Tag: Eco-Spirituality

Caught in the Slipstream

Caught in the Slipstream

bike-2I was happy to be on the bicycle again on the backcountry trail after many late nights monitoring sea turtle nests. The sudden shuffle of branches on the live oak tree near my helmet startled me. The first thing I saw was thick, feathered legs with long black talons as they dove within a foot of my head and passed in front of me.

Image taken at a rehab facility of a barred owl.
Barred owl.

The rest of the barred owl came into view after it nearly touched my left shoulder with outstretched wings. Even though the wings made no sound, I could feel the slipstream as it seemed to draw me forward.

I admit there may have been some vocal expression of surprise that escaped me prior to laughter. Gratitude to my feathered friend quickly followed.

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Barred owls

After the initial surprise subsided I began to ponder the encounter as I pedaled. The immediate thought I had dealt with owl medicine. Something that is hidden is about to come to light. Owls teach us the secrets of the night for they are they eyes of the night and can see what most of us cannot see. They teach us to see through illusion.

Later in the day, before beginning meditation, I read a passage about the Hebrew letter being studied this week. Ayin–“When we learn to lift our hearts, minds, and spirits above the world of illusion, then we can see clearly.” Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Illuminations.

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Barred owl in rehab facility.

The theme of the day is clearly learning to see through illusions. The owl dramatically and clearly gave me that message.  I’ll allow my subconscious mind to be caught in the slipstream of the owl’s flight over the next several days and see how the message unfolds.

Simone Lipscomb OwlGuides and teachers are always nearby. Our task is to simply be aware when guidance appears.

Magic of Life

Magic of Life

_TSL6262I’ve often said that photography is my ‘excuse’ to connect with nature. When looking through my artist eyes I go beyond what’s in front of me to the essence of life expressing itself…through a sunset, a sunrise, whale eye….dolphin smile. When I compose an image its as if something from out there calls me to expose the magic of life through a photograph.

_TSL6282When I allow my mind and heart to be open, connect with life around me and approach it with a spirit of playfulness, the connection happens effortlessly. I lose myself in an experience of oneness and feel a part of life.

_TSL6332Several years ago a group of us took a weekend to photograph the Smoky Mountains. On the final day I was standing with my friends photographing the sunset. A guy walked up to me and asked what my settings were. I shoot with manual settings of aperture and shutter speed but I couldn’t tell him without looking at my camera because I don’t work with a formula or figure it out with my left brain. I play with the settings, beginning where I suspect the exposure will create the feeling I want. After the initial shot, adjustments are made according to the mood I want to capture.

_TSL6362Nature calls me to connect for my own balance and healing. I show up, connect with an open heart and simply play in hope that in some way I can translate the magic of life.


On Becoming a Pearl

On Becoming a Pearl

_TSL4257One grain of sand is the beginning of a precious gem. We might not see a grain of sand as precious if it finds its way under a sandal strap or onto the rim of a water bottle and into a thirsty mouth. The amount of irritation one little grain of sand can cause is incredible. Once inside a mouth it seems no amount of swishing or spitting can dislodge it.

_TSL4288Imagine a giant clam at the bottom of the sea. Within the velvety folds of pink muscle is a huge, luminescent pearl. Years ago a tiny irritant floated into the clam as it opened to receive nourishment. It created discomfort so with infinite patience the clam used the same substance from which its outer shells were formed to surround the object of its suffering. The outcome….a beautiful, lustrous gem.

It didn’t stop being a clam or living its life. It didn’t rage through the sea declaring how wounded it felt. It used its own nacre or mother-of-pearl to coat the irritant with layers of its beautiful, iridescent self.

_TSL4145As I was contemplating the formation of a pearl it occurred to me that we have the same opportunity as clams and oysters. It’s common for us to have an irritant, a core issue, that follows us throughout life.

Haven’t I already dealt with this? Why does this keep coming up for me? I can’t open up to love, I was hurt in the past. I failed before so how can I try again? Why does this theme keep surfacing after years of working on it?

_TSL4143We become pearls by using the substance of which we are made…precious light….to create a beautiful life. The choice is ours. We can surrender to the irritant and become a victim of our past or we can use the magic of self-transformation to form a gem of our lives.

_TSL4151A pearl really is layers and layers of light surrounding a single grain of sand. Imagine the possibilities.


Sea Turtle Wisdom

Sea Turtle Wisdom

Sleepy sea turtle awaiting darkness to begin her crawl to sea.
Sleepy sea turtle awaiting darkness to begin her crawl to sea.

This is my fifth season volunteering in Alabama’s sea turtle program and the magic of sea turtles emerging from over 50 days deep underground has not faded. Their instinctual wisdom continues to amaze me. From the mother returning to her own birth beach over 20 years after her hatching, to the babies knowing to crawl up in darkness to some unknown place…it’s a sacred mystery.

_TSL6139We listen with stethoscopes as they work under the sand. Over twelve inches…up to two feet underground…they work hard to escape. They sleep underground, they rest, they work. A tiny egg sac feeds and hydrates them as they crawl up in darkness. By the time they escape they have used up the egg sac and must reach the sea to secure nourishment.

_TSL6148They reach the surface of the sand. Sometimes they rest there until darkness and then, once it’s night, crawl to the sea….or to light. Our program helps them by shielding artificial light sources such as porch lights and street lights) so they will crawl toward the sea.

_TSL6144Being a volunteer means long evenings on the beach waiting for an event that might not happen for days. So, in their wisdom, sea turtles teach us patience, teach us to wait calmly.

_TSL6159They also remind us of cycles, of returning to that place from which we came…the sand, the sea, waiting, moving forward…infinite patience, infinite wisdom.

All sea turtle photographs taken with permission from USFW under conditions that do not harm sea turtles.

Stars and Sea

Stars and Sea

_TSL6105The Big Dipper hangs at the northern horizon as I push up from the white sand. The stethoscope is still in my ears after it transmitted progress of the baby sea turtles hatching, scratching and making their way up…up…up from the darkness to the starlight.

With no moon to dim them, the stars are spectacular and are like jewels in the velvet sky. They seem to twinkle into infinity as the Milky Way winds its way through Scorpio and other constellations hanging gracefully over the Gulf of Mexico.

_TSL6096It is a perfect night on the beach. Music of the waves gently lapping against the shore is the background as the babies work diligently underground, in that dark Unknown. With instinct beyond human understanding, they tear and rip the rubbery egg shells and begin to crawl up…up…up to an unknown Source of Life.

_TSL6099Even when a nest hatched early and unattended and most babies crawled toward porch lights or were dispatched by crabs and coyotes and we hunted with visitors and ran and followed tracks with great sadness….there is still a sense of quiet peace. Nature isn’t always cuddly.

_TSL6106I now sit and listen with the stethoscope to the newly born working at the neatly tarped and trenched nest, ready for their imminent arrival, protected from lights that would surely draw them astray. Waves roll onto the shore. A shooting star flashes overhead. The warm breeze caresses my face. I am alone but only isolated from other humans. Everything here pushes in and tells me it’s okay.

The blood of dead hatchlings, killed by ghost crabs, is still on my hands…is on the hands of all humans as we alter and change wild habitat to claim it for ourselves.