Tag: Nature Photography

Just Live

Just Live

A few weeks ago my car got rear-ended while stopped at a red light. The other driver fled the scene but the police found the van because I got the tag number. They impounded the van until the driver showed up….suspended license, no insurance and a ticket for fleeing the scene of an accident. Luckily, just my bike rack sustained damage….well, not luckily because it’s mostly trashed. But my car was okay and no medical issues (at least I hope none arise).

Today just after leaving home a driver drifted over into the lane I was in and ran at least five cars into the ditch as the driver himself ended up crossing over the opposing lane and ended up in the ditch. I was almost hit head-on but luckily was able to pull off the road…as did the other vehicles, avoiding the one that either fell asleep at the wheel, was drunk or was too busy texting. Before pulling back onto the road I hesitated a few minutes to allow the shaking to stop. Luckily there were no hazards that damaged my car or the other cars. But that driver is still out there….god help us all.

On Monday a BCSS pickup truck (local sewer service) swerved into the lane I was driving in because he was using his phone. Another close call.

Lately I’ve felt like a bulls-eye is on my back. Other things have been wacky as well from potential buyers for my home to folks doing work for me.

You can’t help but do a little evaluation about life when you have a close call like I did today. A head-on collision at those speeds….well, I wouldn’t be typing this tonight.

I suppose it’s a time of life to re-evaluate things. Where am I most happy? What place nurtures me? Where do I find deepest peace? Where does the sense of community fit my expectations? Where do I find the most like-minded people willing to work with others to create positive change?

It’s time to return to the mountains. Life is too short to be anywhere but where I feel most at home. Now is the time to be in the place that most makes my heart sing.

Since childhood I wanted to live in the mountains of the south. The six years I did, before moving to the coast, was wonderful and there are times I wish I had stayed there….but I did make some super-awesome friends and musicians and I got to meet some sweet sea turtle hatchlings and find sea turtle nests and help rescue manatees. Several months ago I heard it was time to wrap up that work so I could be ready for my next step.

And so I await the move back to the mountains with great excitement and gratitude. My home needs to sell first, so I also await the sale of my home here on the coast so I can move forward with the rest of my life.

Never waste time in this precious life. Don’t settle for a situation or place or job that doesn’t feed your soul. Most importantly….just live….fully, completely and with wild abandon.

Home in the Sky

Home in the Sky

Arriving just before sunset….

Sometimes it’s easy to dwell in the littleness of life…or even get stuck there. When we feel stress or anxiety the tendency is to curl up in our little space with a blanket and binge-watch crappy television. At least that’s what I do sometimes. As the mind focuses on the chaos of (fill in the ______) it seems safer to be small because the chaos feels so big.

The Perseid Meteor event pulled me out of my little bubble and an amazing gift unfolded as I found myself immersed in the present–not in my head chasing mental rabbits down endless holes.

Friends of mine have a beach house in a relatively dark section of beach and they allow me to go there to photograph the night sky. Last evening found me standing in white, soft sand wondering if the heavy cloud cover would remain as darkness fell. “I came here to see meteors,” I exclaimed.

Maybe it was the polite way I asked for a window to see stars or just a weird beach phenomena….but a pathway to the stars opened and a bank of clouds held just east of Mars to allow viewing of the vast night sky.

After tiring of standing and craning my neck with the tripod, I adjusted the legs to a short extension and laid on the sand under the tripod. With my cable release wrapped around a tripod leg, I could lay on my back, watch stars, take long exposures and adjust the settings from a most relaxed point of view.

Taking long exposures with my camera always brings me to a place of stillness as 20, 25, 30 seconds pass. I can’t move or walk away….just have to stand (or in my case laying) in stillness as the heavens expand overhead.

There was one amazing shooting star with a bright sprinkle of star dust that trailed over the Gulf of Mexico and there were smaller ones that zipped quickly through the night sky…and that was amazing. But the real show for me was the Milky Way as it emerged from the darkening sky.

The Earth Mother supported me in my rest and opening to the endless depths of space and stars and I felt layers of worries fall away as I focused on the bigness of the Universe. Bigness….such an understatement.

By surrendering to something greater than me, I found profound peace. Allowing the depth of the Universe to touch me and awaken me, I found home again….in the sky….in myself….beyond….beyond….beyond.

A Grieving Planet

A Grieving Planet

Tahlequah gave birth July 24 to a calf who only lived one half-hour. Since then, she has been carrying her baby for a week, refusing to let go. This grieving ritual is being witnessed by her pod….and the world. She’s become the focus of our collective grief that goes far beyond her baby’s death. Tahlequah is the matriarch leading us all in a planetary grief ritual.

J-Pod is starving. Not enough salmon. Orcas–endangered whales– this pod has become another reminder of the crisis in which we find ourselves.

Loggerhead Hatchling

Each of us is alive at this time to bear witness to this decline in global well-being of all life and health. Overpopulation of humans stretches resources to a breaking point coupled with reckless exploitation of fossil fuels and use of toxic chemicals…no need to review the many ways humans are failing our own life support system.

For too long we have viewed this sacred Earth as a resource to exploit. Surely we cannot be surprised at the rapid changes created by our careless behaviors.

Many of us feel helpless as we stand witness to an administration that values money and power with absolutely no regard to compassion and love–the very basic tenants of what the great masters have taught us. The empathic ones are especially suffering because we feel the intense suffering of many species, including humans.

So what can we do?

I suggest that instead of turning away from our pain and grief we join Tahlequah as she mourns. Shed tears for her loss, the loss of salmon that feed her pod, pollutants they carry in their bodies, health of humans in decline, separation of children from families, polar bears loss of vital hunting ice, penguins loss of snow, sea turtles and manatees dying of toxic red tide, out-of-control forest fires destroying many areas of the planet, plastic pollution….

Increase practices that help maintain balance….walks in nature, yoga, prayer, meditation, drumming, singing, dancing, creating art.

Join with others to strengthen these efforts. Connecting with others of like-mind and intention is a powerful antidote to the feeling of helplessness. For example, the drum circle that meets at my home has increased our meeting frequency to help us through this challenging time.

Stop watching the news and read it from a trusted source (such as NPR). Unplug from social media one day a week (or more). Refrain from practicing hate and stop giving your energy to those in power who thrive on attention…any kind of attention.

When you feel despair at the state of the world remember there are others who feel it, too. There are others whose hearts are breaking with sadness over Tahlequah’s loss and cry when they see an injured bird or a lost dog or cat. Or who mourn the loss of species, decline in ocean health….Reach out to others. Join together in compassion and love. Work together.

Celebrate beauty! Let us be mindful of this amazing, profound beauty still abounding even as species die and other landscapes crumble. Rejoicing in what is still beautiful cultivates appreciation that ripples outward from your heart and mind to others. Share beauty on social media and express it through art, writing, dancing, speaking…let us help each other remember.

Mostly importantly, please remember you are not alone in your grief and sadness…and outrage. As we cultivate unity and the qualities of compassion and love I suspect the shifts we have longed for will emerge. Every other way has failed….perhaps its time to give peace a chance*…. and love….and compassion. The reign of anger and hatred is over only when we choose something different.

*John Lennon….Give Peace a Chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance.




To surrender to the day’s gifts, to be open to the creative impulse that winds through the strands of experience…my only goal this day.

To welcome the surprise that spins in the courtyard flashing wild colors on her belly as raindrops kiss my shoulders…bliss.

My open heart meets nature and together we journey into Oneness.

From a place of no expectation comes amazing gifts that weave into the tapestry of the day…and I am richer for them.