Tag: animals

Wednesday at Sea

Wednesday at Sea

SimoneLipscombApril Fool’s Day

The sun rose from a calming sea. Purple-blue rain clouds hung low in the sky as light begin to be birthed from behind the low cloud bank in the east. Before the ball of fire emerged from its hiding place it began to illuminate the western sky and the puffy stacks of cumulus clouds took on a golden hue that grew in intensity until a cathedral of light surrounded us. Those few, early-morning risers who seek the peace and hope of the dawn received an Anointing of Light. And then….the rainbow. Each of us, in our own way, was transformed as our hearts and minds accepted, with gratitude, the gift of the day.

No camera to document it. Some moments are best captured with the heart.

First Half of the Day

SimoneLipscomb (4)Mother and Calf–in water watching them sleep. As I floated on the surface in the blue water, I was overcome with the sweetest peace. Was unsure of how I would react with such intimate closeness with creatures I have longed for my entire life. Would I be over-excited? Instead a deep, profound peace filled me. There were no thoughts in my mind. I was calm, present and one with the whales.

Mother whale slept and baby tucked under her chin. Then baby would come up for a breath, go back down and rest under mama. Precious. Sacred.

The first time in I didn’t take my big camera housing but rather my little GoPro. And that’s all I needed. I wanted no distractions so I simply watched…observed…allowed myself the experience.

Eighty miles offshore. Twenty feet from a 45 foot humpback mother whale and her calf. How can ANYthing compare with this?

As I wrote Sunday after the experience with the rowdy group, I have never felt so comfortable in my skin. I still feel the same way. Only more so.

SimoneLipscomb (154)The Ocean does this to me but the humpbacks make me feel at home in my body. Finally.

I reflect at the strangeness…that I wasn’t overcome with crazy, wild emotions but rather taken deeper, deeper…deeper still into my core, to the heart of who I am. This is their gift to me.

After our time with the mother and calf, we were slowly motoring and looking for blows, fin slaps, or dark, shiny backs when we came upon another mother and calf and yet another mother and calf that converged. Each had her escort and a challenger. Seven whales weaving and moving very fast, answering the call of love.

Afternoon

SimoneLipscomb (143)I set the intention today of capturing a photograph of a breaching whale. Shazam! Not only did I get one but several are in focus. The manual focus effort is working but making me sweat. As I was reviewing my images in the room I went completely wild. If anyone was walking in the hallway they probably wondered if I had officially lost my mind. Well, sure. That’s a given. Finally!

SimoneLipscomb (156)I called him or her Grasshopper. The juvenile breached for probably 20 minutes without stopping. Scientists can study and surmise but if they simply observe with open minds there is no other conclusion as to why this juvenile was breaching: IT WAS FUN! The joy Grasshopper felt was contagious as everyone on our small boat was filled with light and laughter. Transformation…with whales leading the way.

SimoneLipscomb (127)So grateful! So very grateful!

SimoneLipscomb (125)So profoundly grateful!

SimoneLipscomb (137)Water splashes against the hull and brings me back to the present moment. I was lulled into a slight trance as I unwind from a day filled with whales…blissful whale peace…fathomless peace. Deeper into myself I go, tapping channels of profound peace and love that run deep to the Heart of the Planet.

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Whale Notes: Scientists have tried to figure out the mysteries of humpback whales for decades and are probably no closer to finding a scientific explanation for their behaviors than they were in the 1970’s. Some scientists tend to look only at animal behaviors of lesser beings and so their work is inclusive. The mistake science makes is that it places humans at the top of everything. Because humankind has the ability to destroy anything and everything we must be more intelligent. Right? Or we have opposable thumbs. That’s we’re so smart. We’re also the only species that destroys the environment necessary for our survival. Whales have brain cells wired for emotion so, as I mentioned about their singing, why wouldn’t they frolic, leap for joy and experience bliss? My dream is to be funded to study humpback whales without the restrictions of science and to begin with a neutral baseline where no assumptions of intelligence pollute the information gathered. Perhaps we will find our kinship with them and all life when we stop elevating our own species above all others.

A female humpback whale and her calf commonly have a male with them called an escort. If another male approaches he is seen as the challenger. A rowdy group is a mixture of this combination and can include more than one challenger. 

Photography Notes: Manually focusing on a breaching whale is almost impossible. I checked the location and direction of the whale, thought about his likely emergent path and focused ahead of him on the Ocean’s surface.Using continual shoot with my shutter, I blasted several shots off with each press of the shutter button. Not all were in focus but several were sharp. I was bruised at the end of the day from leaning on the rail and bumping into it with the bouncing of the boat. Holding the heavy camera and lens up for long periods of time was also tiring…thank goodness for my workouts! This was undoubtedly the most challenging photography I have ever done.

Whale Diary Day One

Whale Diary Day Two

Whale Diary Day Three

 

Coyotes and Deer and Bears…Oh, MY!

Coyotes and Deer and Bears…Oh, MY!

SimoneLipscombThis morning’s visit to my sacred grounds was off-the-chart with good soul medicine. With better light today, photography was easier. And I suppose the animals liked the sunnier weather as they were out and well-represented at dawn.

SimoneLipscomb (15)I had a nice visit with a white-tailed buck who cared less that I was photographing him. There were other deer and a doe that showed off her jumping skills as she cleared two fences in apparent nervous flight. I’m guessing the star of my morning, a wily coyote, is what spooked the little girl. Not long after she cleared the second fence, Mr. Hilarious trotted out of the field and got in front of my car and escorted me down the gravel road.

SimoneLipscomb (12)He finally angled off the road and was headed into a thicket of trees. I had just caught up with him as he entered the woods so made some little whooping sounds. He sat down and started scratching. I hurried to set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed on my camera and got a few nice shots. He stood up to leave and I made the same funny whooping hoots and he sat down again and scratched. It was probably coincidence but it made me laugh just wondering if I accidently discovered a secret coyote sitting spell.

SimoneLipscomb (36)Later, after visiting a beautiful little roadway in another part of the park and finding my bliss in photographing and sound-recording water, I went back to Cades Cove. The traffic was a bit trying (code for: I lost my patience) and a bear jam didn’t help matters. I managed to catch a glimpse of a mother and two cubs as the park volunteer scared them up a hill. I’ve seen people act completely stupid with bears, forgetting that they are not tame, cuddly creatures but very large mammals with four-inch claws. However, those are stories for another day….and they do explain how the gene pool gets cleansed on occasion.

SimoneLipscomb (16)The wildness here, even with many visitors, is what calls to me. I find quiet places where few people go and spend a few moments completely lost in the creative process of capturing the essence of a stream or flower or dew-soaked spider web. In the quiet, when it’s just the crickets and birds and wind singing the story of this place, I am at peace. I am connected to something grand, magnificent. I am home.

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Being Present with the Wind

Being Present with the Wind

photo 7I was standing in front of the mirror completing the process of getting ready to leave when I glanced down the hallway. Ollie and Burton sat side-by-side looking at me. Their eyes were intensely focused, watching every move I made. They looked concerned and anxious.

A few tears moistened my eyes as I stopped drying my hair and connected with them. “I’ll miss you guys, too.” While I enjoyed my visit with my daughter and her husband immensely, the interactions between the furry boys with Em and Kev, with each other and with me enriched my visit immeasurably.

Earlier that morning, after their ‘parents’ left for work, I put Burton’s harness on and took him for a long walk…three laps around the neighborhood. During my stay I took him in the back yard just to stand and smell the interesting smells from the woods across the road, the wet ditch smells and the infinite variety of scents wafting from far away places. It wasn’t a potty break for him…we connected through our desire to simply stand in the breeze and feel it, smell its richness. With no agenda except being present with the wind. Ollie and I had another way of connecting.

photo 8Ollie is the elder of their home and the years are showing on his body. So this orange tabby boy and I would sit together as I laid my hands on his soft fur and offered Reiki (a form of energy healing) to him. We sat for long periods of time, connected by love and deep calm. Aging animal companions hold a special place in my heart so being with this star-player-of-epic-midnight-soccer-games-with-unseen-opponents was very precious.

photo 3It’s so easy to be with animals, to form friendships and offer love. What’s more difficult, at times, is to discern what they want or need and how we can provide it for them. I see them look at us with bewilderment that we cannot decipher what they are clearly communicating. We are not a species aware of nuances and non-verbal communication. Much of our instinctual abilities have faded as language developed.

photo 5For a treat, take a moment to see the world…to experience the world…through the eyes or nose of your animal companion. Feel the world open as your instincts and senses awaken. Allow everything else to fade and simply be present with your friend, be present with the wind.

 

Ik Rem Ook Voor Ezels

Ik Rem Ook Voor Ezels

SimoneLipscomb (2)I brake for donkeys.

There was no need to brake as I could hardly move so many donkeys were surrounding my truck. A herd of donkey zombies had me cornered and refused to move…or so it seemed.

SimoneLipscomb (6)The Donkey Sanctuary is a 143 acres on Bonaire where feral donkeys are cared for. They are left-overs from the salt production efforts many years ago but were set-free after machinery took over their jobs. Rather than ship them back to Spain, they were released into this desert of cactus and thorny bushes to fend for themselves.

SimoneLipscomb (4)Volunteers at the sanctuary work hard to keep them healthy and offer visitors an opportunity to meet those in their care. The only suggestion I have is to not sell carrots for people to feed them. I happily donated the money for carrots but didn’t want them as I didn’t want the donkeys swarming my truck. But they are well-trained and know how to ambush a vehicle, make it stop by stepping in front of it and then accost anyone within reach of an open window. I think this is really bad behavior for the donkeys to develop.

SimoneLipscomb (11)It got to the point where I turned around and left, so nerve-wracking was it to try to even move the truck. I applaud the good work they do and greatly appreciate the love and care they give these animals. I hope they will stop all feeding from vehicles to retrain these adorable and insistent four-legged friends to not step in front of, ambush, bite windows, bite mirrors, bite people who refuse them food, gnaw on bumpers, run beside vehicles. This is seriously dangerous behavior for them.

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