Category Archives: For My Soul

Quote of the Week #82

If you’ve been with me for any length of time, you will likely recall my talking about seeing a special kind of firefly that lives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park–the synchronous firefly. I have written several posts about my experience witnessing the hundreds of these fireflies that light up night for two weeks every year in early June–Magic for your Soul, Soundless Music and 10 things you didn’t know about fireflies.

q-4278Recently I backpacked 4.4 miles to a remote campsite in the backcountry of the park with my husband and two new friends. We arrived at our site in late afternoon, set up our tents and sat back to relax until dark. We drank lemonade rum, snacked on cheese and crackers before our dinners and played a dice game called Farkle. All was well in our world.

Later, as darkness approached, anticipation was high. Our new friends had never seen the fireflies and I badly wanted them to experience the awe I felt the first time I’d seen them, many years ago after I moved to Asheville. With a nearly-full moon already high in the sky, darkness came slowly. At 9:00, I left everyone sitting by the empty fire circle, walking back down the narrow path, looking hopefully for signs of the fireflies. I saw only a few lights. Next I explored the area behind our tents, towards the wide, rock-filled river that provided constant music. Still only a handful of lights. Growing discouraged I ventured farther up the trail, hoping perhaps that would be the “spot” where the fireflies would be gathering. Again, nothing.

I walked back to the group, wondering how it could be that the fireflies were not here. Were we too early? Too late? Was the ranger who gave me advice wrong about this spot?

My friends were quiet, looking around like me.

And then! Here a light, there a light. Here a light, there a light! Tiny lights began flashing in the darkness, low to the ground. We made our way away from our open site, to another spot just on the other side of a small stream, in a denser part of the forest. There, in the silence of the woods, surrounded by darkness, the flashing lights surrounded us! They were everywhere!

Synchronous fireflies are different than other fireflies in that they all flash, flash, flash, flash and then somehow, a signal is communicated and they all stop flashing in unison, making the night black again. It remains black for a few seconds and then the lights start up again. And this goes on and on and on until somewhere between 11:00 and midnight.

Our small group of 4 stood silently in the forest, surrounded by flashing lights. At times they seemed to all dance forward, towards us before growing still again. Blackness all around.

Then the flickering of tiny lights again, decorating the darkness and creating a silent symphony of dancing light.

Later, after we all had our fill, we moved off to settle in our tents, which were by then surrounded by flickering lights. We took off the rain fly, lying in the tent and watching contentedly the dancing lights of tiny insects gathered outside of our temporary home in the forest. It is hard to describe. Difficult to convey the emotion I felt as I watched this. Impossible to communicate why I am moved to tears by this most simple natural event that happens at this time of year in this place every year and has for many, many years. It is magical. It is special. It is food for my soul…

And so, this week’s quote–two actually because as is often the case, I could not decide.

“Silence is life’s most sacred melody,” and:

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“Life is passing rapidly. Fiercely commit to every moment you find beautiful and remember it. Record it. Fully, whole-heartedly inhabit it. Awareness is one of the greatest things you can possess in this life as it is as important as the very air we breathe and water we drink to stay alive.” –Victoria Erickson

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Do you agree? What magical moments have you been a part of lately? Have you ventured to the Smokies to see these fireflies? What was your experience like? Have you seen fireflies in a meadow or forest near you? What was it like? Use the comment box below to share your thoughts–I always enjoy hearing from my readers.

…Here’s to making time for a magic moment near you in the very near future.

Weekly Photo Challenge #8

Happy Wednesday! The last one in May. Can you believe it’s already June?

Did you see anything that fit last week’s photo challenge theme of pink? Once you see a few pictures from this theme I think you will agree the color pink is common, especially in spring.

Here are some of the pictures from this theme:

 

Lizard by JockTulips by ArdenTrees by Ardenby ArdenPink by ArdenBy JockLiquid mirrorSecret GardenArboretum by ArdenRose by Ardenby ArdenBee on Milkweed, by Jockby ArdenSkipper on Milkweed by Jockby ArdenWall Street in Asheville, by ArdenCarnations by ArdenOcean Beauty by ArdenFlowers by ArdenOrchids by ArdenPink by ArdenFlowers by ArdenPink! By Ardenby Ardenby ArdenBy Ardenby Ardenby Ardenby ArdenRoses by ArdenSunset by Ardenby Ardenby ArdenAt BiltmoreTulips at The NC ArboretumRedbud reflectionPetalsPink flowerMagnolia blossomWater lilyPeonyPink lady slippers in GSMNPLined with pinkPink backgroundLilySweat bee on pink flowerOn the ATTrail of pink petalsPink tulipsPink tulipWater on pink petalsPink heartPink in our backyardPink azaleaAll pinkLots of pink!Magnolia

So last week I asked readers to suggest a theme. Let’s choose one that Joe suggested: Things that are Round

Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with. Please email me any photos you want to share and they will be put in the next Wednesday slideshow.

Happy photo hunting to you! See you again soon.

One Minute Meditation:Falling Water

Imagine you are standing beside a towering waterfall, one that rises above you more than 70 feet. As you look up your face is gently misted by falling water. You can hear nothing over the sound of the water. No one else is around, only you. You close your eyes and listen to the constant sound of liquid hitting the gray rocks and splashing into the shallow pool…

Weekly Photo Challenge #7

Hello and Happy Wednesday to you! Are you enjoying your “hump” day yet? Is it another beautiful rainy day where you live? (If the rain is putting a damper on things in your neck of the woods, here are 7 positive things to love about rainy days  or here’s why I love rainy days)

I got some spectacular images for last week’s photo theme: SUNLIGHT. This may have seemed like a challenging theme at first but since the word photography comes from the greek roots meaning “writing with light,” it is easy to see that so many images fit this theme.

Check out this image–my favorite!–from subscriber, Jock from Asheville. Wow, amazing, right?

Photo by Jock, from Asheville

Photo by Jock, from Asheville

Here are some other images for the theme of SUNLIGHT. Which one do you like best? Do you want to suggest a future photo theme? If so, use the comment box below or send me a private email at sharenaturemore@gmail.com. I hope to hear from you soon!

Duro River in Portugal, by ArdenBy JockNC Mountains, by ArdenCardinals at sunset, by JockDuro River, Portugal, by ArdenSunlight, by JockSunrise, Florida, by ArdenSunrise Davenport, by JockSiesta Key, by ArdenWalking into HeavenJump off Rock, by JockSunlight gathering, Meritt Island, FloridaSplendor in the GrassHeavenly CampsiteMorning GloryBacklit EgretSparkles on the water, FloridaPearls on silkMorning SecretJewels in the grassDancing TreesSunlight peeking throughSparkles on IceNC sunriseNew Zealand SkyMorning Light, by JoeRedwoods morningDeer in the shaft of sunlightBathed in SunlightSunshine!On the Appalachian TrailSunlight

And for those of you participating in the challenges–thank you, thank you, thank you! I am enjoying seeing what you have to offer each week and hope to see more people’s images in the future.

Our next photo theme is: PINK

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What things outside can you find that are pink? How will you represent this theme?

Special Invitation: Blue Ghost & Moth Viewing Party!

Hey all and happy Monday to you. If you live locally in Asheville or western North Carolina, this post’s for you–a special invitation to come out and join me on Friday night to watch a special firefly. (If not, so sorry! I will feature another post after the party with some photos)

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As you’ve likely heard me say a time or two, my husband and I live in the woods in south Asheville. We discovered some years ago that we have BLUE GHOST FIREFLIES on our property. Don’t know what a Blue Ghost is?

Blue Ghost Fireflies are different from other species of firefly in that their light stays lit for 30-60 seconds, 2 to 3 feet off the ground. So watching them is magical–it’s like ghosts are carrying lanterns as they move silently through the trees.

The firefly is only the size of a rice grain but his light is bright enough to light up the night, especially when there are a bunch in one spot. Females also have a light but have no wings so remain stationary.

On THIS Friday, May 26th, at 8pm, my husband and I are hosting a blue ghost and moth viewing party. We will sit outside and have a drink while we wait for it to get dark, then will learn a bit about these fireflies before going on a short walk to see some.

We will also put out a black light and white sheet to see what moths we might attract. I will mix up a special drink for the moths and will put it out near the sheet. After we watch the blue ghosts, we can walk over and check out what’s on the sheet. You never know what we might see! Here are a few of my favorite moths that I’ve seen other years:

Luna mothVirgin tiger mothInside of tiger moth's wingsTulip MothImperial mothTulip moth,maleA luna moth with another smaller mothUnidentified mothMoths Polyphemus mothTiger mothPolyphemus mothMoth on sheetMoth attracted to black lightMothMothFirefly in daytimeOrange patched-smoky mothA beautiful luna mothMultiple luna moths

If you want to attend, great, I can’t wait to meet you! PLEASE wear comfortable shoes for this! And note that we will not be using flashlights for much of the time in order to allow our eyes to adjust to the night. The driveway is wide and mostly level and we will not be off-trail at any time. But to get the address and directions, you must RSVP at my meetup site   or send me an email saying you’d like to go– sharenaturemore@gmail.com. To avoid overcrowding, I am limiting this to 20 people.

If you want to learn how YOU can attract moths to your yard, see this post or if you want to read about one of our more beautiful moths, check out this Tulip Tree moth. Or, here’s a quiz to see what you know about moths.

Lastly, if you are interested in learning more about moths, such as how to identify them, here is a link to a fabulous book–a Peterson Guide to Moths. 

Weekly Photo Challenge #6

Did you capture any images that depicted Water Art ? Did you enjoy searching for examples of this theme? Thanks to those who sent in some pictures! It is always fun to see what people will come up with!

Here is your Wednesday slideshow featuring Water Art:

At Reinstein Woods Preserve in western NYSiesta Key, Florida by ArdenBy JockShelby Botanical Garden in Florida, by ArdenPetalsShelby Botanical Garden in Florida, by Arden Western New York StateBrush strokesPortugal by ArdenWaterCaught!Jumping SpiderNature's jewelry Red budsPearlsLiquid MirrorsPerfection in a dropBalancedSilkMorning SecretReflectionsWinterPerfection!At Biltmore EstatePinkNew leaves

Our next photo theme challenge is: SUNLIGHT

What image can you create that depicts this theme? If you have ideas or what to participate, just send me your images in an email and I will include them in next Wednesday’s slide show! Have a great week…I will see you again soon.

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1 Minute Meditation: Time Lapse

I saw a video recently that I thought was terrific so thought I would share it with you–it was done by National Geographic –a fabulous time lapse featuring various flowers opening. It is amazing! I hope you enjoy your one minute of beauty immersion!

Watch it here:

What do you think? Fabulous, right?