ah-ing over such scenery.
I absolutely love the picture of the apple on ice. I wonder how it would look in black and white?
To answer your question about the I didn't buy it or anything at the flea market. It was just too upscale for me. I call it an Elegant Flea Market.

Zuzana said...

Hilary, again, I am left speechless. The photographs are magnificent, breathtaking, and evocative. I am running out of adjectives.
I barely noticed Ben on the first one! And he looks so cute with his nose full of snow! You are truly blessed with having such a wonderful nature close by. The pictures are so very seasonal, thank you for sharing them with us, once again.

In regards to the young women you meet on your daily walks: I too often wonder how can beauty of nature escape so many. And I completely and utterly fail to understand how people cannot fall for the love and affection of animals. It is almost a sin in my book.
I grew up surrounded by breathtaking nature and from very early years was exposed to it and was brought up cherishing it by my parents. I pity those who completely fail to realize that the greatest gift they are given is all around them and it is free.

Anonymous said...

as always you have stuck such a balance with your amazing words and stunning pics.

and cause me to realize my toddler (and by extension I am) is very zentonymic.

Dianne said...

Maybe ask them if they'd like a picture of the two of them together in such a beautiful place. Offer to take one and tell them you'll give them a print next time you all meet up.

It is possible that they have some issues with other people. There's a man who walks his dog past me every single morning. Now you know me and animals and the dog apparently did too because he would not move on until he was allowed to stop and talk to me. While the dog jumped all over me and nuzzled and licked his person would just stand there - I could feel the tension coming off of him. I am relentless so I would just keep talking and asking questions about the dog.

Turns out his wife had recently died and then he had a stroke and was heartbroken in many ways. He had trouble with his speech and was afraid to speak too long as he was prone to bursting into tears.

How do I know this - I just kept trying and the dog helped :)

Eventually we became friends and I even introuduced him to another walking neighbor - now they go walking together and have been seen at the movies and at the diner!! Imagine that :)

My morning starts off happily with visions of snow covered Benny. Thank You!

Anil P said...

Actually it is difficult to fathom why it may be so, that someone will 'choose' to be oblivious to the bounty that nature spreads for you.

Maybe if they were to visit or live in a place where there's little or no trace of natural beauty they might learn to appreciate what they missed, maybe even then they may not.

It is difficult to guage why. It might have to do with how they grew up as in upbringing and the like. Most importantly they must be willing to be touched by the beauty around them to be able to be touch in return.

It has to come from within.

It is a lovely walking path that you're blessed with where you live.

tr3nta said...

Beautiful shots and beautiful place too... the little fella looks really happy in this medium... :-)

Merisi said...

I had this naughty thought coming up while reading about those two strangely single-minded women: Why don't you approach them, asking what time of the day they will not be out there? At the worst, it silences them for a moment. ;-)

Your pictures bespeak the love you harbour for the beauty of your surroundings, they are exquisite manifestoes indeed.

Sus said...

I love Benny AND the word zentonym. :) I feel this same way about kids not being invited to weddings (I know it's a stretch, but still) and about the whole back-yard culture in our country (as opposed to neighborly, interactive front-porch culture). I'm so glad YOU look up and document your beautiful world for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Wonderful post. The photos are really beautiful and you're right, it is a very picturesque place. I think my favorite photo is the one of the dog. How cute! :-)

Tink said...

It's those people who will lay up on their death bed screaming, "But I haven't seen anything yet!"

Gorgeous photos as always. My favorites are of the apple on the frozen water and Benny (of course).

Navy Blue Cougar said...

Hi Hilary.

Very nice post. I grew up in the country in the Pacific Northwest. I admit that sometimes I don't appreciate the lovely scenery around here unless i have been away from it for a while. I think I just tend to take it for granted until it is missing. Maybe that is the same way with these women. Of course, that is not an excuse for acting like a couple of snobs.

I like your pics quite a lot. Benny is a cute pup.

Reb said...

Those are all beautiful shots Hilary. I especially like the sun in the crook of the branch. As for the girls, well, they probably are walking for the exercise and hate every minute of it. Sad really.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE it there. It is a postcard at all times of the year, I believe. I, also am working on not allowing others to take from the beauty of day to day pleasure.

Anonymous said...

PS I could not resist passing you an award.

Maggie May said...

Beautiful little dog. He could mess up my zen any day! Bless him!
Gorgeous photos.I can almost feel the crispness of the cold and snow.
Lovely sunsets. You do take good pictures.... always.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Lovely photos (all of them, but especially the berries and Mr. Benny) and thought-provoking post, Hilary. One does wonder what is going through such people's minds. Sounds like a bad case of extreme self-centeredness. If you continue smiling and greeting, and they become offended, perhaps they'll take another route to avoid you and Benny. Blessings come in may ways.

Hilary said...

• Thanks very kindly, Kevin/Bluenoz. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and post. You're right about how perfectly snow tends to blanket and take on the shape of what it covers. Unless it's particularly windy, and then the drifts take on their own shapes. I'm not so sure that the Zentonym twins actually do look up, but I appreciate your encouragement. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Photowannabe. Their lack of awareness is beyond me too, but these beautiful areas get more than their share of ooos and ahhhs from folks like you who do appreciate them. I haven't tried de-saturating the apple photo, but I will give it a shot, just for you. :) Thanks for the idea and for the very kind words.

• Thanks so much, Protege. Your kind words mean so much to me. Our surroundings have changed from wintry back to our usual dull, barren November. The snow has melted and the leaves are long gone. Somehow the grass remains pretty green though, so that's a bonus. You're so right about the "sin" of not falling for the affections of an animal. Perhaps not a sin so much as a heartbreak. I understand those that are fearful. I fully get that, but I can't help but feel a non animal lover is missing out on so much. And of course the same for the beauty of their surroundings. Then again, there are those who would scratch their heads over my lack of interest in sports (yes, I'm looking at you, Frank!). ;) Thanks for your always-thoughtful comments. :)

• Thanks for the kind words, MizFit. I kind of doubt that you and your Tornado are seriously zentonymic, but in any event you get big points in my book for adopting my word as an adjective. ;) Thanks for the visit. :)

• You have a very kind heart, Dianne. I love your story of your dog-walking neighbour and I'm so glad that you were able to get through to him and have your offer of friendship accepted. You'll just have to come walking with us. I'd like to see you in action with these two. Kind of an immovable object/irresistible force scenario. I'll have to keep your idea in mind if/when I see them again. Thanks for the suggestion and for the kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Anil. You're right - it must come from within.. and upbringing could well be a big part of it. Having the beauty of our surroundings pointed out to us when we were young would count for a lot. I hope for their sake it's still something they can/will learn. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. :)

• Thanks, Tr3nta. Benny sure is happy to scamper around the area. Then again, I can't think of a time when he's not - except of course, when he's getting bathed, right after he's rolled in a fish carcass. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Merisi. Those words mean a lot to me coming from such a fine photographer as yourself. I don't think I'd have the guts to employ your silencing tactics on these women.. maybe Daryl will do it for me! ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Sus. I'm glad you're enjoying Benny and my new word. ;) I'm on the fence about kids at weddings. I always enjoy their presence but a tired, cranky kidlet or several can also be quite a distraction on such an important day. I'd say it's the couple's call. I never resented my own kids' exclusion from the invite. I think you'd love my street though. Our summers are full of impromptu barbecues, front yard chats and late-night parties. Drop by when you're in the neighbourhood! Thanks for sharing your thoughtful comments. :)

• Thanks kindly, 2sweetnsaxy. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks muchly, Tink. Maybe they'll open their eyes long before that. We can hope. Thanks for the visit. I'll give Benny a scratch for you. :)

• Welcome, Navy Blue Cougar and thanks for the thoughtful comments. I agree that sometimes it does take being away for a while to appreciate what you have. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that. Thanks very much for the kind words. I hope you'll return again soon. :)

• Thanks very much, Reb. I can't say I'm thrilled about exercise myself, but I'd still welcome the small talk of others, and a cute pooch. It's the distractions that make it enjoyable. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the kind words, Meredith. When you've mastered keeping others from affecting your day, let me in on your secret. :) And thank you SO much for that award. You said the kindest things, and absolutely made my day. :)

• Thanks kindly, Maggie. Ben is a Zen-enhancing experience all his own. You're right about the crispness of that snow. The second day was a colder one, and it had that crunchy sound to it as we walked. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Pat. I think you've nailed it with your diagnosis of "extreme self-centeredness" But I don't think my smiling and greeting them would have an effect on them, because they'd have to notice - and they just don't. We'll see as time progresses. Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. :)

Raven said...

Beautiful photos and a beautiful post. I don't see how even the hardest and dimmest heart could resist Benny. Boy, he's just adorable. I always try to figure out if there's a purpose for someone like these women appearing in my life. I have an experiment to suggest. Experiment with changing your attitude towards them... send positive thoughts to them and try to find something positive about them to focus on. Instead of dreading their presence, experiment with welcoming it. It sounds goofy, but I've had amazing results with that kind of experiment. Ya never know. Your photos are wonderful. So is your writing.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Anyone that can resist Benny's adorableness clearly has a heart of stone.

JC said...

What awesome, wonderful, beautiful pictures. Hard to imagine just walking through without noticing the beauty. Thanks for sharing.

steviewren said...

You're post aptly displays exactly what those two woman are missing....a beauty that could feed their souls if they let it in. You, Frank and Benny are lucky to have such a amazing place to take your daily constitutional.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Only the first shot loaded for me, but I'm certain they are as beautiful as this post Hilary.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving.

Femin Susan said...


This is amazing!! I am so glad to found your blog!
Welcome to my blog…….

Cath said...

Some people are just plain rude.

Don;t let it spoil your moments. Lovely shots. Love the third one best. Thanks for coming over and visiting.

Louise said...

Every photo is so beautiful. The last with the tree against the subtly colored sky is peaceful. I like Benny's snowy face, too.

About the women... I have had the same experience here. It is a completely different world because I like in a large development that houses about 20,000 people (ten times the size of the town in which I grew up) with walking paths all over it. They are beautiful in their own way. Nothing like where you walk, but they are landscaped with native plants, and I like it. The paths are wide--wide enough for 4 or 5 people or at least 3 people with strollers. When I exercise on these paths (not much anymore because I bike to school instead), I go alone as far as adults are concerned, but have one or both of my girls. I walk, bike and rollerblade. But I SEE what is around me. And most of the other moms out there do not, and it drives me crazy. And there are some, like yours, that are loud and engrossed in conversation who do not notice the beauty around them or anyone else. They take up the whole path so that no one can get past them going either direction. They show no notice of anyone else unless I say something to make them move, then they get annoyed. ANNOYED! And yes, they are young. So many people of their age were brought up that the world revolves around them. I hope someday they learn that it doesn't.

Hilary said...

• Raven, it truly doesn't sound goofy to me. I totally get what you're saying and think it's a sound idea. Kind of along the lines of sending healing thoughts. And you're also quite right about what their purpose in our lives might be. Thanks for the advice and for your very kind words. :)

• Jenn, Benny is kinda irresistible, eh? Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, JC. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, Steviewren. I agree about the soul-feeding beauty of the area. I'm glad that shows in my photos. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, MamaGeek. That's too bad that only one photo loaded. Maybe you can try again whilst munching on leftovers. Have some for me too, please, as our Thanksgiving was last month and turkey sounds wonderful right about now! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. :)

• Hello Femin Susan. I see you've made the rounds to many of the blogs that I read.. and left the exact same comment on each. We're ALL amazing!

• Thanks, Cath. I won't let it spoil my day. If nothing else they were blog fodder. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks kindly, Louise. It sure is frustrating to encounter people like that. It's normal enough for kids/teens/young adults to believe that the world revolves around them. It's a normal, egocentric stage of life. I accept that, but the rudeness and attitude is far more difficult to swallow, especially when displayed by so-called adults. Take heart though. I do believe that it's a small number of people who behave that poorly. And no doubt your daughters will appreciate their surroundings just as their Mom does. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Gary's third pottery blog said...

omg lookit Benny that little cutie!!!!!!!!!!

Dave said...

A sad story Hilary. Life is wonderful if we allow ourselves to
observe it. I also like to look up at day or night time. There is always something of wonder to see. - Dave

Chi said...

The picture of Benny is an absolute scream.

Cath said...

"Hello Femin Susan. I see you've made the rounds to many of the blogs that I read.. and left the exact same comment on each. We're ALL amazing!"

No Hilary - you're amazing. You have such style.

Hilary said...

• He's quite the goofball eh Gary? :)

• Very true, Dave. Since night time is happening earlier here these days, I'm enjoying the occasional walk in the dark too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Christopha, you should hear the screams after he rolls in a dead fish. Thanks for the visit. :)

• She found you too, eh Cath? ;)

Cedar said...

Hilary: Thanks for sharing this. I walk along Alki beach here in Seattle pretty regularly and I always say hello to people that pass within a couple feet of me. Some people say hello back, many ignore me. I feel uncomfortable pretending someone is not there and on a whole I am pretty anti-social, but there is anti-social and there is rude.

When I came here all I ever heard was how rude people from back East are, well that is bull, we spoke to each other back East. If we met someone walking along the way, we always said hey back and forth and talked a moment sometimes, here, no. Carey calls it Seattle Ice, I call it Seattle rude. People should speak when spoken to, they should make eye contact with other people and if they don't feel this is something they can do, they should stay the hell home.

Benny deserves better people in his daily walk than those two...

Cedar said...

Oh and you are much nicer than me...people are rude to me I do that fake cough thing where you cough but you speak as you you cough and say asshole at the same time...then when people look at me I smile really nice and say, "what?"

Okay, that really is Jersey...I admit it.

SandyCarlson said...

These are marvelous photos. I enjoyed this post very much. I have encountered folks like these two walkie-talkies. They intrigue me by their complete lack of awareness of or interest in the people around them. It is as if others did not exist because they did not notice them. It's somewhat disconcerting. Keep on being you and let the friendliness in your heart take down their silly walls!

Woman in a Window said...

Hard to believe that there are those who don't give a rat's fanny about all the beauty. Breathe it deep and let them clip it out and away, far, far away. You're doing it right. They'll get to wherever it is that they're going. I don't think you guys are headed in the same direction.

Hilary said...

• Cedar, you crack me up! I know the exact cough you mean, and it's sure not exclusively NJ. ;) Thanks very much for your comments. I agree that these women cross the line from anti-social over to just plain rude. There have been further incidents since I wrote that post and they definitely fall into the latter category. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Welcome, Sandy and thanks for visiting. I can tell that you know the exact type of characters, since you described them so well. Thanks for the wise advice. Much appreciated. :)

• Very true, WIAW. We're going in totally opposite directions - literally and figuratively. Well put. Thanks for stopping by. :)