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NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY DAY

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”  Mary Davis

Who knew?  June 15 has been designated by the North American Nature Photography Association as NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY DAY since 2009.  Did you know?  I didn’t.  Fortunately, even in my ignorance, I have been celebrating this holiday extensively throughout any given year anyway.

It is easy to take nature photographs.  One way to take nature photos is to go to incredible places—like Yosemite National Park or Monument Valley—and snap away at all you see.  However, you do not have to go anywhere special to enjoy Nature and capture its essence on film.  You can find the beauty, wonder and solace of Nature just about anywhere. Just take the time to notice what is around you.

Some of my favorite subjects are birds and trees and flowers. 

If you want to celebrate Nature Photography Day, just grab a camera and head outside. You can sit quietly for a bit in a garden, wander the sidewalks in your neighborhood or take a drive along a country road, even a highway once you are out of the city.  See what nature speaks to you.  Then capture the interaction by clicking the shutter.

Beware: Capturing the beauty and wonder of Nature in a photo can be habit-forming.

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QUOTES ABOUT NATURE

“We do not see Nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our heart.”  William Hazlitt

“Adopt the pace of Nature; her secret is patience.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.”   Ansel Adams

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”  Kurt Vonnegut

“If you truly love Nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”  Vincent Van Gogh

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”  John Muir

“Nature, Time and Patience are the three great physicians.”  H. G. Bohn

“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”   Laura Ingalls Wilder

“At some point in life, the world’s beauty becomes enough.”   Toni Morrison

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”   John Burroughs

“Once destroyed, Nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.”  Ansel Adams

“There’s something of the marvelous in all things nature.”  Aristole

“A morning glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.”   Walt Whitman

“Look deep into Nature, and then you will understand everything better.”   Albert Einstein

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”   Lao Tzu

“Just feel the magic in the air and the power in the breeze.  Feel the energy of the plants, the bushes, and the trees.  Let yourself be surrounded by nature at its best.  Calm yourself, focus, and let magic do the rest.”   Sally Walker

“Try to pause each day and take a walk to view nature.”   Lailah Gitty Akita

From An Earlier Visit

Dad’s Photo of Mom by the Lilacs

Descanso Gardens is a wonderful public garden, located in La Canada Flintridge, California.  It covers 150 acres and offers a wide variety of flowers and trees, several nature trails, and even some lakes and ponds that offer bird-watching opportunities.

This delightful place is not far from where I grew up—and only a couple hours from where I now live.  We did not visit here much when I was a kid, but I have fond memories of visiting with my parents when I was an adult.  Dad and I took photographs while Mom enjoyed the flowers, especially the lilacs.  The garden offers great displays of some of my favorite flowers, including lilacs, camellias and tulips.

Dad Capturing a Good Shot

My recent visit was in early June, so my favorite flowers were not in bloom.  But there was lots to appreciate as I wandered the grounds.  Birds, butterflies, squirrels and even a lizard were enjoying the garden as well, but most refused to pose for photographs.

Now that I have my little travel scooter, I will be able to visit Descanso Gardens much more often, seeing what every season has to offer.  If you have not visited, add this garden to your to-do list.  You will love it!

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QUOTES ABOUT GARDENS

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in—what more could he ask?  A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”   Victor Hugo

“The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible:  The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.”  Thomas More

“A garden isn’t meant to be useful. It’s for joy.”  Rumer Godden

“When you increase the number of gardens, you increase the number of heavens too!”  Mehmet Murat ildan

“Love without happiness is like a garden without flowers.  I don’t believe in it.”  Marty Rubin

“Gardens and chocolate both have mystical qualities.”   Edward Flaherty

“Gardens are poems where you stroll with your hands in your pockets.”   Pierre Albert-Birot

“The best place to seek God is in a garden.  You can dig for him there.”  George Bernard Shaw

“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.”   Rumi

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”   Cicero

 “Give me odorous at sunrise, a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.”  Walt Whitman

 “The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world.”  Vita Sackville-West

“I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen.”  Eeyore

I love Yosemite National Park. 

“The most striking and sublime features on the grandest scale, is the Yosemite.”   John Muir

“A perfect day would be to get into the car, drive out to Yosemite and go camping.”  Michael Steger

“It is all very beautiful and magical here (Yosemite), a quality which cannot be described.”  Ansel Adams

Since it is such a great place, I was not surprised to learn that there were 5.2 million visitors to the park in 2016.  I was surprised when I visited Yosemite near the end of May—but before Memorial Day—that all those people were there ahead of me on the main roads and taking up every single parking space.  Well, okay not all of them.  But at least about half!

Basically, it was crowded.

However, I was still able to find the dogwood blossoms that were the ostensible reason for my visit this spring.  (But does one really need a reason to visit Yosemite National Park?)  There were other flowers as well and lots of water!  Despite the crowds, it was a glorious trip.

“In every walk with Nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”   John Muir

As I entered Yosemite near the Wawona Inn, I was greeted by fields of lupine.  This hardy purple bloom kept me company throughout most of the drive throughout the park.

Dogwood Trees lined the roads, allowing wonderful glimpses of the blossoms floating among the leaves.

A drive through the park is always full of gorgeous vistas and delightful surprises.  On this trip, some spring blossoms and wonderful ferns popped up here and there along the roadsides. Of course, they were not so easy to photograph.  But the vistas were as peaceful and engaging as usual.   

The Merced River was wonderful, mercurial.  It still offered some peaceful pools that compel visitors to sit on its banks and appreciate life and nature.  But on this visit, the Merced also rushed past, even overflowing its banks periodically during the last several weeks given all the rain and snow melt this year.  I loved hearing the Merced rush by!

“Down through the middle of the Valley flows the crystal Merced, River of Mercy, peacefully quiet, reflecting lilies and trees and the onlooking rocks; things frail and fleeting and types of endurance meeting here and blending in countless forms, as if into this one mountain mansion Nature had gathered her choicest treasures, to draw her lovers into close and confiding communion with her.”   John Muir

The numerous waterfalls, of course, are also magnificently full this year.  What a delightful spring treat!

Upper Yosemite Falls (1430 feet):

Bridalveil Falls (617 feet):

If you have not visited Yosemite National Park, do so.

You will not be disappointed.

Please, consider speaking out and doing what you can to make sure all our national parks stay protected not just for us all to enjoy but because of their cultural and historical significance.  They are indeed precious.

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“The parks do not belong to one state or to one section.  They have become democratized.  The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.”  Stephen Tyng Mather, 1st National Parks Service Director

“Maybe you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but like every American, you carry a deed to 635 million acres of public lands.  That’s right.  Even if you don’t own a house or the latest computer on the market, you own Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and many other natural treasures.”  John Garamendi

“I can’t help thinking that if the American West were discovered today, the most glorious bits would be sold off to the highest bidder.  Yosemite might be nothing but weekend homes for internet tycoons.”   Nicholas Kristof

In mid-May 2017, I visited the Los Angeles County Arboretum.  It is a delightful garden that was just minutes from my childhood home.  We visited there often as a family and with out-of-state visitors.  Then, as an adult, I often visited with my dad as we both liked taking photos of the flowers and peacocks.  But I have not been there for years, so I really enjoyed visiting there again.

My main reason for visiting the Arboretum was to seek out the Jacaranda, which would be in bloom.  The purple blossoms are especially appealing.  This year, given the rains breaking the seven-year drought, I was hopeful the trees would be especially bountiful.  I was not disappointed.  The trees themselves dotted the landscapes, adding color to the vistas.

Of course, there were other flowers about as well.  The Rose Garden, although starting to wane, offered some beautiful blossoms.

I always love the wide open spaces and the trees that offer shade for visitors.

The tall stately Magnolia Trees were even in bloom.

As I strolled, peacocks were about as well, but they were not displaying their magnificent tail feathers.

Of course other blossoms were around as well, especially in the drought-resistant display.

At the end of the afternoon, everyone started heading to the exit, ending a great day.

If you have not visited this delightful garden, I suggest you do so.  Each season there is typically something gorgeous in bloom.  I hope to visit on a more regular basis, starting this year.  If you just let yourself wander the garden and enjoy Nature, I guarantee you will have a great afternoon and will probably leave happier than when you started.

“Happiness is like a butterfly.  The more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit quietly on your shoulder.”   Henry David Thoreau

 

A NICE AFTERNOON STROLL

In early May, I made a short trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, to help my sister Barbara celebrate her birthday.  No, we did not spend time at the casinos or even downtown at the strip.  I just do not like the noise and crowds.  We are much more apt to visit Red Rock Canyon or Valley of Fire State Park.

On this trip, we took a nice afternoon stroll through a wonderful little park named after Floyd Lamb.  The Floyd Lamb Park is in town, just down the street, actually.  The park is centered on Tule Springs, a series of small lakes, and covers over 2,000 acres.  There are ponds, campsites, picnic areas, hiking trails and even horseback trails all circled by distant mountains.  Barbara walks there often.

On this visit I was able to join her as we strolled around Floyd Lamb Park.  The minimal rain of the morning diminished by the time we arrived in the afternoon.  We only walked around the main pond, about a mile.  But we saw lots of geese, a few boat tail grackles, a couple flowers, and even some really cute little bunnies.  It was a delightful afternoon.

The scenery was gorgeous!

My favorite was feeding the bunnies!  At one time, I counted 22 running forward to get some carrots.

This Canada Goose stalked us a bit, rather miffed that we only brought carrots for the rabbits.  Next time, we better bring some bread for the geese as well.

A SIDE NOTE:  I have bad knees and thus have not been able to take even a short walk through a park in a long time. But I have purchased myself a travel scooter that allows me to “stroll” through gardens and museums, etc. The little scooter is great as it comes apart into four basic pieces that I can stow in the trunk.  I’m looking forward to visiting more and more parks in the future.  My great little scooter is from Spin Life.

NEXT TIME YOU ARE IN LAS VEGAS, TAKE AN AFTERNOON TO VISIT FLOYD LAMB PARK.

JUST BRING SOME CARROTS FOR THE BUNNIES!

 

Maybe the plentiful rains. Maybe I’m just being more attentive.  I am not sure why the blooms have been so vibrant this spring, but they have been glorious. I have taken some treks this spring to look for wildflowers, but some of the most impressive flowers have been around town.  No matter where I go, neighbors’ yards and landscaping displays alongside freeways, by restaurants and hotels and even in shopping malls are bright and brilliant with flowers.

I also love the new growth greens that are so very evident in the spring.  Green continues to be my favorite color.

Most of the flowers shared here are from around town, near my apartment in Bakersfield, CA.  But the Bird of Paradise and Calla Lilies were in bloom near a restaurant in Valencia, and the Pansies and Red Yucca were near my hotel in Las Vegas.

A great blogger I follow recently shared some wonderful photos of dogwood blossoms in Yosemite National Park.

Where have you been finding spring blossoms this year?

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, even have enough.”   Oprah Winfrey

Easter 1962

I am missing Mom a lot this weekend.  It has been about four and a half years since her death, and some days it feels like just yesterday.  She always enjoyed a good pork roast, so I enjoyed one today in her honor.  I think Mom would have liked that.

As I reflected on my memories with Mom over the years, I realized how grateful I am to have had as much time with her as I did.  She was 91 when she died.  I am especially grateful for her love of life, good sense of humor, and appreciation of animals and gardens–these are attitudes I inherited from her, I’m sure.  I am also grateful that she (and Dad!) were alert and engaged until the end, not in pain or connected to machines.

I am very aware today that there is so very much to appreciate.  Here is a list that names but a few items:

The hummingbirds that are starting to buzz around the feeders hung by my neighbors!

The delightful spring that is underway right now. My favorite little trek to search for spring thus far this year was to the Carrizo Plain.

Some good books are sitting on my kindle, waiting for me to read them, including A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday, and a delightful collection of stories called Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.

My apartment complex management are really nice, worthy of appreciation.  They have added a little cement sidewalk outside my apartment door to make it easier for me to maneuver my new little travel scooter in and out.  How cool is that?  They also do not just remind us to change the filters in our AC units, they provide the filters.

I always appreciate a good sense of humor as it helps make every day irritations tolerable.  For example, I know I need to take water pills to help keep my blood pressure from getting too high.  But if I do not laugh at having to jump up like a pop-goes-the-weasel every 30 minutes or so, I would really go crazy.  And that would not be good.

Of course, I appreciate having family and friends who are there for me—and who I have the time to play with fairly often.  My recent trip to Vegas for my sister’s birthday was not even bogged down with bad traffic.  And I was able to use my new little travel scooter, which I will write about eventually. On one day, we took a walk and fed some bunnies!

Holidays are bittersweet now that Mom and Dad are both gone, but good memories overshadow the grief more and more often.  If you are celebrating with your Mom on this holiday, make sure you give her a hug and tell her you love her.  Overlook the silly little things that can often get in the way of just enjoying your loved ones.

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A FEW QUOTES ON APPRECIATION

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love—and then make that day count!”  Steve Maraboli

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing.  It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”  Voltaire

“Love is made up of three unconditional properties in equal measure:  1. Acceptance, 2. Understanding, 3. Appreciation.  Remove any one of the three and the triangle falls apart.  Which, by the way, is something highly inadvisable.  Think about it—do you really want to live in a world of only two dimensions?  So, for the love of a triangle, please keep love whole.”   Vera Nazarian

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

What do you appreciate on this Mother’s Day?

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