August. Ninja has been my constant companion for over five years: mellow, sweet, funny. This summer she was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary affliction that has inevitably led to kidney disease. Ninja is in Stage 4. It is a difficult thing to face, as she gets sicker and her kidneys stick out like a bizarre pregnancy. Still, she is calm and happy. I will cherish every moment.
September. As I angled for the perfect shot of the monarchs this fall, I observed another species busy feasting on nectar: the red admirals, named for a distinctive red stripe on their upper wings. These little guys are half the size of their bigger, awe-inspiring cousins, and not nearly as flashy. They're easier to photograph than the monarchs: there are more of them; they don't wiggle around as much, and they keep their wings open for longer periods. I love taking close-ups with my camera, and the red admirals don't mind a bit.
October. Every year, without fail, I am spellbound by the changing colors of the trees. For reasons I cannot explain I still stoop to pick them off the ground as I would sea shells washed ashore with the tides. A pity leaves don't last nearly as long as shells do.
October. These are the remnants of flowers in my parents' garden. Like a clump of dandelions, they are spent for the season and absolutely stunning. I like things post-bloom and post-frost - seed pods, naked trees, shriveled berries. There is a stark beauty in these things that causes me to look close and closer still.
October. As the days get darker and colder, the ladybugs come inside seeking warmth, huddling in windowsills and near light fixtures. You can almost see the shivering as they begin their winter sleep. Some assemble themselves into constellations. Others seek solitude on windowsills and windowpanes.
November. As with my cat, a butterfly, a seed pod or a ladybug, when I see the moon I immediately grab the camera and try to photograph its essence. This a near-impossible task with a little point-and-shoot, but I'm proud nonetheless of this one: a sliver of moon, rising in the sky.