Monthly Archives: July 2015

Soul Food

ablo--7There is always a lot in the media about the value of putting the right kind of foods in our body and doing the right kind of activity for our body and our minds, but what about our souls? That place within us that has no concrete location but in many ways defines who we are, giving us our sense of identity and our emotional or intellectual energy. What kinds of activities do you do to feed your soul?

aheart-1000575There has been so much in the way of disturbing news this week that it’s sometimes hard to not succumb to sticking my head in the sand and saying, “The heck with world news!” The news is often filled with depressing stories. At the top of the list for me is the story about the man from Minnesota who paid a lot of money to shoot an endangered lion in Africa. It saddens me beyond words and as Jane Godall said, “I have no words to express my repugnance.”

To escape from all of this–if only for a little while– I try and schedule several sessions a week where I can get outside with my camera and just BE in the moment.

For me, nature is the greatest therapy. I go to reconnect with simpler things, to be inspired, to be soothed, to be renewed and rejuvenated.

This free therapy only works if we leave our heavy thoughts behind and allow ourselves time to do nothing.


Sigurd Olson said it best:

“Simplicity in all things is the secret of the wilderness and one of its most valued lessons. It is what we leave behind that is important. I think the matter of simplicity goes further than just food, equipment and unnecessary gadgets; it goes into the matter of thoughts and objectives as well. When in the wilds, we must not carry our problems with us or the joy is lost.”

On many mornings recently, as the fog hovered in the valleys and drops of dew glistened on every surface, I moved through the meadow with no plan or goals, simply searching for beauty. Something not difficult to find once I leave the troubles of the “other” world behind.

Here are some of the things I captured in my recent photo sessions:

A fly in the grass A damselflyInsect eggs on goldenrodguess who?Silken treasureFog in the valleyWater dropsWater artThe drops line upDamselfly loveA Calico Pennant dragonflyGrassSuspended on silkA damselflyWhat beautiful eyes you have!My favorite kind of spider! A jumping spider.A red maple borer mothWhat iridescence! Bugs hatching from their eggs.A cicada DragonflyA mockingbird finds a berryMorning TreasureA robin finds a berry too! Web artA spider in her webWater drops!An immature wood duckWhat beautiful wings!Wow, he's lovely!

Have you scheduled some Soul Time lately? If not, perhaps you should!

Check out these posts about the same subject: What inspires you  to skip? , Quote of the week #22, Magic in the night, Magic comes to a backyard near you.

Quote of the Week #30

Are you addicted to social media? Do you check your phone constantly, always wanted to be “connected” to your friends, your followers, those people you may not even ever have met but are Facebook friends? If you are, you’re definitely not alone!

During a segment of the World News recently the reporter interviewed a handful of young girls who, like many people these days, admitted to being addicted to their cell phones, to the text messages, the Facebook posts, the instragram photos, the endless barrage of input and opinions and likes. These outside sources, even from people they hardly knew, much less spent quality time with, had tremendous power over them to make them feel inferior, ugly, stupid, unsuccessful, boring…

It was sad to see them not only spending so much valuable time on these devices instead of out actually experiencing life, but also so negatively influenced by these voices from the digital world.

And that brings me to this week’s quote:



Weekly Puzzler #71

Ok, so for this week’s puzzler, I am giving you a picture of a small part of something–which has drops of water on it. I LOVE this creature! And maybe you do too, especially if you’ve ever had the good fortune of seeing one. They are oh, so beautiful!


Check back next week to see if your guess was correct…. or write it in the comment box below. I would enjoy hearing from you!

Happy Saturday.

Weekly Puzzler Answer #70

katydid-3As you’ve heard me say a time or two, I live in the middle of the woods. Lately, the songs of the KATYDIDS have been deafening at night! It always amazes me that such a small insect can create such a loud noise!

If you didn’t already guess it, the Katydid–a nocturnal insect– is the animal responsible for the sound from last week’s puzzler. Have you been hearing them at your house yet? Do you like the sound? Have you ever actually seen one? They are very well camouflaged, usually on something green making it difficult to distinguish them from a leaf. If you’re looking closely though, you can find them! I often see them when I’m out in the mornings doing photography in one of my favorite fields.


For me, I love to hear them, leaving the windows open at night to fully appreciate their chorus. The past few nights I have also heard the screech owl, which is an entirely different sound, but appealing in another way.

If you live in western North Carolina, you might want to join me in a few weeks when I give another program at The Compleat Naturalist–this one about Creatures of the Night on August 21st. In addition, I will be offering night hikes on several different dates that you will need to sign up for ahead of time. More information will be coming soon.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! Check out the next puzzler if you like!

Quote of the Week #29

Do you think you are born either a pessimist or an optimist? Or does this develop based on your family and attitudes of those around you? If you are one, can you become the other? Can you actually decide which you want to be and then go about being that way?

Here’s a quote I came across recently that really had me shaking my head at how perfect it is. I think it is VERY true and said in the best way I have ever seen.


“Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it!”

Tell me what you think of this quote. Or if you think people can change to become an optimist if they’ve been a pessimist their entire life.

Weekly Puzzler Answer #69

acrane-Many people who see this insect think it is a GIANT mosquito! but this is not accurate. Did you recognize the wing? They are actually very intricate and even pretty, like a dragonfly wing. The insect it belongs to is actually  a Crane Fly. Like other members of the Diptera or fly family, crane flies have only two wings. Most other insects have 4 wings.

Amazingly, there are 14,000 species of Crane Flies worldwide! This makes them the largest family of all the flies. Know what’s cool about them? They start their life out in freshwater, as worm-like grubs that live along the bottom of the river, stream, pond or other body of water. As larvae, they look NOTHING like the adults they will become! A you probably know, butterflies and moths also have young that do not resemble the adults. This kind of metamorphosis is called complete metamorphosis–with 4 stages, those being egg-larva-pupa-adult.

Cranefly start their lives in water and look like this!

Cranefly start their lives in water and look like this!

Depending on the species, the larvae eat a variety of different things including algae, bacteria, even feces!, roots, vegetation and some are predators, feeding on other aquatic insects. As adults most don’t eat.

And even though they are big and may LOOK like mosquitoes, don’t worry, they won’t empty your child’s arm of blood and give her/him a welt the size of a small orange!

Unlike their smaller relatives, they don’t bite so you can rest easy when you see one near your home.

Crane flies mating.

Crane flies mating.










Check out the next Weekly Puzzler HERE.

Weekly Puzzler #70

Where I live here in western North Carolina, we have just started hearing this noise in the last week. Do you know who is responsible for this sound? Check HERE to see if your guess was correct!

Until then, have a wonderful week.