Archive for April, 2011

Searching for Beauty

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."~Ralph Waldo Emersonleaves lingering with spiderweb

I’ve been in search of beauty on my hikes and I’m surprised to say that it has been difficult lately. I thought by now there would be flowers blooming & butterflies swirling about, yet most days continue to be wet, gray, and gloomy with little to find. Yesterday I finally found something that brightened my week, the sun peaked out and my eyes were drawn to these trees with fragile paperwhite leaves lingering… I think they look like angel wings drying on a clothes line.

angel wings on a clothes linetree with leaves lingering

leaves lingering in the sun

That reminds me…. a few weeks ago I found these big trees with dried blooms… who knew a dried up bloom could be so beautiful?

dried bloom

tree with single bloom

blooms in big treetwo bloomsSince things have been dreary outside, I’ve been spending more time inside searching for beauty. It’s been fun to surf the blogosphere… I found some beauty here at giggling in the rain her blog is filled with heartfelt words, I love this post.

Perhaps the coolest thing that happened this week is that people found me! Two blogs that I enjoy visiting linked back to me. This is a first for me. It’s so exciting to have new visitors… and to have, not one, but two friends link to me in one week WOW! I know this may sound silly and self-serving but I’m just beside myself… I feel seen 🙂 Thank you Jill & ELK. Jill’s blog Jillsygirl studio has beautiful photography and she creates wonderful blog hop challenges. ELKs blog red or gray always calms me down and I breathe a little deeper each time I visit.

single dried bloom

P.S. One other thing I found this week was another duck species … a Hooded Merganser, I can’t believe this funny looking duck was hanging out in the pond outback!

hooded merganser

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Reflections

beautiful branch in the rain

It was gray and rainy so I wandered out for a hike without my camera. I did not want to get it wet. After a few hundred yards I turned around and ran back to get it. The drops of water hanging on the branches were so beautiful.

tree drop reflectiontrail drop reflectionpine branch reflection

The reflection that each drop holds is like a little snow globe world.

“The water reflects our spirit. In Zen it is said that the whole moon and sky are reflected in a drop of dew on the grass. Each the whole.”

I read this passage in After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield and it reminded me of these photos. I love how such a small drop can reflect the expansive world beyond the drop, it seems impossible, yet there it is.

pine drop reflection pine cone dropice pine dropsfan of drops

My camera survived the rain, my husband ( who is an amazing videographer, and has to shoot in all kinds of weather ) taught me this trick, it’s not fool proof but in a pinch it keeps things fairly dry. I cut a hole in the corner of a plastic bag and then another hole to see through the view finder.

camera in plastic bag

It’s been a gray, rainy and cold spring but there is still so much beauty to find and share.

What have you found lately?

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?... "I wish you could come wander around my new neighborhood with me. We recently moved to an acre of land with all kinds of trees and shrub surrounding the edges. The backside of the yard has a few trails that only me, my dog and the deer seem to use. It leads to a small pond with overgrown brush that I sometimes crawl through to get a better view of the geese & ducks.

4 deer standing stillpond with big tree beginning to leaf outcanadian drinking water

When I go outback I’m finding different birds than the ones that visit my feeders. The little hairy woodpeckers often come to the suet feeder. The red bellied woodpeckers are a little bigger with the red heads, so far, they seem to be happy finding food by the ponds.

cute little hairy woodpeckertwo red bellied woodpeckerswoodpecker holes in a dead treewoodpecker working on a hole

There are so many dead trees with all these holes they create, it’s fun to find them working on a hole.

Last week I spotted some ducks I’ve never seen before! It was tough to get a good shot of these guys, they spook easy and stayed at the far end of the water with no trail access. Do any of you know the name of these beautiful black & white ones? I think they might be buffelheads?

two new ducksswimming close to each other

I love seeing new species. (I’m new to Michigan and I have a feeling most locals have seen these ducks, but this is a first for me.) There is something primal that is evoked when I come upon something I’ve only seen an image of, or heard of. Seeing something in person for the first time always sends a chill up my spine. I’m lost in that universal state of awe and so happy to be reminded of how magical and diverse this wonderful world is.

P.S.  I can’t get the Mr Rogers song out of my head…

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?… It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood, a neighborly day for a beauty. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?…

I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.

I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day. Since we’re together we might as well say: Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you please, Won’t you please? Please won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone you connected with on line lived right in your neighborhood!?

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Birds Galore (part 3 – Big Birds)

"You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet." Hal Borland

The bigger birds like the bigger feeders…. so do the squirrels! It drives my husband crazy when the squirrels knock all the seed out of a feeder. Sometimes I run outside or send my dog out to scare away the intruder… usually, I just watch how curious and clever they can be.

squirrel on top of bird feederblue jay at a big feederlady cardinal at a big feederwoodpecker feeding on suet feedersquirrel stretching over feederlady cardinal on the lookout for a squirrel

I love the photo of this cardinal, just like my husband, she seems to be on the lookout for the dreaded squirrel.

Speaking of big birds, have you seen these eagles hatching:

I’ve been in awe of this Decorah Eagle project. The website has lots more to share… “The nest was built in 2007 and is plenty large for the family weighing in at 1.5 tons, and measuring six feet across and six feet deep. The size of the nest exceeds that of a Volkswagen Beetle.” To get some perspective on the size check out this link:

http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/creativeapps/slideShow/Main.jsp?sourceId=533754321803&cm_mmc=Affilate_-_CJ_-_4166869_-_10667555

There is one more egg to hatch the live feed is here:

http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles

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Birds Galore (part 2 – It’s a Feeding Frenzy)

"When the bird and the book disagree, always beiieve the bird." ~ James Audubon

It took me a few weeks to find, sort, and wash all of all my bird feeders. I finally have them all filled to the brim with fresh seed and WOW. I am so amazed at the flurry of activity. I’m still trying to find the names of some newcomers in my bird book?? I’ve never lived next to so many birds and it’s been fascinating to watch their antics…

nut hatch with seed look at that long beak

tossing out the junk seed
Tossing out the junk seed and finding the good stuff.

finches fighting

finches finding harmony
Fighting… then finding harmony.

finch feeding looking outbehind the feeder

cracking a sunflower seedCracking a sunflower seed.flying off to other adventures

Off to other adventures.

What adventures are you off to?

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Birds Galore (part 1 Patience)

“For me, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, or for flowers or beast or bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly and perfectly alive.”So far this spring 100’s of birds have migrated into my new neighborhood. I keep finding myself draw outside to see if I can get a good shot. I’ve spent so much time sitting on the ground waiting for a bird to turn its head to just the right angle or catch just the right light… I sometimes need to slowly stand up and perhaps shuffle quietly without spooking my quarry… then I have to breathe deep and slow to make sure I am as still as possible when my lens is fully extended. I’ve even begun to feel my arms getting tired and cramped as I hold my arms up for so long, hoping my prey does not fly away as I compose my shot. Who knew birding would be such a workout!

Red Breasted Robin Finch?Backyard Bird Northern Cardinal

(Click on any of the above shots to see a larger version)

When I get back inside… I head to the computer anxious to see which of my shots might be worth saving and sharing. It’s like Christmas when I click on the ones that have some kind of mood or magic  happening.

This couple has been courting on my deck for a week, it is so fun to watch the dance the male does. I’ve yet to capture it, but I’ll keep at it.

Bird Couple

As I learn to be patient with the birds. I’ve noticed that any bird, no matter how common, can have extraordinary beauty.

warbler or sparrow?red crown matches the red branches

What has your patience rewarded you with lately?

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