Tag: wildlife

Vibrations of Nature

Vibrations of Nature

Every night I go outside on the screened porch with my dog and two cats and we sit and listen. The frogs in the pond in the field sing their froggy songs. Insects drone and click and make the branches of the ancient live oak trees come alive. Barred owls call in the branches overhead. The more I let go and just listen, the more relaxed and at peace I feel.

In the mediations on the front porch, with nature’s music in surround sound, I have come to understand that the vibrations of nature are not just beneficial to humans, they are vital to our health and wellbeing.

The frequency of natural sounds helps us drop deeper into connection and oneness with nature…with ourselves. We have forgotten that we are simply another part of nature. And in so doing are literally destroying the planet…and ourselves.

A recent report says up to 1 million species are expected to go extinct soon….out of 8 million species. More than 10% of the species on this planet are expected to soon be extinct. I have tried to avoid this report and yet it keeps coming up on NPR, in articles on social media. I know it’s bad news and could I possibly just pretend one more day that it’s not so bad?

So I go outside at night and listen. With my dog. And the cats. The frogs take me deeper into right relationship with their watery world. The insects bring me into their realm of clicks and drones, almost like dolphins or whales of the sea. The owls call to the primal strength in me. I feel my bones and go deeper…deeper…deeper into nature, into this body which is part of nature.

Tonight I had a vision of my passion and love for the planet growing and spilling out of the pitcher of my heart into a clear stream as it flows and joins with others whose love and passion for the planet is also flowing from their hearts. I saw a clear river that is growing with love for all life and is filled with pure intention. I saw Oneness growing into a wave of love.

We as a species have exhausted the old ideas…war, power, money…none of that works nor will it ever work or be a solution. If we repeat the same behaviors we get the same results. So it’s time my sisters and brothers to start trying something different…I believe an answer is to recognize our connection to everything and everyone else…Oneness. Once we recognize ourself in everything else, we come to value everything….every thing….else.

Go outside and listen to the vibrations of nature….feel them and allow them to take you into the flow. I’ll meet you there.

Earth Day Notes from the Oil Spill

Earth Day Notes from the Oil Spill

I started a new painting today and when I opened my work table drawer found a notebook filled with writing from when I documented the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. I thought about typing them all out but felt images of the scribbles might be more powerful for those interested. It brought many tears as I read it. Some pages are note included as there are personal names and phone numbers of people I met. This is a sampling of the notes that helped me write many blog posts. Hard to believe it has been 9 years….and what has changed?

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You can find videos of my daily documentation of the oil spill on my YouTube channel. There are also MANY beautiful nature videos. Just visit YouTube and search Simone Lipscomb.

The Underlying Current

The Underlying Current

“The spirit of Walter Anderson thanks you.” This comment, while I was documenting the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010, meant more than any other. It fueled me to keep going when the fumes, death and poisoning of sea creatures weighed me down with unbearable grief.

Part of mural from The Little Room, by Walter Inglis Anderson

Having a background as a state park naturalist and lover of the natural world, Walter Inglis Anderson’s words, drawings and paintings inspired me to connect deeply with elements of nature–not just animals, land and sea, but spatially through geometries of light and shadow.

Decades since his book, The Horn Island Logs, was published I have written and photographed many wondrous places and creatures in nature but more importantly, I have interacted with mountains, coasts, humpback whales, dolphins, sea lions, waterfalls, trees…I connect with much more than form, on a deep level.

I’m not concerned with only the technical aspects of a good photograph. I want to connect with the essence behind form. When I am in nature…underwater or in a forest….I simply show up and ask to be shown the light behind the physical manifestation. I have no agenda other than to be an observer wherever I find myself…with a camera, notepad or stripped of anything but my heart and mind to receive whatever gift is offered.

A while ago someone sent me information about an application for an exhibit at Walter Anderson Museum of Art. I’m not one to apply for exhibits and competitions, but the intention of the exhibit spoke to me so I applied. The subject was the human connection to water and I knew the exact image I would submit.

A small group of us were on a photography trip to Bimini to photograph  a friendly, resident pod of spotted dolphins. At some point during one of our days with the pod I stopped, as is often the case, to drink in the beauty of color, light and form. My friend Susan was preparing to photograph approaching dolphins. The reflections and light were surreal and I lifted my heavy, underwater housing and fired off one shot. The dolphins were so fast and Susan was swimming fast so there was one chance to capture what I felt as I communed with the sea and Her creatures.

That shot now hangs in the Water, Water exhibit at Walter Anderson Museum of Art (WAMA).

I was excited for it to be chosen yet it felt almost destined. Even as I applied I fully expected that image to be part of the exhibit…very unlike my usual low expectations. But the real magic for me was when I delivered the print.

Mural painting by Walter Inglis Anderson in Community Center, Ocean Springs, MS

When I dropped off the print,  Bea–one of the museum employees– invited me to look around. I went to the Community Center, attached to the museum, that was filled with a mural painted by Walter Anderson many years ago. It was as if the spirit of Walter swept around me and I begin remembering how deeply his work influenced me over 30 years ago, when I first viewed the room.

Mural painting by Walter Inglis Anderson, Community Center in Ocean Springs, MS

Tears filled my eyes as a part of me seemed to slip back into full embodiment of this life, this present moment where my art somehow interacted with his art and a circle was closed…like everything finally made sense.

Mural painting by Walter Anderson, The Little Room

During the two-night opening of the exhibit I listened as John Anderson, Walter’s son, shared about his relationship with his father and about his dad’s work. I was taken to a greater understanding of myself as I listened and was able to chat with John and share how his dad’s work influenced me.

John said his dad was shunned, a sort of outcast in the Ocean Springs community because he isolated himself and lived on Horn Island. It resonated with me. So deeply am I connected to nature and the energy behind it all that I rarely feel as if I fit in with this consumer-driven world. I could happily spend my days and nights exploring woodlands and shores, climbing trails on mountains…so profoundly does solitude appeal to me. It’s only in the quiet and solitary ways of observance that I feel home in my skin.

Another new exhibit at WAMA focuses on Walter as Artist, Naturalist & Mystic. Yes! was the only word that came to mind as I reflected on my own life.

I remembered a morning surrounded by humpback whales in the pre-dawn darkness anchored 90 miles off the Dominican Republic. Fishy exhalations of the whales were illuminated in the moonlight and kissed my skin as they drifted in the warm air. As I did morning yoga the whales came closer and closer to the boat. I felt myself open to the Universe, ocean and whales–there was no separation, only perfect communion.  Since then I have known that communion to be as sacred and holy as any experience. It is my touchstone to purpose and presence here on this magnificent Ocean Planet.

There was no conscious memory of how Walter Anderson influenced me, but as I reflect back after viewing his murals and sketches from Horn island, it was as if he was a silent mentor riding an underlying current with me on the journey with whales, dolphins, sea lions, manatees. It is like he has been encouraging me simply from his audacity to do what called him to life.

Who knows how this life journey works. Something guided a friend (can’t remember who) to send me information on the exhibit. And the entire process brought me full circle to a place where I felt the spirit of Walter Anderson saying, “Well done.”

Mural painting by Walter Inglis Anderson in The Little Room

To have such deep love for the planet and all Her creatures and witness the destruction of so much is nearly unbearable. I only hope my work–through words, images, painting–helps connect human animals to that which they are part of–even if they have forgotten. May we all remember…and fall back in love with that from which we come.

Unaware my friend ‘Auntie’ Eydie was taking my photo, the unposed, pure love of his work shines through…in The Little Room.
The Intelligence Behind it All

The Intelligence Behind it All

Recently I was listening to a talk given by Eckhart Tolle about being present with nature. He said to think about the stillness of trees and then the Intelligence behind the stillness….that Intelligence is the connection we want to make. Something about that really stayed with me.

Since then as I cycle on the back country trails of coastal Alabama, I set the intention to connect with that Intelligence behind the trees, the swamps, the stillness of nature at sunrise. As I pedal, I feel the attention I give to that Intelligence reflected back to me as amazing ‘bigness.’

On my first trip to Ireland in September 2017 I spent a couple days alone on Inis Mor, an island off the west coast, and had an experience that has been challenging to understand. It was my last day there. The next day I was to begin my journey back to the USA. I sat on the rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and poured my heart out, sang and generally expressed gratitude for the wild elemental spirits that awakened me to a deeper connection with nature….with myself.

As I stood to leave, I felt a presence with me that followed me down the hill, past the chapel ruins, onto the small street, back to the bed and breakfast….and even settled into two open seats on the flight back over the Atlantic the next day. I wrote an e-book of ‘fiction’ about it called The Stone Hut but still ponder what it was I felt…and still feel.

After giving attention to the Intelligence, while outdoors and through meditation, I suspect that it was the Intelligence of wild nature found on the western Irish coast. Some might even try to label that Intelligence….God…Universe…Great Spirit…but for me, labeling diminishes It. Without a doubt, it was an immense presence that was easily palpable. And now, as I tune in closer to nature, I find it here…everywhere. I feel it everywhere.

Recent meditations with the Qabalah seem to parallel the experiences I’ve had in nature. To help illustrate here’s a bit of Qabalah info for context.

The Tree of Life or Qabalah has three pillars and ten sephirah or spheres. The diagram, to me, is the best map we have of the process of manifestation into the physical realm of existence. And perhaps the absolute best psychological model of the human experience we have.

In meditations of late I have been working with the Tree via the path of the Lighting Flash of manifestation, or the descent of power… and sitting with the energy of each sphere to see if it has a teaching for me. While I don’t want to get into the depths of Qabalah, as understood from a western esoteric philosophy, it might help to offer a simple explanation…and hopefully tie into the original storyline of this writing on the Intelligence behind nature….behind everything.

The yellow line in the diagram above represents the Lighting Flash or the path of creation. In the most simple terms, Kether is unmanifest potential or as I think of it, Cosmic Soup, where every possibility exists. The image I think of is a gigantic cauldron filled with star dust, stars, galaxies and we take our hand and scoop out an idea, something we wish to create. Kether might be compared to the Tao, where everything exists before it divides into duality.


So in the path of creation, we go from Kether to Chokmah, or the powerhouse sphere of active energy. We might think of this as masculine energy, a very necessary part of creating anything. And across from this sphere is Binah, which I see as a dark cave of enfolding that receives the masculine energy and begins to give it form…not a final product, but the beginnings. Binah represents feminine energy, also a necessary aspect of the creative process. As we continue down the Tree, it culminates in Malkuth…physical manifestation.

Recently I’ve been guided to begin at Kether and sit within the triangle formed by the emanations of Kether, Chokmah and Binah. In essence, I’m sitting within the Supernal Triangle feeling the early process of creation within the Three-in-One, like a Celtic knot of unbroken energy flow.

As I sit in this space I feel the immense energy of creation coming from Chokmah, the driving force that is simply force pushing toward Binah, the enfolding energy that brings order from raw power. We have to learn to sit in this place of stillness with our own unlimited and unmanifested potential. And this is not an easy task.

It feels like sitting in a pressure cooker with the intense, chaotic, raw power of unmanifested energy being hurled toward the container, Binah. As we grow in our lives, the more we are able to receive that raw power, the better we become at creating…or co-creating. But a warning here: In the flow of Intelligence, of that raw, unformed energy, there is just power. Energy. When we receive it, it infuses our talents, gifts, strengths with power….or anything we focus on including anger, fear, hatred. The energy is neutral until we ‘receive’ it and infuse it with our ‘stuff’….whatever our ‘stuff’ is. This is why in the western esoteric studies of the Qabalah I have participated in, much work is done on clearing the personality and resolving wounds and unhealed places within so when we do learn to align with that power, we do so in an ethical, helpful way.

Sometimes it is necessary to sit in stillness and connect with something greater than ourselves. No. At all times, this is necessary but most of us probably forget and jump ahead, foregoing the part where we learn to listen to the amazing Wisdom that is always, always available. Part of our work is to learn to distinguish the voice of ego or personality self from that of a higher self. It is this higher self, that we might call our true self, that has a direct connection to the Intelligence behind all things and perhaps is the ‘part’ of us that is in harmony with It…is One with It.

As I cycled today I heard that the flow of Intelligence is like a river and when we align with it we merge into a Cosmic Union. We allow thoughts to stop and simply open to Wisdom. When we can surrender our ego, our sense of separateness, and allow our consciousness to merge with the Intelligence behind all things, we experience Oneness.

The Eckhart talk on the Intelligence behind trees and these meditations of late are prompting me to reflect and listen. I’ve had visions of leading retreats in the mountains, helping people deepen with nature. I feel myself deepening with nature, with that magnificent, indescribable Intelligence behind all that is.

For many, many years I’ve been drawn deeper into relationship with aspects of nature…Ocean, whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles. And now, I feel Earth calling me…deeper into Her embrace…like gravity calling me home.

Deepening with Nature….this is my personal work and the work I bring to the world. May it continue.


All photographs copyright Simone Lipscomb. Drawing by unknown source.

 

The Doe

The Doe

My nervous system felt like it had been tightening and fraying all week. I wasn’t sure why until Saturday arrived and I had a serious day of showing my beloved home to three wonderful couples, two of whom really felt and saw the magic of this peaceful home under ancient live oak trees as I did seven years ago. I didn’t sleep much Saturday night, my mind wondering about the next step as my path unfolds into deeper communion with deep earth in the mountains.

Sunday morning I had to give my nervous system some relief, even in my fatigue. So my uber-fun road bike was loaded into the wagon and off I went for a nice ride.

Once I got helmet, gloves and cleats on I saddled up and started pedaling. A quick warmup past the bald eagle nests, with babies no less, was my plan. But I was struggling from lack of sleep and a mind that refused to stop the chatter. So I said aloud to nature, I need you to help my mind quieten and let go. 

As soon as I turned the corner on the trail, standing in the trail was a big white-tailed deer….a doe. She didn’t run. She stayed right there staring into my eyes. I felt a deep peace envelop me. I wanted to grab my phone to take a photo but dared not move any more than I was already. (These photographs were taken by me in Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain National park).

It seemed as if our eyes were locked forever as she showed me a deep sense of grace and grounded peace. I know my lower jaw was hanging slack until I managed to whisper….thank you.

She finally stepped off the trail, but just barely so, and looked back at me as if to say, Did you get that?

Tears slid from my eyes as I experienced the answer to my request.

I rode past the eagle nest and saw a tiny head peeking above the edge which reminded me of the poem I wrote a few days ago…my love letter to Mother Earth.

The state park is my cycling place, my place to take Buddy on long walks and has been a place of incredible beauty…and frustration as I watch the park get more city-park-like every day. They are chasing the wild out….but that’s another blog.

I continued for nearly 20 miles feeling immense gratitude for places that are wild and especially for this place that has been in my life since I was a child swimming in Lake Shelby….a teen working in the campground or at the interpretive office…and later as park naturalist after I graduated from Auburn. It’s where I worked when my daughter was born…and where I go to to ride through the flat, coastal living landscape.

I’ve seen deer, a jaguarundi, bobcats, foxes, bald eagles, osprey, cottonmouths, armadillos, all kinds of other snakes and lizards, owls, shore birds and hawks. I even saw a groove-billed ani on a Christmas bird count one year….a rare sighting for our area. And lots of woodpeckers and alligators, raccoons, opossums, squirrels….oh, the other day I had a squirrel run between my tires as I cycled past…the closest I’ve ever come to running over one. I always wondered how bad the crash would be with a squirrel….it doesn’t take much for a crash to happen. So yes….a lot of wildlife has been revealed to me at Gulf State Park. And no, I didn’t crash but I don’t know what happened to the squirrel.

So I felt some sadness about moving away as I pedaled but also felt a deeper sense of my work calling me forward where I know more adventures and more people await.

It’s funny how one encounter can so change me. I still sense the energy of that beautiful doe staring at me, reminding me to stay in my body, to release my racing mind and to simply be present…with her, baby eagles, squirrels, pine trees….and myself.

All photographs copyright Simone Lipscomb.


In preparation for our move I’ve been telling Buddy about bears….that really, they are just cows with longer fingernails….so he doesn’t freak when he sees one and get him and me both in serious trouble. He loves the black cows that live in the pasture next to our home….so here’s hoping a big bear won’t be too much of a shock.

on the deck of my former home in the mountains