Photo Challenge: Comfort

This past Friday’s photo challenge was comfort. What a great theme! With fall creeping up on us in Boston, it’s a time of year when comfort is key. There were a lot of excellent photos I saw, but as I looked through them, I realized comfort is a personal thing. So, here are two images I really liked, but I’m going to mostly talk about what I find comfort in.

First, this absolutely adorable picture by conspiracyofravens (who’s photography has previously inspired me). I love dogs and want one of my own so very badly, and this guy all curled up is just too darn cute!

The second image is by nandinidhiman, who has a series of great pictures, but the one I really identified with was this extreme close-up of a soft, warm blanket. It looks so wonderfully warm, cozy, and inviting…I’d be quite happy to lay back on this blanket and admire the mountain view.

This one resonated with me for a very specific reason, though. When I was still in the crib, my parents got me a yellow blanket, which when I was slightly older became “blankie.” Blankie was my favorite thing ever. I slept with it, I would wrap around me to stay warm while awake and sitting on our couch, I’d tied it about my neck to be a superhero, or my waist to pretend it was a skirt. It kept me safe from monsters in the dark in my room at night, helped me sleep, the blankie could do anything, and with it, so could I. I still have it, in fact, and sure I don’t sleep with it any longer, but it still provides comfort. At the end of a rough day last week, laying down and hugging my blankie might not have fixed everything, but it did help me feel better.

Another comfort for me are hugs. Really good ones, a warm hug with a loved one is at the top of the list of things to make my day better. Your arms find just the right spot to curl around, and you fit against each other, and there’s a perfect spot to rest your head on them. You both feel loved and the whole day is softer now. Whatever else there is, there’s a good hug in it, and that can only help.

There are plenty of other comforting things–a good laugh, delicious warm food, a beer after a long week, a crisp apple straight from the tree, the list goes on. But hugs and my blankie? Those will always be up at the top of the list of what comforts me.


The Leap of Faith

You’ve all seen this trope in a movie or on TV, or perhaps encountered it in a role-playing game or video game: the leap of faith. The jump or step

Thank god his binocular vision kicked in!

off the cliff and into oblivion, hoping but not knowing that there will be something there to catch you. Made particularly famous by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, of course.

I enjoy the idea behind this–having a character lead to a point where they cannot know for certain who or what they can trust, where they have to indeed have faith and that has to be enough, is great when pulled off correctly. However, I also feel like making it a literal leap of faith has become very overdone. Frankly, I want to see someone step off a cliff and plummet to their death because they were foolish enough to think their eyes couldn’t see the walkway right in front of them.

Because standing at the edge of a cliff should be scary. Everything around you says that this will kill you–the height, physics, the lack of solid ground to keep you upright and safe. You should look down the depths before and feel terror and complete denial that this will be anything but your untimely death if you move another inch. The same should go for anyone walking the plank, especially if there are sharks in the water. The only people who shouldn’t be afraid here are the foolhardy or the crazy–not the heroes. Why not, because heroes (or main characters or protagonists, your choice) need to be relatable. And the everyday person cannot relate to someone who will step off a cliff without any proof that they’ll not die for it.

Now if you'd stop dating vampires, you solve a lot more life-or-death issues for yourself....oh, who am I kidding, like I'd say no to that!

In the most recent season of True Blood, in fact, this came up (minor spoilers for Season 4, Episode 1): Sookie is told that to return to her world and get away from some nasty fairies, she has to jump into a visually bottomless and shrinking hole in the Earth. She sure as hell does nothing of the sort, because that’s what a sane person does! She only ends up jumping (and thus returning to the normal world) because she’s pushed by someone else. No part of that leap was her choice, and I was glad that was the case. Good for you for not being suicidal (in this particular instance), Sookie!

However, I still love Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and I don’t begrudge it this particular moment in the movie despite what it may have spawned. Why? (What a fun question!) Because they build up to this. Indy spends the entire movie being a practical, logic-based, believe-my-eyes man. The legends of the Grail present facts to him, and those are what he follows–he’s a man of science here, not a man of faith. Whether or not he should be given his past is a different story altogether, but in this movie, his reliance on science (rhymes and) contrasts with his father’s focus on matters of faith. Yes, there is more nuance to it, sure, but I’m talking in overarching terms here. He’s now been put into an insane situation–his father is dying, and only getting through these trials can he save his life. He has to put his faith not only in the Grail legend, but in the results of his father’s research. The first few tests would seem to be ones of faith as well, but they are broken down into facts that Indy qiuckly picks up on. Something solid and reliable. But this last test, the leap of faith, is different: prior to committing to the test, Indy has nothing to tell him this won’t kill him, except the fact that he’s come this far and there have been reasonable ways around the previous tests. But those tests were very deadly all the same, so he could die here if he doesn’t get it right. And that’s what it comes down to: have faith, take the leap, and pray to God it works.

For the rest of us, let’s agree to stop with the cliff edges and roofs of buildings, shall we? Unless someone’s about to go splat. That’d be awesome.

My Favorite Season

The Daily Post photo challenge this week is “Fall.” And while I will later be making my usual photo challenge inspired post, Fall is my favorite season, so I want to talk about it.

I’m an Irish lass, and I burn easy, so the hot outdoors of the summer are not so much for me. It’s lovely, of course, and I like a day away at the beach like anyone else, but I’d still be just as comfy in some air conditioning at my computer or relaxing on a porch with a book. Moreso, really.

But then Fall comes in and just….ahhhh. The air smells different. It always does when the seasons change, but fall has a small of the air being a little more chill than not, of warm scents edged with cold–it smells like cider tastes. The tingle of spices, and it’s good warm or cold, and even when it’s cold there’s a warmth in round, crisp flavor of it. That’s the small of Fall–warmth in cold, with a crispness in the air and a hint of spice.

I love the colors of fall. There’s more than one reason I chose the wordpress layout I did–just look at that header image! The oranges, browns, reds, yellows, they stand out against the blue in the sky and the green that still lingers on the ground from the summer. The world is changing, beginning again, Fall is the start of things. That’s likely an impression that lingers from 22 years of school starting in the Fall, but life begins where it ends, and its end begins in the Fall. The last glimpse of things as they were, and the start of things as they will be. It’s when change begins in the world.

And the things you can in Fall are so much fun! Apple-picking, corn mazes, mulled cider! Pumpkin-flavored things! They are my favorite things ever, pumpkin-flavored things. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin beer, pumpkin raviolis, pumpkin donuts (possibly topped only by cider donuts, another flavor of fall), pumpkin soup… Fall is delicious. I’m licking my lips thinking about it all now!

Finally, there is possibly the funnest of holidays: Halloween. I love Halloween. I love costumes and every year I have a Halloween party where costumes are required. I really get into it, figuring out what my costume will be and putting it together. Over the last few years I’ve made costumes and gone as Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck, battle-damaged Clare from Heroes, Codex from The Guild, and Molly Carpenter from the Dresden Files. Not pictured is another of my favorites when my friend Melissa and I went as Harry and Ron (respectively), and our costumes were fantastic! Spot-on Hogwarts students! I love getting to create a costume, and I love seeing what my friends come up with. Everyone can be a goofball on Halloween and they get to have fun doing it. What’s not to love? Plus, candy! (OMG. Candy corns. Yum!)

This got a little silly, but you get the idea–I think Fall is fabulous and it’s my favorite season. I even enjoy going to a BC football or two (my alma mater) and tailgating, getting some delicious food and cheering on the Eagles with friends.

Fall’s just a great time to be alive.