Tag: wildlife

Amazing Beauty

Amazing Beauty

The painted trilliums were exceptionally joy-producing.

I explored a new area today and asked It to tell me about Itself. It gifted me with play experiences, encounters with wildlife, and amazing beauty. Sometimes there’s really nothing else to say except… I’m so grateful.

Here’s a few photographs with comments. You’ll get why I can’t really add any major story or realizations to this post. It’s just….Amazing Beauty.

This butterfly wing was laying on a rock in the middle of the trail. It has a red spider mite (or some red insect) on it. I thought the colors of the wing, red insect and rock were quite lovely.
The creek was exquisite with many cascading drops.
The timing was perfect. The elk gals were laying down, resting, when I went up the trail. When I came back this cow was drinking and there was an opportunity to observe….(sigh)
This silly girl gave me a big grin as she pooped in the water. I use a Grayl water filter system and drink the creek waters all the time. I will say it gave me pause…..she was such an expression of amazing beauty.
Simple beauty of the day reflected in every element of the Place.

Photography note: All images except the water are with a medium format Nikon D 800 camera. It’s heavy….heavy…so I don’t use it a lot any more. But when I do, I remember why I adore this camera. It’s a beast of high resolution. The water flow image is with an iPhone 12 Max Pro using ‘live’ mode and then scrolling up on the image and choosing ‘long exposure.’ It does a decent job but nothing like my Nikon and Really Right Stuff ball head tripod….but sometimes its just easier to go light.

Stay with Yourself

Stay with Yourself

The path of the Soul leads us ever onward to a clearer expression of our true Self. That sounds wonderful, but the journey involves stripping away everything that isn’t who we are…in our truest expression of that spark of Cosmic Light. 

In other words, it can be crazy-difficult to become real.

Thankfully, we don’t walk the path alone. When we pause, breathe, and gaze into the face of the Unknown, we begin to see allies, helpers. My greatest allies and teachers are found in Nature. Trees, wild creatures, rocks…entire ecosystems speak to me, calm me, and help me feel less alone. Yours might be human friends or music. We all have allies and sometimes it takes a little work to find them…or let them find us. Sometimes it’s as simple as saying, “I need help!”

Almost every day, I spend time listening and allowing guidance to arise. It helps me navigate this intense time of change. Most of us are challenged with the long-term stress event caused from a tiny virus, but that’s just one expression of the many changes happening with this beautiful planetary evolution taking place-an evolution I consider to be of deep spiritual healing for our planet and all Her beings. But let’s face it, growth is rarely easy because it involves releasing that which no longer serves us…even if it has been a big part of our lives.

It could be a person we release, an old version of our self we say goodbye to, an old habit that is holding us back. Evolving might involve a move to a new place geographically or simply a new place within our own skin.

I wrote a few weeks ago about a large rock in the middle of a creek teaching me to stay present with myself. That teaching has taken root and expanded. Last week, a week of truly hellish pressure from many parts of my life, I kept hearing, ‘stay with yourself.’ As external events unfolded, I found myself in the future or the past and that inner voice would come alive….‘stay with yourself.’

When we allow our minds to race into the future or stay stuck in the past, we totally abandon our self in the present moment. My experience was like being a child in a really scary place and having the adults rush ahead or backwards to tend to random events while leaving me alone and afraid. ‘Stay with yourself,’ I kept hearing. ‘Stay with yourself.’

When I can breathe in this moment and be aware that I am breathing, I become master of my life in that moment. Thich Nhat Hanh reminded us of that truth. So, my goal is simple: breathe in and know that I am breathing in. I practice this on my walks in Nature these days and it makes all the difference. I’m not running in fear to the future or the past. I’m just ‘breathing my body,’ recognizing the beauty of the trees or the river, the otter or elk or rock…or this life form known as Simone. 

True transformation is wildly supported as we learn to stay with our self. 

Vessel

Vessel

I nearly fell to the ground as I felt the power of the Earth rush through me. The foggy river, honking geese, cool temps, and autumn colors blazing, opened me. The more I opened, the stronger the power of Earth energy moved through me. I wept—no, I sobbed—as I felt the strong connection to Earth Mother. To everything. In this open state, I stumbled laughing, crying, and feeling gratitude stream from me as tendrils of light.

When I came to an open area between the ripened corn fields, three bull elk were in the distance, two locked into a play for strength and dominance, even though they had separated from the cows. Their squeals and grunts were easily heard as I stood quietly. Their power was huge and I was yards away but in that open state, I felt the immensity of their energy and it was intimidating and magnificent.

I was unable to move as they pushed and shoved, squealing…. vocalizing their need to show strength and dominance. Hidden at the edge of the drying corn field, I was transformed…into elk magic, river magic, geese magic….into the Earth Herself.

The One That Got Away

The One That Got Away

Thanks Shawn for taking this photograph of me fishing.

It was a day of extremes. BIG fish and tiny fish. But it was epic!

For months I’ve watched four trout I call the trout magi. They live at a place I walked frequently. In the spring, they stayed in a certain place and have moved to more hidden places as the seasons have progressed. How do I know? Well, my friends, that’s the tale of the fish story.

I’m relatively new to fly fishing but am going into my third season and have done okay as a catch-and-release Nature lover. I wade in cold creeks to connect with the beauty, to learn from wise creatures and to generally exercise complete presence of focus and intention. These trout magi have schooled me in what it means to be a trout…at least as much as I can grasp it as a human. Observing for half an hour or so many times over several months (walking, not fishing) I have become a diligent student.

Bambi fresh out of the tying vise.

A week ago I stood behind a log at the upstream edge of a deep pool and cast across the rushing water to the other side where flat water hugged the bank. I had a feeling…… As soon as my fly kissed the surface, water erupted in a huge splash, my fly was hit and then, as I tried to set the hook, I saw that nothing was left. The fly had vanished. My custom-tied, made-up fly I named Rudolph had flown away courtesy of a trout magi.

Today, a week later, a friend from Arkansas walked up to the same area with me. She fished downstream a bit as I started wading, intent to make it back to the log. And eventually, ever-so-slowly, I made it back to this tricky place and began casting. 

Bambi wet.

I was aiming for some rough riffles. I don’t know why…because it felt fishy there today. The new fly I made, named Bambi, was sinking due to the rough water but I just let it sink. And after a few casts, it felt like a huge, underwater troll had grabbed the end of my line and was bending my 10 foot 3 weight rod nearly double. 

I set the hook and started stripping in line with my left hand, anchored the fly line briefly with my right middle finger so I could grab my net and let it hang behind me then kept stripping line as the fish was shaking her head, leaping and bucking like a wild bronco. My adrenaline level skyrocketed. And I screamed with wild abandon.

I kept a nice bend in the rod and as I directed the rainbow trout magi over into my net, I realized I couldn’t land the fish with the silly log in the way and a lot of deep water on the other side (if I slipped). So I decided to try and bring the fish around the end of the log. With net ready, I shifted my weight on the rock where I stood and turned. 

As soon as I dropped the tip of my rod a fraction in that move, the wise trout shook her head and the barbless hook went flying. Bye bye wise elder.

My knees were knocking and my hands shaking as I brought in the fly for a look. It was fine except for the golden pheasant tail feathers on the rear. Mama trout took those with her. Everything else looked just fine. The deer tail hairs were still there, the grizzly hackle and elk fur wing…all just fine. 

My friend Shawn fishing upstream

We moved upstream another half mile or so and fished. She caught a nice rainbow and released it, I landed a little brown trout and released it. When I say little, I’m not sure how it managed to bite the size 14 hook it was so small….but we had a brief meeting and off it swam.

On the way back, we stopped at a big hole. My friend fished upstream from me and I wanted to try a nice structure on the far side of the creek. It had a beautiful rhododendron sheltering the nice rocky, underwater ledge. It was so fishy I was almost certain there was a big one living there.

After several casts into this tricky area, I was able to float the fly just over the hole where the suspected trout lived. Sure enough, a big fella swam out of hiding to investigate (thank goodness for clear water so I could watch this). After the fly floated past and begin to drag, I cast into the same area and BAM! The Bambi fly did it again! This time I missed the set and the fish swam off in a huff. 

It’s not so much about landing the trout as it is letting them teach me about their lives. It’s learning to trust myself wading in really slippery conditions (these rocks were the slickest I’ve ever walked on). It’s deepening my connection with Nature. And today, deepened a friendship.

Bambi dried out and ready to fish again.

My Garmin watch said I walked 6.46 miles and fished 4 ½ hours with 13,963 steps and 326 floors climbed. My body agrees with those stats.  It was rainy and chilly with the temperature hovering around 52 degrees. The water was 52 degrees. Thanks to great gear, I remained dry and mostly warm. It was worth every step, every incline climbed. 

I’m gradually progressing in the lessons my trout magi teachers are imparting to me. Today, one almost allowed me the honor of netting her….alas, I wasn’t quite ready. But I’ll always remember….the one that got away. And I’ll got back to try again another day. 


Yesterday I bought this little fishing line waste container and hooked it to my vest. I hate losing small pieces of tippet in the water and even if I put them in my vest pocket, they get pulled out when I go back into the pocket. Today, after two casts, I found a HUGE wad of fishing line and a lure left by a spin tackle fisher. It took me 10 minutes to untangle the mess from a wad of wet leaves. I was so very glad I spent $12 for this little canister.

Elk of the Mists

Elk of the Mists

Before I opened my eyes, I felt the warm breath of the bull elk on my face. I had been dreaming and as I made the slow journey from Dreamtime to waking consciousness, the sensation of elk breath was so real, when I opened my eyes I expected to be face-to-face with a big elk. 

That dream was about a year ago and since then the elk have a direct line to my subconscious mind. And for sure to my heart. This season of rut, if I have a strong sense of elk, I go and they are there. It doesn’t really matter where I go, if I just pay attention to the urge to go somewhere, they show up. Or I show up. However that works.

This morning I felt that call but the fog was very heavy. I figured I would just drive through the area where they are found and go up the mountain for above-fog views. I took my Nikon and tripod so was also ready for flowing water should the fog and sunrise not reveal something fun to photograph. 

When I got to the park there was a bull laying so close to the road I had to stay behind my vehicle. A woman there said he had attacked two vehicles the day before and I wasn’t so worried about my car but I didn’t want to be skewered by his amazing antlers. Nor did I want to stress him.

I moved after I took a few photographs and parked in a more neutral location. He got up and tended to his harem of cows, carefully checking them. But a rival male, one a bit larger, started bugling and within a few minutes was herding out the cows of the bull nearest me, one-by-one, and taking them back to his territory. It was epic elk magic.

Normally photographing in the fog isn’t that great due to lighting and white balance, although sometimes correctable shooting RAW format (which I always do). But today, the fog added to the mystery. The energy of the elk was wild and watching the strength of the bulls as they ran and charged through heavy fog was elementally very pleasing to the senses. But the most haunting of all was (and always is) the bugle. There was a bull across the creek, hidden by trees, but traceable through his loud and high-pitched, with a low rumble, vocalization. To hear answering calls from the others that were immersed in fog, was glorious.

I’m unsure why the elk have chosen to speak to me so deeply. More and more I trust that little intuitive nudge to go-be-with-elk. I’ve never been disappointed. And it’s not that they are always there at other times, when I don’t get the nudge. I go fly fishing and drive through the area a lot and may not see any. For some reason, the elk and I have chosen to connect in the Deep Mystery.

Nature speaks to me through dreams, intuition, and sensory experiences. The more I listen, the more able I am to dance in that realm of wild wonder.