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I haven’t shared photos for a while. Some of these are from my last sad visit to New York, others are closer to home.

The first one makes me think of how hopeful I was on September 24th, when I arrived in New York and stayed with my sister’s devoted friend. I learned that my sister was doing better than the day before although she was still in the hospital. She was talking again and saying she wanted to carry on with treatment. We allowed ourselves a flutter of hope.

The bed is a Murphy Bed, made famous in old, silent movies, where someone like Charlie Chaplin might accidentally get closed up in it. This one was comfortable and not at all recalcitrant.

My hosts’ balcony had a glorious view. I sat there and had a cup of tea. I also took an early walk around their neighborhood, which features a statue of the Dutch director-general of the colony of New Netherland (now New York), “Peg Leg” Peter Stuyvesant. I couldn’t help wondering what the descendants of the Lenape natives thought of the statue.

Alas, the next day my sister took a dramatic turn for the worse and died the day after that. Miraculously, our brothers arrived in time from Wisconsin and California.

On days that followed, my sister’s husband, her friend, Suzanne, and I wandered around the city trying to enjoy nature and art and focus on good memories.

Then I took a bus back to Rhode Island, where I had left my car in a hurry. The rooster is in Rhode Island.

The concluding set of photos embraces art and nature back home in Massachusetts, where a long-life sympathy plant from my niece and nephew holds pride of place in the living room.

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I wanted to share recent photos from New York and Massachusetts. I’m always on the lookout for scenes that are either quirky or beautiful. In New York, though, my usual delight in the city was overshadowed by my sister’s difficult fight with glioblastoma, and I took only two shots of Central Park. Fortunately, Paul’s garden in Massachusetts provided a bit of Central-Park wonder close to home.

The handsome pig in Boston’s Greenway was sculpted by Elliott Kayser. The gentleman from the movie Titanic is made of wax. Do you know him? Had me fooled for a minute there.

The giant mural of swallows is the latest for Dewey Square. Artist Stefan “Super A” Thelen calls it “Resonance.”

At Three Stones Gallery, I shot the beautiful tree for my quilting friends. The artist is Merill Comeau. The soapstone sculpture next to it is by Elisa Adams.

Next you have two of my obligatory shadow pics, plus a message from a rock. Those are followed by four shots of Paul’s amazing home garden and grounds. (His day job is as landscaper of Boston’s most beautifully landscaped building.)

The bunch of ripe grapes peeps out from the display recognizing Ephraim Bull, originator of the Concord Grape.

You may recognize the location of my two early morning photos: the North Bridge at Minuteman National Park.

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Maybe I can hold on to the summertime feeling a bit longer with a few more photos. Not that I don’t love autumn, too, and the sense of getting my ducks in a row as I resume a normal routine, but …

Susan Klas Wright created this beautiful rendering of waves for the Spring Street Gallery’s most recent show. Elinor C. Thompson is the artist behind both lifelike and larger-than-life seashells. And I loved Robin Bell’s haunting double exposures of island scenes.

Next is a shot of New Shoreham’s Fresh Pond seen through the trees. That’s followed by another leafy vista, this one of an old, unused building labeled “Concord Water Works.”  In West Concord, there’s a pretty bridge arching Nashoba Brook behind the bakery where I bought an avocado toast Monday after walking a few miles on the Bruce Freeman Trail.

On my walk, I was startled to see a railroad light in the middle of woods. Was it public art? Something like Narnia’s lamp post?

I loved the profusion of Evening Primrose and the ubiquitous bumblebees, drunk with opportunity.

The final view represents my last Rhode Island sunset for the time being. It will have to hold me.

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The angle of light makes September seem close at hand, so it’s time to round up a few more photos from my Rhode Island summer before the hurricanes start.

As they do every year, both families of grandchildren took a turn at a lemonade stand to raise money either for a big item on a wish list — or a visit to the candy store.

Another every-year thing is the opening of my neighbor’s lotus flowers. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, it always feels like an unexpected miracle. I took the photo of a bud, and Sandra M. Kelly captured a full-blown lotus when I was in New York.

Sandra also took the photo of the jellies. She’s a famous jelly maker locally, making blackberry, beach plum, and strawberry-rhubarb jams and jellies, among others. But this was the first year we picked Queen Anne’s Lace so she could attempt the lemony jelly that Thelma, an island character, used to make out of the flowers. It had a lovely flavor.

On a couple of our early walks, I picked an array of wildflowers, carrying them home in my water bottle to make bouquets.

I also took shots of a lacy fire-escape shadow, a Monarch butterfly caterpillar, and a dew-bejeweled spiderweb.

I made a big mistake about the caterpillar, though, disrupting the course of nature by bringing it home on a milkweed stem thinking the kids would see it make its cocoon, emerge, and fly away safely. But the caterpillar absconded while I was out picking more milkweed.

I’m distressed about that because there is no milkweed growing on the property for the run-away to eat, and I’m worried it won’t ever turn into a butterfly. I will never do that again. If I see a cocoon, I might bring that home on a stem for the kids. At least a cocoon won’t abscond. But I’m more wary of disrupting nature now, especially as Monarchs are much less plentiful than they once were.

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Photo: Smartshots International/Getty Images
A reader of the
Guardian wrote to the newspaper about this bicycle lane in Bucharest, Romania, where a huge tree blocks the entire path.

Do you need a laugh today? I did. Twitter provided it with a link to this June story in the Guardian about many horrendous (and a few great) bike lanes. The photos were provided by readers.

“Bike lanes blocked by bollards, potholes, contradictory signs and ‘the world’s shortest bike lane’: when we asked for examples of the best and worst cycle infrastructure in cities the submissions came in thick and fast.

“Readers around the world shared photos of bikes lanes that were impossibly narrow, that led nowhere or were blocked by parked cars, even police cars. On the upside there were also cycle networks and paths that were a joy for people on bikes. Here are some of the best (and worst).”

The Guardian shares a little background for each photo. For example, the text for the one below says, “Istvan sent in this photo taken in Queen Street, Edinburgh, and says: ‘Do I risk it? … Mmm, not today … Each traffic light on Queen Street has this very narrow bike lane to lead you to a bike zone in front of the traffic (usually used by cars, taxis and buses). There are many of these useless lanes everywhere in Edinburgh, and many many used for parking (when they don’t have a double yellow line above the bicycle sign).’ ”

Read all the funny commentary from Guardian readers and see their amazing photos here.

Photo: Istvan/Guardian Community
Istvan sent the
Guardian this photo of a dangerously skinny bike lane on Queen Street in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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All I do is shoot random things that catch my eye, but now when gathering them together, I note a bit of a theme. Ripening. It’s only mid-August, but when you see acorns and pine cones developing, you know autumn is coming.

The first photo is of a footbridge in Concord, where the invasive Purple Loosestrife is starting to take over the swampy area along the Mill Brook. Then there is the herb garden behind the Unitarian Universalist church and the sexton’s bonsai trees.

Those pictures are followed by a progression of grapes and by the pine cones and acorns. Next comes a landscaping business with an unusual name (for a landscape business), a midsummer sidewalk sale, and a local hero being used to promote an antiques shop.

I wonder if the landscaper chose the company name after hearing that potential clients were frustrated about other businesses not communicating. That can be an issue, and not just with landscapers. I appreciate that workers may get overwhelmed by demand in certain seasons, but customers do value having someone answer the phone or explain why it was impossible to come on the day originally scheduled.

Recently my husband saw a handyman’s truck with “We show up” in giant letters on the side. He told the handyman he liked the sign. “So do our clients,” the man responded.

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Recently, I took a couple trips to New York to see my sister, who’s been having ups and downs with the brain cancer. We had decided to have a sibling gathering when the Midwest and West Coast brothers were in town with wives and several kids.

I’m not going to show you the group photo from our delicious Maialino lunch because my poor sister, despite feeling much better, is still horrifically bruised from tripping and getting a black eye. Falling is one of the biggest worries these days.

Instead I’ll share other pictures from my trips and explain any that need explaining.

In July, I took Amtrak from Kingston, Rhode Island, where there is a cute historic train station and, across the track, some interesting graffiti.

In New York, my camera was drawn to verbal images: Biblical messages chalked on the sidewalks, a port-a-potty pun for my collection, and outreach to immigrants (I saw the electronic kiosk message in Spanish and Chinese, too).

I also shot a giant balloon version of the city mascot (just kidding, it’s not the mascot) and one of the ubiquitous mini gardens planted around street trees. I especially admired the gardens that managed to do without the “curb your dog” signs because they completely spoil the charm. But how do people protect the plantings otherwise? I wondered. Do the doormen rush out and chase away dogs? Is there a spray deterrent that dogs hate? Some successful mini gardens used higher fences.

A large and glorious volunteer-maintained series of gardens in Riverside Park proclaimed a different kind of success with its clouds of delirious, happy butterflies, like the butterfly below. Red Admiral? Not sure.

Olmstead’s tinkling waterfalls in Central Park make me delirious.

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