Tag: Simone Lipscomb Photography

The Flow

The Flow

Sometimes I stand at the edge of flowing water and am overwhelmed that it flows….and flows….and flows….and flows. It’s easy if I walk by with just an appreciative glance and continue on my way. But when I take the time to allow the flow to move me…move within me…I am inevitably drawn to the idea of this universal flow of life that is constant, ever-offering itself to us. Every moment. Every day. On and on and on. And sometimes it feels as if it’s just too much to take in, to receive.

Waterfalls especially remind me of the universal flow of abundance. The ones with a high flow volume seem to invite me to open deeper and present the question, Can you open more…and then a little more…and how about just a little bit more. As I stand at the base of the falls where the water is perpetually pounding the rocks below, I think of the flow of abundance of Life Force and Love available to all of us and often discover a bit of discomfort at my inability to open and receive. 

The other day I was wading up Bradley Fork creek and in one place the water was rushing a bit faster. I had to stop, not so much because it was faster water but because I thought of that endless flow of energy, illustrated by the creek’s flow, and it felt overwhelming for just a moment. Wow…this flow…it’s always flowing…can I stand in the middle of it? Can I open to it and be part of it?

Do I expect the Source to dry up? When I discover it never stops can I take in the goodness, the perpetual flow of Life presenting itself to me?

I suspect we are a cynical people. Blasted with bad news in a non-stop media circus that makes huge amounts of money on delivering the sad, the bad and the ugly we are programmed to expect a flow of negative experience and have hardened defenses erected to protect our beautiful selves from this onslaught of misery. 

When the flow of goodness and joy and life-enhancing experiences come our way, we might miss them or even block them if our defenses detect an intruder into our lives. So we might walk past the waterfall rather than stop and see if that Life Force can open the crevices in our defenses and risk feeling….anything.

Maybe this is just a personal experience and unique only to me…but I doubt it. 

I sit here this morning reflecting on the many times flowing water has challenged me, scared me. You cannot stop the flow. You cannot fight the flow; you must work with it. If you fall into whitewater you must surrender to the flow, look downstream, keep your feet up and ride the river…wait for an eddy. Perhaps it’s the surrender part that scares me. Letting go of control…..

If I open myself to the flow of Life it will carry me but what if I don’t want to go there? What if it takes me places that are frightening? Or….what if it takes me to incredible experiences of love and joy? When we surrender we let go of control. We trust the flow of goodness and ride the flow, become the river. 

Trying to control life keeps us from experiencing it. That’s what flowing water teaches me. I’m not suggesting we literally jump into a waterfall to gain understanding of this principle but I am suggesting allowing the waterfall to assist us in trusting the flow, opening to it and allowing it to carry us to new understanding of living. Of freedom.

The Colors

The Colors

I stood on the moss-covered creek bank listening to the sound of flowing cold water. The intense purple of the dwarf crested irises was presented in such exquisite form. I’ve always loved these little flowers but this spring I have marveled at them, danced with them as the cool breeze rustled their velvety petals.

It’s not just the irises that are delighting me. There seems to be more wildflowers this year than I have ever noticed and the passion for seeing them, for being in their presence, for taking selfies with them has grown to the point of single-minded focus on my ambles through the national park.

Of course, the bright green of unfurling leaves excites me and the clear, cold water running over rounded rocks is amazing. But the colors…the colors. It’s a good thing I walk alone; otherwise, I would annoy any companion that had to witness my unbounded joy….oh LOOK! And there…look! OMG! That’s amazing. Oh, that’s a new one!! Yellow…white…purple…pink. Or perhaps the right companion is one who would be dancing with me or at least not stranding there all judgy. 

Today was off-the-scale amazing on my wander through my favorite national park area…maybe because it’s only eight miles from my home. Yesterday I returned to an area where a pink lady’s slipper was spotted a few days ago. I couldn’t find her but upon closer observation saw three blooming lady’s slippers. Then I went back a bit and found her, still not in full bloom. Lady’s slippers!!!! 

I think of these places as holy, sacred woodlands and when I slow down I see more beauty. John Muir once said he didn’t like the word ‘hike’ because if you hiked you had the goal of going from point A to point B and missed so much. He liked the word amble and he ambled all over…walking, meandering through some of the most pristine areas of North America, at the time. So I have adopted his word—amble.

I put aside my goal to walk a certain distance or to add to a list of trails I’ve covered or to be part of a milage club…although I think it’s amazing that people do that. I’ve become a person that walks and stops and absorbs the beauty without pushing for time and distance. A meanderer, a wanderer. That’s not to say I can’t push up a hill or past a rowdy group of annoying tourists…yes, they exist but thankfully not all tourists are annoying. It’s just now I want to be fully present with the surroundings….to see those jewels scattered along the forest floor. 

When we slow down and stop and linger we are able to truly take in the beauty….breathe in the beauty….feel ourselves as part of the living landscape. When we do that we can never feel alone.

Hours after the flower visit, the colors are vibrant in my body–circulating through my blood, swirling out through my exhalations. I drink deeply when the colors are offered and share their magnificent hues with unbridled celebration with others who can see…the colors.

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Song of the Earth

Song of the Earth

For the past two decades whenever I asked how I can help the Earth, I heard to go into Nature and listen. When that answer first came I was living in Asheville, North Carolina, and would go sit on the deck and wonder how it could be that simple: Listen to Nature.

Gradually the seed that was planted began to take root in my mind and encounters with manatees, humpback whales and dolphins, while in their element, helped me listen deeper. The whales were perhaps my greatest teachers as they dropped into stillness and expanded their consciousness while wintering in warm waters. How could I say that? Because I have dropped into stillness with them while floating in their watery realm and they weren’t sleeping…they were dreaming.

Several years ago I was diving in Bonaire and humming in my regulator. As I paused while making this underwater music, I started to hear an answering tone or note. Tears flowed as I realized I was hearing the song of the ocean. My deeper listening was beginning to yield results. 

And then a few years ago I was riding my bicycle in the back country trails of a coastal state park. I used the time spent pedaling as meditation and that particular day I began hearing different tones of plants, marshes, trees…not so much an outer sound as an inner sound, as if I was connecting with various vibrations. As I pedaled onward I heard that each species, each individual, each place has a vibration and all together we make a chord or a song. When a species disappears or a place is violated, that chord becomes more dissonant. 

When Nature is destroyed or changed in harmful ways, the entire vibration of the planet changes. Not just in that one place, but everywhere. The Song of the Earth is altered and sound is the cosmic glue that holds it all together. Vibration. Energy. Once that is altered beyond repair, then chaos results. This is perhaps just a more esoteric version of what science is telling us about the massive changes our planet is experiencing and the sixth extinction in which we find ourselves.

Over the past few days I’ve been reviewing my path and what became clear is circles that keep presenting themselves in my life. Music and sound is one of those and seems to be the larger circle holding smaller ones that have been actively working in the depths.

Over the past few months I’ve been hearing to make music with Nature…to listen and work collaboratively with Nature. As I walk in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park I carry a native flute and as I play I pause and listen. I don’t want to play to Her, I want to play with Her. The more I do this, the stronger the feeling that when we listen to Nature we awaken a partnership with It and renew the bonds that have been broken, betrayed by humans.

As I was walking an unmarked, hidden trail two days ago, I felt the Earth–heard the Earth–asking me to play more music with Her. I kept hearing the questions, Why not now? Why wait?

Then yesterday I read an article from two years ago about Dahr Jamail’s book, The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. It reminded me of the closing where he writes of listening to Earth and how I’ve been doing the same thing. Not for a couple of decades but all my life. The thread that weaves throughout this six decade experience is listening to Earth. That realization helped me relax about the trajectory of my life’s path and realize that those promptings I’d heard twenty years ago, two days ago, were about connecting with the Song of the Earth and listening…deeply listening. And then playing with Her music.

Listening to the giant white pine tree and playing a song with her. Listening to my favorite rock on Indian Creek Trail and playing with her. Sitting at the Poulnabrone Dolmen, a portal tomb in the Burren of Ireland, and playing an Irish whistle with the energies there. Collaboration with Earth…working together with Her. That’s my path, my life’s work.

Everyone can hear the Song of the Earth. When we calm our minds and begin to deeply listen, we can hear it calling us into communion, into the sacred dance of life. May we listen and hear before it’s too late.