Water light and dark

Just a late afternoon brief stop to let Sic play before heading out to work. The light was amazing. No perfect shots but almost…boomwaterrockjanuary-30-2017darkwaterjanuary-30-2017divejanuary-30-2017

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The diving girl


The water is warm, theres slippery clouds of boat fuel dropping through the layers. Its clearer just along the bottom, with fat slow solitary fish sitting in on the sandy bottom. I swim along the stones, barely moving, my long yellow hair floating all around me. Just little kicks now and then. Im sneaking up, reaching out with my hands to grab the fat lazy fish just in front of me. Its too big to hold onto but I pretend I can, for just a moment, until it easily moves my fingers aside and swims quickly away from my rudeness. High above us a storm is coming, bright sun, rays touching the water and then its gone for a moment. Big rich clouds with a hint of darkness floating way above the surface making the light, unpredictable.
I swim under her, a blue hull, lake michigan blue. No scars, so wide, 15 feet, 16 maybe. It becomes my world for a moment. That presence of sky touching the surface, two separate places disappears. Blocked by the expanse of blue unblemished fiberglass. I let myself drift casually upwards until the hull stops me, and another slow solitary fish is watching from the mossy rocks below me.
I stay here for a moment resting against the keel, the smooth perfect surface pushing back into me. Watching the fat fish. They are moving up there. I can feel it. Far above. Thumps, footsteps on the deck. Her name in blue paint outlined in gold– Our Beautiful May. I stared at it from the dock while they talked to me. Their voices so loud, talking over each other. Laughter. Talking to each other and to me. Im shy so I trace the letters over and over with my eyes Our Beautiful May. Did my hand come up? My fingers drawing the pretty letters in the air? Just tell me where it is I want to say. Im polite so I waited while they told me the whole story.
Theres a familiar engine in the water, I know that sound. A boston whaler. Heading out from the smaller docks. Rumble rumble, no mistaking that sound in the water. Further away now, near the breakwall heading to the beacon. Ive run across those rocks a thousand times more. Sitting on the last rocks to break the surface edge, legs dangling, feet submerged, diving into the deep blue water.
Im still here under the hull. Turning over I use my hands to move slowly, face first now, crawling along the boats bottom towards the port side. Away from where she’s moored. If I come up there they will be confused. They told me where it happened and the water is so still in the harbor I know that what they’ve lost wouldn’t have traveled far.
Ive been under the boat for too long. I don’t care but they will.  Or maybe its just been the briefest of moments. I kick away from the hull, up towards the surface where it breaks by the dock behind the boat. I can see my dog Charlie. Perpetual smile, tail wagging, side to side, brown eyes looking down through the water. Black, and brown and white his expressions are outlined. I come up just below him. Theres a moment of surprise to be half out of the water that always makes me take a huge breath. I put my feet on a slat that runs along the piling, my toes slipping into that dark water beneath the dock. I know that the kind of turtles that will bite you live under the docks. But Im a little brave.
The loud voices start up, did you find it they wonder, where did you go for so long. I didn’t find it, I haven’t even looked yet. I need to answer but I stuck just for a moment thinking about my toes, under the dock. 
They are nice people, 4 women 4 men, they’re dressed in clothes you probably wouldn’t dive into the water in and drinking cocktails. The man who talks the most has brown hair, white pants. A blue shirt, the kind with just three buttons at the top. You pull it over your head. No socks, brown leather deck shoes. He’s the one who sent for me. “Did you find it? Are you ok?”
“Not yet” I say. “Where was it again, that you dropped it… that it fell” I ask. I remember what they told me, it was just off the port side next to where they are all sitting. But I know I was gone too long with no reason, so I ask. “Right there” the man says, pointing. “There” he points, “somewhere there”he says looking at me to see if Im looking. The water isn’t very deep right there. But the rocks are mossy sometimes and the sky is playing tricks with the light. Now you see the bottom, now you don’t and they couldn’t see it after it fell all the way down into the sand. I look up at Charlie, he hasn’t moved, standing, looking down at me laughing. I can’t help myself and smile back at him. Then, a flash of something, his mouth closing just slightly. Where? Just behind me? If I had eyes in the back of my head. Is he seeing it?
“If its too hard for you thats ok we can get a professional” the man says. “Yes come out of the water” says someone, a woman’s voice. Charlie stays still on the dock, mouth closed now, his head a tilted question. Looking right at me, looking just past me? I turn away, pushing off of the board my feet are on and fold over, diving to the rocks. Eyes closed until my fingers are into the bottom. I kick my feet keeping my face and hands down into the rocks, my chin bumps into something. A rock just bigger than the others. I open my eyes, and there is something in the sand. Duller than it should be I think at first. I pull it up with a finger, wrap my hand around it. I found it. A watch, silver metal, for a man. I remember, he told me “its a divers watch” he said. It has weight and is shiner now, free from the bottom. I swim straight up to the the bow of the boat and step onto the ladder rung underneath the water. Our Beautiful May is right there. I reach up, my closed fist with the treasure inside. A breath, then “Here” “I found it” I say. One of them misunderstands and reaches to take my hand and help me onto the boat. “Is this it” I ask, quickly opening my hand. A chorus “Yes thats it!” “You found it.” ” Good girl. What a good little swimmer you are”. They’re smiling and I am too. I found it. I look back at Charlie, still on the dock, he’s smiling too. His constant smile that is just for me and he knew I would find it right where it was.
They’re so happy. “Come on up here, do you need a towel.” someone says. Climbing into their boat seems rude but I do it. Im holding the towel they gave me. One of the woman hugs me, but not too close because I’m wet and Im still just holding the towel.
I look back at Charlie, waiting on the dock, next to my sneakers and the pile of our things. Lets go he’s saying. Not out loud, but I can tell. I have to wait. They promised me a reward, Five whole dollars the person who came to get me said. Five dollars to find something the rich people dropped off their boat. Its just at the dock, it will be easy for you. The first dock, by the harbor master building, a chris craft. So I quickly closed up my stand in a hurry. Gathered up the paisley spread, the spotted petoskey stones I had hunted for, the ones I coated in clear nail polish so they would shine tumbling together with the black magic 8 ball and metal box that came with candy in it but now held the coins and crumpled bills I had earned that morning. I sold those stones to tourists. Along with fortunes from the Magic 8 Ball. I hid the answers at first, staring hard at the filmy blue window where the fortunes appeared. What does it say, whats the answer. Still hidden in my hand I read those answers, and then grandly turned my hand so they could see. Most then grabbed it from me to read it for themselves. I gathered it all up in the burgandy fabric, its a little worn but Im careful to to pull it across the wood of the giant spool I set up on. I don’t want it to rip. I hold the edges and spin, tying a knot so nothing falls out. “Charlie”–I call out to my dog, he’s sleeping in the sun, and wakes to run to me. “Not that way” I say as he looks towards the main dock along the channel. Its lined with tourist stores and smoke houses where they give Charlie & I freshly smoked fish if we stop by. Free for us. We take the short cut instead, up the stairs next to us and through the harbor parking lot to the boat slips.
I see the boat. They’re having a party maybe. Im shy but I walk up the dock towards them and stop just behind them. “Are you the diving girl?’ someone says with a laugh, but not mean. “You’re so young” the lady with big round sunglasses says. “Im 9” I say even though they didn’t ask. “Oh thats too young to dive around in there” she says.They’re all looking at me. “Im almost 9 1/2 ” I say and that makes the lady laugh behind her sunglasses “well ok then” she says. I am young but I can swim and I can find a single coin on all the way down on the bottom so fast, faster than anyone. With my eyes closed.
Im standing still. I don’t want to ask, do they want me to ask? “She wants the reward, she found your watch give her the reward” a mans voice says. “Well maybe I shouldn’t.” the brown haired man in white pants says “it took such a long time” but he’s joking and they all laugh. He takes a wallet from his back pocket. Soft brown leather, faded in spots. “How much did I say now?” “Five” I answer, “Five dollars”. I answer too fast. “Now who told you that” he says “thats a lot of money”. ” The man from the harbor did, the one who asked me to come” But now I don’t know, did he say that, or that maybe they would give me five dollars or maybe less. I want to leave, but then he laughs again. “Of course that right’ he says “for a job well done’. he reaches out to shake my hand, and then counts five one dollar bills. one at a time into my hand. “What are you going to spend it?” on some one asks a woman voice. “Candy and nail polish for the rocks” I answer. They laugh, surprised that Ive answered maybe, or at my choices and call out goodbyes as Charlie and I run up the dock.
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My Mom died early this morning.

I remember mason jars full of paint brushes sitting in turpentine, a palette rich with layers of paint, colors blending spilling swirling into each other. Trays of messy greasy beautiful oil pastels. Stacks of canvas’s, she would go back to her easel every day until each canvas became a painting. Sketch books–the ones with the brown cover and sometimes an expensive hard cover one to take on trips, and charcoal pencils. Skinny lemon twist cigarettes, a ring of frosted pink lipstick on the butt. Thick silver and turquoise bracelets. One of kind hand made rings– gold, silver, mixed gemstones, statement pieces. Dangly earrings. Long gauze shirts and embroidered coats. Her taste ran to the rich hippie look, textures and wild prints– Marimekko, Mizzoni. Eyelash curler, clumpy mascara. Blond hair always in one of those sexy messy updos, bangs floating across her forehead. Hand blown glassware, full of bubbles. Kahlua and cream, boonesfarm strawberry wine. Glasses on top of her head. She could never find them. A red rambler station wagon covered in flower power stickers. She let us ride on top down country roads. I remember laughing so hard when she would suddenly proclaim that she had lost control of the car, as it veered back and forth wildly, her shouting back to me “I can’t control her” she named her car The Red Baroness “shes got a mind of her own” and we would scream and laugh as that car took over and drove us to the ice cream store. She always got the weirdest flavors, Pistachio and Lime Daquari, double scoop please. No pretending to be on a diet when it came to ice cream cones, a double scoop or nothing. And one for each of the dogs. She never went anywhere without her pack of dogs with her. They sat outside the grocery store, offleash, occasionally wandering in, strolling the aisles. Her favorite bars and restaurants were the ones that let our dogs lay under our table. She had a million friends, artists, actors, everyone was interesting. She loved parties and late nights. She was terrible cook, lost her mind on the holidays. Bought us too many presents. Painted her house purple, filled it with artwork from her travels and had the very most decorated tree every xmas. She raised me right, brought me up with a paintbrush in my hand and a dog to run wild with, through the woods, across the water in my little sunfish sailboat. Come home by sunset or just a little later. She liked to disappear from the world to a cabin or a tent in the woods for days, weeks. And this beach was everything, her beach. Its what I see when I think of her. The narrow twisting path opening to gold sand, wild blue lake michagan water, breakwall, light house, manitou island off on the horizon, fishing boats leaving the harbor. Our dogs running down the beach. My mom in her suit, hair up, lipstick on. That orange Bain De Soleill suntan lotion. I loved the smell of it. Swimming until my fingertips were wrinkled., holding my breath skimming along the bottom eyes open grabbing fish with my hands. Coming up for air, my mom waving from the beach. Crackers and cheese, pickles, sand everywhere. Once a week she would try to comb out my hair while I sat on a towel looking out at the lake. Johnsons No More Tangles spray and a comb, she tried but I was wild and my hair was always a mess. Fast changes with a towel wrapped around you. Tennis shoes, cut offs, a tshirt and a windbreaker. Never leaving until the sun went down. Her beach. RIP Christine Elizabeth Walker


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Wrig’s–Other peoples dogs

Wrigley is an 8 year old Old English Sheepdog. But thats just the technical details. What she really is is a fierce fabulous queen. A drivey intense girl with a big bold presence. She’s not your new best friend but she has a secret club and if you’re cool enough she might give you the password.wrigsaprtialoctober-02-2016



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The art of dog

dogbeakJune 05, 2016.jpg

This was a beautiful happy accident. I didn’t even know I had taken it until I went back through some lightroom folders.

Im not a real photographer. But I love taking pictures. So I started a small dog photography business, hence the Lotu Foto watermark on some images.

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So proud of my good boys. These guys are best friends. They both qualified for semi finals and then they both made it into finals at the Splash Dogs National Championship 2016 in Las Vegas.

14731184_1194907270552455_4812534974909863291_nWe all had a great time jumping off the docks, watching all the awesome dogs, hanging out with friends, hiking at lake mead and exploring the giant bass pro shop at the competition site.Sic had a great first year of jumping but my bad throws are always the weak spot for our team.14889741_10154785204946614_1537017757282014806_oThis year the national championship was all about Zero, and that’s what I had hoped it would be. He qualified last year as well but we didn’t go, I thought we would have a lot of chances to go in the future, but then I found out right after that he was losing his eyesight. I regretted not going so much. It was a huge surprise to get to go this year. Zeros never been a big jumper but omg he loves it so much.  He wore his Rex Specs on the days when his jumps were right into the sun. He struggled to find his toy in the pool overtime, no matter how big a toy I threw. He vision is down to such a low level around 3% in his right eye and nothing in the other eye. Along with the PRA and the torn retina he was diagnosed with glaucoma this year.14590479_1199963836713465_8701217477357819964_n14708068_1193829803993535_1188967595567628704_o

Zero the little blind cow dog 2nd Place in Finals.  No giant ribbon to pose with yet because they got stolen. But what matters most to me was how much fun my dogs made out of every minute of our nationals. 14700807_1194681617241687_6513762983641467441_o

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any thing

If it takes too long for a toy to land in the water Sic will find a thing, any thing thats in the water to nerd out with.

He dives into a wave and comes out with the weirdest things. This thing was a plastic disc with long strands of seaweed strung through holes along its edges.watergiftsApril 10, 2016

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