Every Picture Tells a Story – A Look Back

It was January 4th and I was staring at a blank Word document that was as white as the snowy mid-Atlantic states getting hit by the nor’easter that day. My hope was to acknowledge the new year and slalom right into a new season of WordPress posts. But I couldn’t find a single word to share.

Was I burned out from the craziness of December? I did have a Covid scare as I developed quite a bad cold midway through the month and ended up testing for the very first time for the virus. It was negative, but my husband caught it and then several positive cases sprouted up around us. We’re not convinced we didn’t have it, I may or may not have tested too late, but we just don’t know. It stuck with me until close to the end of the year.

I am 100% fine now; just a bit delayed in starting a new year of posts. I finally found inspiration in my own words “I couldn’t find a single word to share.” In an unusual move, I decided to look through my phone for photos that might speak for me.  Before I welcome 2022, I have a few more memories to share on the brighter side of 2021.

I had my first Covid vaccine shot March 5. My “chemo curl” (a common phenomenon where chemotherapy has damaged the hair roots and causes a persistent curl for 12-24 months post treatment) was growing out of control on “shot” day. About a month later, I finally had my first haircut in 20 months.

This photo was taken at a Lexington, Massachusetts cemetery during a September visit with my son and his wife. We were walking back to the car after a visit to the Battle Road Trail and the shadowy, worn gravestones caught my eye. “There may be some Minute Men resting right here” I thought. It gave me pause to think about our country and its history.

This is a portrait of my mother Ginny as a young girl. It was painted by her mother Natalie; a feminist for her time. When she married my grandfather, she insisted on being a partner in co-creating a summer art colony and co-teaching with him at Cleveland College. This was in the 1930’s and ‘40s. When we packed mom’s belongings in April as she entered memory care, we had the opportunity to move some of my grandparents’ artwork back “home” to Cleveland where they were originally painted. Some will be sold and donated.

In some ways, I should have waited to get my first tattoo until the new year. I associate the tattoo directly with being the “new me” and truly felt empowered by the artwork. This was one story I did share as it was about taking my life back after cancer. I find freedom and artistic expression in the tattoo and it absolutely introduces a new attitude in everything I do – perfect for the new year. The full story is here.

On September 15th, Space-X’s first all-civilian spaceflight launched from Cape Canaveral. The photo is not the rocket heading skyward, but rather, one of the re-usable drone rockets returning towards earth. Though a little hazy, the photo was taken from our house. We are very lucky to capture sights like this.

This is a photo of my Common Nighthawk. I first saw the bird nestled within the mulch of our front garden last May. Her perfect camouflage almost hid her completely. (In the photo, she is facing the camera.) When she didn’t budge for 24 hours, I understood she was protecting eggs. Rain, high winds and the weekly mower did not distract her. I did some research and learned that this bird will build a nest on the ground instead of in a tree. When I saw trimmers advancing to cut our hedges, I quickly laid out upside-down gardening pots around her to alert them. They politely stepped around her. About two weeks later, she had two babies. In the photo, one of the babies appears under her mom on her left side. There is a tiny head and beak visible.

Left: Hibiscus planted in Spring, 2021 Right: The same Hibiscus January 8, 2022. I hope to push myself for this kind of growth in the new year. And on that note, happy 2022.


  1. I only blog when I feel like there is something that I have to write that is worth expressing. I don’t think of it as writer’s block, but more of “is this important enough to write about?” I sometimes have that feeling when I’m scrolling through Facebook feeds of people who take photos of the most mundane things in their lives.

    Looking through old photographs is an excellent idea as we must have seen importance at the time, or why would we take photos of them? I know I’ve read the opinion that we should write on a regular day of the week, but then it becomes too much like a job for me. I remembered your tattoo post, and it makes perfect sense that you associate it with the new Melanie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pete. In truth, I find it too challenging to post weekly and I honestly have much respect for those who write thoughtful essays, or at least short, insightful pieces. My brain likes to take its time, I guess. It’s just that 3 weeks had passed – long even for me! I wanted to get back into the rhythm. Plus, I’m going to try and do different things this year, for instance, I hope to use the Bloganuary prompt once or twice for exposure. I’m glad you liked the photo idea!! I always appreciate your excellent insights here.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think you have come up with the essence of creativity: “I couldn’t find a single word to share.” But you found something: photos, with words attached to them. That’s truly creative, Melanie. Besides, a picture may be worth more than a thousand words.

    You grandmother painted Ginny in a pensive mood, which may explain where you get your creativity.
    Thanks for the photos and the short blog post, my favorite kind, 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lol Marian, brevity is bliss. I totally understand. I never met my grandmother, but I know she was EXTREMELY creative. Everything was seen through the artist’s eye! I know firsthand that skill was passed on to my mom, so I do have strong artistic genes! And lastly, I’m up for experimenting more this year, so using pictures (plus summaries) was branching out. Thank you for your always interesting thoughts Marian. 😊😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What a heart warming read Melanie. Loved this. You had resiliency forced on you (cancer, Covid,Mom,etc) whether you wanted it or not. Hell of a year for you. I esp loved the comparison to your beautiful hibiscus! With growth comes new life-or maybe that should be the other way around!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Pam!! 2021 absolutely had many ups and downs, and I covered many of the downs. I wanted to end the year/start the new one on a positive note to encourage more of that in 2022 (many WP posts say good riddance to the old year etc.) Yes! The hibiscus was a good visual for what growth is possible in only one year. 🙂 I’d love to match it!


  4. Hi Melanie. Nobody needs to apologize for not blogging. Life is crazy for everyone in these times. I live by the mantra ‘one day at a time’ because I get overwhelmed now with too much going on at once. I love your tattoo! And funny you should mention your new ‘curl’. I was born and endured long stick, straight hair most of my life. I could wear curlers for a day and curls were gone in one hour, so I spent most of my younger life getting perms. Then, when I was diagnosed after being almost fatally ill with Crohn’s disease, I was put on steroid for 4 months. Ever since then, and til this day, I have wavy hair! Go figure! Hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can get overwhelmed by small things at times, so your words are helpful Debby. Thank you. Wow! Steroids for 4 months is a long time. I had no idea they cause wavy hair! That is so interesting. (I was on them briefly during chemo.) I’m tucking this info into my back pocket to discuss with my doctor. 🙂 And the tattoo broadly represents a feather floating and randomly landing; something I feel life is prone to do. Hugs. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

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