Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Memorial Hall Nine Ways, "Blink" Cincinnati

Well, the main point was to go to “Fall Fiesta,” a fundraiser for Cooperative for Education.  I’ve written about COED in previous posts; the nonprofit is the engine behind the work we help with in Guatemala.

We had some time to spare, and it turns out that Southern Ohio is pretty interesting.

Music Hall and Luminarium.  "Blink" Cincinnati
Friday night, some local friends graciously showed us around the first annual “Blink,” a light show (though these words hardly encompass its scope) with installations all over metro Cincinnati.  It was an absolute zoo, but I did manage some photographs and had a great time.

Sunday my husband and I drove (and drove) East.  

Serpent's Mound
Serpent’s Mound is an ancient effigy; a snake sculpted from the earth about 2000 years ago.  The snake is 1300 feet long.  It’s a beautiful spot on a bluff.
Conkles Hollow

We had a lovely hike in Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve in gorgeous, filtered light.  

McClain High School
My Mom grew up in Greenfield Ohio, not too far from our trajectory, so we stopped to visit her (rather grand for a small town) alma mater, McClain High School.  The sign says, in part, “What’s in Greenfield? Well, principally there is the school.”
Eden Park View, Cincinnati

Downtown Library View
Our flight Monday was late in the day, so we explored Cincinnati a bit, with breakfast at Taste of Belgium, an exploration of Eden Park with its stellar views, and a stop at the downtown Library for the kind of browse that’s always fun and that we never seem to have time for at home.  Oh, and the view.

Chicago view, courtesy of Southwest Airlines
As if that wasn’t enough fun, there was a breathtaking view of Chicago at dusk on final approach to Midway.

My family thinks I can’t do cities, but I can.  I swear.

More images are in the "More Places" Gallery on the website on the website.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Mellow Yellow

Sunrise from the Kaibab Forest

It’s a long drive up to the North Kaibab Forest and Grand Canyon’s North Rim.  Last week, as always when I’m en route, there was a point when I wondered whether it was worth the trip.  Does it make sense to keep coming back here for Fall color?

Magical Forest Road
Then cruising south on Highway 67 from Jacob Lake I see the first glowing, unfathomable, backlighted aspen trees.  There’s a physical sensation of fullness in my chest, a deep breath mingles with whatever that is, and I’m at peace.

Predawn Glow, Marbleview Point
Yellow is allegedly an activating, energizing color but this scene calms me and quiets the monkey voice in my head every time.  I turn off the radio (even if it is American Top 40 from 1979 on Satellite Radio 70s on 7) and let it all wash over me.

Aspen Abstract
These autumn forest visits are multisensory experiences.  Sure, it’s the visual which hits you first, but there’s also the sound of leaves quaking in the wind and the feel of cool, smooth, powdery aspen trunks.  The leaf litter has a particular, almost sickly-sweet odor which, not too pleasant on its own merits, is forever linked in my hippocampus (brain area which associates odors and memory, among other things) with this joyous communing.  Yes, that’s only four senses.  Sorry, you’re on your own for taste.

Autumn leaves, like spring flowers, are especially precious to us because they’re ephemeral.  This year the wind came up, temperatures dropped, and by the last day of my week there, the show was mostly over.  Perhaps it lasted 2 weeks at the most. 

Leaf litter is a joy as well, as are the buttery gems fluttering down from the trees into my hair, in the car window, and as big yellow snowflakes onto the green conifers, smug with their constancy.

I enlisted my friends in a little diversion, since the theme of the week was “Yellow,” to come up with names of songs with the color in the title.  Here’s what we came up with.  Do you have any more?

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

Yellow Submarine

Tie a Yellow Ribbon

Yellow rose of Texas

Don’t eat the Yellow Snow (Frank Zappa)

Yellow Moon (Neville Brothers)

Big Yellow Taxi

(and of course) Mellow Yellow

More images from the trip are in the Autumn in the West Gallery on the website.