Tag: Nature Photography

REvolution of Love

REvolution of Love

_TSL7676The moist, cool breeze enveloped me as I pedaled through the live oaks and pines of the woods. Goldenrods and asters, still heavy with pre-dawn dew,  nodded as gentle stirrings from the draft touched their delicate petals.

During the past few months I have started a practice of acknowledging beauty whenever I am outdoors. It’s simple. As I approach a flower, tree, body of water, land formation, animal I open my heart and mind and say thank you. Not a rote or meaningless practice but one of reverence where I make a conscious connection. I feel a conscious, return flow of appreciation…dare I say it…love. The outcome has been an increased capacity for joy.

_TSL7712While this has enhanced my life, it has brought other realizations. It feels like a revolution of love happening in my mind and heart…right there on the trail as I cycle.

In the process of my daily practice with nature, there has been an increased awareness of what human connection is intended to do for us and that has created an evolutionary awakening for me. Dare I claim spiritual evolution? An evolution of consciousness?

_TSL7177Without an easy or eloquent transition into explanation of the learning that has happened in my life I’ll jump right in: What if the purpose of a soul mate is simply to help us open and enhance the connection to our Higher Self.

When me meet someone we resonate with we feel the spark, the connection, so it’s easy to ‘fall’ for someone. But when we do fall, we give our power to them…the power to make us happy or sad, joyful, miserable depending on how they respond to what we think they should do for us. That first glimmer of recognition can easily turn into manipulative, possessive behavior…more, more, more we whine. Rather than allow them to help us open more to Spirit, Source, the Universe, we become fixated on them as the source of our happiness and joy and fail to see that they are a facilitator that helps open a pathway to the Universe…God…whatever your description is of the Creative Intelligence.

_TSL6830What would it look like to feel the connection with another human, a soul mate, who lights our life with electricity, and simply appreciate that connection as one promoting deeper awakening to our higher purpose? Without wanting ‘more.’ Without manipulating for ‘more.’ Without screaming the mantra, mine, mine, mine.

It may be that most of you, kind readers, have already figured this out but for me it felt like a major leap forward in growth. Could it be that I am becoming (gasp) wise?

Doe taken in Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park...can't get photographs while I am cycling.

Nature’s healing ways have always promoted balance in my life and lately I realize the inner message received over the past ten years to get outside and connect with nature daily wasn’t just to groove on the flowers or water or critters who might cross my path. My Higher Self has been sending that message as a true pathway to healing, to wholeness.





Floating in Beauty

Floating in Beauty

_TSL6176After my morning workout I knelt beside one of my large crystal singing bowls and began to play it…a dedication to the day, a centering of myself in the present moment. As deep tones vibrated from within the bowl, I felt answering harmonies within me rise up to join in musical celebration.

_TSL6826Visions and visceral memories of floating in the Sea of Cortez immediately came to mind as a gateway opened within me. Blue-footed boobies and cormorants were diving for dinner all around as I floated, arms extended, to open my heart to the gifts surrounding me.

_TSL6444Brilliant, blue sky overhead and salty sea enfolded my body as well as my soul and mind while pure peace and contentment filled every molecule of this earthly form. Nothing else existed but complete and utter beauty. Balance. Harmony.

_TSL6873While floating I glanced over to see a friend floating in the same position of surrender to the beauty of the moment. I’m not sure what he was experiencing but it felt as if both of us were in deep communion with the sea, sky and our deepest self. Sweet communion with life.

_TSL6820Tears formed this morning…tears of total gratitude for the beauty of nature that lifts me to the highest experience of love and harmony. To the sea, the primordial Mother, I am dedicated and offer myself. May I be a child you take joy in sweet Mother…a lover of life, of beauty and harmony.

The Gift of Laughter

The Gift of Laughter

SimoneLipscomb (2)The golden moon glade glittered brilliantly on the smooth sea. Flat, calm with only the slightest stirring of the surface, each ripple was a stair step toward meeting Her. In the distance She hung low in the sky, illuminating the pre-dawn sky. I timidly took a step toward the round, ripe Sea Moon Goddess and as I moved slowly toward Her, I left behind my earthly form and rose up on the wings of light.

_TSL6631An ending to a week of beauty and laughter so profound I feel transformed and more at home in my body than ever before. Each of the brothers and sisters I traveled with brought gifts and one connection in particular sparked a flame of laughter and joy that opened dark, closed places. The flame of light grew through liquid laughter that brought me back to life. Salt water, fresh water, floating fun-filled stories suspended in moments between sea and sky brought joy and laughter that invited me home.

_TSL6322I expected to enjoy diving with sea lions, snorkeling with whale sharks, attempting to capture the beauty of nature through underwater photography. I expected to meet people who would become friends. These expectations became realities.

_TSL6836The biggest surprise was feeling joy and laughter grow within me like a shooting star burning more brilliant with each breath. The number of side-splitting, snorting hilarities were too numerous to count…on the boat, at meals, floating in the pool, standing at the rinse bins.

_TSL7177I didn’t realize how my soul yearned for free and unbridled expression of joy. Too often we lose that connection within that keeps us in touch with our lightness of being.

_TSL7125This is the first trip in years on which I didn’t write extensively and in detail. This time I determined to simply stay present with the experience…watching the sun rise over the mountains, diving with sea lions and giant balls of silver fish, floating head to head with massive whale sharks…be present….be present…breathe.

_TSL7070My regular meditation practice, exercising and other daily rituals were set aside. The only consistent practice I did was to acknowledge beauty, open my heart and mind to it and feel the reciprocal return flow fill me. The more I sent love out to the arid mountains, the sea and creatures of the sea, the more love I felt fill me. This helped move the old, stuck patterns of behavior to a new, lighter expression of life that is all-inclusive of the darkest and lightest parts of myself.

_TSL7357As I fly over the desert of Baja and the Sea of Cortez, I already feel the absence of the physical presence of my new friends…one a brother who feels like another piece of stardust from the home planet. The gifts each one brought to my life are held within, treasures of light and laughter that will continue to transform me.

_TSL6851With a grateful heart full of love I promise myself to remember my happy place, the many happy places discovered on this magical adventure to Baja and the Sea of Cortez.

Los Islotes ShotMany locals say La Paz and Cabo San Lucas are greener than they’ve ever seen due to rain amounts 300% above normal. The many seeds and plants that waited in the dry, hot desert until nourishing rains supported their growth amaze me. There is a new understanding within of how it feels to burst forth in new growth when the right nourishment arrives. Laughter is a priceless gift and those who bring it are angels of light….whether in human or non-human form.


Stealth Cycling

Stealth Cycling

SimoneLipscomb (10)The orange orb of dawn had just peeped over the horizon when I turned from the roadside trail into the woods. Light under the canopy of pines and live oaks was gray. The paved trail was littered with pine straw and oak leaves. The snake didn’t see me. My wheels were over the small garter snake when I saw it. Dang it! I love these little guys and gals and hurting one…or worse…brought sadness.

Image of bobcat taken at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park
Image of bobcat taken at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

The bike wheels whirred over sand scattered on the hard surface. A few minutes later a bobcat was leisurely strolling down the road and didn’t see me. I slowed and quietly coasted, observing this magnificent creature. After a few minutes she glanced back, saw me and leaped across the pavement into the open sandy area. A gaze as I passed saw her sitting, licking her paw with one eye watching as I pedaled past.

Image of Sampson, a rescued bobcat that somebody had illegally and had all four paws declawed. He lives at Emerald Coast Wildlife Rescue Center
Image of Sampson, a rescued bobcat that somebody had illegally and had all four paws declawed. He lives at a wildlife rescue center

More sunrise splendor of Little Lake, brightening sky, glorious green plant life, coastal forest trees…marshes, gopher tortoise burrows. A typical morning on the trail.

Doe taken in Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park...can't get photographs while I am cycling.
Doe taken in Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park…can’t get photographs while I am cycling.

Then several miles later a doe walked out into a patch of sunlight and gazed ahead, the light illuminating her large size. I slowed, she waited. Then she saw me and trotted off into the forest. Right behind her a spotted fawn tiptoed and balked at the pavement, acting as if it were slippery ice. The smile that enveloped my face was tremendous. Then with a flash both disappeared into the piney forest.

Doe and fawn taken in Smoky Mountain National Park....one of my favorite images
Doe and fawn taken in Smoky Mountain National Park….one of my favorite images

Observing wild creatures without them knowing, even if for a moment, brings such joy. To view them in their natural state of calm learn how they interact with their realm is a true gift.

For some reason the wildlife witnessed today wasn’t aware of my presence….at least at first. Stealth-mode. Quiet mind? Peaceful emotions? Lately nature has been teaching me to be present and mindful as I ride. Perhaps the result is becoming more wild…part of the world of wildlife, marshes, forests…maybe I’m becoming more myself. More integrated with nature. More whole. More joy-full.

Chasing Sunrise…Backcountry Communion

Chasing Sunrise…Backcountry Communion

Today I attended Hugh’s celebration of life service and wanted to share this post from last autumn. Thank you Hugh for giving me an opportunity to learn about being a caretaker from one of the best I’ve ever known! Happy trails my friend.SimoneLipscomb (1) Soft, puffy, pale pink clouds hung in the eastern sky as I drove towards the Gulf. Each county road took me closer to the beach and as dawn approached, the clouds evolved from bashful beauties to loud expressions of color painting the sky with creative exuberance.

SimoneLipscombIt was still a bit dark to ride and the lake was close by so I crossed my fingers and drove to a spillway at the lake. I arrived for the most intense sunrise these fifty-something eyes have ever seen. Having only my iPhone, I clicked away hoping that it would do justice to the beauty. I could feel my Nikon weeping from the confines of its soft case at home.

SimoneLipscomb (10)I spent the first ten miles of the ride in the afterglow of profound color that ignited my heart with gratitude. Every live oak tree seemed to reach out with gnarly, twisted branches to greet me. Blazing stars with their arched, purple fronds exploded in joyful dance in the soft breeze. Brilliant red cardinal flowers seemed to emit sounds of color through their tiny trumpet-shaped blossoms.

SimoneLipscomb (7)As I pedaled and stayed present with the beauty enfolding me, I realized the only thing that separates us from nature–from all life–is our distracted minds. If we pay attention, are mindful and aware of life around us, it pays attention.

A group of four folks and I passed four times in my twenty miles and on the last pass one of the guys waved and said, “Hey, Simone!” Helmets, sunglasses…I don’t know who it was but his greeting created bubbles of gratitude for this beautiful park and trail where so many people enjoy nature–Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail.

SimoneLipscomb (6)When I was in high school I worked for Hugh at the park. After college I was hired as the naturalist in the state park. I witnessed Hugh stand guard over the park while politics and development seemed to want to tear it to shreds. He was a mentor to me and his ability to work well with people kept many of the takers from taking too much from this special land.

He’s not well these days and I know that at some point he will take the journey across the abyss to that other place….like all of us will some day. I hope the sky is as beautiful when he makes his journey as it was this morning. And whenever he goes, I hope he goes knowing that he is loved and appreciated for all he has done in his decades of dedication to Gulf State Park. Anyone who rides the trails there knows his name. I only hope they know what a very special person he is.

SimoneLipscomb (4)Chase a sunrise soon. Greet the flowers with your full attention. Let the Universe know you are aware of It and It will commune with you.