Lens-Artists Challenge #105 – Crystal Springs

Tina’s theme for Lens-Artists Challenge #105 this week is: SPRING

“The promise of spring’s arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitter winter!” –  Jen Selinsky

Some may consider the winter in Southern California as mild because there’s no snow. Usually the temperature doesn’t drop below 40oF. Yet accustomed to the warm climate all my life, this mild winter cold still chills my bones. I find not being motivated to do outdoor activities.

“The first blooms of spring always make my heart sing.” –  S. Brown

Many of the plants and trees in my garden are perennial that doormat in the winter. The earliest budding appeared on the plum tree. The tiny innocent white buds popped out to sing to me, “Spring is coming.” I made a daily appearance in my garden to search every branch of the plum tree anticipating the delightful blossoms. Within days, the scattered white buds became full covering the entire tree and some popped open the smiling faces. How I wanted them to stay forever!

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“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.” –  Gertrude S. Wister

Flowers spark my eyes and warm my heart. During our trip to see my daughter and her family in May 2018 as a Mother’s Day outing, we visited the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. I wanted to swallow all the beauty of the greenery and vibrant colors and let them forever be alive in me.

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The more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants in the garden have all been donated by volunteers and interested individuals, or purchased with specially donated funds. Beginning in early spring and continuing into summer, they provide a magnificent display of color.

“Sometimes the smallest thing takes up the most room in your heart.” – A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

The Canada geese and the goslings feast on the grain and graze on the grass. The field by the lake is a haven to raise the young goslings.

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I wrote this poem for my poetry collection Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

In Sync with Spring

Seeds were fallen,

hidden in the soil.

Coldness in the dark

keep them quiet in the ground.

Light and shadow

Gradually shift

to bring the warmth of

sunrays to the earth.

Calling the seeds

to wake up and come forth,

to feel the warm breeze and

smell the fresh air.

Slowly and gracefully

buds pop out,

unfold their petals and

the fragrance they breathe out,

dance joyfully in sync with

spring!

~ ~ ~

Lens-Artists Challenge #105 – Crystal Springs

Book Review: Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle

Marje J Mallon has written a warm and thoughtful review of my poetry collection. Please head over to read the complete review. While there, check out her blog and her books with a new release This is Lockdown on pre-order.

Marje @ Kyrosmagica

Synopsis:

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude depicts a road traveled with optimism, hope and appreciation amid heartache and unpredictable circumstances. It also celebrates genuine love and fulfilling relationships. The poetry collection includes nine themes: Songs of Nature, Songs of Dissonance, Songs of Physical Healing, Songs of Marriage, Songs of Parenthood, Songs of Tribute, Songs of Reflections, Songs of Challenge, and Songs of Inspiration. Each of these themes covers various aspects of her life experience.The poems are inspiring to the mind, heart, and spirit. The readers will resonate with these experiences. Hurdle illustrates the poems with her photograph and watercolor paintings.

My review:

What a lovely collection of poetry, photography and paintings. I really enjoyed this poetry collection. Songs of Heartstrings tells the story of the author’s life and the many difficulties she has overcome. It is heartfelt and personal.

Continue to read……

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104: Summer at the Beach

This week Amy’s theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104 is Summer.

“Summer is singing with joy, and the beaches are inviting you with dancing waves.” – Debasish Mridha

There are three beaches where we enjoy our summer in normal circumstances. All these beaches are about thirty-five minutes’ drive from our home. These beaches have different features for the beach goers. It’s a wonderful way to spend half a day on weekends.

 

 “Friends, sun, sand and sea. That sounds like a summer to me.” – Unknown

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The women’s group had an annual outing either at the Newport Beach or Huntington Beach. We could carpool or drive there by ourselves and get there around 10:00 a.m. Most of us would take a leisure stroll on the beach or walked to the end of the pier. The trip concluded with a lunch at a seafood restaurant. It was an enjoyable outing to watch the high tide coming in to splash the shore and watch the sunbathers and swimmers having a relaxing time in the sun. It was also wonderful taking time to catch up with friends without rushing home.

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides, and follow the sun.” – Sandy Gingras

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Laguna Beach is a small city. It is known for the scenic coves and an artist community. It has an art museum. The city holds an annual art festival. Its geography has rolling hills and vertical climbs for hiking. The shopping offers one-of-a-kind retail shops, bath salts and oil, jewelry, clothing, to art galleries. When there was a low tide, we often walked through the rocks between pots of water to look for tiny sea creatures.

 “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Robert Wyland 

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Newport Beach offers many activities and rentals for paddle boarding, body boarding, kayaking, and surfing. For individual or family biking, there are adult’s and children’s bikes, electric bikes, and multi-passenger paddle surreys. There are trips for cruises, whale watching, Sports fishing, and charter boat fishing. We had taken the pleasure to enjoy many of these activities and trips in the summer.

 

Thank you for your visit. What is your favorite summer activity? 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #104: Summer at the Beach

 

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #103 – Surprise

This week, Ann-Christine invited us to show some moments of surprises.

There were several surprises for me when we were at Munich, Germany. The tour group went out for a beer in the evening at the Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München (Royal Brewery in Munich) owned by the Bavarian state government.

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We arrived before dark. Outside of the Hofbräuhaus (Beer Hall), there was a street pantomime artist. He changed the gestures and directions every few seconds, but after he made the change, he was as still and solid as a bronze statue. The woman was surprised when the “statue” moved.

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The tour guide reserved several tables for our group. Before we ordered a beer, I walked around. There were small lockers where regular customers stored their beer steins. It was a novelty to me.

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The Beer Hall was packed full. Servers were twirling fast in serving the beer. Each server could carry five or six 1-liter beer steins in each hand. Some of them even added one on top of the five or six in one hand before they grabbed another five or six in other hand. It fascinated me and I wanted to take photos of them carrying liters of beer, but they moved so fast that I couldn’t get any single clear photo. So, I borrowed one from Alamy here.

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At first, I thought the steins were plastic, but as we got our beer, I realized they were glass steins. How heavy were the steins before filling with the beer and how much the total weight of the glass beer steins plus liters of beer?

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It was amazing and surprising to me!

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #103 – Surprise

Book Review of Moments We Love by Balroop Singh

My book review of Moments We Love by Balroop Singh.

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Moments

Moments We Love by [Balroop Singh]

My Review

Last year I read Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh and loved it. It delighted me to read Moments We Love by the same author. I enjoyed Singh’s poetry style. The poetry in this book depicted deep emotions, sensitive to human relationships, and appreciation of nature. It reflected the vivid imagination from the author’s personal experience and her observation of the surrounding circumstances.

The poetry collection is divided into three sections. Moments of Love in section one included poems of the passionate and magical feeling of young lovers, the lovers drifting apart, and turning against each other, and the return of love brought above by cuddling of the grandchildren. Moments of Harmony in section two included poems about nature and seasons. Moments that make Life in section three included poems about buried dreams, moment of tranquility, moment in waiting, moment of deceit, moment of waiting, and moment of new beginning.

Section three ended with the poems When I Go and The Last Smile as the author’s thoughts of the transience of life.

When I Go

Don’t grieve over me when I go

I would be around you

In your laughter, in your mirth

In your reveries, in your recluse

 I would live in your thoughts

My words would flutter merrily

To remind you

How transient is life!

My smiles would gleam

In the flowers of your garden

In the soft sounds of breeze

That would touch the trees

My memories would linger

Around you when you

Watch the clouds

And light that shimmers through

Look at the birds flying home

Let them calm you

With the thought –

Detachment is disconcerting

But true.

 

The Last Smile

This shady grove – my resting place

Lush green leaves – my lullabies

Fragrance of roses soothe me

Songs of nightingale regale me

But I can hear the sobbing too,

The moaning, the entreaties

Day after day he comes

To wake me up

To remind me of promises

Of eternal love

I yearn to break free

To rise and smile, one last time

To see the orange glow

Setting the clouds on fire

Many hues dance in between

As sun’s last smile of the day fades.

 

I highly recommend this book and other books by Balroop Singh to the poetry lovers.

Amazon and Goodreads Ratings

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Balroop Singh

About the Author

Balroop Singh, an educationalist, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. She would jot down her reflections on a piece of paper and forget about them till each drawer of her home started overflowing with poetic reminders, popping out at will! The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first poetry book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling of leaves and the sound of waterfalls. She lives in San Ramon California. You can visit her blog at http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Contact the Author

Website http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

Twitter https://twitter.com/BalroopShado

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/balroop.singh1

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #102: Quiet Moments

This week, Patti is challenging us to capture “A Quiet Moment.”  Maybe it’s a walk early in the morning or the time you sit down with a book and a cup of coffee.  Include shots captured at home or in your neighborhood, or from a trip to a faraway place months or years ago.

Yesterday was the first time we got together with Hubby’s siblings. They live in a quiet place with neighbors who are acres away. We practiced the social distancing, wearing masks, sitting several feet apart. Hubby and I brought our own food, water, and utensils for lunch. It was surreal that we finally see each other after a time that seems like an eternity. We didn’t have a large family party; we only had a precious quiet lunch with a few members.

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A pair of mourning doves fixed up the old nest on June 5, the female dove came back to lay eggs on June 7. Today, June 22, the dove took a break from her incubation. I stole the chance to take a photo of the nest. One squab was hatched. It’s amazed of how tiny the eggs are. According to my observation during the previous years, the dove would nurture the squabs until they are mature. By the time the squabs are ready to fly, they are as big as the adult doves.

The squabs are quietly growing.

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After I spotted a Monarch and a Swallowtail butterflies in my garden, I looked into cultivating a butterfly garden.

The Monarchs face many risks that are resulting in declining populations in both the eastern and western parts of their North American range. The largest effects come from the loss of habitat for breeding, migrating, and overwintering. In addition, pesticides that are used to control insects and weeds have harmful unintended consequences for monarchs, a changing climate may make some habitat less suitable and forcing changes in migratory patterns, and monarchs face many risks from natural enemies, such as predators, parasitoids, and diseases.

The loss of milkweed in agricultural fields is a major cause of decline in monarchs, though there are other factors contributing to the decline in milkweed availability.

If you’re interested, you can download a Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide https://www.xerces.org/publications/guidelines/milkweeds-conservation-practitioners-guide

I wanted to create a butterfly garden from seeds. I ordered the California native Narrow leave and Showy milkweed seeds.

The seeds are in quiet germination.

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I wait with anticipation to see more butterflies in my garden.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #102: Quiet Moments

 

 

Welcome to Day 1 of the “SIR CHOCOLATE AND THE ICE CREAM RAINBOW FAIRIES” Blog Tour! @bakeandwrite @4WillsPub #RRBC.

Hi, my dear friends and visitors, I’m excited today to have Robbie Cheadle visiting my blog. Please help me give a warm welcome to Robbie and Michael for their cook, Sir Chocolate and the Ice cream Rainbow Fairies story and cookbook.”

This is Day 1 of the “SIR CHOCOLATE AND THE ICE CREAM RAINBOW FAIRIES” Blog Tour!

GIVEAWAY:  (7 winners) Each will win a copy of her Sir Chocolate Story and Cookbooks. For your chance to win, please leave a comment below!

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Welcome to part 1 of the fondant cat parade

The fondant cat parade tells the story in limericks of Dinah the Kitten, daughter of Daddy Grey and Mommy Cat, who likes to sleep and escape to Wonderland in her dreams. While in Wonderland, Dinah meets a variety of brightly colored and fun fantasy kittens. The fondant cat parade illustrates some of the wonderful fondant art that appears in all the Sir Chocolate books.

Today, you will meet Daddy Grey.

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Look out for part II of the fondant cat parade tomorrow when you will learn about the Fondant family dynamics. You can download the full illustrative PDF of the fondant cat parade here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/dinah-in-wonderland-fondant-cat-parade/.

How to make Chelsea buns

Ingredients – dough

500 grams white cake flour

1 teaspoon salt

7 grams fast-action dried yeast

300 ml milk

40 grams softened butter

1 beaten egg

Ingredients – filling

25 grams melted salted butter

75 grams brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

150 grams dried mixed fruit

Ingredients – icing

150 ml water

150 ml icing sugar

Method

Melt the milk and butter in a saucepan, set aside to cool down to lukewarm. Sift together the salt and the cake flour in a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the yeast. Pour the milk mixture and the beaten egg into the flour mixture and mix until they come together into a soft dough. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least five minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticky.

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Rub the bowl with a little vegetable oil and place the dough in the bowl. Turn it until it is completely covered with oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place for one hour until the dough has doubled in size.

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Spray your baking tins with non-stick spray or grease with hard margarine. Melt the butter and mix the brown sugar and the spice in a small bowl.

Knock back the risen dough to its original size and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle of 50 mm thickness. Brush the rectangle with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar mix and then the dried fruit.

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Roll the rectangle up into a long cylinder and cut into slices of about 5 cm thick. Place the slices on the baking tray, leaving a space between them. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for a further 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Sieve the icing sugar and mix with the water until it forms a thick paste. Drop a spoonful of the icing onto the cool buns and spread with a butter-knife.

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BOOK BLURB:

Join Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet on a fun adventure to discover why the milkshake rain is pale and white.

Contains five recipes that children can make under adult supervision

2a.Robbie

AUTHOR BIO:

Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with seven published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalized biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.

I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.

I have participated in a number of anthologies:

  • Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley under Robbie Cheadle;
  • Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre under Robbie Cheadle; and
  • Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Robbie Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://wordpress.com/view/robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19631306.Roberta_Eaton_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/?modal=admin_todo_tour

AMAZON OR OTHER PURCHASE LINKS:

TSL Publications:

https://tslbooks.uk/product/sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies/

Lulu.com:

https://www.lulu.com/shop/robbie-cheadle-and-michael-cheadle/sir-chocolate-and-the-ice-cream-rainbow-fairies-story-and-cookbook/ebook/product-24468045.html

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Cream-Rainbow-Fairies-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B086DYYNFQ

 

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

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Sunday Stills: Home is the Happiest Place

The theme for Sunday Stills this week from Terri is: Home. 

As much as we enjoy traveling, I always looked forward to coming home before the trip was over. Perhaps the tours I booked were too vigorous, and I got tired by getting up early or sitting on the bus too much from city to city.

I’m comfortable at home. This morning I spotted a Swallowtail butterfly staying on one flower for twenty minutes. I thought she came to lay eggs. I checked after she was gone. No, she didn’t, but I found a tiny grasshopper only 1/3 inch long. 

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About a dozen mourning doves, many house finches, and sparrows perching on the telephone wires around 4:00 p.m. every day, waiting for me to feed them. A pair of mourning doves came to fix up the old nest on Friday, June 5, and the female dove came back last Sunday to lay eggs. Now she is patiently incubating her young.

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My home is shared by a family of four hummingbirds.

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My home is the happiest place to me!

I’m even happier when I’m at my second home, my daughter’s home. Nothing gives me more joy than being with my granddaughters. So far, I only spent time with my two-and-a-half years old granddaughter, Autumn. I love playing with her and reading to her. I haven’t seen my second granddaughter Nora in person yet because of the coronavirus. I look forward to seeing Autumn and Nora when it’s safe to travel.

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My daughter’s home is the utmost happiest place to me!

I love to hear what make you happiest. It could be something, some place, some people, or something you do.

 

Sunday Stills: Home is the Happiest Place

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #101 – One Single Flower

Thank you, Cee, for hosting the Lens-Artists Challenge #101 this week.

The topic for this week is one single flower.  Cee’s favorite quotes is “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.  Buddha.  Flowers have changed her world. I must say flowers brighten my days and helped me to survive the toughest moments.

I take photos of flowers in my garden year-round to see the changes throughout the seasons. I also like to use the natural sunlight at different hours.

“In joy and in sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”– Unknown

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Late summer early in the morning as the sun just rose up.

 

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”– Zen Shin

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A winter morning when the sun was soft.

 

“Open the bloom of your heart and become a gift of beauty to the world.”– Bryant McGill

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The same winter in the afternoon as the sun started to descend.

 

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”– Audrey Hepburn

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A late spring morning when the sun was gentle.

 

“A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are in their own way, and that’s like women too.”– Miranda Kerr

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Early summer morning when sunflowers were in full bloom.

 

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”– Henri Matisse

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Late spring at night using flash for this photo.

 

Please join us for fun and check out the stunning photos at Cee’s One Single Flower.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #101 – One Single Flower

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – The Long and Winding Road

Tina introduced a thoughtful theme this week in reflection of The Long and Winding Road we have traveled the last several months. It happened to be the theme she chose for the Lens-Artists Challenge this week. Please visit her to enjoy her photography and her thoughts.

The challenge this week reminds me of one of the multiple trips we took to Maui. We always rent a Jeep to drive around. My husband loves to go on the Road to Hana. The previously drives were enjoyable. He doesn’t mind driving through the narrow unpaved part of the Road with the cliff on one side. Somehow during this one trip, the drive turned out to be different.

We started out in a sunny afternoon right after lunch, enjoyed the ocean and the cliff scene.

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When the road turned narrower with thick trees, it started pouring rain. The rain was so heavy that the windshield wiper didn’t go fast enough to show a view of the road. The waterfalls looked as though the dam was broken. We knew that we had not yet passed the most twisting and winding point with single lane and no visibility of the oncoming cars. Drivers use honking, and caution driving to get through. Sometimes one car must find a tiny shoulder to stop and let the other car go by. We worried about the safety to go through that part of the road in the rain. I looked at the map and tried to estimate the distance behind us and how much further we would have to go. It looked like we were in the middle. Turning around was as hard as going forward. We knew that the hardest part of driving was coming up; there should be a town after that. My husband decided to keep going. I was sitting tight, praying for safety.

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Fortunately, we passed the “no visibility” point before dark. Then we drove in the dark until we got back to the condo. As soon as we saw the smoke from the sugar cane factory, we knew our condo was very near (the sugar cane factory photo was taken during the day).

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The drive was supposed to be six and a half hours. We didn’t get back to the condo at Kihei until almost nine hours later.

Maui

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – The Long and Winding Road

 

 

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