So true .... so very true ....
"We often think of peace as the absence of war; that if the powerful countries would reduce their arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds - our prejudices, fears, and ignorance. Even if we transported all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the reasons for bombs would still be here, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we would make new bombs. Seek to become more aware of what causes anger and separation, and what overcomes them. Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindful."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
After I read the quote by Thich Nhat Hanh today, and was still reverberating from how much it resonated with me, I googled him. I knew nothing about him. How can that be, I wondered? I never cease to amaze myself at how little I sometimes know. Here's what I found out about this man on http://www.plumvillage.org:
Thich Nhat Hanh
"One of the best known and most respected Zen masters in the world today, poet, and peace and human rights activist, Thich Nhat Hanh (called Thây by his students) has led an extraordinary life. Born in central Vietnam in 1926 he joined the monkshood at the age of sixteen. The Vietnam War confronted the monasteries with the question of whether to adhere to the contemplative life and remain meditating in the monasteries, or to help the villagers suffering under bombings and other devastation of the war. Nhat Hanh was one of those who chose to do both, helping to found the "engaged Buddhism" movement. His life has since been dedicated to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society." READ FULL BIO
Thây teaches that dwelling in the present moment is
the only way to truly develop peace, both in one's self and in the world.
I'll leave you with the last sentence of his quote and let you ruminate on it:
"Seek to become more aware of what causes anger and
separation, and what overcomes them. Root out the violence
in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindful."
JUST IN CASE YOU WONDERED
Spain, the world capital of prostitution?
[Straight From www.independent.co.uk]
"Europe's largest brothel opened in a land where no
fewer than 39 per cent of men admit to visiting sex workers."
The Mongol Rally: 10,000 miles driving in contraptions that barely qualify as vehicles for the fun of it and to raise money for chariites!
Looking for adventure or actually some misadenture? Don't have enough trouble of your own? The Mongol Rally promises to stir things up for you. It's a wacky 10,000 mile trip in a vehicle that is nearly guaranteed to break down. But that's all part of the plan. This Mongol Rally caught my eye because my friend is on day five of walking 1000 miles across Mongolia. (Read the blog posted right before this one.) Until I came across this rally, I never knew something like this existed. You can judge for yourself whether it's something you'd like to do or something you put in the 'why in the world would someone do that?' pile. Click below to read about this unusual way to beat boredom.
My buddy, Mike Prehis, is walking a 1000 miles across the Mongolian desert to raise funds for needy children in Mongolia. He's enroute right now! I met Mike in Nepal on a trek to the base camp of Mt. Everest. We've kept in touch ever since, seeing each other once a year when he lands in Denver. He has traveled the world twice over. His story telling escapades usually have me uncontrollably laughing. Read about his Mongolian adventure below.
Straight from South Florida:
Mike Prehis is a retired airline pilot who makes his home in Wilton Manors, however he does not take his retirement lightly. His vacations do not involve midnight buffets and planned excursions, often times they seek to give back to the international community. In fact his entire vacations seem to be...excursions.
In May, Prehis will leave the comforts of home to join 12 other thrill seekers as they trek 1,000 miles across the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.They will also have an eight camel caravan to carry their gear.
The trek, in addition to offering “really bad dust and sandstorms, heat stroke, extreme temperature fluctuations, blizzards, equip- ment failure and injury” will benefit schools in Mongolia. Schools around the world are also invited to interact with Gobi2011.com so students can experience what life in an indigenous Mongolian village.Through the website, trekkers will blog about their once in a life time experience. “We are raising funds with a charity called edurelief.org to benefit school children in Mon- golia,” said Prehis.“you can send a kid to school in Mongolia for as little as $20 per month.” READ FULL ARTICLE
For more information on Prehis and his adventure, please visit Gobi2011.com
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
- Annie Dillard
A GLIMPSE INTO MY SUNDAY AS SEEN THROUGH MY CAMERA LENS
"Great spirits have always encountered
violent opposition from mediocre minds."
- Albert Einstein
"I am only one. But still I am one. I cannot do everything, but
still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."
- Edward Everett Hale
I had a good day; lots and lots of walking, and lots and lots of picture taking. The really cool thing was rescuing two new honey bee swarms! Thanks goes out to Alicia for letting me know they were there and to Cedar for getting the boxes and assisting me. Cedar is also transporting the bees for pickup later tonight or tomorrow. The bees will have a new home at a friend's farm on the western slope of Colorado. I'm excited for them. It was great to save the bees before the next rains come. I learned the hard way after loosing more than half of the last swarm. (You can read about it here.)
Few things turn out like I think they will, but this time it went like clockwork. A small ladder fit in my car. I used it to reach the two swarms that were each formed on a branch in two separate trees. The branches were small. I was able to peel off each branch without disturbing the swarm, and laid the whole branch with the bees in a box. Most of the bees just stayed in the swarm and went right into their respective boxes.
"If you don't like something, change it; if you can't
change it, change the way you think about it."
- Mary Engelbreit
"People often say that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder,' and I say that the
most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder.
This empowers us to find beauty in places where others
have not dared to look, including inside ourselves."
- Salma Hayek
We more frequently fail to face the right problem
than fail to solve the problem we face.
Things turn out best for people who make
the best of the way things turn out.
- John Wooden
"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."
- Anne Frank
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
- Eleanor Roosevelt
"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice,
but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
- Elie Wiesel
"It is essential that justice be done, and it is equally vital that justice
not be confused with revenge, for the two are wholly different."
- Oscar Aria
"You can't do anything about the length of your life, but
you can do something about its width and depth."
- Shira Tehrani
"Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has
found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings."
- Helen Keller
"Know what's weird? Day by day, nothing seems to change,
but pretty soon...everything's different."
- Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes
There is no chance, no fate, no destiny that can circumvent, or
hinder, or control a firm resolve of a determined soul.
I've been trying to get some good photos of bumble bees. A few weeks ago, I saw the largest bumble bee ever. I was a nano second from taking a photo with my macro lens when it flew it off. From the gigantic size, I'm guessing it was a queen bee foraging as she waited for the workers bees to develop. Bumble bees and honey bees are very different. An impregnated queen bumble bee hibernates by herself in the ground in the autumn. All the other bees die off before winter. Each spring, the queen makes a new colony by laying a first batch of eggs, from which larvae emerge after 4 to 5 days. She feeds the larvae herself in the beginning, doing all the foraging for nectar and pollen, but once the worker bees are born, the queen no longer leaves the nest. I probably won't have another photo op of a queen until next spring!
I've seen four bumble bees since, all much smaller, and today was the only time I've been able to get a slightly decent shot. I follow the bee all over when I spot one. They are so beautiful. I wish I could find a nest of bumble bees! I'm looking .... :) Click on the bee to read bumble bee facts.
I've never seen a Black-crowned Night Heron! I emailed a photo to a friend to identify it for me. (Thanks, Ron!) This is another first. I love that! I had several of those today.
Never, never, never give up.
- Winston Churchill
I was getting cabin fever with all the rain of late. Felt great to get out and explore this morning. I experienced another first; always a favorite thing to do. I got to see my first baby ducks! Baby life of any sort always warms my heart. It's just a huge dose of awwwww. And I love it.
A Blue Heron was out today too. They are such exotic and graceful birds -- a real treat to see. Lots of turtles were sunning on logs and so many birds were out flying around and seemingly rejoicing in the dry, warm morning.
ALL PHOTOS BELOW WERE TAKEN 5/20/2011
I haven't seen the baby geese in about a week. I can't believe how much they've grown! I first began photographing them on the day before Mother's Day.
When you pay very close attention to wildlife you begin to learn how the littlest details become very telling. I walked by this robin and something about the way he was acting made me stop. I had the feeling a nest was nearby. Sure enough, I spotted the mom sitting in her nest, no doubt keeping her eggs warm and safe.
I was photographing the ducks when this little guy came running up to me. He was so attentive and curious. I love the intent look on his face.
I'm convinced if more people got turned on to nature, and gained an interest and respect for all the life around them, that there'd be more harmony. I seriously believe world leaders should only discuss politics and peace plans after they've spent a few hours on a nature walk with each other.
FIRST THE SWARM
A bee swarm is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies. A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees. The process is called swarming. Swarming mainly occurs in the spring. While the bees are in a swarm (pictured below) 'scout bees' are sent out to look for a new location for the hive. When one is found, the swarm will fly together to make a new home.
Friday, May 13th was the first day for this swarm of honey bees pictured below in the extraordinary shape of a heart. The weather was sunny and warm. The home hive was located in a nearby tree about fifteen feet above ground.
The next day the swarm had grown and reshaped. The photo below was taken on the morning of March 14, 2011 -- Day 2. It was healthy and thriving at that point. The scout bees were no doubt out looking for a new home. But nature had other plans. A spring storm was fast approaching and within hours the temperatures plummeted and the rains came; torrential rains. They lasted for two straight days.
I worried about the bees over the weekend, but I didn't know if I should intervene or let nature take its course. I thought about somehow putting a tarp over the bees and at least protecting them from getting soaked, but it was a public park and I didn't think the tarp would last long. I also didn't want to smother them. What I should have done was call a bee keeper that day.
What I learned came at the great expense of these beautiful bees...
I waited until the rains stopped to check on the bees and by then, less than half had survived. They were all on the ground and looking very weak. I made the call to a bee keeper at that point to come get the survivors. I didn't even know if that was something beekeepers would do. I found out it definitely is.
The beekeeper, Matt Ketner, pointed out the queen bee. I'd seen her when the swarm was first forming. Wherever the queen goes, the worker bees will follow. Matt put the branch of bees in the box and then put the box on it's side to let the other bees crawl in on their own, which they began to immediately do.
Some of the bees were so exhausted from little food and all the energy expended to keep warm that they couldn't even walk into the box. They were scattered around the ground so Matt gently tried sweeping them up, but he had another job to go to, so some bees were left behind.
A CUP OF BEES
The day after Matt collected the swarm, I went back to see if any of the bees left behind were still alive. I'd read that swarms can only last 4 days without getting to their new home. This was Day 6. I wondered if I could return them to their home colony located in a nearby tree, but the hive entrance was 15 feet up a tree and I couldn't reach it without a ladder.
When I got to the bees, I found they had huddled together into another small heap, and I was surprised that many of them were still alive. I just couldn't leave them to die. I retrieved a coffee cup out of a garbage can (the same cup I'd picked up off the ground the day before that was just left as trash by an uncaring park patron) and gently scooped up the bees with my hands and moved them into the cup. When I got them all safely inside, I called Matt. Thankfully, he was at home. The rain was just beginning to fall again. I asked if I could bring him a "cup of bees" to add to the hive. He said yes.
I dropped the cup of bees with Matt and picked up one of his $10 jars of honey. Later in the day I discovered one bee left over in my car. I felt sorry that she didn't get to go with her family. I was with my daughter running errands when I found the bee walking along my door. My daughter is adopting my love of bees and asked if there was a way she could take the bee home and wondered what she could feed it.
My daughter has always been one of the most compassionate people I've ever met. She would do anything (good and loving) for a friend and has been an animal lover from the time she was very little. When I taught her to fly fish and she caught her first trout she was so excited. She came running up from the pond below our cabin with the fish cradled in both her small arms asking for a bowl of water to put him in. When I explained that he was for dinner, she was aghast! All she wanted was to have him as a pet. She never fished after that. At the age of 9 she became a vegetarian. But that's another story for another time. This is my bee story.
So, back to the lone bee in my car. I was going to let the bee out but the last time I saw her she was on the back seat. I couldn't find her after that. I like to imagine she flew away and found her way home.
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which,
if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright."
~Henry David Thoreau
"Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of
the earth are never alone or weary of life."
"Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs
perspective once in a while, and you'll find it there."
"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and
dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it
had nothing else in the universe to do."
"Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars... and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers - for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are."
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to
play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give
strength to body and soul."
"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair."
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
"Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another."
"I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me."
"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.
Most of the time we are simply not patient enough,
quiet enough to pay attention to the story."
"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of
grass springing up in the fields has power to move you,
if the simple things of nature have a message that you
understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive."
There is not a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to me.
Thanks to http://www.quotegarden.com/nature.html for the quotes.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller ~
Muskrat - by Betsy Seeton
Communing with nature is such a part of me. I never tire of it in much the same way I never tire of seeing a sunrise or sunset. It's just one of those things that has no expiration date or a "done that, been there" sort of feeling.
No matter how many times I see birds and wildlife, it makes me feel excited like the way I used to feel when I was a little kid. It's as close to feeling something magical that I get to experience every single day. And I don't have to spend a dime! How sweet is that?! I love that something that is so fun and so soul feeding doesn't empty my pocket book.
All the photos here were taken between May 5th and May 8th of 2011.
I spotted these baby geese this afternoon; 11 babies in all. Mom and dad stayed close along with a relative. (I'm guessing it was an aunt or uncle or maybe just a close family friend.) It's my first time seeing wild baby geese! I was with them for about an hour. No people were around for the first 45 minutes. They all swam close to the shore line and came onto land twice.
One independent baby swam away from his family and chose his own path toward shore where I was calling out to him. He landed all by himself and then his ten siblings along with mom and dad came after him. I could barely contain my excitement at seeing all the babies waddle on to the shore.
How do you tell how old these babies (aka gosling) are?
"If the baby goose is still all covered with soft down, it is under 2 weeks old. If you can feel prickly little feathers, it is between 2 and 4 weeks; if you can see some feathers it is over 4 weeks, and fully feathered, it is grown." source: http://www.thegoosesmother.com/id27.html
baby geese - by Betsy Seeton
From pictures I've seen of baby geese, I estimate these little darlings to be a few days old to as much as a week old. They were wobbly when they waddled. It was the cutest thing.
I feel so lucky to have seen them. As I was heading back to my car I thought about how the world would be a more peaceful place if more people experienced nature more often and gained a compassionate connection to the land and life. I was filled with the wonder that seeing a baby anything makes me feel.
I believe with every fiber in my being that honoring and appreciating nature is an important ingredient in the recipe that could one day bring peace. It undeniably gives me inner peace.
I've come a long way since I first started photographing my honey bees back in mid-February. I have a new (used) lens that allows me to get a couple of inches from my subject. I stood in the pathway to the beehive where the stream of bees were flying in and out of the hive like rush hour traffic and the buzz was loud and thick. There's such a rush of energy all around me when I'm in that zone. I put my hand on the tree right beneath the entrance to the hive near the guard bees. No bee was alarmed. I really think they know me.
I often wear black, yet I've heard that's not the color to wear around bees. I've never had an issue though. Some of the bees would land on me, but most of them just flew around me like I was part of the natural environment. I love that. In a world so divided, and our own nation lacking harmony and togetherness, it's comforting to find a place so inviting and to feel like a part of something. I've said it before about my bees, but it's worth saying again. I love how they have a live and let live attitude. More people need to adopt that philosophy, as long as no harm is being done.
What a spectacular bird!
"It might seem to be impossible for birds of their size to float on top of the water, but the American White Pelican has the advantage of air-filled bones and air sacs that are located in their bodies. In contrast to other pelican species that dive from great heights to catch food, the White Pelican simply glides around, scooping fish out the water with its immense pouch. As the pelican is bound to scoop as much water as he does fish, the pouch is able to hold about 3 gallons of water. And instead of swallowing gallons of water with his meal, he bends his bill downward to drain the water, and then lifts his head up, to let his catch slide down his throat. An adult American White Pelican can eat approximately four pounds of fish a day, with preferred choices being that of jackfish, shiners, catfish, carp and yellow perch." Source: http://www.birds.com/species/a-b/american-white-pelican/
"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked,
in which you can walk with love and reverence."
Henry David Thoreau
My goal in all my photography is to capture the personality of all things living.
I still had my macro lens on when I came upon this little guy after leaving my bees. I started talking to him and instead of darting off like the squirrels often do, this guy came toward me and just sat like he is in this pose. I asked him to wait while I put on my other lens. I just kept talking to him as I made the switch. He actually sat there looking interested! I love first times ...
"Just living is not enough. One must have
sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
Hans Christian Andersen
I love the feeling of this flower presenting as an abstract piece of art. The beauty in nature is truly glorious, isn't it?! The colors, shapes, textures, scent and detail are endlessly tantalizing.
More baby geese photos below from Mother's Day 2011
by Betsy Seeton
I haven't been to my bee hive in a couple of weeks. It was great to see them today. It was late in the afternoon and so cool and cloudy I thought the hive would be fairly quiet, but it was the busiest I've seen it. Bees were landing all over my camera and me today. Pollen was steadily coming in! I was glad they still seemed to recognize me. I've missed them.
I wonder what it means when the antennaes are bent like they are in the photo above? I often see them much straighter. If you're reading this and you know the answer, please let me know!
Bees do not do well in water. This little gal was drowning near the edge of the pond below the hive and I rescued her today. You can see her wet fuzz.
As I left the bees I noticed how much is beginning to bloom. What a lovely time of year -- except for the all wind. I get really tired of it ..
Would you pay $4 - $6 million dollars for this painting?
How about paying $350,000 to $450,000 for this cute metal sculpture?
If you had $12 million dollars would you spend it on
this painting called "Woman with a green fan?
The Emperor's New Clothes
A translation of Hans Christian Andersen's "Keiserens nye Klæder"
by Jean Hersholt
Many years ago there was an Emperor so exceedingly fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared nothing about reviewing his soldiers, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, "The King's in council," here they always said. "The Emperor's in his dressing room."
In the great city where he lived, life was always gay. Every day many strangers came to town, and among them one day came two swindlers. They let it be known they were weavers, and they said they could weave the most magnificent fabrics imaginable. Not only were their colors and patterns uncommonly fine, but clothes made of this cloth had a wonderful way of becoming invisible to anyone who was unfit for his office, or who was unusually stupid.
"Those would be just the clothes for me," thought the Emperor. "If I wore them I would be able to discover which men in my empire are unfit for their posts. And I could tell the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must get some of the stuff woven for me right away." He paid the two swindlers a large sum of money to start work at once.
They set up two looms and pretended to weave, though there was nothing on the looms. All the finest silk and the purest old thread which they demanded went into their traveling bags, while they worked the empty looms far into the night.
"I'd like to know how those weavers are getting on with the cloth," the Emperor thought, but he felt slightly uncomfortable when he remembered that those who were unfit for their position would not be able to see the fabric. It couldn't have been that he doubted himself, yet he thought he'd rather send someone else to see how things were going. The whole town knew about the cloth's peculiar power, and all were impatient to find out how stupid their neighbors were.
"I'll send my honest old minister to the weavers," the Emperor decided. "He'll be the best one to tell me how the material looks, for he's a sensible man and no one does his duty better."
So the honest old minister went to the room where the two swindlers sat working away at their empty looms.
"Heaven help me," he thought as his eyes flew wide open, "I can't see anything at all". But he did not say so.
Both the swindlers begged him to be so kind as to come near to approve the excellent pattern, the beautiful colors. They pointed to the empty looms, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he dared. He couldn't see anything, because there was nothing to see. "Heaven have mercy," he thought. "Can it be that I'm a fool? I'd have never guessed it, and not a soul must know. Am I unfit to be the minister? It would never do to let on that I can't see the cloth."
"Don't hesitate to tell us what you think of it," said one of the weavers.
"Oh, it's beautiful -it's enchanting." The old minister peered through his spectacles. "Such a pattern, what colors!" I'll be sure to tell the Emperor how delighted I am with it."
"We're pleased to hear that," the swindlers said. They proceeded to name all the colors and to explain the intricate pattern. The old minister paid the closest attention, so that he could tell it all to the Emperor. And so he did. FINISH READING THE STORY
I’ve seen this quote by Mark Twain floating around the internet tonight, “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”
I raise a glass to that...
A little less evil is on the planet now. I send out a special congratulations to the incredibly brave and talented team who participated in the successful plan that ended bin Laden's life. Read: BBC Obituary
Read about the women in Osama bin Laden's life . Come back and click here for another article about bin Laden's life.
Also read: Analyzing bin Laden's Jihadi Poetry
I'm an artist, writer, photographer, private investigator and an activist in small ways.
"Turning indifference into making a difference."
A labor of love website devoted to animal and human rights, and better living. A place to be inspired ...
My LADYBUG book is filled with beautiful images & inspiring quotes. Click here for more info.
I visited the Tiger Temple in Thailand & later found out it is under investigation for tiger trafficking and animal abuse. Read full story. In 2015 it was raided. More than 100 tigers and protected bird species in Wat Pa Luang Ta Bua, popularly known as the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi province were impounded by authorities following complaints that the temple was alleged to engage in illegal wildlife trading.
"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious,
awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
~ Henry Miller
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS helps people worldwide where the need is greatest, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.
Read about life in the woods with Chippy & the crew...