Tag: sea turtles

Keep It Real

Keep It Real

simonelipscomb.com (202)I woke up early my first morning back from two weeks of desert and ocean and heard myself say out loud, “Keep it real.” I was referring to breaking out of that habit of turning on an electronic device as soon as I was conscious. There, among fish, cactus and iguanas, I was either scuba diving at dawn, photographing the sunrise or writing beside the Ocean…all contemplative and solitary experiences. I didn’t want to return to old habits.

simonelipscomb.com (5)With pen and pad in hand, I went to my hammock chair on the back screened porch. It seemed to be inviting me to sit and contemplate.  The cat kids joined me as we welcomed the day under the massive arching branches of my friend, the grandmother live oak tree. I sat quietly observing the sounds, listening to the dawn.

simonelipscomb (121)I’ve pondered the reason I feel so alive in Bonaire. Is it diving? Ocean? Desert? Latitude? What if it’s simply spending so many hours outdoors each day. What if it’s that simple.

simonelipscomb (44)There are many distractions at home…stacks of mail to sort and recycle, Netflix series  paused mid-season, Facebook, emails, telephone messages. It’s an endless list created just to navigate each day. Everything on my to-do list seems to take me further away from the reality of nature and more specifically, the connection that nature and I share. When I unplug from nature, I am unplugging from my self. These castles of distractions I build seem to carry me further from home, further from who I am in my most physical self and spiritual core.

simonelipscomb.com (215)Rainbow cotton threads supported my body and I swayed gently. Birdsong filled the air. A barred owl hooted nearby. Cardinals, chickadees, titmice, wrens, warblers and even a random sea gull voice created a welcome song to the day. Flashes of wings flitted among the courtyard greenery as my cats and I sat watching, welcoming life.

Stanley K, my orange tabby friend, jumped on the ledge at the screen and threaded his head in and out of the hammock support strings. I don’t know why he did it but he appeared to be having fun. So I wondered….what do I do just because it is fun and playful? Do I miss out on life because I’m too serious….there are those piles of correspondence in paper and electronic form. Do I allow myself the freedom of play while in the land of saltwater and desert, fish and iguanas and not so much when I return? Do I censor my relationship with nature?

simonelipscomb (10)The day before I wandered through my yard and noticed someone had trimmed the shrubs in my yard while I was away…without my request or permission. I felt anger arise. I don’t like them cut into perfect spheres and prefer a more natural shape so the new shape really irritated me as it was generated from some random person that maintains the development’s plants (not invited into my yard). I sat with my strong emotions as an observer and realized that in Bonaire it’s easy to be fully who I am, open with my wild-woman self…the part of me that is fiercely connected to nature, gently connected…deeply aware of her connection with all life. When I return to my home it feels like a constant inner battle to stay real with my self, like I’m fighting an established norm to fit into a box or in the case of my shrub friends, a ‘perfect’ sphere. It’s draining and exhausting at times.

SimoneLipscomb (6)I don’t like boxes or conforming for the sake of conforming; yet I know, on some deep level, the constant attention to the edge is what motivates me to create. Dancing with the edge builds courage. It cultivates determination. It deepens passion to pursue the dreams. Just realizing this truth gives me understanding and thus fuels my efforts even more to keep it real…to stay connected with trees, earth, animals, sky, ocean….to dance with nature as She calls me.

simonelipscomb.com (6)Am I willing to drink the Koolaid and conform to the machine that keeps me asleep to my strong, wild and outrageously beautiful connection with nature or am I willing to continue to work for my freedom? If you’ve read this far and you know anything about me you already know the answer to that question. Koolaid be damned.

Bob Marley Speaks

Bob Marley Speaks

SimoneLipscomb (3)Dawn. I was walking with my scuba gear to the Ocean. As I approached the entry, an osprey cried and I glanced up. Just above the dive benches was the magnificent fish hawk perched in a tree. He flew out over the water as I continued walking. I’ve seen them many times but never perched on a tree…over the bench I was about to use. Pretty big smile to carry into the dive.

SimoneLipscomb (2)Nice dive, beautiful fish, easy 54 minutes of gentle kicking and gliding and watching life on the reef begin the day. No other human here, just the Ocean and this mermaid-woman hybrid. And today I went further, to an area where elk horn coral ‘trees’ are being used to grow this coral species. I felt resounding H O P E throughout my being. There are people that care, that are taking action to help. Another smile with my entire being.

SimoneLipscomb (1)During the time underwater I thought of a former dive buddy and smiled at the saltwater happiness we experienced in years past. My heart and mind sent him gratitude and love, that energy that never dies or changes…only grows and deepens as compassion grows within us. Heart happy goodness, a smiling heart for this human sea-creature.

Photo from the internet....don't know who to credit with it.
Photo from the internet….don’t know who to credit with it.

After the dive, as I was walking back to the condo…still dripping with sea water and lost in the peaceful feeling of saltwater baptism…I saw two bright yellow birds wearing bright, orange caps. The saffron finches watched me walk up to the sidewalk where they were perched and so I stopped and greeted them. They stared at me in my state of saltwater sogginess and gave me a message as we connected for several moments.

At the time I didn’t really know what it was they were telling me, but a few minutes later I got it. Even though Bob Marley sang of three little birds, that’s the song that came to mind and reminded me of the sweetness of life…in this moment…in the present. Now.

“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Singin’: Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Rise up this morning, smile with the risin’ sun, ‘two’ little birds, Each by my doorstep singing’ sweet songs, of melodies pure and true saying’ this is my message to you…don’t worry about a thing. ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

There is hope within this mermaid woman today….for all life, for every living thing. So today, as I welcomed the day in my saltwater way, I smiled with the risin’ sun and it has been shining all day long within me.

 

Note: Many of you have asked me about the solo scuba diving I do. I wanted to write a tiny bit about that…first, I am an instructor and whenever I’m with students, especially new students, I’m basically solo diving with the added responsibility of whoever is with me. Secondly, I am certified as a self-reliant/solo diver. Third, as a sidemount certified cave diver I am basically solo diving in the cave (with other people present of course) because of the way my gas supply is configured. And lastly, I have hundreds of dives and use my cave diving ‘rules’ when solo diving…I turn the dive when I reach thirds so I have two-thirds of my gas supply to return on, etc. And I always dive shallow enough to do a controlled emergency swimming ascent to the surface if necessary. I do NOT condone solo diving and always, always encourage divers to keep in practice and get instruction for new kinds of dives. A solo diver must be well-equipped in underwater navigation skills and self-rescue skills….etc. So please do NOT go off on your own as a scuba diver unless you have extensive dive experience and proper training.

Magic of Submersion

Magic of Submersion

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All focus comes to the breath. The feeling of freedom comes with a cost of being on life support. The metal tank cinched snugly to my body, the array of hoses and regulators each contributing their role to my underwater experience.

Amid fish and corals, sea turtles and respectful divers the true meaning of home is experienced. The Mother and I are reunited once more.

Her salt pulses through sister turtle’s body and mine as well. Such stillness…such openness. Peace. Home…..Freedom.

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Song of Life

Song of Life

simonelipscomb (7)The white sand felt cool on my feet as I stepped out of my flip flops at the bottom of the dune. I turned to gaze out over the Gulf, metallic turquoise in color. The sun was just beginning to warm the sky with golden light.

simonelipscomb (6)There was no wind or big waves to disrupt the surface of the water. Purple, teal, pale orange, gold and indigo danced in slowly-moving geometric patterns. As I raised my camera to capture the image, I realized I couldn’t discern the horizon. It was blurred with low-hanging pink clouds. Water and sky blended as elemental spirits celebrated the day.

My excuse to be on the beach at sunrise was sea turtle nest patrol. I was supposed to be looking for mother sea turtle tracks but admit distraction occurred, culprit of the gentle, soft beauty emanating from the sea and sky.

simonelipscomb (10)As I approached the edge of the water, where saltwater slowly pushed against the sand, a little shark swam by as it fed in the shallows. I don’t think most birds were awake as it was quiet and still topside while the toothy dawn feeders, who live below the surface, were already enjoying a tasty breakfast.

The sand welcomed my happy feet. Every step was a celebration of beauty, of life. There was no separation as I breathed in harmony with life on the shore.

simonelipscomb (21)This is how we’re supposed to live–each step one of gratitude and recognition of the oneness of life…in a state of balance and harmony.

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Each color was a note. An osprey diving just offshore gave a dramatic increase in the tempo and crescendo, those elements that create tension in a composition. A sanderling scurrying along the water’s edge created sixteenth notes, quickening the symphony. Dolphins offshore gifted grace and rhythm to the song. A tidal pool added a bridge, that contrasting bit of music leading back to the original melody. The song still echoes within my being as I sit inland among the live oaks and reflect upon that glorious two hours at the shore.

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A Photographer’s Least Favorite Thing to Do

A Photographer’s Least Favorite Thing to Do

Mountain Sunset taken with a group of friends from Asheville, NC. We were on a photog outing.
Mountain Sunset taken with a group of friends from Asheville, NC. We were on a photog outing.

I am celebrating a huge project that was finished just today. For many years I have attempted to sort and organize my photography library of thousands of images. The general work flow started with A and I usually quit by the time I got to D or E but those first few projects in my Aperture library were always neat and sorted. This time, however, I made it all the way through. It only took me three months of steady work to do it. I had to add an external RAID drive for additional storage since my D800 has files the size of buses. So all is well.

In celebration of this momentous occasion and in honor of what I love to do several images are included with comments. Over the past few days certain images have reminded me why I love photography as an art form and a way of communication. I hope you enjoy the images. And thanks for your interest and support….always. I feel the love.

When wild animals make contact with me I always feel so blessed...so fortunate...so joyful!
When wild animals make contact with me I always feel so blessed…so fortunate…so joyful!
Sometimes I think they are laughing at me....
Sometimes I think they are laughing at me….
Or playing peek-a-boo.
Or playing peek-a-boo.
Moments of nature's glory lead me to rapturous joy.
Moments of nature’s glory lead me to rapturous joy.
Or moments of intense stillness and inner quiet.
Or moments of intense stillness and inner quiet.
When the light and colors align and I happen to be there...magic happens!
When the light and colors align and I happen to be there…magic happens!
Of course sometimes you can't really take a bad photograph if you are alive and breathing and present enough to lift your camera and click the shutter...remembering to set the correct exposures....and lift the bottom jaw as it gapes from unimaginable beauty.
Of course sometimes you can’t really take a bad photograph if you are alive and breathing and present enough to lift your camera and click the shutter…remembering to set the correct exposures….and lift the bottom jaw as it gapes from unimaginable beauty.
One of my favorite experiences centers around children gaining experience in nature and learning about wildlife...like wolves for instance.
One of my favorite experiences centers around photographing children gaining experience in nature and learning about wildlife…like wolves for instance.
Water captivates me and my favorite images center around water...waterfalls...big water...underwater.
Water captivates me and my favorite images center around water…waterfalls…big water…underwater.
I revisit images and can describe my emotions, the lighting, the thoughts that came to mind from moments such as this....I am right there again.
I revisit images and can describe my emotions, the lighting, the thoughts that came to mind from moments such as this….I am right there again.
And while the image isn't great I wanted to capture the size of this old tree soul by standing on it and including my feet in the image. It was a profound experience.
While the image isn’t that special, the experience was.  I wanted to capture the size of this old tree soul by standing on it and including my feet in the frame. It was a profound experience.
My favorite images capture the soul, the spirit, of places and animals...and those of people lost in the creative process.
My favorite images capture the soul, the spirit, of places and animals…and those of people lost in the creative process.
While solo exploring the desert in Bonaire I took this self-portrait. It demonstrates perfectly how I feel when I'm there.
While solo exploring the desert in Bonaire I took this self-portrait. It demonstrates perfectly how I feel when I’m there.
My favorite people images this past year are of my daughter and son-in-law. My 'kids' bring a very special light to my life.
My favorite people images this past year are of my daughter and son-in-law. My ‘kids’ bring a very special light to my life.
I celebrate everything that is beautiful and right in this world...and hope we can add to the list of good things happening as we move through 2014.
I celebrate everything that is beautiful and right in this world…and hope we can add to the list of good things happening as we move through 2014.
And my favorite image of this past year (besides my kids)...this green sea turtle I met in Bonaire.
And my favorite image of this past year (besides my kids)…this green sea turtle I met in Bonaire.

So now I can get out and do what I love….photograph nature and people enjoying the creative process…and beauty. I like to celebrate beauty.