Tag: Gulf of Mexico

A Book with a Mission

A Book with a Mission

She arrived early, delivered October 31st. She weighed 605 pounds…all 1500 copies. Stella the Sea Turtle was birthed and is already making waves in the world.

The book was conceived from many hours spent under starlit skies on white sand at the Gulf of Mexico as loggerhead sea turtles taught me about instinctual wisdom. In my desire to share stories of nature with children to help them develop compassion and care, this story wanted to be told.

I sat in my meditation space with my laptop and waited for it to unfold. The words came, I listened and typed and never read it through. After the story finished, I still didn’t read it. I emailed it to my awesome illustrator friend and asked her to read it. She texted me back…. I’m crying! I thought maybe I should read it. I did…texted her back….I’m crying, too.

Both of us have been sea turtle volunteers for several years. The story that wanted to be told captures the essence of what it’s like to witness the birth of sea turtle hatchlings. It educates about their lives yet goes deeper into the greater mystery of life that we all face….finding our way back home.

Finding Home: The Life of Stella Sea Turtle has a path. Linda and I were simply the midwives that gave it form. Now it glides into the world with much grace and beauty.

You can order from my website SimoneLipscomb.com, purchase at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Tacky Jacks locations, Coastal Art Center of Orange Beach, Copper Kettle in Foley, Art Center of Foley….and other locations coming soon!

For each book sold, $3 goes to Friends of Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge for sea turtle conservation on public lands.

Thanks for supporting kids, artists, public lands….and of course sea turtles.

Waves, Wind and Light

Waves, Wind and Light

Generally when we have a hurricane nearby it’s wet, humid, hot with southern winds…give or take a few directional degrees. But Irma was kept to our east by a strong cell of high pressure with cool, dry air. When she roared up Florida’s west coast her counterclockwise winds brought a strong northern flow our way.

I rode my bike before sunrise Sunday morning and the waves and winds weren’t kicking but I knew, after looking at the forecast, that by Sunday afternoon we’d have a strong north wind and larger waves.

All day I dreamed of larger waves rolling in from the south and the strong north wind pushing their crests back. I envisioned spray flying back over the spine of the waves. And sunlight illuminating the spray…don’t let me forget that visual that knocked around in my mind all day.

Late afternoon found me back at the beach with my camera. A strong wind was blowing and sand was intensely moving creating a hefty sand-blast of my bare feet and ankles….and any exposed skin. Changing lenses was dicey. One grain of sand and ugh….

The light was beautiful for cloud photos but I arrived a bit too early for the effects of spray and light I hoped to capture. I played around one area of Gulf State Park beach and then, closer to sunset, went to the state park pier.

Clouds made the light rather iffy and certainly did nothing for the white foam and cresting waves. I took a few images of a great blue heron and played with wave shots at the pier. With the rather boring light I nearly gave up on my vision.

And just as I was turning to trudge back through the soft, white sand to my car, the sun broke through a low bank of clouds and a wonderland appeared before my eyes. This is what I’ve been waiting for, I thought. WOW!

I spent a while whispering words of gratitude for the perfection of the scene. No rain….dry, cool air…interesting clouds and oh yes, those majestic waves with their tops swirled back over their spines.

Eventually I lowered my camera and stood witness to the beauty, the convergence of waves, wind and light. It’s always nice to dive deeply into my happy place.

Sunrise Together

Sunrise Together

For several mornings while cycling, I’ve stopped at sunrise and turned on the ‘live’ video function on Facebook and have connected with friends while I’m standing at the beach or at a marsh. When people join the conversation I can see them and then can read comments….some comments anyway. Then, as I finish my ride, I think of my friends and send them love and good thoughts.

Perhaps the most valuable takeaway is the feeling of connection, of unity. We are watching the sun rise together.

In these times of divisiveness and fear, it is so important to cultivate feelings of Oneness and connection. It doesn’t have to be through social media…that’s just a way that’s building community for me.

It’s important to be aware of what’s happening in our world. It’s vital that we build connections with others that hold a vision of peace and compassion and equality. Let’s not meet violence with violence but rather with a unified vision and practice of peace, compassion and joy….all over the planet.

*I’m still learning how to read comments and reply while using the video so if you type a greeting and I don’t see it I’m not ignoring you. I love you!

Frogs & Clouds–An Illuminating Experience

Frogs & Clouds–An Illuminating Experience

In preparation for a yoga and cycling retreat in Ireland, I purchased a light system for my bicycle. So when I woke up at 4.30am the trails called. Not sunrise yet? No problem!

The waning moon offered light as did the stars but in order to avoid Mr. No-Shoulders and little amphibians I used my new headlight. It was an illuminating experience.

First, being on the trail an hour before sunrise gave me a glimpse into creatures that I rarely see. And mostly, it was frogs with an occasional toady. Some appeared to have springs in their legs as they leaped in a single bound across two bicycle lanes. Others stared me down and refused to move, their bright, beady eyes sparkling with greed at insects swarming over their moist, green heads.

When I got to the beach it was clouds that illuminated my mind and heart. Every shape and color seemed to shine in the pre-dawn light. Stars, planets and that waning moon all joined with the clouds and Gulf of Mexico to create a remarkable experience. I found it difficult to get back on my bicycle and turn my back to the spectacle.

But eventually I did and the entire ride was filled with clouds and colors and yes…more frogs–who seem to love the new boardwalks across the marsh. It was one of those epic rides that I wouldn’t have missed for anything.

Illumination….shining light where there was none. Funny how something I bought for road cycling safety in another country brought me into another realm of beauty this morning. All I had to do was say, Yes!

Going Home

Going Home

One of my favorite experiences as a wildlife photographer is to be present when an animal that has been hospitalized and rehabilitated is released. This loggerhead sea turtle would stop and dig her  beak into the sand and wait for something to register. While I don’t have a reptilian brain I guessed she was getting her bearings using her sense of smell. Can you imagine after being captured–injured and sick–after living in such a magnificent place as the Gulf of Mexico…dealing with confinement? And then that glorious moment when you realize you have made it home. Home! What a celebration…for everyone.