345: Up

Up at the county fair

Last week’s The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge was Up.  I’m a little late to the party, but I’m hoping it will be considered fashionably late and my tardiness will be excused.

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187: Weekly Photo Challenge: Ocean

(Point Reyes, California.)

I could never stay long enough on the shore, the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.

~ Helen Keller

This week’s photo challenge from The Daily Post is Ocean.  I love the ocean.  If I had my druthers, I’d live near the ocean.  East coast, west coast, it doesn’t really matter.  I am probably most familiar with the Atlantic Ocean, having grown up on the east coast and vacationed there frequently as a child and as an adult.  But I do love the Pacific as well.  I think the advantage of west coast living would be the proximity to mountains and desert as well as the ocean.  Just think of all those different worlds and climates to explore.

Since I obviously cannot step outside or take a short drive to gather new photos of an ocean, I decided to dive into ye olde archives and bring out some photos from a place I visited briefly and would love to return to someday.  Point Reyes, California.  M and I were given a quick tour of the area by a friend back in 2006.  Our trip west was to San Francisco and nearby areas, and it happened to be a very rainy spring that year.

It rained off and on the day we went out to Point Reyes with our friend.  Even with the rain, the clouds, and the fog, I thought it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Point Reyes is a peninsula that was first inhabited around 5,000 years ago by the Coast Miwok Indians.  There are over 120 known village sites within Point Reyes National Seashore.  The first European explorer to land at Point Reyes was Sir Francis Drake, in 1579.

Point Reyes Lighthouse

The Point Reyes Lighthouse was built in 1870 and retired in 1975 when they went to an automated light system.  We were not able to visit the lighthouse that day because the stairs were closed.

The views from where we stood when I took these photos were incredible.  You could turn in any direction and fill your eyes and soul with beauty.

Point Reyes National Seashore is home to a wide variety of plants and animals.  The animals range from large marine mammals such as the northern elephant seal to small butterflies.  The area is characterized by Mediterranean vegetation.

We did see quite a few animals that day.  Unfortunately, most of the photos I took of the wildlife (including a number of birds, some seals, and tule elk) did not turn out well.  Those that I did capture fairly well, such as the fallow deer, turned out to be non-native species.

If I could, I’d like to spend at least a month there, exploring and hiking around the area.  I’d better start playing the lottery.  😉

Today’s Outdoor Adventures

Not much has changed.  It’s another chilly, blue-sky day with a brisk north wind.  We woke up to frost and fog, and another pretty sunrise.

I had a lovely walk today.  We had a few visitors to the pond.  The mallards, who seem to have decided to stay for a while, were swimming around. They let me get closer than usual.

We also had a great blue heron stop by for a few hours.  The swallows, of course, are swooping and swirling around, catching insects near the water.  I did not see any of the turtles today.  I wonder if the frigid nights have driven them back into hibernation?

Sunlight on a tree limb

I stayed out for a while.  I thought I should enjoy the sun and clear skies while I can.  It’s supposed to get cloudy tomorrow.  And snow on Friday.

Perhaps we put away the cross-country skis too soon.

181: Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

As you can tell from the post title, the Weekly Photo Challenge brought to us by The Daily Post is Spring.  Although winter still has a few tricks up its sleeve, the trees are starting to bud.  This photo is of the little fuzzy things on the old maple tree at the back of the pond.  It is a tree we are going to have to cut down eventually.  If a strong storm came along and knocked it over, roots and all, it could do some terrible damage to the dam of the pond.

(Springtime aura on the trees in the woods.)

The Answer

I forgot to give you all the answer to the mystery photo from my close up series.  Sorry about that.  Perhaps this will help:

It is a lobster.  Some of you were close with crab as your guess.  Good job.  🙂

Walking meditation

To find new things, take the path you took yesterday.  ~ John Burroughs

This morning, as I got caught up in trying to solve a problem with the computer, I briefly thought about how I could have spent that time meditating. Then I went on with what I was doing.

I thought about meditation again while I was out on my walk this afternoon, slowly making my way around the pond.

I am normally a fast walker.  It’s not a matter of wanting to get from point A to point B.  I usually walk fast because I see it as an opportunity to exercise, to raise my heart rate, to burn a few calories.  The camera, of course, often slows me down.  But in between the picture taking, I often hurry along as if I am late for something.

I’m not sure when it happened but, sometime since the start of my commitment to get outside every day, I slowed down.  Each step is taken with purpose, with awareness.  I no longer rush to get anywhere (or nowhere).

I arrive back at the house feeling the way I do after I’ve meditated.  That is to say, some days it’s good.  Some days it’s very good.  And other days, the monkey mind had its way and I’ll just have to try again tomorrow.

All walking is discovery.  On foot we take the time to see things whole.  ~ Hal Borland

I hear thunder rumbling in the distance.  I’ll take that as a sign I should wrap this up and move on to other things now.  We have a freezing rain advisory for tonight, but the predicted snow seems to have fallen off the radar.  Tomorrow, they say, will be sunny and cold.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

The Daily Post now has a weekly photo challenge.  This week’s theme is Boundaries.

Dictionary.com defines a boundary as  “something that indicates bounds or limits.”  This sign, for instance:

It is posted at a boundary and it sets limits.  It’s one of several signs we posted a few years ago after waking some mornings to find strangers fishing our pond.  We had to set some sort of boundaries and limits because it was getting out of hand, with friends of friends of friends inviting other friends of friends of friends over to fish.  What made it worse was that some of those folks were not very conscientious about their trash, leaving it wherever they happened to be standing when they finished with whatever they were throwing away.

Since there are no rules regarding using a new photo (just in case — the first photo is a new one, taken after the challenge was posted), I also have some old photos with boundaries that I want to share.

These were taken at the Cleveland Botanical Garden one rainy day last May and are good examples of how boundaries are used in gardens.  (Click on any of the photos to see the slightly larger version.)

Of course the gardens here are much fancier than anything you’d ever see in my yard.  I’m too lazy when it comes to gardening to create anything this elaborate or nice.

That’s one of the reasons I enjoy visiting gardens.  It allows me to imagine all the wonderful things I would do if I could hire a team of people to come out to our property and turn it into a series of gardens, courtyards, terraces, and other landscape design marvels.  Maybe someone from HGTV will see this, think of Breezy Acres as a dream job or as a good challenge, and volunteer to come out and landscape the place.  (Added incentive:  I will gladly follow you around with my camera and blog about the wonderful transformation of our property.  I know you HGTV folks have your own cameras, but this might be something new, having an amateur photograph and blog about all the hard work you do.)

Then again, we’ve worked hard to maintain some naturalness to Breezy Acres, allowing meadows to grow as they will rather than mowing everything down, leaving downed trees where they fall in the woods so they can become nurse logs, and trying a number of natural things to cut back on the pond weed problem.   Seems a shame to turn it all into some kind of formal gardens.

Day 139:  Brrrr!!

The sun came out to play today!  It shined on the blowing snow, little glittery lights twirling through the air.  It was like being inside a snow globe.  Or how I imagine being inside a snow globe would be since I’ve never been inside of one.  The temperature has been dropping but, oh it’s so nice to see the sun.

(A Norway spruce, branches raised in joy at seeing the blue sky and sunshine.)

I have to admit that it looks prettier than the reality of being out there.  The wind is whipping in what seems to be every direction at once at times, causing snow dervishes when it can’t make up its mind and shooting the snow out horizontally when it chooses a direction.

(Snow blowing off the roof of the barn.)

I was so cold by the time I started making my way back to the house that I kept wishing for one of those cartoon Saint Bernards to come along, carrying a little barrel of brandy to warm me up.  It’s invigorating out there, to say the least.

The clump of ornamental grass pictured above is usually upright.  The wind decided to drive it towards the ground.  I often wonder how the birds manage to fly when the wind is as strong and contrary as it is today.

Speaking of birds, the male cardinal continues to tease me, showing up usually when I don’t have my camera handy and taking off as soon as I’m ready to take a shot of it.  Pfffft!!  I did catch the female cardinal in one of the nearby trees yesterday and have decided this is probably the best I’m going to do.  Not that I’m giving up, mind you.  I will keep trying.  I’d really like to catch him sitting in one of the spruce trees as his red really stands out against the dark green of the pine needles.

Today’s CD:  Dead Can Dance, Toward the Within.

Dead Can Dance is an Australian band formed in the 1980s.  I’m not sure how to describe their music.  A lot of people describe it as spiritual. Listen to Cantara, one of the songs from the CD I listened to today.  The music starts about 47 seconds into the video.

That’s about it from the Bogs for today.  I’ll leave you with a collage of views of the pond.

Thanks for visiting!

Lost in the details

Lost in the details

Detailing the fence

Nothing is less real than realism.  Details are confusing.  It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.

~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Before we go for today’s walk, the Weekly Photo Challenge is Lost in the Details and I thought I’d take a stab at it.  I actually took this photo while out on my morning walk, before I knew what the challenge would be.  I like the details and texture of the fence, the snow, the wire, the wood slats, and even the fence post off to the left side of the photo.  I don’t know why I keep coming back to this fence and the hay bale it sits on.  I may have enough photos of them now to fill a large room.  Perhaps it’s the wabi-sabi aspect.  I’ve been watching the hay bale and fence slowly erode with time.

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Grant me the ability to be alone; may it be my way every day
to go outdoors among the trees and grasses,
among all growing things, and there may I be alone,
to talk with the one that I belong to.

~ Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav

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Dreaming the Boreal Forest

I’ve been dreaming of walks in the woods lately, journeying with bears and snakes and wolves.  The dreams are not frightening at all although I sometimes wake up feeling as if I went on a very long hike.  The dreams are why I picked the above photo for the Weekly Photo Challenge:  Dreaming.  It was taken in New Brunswick, Canada, in the Fundy National Park somewhere on the Laverty Falls Trail.

The challenge calls for using a long exposure technique, but I really can’t do that with my point & shoot camera (not well, at any rate) so I elected to interpret the dreamy state with some processing in Photoshop.

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