Author Archives: Mary Strong-Spaid

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.

Voice—The Sound of a Soul

Things have gone horribly wrong. I suppose this happens to everyone at some point in life (and sometimes more than once or twice), but knowing that doesn’t make these bad times any easier. Blindsided by a layoff with no advance … Continue reading

Posted in Christmas, Music, sound | Tagged , , , , , | 74 Comments

Leaf Litter Lament

A decaying leaf, image of mortality faded and riddled with holes, hanging in a tree with mouth wide open singing a bitter chant– The Leaf Litter Lament: Ungrateful humans! Why do you complain as you rake, blow, and mow, mulch, … Continue reading

Posted in Autumn, Nature, Photo Essay, photography, Poetry, Trees | Tagged , | 33 Comments

Sunset Stories in Silhouettes

When day meets night on the edge of time, sunset stories speak in dark silhouettes. Standing in shadows cast by the fading sun, the man with his hand suspended in air appeared to be telling the age-old story of the … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Photo Essay, photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , | 51 Comments

Singing Darkness into Light

Between watching the depressing nightly news and worrying about the “suspicious nodule” that I apparently have on my right lung, I could not sleep at all last night. To pass the time, I decided to search for a piano recording … Continue reading

Posted in Hawaii, Music, photography, Singing, Technology | Tagged , , | 72 Comments

Dueling Storm Clouds

Loud thunder rumbles within dark storm clouds dueling over the last piece of summer blue sky.    ~ms When I looked out of my kitchen window and saw two dark clouds arguing with each other, I immediately grabbed my camera and … Continue reading

Posted in clouds, Nature, photography, Poetry, Summer, Thunderstorms | Tagged , | 41 Comments

The Dragonfly Rests

Two pairs of transparent wings sparkling in the sun like stained glass windows reflecting the morning light— the dragonfly rests.     ~ms Standing on water’s edge, I thought I could easily take photos of a few dragonflies. Wrong answer! An … Continue reading

Posted in photography, Poetry, Summer | Tagged | 74 Comments

Where Earth and Shadows Play

A cool respite beneath tall trees where earth and shadows play, leaves refreshed by raindrops light on soft breezes sway.    ~ms *** In the last photo–do you see the wooden tree creature that appears to be carrying something  into the … Continue reading

Posted in Photo Essay, photography, Poetry, Summer, Trees | Tagged | 44 Comments

Railroad Switchman Struck by Lightning (1937)

An old 1937 newspaper clipping and some faded photographs are definitive proof that Carl E. Spaid, a 45-year-old railroad switchman, was struck by lightning while working on the Burlington Route. As far as I know, a direct hit from a … Continue reading

Posted in History, Nature, Photo Essay, photography, Science, Trains | Tagged , , | 63 Comments

The Boy Who Talks to Rocks

Why do some rocks walk miles over hot desert sands, and meteoric rocks travel from deep space to dry land? Perhaps, just perhaps, they are trying to find the boy who talks to rocks. They’ve heard that this boy can hold … Continue reading

Posted in Children's poetry, Children's stories, Imagination, Nature, Photo Essay, photography | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

Virginia – Civil War Reenactment

Admittedly, even though I have lived in Virginia for the past 20 years, this weekend was the first time that I ever attended a Civil War reenactment. It was sponsored by Spotsylvania County and the Mason-Dixon Alliance (MDA), in commemoration … Continue reading

Posted in History, Photo Essay, photography | Tagged , , , | 68 Comments

Rappahannock River Rising

Because of 3 days of torrential spring rain in Fredericksburg, Virginia and surrounding areas, the Rappahannock River began to rise and spill over its banks. Undoubtedly, those who own houses and businesses nearest to the river were watching anxiously as … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Photo Essay, photography, River | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Plight of the Kites

An unsuspecting kite on wings of wind dancing in the bright sunlight. Focused on blue sky, it paid little attention to dark shadows nearby.  Watch out—NO—too late! Zing! Bounce! Thwack! Its freedom faded quickly, hung on limbs of fate. The … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Nature, Photo Essay, photography, Poetry, Spring | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Cherry Trees Announcing Spring

A gift from Japan— cherry trees announcing spring blooms pink in D.C.      ~ ms In 1912, the cherry trees that are now growing around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., were given to the United States as a … Continue reading

Posted in Haiku, Japan, Nature, Photo Essay, photography | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments

Lost Without Language

I went to Tijuana, Mexico a few times when I lived in California. Reading signs and communicating with other people was not a problem for me there, because I had a good understanding of the Spanish language. It was quite … Continue reading

Posted in food, Photo Essay, photography, Travel | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

Monk with Begging Bowl

Zen Buddhism Begging bowl in hand, practicing non-attachment— the humble monk stands.     ~ms

Posted in Buddhism, Haiku, Philosophy, photography | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Carp and Stone

The Carp Stone (rigyoseki) at Kinkaku-ji appears to be swimming upstream against a pounding waterfall. I am told that this stone image symbolizes strength, courage, and the will to persevere even when struggling against adverse conditions. Creating circular ripples in … Continue reading

Posted in LIfe, Nature, Philosophy, photography | Tagged , , , , | 36 Comments

Tired of Winter

Roads quickly vanished and all cars went nowhere on this stormy day. Searching for solace underneath an umbrella, four chairs leaned forward trying to escape blowing snow and freezing ice— Tired of winter! We were scheduled to fly out of … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, Photo Essay, photography, Poetry, Snow, Spring | 47 Comments

Cold Cat Winter

6, 8, 10 degrees (Fahrenheit) at night, with freezing snow and ice— how will I survive? I gave away my blankets, my pillows and my bed, when blue eyes came begging without a word and said: “It’s a cold cat … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, cats, Photo Essay, photography | Tagged , , , , | 46 Comments

Life is a Dramatic Opera

It would be nice if life could always be comfortable and predictable—without arguments, misunderstandings, trials, or tribulations. But it’s not. Life is like a dramatic opera, filled with ups and downs, and love which sometimes goes awry. There are times … Continue reading

Posted in Art, Photo Essay, photography | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments

South Vietnam House—Phở Gà

When  the cold winds of  January blew in, I caught a nasty cold or maybe it was flu? My head hurt, my throat was sore, and I could not stop coughing. I even lost my voice! Couldn’t think, couldn’t write—I … Continue reading

Posted in food, Nutrition, photography | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

Thoughts on Time

I thought about the new year while sitting in a tree. I did the same thing last year, time matters not to me.Tell me, honestly— Did you see the day pass by the last second in-between, when time inside someone’s … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Nature, Philosophy, photography, Poetry, wildlife | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

Super Hero Reindeer Man

To my great surprise, he suddenly appeared right before my eyes— Super Hero Reindeer Man with his Santa smile. What was I supposed to do? Wearing deer antlers and a star upon his head, his mischievous eyes twinkled through his … Continue reading

Posted in Photo Essay, photography, Poetry | Tagged , , | 36 Comments

Deer with Hungry Eyes

Ice and snow falling, covering the cold hard ground. Deer with hungry eyes come close to my house searching for something to eat. Many of these deer will not make it through winter. It is sad to see there are … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Nature, Photo Essay, photography, Poetry, wildlife | Tagged , , , , | 44 Comments

Worried Birds and Winter Weather

A worried blue jay came to see me yesterday and loudly proclaimed: “I am here to issue a winter weather warning, so please listen carefully to everything I say. Don’t be fooled by this warm sun, for tomorrow all will … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, birds, Nature, photography, Poetry, wildlife, Winter | Tagged , , , | 30 Comments

Thankful for Life

Standing here thinking how lucky I am to be alive at this time, enjoying a cold autumn afternoon! Don’t need many things or stuff all around me— No matter what possessions I have or don’t have, I’m thankful for life … Continue reading

Posted in Nature, photography, Poetry, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments