Odd corners

This photo brings back fond memories of a quiet corner of Allauch, France, May 2008.

This photo brings back fond memories of a quiet corner of Allauch, France, May 2008.

“It is not on mountaintops that the charm of life lies, for we are seldom there. It is in nooks and vales, in odd corners, that life is spent and finds its settings.”
Wallace Nutting

Your summer vacation might now be a pleasant memory, or maybe you didn’t even take one.  In any case, you can still enjoy one of the perks of travel by looking at your present surroundings with fresh eyes.  What is there in your everyday life that you are not seeing?  Perhaps you often walk, ride or drive past an appealing house you never noticed, or your neighbor’s begonias are in full bloom this week.

I love visiting friends in their homes, because there are always interesting artifacts and appealing snapshots of their life to be found.  These “snapshots” may be actual photographs, but really they can be most anything that gives me a glimpse into some interesting aspect of their personality that is new to me.  If I have my camera, I might even ask if I can take pictures of whatever catches my eye.  My question often meets with amusement that I think that particular “odd corner” is worth photographing.  Something about the commonplace doesn’t seem camera-ready to us.

You can prove that it is, though. Grab your camera or smart phone and look around your own home, inside or out.  The toys scattered by children or pets, the notes on the refrigerator door, the items sitting on your kitchen counter…all these are potential still life compositions that will someday bring back memories for you.

Of course, you can also shoot more traditional subjects such as flowers, gardens, people or animals.  Whatever you capture in a photo, look for the charms of today, the places your life is spent.  You’re not simply preserving a memory; you’re creating one, just by noticing.

One year ago today:

Waiting to be enjoyed



  1. Good morning, Julia! What a lovely thought – that by noticing, we are creating.
    I enjoy your photos very much. I am also fascinated by ordinary, especially unordinary ordinary; that is, things like the window sill in your photo. To someone who lives there and tends the plants, they may seem quite ordinary. To those of us that may not pass that way again soon, they are extraordinary!
    Have a terrific Tuesday! And don’t be surprised if I send you a slew of photos – you’ve inspired me once again!

    • Susan, I can’t wait! I love photos and have been fascinated with them for as long as I can remember, going back to the days when they were only black and white. Actually I still love black and white photography. I’m so glad you liked the photo of that windowsill! It’s fun to wonder about the person who tended those flowers and created that spot of beauty for us to enjoy. Stay inspired!

  2. raynard

    Julia my ” mental getaway” is reading Life Magazine online along with travel sections of newspapers and magazines. I use to watch travel videos but got” sidetracked”. It was a mini vacation this year but I can use another one.We are going back and forth to NJ almost every weekend to car e for my wife’s aunt and uncle. They have a tenant who is supposed to be moving out the end of the month.” The Coyote caught” the Road Runner Moment for us is Praying and Waiting on God then follow his leading”.. Oh the other pie came out better than the first one. If you deceide to use that recipe, change it to one sleeve of saltines. Going to take some to work ( give out samples). Be blessed

    • Raynard, I sort of like salty with sweet, but I’ll keep it in mind to use only one package. I have a recipe that calls for ground up Ritz crackers with melted butter as a topping and I usually use more than it calls for. 😀 But it’s not a dessert, it’s a vegetable, so it needs more help without the sugar. I didn’t even know Life magazine was online. I will have to look them up. Their photos were so fantastic. I remember we used to get both Life and Look magazines (that shows my age to say that I remember Look magazine). I will keep praying for you and your wife as you help her aunt and uncle in their time of need. I hope your trips to NJ will be blessed with interesting sights and moments of grace along the way.

  3. Good Tuesday morning, Julia. It’s so much fun to go through a box of old pictures of photos or a photo album….. Is that dated? How many of these places, people, or captured events would be forgotten without the “Kodak”? I’ll be even MORE aware today because of your words! Early thoughts, Sheila

    • Sheila, I am always stunned at how much I forget without seeing photos and/or reading letters or journal entries. I wish I had more of them because each is a precious memory. Jeff’s mother loves photos as much as I do and the first time I ever met her, we sat in the front porch swing and looked at all his photos from when he was a baby on up. I hope you were able to take mental pictures today of some of your favorite sights! Wouldn’t it be great if we could switch places just for an hour and take photos of what we found interesting in each other’s homes? I’d have to clean mine up first, although the messes might be more interesting than the tidy things!

      • Julia, I’ve already decided if you ever call unexpectedly (that you’re in the area) I’d be thrilled, but do you mind sipping our tea “out on the porch”? 🙂 Who knows…. I may dust between now and then! Haha!

        • No worries, Sheila, I am the dust queen. I feel as if I ought to have a huge warning sign posted on my door “people with dust allergies, enter at your own risk.” In my house, who needs a dry erase board? 😀

          • Speaking of signs, Stephanie has such a clever one in her kitchen: TODAY’S MENU…TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT 🙂

            • Sheila, I wish I had been able to internalize that message years ago. Somehow, for many years, I thought I had to not only fix dinner almost every night, but make all the diners happy as well! An almost impossible task to keep up over the years.

  4. singleseatfighterpilot

    One day I was with our preacher, visiting the home of a severely ill man. The wife was gracious, meeting us at the door and escorting us into a back room where her husband lay. After a very short visit and a prayer, she led us back toward the front of the house. I have always thought the preacher wanted to “change the subject” as he pointed to an antique butter churn, “what’s the story behind this old churn?” he asked with genuine curiosity in his voice.

    “About two months ago, I saw it in a flea market; I liked it, and I bought it; I brought it home and set it in that corner,” the wife answered laconically.

    I almost busted a gut trying to contain my laughter until we got back to the car!

    • Eric, was the preacher expecting a long apocryphal tale full of family history? Maybe she should make one up for such times. Or perhaps the simple phrase “I wish I knew!” would preserve some of the mystique. But her answer was at least better than “I couldn’t tell you, it was here when we moved in.” It reminds me of our favorite and oft-repeated line from Mad magazine, “I bought them in a souvenir shop.”

    • I’m reading comments, again. Of course I’m laughing! 🙂 Nora

  5. Carolyn

    I’m like you, love to look at other peoples snapshots. To me it makes a home to see photographs of family and little ones. I have a mixture of everything family and places we have visited. I will be sending you an email this week. I hope that Jeff is feeling better, he needs some Grady time. Take care and love to all.

    • Thank you Carolyn. Jeff definitely does need some Grady time, as do I. We are hoping to be able to see him soon, if Jeff can feel better. He went ahead with chemo today, but without the Avastin. He had said “no more chemo” but he didn’t stick to it when they wanted to treat him again. He thinks it’s mostly the Avastin that’s giving him so much trouble, but also it’s probably what has been so effective, based on the scans after his course of Folfiri with cetuximab, which didn’t get the amazing results as with the Avastin. I will look forward to your email! Can’t wait to see you.

  6. What a charming idea, I love it. You’re so right, it’s very easy to look past the every day beauty of life. The magazine ‘Artful Blogging’ is filled with these everyday still life’s. It’s inspiring to peek thru. Some people are just really good at capturing on film, what others miss. Their eye’s see possibility in the most unusual places, a rusty door knob or a fence half fallen, become artistic and interesting when they point the lens and click. I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a summer holiday, with my dear Alys. We’re on our way home today though so I’ll look there when I arrive and with a fresh eye, there’ll be all sorts of wonderful reminders that, “there’s no place like home”. xoK

    • I just love the magazine Artful Blogging though I can’t bear to pay the huge price for it. I find so much that is beautiful online. There is so much talent out there and so many who are creating just for the love of doing it. It’s wonderful to see everyday life transformed in that way. I’m so happy you had a great trip with Alys! I want to find some time to go read about your trip and LB’s too. Still hatching plans for April!

    • xox

  7. MaryAnn

    Indeed, a fond memory has arisen. Aaric, our youngest grandson, at an early age had a knack for capturing on camera whatever was joyful at the moment. You sparked the memory of his small rubber duck being photographed. First alone, then with strawberries in front of him, then with other “friends”. All on the kitchen counter. It was fun to watch Aaric & fun to remember! Another time, he photographed the “snowman” pancakes he made.
    Thanks for the “walk” down memory lane. Today’s email from Max Lucado suggests:
    “Once a week, let a child take you on a walk.” Feels like I just did!

    • How cute, Mary Ann! Maybe I will be able to get Grady interested in photography. I would have loved to see Aaric staging those photos with his “friends.” Max is right – a walk with a child is like seeing through new eyes. I can remember walking with my nephew Ryan when he was little, and he would spot little bugs and other things that I didn’t even see. So fun, and like an instant drink from the fountain of youth!

  8. Very true, Juia.
    I had a visitor today. It was one of my former students that I taught many years ago. As he toured our property, I enjoyed and appreciated what I take for granted, while I observed him enjoying it for the first time.

    • Alan, how wonderful to have a visit from your former student! About five years after I graduated from high school, I went back to see my favorite high school teacher. It’s a favorite memory for me. I know that students do not go back to see teachers unless they remember them fondly. 🙂 It would be extra-special to be able to see your daily surroundings through his eyes.

  9. Beautiful picture!

    • Thank you Merry!

  10. You’ve given me food for thought and the idea for a blog post. Double hugs, Julia!

    • Oh, how fun! Be sure to let us know when it posts. Double hugs right back to you!

  11. Lovely window shot!

    • Thank you, Cynthia!

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