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Archive for the category “Nature”

the eyes of my eyes are opened

Sunlight is in short supply here in the Northern Hemisphere. But fires roar in  fireplaces inside our homes, crackling with light and heat to dispel at least a little of the gloom. Here Richard Feynman explains the nature of trees and how the heat and light of those fires is actually “stored sun” being released from the wood.

And here is a brief animation of his “Ode to a Flower.” Very short–and so worth looking at.

i thank You God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

–e. e. cummings

happy holidays!

Light Flowers<br /><br />Albuquerque Biopark River of Lights

Light Flowers
Albuquerque BioPark River of Lights

Birds<br /><br />Albuquerque BioPark River of Lights

Birds
Albuquerque BioPark River of Lights

Coyote<br /><br />Albuquerque BioPark River of Lights

Coyote
Albuquerque BioPark River of Lights

all we have here is sky

New Mexico is called The Land of Enchantment. And it truly is. I never tire of the changing light and color and cloud configurations. I keep my camera near the front door because all I have to do is step outside to get a hit of wonder.

This is the sky at sunset a couple of weeks ago:

Some zigzag clouds in October:

The liquid amber tree across the street:

The sun setting behind bare trees:

Another one. (Couldn’t decide which photo to use.)

Early November sky:

The pale moon in October, not quite full:

I feel fortunate to live in this place. Fortunate to have a camera. And fortunate to have a place to share these pictures. I also feel fortunate to have come across this loopy but totally irresistible video of Jane Siberry. Who remembers this?

battleships and volcanos

A friend and I recently drove up through Jemez Springs to Valles Caldera. This is a pretty easy day trip from Albuquerque, but I had never been to Valles Caldera and I calculate it’s been seven or eight years since I’ve been to Jemez Springs. I really do need to get out more.

battleship

I have fond memories of visiting the park around Battleship Rock (aptly named as you can see from the photos below) 10 years ago with a group of friends around dusk. The moon over the Rock was a wondrous sight. But seeing the Rock in daylight was no less grand.

We strolled around for a while, and I took a few more photos. Below is the Jemez River and a tangle of autumn leaves and blue sky.

volcano

Then we headed up to Valles Caldera, which is an 89,000-acre National Preserve. A caldera is a volcanic crater formed by the collapse of the central part of a volcano. This area was a privately owned ranch until the year 2000 and has only been a National Preserve for 12 years!

Fun fact: Some scenes from the new movie, The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp, were filmed here. In fact at least two dozen different movies and TV series have been filmed at this location.

Although I checked my camera’s battery before I left home, it gave out before I was able to photograph the caldera itself, thus giving me a really good reason to return to this amazing and unusual place. We went on a 45-minute van tour that stopped at the edge of a forest of Ponderosa Pines, and so my last few shots were of–you guessed it–trees.

I do like trees. My greatest disappointment is that I wasn’t able to take any pictures on the drive back. The sunlight striking the fields of golden leaves was truly breathtaking. But now I know where to go next October to get my fix of autumn leaves.

a day in someone else’s life

If you ever get an urge to peek into what’s going on today in Amsterdam, Ann Arbor, or Auckland; Denver, Dubai, or Dublin; Lisbon, Lodz, or London; Oahu, Oeiras, or Oslo; Riga, Rome, or Rotterdam; Taipei, Tehran, or Toronto; Venice, Vilnius, or Vrsovice—or more than 300 other locations around the world, you can satisfy it quite easily.

More than 400 people regularly post photos from wherever they live on City Daily Photo blogs. I originally found this amazing gateway into all parts of the world via the City Daily Photo portal, but the portal has been down for several months. From what I recently read on the CDP Facebook page, it should be coming back up soon, which is great news. It’s always fun to while away an hour (or more) by stepping virtually into a few other worlds.

In the meantime, there’s another blog, CDPB Theme Day, where you can see thumbnail photos from the bloggers who post pictures on the current month’s theme. Another way to locate CDP blogs is from the lists some bloggers post on their own sites. This list from a Seattle CDP blogger was last updated a bit over a year ago, but is still a happy hunting ground for photo blogs.

I’ve followed more than a dozen different CDP blogs over the past few years, some for a few months and others over the long haul. My current favorites, with sample photos, are:

Santa Fe Daily Photo

Namaste

Oeiras (Portugal) and environs Daily Photo

Viewpoint

Adelaide (Australia) & Beyond

Tulips

Tulips

Salt Spring Photos (Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada)

Waiting for the Sun

Getting these bird’s-eye views into other people’s days, worlds, and worldviews reminds me how much more there is to notice and appreciate and consider than whatever may be right in front of me at the moment.

song of the trees

For the first 28 years of my life, I lived in Michigan, the Great Lakes State. We were inland from Saginaw Bay off of Lake Huron, so summers meant spending afternoons on the beach at Bay City State Park or driving up to Tawas City for the day. When I was a kid, our family spent a week or two every summer in a cabin on Higgins Lake, where there were daily motorboat rides on the Lake and weekends of waterskiing. Oh, yes, there was also a lot of swimming—but none of it by me. I never learned to swim and had a deep fear of the water for decades. I like to look at water, splash around in it a little, listen to the sounds of the surf or the waves, and even venture out on it in a boat once in a while, but that’s it. No swimming.

Not a happy camper. Can I get any farther away from the edge of this boat?

The first vacation my parents took me on was a fishing trip when I was about five years old. It meant leaving my baby brother behind and having my parents to myself. I loved every minute of it—except for the minutes when we were actually in a boat on the water, during which I reportedly whined or cried non-stop.

One day when I was a teenager, my mother, two brothers, and I were crossing on foot from the east side of town to the west side, which involved walking over a bridge. I refused to walk across the Third Street Bridge with them because I didn’t believe it was safe. Not only was it obviously decrepit, but you could look down between the wooden slats of the walkway and see the water! So I added a couple of miles to the jaunt by detouring solo to cross over the newer Memorial Street Bridge, which was constructed of concrete and steel. (Shortly after I moved to San Francisco, my mother sent me a clipping from the local newspaper with a picture of the collapsed Third Street Bridge.)

I lived in Northern California for close to three decades and spent a lot of time along the shores of the Pacific Ocean—especially the beaches at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, which is my favorite place in the world. I admit that if someone were to provide me with a cottage in Bear Valley and set me down in it, I would happily remain there for the rest of my life. Alas, that is unlikely to happen.

As it was, I moved to New Mexico, high desert with a rapidly dwindling body of water running through it that is still called The Rio Grande. Lots of other people have moved here from places adjacent to large bodies of water, and most of them sorely miss being near water. But I’m not one of them. I have realized that what all three places I’ve lived in have in common—and what seems more essential to me than water—are trees and lots of them.

Faded photograph: the view down the street from the last house I lived in in Michigan, October 1974.

I’m thinking about trees right now because it’s autumn and the first leaves are turning yellow and gold. And that reminds me of Michigan, where the leaves are turning much more spectacular colors of the autumn rainbow. I haven’t been back to see that in well over a decade and it’s the thing I miss most about my home state. I missed it even more when I lived in California, where deciduous trees are in short supply. But I’m satisfied with the golden oaks and aspens here because as long as there are deciduous trees, there will come the budding of new leaves in the spring.

Tree Spring Trail

And that is now my favorite tree-time of the year. I like the architecture of trees in spring when the pale shoots decorate their branches with lacy green filigree. I think you can see trees best in the spring. Sometimes I drive around in late March and April just to look at the trees. It almost makes winter worth it. Snow on branches is pretty cool, but only for the first 60 minutes.

Pino Trail

I loved to hike the trails of Pt. Reyes National Seashore in California, and I now love to hike the trails of the Sandia Mountains here in New Mexico. As long as there’s a trail in a forested area I can walk along—as long as I have trees—I’m home.

Faulty Trail

song of the trees

Here is Song of the Trees written and recited by poet, actor, and activist John Trudell:

early autumn, Santa Fe style

I took these photos on the last day of September 2012 on Museum Hill in Santa Fe. It was my second, but not my last, visit to the Margarete Bagshaw exhibit, “Breaking the Rules,” at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture. With a title like that, how can I resist? If you don’t know Bagshaw’s work, here’s a link. Seeing some of these pieces up close and personal is truly a revelation. I found out about Margarete Bagshaw from my friend Gayle (thank you!). And I’m doing my best to spread the word. This past weekend, I shared her work with another friend, who was equally amazed and wants to go back to see the exhibit again.

museum hill, Santa Fe NM, 09/30/12

The warm colors and patina of the artwork on the plaza blend perfectly with the colors of this season. I’m really loving autumn this year.

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