Tag Archives: beauty

Weekly Photo Challenge #3

So last week’s theme was SERENITY, which I admit thinking was about the easiest theme ever as so many photos of nature could be interpreted that way. Special thanks to Arden for sending in a few photos. I know I was supposed to publish this yesterday, but I held off, hoping I might get a few more images from someone out there.

I have about a million photos that depict SERENITY, but when I got going with this, I really didn’t want it to be about me, I wanted it to be about YOU, my readers. Even so, I have put together a short slide show.

Siesta Key, Floria by ArdenSiesta Key, Floria by ArdenSiesta Key, Floria by ArdenSavannah National Wildlife Refuge, by ArdenWest Asheville, by ArdenSelf portrait at Lewey Lake in the AdirondacksThe A.TAlong the ParkwayAlong the John Muir Trail in CAWard Pound Ridge Reservation, in NYAlgonquin, CanadaWhat a sunrise!A glorious morning!Canoeing in the Great Swamp of Eastern NYQuiet musicIndian Lake in the AdirondacksSunset

I will try one more theme–but maybe will give it a few weeks for people to get outside and capture it, rather than publishing it next Wednesday, though I suspect it will then be “out of sight out of mind.” But I will try anyway.

The next photo challenge theme is: Spring. Have fun with it! There is so much you can do with that! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Just email your images to me at sharenaturemore@gmail.com. Hope to hear from you soon!

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Do You See What I See?

1-It’s that time of year again–the time when I can’t seem to get anything else done because I just want to be outside, looking for spots of beauty to capture with my camera. Mornings are my favorite time of day –when the birds are singing and the sunshine is just beginning to wipe away the dew. Time disappears in those moments. Do you know what I mean? What activity do you do that makes time disappear?

Since you can’t come along with me into the fields, I thought I would share some of my recent photos. As you can see, there is no shortage of beauty! Which one is your favorite?

Enjoy! And have a wonderful Thursday!!

TogetherField of black-eyed susansShadowsCurvesDelicate fernsOnePollen grainsIn a lineAweReady to fallFlowersCommon whitetail dragonfly, maleLong legs!A beetle on a lilyAnother beetleA bee gathers pollenA jumping spider! I see you!DropsBacklitWater marblesZigzags One flowerRed-lined leafRaindropsBeautyA beetleUnfurling its proboscisReflectionsA female widow skimmerWater artA stink bugSimplicity A female hummingbird!VeinsPinkYellowHalloween pennantA slaty skimmer at the pondA painted ladyBanded pennant femaleStar-dust caught!! Calico pennantBlack birds chase an osprey! Such big eyes!A damselfly at the pond

If you need some more inspiration for the day, check out these past posts– What causes me to skip? What gift should every child have?  and finally, on Intimacy with the natural world. Enjoy.

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Quote of the Week #68

roannnn--7Do you have a place, outside, that you love to go regularly? Somewhere you can go when you want to be alone or when you need to get away from the stresses of your life?

Since moving to western North Carolina I travel every spring to a place two hours away called Roan Mountain. In mid-June the pink blossoms of the Catawba Rhododendron color the hillsides, mixing with the brilliant orange flowers of Flaming Azalea bushes. When the stars align and all the conditions are perfect, this is an amazing spectacle! roannnn-3044

There are 3 balds in a row, two of which fall on the world-famous Appalachian Trail. When I was there during my thru-hike in 2008, I remember being blown away by the beauty. Imagine a grassy mountain top dotted with yellow, pink and orange, with layers of mountains falling away in the distance and jagged-edged rocks sitting silently, sentinels of Nature’s majesty.

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This year my husband, 7-month-old puppy and I camped on the top of one of the balds, our tent tucked away in a Rhododendron thicket decorated with pink petals, like something out of a fairy tale wedding. After enjoying a spectacular sunset from our “front row seats” we drifted off to sleep under a ceiling of stars with lightning flashes visible behind the distant clouds.  Ahhh, is there anything better than camping alone at the top of a mountain?

And so, this week’s quote: (two actually, because I could not choose)

roannnn--10“Society, as we have constituted it, will have no place for me, has none to offer; but Nature, whose sweet rains fall on unjust and just alike, will have clefts in the rocks where I may hide, and secret valleys in whose silence I may weep undisturbed. She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt; she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.” –Oscar Wilde, De Profundis 

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And:

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”            –John Muir

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Which one do you like best? Where is a place you return to every year in the same season?

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Click HERE if you’d like to read last year’s post from Roan Mountain.

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Earth Day Inspiration, Plus 5 Ways to Help our Planet

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Happy Earth Day, friends! Are you doing anything special today? Will you spend some time outside enjoying this beautiful planet that we live on? Will you make any changes to protect Mother Nature?

In honor of Earth day I want to share with you some moments I have captured in the past week. As I’ve said again and again, We live in an amazing world! And beauty really IS everywhere. On this Earth Day and always, I hope you take time to BE outside and that you help spread the word about just how amazing our world is and how much impact each of us has.

Spring blossomsNew leavesPretty in pinkUnfurlingErect TrilliumHairstreak on tulipWater artTrunk decorationsPerfection!New leavesSimplicityHanging heartsMagnolia blossomSpring waterJapanese red mapleFoam flowerRainTulipsTulip reflectionCinnamon fernRed buds

Did you know Earth Day was the idea of a US Senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson? He says, “For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country…Suddenly, the idea occurred to me – why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment? “After seeing the devastating effects of an oil spill off the coast of California in 1969, Gaylord helped the United States celebrate the first Earth Day in 1970. In 1990 the day was recognized and adapted worldwide.

Here are some cool facts about Earth Day, taken from Alabama.com:

  • In 2009, Earth Day was officially renamed by the UN to International Mother Earth Day.
  • On Earth Day 2012, more than 100,000 people rode bikes in China to reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel.
  • Organizers hope to plant 7.8 billion trees during this year’s Earth Day activities.
  • Earth Day has its own flag. It features a picture of the Earth taken from the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the Moon.

And finally, here are 5 simple things YOU can do to make a difference:

1.Take your own bags to the grocery store. I bet, like me, you have seen plastic bags stuck in the top of trees along the road. Think of the difference we could make if EVERYONE brought their own bag to the store! In some countries, like India, Rwanda and New Zealand, stores don’t even provide plastic bags! Customers must provide their own, or juggle all of their purchases. Bringing your own bag is not hard, especially once you get in the habit. Just keep a handful of cloth bags in the back seat and remember to carry them into the grocery store. (Read more facts about plastic bags HERE.)

2.Recycle! It is amazing how much of today’s “stuff” can be recycled. Where I live we recycle plastic,glass,metal, cardboard,junk mail,newspaper, and much more. (Learn more HERE) Learn what materials are recyclable where you live.

3.Be conscious of packaging and choose wisely. When you are in the grocery store, choose products with minimal packaging. Yes, that melon, cantaloupe, orange, and pineapple might be easier already cut up, but buying it that way encourages unnecessary waste. Choose products with minimal waste.

4. Stop using Round-up and other harmful chemicals in your yard. These have a devastating impact on wildlife, including butterflies and bees.

5. Bring your own water bottle rather than buying bottled water. Like the reusable grocery bags, it is simply a habit to get into–once you do it a few times, it will be easy to remember. You can start today! (You can bring your own coffee mug too)

Here are 40 more things you can do! Or HERE are 10 SIMPLE things you can do to help the planet.

Before you go! A last reminder--If you live here in western North Carolina and want to plant MILKWEED in your garden this summer, or buy some ground covers, come out to join me tomorrow, April 23rd at the French Broad River Garden Club Foundation’s annual plant sale. This event features 20 local vendors who will be selling a variety of shade-loving, full-sun and deer resistant ground covers. From 9-2pm at Clem’s Cabin at 1000 Hendersonville Road in Asheville, I will be there talking and showing pictures and videos about Monarchs and Milkweed and selling a few things including greeting cards and my new blank notebooks. I hope to see you there!

Have a wonderful day! What changes have you made to contribute? What things can you add to these lists? As always, I’d love to hear from you!

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Quote of the Week #42

Do you live somewhere that has four seasons? Which is your favorite? Has fall arrived yet where you live? Have you gotten a chance to get out and enjoy the lovely colors?


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I spent the last two weeks in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, a place decorated with winding rivers, tree-covered mountains and sparkling lakes. Autumn there is spectacular, the vibrant colors adding to the beauty. For days, I camped, kayaked, hiked, contemplated, photographed, explored and did nothing but sit and appreciate the scenery.

If you’ve never visited this part of the country, I highly recommend checking it out some day–and in my opinion, fall is the best season there. You will be amazed! (If you live there, wow, lucky you! Such a beautiful place.)

For this week’s quote, I thought I would share some of my pictures from the trip along with these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson: (You may have heard a shorter version of this quote, but I love it best in its entirety.)

To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before and which shall never be seen again.

(When viewing the slide show, to make the pause icon in the middle of the picture disappear, move your arrow to the side and then let it play. And really, there are a lot of photos! But I included many so you can sit and be in the moment for a little while, just enjoying the scenery. How often do you do that–just sit and enjoy the moment?)

Click above if you want to enjoy this with instrumental music, which includes natural sounds including loons calling across the lake.)

Music of nature Fall at Lewey LakeHave you seen this Forest PaintingSerenity Happily TogetherA Common LoonSuspendedLewey Lake morningA foggy morning on Lewey LakeFloodwood LakeWater colorsGolden light Gorgeous hillsideExploring the lakeAdirondack scenery Twin Falls More water artLake Durant in all its gloryClouds over Lake DurantA roadside capturePerfectly splitButtermilk FallsA mallardExploring a small riverLeaves make great subjects!ReflectionsSkytop tower at Mohonk PreserveSuspended animation What colors!Morning calmSunrise at Middle PondBeauty is everywhere!Glen FallsNature's perfection Quiet riverAnticipationSentinels at Middle PondPeaceFishing at Bog RiverRocks in the riverSilent beautyDancing along the streamSplendid colorsPerfect reflectionQuiet contemplationMuskrat at Middle PondIn the skyAlong the riverSunrise at Middle PondBabbling brookSolitudeGlory of fall Campsite Thinking rock Sunset at Tupper LakeCanada geese are on the moveStillnessGlen Falls Secret cascadeFloating leafGeese are heading southAnd on to the next adventure!

May fall where you live be fabulous! Enjoy it because it will be gone before you know it. Schedule a hike or drive soon–and while you’re out there, don’t forget to notice the small details too–those can be just as beautiful!

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Quote of the Week #34

jj-2135Have you ever had something go wrong, but later discovered that it turned out to be a GOOD THING because something wonderful happened because of it?

My husband and I spent Saturday evening on a blanket beside the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoying wine, cheese and the lovely evening. We watched the sunset in the distance, found shapes in the clouds and basically did nothing but BE.

Even after the sun was long gone, we stayed, marveling over the cloud-filled sky and drama in the moving clouds. Eventually we packed up our things and headed out, driving the winding road 50 miles to our house. And when we arrived my husband realized there was a hole in his fleece and that his glasses were missing. Of course they must have fallen out of the hole and were back beside the Parkway.

Ugh! It was nearly 11:00 pm and we did not feel like driving back right then. And in the morning when it was pouring rain, we still not not want to get in the car and drive back. In late afternoon we headed out, deciding to enjoy a nice dinner at the Pisgah Inn before continuing on to our previous night’s picnic spot.

The clouds were thick in the sky, veiling the mountains and making everything foggy. Travel was slow-going on the winding Parkway, visibility only a few feet in front of the car.

Then, to our surprise, we exited a long tunnel and found we’d left the rain behind! In the distance, we could see blue sky and wispy clouds gathering on the horizon.

We arrived at our destination and TADA! there were the glasses, laying untouched in the grass beside the road.

Since we were there and the evening was lovely, we decided to make ourselves comfortable, ready to wait for another sunset….

WOW, talk about a sunset for the record books! At times the sky looked like it was on fire, painting the wispy clouds red and orange in colors that  looked fake. Every second the wind rearranged things and we watched, rapt, enjoying the spectacular show, marveling over the fact that if we hadn’t have lost the glasses we never would have gotten to see the sunset. Or meet the lovely couple from Ukraine named Vladimir and Valentina who stopped to join us in taking pictures.

…so this week’s quote:

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Here’s more from those two nights if you’d like to see them! Hope you schedule time to see a sunset for yourself soon!

Dancing cloudsA sea of cloudsLovely lightingTalk about drama!A ceiling of cloudsFire in the sky!Looking through the cloudsShapes in the skyWhat colors!Nothing ordinary about this sunset!

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Quote of the Week #23

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