Death of a cardinal



It’s said that when we die, the four elements — earth, air, fire and water — dissolve one by one, each into the other, and finally just dissolve into space.  But while we’re living, we share the energy that makes everything, from a blade of grass to an elephant, grow and live and then inevitably wear out and die.  This energy, this life force, creates the whole world.

~Pema Chödrön

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Portrait of a maple



Maples produce seeds or “keys,” designed to spin like helicopter blades.  Strong winds carry them great distances.  Foresters class the family as invasive “pioneers,” being among the first to colonize cleared ground.

~ Daniel Butler, How to Plant a Tree

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350: Cloudy with rainy spells

We had another bout of heavy rain in the wee hours of the morning, and then later this afternoon.  Remnants of Lee, I think.  But the rain we’ve received here in the Bogs is nothing compared to what they’re getting back east where they surely don’t need it.

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321: Beautiful day in the Bogs

Today's view of the pond

We are having an amazingly gorgeous day here in the Bogs today.  It’s not the kind of day I normally would associate with August.  A cold front moved through last night, bringing heavy rains, lightning, thunder, gusty winds, and much cooler and drier weather.  The sunshine is bright, the clouds rolling by have been puffy and white, and the breeze is wonderful.  This is my kind of weather.

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285: Summer seduction

A hazy summer day, somewhere in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Sultry, steaming, sweltering … Slow down.  Or stop.  It’s time to shed ambition and expectation, along with commutes, clothing, cellular phones, calendars.  Now our wants seem to diminish.  Is it because our needs are met?  A shady nook, a cold drink, a cool breeze — whether indoors or out.  A respite from the rigors of the day.  Time off for good behavior.  Summer is not so much a season as a melody, that tune of contentment we hum as the days begin to beautifully blur.

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

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246: Saturated

Last one to the swim platform is a rotten egg

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is:  Water.  It is not much of a challenge for me.  In fact, it is so easy that I was tempted to complicate it.  Because that’s how my mind works at times.  Take something simple, add a dash of this and a pinch of that, and the next thing you know, I have a huge project on my hands.

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Enchanted morning (12)

(Magic hiking shoes.)

Today’s plan was to take care of the household chores in the morning and go outside this afternoon.  The weather rumors were that it would be mostly cloudy with occasional showers in the morning so it made sense to dodge the clouds and rain, and hope for a better afternoon.  Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans.

About an hour after I rolled out of bed, the clouds parted and sunlight came shining through the kitchen window.  We currently have a low centered on and spinning around our area which means clouds and rain will persist until the stubborn thing moves out and that is not likely to happen until later in the week.  If the clouds part and the sun decides to shine, who am I to resist?  I put on my hiking shoes, bundled myself in a few layers (it’s cold outside), grabbed the camera, and stepped into the great outdoors where I was enchanted by the beauty of the morning.

(Sunlight, shadows, and green in the front yard maples.)

I started my adventures out front this morning.  The air was cold and damp and earthy.  The maples in that area are still fairly green with hints of red and yellow on a few of the leaves.  My eyes, feet, and mind wandered here and there until I got to thinking that walking the same territory day after day may result in one of two possibilities:

  1. I will continue to photograph the same things and it will become boring.
  2. I will discover new ways to capture the same things and it will give new life to my photography.
  3. Both.

I know.  I said one of two possibilities but it’s a little like those 5-part trilogies (Douglas Adams and his Hitchhiker’s series comes immediately to mind).  Sometimes they go beyond the originally intended number.

I slowly made my way around the front of the property, past the barn, admiring the softness of the morning light.  I came to the standing stone, the one with the hole in it, and peered through the hole to look at the pond.

(In all honesty I have to admit that I took the photo of the standing stone yesterday.  I did peer through it today but didn’t photograph it because I am limiting the number of shots I take on these wanderings.)

(This morning’s view of the pond.)

The colors and light were gorgeous.  What was supposed to be a 30-minute walk turned into an hour of exploring.  It was the kind of exploration that enchants and entices, and I was eventually lured back to the woods again.

(Sunlight shining into an opening in the woods.)

(The creek running through the woods.)

It was a wonder-filled walk.  Relaxing and energizing at the same time in the same way yoga and meditation can be relaxing and energizing.

(Wood pile in the wildflower meadow.)

On my way back up the hill to the house I encountered a small flock of bluebirds who were feeding at the sunflowers.  They didn’t seem to mind me until I turned on the camera and lifted it to take a shot or two.  Before I could click, they were gone.

If a bluebird has come into your life, look for opportunities to touch the joyful and intrinsically native aspects of yourself that you may have lost touch with.  ~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

(Sun and cloud reflections on the pond.)

I think the hardest task in this project is going to be putting the walks into words.  Some days it will be easy as I don’t expect every day to be a magical day.  But on days like today, when I am open to the beauty that surrounds me, I dunno.  It’s hard to come up with the words to describe it.