Thursday, December 3, 2009

Random Design

The term "random design" would be considered an oxymoron. Every now and then, random events happen in such a seemingly organized way that they'll embed themselves in our memories forever. They might not be life-altering but they persist in our consciousness as instances of note.

Lately I've been aware of the clock when it hits precisely 1:11 or 11:11, and other repetitious numbers. Yesterday afternoon, while typing an email, I glanced up at my computer clock to see that it was exactly 3:33:33. Frank tells me that he's been seeing progressive numerals such as 12:34 or 4:56. We've been noticing this a lot lately.

I've had many instances of watching a television show for the very first time with mild-to-moderate enjoyment. Months later, when deciding to give it a second chance, I'll tune in to find that to my disappointment, they're airing the exact same episode.

I'm certain that we've all experienced an old song run through our heads upon awakening, and shortly afterward, hear it played on the radio - maybe even again, later on in the day on a different station.

Generally, we see a lot of hawks around my area and Frank's place. This includes sightings while traveling the highway between our homes. The winter before last, we were sitting in my living room discussing how we hadn't seen one for a several weeks. Before we could take a breath after uttering that observation, a small hawk flew into view from my neighbours' yard, hesitated ever so briefly and flew off again. Frank and I just stared at one another with wide eyes. We continued to see several hawks throughout the winter from that day onward.

The most outstanding experience I can recall is from more than 25 years ago, when my ex (hi Don!) and I were first married. We lived in an old apartment building in Montreal. The exit from the underground garage was extremely steep and angular making it very difficult to emerge in icy conditions. We needed to make it in one powerful acceleration or we were sliding back into the garage at the same sharp angle.

One such wintry morning, Don and I were heading out to work together. He pressed the gas pedal to negotiate our slippery ascent to the street above and hit the brake suddenly when we discovered a car parked directly in front of the driveway exit. A nerve-wracking slide backwards into the garage followed. The driver who blocked our exit was intent upon changing a flat tire right there - not a car-length ahead of where he was parked, and not behind. He had plenty of room for either but he informed us that he would not risk ruining his rim just so that we (and up to several dozen other tenants) could get to work on time.

To say we were annoyed would be an understatement and I have little doubt that Don threw a few choice words in his direction once he realized the absurdity of the driver's selfishness. Don hastened back down the driveway, stating that he would call the police. This angered the irrational driver, and I watched with horror as he lifted a tire iron high above the back of Don's head. Luckily, the man's wife had exited their car by now, and she grabbed his hands to stop him from making good on his physical threat.

Don was unaware of what almost happened from behind, and when I told him, he said "Where's a cop when you need one?" My immediate response was "Right there!" He followed my pointed finger to see a police car pull up right in front of the man's car. The matter was handled promptly and we managed to get to our respective workplaces on time - and alive.

Yesterday, I gathered a few seemingly unrelated photos taken over the past few weeks. They were simply leftovers which didn't fit in with previous posts and I thought I'd just slap these misfits together. As I was compiling the images, I noticed that they had one thing in common. They all depicted motion. A random design. Funny how that happens.

These are a couple of the dragonflies as shown two posts prior. I thought you might like to see how they appear in motion. I need a third one now. Two just looks wrong.

The creek near Frank's place is in perpetual motion. This photo was taken sometime in early October when leaves were just beginning to change colour. (please click to enlarge)

Late in November, we were walking near that same creek when we caught sight of some motion in the sky. Our eyes followed this hawk until it disappeared in the grove up ahead. Once we caught up, we were able to see him preening on a distant branch. (please click to enlarge)

We found this set of antique wheels on one of our day trips last month. (please click to enlarge)

While shopping at a mall one day, we came upon a crowd of people watching some kidlet-oriented live show. Continuing past the crowd, I was amused by this stroller parking lot. (please click to enlarge)

Traveling the GO to Frank's place, I snapped these out-of-commission trains through the window. (please click to enlarge)

The GO shares tracks with Canadian National Railways' VIA Rail. This colourful train was whooshing by in the opposite direction. (please click to enlarge)

It was a rainy day, and as we neared our destination, this passenger contemplated traffic issues on Highway 401 - which runs parallel to the train tracks. (please click to enlarge)

A rainy night on the road. I liked the way the lights reflected on the wet pavement. (please click to enlarge)

And I liked how they looked in the mirror even more. This is looking through the passenger side window which was in better focus (top left) than the mirror. (please click to enlarge)

Just around dusk, one evening, a flock of geese did a noisy fly-by. I was pleased to get a shot of them as they passed by. (please click to enlarge)

A different night and different place, ducks were swimming in the pond. A lamp post reflected in the water helped to highlight their silhouettes. (please click to enlarge)

I'm sure I can dig up a few more photos to share soon. See you then.


Zuzana said...

I loved this post. I can tell you that this is one of my favorite posts of yours to date. In no means are any other less worthy my compliments, as they all leave me breathless, but somehow this one tapped into something that appeals to me.
I can tel you many stories about the sentiment you describe here so eloquently. I always pay attention to signs around me and to the hidden.
Love, love, love all the pictures. Especially the ones depicting the reflection in the rain after dark. They are unusual and almost resemble an abstract painting.
I really enjoyed this one my friend.

Thumbelina said...

More restful scenes, even if they ARE in motion.
Your anecdote from years before makes scary reading! The one time a cop is around when you need him. Glad he was!

Beautiful shots, and also a glimpse into your life. Thank you.

Unknown said...

I agree with Protege in that there are 'signs' all around us, we just need to see them.
Can't even imagine that driver beconing so angry that he would lift a tire iron; the epitome of road rage without the driving involved!
Your montage of photos are great; I gravitate to the nature ones, especially the brook.
Great post, Hilary! I nominate this for POTW!

Tabor said...

You have a wonderful eye for composing good photos. I need to try your approach and look for patterns with my camera just to improve my chances! Your hawk photo is great. Wait until you see mine in an upcoming post taken through double glazed windows.

Lori said...

I too, loved this post. I agree with you about the signs that are around us but much of the time we miss them. Thank you for reminding me! I love the pictures! And I 2nd the nomination for this post for POTW!

abb said...

Lauren (MPM) was just saying the same "random design" things have been happening to her as well...
Amazing how things work out when least expected. I think if that had been my husband wielding the tire iron, I would have had to divorce him. That kind of anger scares the you-know-what out of me!

Pseudo said...

I enjoyed this post enormously.

Something related that happens to me. I think I see someone that I haven't seen in a long time and it turns out I am mistaken. Then, I end up seeing the person for real within a few days.

Loved the photos. The last one was my favorite.

ellen abbott said...

I enjoyed this one too. I tried to think of some examples of my own but couldn't come up with any. They do happen to me, it just takes awhile to rifle through the memory banks.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

whoa, that HAWK!

MaggieGem said...

Wonderful post, love the mirror shot it look like fireworks!

Swetha said...

you are an amazing photographer!! i really enjoyed your story !
your pictures are really gr8! i love watching your photos.. its all about nature and they are all beautiful!

Mental P Mama said...

This is wonderful! I love serendipity and have lots of those moments as well. And I love the fact that that tire-changing jerk got his comeuppance, too;) Beautiful shots as always.

Brian Miller said...

love these...the hawk and the old wheelchair i think are my how random design plays into our lives every day...nothing is random...

Dianne said...

random design! now I know what to call it, I had always referred to it as 'isn't that odd'

I often tune into a movie that I've never seen in full only to discover it's the exact same scene I tuned into last time - isn't that odd? no, it's random design

you make me smarter :)

I love the stroller parking lot, that's wonderful

Frank Baron said...

I've been doing a wee bit of research on the numbers thing but can't tell you what I found because then people would think I'm weird.

So, I'll just sit here quietly, twirling the propeller on my hat and put some more crayons up my nose.

:) (Great shots. Esp. the hawk.)

Daryl said...

7:47 is the time on the clock that seems to be there when we look, of course that would be twice a day .. ToonMan always ALWAYS says 'guess what time it is?'

Eons ago when I worked in advertising we pitched (and won) the Ryder Truck account ... the day of the dog/pony presentation on the way into the office I saw a big yellow Ryder truck drive past as I waited for the M104 ... I had never ever seen one on the streets of Manhattan before that ... but after we won, they were everywhere.

Fabulous pix and a thought provoking, story sharing post!

Susan said...

You know...I used to notice things like this...I think I must've just gotten a bit oblivious. I guess I need to start paying attention.

Frank, too late to worry about anyone thinking you are wierd...spill!

Sandi McBride said...

This was a post I could really get my teeth into, lol... I often wonder why it is that the show I had only seen one episode of chose to show the same one on the night when nothing else was on...of course I also wonder how some shows ever make it to the air...then there you are talking about the hawks that we had a conversation about with the neighbors just last evening and then this morning there they are...loved the photos...but I always do.

steviewren said...

Love the picture of the teal train.

I can tell myself when to wake up. If I rehearse it a couple of times I will wake up to the second. I'm always disgusted when I turn on a show I haven't seen once and find that it is the only episode I've ever seen.

Strange things happen don't they?

Meeko Fabulous said...

Oh my gosh . . . Have you ever seen the movie 23 with Jim Carrey in it? I would recommend it, especially with the way numbers have been working themselves around you lately. Great shots! I love the one of the reflection of the lamppost in the lake. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Excellent pics, as usual.

Doreen Virtue has a few things to say about number sequences you may wish to check out. Frank, by his comment, may have already done so.

Nessa said...

That was a scary story about the tire changer and that thing with the TV shows happens to me all of the time.

Love all of the pictures.

Name That Christmas Song

SK Waller said...

I like to call these little repetitions "glitches in the matrix".

Wonderful photos!

Land of shimp said...

I think another term sometimes used is "Patterns in the Chaos" and there are several schools of thought about that: It is human nature to try and find patterns in what is, ultimately Chaos, but it is Chaos nonetheless.

I'm no great fan of that one. I'm more a fan of the fact that patterns exist within Chaos, and that proves mean, which negates the premise of Chaos :-)

In other words, I choose to see meaning, but that doesn't mean that I'm assigning meaning to the meaningless. The meaning may negate the concept of meaninglessness.

That was a very thought provoking post, bringing to the fore the existential dilemmas we all give thought to at times.

Particularly the story of the fool with the tire iron, simply because it would seem that Justice intervened from several directions! I did give a thought to that poor woman, being married to someone who thought striking another with a tire iron was a reasonable course of action to undertake. Yikes.

Lovely pictures, as always. You really do have a tremendous gift for imagery.

Suldog said...

MY WIFE and I most often find such synchronicity when watching Jeopardy, believe it or not. We will have discussed something or other not too long prior to the show. Then, when the show comes on, we'll often find that one of the categories, or a question within one of the categories, is very specifically about what we had been discussing. Odd that.

Reb said...

OMG, lucky his wife had the sense to step out when she did...although she was probably expecting it which is just sad.

I get that one episode repeat all the time - drives me crazy ;)

Love the hawk and the rain in the mirror.

Maggie May said...

Love the ducks in flight against the evening dark blue sky.
All those strollers (pushchairs/buggies as we call them) had me wondering how on earth would you get one out if you needed to?

Great miscellaneous post and those coincidences do seem to happen..... with me it is themes. I am reading some kind of theme & then I get the same thing come on the radio, the TV and friends conversation. It is quit uncanny!

Nuts in May

Travis Erwin said...

This psot reminded me of that song lyric ... signs, signs everywhere signs.

ethelmaepotter! said...

Some of these happen to me all the time, too. 9:56 is the time I seem to catch on the clock every day. I've seen the sitcom "Cheers" exactly three times...the same episode each time.
I love the rain reflection photos, too, as well as the hawk, geese, and ducks. The old wheelchair reminds me of an old Shirley Temple movie - Bright Eyes - the grouchy old man, who of course, turned into a loveable old softy LIVED in a chair just like that.

Unknown said...

Synchronicity is magical and many are having the 11:11 experience.

I love the picture of the hawk. Hawks are guardian angels to me.

much love

Elizabeth Bradley said...

This is the second post today I've read featuring the number 11. Kind of weird. The story and the picture of the hawk were both noteworthy.

photowannabe said...

Hilary, I just love how you think and blend your photos with the perfect words.
Your Random Design is delightful.

Wendy said...

OMG, you're not going to believe this, but I was going to do a post called "forgotten and forlorn" or something like that to show some pics I'd forgotten to post. Ha! I don't think I had a common denominator in my forgotten pics, like you did.

I can't believe that guy actually reacted the way he did! Lucky for Don, there was a policeman close by. Scary!!

I like your pics, especially the one with the ducks on the water at night, with light shimmering on them.

Kelly H-Y said...

Your title fits this amazing post perfectly! I'm always in awe when things like that happen ... how cool that you've been recognizing so many lately. Great photos too.

Karen said...

My that man must have been nuts! I'm glad nothing happened and cops were nearby. Your pictures are lovely, and you make me see normal things and take a second look.

SandyCarlson said...

Love those motion shots. That jerk in front of your exit who was changing his tire...Well, he needs love. And a dose of common sense. Yeesh.

I enjoyed reading this. Thanks.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Fowl and weather reflections were my favorites! We've had a hawk landing in our trees here lately. It is startling to see such a large bird sitting on the top of a tree.

As a child who did not fall asleep easily, I spent many nights watching my digital clock. 10:10, 11:11, 12:12 and 12:34 were common sights for me (and I might have kept myself awake watching for them).

So sad that the wife of that man was already prepared to intervene ... to me that says she was used to his violence.

Michael said...

"Every now and then, random events happen in such a seemingly organized way that they'll embed themselves in our memories forever."

Serendipity mixed with a wee bit of complexity. 11:11. I love this post!

Hilary said...

• Thank you so much, Zuzana. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this post as much as you did. You know that means a lot to me. I think you're right about signs being everywhere. We just don't always see them until they hit us over the head. I'm pleased that you could relate. Thanks for those kind words. :)

• Thank you, Thumbelina. That cop being there - it was scary.. but in a good way. Thanks so much for the kind comments. Always very much appreciated. :)

• Jane, you're right about signs. And I of course agree about the driver. That kind of knee-jerk anger is frightening. Thanks so much for the very kind words and I appreciate the nomination but it's against the rules! I appreciate the sentiment though. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much for the kind words, Tabor. Looking for a photo sure does improve the odds of finding the opportunity to take it. I'm looking forward to seeing your hawk photo too. I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Smiles, I think the more we look for those signs the more we'll miss them. They seem to kind of find us. It's more a matter of recognizing them. Maybe. Thanks for the kind words but as I said to Jane, nominating any of my posts is a no go! POTW is for other bloggers. But thanks. :)

• TSannie it seems to be happening to a lot of people lately. It's almost eerie. Yes, that kind of anger it terrifying to me too. I don't know if the couple was actually married since we never exchanged any productive words, but I hope for her sake that they were not. Thanks for the visit. :)

• PHST, thank you. That is indeed a related kind of incident. I can't say that's happened to me but it wouldn't surprise me if it did now that it's been said out loud! Thanks for the kind comment. :)

• Ellen, I know what that's like. My memory banks have had too many withdrawals over the years. ;) Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Cool .. eh, Gary? :)

• Maggie Gem thank you. I thought that too when I saw it. :)

• Inty, thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Thanks very much, MPM. They are indeed serendipitous moments and they sure do stand out. I'm glad that long ago day worked out the way it did too. Thanks for stopping by. ;)

• Brian, you're quite right. Randomness gets a higher billing than it probably should. Thanks for the always-kind words. :)

• Dianne, your "isn't that odd?" events are aptly named. That movie scene thing has happened to me a couple of times too. I'm glad you think my musings make you smarter. Now maybe you can teach me. ;)

• Frank who would think you're weird? Your hat's propeller was meant for twirling and where else would you put idle crayons if not up your nose? Are you still going for the world record of a 64 count box of Crayolas - plus sharpener? Thanks, dear. :)

• Daryl, I'll bet you're getting good at guessing by now, eh? ;) That's a strange one about the Ryder trucks. I can sort of relate to that with words. If I hear a word or term for the first time ever. Even though it's not a trendy or new word/phrase, I'll hear it again very soon that same day. So much oddness. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Susan, paying attention is usually a good plan. Ack.. don't ask Frank to spill anything. It can get messy! ;)

• Thanks so much, Sandi. I guess that television episode phenomena happens a lot. Very interesting too about the hawks. That makes a discussion, a sighting and then a reading about a similar type of discussion/sighting. Cue in the Twilight Zone theme. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

• Thanks, Steviewren. I love the colour of that train too. It's just so vibrant. Your inner clock must keep very accurate time. Strange things do happen. But maybe they only seem strange because we don't accept them as we should... Thanks for stopping by. :)

Hilary said...

• Meeko, I've never seen that movie. Maybe I should put it on my to-watch list. Thanks so much for the kind words. I'm glad you like the photos. :)

• Thanks kindly, Leah. Thanks for the name. I will indeed check her out soon. Frank has done a bit of checking about. We spoke further on the topic this evening. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so much, Nessa. He was very scary for sure and I'm glad it's long in the past. Interesting to know that the television thing happens to so many. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Steph, that's a great name for them. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Shimp, "Patterns in the Chaos" is a great term too. I like to think that there's meaning involved too - even if I don't always know what it is. Who am I kidding? I rarely know what it means. ;) I'm glad you enjoyed the post and that it made you think. As for the guy with the tire iron - I'm not sure if they were married or not. I'm hoping for her sake that they were not and that this day was the last time spent together. He'd be way to volatile for most. Thanks so much for your always warm words. :)

• Suldog, you should have put your comment in the form of a question. ;) That is an odd one. Only with Jeopardy?

• Reb, the woman had to have known full well that he was dangerous. I'm glad she was quick to react. I'm quite surprised (though maybe I shouldn't be) that so many people experience that television thing. I always thought it was only me. ;) Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Maggie, I never thought about how one would go about retrieving their stroller, if needed. Good point. :) Yes the themes. Thats' something I can relate to as well. So much strangeness. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Travis, do this. Don't do that. Can't you read the sign? Yes, now that song is deeply embedded in my head. Thanks a lot! ;)

• Ethel Mae, Three times the same episode.. and of a show that had so many of them. Wow! Thanks so much for the kind compliments. I can recall the grumpy old guy with Shirley Temple. I think you're quite right about the wheelchair. Funny, that. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Stacey, I think you're right about the magical aspects of synchronicity, as well as the frequent occurrence of number patterns. It's pretty cool. Thanks for the kind words. I like the way you look at hawks. :)

• Elizabeth, thanks very much. That's odd that this is the second such post you've read today. Is there any chance that you could link to the other one? Thanks for the visit. :)

• Sue, thank you so much for you sweet words. They're going to stick with me. :)

• Wendy, that's pretty cool that you were thinking of doing a similar posting. I think the double occurrence of having leftovers to compile has meaning. It means that both of us need to get out and do some more photography! ;) Thanks so much for your very kind words. :)

• Kelly, thanks so much for the warm words. I'm so glad you stopped by. :)

• Karen, I agree about the tire iron guy. He sure couldn't have been sane. Thanks so much for your very kind words. Much appreciated. :)

• Sandy, you always have a way of getting to the heart of the matter. Probably because your own heart is so big and loving. Thanks for that. :)

• KC, I know what you mean about how startling a hawk's size can be - particularly if you're used to seeing chickadees and other small birds. That's interesting about the time patterns you kept yourself awake to watch. Thanks for kind word. KC. :)

• Cabo, thanks very much for the kind words. Much appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for stopping by. :)

ds said...

Hilary, that is a fabulous (if scary story) and the photos are as always interesting and beautiful. Three dragonflies would be perfect though. Thank you!

Nancy said...

This was so interesting. My daughter has been into numerology lately. 11,22,33 are all master numbers. My birthday is 11/22/53 and my daughter's is 1/22/83. I wonder what it means that you are seeing this set of numbers lately? As for the hawks - maybe they are trying to tell you something...

Tom Bailey said...

The few choices words line was very funny. It reminds me of a sayings that I have heard that goes something like this "People do stupid things like that because they have not (insert a more vulgar discription here than what follows) been beaten up badly enough for doing something stupid.

Best regards,
Tom Bailey

Rosaria Williams said...

Some days we're tuned; some days we're blind. Synchronicity is all around us if we pay attention.

Bogey said...

I have often caught myself staring at the numbers of a clock when they either sit repitiously or progressivlely and make a silent wish. They never come true but it doesn't hurt to do it either as far as I am concerned. Hilary, I think this was one of your finest posts ever. It had a sort of relaxing effect on me. Strange.

Being a former Montreal boy myself, you did peak my curiosity about where abouts you lived. I wonder if our paths ever crossed.

Unknown said...

This is a very evocative post that touches all of my senses about what is universally a very human experience for all of us Hilary. Thank you for sharing such a poignant post! I relate! :)

Unknown said...

That is so fascinating about the theme in the pictures. Very cool! When I look up and the clock is 1:11 or 3:33 I always make a wish : )

Anonymous said...

Hilary...Blogger, Life at Willow Manor, is my niece and she has talked about 1:11 or 11:11..kinda scary...any more you hear alot of people talking about it....
As always, enjoy your pics....
I must post this weekend some time...have a great weekend!
The Bach

LadyFi said...

That last photo of the duck in bedazzled light is lovely!

Sometimes I wonder if there really is a grand design to life or whether that's what we want to see...

Kappa no He said...

OMG, for the past month I've been noticing numbers, too! The clock reads 4:44. I'm driving along and the odometer reads 111,111km, etc. How strange!

Hilary said...

• DS, thank you for the kind comment. I agree. I must have another dragonfly! :)

• Nancy, they say that hawks are messengers, so you might be right about that. As for the numbers, Leah gave me a name to check (earlier in the comments) and I think I'll be doing a bit of Googling soon. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Tom. Some people do seem to escape consequence. That same guy did in this instance. The officer asked Don if he wanted to press charges but since he hadn't witnessed the threat directly, he declined. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Lakeviewer, I think you're exactly right about that. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Bogey, thank you for the very kind words. I'm really glad you enjoyed the post and found it relaxing. That's interesting. I grew up in the N.D.G area but have lived in Montreal West and Snowdon briefly. Now my own curiosity is piqued. I'll drop you a line in case you don't return to read comment replies. Thanks for stopping by. May all your time-wishes come true. :)

• Michael, thanks very kindly for your comment. I'm glad that you were touched by my post. We truly are all alike in so many ways. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• LWK, it seems you're not the only one who makes those wishes. I'd never heard of doing that. I guess that number pattern sure stands out to many. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Bach. It sure makes you wonder when so many are noticing and talking about the same sort of thing, doesn't it? Thanks for the kind words. :)

• LadyFi, maybe it's a bit of both.. depending on the situation. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Terrie, it is strange, isn't it? Even as I type, I can hear the theme from the Twilight Zone permeating this post... Thanks for the visit. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice photo of the geese!!! LOL @ the term fly-by. I remember in high school people using that term when flashing others, lol!!! Yeah, immature much? Hee hee...the last photo of the ducks is spectacular, I love the reflections. Your post made me think of my own experience with random design...interesting. Lately when I think of a certain person, I usually get an email or a phone call within minutes of my thought. Random? Still cool though! I can summon up minions, lol! :)

Hilary said...

Rain, you bring your immature self over here any time.. you make me laugh. You must be summoning up smiles. Thanks for stopping by. :)

SandyCarlson said...

This post was a beautiful adventure.

Hilary said...

Sandy, thank you so much for that. :)

Louise said...

I love the pictures of geese and ducks and one of the others really, really grabbed me. (All your photos are excellent, so I just have to address a few.) And I have never seen so many strollers parked in one place in my life!

Hilary said...

Thanks very much for such kind compliments, Louise. I so appreciate it. :)