[This is a re-post from September 9, 2009.]
This was the first time I've ever seen these pine grossbeaks in my yard. These birds look a bit tropical to me instead of something you'd see at 10,000 feet in this dry Colorado mountain climate.
You can still see the frost on the leaves. (20 degrees this morning!) I took this photo out my kitchen window as I was reheating my coffee. I'd just finished the entry below about trophy hunters. What a nice way to wash away those thoughts. I had four birds land in this willow. Two red males and two mustard colored females. I just watched as they ate at the leaves and looked for bugs. I didn't immediately grab my camera. The branches bowed and swayed from their weight.
Finally, I snapped a few pictures. A photo like this doesn't begin to capture the essence of seeing these wild birds fly into my yard to feast on the natural folage. I don't expect it will even make anyone pause to really look at it. In a world so fast paced, with the ability for grand special effects, the joy of these very simple little things are seldom appreciated. (I've been there.)
It's hard to even express how something so small is so delightful. People see birds everyday. Why or how could that be special? But it was. It is. It's okay that others might not get it. Experiencing it is enough. Just thought I'd try and share -- maybe plant a seed. Maybe remind you to go a little slower sometimes. Maybe then you'll begin to notice the smaller, simpler, joyful things in your own life and it'll add some good stuff the way it does to mine.
I think we are drawn to reflection not only in images but in our hearts. The older I get, the more I appreciate and value time spent meditating and reflecting. I find it’s a healing thing to let our thoughts “float” and flow like water.
Below are photos I took today ...
Below is a Belted Kingfisher. It's another first sighting for me! My thanks goes out to Phillip, another photographer in the area today, for identifying it for me. "Firsts" make life exhilarating. I think it's one of the best parts of life.
A whole flock - probably 75 geese - flew away as I approached with my camera at a nearby park yesterday except for these two. They let me follow them around for the next ten minutes. I love how they weren’t afraid and how they didn’t follow everyone else. I also love how the different personalities of birds and wildlife emerge when you take the time to notice…
Several times as I followed them, they felt comfortable enough to plop down and take a short break! I stopped when they stopped so they'd continue to feel a level of comfort. I know that geese leave their markings all over parks and that people tire of them because of it, but how can we not be touched by their beauty?
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 ~
That quote by Henry Miller strikes a chord with me. The camera has helped me to take notice of things and actually see more than I used to see. I appreciate more things more fully. I love that.
Most of my time while I was in San Diego was dedicated to my art and photography. Such a great way to end 2009 and bring in the new year ...
It was my good fortune when I spotted these marvelous, naturally abstract pillars (the zippers & fabric shots above) thus the name of my photo series ”My Good Fortune”. What you see here is the protective “rain gear” around the sturdy beams that have taken quite a toll weathering the constant ocean waves....
Check out my online art gallery and look under ABSTRACT if you're interested in purchasing framed prints or greeting cards. They look great matted in white with black frames! Both images were FEATURED in three different art groups.
One of the extraordinary bonuses to me about photography is how inexpensively I am entertained by it. I didn't have money to go out while I was in California, but I could always take my camera and for the price of parking, I could spend hours not only getting exercise by walking around, but it was exciting to try capturing stellar moments in time.
Money will never buy the feeling of what it's like to look at life through the lens of a camera. I thrive on it. Time doesn't stop for anyone, but when photography is a passion, it's a way of making the most of time and in the end, it's also about being able to bring home a slice of that time picture by picture. When an image gives you that feeling of hitting the sweet part of the bat, when it's everything and more that you saw when you pointed the camera at it, it's exquisite.
This was my favorite quote from Richard Bach's 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' ...
"Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight—how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly."
I was 15 going on 16 when I first read that book. The story resonated with me so much. I identified with the feeling of being different and was inspired by Jonathan because he went after his passion despite what others might think.
That book fanned my own flames of desire to follow my own and very “different from others” path in life. So when I watch seagulls I feel a kinship and it takes me back to a wonderful time in my life when I first began to understand myself and to carve out my own place in the world …
“I am always doing that which I cannot do,
in order that I may learn how to do it.”
My 4-yr old granddaughter took this of me
I don’t know if where I’m at in my life is some sort of phase or if it’s more permanent. I’ve been downsizing my life for the past decade. I’m not much of a consumer these days at all. I don’t have the want to buy ‘things’. I own a few pairs of shoes. They’re all comfortable. I’ve gotten very simple. My wardrobe is simple. I cut my own hair. (And color it myself.) I don’t have my nails done or get pedicures. (It’s very obvious too.) But that’s okay.
I drive a 13-year old car that just turned over 209,000 miles complete with dents, faded paint and seat covers that could use refurbishing, but it gets 40 – 43 miles per gallon on the highway. Imagine that! I LOVE that it gets such spectacular mileage for an old beater!! I don’t ever want to own a vehicle that gets less mpg than that.
Here’s something rather ironic. Mazda doesn't even make a car that gets the mileage this old 1996 gets! How can that be? How can they make cars after 1996 that would get LESS mileage?? It’s 14 years later. Come on! How can that be?!
On to some fun ....
I woke up to frost again this morning. I was up by 6:30. It was below freezing even at 8 a.m. I went camera hunting a couple of hours later and was focused on this Gray Headed Junco grooming (photo on left). Out of the corner of my eye something caught my attention....
I looked up the road to my right and it was this Mule deer grazing. It wasn't far from my cabin. He didn't notice me at first, but then my sound (perhaps the camera clicking away) startled him...
I've said it before... the animals are often curious about me. He not only looked at me he actually started walking toward me. I counted three steps.. ! The 3rd step startled me a little. I was wondering how far he'd go...
But he stopped and when his curiosity was satisfied he turned and hopped off...
Scaredy Cat went "walking" with me again this morning. She follows me the way a dog does. Sometimes she's hopping behind me, then other times she flies off and returns a bit later. She's getting to where she'll hop on my finger without the prompt of food. Yesterday I began to pet her a little. I find the whole experience fascinating. I don't take any of it for granted.
A before picture
In addition to cutting my own standing dead trees, I've had to buy some wood for the winter. I still have to split it, but not chainsaw it. I simply don't have the time or energy to cut it all by myself. Here's a pile of wood delivered last night. Should be two cords. I've split about 1/4 of it with my new wood splitter today. It's still a lot of work, but it beats chopping all of it by hand! How's this for a small world? The guy who delivered it (I found an ad in the newspaper) went to school with my son...
Here's Scaredy Cat after I split wood.... she's always watching what I'm up to....
Here's what Scaredy Cat had been watching me do. She was perched on top the log sitting on the splitter...
You can't see him, but Clark is on the railing and is heading for my window again! He knocks like he's a little whacko...
Clark was watching me with Scaredy Cat and for weeks now he just knocks on my windows. He often knocks on the second story windows. I coaxed him down with a nut but then he went right back up to knock some more.
I saw a Steller's Jay today in my yard. It was the most gorgeous blue. I used to have one that would also knock on windows for nuts, but then he would be fine once he got fed. He never did what Clark is doing. This summer, I've only seen a Stellar Jay 3 times. I went to grab my camera but he was gone before I returned. Darn! He was so beautiful. I hope I can capture him on film before too long.
Here's a photo I took in the fall when the Stellar Jays started coming around daily.
“If one is estranged from oneself, then one is estranged from
others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh
This is a little bird -- a Gray Headed Junco
I love the way birds and animals are curious about me. It'd be fun to know what this little puff ball was thinking! If you read the blog where the deer just stopped to look at me, you'll notice how often it actually happens. In the herd of antelope I saw yesterday there was one in particular that just stared. Most of them wanted to run but this one just stood boldly examining me. It's all so interesting....
Sometimes (most times) to my own ears I sound like an elephant tromping through the forest. I wear mountain boots ... am wondering if I could wear something that would be quieter or if it's just me?
I'm getting more and more familiar with certain birds and even their songs and whistles and chirps.
Sept 4 - Gray Headed Junco
September 4 - A flower amidst the dying leaves
The other day I was feeling overwhelmed with some stuff going on in my life that redefines injustice and then a wave of relief washed over me when I brought some perspective to the situation. I thought about what a tiny spec I am in relation to the whole universe. I thought about how most people have such a tendency to get wrapped up in so many “man made” problems and issues and worries.
In the grand scheme of things, whatever that is, I don’t need to focus so intently on the things that tend to unravel me. It’s unhealthy to get entirely stressed out on all this stuff no matter how painful it feels. I can choose to let go of what I cannot control. Right now there’s a lot I cannot control in my life. I am not someone who needs vengeance to settle an unfair score. (I believe in karma for a lack of better wording.) When I view myself as just a tiny part of such vastness -- and I don't mean tiny as in insignificant - it brings calm feelings and feeds the inner peace I work at keeping. And it helps to be surrounded by nature and such purity...
I love this quote by Lincoln ... it's perfect to remember
when stress is abundant and worry has you buried...
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: "And this, too, shall pass away."
I've shared this before, but it's worth repeating. When a fly is in my home, or buzzing around me and landing on me, I want to shoo it away. When it's in its own habitat, doing its own thing, it's something interesting to observe. It's all about perspective...
I'm an artist, writer, photographer, private investigator and an activist in small ways.
"Turning indifference into making a difference."
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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...