Every photo in this post was taken between March and May, in NYC or the area in northern New Jersey which my mother called home for the last forty-five years. Having returned early from my work in Bangladesh in order to be with Mom, I’ve now seen this part of the US through a cold, snowy late winter and into a wet, green spring. Between trips around various parts of the city for medical appointments with Mom or meetings with friends and colleagues, I’ve been around much of Manhattan and northern NJ when the trees were bare and snow was on the ground, through the first blooming of snow-bells and forsythia, to this past week of alternating thunderstorms and clear skies with brilliantly green trees and now the irises starting to pop out. Before leaving this area for more or less the last time after clearing out Mom’s house, it seemed fitting to do a final ode to the sights and seasons of a region that I myself have also called either first or second home since Mom brought us here during the Ford administration…
So last week I flew home to the bay area after a month with family in the NY/NJ region. I always love flying into SF from NYC: the route very frequently goes more or less directly over my home town of Santa Rosa, then cuts down along the beautiful coastline in Sonoma & Marin counties, more or less directly over the Golden Gate Bridge and then in some manner or other executes a circle in order to line up for landing at SFO. These photos were all taken in the space of one day when I’d returned from my assignment to Central African Republic last year. I landed late at night at JFK, woke up near the NYC office for my debrief meetings and a bit of a presentation to the office team, then hopped directly on trains to the plane for the flight. Since it was a clear day on both coasts, I got morning photos from a walk along the shore at Battery Park & views of the Statue of Liberty; then took photos of Santa Rosa from above, Point Reyes, San Jose & silicon valley at dusk, and the coast south of SF as the plane began its circle toward San Jose then back up to land. Air travel remains a gift which I enjoy on days when the view out the window is so spectacular, even if the in-airport experience long since stopped having any pleasant elements whatsoever :-). Enjoy!
And so we come to the final entry with photos I took on the beaches of Cox’s Bazar town while I was living and working there between October and early February. In this entry are other photos I’d taken on my frequent walks during the weeks of my “Longest Beach” commitment. There’s natural beauty, there’s human trash, there are the enormous early-morning crowds on Friday, and there are many fond memories. Now that we’ve celebrated my mother’s amazing life at an event yesterday, I’m coming back to wrap up my own memories of Bangaldesh and remind myself that while I and my family and friends have been grieving, the rest of the world has gone on with its business, including shells washing up on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, and crowds laughing and joking and playing soccer on Friday mornings. Though now it’s no longer peak season, the crowds won’t be as large. Enjoy. Thanks.
(Update late April: yes, I am adding photos as I scan them, so this gallery will continue to evolve and change. Friends and family who’d like to can add your own images by writing me and sending a scan or photo. Great memories, sad loss. One day at a time…)
My mother always told me never to miss an opportunity to thank someone or be kind to someone. She passed away yesterday morning, less than two weeks shy of her 83rd birthday. My mother has been the rock and foundation, the inspiration and moral compass for me, my brothers, and I suspect many others whose lives she touched as relative, colleague, teacher, neighbor and friend throughout her vibrant, warm, inquisitive and exemplary life. I will not go into greater detail about the remarkable human being whom we’ve lost; instead I have chosen to find every single photo readily available from past blog postings and put them into a collage which will change each time I (or you) come to look at this page. In part I have done this to remind myself of the quality time I have been able to spend with her during the adult phase of my own life, and partly to reassure myself that she felt thanked by me. I’m sure I was never as kind as I could have been, and I will try to learn as she would expect. So far as I can tell, these photos cover nearly 50 years of Mom’s life, since some of the earliest photos are ones I scanned a few years ago. Please join me in honoring the mothers and models in our lives…by being kind and thankful, as I am for my mother, and the support of my family and friends.
So between late October and early February I lived in the city of Cox’s Bazar, and posted mostly lots of photos from my lovely walks along the beach, which is the most distinguishing feature of Cox’s Bazar district. Which is probably the tourism capital of Bangladesh, although the Sundarbans may give it a run for its money. In this post, one of the last to feature photos from BD (at least for the moment), I’m posting photos mostly taken in and around the town of Cox’s, plus a few from Ukhiya and even a couple from the mega-camp. In general I took very few photos while in the camp b/c I figure enough people have already wandered through with cameras rolling, and I was mostly focusing on interactions with my colleagues and the community we were working with. Hope you enjoy these!
So back on January 26 as part of my daily ode to the lovely beach at Cox’s Bazar, I posted some photos of this dead sand crab and this dead jellyfish. Bandwidth then and there was insufficient to give you these videos, which make the jellyfish look almost alive and show the flies already at work on the sand crab. Ah, the circle of life… 🙂
Look closely in the photo with boats in the background: see all those red dots? People used to deciduous trees whose leaves turn red and fall to the ground each autumn many instinctively think: fallen leaves! But no: these are sand crabs, bright red and with protruberant eyes which I’ve never yet succeeded in photographing. I’d need a far better telescopic lens than comes with the pocket digi-cam I carry with me on these beach walks. They evade large moving objects rapidly, by disappearing down holes which dot the beach, like the one you see above to, right. Top left, and below: we think this guy was sick and lost: he was still able to scuttle, but slower than usual, and seemed to have become separated from his burrow. I suspect he ended up like one of these other ex-crabs I’m showing you above. As the Lion King’s song says: Circle of Life, eh?
After a 46-hour saga involving five different airports in three different countries, plus an airport shuttle bus at this end and a very welcome pickup by a dear friend at the park-and-ride on this end, I did manage to spend the night in my own bed last night, and awoke to a 36-degree (fahrenheit; about 2-degrees celsius) cloudy morning here. I’ve ascertain that the second, auxiliary, stage of my apartment heating seems to have either gone on the blink or decided go on strike for under-use these past months (or perhaps someone visiting tweaked the wrong button and set it to cool instead of heat, which my manual tells me would do bad things to that unit if the temperature is below 60…)…so that thus far I’ve been able to get the apartment warmer than 60. Ah the joys of homecoming in winter after many months away :-). Be that as it may: one can dream lof long sandy beaches and warmer sun, but still be glad to have access to one’s own teapot, eh? I’ll post another one or two of these from the photos already prepped, tomorrow and this week, the at some point do a bigger post with all the photos remaining unsorted from my three months in Bangladesh, from which chapter I’ve now moved on. Peace.
So I had a few more photos ready, and as I sit waiting for the fourth and last flight in this 44-hour travel sequence from the longest beach to…well, home…I’m pulling them together to help me stay awake until I’m on board.