Tag Archives: nature

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?

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Photo Challenge #9

Hello and Happy Wednesday to you. I hope you are having a fabulous day! Have you made time lately to get OUTSIDE and spend some time in nature? Did you see anything that would fit our last photo challenge of things that are ROUND?
round--2If you look closely in nature you will find lots of things that are round, including the insides of flowers, water drops, rocks, the sun, some kinds of fungus, etc. Judging from the people who joined in this challenge (one!) I would say maybe it was a difficult one to portray.

By JockEye spots on a Buckeye wingAt Jump off Rock, by JockMoon over New MexicoLots of round drops! Water artSunset over the Blue Ridge ParkwayInsect eggsFake eye spots on a click beetle Cat's eyes are round! What round eyes you have! Tree frog eyeGood night moonAn insect laying round eggsSpotted salamander eggsRocks in New ZealandRound center of spider webWater on sheet webWater on lamb's earWater drops on silkSilkMarblesTemporary necklaceWater dropsSpider webWater in the grassWater on Aspen leavesMoon rising in Algonquin, CanadaA round spider's webDandelion in front of azaleaIslands in the streamStar fungus has a round centerLadybugSpider webRound eye!

Let’s do a photo challenge that might be a littler easier– The next photo challenge theme is: YELLOW.

Will you get outside this week and look for ways to portray this theme? What image of yellow can you capture? There is a lot of yellow in nature! Can you find it and capture it with your camera?

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Check back next Wednesday to see what people came up with–I hope to hear from you! Please send me an email with your images if you want to take part in this challenge: sharenaturemore@gmail.com

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Quote of the Week #74

I have been spending a lot of time in a field near my house looking for Mother Nature’s treasures. Each day when I know I will be doing this I wake up excited and with a feeling of anticipation, like a child on Christmas eve or Christmas morning. I race through getting dressed and breakfast, anxious to get out there and see what I will discover. (Reminds me of a post I wrote called What Inspires you to skip?)

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A most spectacular gulf fritillary butterfly on New York ironweed

There’s no telling WHAT that might be. Since finding that metallic chrysalis recently, I have been keyed in on looking for more chrysalises and amazingly, have found MANY, though most of the others were from a butterfly called a Buckeye (photos below in the slide show). These are much less impressive, though still equally miraculous in how the process occurs.

Today I found 13 chrysalises, though only 7 of them were still intact–the others were hollow inside, already eaten by some hungry insect. I brought the good ones home so I can have a chance to watch them emerge.

I know one of these days when I arrive excited for a heavenly morning of photography, I will find this field mowed… I dread this, knowing it will be a very sad day. It will break my heart in a way I suspect not all that many people will understand.

In my bios and artist statement, I often say I have had an intimate relationship with the natural world since I was a child. I suspect this baffles some people. Intimate? With nature? Huh?

But it is hard to describe it with any other word. When you return again and again to the same plot of wild land–whatever size it happens to be– you begin to learn things about it, just as you would a lover’s body.

I love this intimacy with nature! I am beginning to be able to predict what butterflies I will see, where the turkeys will be, where the deer bed down, where to look for chrysalises, and what plants I can expect to find caterpillars feeding on. I have watched deer browsing along the woods in the back corner, have enjoyed the calls of a pair of red-shouldered hawks that are often nearby, have heard the turkeys gobbling in the adjacent field and have seen goldfinches and other birds feeding on the seeds of the flowers. I have lain in the grass surrounded by yellow and purple blossoms, looking up into a sea of blue, watching turkey vultures soaring on invisible air currents. In spending such quality time there I have become attached to the field and its inhabitants.

And so… this week’s quote, a long one to be sure, but one of my very favorite from a man I very much admire–Henry David Thoreau who said:

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“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs…–that is your success. All nature is your congratulation and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality… the true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.

It is a little bit of star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”

I have written about this theme before– quote #42 about each moment of the year, or #44 about everything having a voice, or #58 about getting to know something in nature or #68 about nature making you whole.

What do you think of these? Do you know what I mean when I say an intimate relationship with nature? Have you experienced this during your lifetime?

Check out some of the photos from my recent visits to this field:

A most beautiful gulf fritillaryA buckeye covered with dewA backlit sulfurA monarchA skipperCaterpillar of a buckeyeA crab spider waitsA buckeye chrysalis in NY ironweedA moth with dewLadybugSkipperHaven't identified this caterpillar yet!Ailanthus webworm mothA jumping spider with preyAnother sulfurA variegated fritillaryAnother skipper!Haven't identified this one yet either!Wow, what beauty!A gulf fritillary and a variegated fritillary togetherA buckeye on goldenrodDotted with dewA buckeyeA variegated fritillaryA fuzzy caterpillarBeauty in the little thingsWater on cloverWater art!SuspendedMy favorite--web art!More web artA crab spider with dinnerPraying mantisSwirls of a passion vine

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Quote of the Week #67

It’s the first day of summer!!! Happy day to you. I hope you can schedule some time to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature soon.

As a child, did you enjoy your summer vacation? How did you spend your time? Do you think summer is a “waste of time” for children?

When I was a kid summer was my favorite season because it meant I could spend every day OUTSIDE. I lived to be outside and started a countdown weeks before the final day of school arrived. When it did I gloried in my freedom to let the days unfold, never feeling burdened by what to do or bored with the many unstructured hours. Often I spent the entire day wandering in the woods across the street or along the wide, shallow creek behind our house, jumping from rocks into the deeper pools, catching crayfish, watching birds or just sitting beside the flowing water doing nothing.

These days I wonder if kids spend their summers doing the same things… do they? I think our society believes summer is a waste of time for kids, that summer is just a big, empty space where kids “lose ground” on their education. I know many believe we should do away with a summer vacation for kids and have more time for lessons in the classroom.

But I would argue that the learning that can happen during summer goes beyond what we might be able to accomplish in a classroom. There is something to be said for giving kids unstructured time to explore, to imagine, to watch, and listen and touch and feel.

Of course, if the kids just sit around inside the house and play video games, watch tv or text their friends, then that’s a whole other story.

I feel sad when I think of kids these days, and how their every minute seems accounted for.

And so, this week’s quote:

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What do you think? Did you like summer vacation as a child? Do you know any children today who spend their summer days outside? What can we learn from time spent outside?

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Sure to Make you Smile…

This is so wonderful I have to share! It made me smile and I bet it will make you smile too. Happy day friends!

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An Amazing Discovery

Ice designs Aspen Trees Bent Creek Sumac leaves And goldenrodLight and shadows Cycles Wonderful WetlandBeauty of a DandelionHarmonyFloating reeds Serenity Silence Nature's designs PatternsPlant detailsRed dress Writing with lightIcy creations Light

I recently was playing with some of my images on my laptop, wondering what I could do to them to make them more along the lines of art than photography. What I discovered has me thrilled beyond words… ordinary pictures become abstract designs when I put them through what I’m calling The Kaleidoscope Effect. I’ll be the first to admit it’s easy to always look at the same things, the same ways. But what if we look at things with NEW EYES. What will we see then? Check out some pictures from my amazing discovery. Do you like them? Can you guess what these images started out as? Which one is your favorite and why? To see more, check out my new GALLERY called, appropriately, The Kaleidoscope Effect.

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Do This Today!

aday-3738I’ll be the first to admit it’s easy to get too busy or forget to go outside and enjoy the lovely day. Recently we’ve had a slew of wonderful fall days that make me incredibly happy to live here in Western North Carolina. What beauty there is all around us! Fall is an amazing season, brimming with delightful sights and sounds.

My advice for this Friday is to GET OUTSIDE!

Just make time to go outside, sit somewhere peaceful and enjoy the moment. Fall will be over before you know it! Recharge your spirit with some quality time DOING NOTHING but reveling in the now. For a few minutes, give yourself permission to forgot about all of the things you have on your To Do list and all of the reasons why you don’t have time. We must make time for the things that are important to us!

Nature=Free Therapy. Enjoy some today!

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