I came across this today and wanted to share the uplifting, incredible beauty captured here. Enjoy!
I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers;
I had the wonderful good fortune to experience several weeks of the loveliest Spring at our farm -- filled with nesting birds & bursting blossoms, full moon magic, chattering chipmunks, zipping hummingbirds, bounding bunnies, yipping coyote, dancing deer...it truly was an awesome display of the beauty of Mother Nature at her finest! These are just a few of the photos, since, of course, most of the time I was without camera when the antics were happening. Nevertheless, I soaked them up with my soul and they are continuing to nourish me every day.
This special time "apart" was a sort of working retreat, and work I DID! So much was accomplished by the toil and sweat of my brow (and other places) and it felt so completely in harmony with everything. There is something deeply gratifying about hard, physical labor and the immediate results it brings! I think I seriously annoyed the critters who've been inhabiting the barn by cleaning out their various nests, webs, and hiding places, and by moving the tractor and all its attachments out (they went to a very good home with a collector who will restore them to former glory!) It was a very emotional moment when the 1935 Massey-Fergusen tractor "led" the 1949 Ford out of its hibernation of a decade or so into the light of day. I'm very pleased that it will be lovingly restored and have a whole new life!
I learned many things from this retreat time. One very dramatic impact was being "unplugged" from my usual electronic, internet and media sources, since there is no TV, only one decent radio station, and no internet readily available. I was depending solely on my smartphone, and found I quickly tired of squinting to see things on a 3-inch screen. Consequently, I was able to be disconnected from most things and it changed my whole sense of the passage of time. Everything slowed to a gentle, soothing pace. I worked, slept, ate when I felt like it, rather than according to a preconceived or habitual pattern. My time was truly my own to spend pretty much as I wished--well, almost. The quiet was palpable and awakening to birdsong, heavenly!
I am now back in my "usual" routine, but striving mightily to hold onto that profound sense of peace and connection to nature that was born of my time with her. It is indeed humbling to realize that the world does go on without our constant attention and input, and that we are empowered by our choices, wherever we are, as to how to spend our precious life moments. The incredible difference in the quality of my experience of life while unplugged will stay with me, deeply nurturing my spirit, and I will attempt to share it here through words and images, so that it might encourage those who are needing "more" from life to see that there is a tremendous, often untapped and unnoticed array of beauty and blessing available simply by stopping to smell the roses. Or howl at the moon. Or watch a bird build its nest. Peace, be still...
Sometimes I wonder how I ever managed to, miraculously, survive childhood. With my lively sense of curiosity leading me to try many "experiments", my natural clutziness causing me to be somewhat (uh, highly) accident prone -- think falling, scrapes, cuts, bruises, and many tentanus shots-- and my strong tendencies as a young environmentalist to rescue every kind of living creature -- animals, reptiles, baby birds, and sea creatures--sometimes at great risk to my own wellbeing. Well, it's really a wonder I'm here to tell you about it! So, here are the gems of wisdom I learned from the school of hard knocks, shared for your general enrichment and entertainment:
1) Caterpillars can't swim. Or even float for long. I proved this beyond a shadow of doubt when I was 5, by floating one in a bathroom cup for two days. After noting that it sank to the bottom and no amount of poking could revive it, I flushed the remains and replaced the (unwashed) cup back on the counter for my sister to use. Experiments are useful for satisfying one's natural curiosity.
2) It is not necessary to tell others of your experimental failures (or successes) -- especially when they mention the "funny taste" in the bathroom cup. Sometimes it's best to keep those secrets to yourself.
3) Electricity is a very tricky thing--when you stick a plug in an outlet with one prong in the outlet and one in the wall, it short circuits the power to the whole house, thus prompting an expedition by flashlight to the basement panel box. Note, this experiment could also result in short circuiting YOU, so don't try this at home! See what I mean? Childhood is fraught with danger!
4) When you rescue small furry animals from pain and possible death, comfort them and feed them, they are devoted to you for life. Over the course of my long, illustrious career as a rescuer, I saved 2 dogs, an abandoned kitten, 7 shelter cats, a duckling, a dozen baby birds, untold numbers of geckos, and many other assorted critters (and still counting!) I have found that rescuing critters is more rewarding than trying to rescue people, generally speaking. There might be some exceptions to this rule. I'll let you know.
5) When you are flying solo (i.e. without training wheels on your bike) for the first time, know that you can do it even when your Dad lets go. I didn't believe this and crashed the moment I realized he wasn't running along beside me anymore. Self confidence is crucial, in bicycle riding and life. As soon as you let doubt and fear creep in -- you fall. It always helps to have a guiding hand of love to keep you going until you realize you can fly on your own. Trust the love. Trust yourself, too. Love will always pick you up after you fall, dust you off, dry your tears, and praise you for your excellent effort.
6) Mothers can't actually tell if you are fibbing by looking into your eyes. About most other things, however, they are usually right. I also noticed that my mother got increasingly smarter as I got older. Interesting how that happens. I find myself remembering and speaking her words of wisdom now. They are still relevant and true.
7) The external scars of childhood will usually heal on their own with time. Some of the more spectacular ones remain as badges of courage and honor, and good conversation starters. The internal scars may need some extra help to heal. Ask for help with this -- from friends, family, God, Mother Nature. Even when life hurts, try to keep your heart open to others and keep the circle of giving and receiving love going round. Be adventurous! Dance, sing, play, and love fully in each moment, with the openness and joy of a trusting child. Decide in advance that the Universe is a good, kind, happy place. And so be it, so it is! Remember Abraham Lincoln's sage advice: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right!"
I don't know how many reading my blog might already be aware of the impending disaster with honeybee decimation through a phenomena called Colony Collapse Disorder, but I thought I would take this opportunity to speak out about it and enlist the help of those who care about our environment and understand the crucial role of pollinators in keeping our food system going. I'm re-posting a letter you can share (from www.SaveOurEnvironment.org) to help you learn about the current issues (the EPA will be trying to ignore this problem without direct intervention until 2018 -- way too late for the honeybees!). You can also take action by sending an email to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, by clicking a link contained in the letter. This is something quite easy to do and it will really help to put some priorities in line. Considering that honeybees pollinate a full 1/3 of our crops in the US, it's certainly a worthy cause to protect them, and in so doing, protect our food security.
As an inspiration and thank you for taking action, there is a beautiful piece of nature video artistry titled, "The Beauty of Pollinators" by Louie Schwartzberg at the end of the post. It has incredible moments captured on film with bees, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds -- absolutely stunning! Enjoy!
Life is not all nectar and honey for America's honey bees. Since 2006, billions of our bees have died in a mysterious and disturbing phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder.
This is very bad news for honey bees and equally bad news for the rest of us since the integrity and security of a full 1/3 of our food supply depends on pollination by, you guessed it, honey bees...
Scientists believe that the pesticide clothianidin may be one of the factors that is killing our honey bees off by the billions.
But the EPA has rejected requests to ban the chemical and is refusing to speed up their review of the safety of this hastily approved pesticide (currently slated to conclude in 2018).
Unfortunately, our honey bees can't wait 6 more years. And every bee colony that collapses threatens the future of our food supply and the livelihoods of beekeepers and farmers, too...
I just asked the EPA to quit dragging its feet and ban clothianidin NOW. Will you join me in contacting them (it's really easy)?
France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany (which is home to Bayer CropScience, the maker of clothianidin) have already banned clothianidin over concerns of its role in Colony Collapse Disorder.
There's really no time to lose. Please join me in contacting the EPA about clothianidin today.
Then spread the word!
Thanks for your help.
South Florida recently received a close brush with Hurricane Isaac (then a tropical storm). It has been quite a few years since the unprecedented season in 2005 during which four strong, significant hurricanes criss-crossed the state, and though Isaac did not affect our weather other than to bring some rainy, windy days, it was a good wake-up call. Floridians tend to slide into a weird complacency when years go by without a storm threat. How quickly we forget! Maybe that's a good thing, but I am of the opinion that it's always best to prepare for those threats which allow you time to do so.
I watched with interest how different people reacted to the possibility of a storm: some were in defiant denial and did the least possible amount of preparation. Others went in the opposite direction, stocking up on supplies & food, topping off the gas tank and firing up the generator to test it, buying batteries & lanterns, putting up storm shutters, etc. Some even evacuated when it appeared that Isaac might come directly at the SW Florida coast. We were somewhere in the middle, having enough experience with hurricanes to know their highly unpredictable ways.
One can hardly miss the metaphor for dealing with the storms of life. We each have our unique set of life experiences and mental/emotional framework that we bring to any situation. With all the recent images of weather disasters swirling vividly in our memories (a definite downside of too much media), some fear and trepidation crept in, expressed in various ways. Comfort was sought through food & drink (Key West's way of coping), as is the normal human impluse. I'll bet chocolate sales were through the roof! Everyone has their own coping mechanisms :) The surfers were out taking advantage of the rare waves in the Gulf of Mexico. I love that someone is always finding good and something to enjoy, despite the storm. Some are complacent, some victims, some energized and aware, ready to reach out a helping hand, or take a risk for another's good. Kinda like life.
I found myself feeling a mix of emotions, but mostly a kind of energized thrill of anticipation of being in direct contact with the wild side of Mother Nature. I have a very healthy respect for the awesome power she wields in all her many aspects. But there is something in a storm that makes one feel incredibly alive to the roots of one's being -- feeling paradoxically prepared and uncertain at the same time -- it keeps you off balance, but juiced, if you know what I mean. I think that might be a good way to approach life in general -- hopeful, ready, engaged, and in awe. What do you think?
Mother Nature awoke me at about 2 am with an awesome display of her power and beauty in the form of a thunderstorm and wild lightning. It was as if a strobe light had gone out of control and the flashes were blinding, each one illuminating a stop-motion image of trees waving homage to the stormy skies! It was energizing and electrifying (luckily only in the metaphorical sense) and beautiful beyond measure. I felt so fortunate to be a tiny little observer of this vast phenomenon of the earth. After watching the wind and rain activity escalate, I checked a weather website and, sure enough, there was a tornado watch. You could simply feel the swirling energy wanting to bring forth a tornado spawn. It was a bit terrifying, too, as only raw nature can be. When the light and wind show wore itself out, I eventually quieted my inner stormy emotions and went to sleep again. This morning, everything was washed clean, and the day is fresh and new to celebrate the Earth. How are you spending Earth Day? Whatever your choice, I hope at least part of it is spent in reverent reverie in nature. Enjoy your Earth Day and let it bring you to a new commitment of your time, talent and energy to bring more balance with nature to our lives.
I am a singer, a writer, a craftswoman, a student of life and of Spirit, a wife, a friend, an inquisitive adventurer on the learning path. Seeking, sensing, sifting and now connecting! Please join the fun by leaving a comment or passing on a favorite post via your social network. As you can tell from the category list, my interests are varied and somewhat eclectic. I am seeking all that brings joy & excitement to life, purpose & passion to our daily round. I am curious about pretty much everything.