Monthly Archives: June 2017

Photo Challenge #11

Happy Wednesday! Are you having a great day yet?

I spent my morning out in one of my favorite meadows and it was absolutely glorious! The field is filled with yarrow, milkweed, New York Ironweed, butterfly weed, daisies, and more. In most places the grasses are as tall as my shoulders and I walk along, slowly, immersing myself in the NOW and viewing the world through my “photographer’s eye,” constantly on the lookout for insects and other interesting things. I frequently find deer beds of flattened grasses–it makes me smile, thinking of the deer curled up in a ball and sleeping peacefully for the night.

gmead-5200Today the swallows were making rounds over the field, swooping low above the wet grasses in search of insects, calling to each other as they danced in the sky. There was a flock of crows calling in an adjacent field. Butterflies, dragonflies and honeybees flitted around the pink milkweed blossoms that are so heavenly fragrant right now–if only I could capture the smell and waft it into your space as you read this post! As I sat in the field, hidden from the world, I thought of a poem by Wendell Berry that I read yesterday, sent to me by my friend, Bea.(Thanks Bea!)  For those of us intimately familiar with the natural world, this poem will make you nod your head in agreement:

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Anyway, I just wanted to share it with you on this Wednesday, in hopes that you can make some time to get outside and “come into the peace of wild things.”

Last week’s photo theme was FOG. Here is the weekly slide show

Ward Pound Ridge ReservationBackpacking in Denali National Park, AlaskaDelaware National Water Gap on The ATDogwoodNC Mountains, by ArdenDrama in the skyEagle on the Mississippi, by JockFoggy church Davenport by JockFoggy day on the ATSecret Garden, Roan MountainWestern North CarolinaFog at Nahant Marsh Iowa by JockIn Great Smoky Mountains National ParkFog by ArdenFoggy forest by JockFog over the mountainsIn Etowah Fog in the valleyIn GSMNPLooking back on the AT in MaineFog in AlaskaMy backyardIn Denali National ParkJones Gap, SCDawn's Early LightLight at the end of the tunnelFogFog in the pine forest at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, NYIn Cade's CoveTree by Whitewater Falls, NCDancing FogDenali National Park, Alaska

And in honor of my surprise-filled trips to the unmoved plots of land everywhere, let’s do THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS as our theme for this week. Have you been to a glorious meadow near you and felt the peace of wild things? Or been to a forest, a spot at the top of a mountain, or beside a pond or river? Do you have a special spot where you can feel the peace of wild things? Have you inched along the grasses in a meadow to find secret treasures? How can you create a compelling image depicting the peace of wild things? Do you think this will be an easy theme?

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I hope to hear from you, and especially, hope you will join us in next week’s slide show. Just email me a few images to sharenaturemore@gmail.com and I will happily add them to the Wednesday blog post…. see you again soon!

1 Minute Meditation: River Time

Some of you may know that I took a backpacking trip with some friends recently to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see a special kind of firefly called the synchronous firefly. The trail we hiked hugged a most beautiful river the entire way, making it very challenging for me to keep moving. Every few steps I would see another something interesting that I felt compelled to stop and photograph. I realized very early on that I must return alone so I can spend all the time I want without pressure that I am not making enough (or any!) forward progress, AND, I will bring my tripod…. Special thanks to my trail companions who were super patient with me and never once complained about always having to wait.

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…so the scene is set. It is late spring. Imagine that you are walking beside a rock-filled river, the constant sound of water accompanying your every step. When you stop and look closely, you notice how many of the rocks in the river are covered with thick, green moss. There are lovely reflections in the still pools of water close to the edge and the morning lighting makes the trees and rhododendron lining the river paint the water a glorious golden-green color. When you close your eyes, the music soothes you, chasing away any thoughts but the here and now.

What do you think? Was it easy to imagine you were there? Do you think it is somewhere you’d like to visit?

Weekly Puzzler Answer #153

Greetings friends. Were you able to identify last week’s mystery plant? A handful of people correctly identified it as Galax, or Galax urceolata, which is also called beetleweed and wandflower. Wandflower is easy to understand when you see the white flowers at the tops of long stalks, in bloom mid May-early July.

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This plant grows in the eastern United States, particularly the Appalachians. The wide, shiny, thick and heart-shaped leaves are often used in floral arrangements. Something that I learned while researching this post is that revenue for harvesting this plant, according to a National Forest Service site, runs from $10-25 million dollars annually, with 99% of the harvesting in North Carolina. As with any wild plant, there are restrictions on collection of this plant and a permit is required to harvest on National Forest land. Like other native flowers such as ginseng and ramps, poaching has become a real problem in many areas, with people wanting to harvest the plant to sell, but not wanting to acquire proper permits.

Galax beside a trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Galax beside a trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Here is our next puzzler–another commonly found plant in the eastern US…. see if you recognize it.

Weekly Puzzler #154: Spiral Fern

Hello and happy Saturday to you all! Now that summer is officially here, what exciting things do you have planned? Hopefully some outside time is on the agenda. I saw a quote recently, that I thought was great. It read, “Forget the box. Think OUTSIDE.”

Check out our next puzzler– my all-time favorite fern. It is especially lovely after a rain when the water sits on the top of each delicate leaf. Have you seen this in a forest near you? Do you know the name of it?

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Here is a video of a patch of it beside a stream. If you want to guess, use the comment box below. This is the first puzzler of our new quarter! I give away prizes four times each year–on the first day of each season. Congratulations to Arden for being our first-day-of-summer winner! Arden will get a sampler pack of my greeting card collection called Beauty is Everywhere. If YOU want to win, you must guess! All correct responses will be entered in the drawing.

Have a lovely weekend! See you again soon.

Photo Challenge #10

Hey, it’s the first day of summer! Happy day! How is your Wednesday going? Are you having a great day yet?

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I was pleasantly surprised to get a bunch of entries for the photo theme YELLOW. It is a common color in nature and it was great to see so many beautiful images featuring this theme! Special thanks to all of those subscribers who sent in some photos. Here is the collection, brought to you on the first day of summer!

Yellow water by Lead DogKeukenhof Gardens, Netherlands, by ArdenYellow sunset over cornfield by Jock Keukenhof Gardens, Netherlands, by ArdenForsythia with snow by JockCaterpillar by Lead Dogby ArdenYellow mushrooms by Lead DogYellow flower by JockKeukenhof Gardens, Netherlands, by ArdenTiger swallowtail on milkweedLovely reflection by Lead DogIowa state bird, by JockReflection by Lead DogBulbed flower floats Haarlem, Netherlands, by Ardenby Ardenby ArdenLovely flower! Fall color by Lead DogYellow flowers along Oklahoma Greenway by JockInside a lilyBathed in yellow by Lead Dogby Arden Maroon Bells reflection River Reflection Bulbed flower floats Haarlem, Netherlands, by ArdenFall tree by Lead DogMaple leaves, by Lead DogBulbed flower floats Haarlem, Netherlands, by ArdenAspens and blue skyLily by ArdenNetherlands, by ArdenHiker surrounded by yellow, by Lead DogColored waterBy Ardenby ArdenLighting bug on yellow petalsQuiet River by Lead DogFixing her webDrops of water on lilyBulbed flower floats Haarlem, Netherlands, by ArdenYellow crab spider waiting for lunchSoftness of a roseby ArdenNetherlands, by ArdenBiltmore Commons, by ArdenKeukenhof Gardens, Netherlands, by ArdenSpiderby ArdenAt Biltmore Estateby Ardenby ArdenA field of black eyed susansBeetle on goldenrodTiger swallowtail on butterfly weedSand Dunes National Monument, COGoldfinchDancing flowersYellow petalsCrab spider

What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite from the show?

A few weeks ago I asked for some future theme suggestions–if YOU ever have an idea feel free to send me an email or use the comment box below. I would like to involve my readers as much as possible so I always enjoy hearing from you.

As for the next theme–let’s do FOG. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! Send me your images please, to sharenaturemore@gmail.com.

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1 Minute Meditation: Pond Time

During the month of May I traveled to Buffalo to visit my Mom for Mother’s Day. Each morning the two of us went walking to a nearby park to enjoy the sights and sounds together.

Put yourself in our shoes… imagine it is early morning–the air is cool, no other people are in sight. The leaves on most trees are brand new–that fresh green color unique to spring. The woods is filled with the melody of bird songs. You sit on a bench overlooking a pond surrounded by trees. The sunlight feels good on your face. The still water creates a perfect mirror. Two canada geese are tooling around in the golden light. You have no where to be and nothing to do… You can sit and JUST BE:

Was it easy to imagine being there? Did you enjoy it? Do you have a place like this near you that you can go and do nothing but look, listen, and enjoy nature?

May the rest of your day be just as peaceful! See you again soon.

Weekly Puzzler #153: Tall White Flower Above Waxy Leaves

Happy Saturday!

This week’s puzzler is a plant, commonly found in southeastern North America. Here in North Carolina it is very common, especially on trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Check out the photos below–have you seen this plant? Do you know the name of it?

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Use the comment box below to give your guess. This is the very LAST week to get your guess in the box for a chance to win this quarter’s drawing. In the past I have given away blank notebooks, greeting card sampler packs and posters. All correct answers will be entered in the drawing, which will take place on the first day of summer–which is next week, on Wednesday, June 21st!