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Posts tagged ‘Clouds’

The Softness of Clouds

“You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds.”  Henry David Thoreau

Soft.

When I think of SOFT, various things come to mind.  A whisper.  The glow of a full moon. Spring rain dancing on the roof.  A breeze through the trees.  The tinkling of wind chimes. Even the luxurious coat of such animals as buffalo and mountain goats.

Of course, most of those things are not the easiest to photograph, or—if photographed—not something I could easily reach out and touch. As much as I would love to.

Of course, when I think of SOFT, clouds also come to mind.  True, I cannot touch the clouds.  But I am certain they must be soft and billowy.  As well as impressive, ever present but always changing, and a powerful part of the cycle of nature.  No wonder they have always delighted me.  Thus, these photos of clouds are my response to the Lens Artists Photo Challenge–Soft.

“How sweet to be a Cloud. Floating in the Blue!”  A. A. Milne

“Be comforted, dear soul!  There is always light behind the clouds.”  Louisa May Alcott

“Behind the clouds is the sun, still shining.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“We talk of sunshine and moonshine, but not of cloud-shine, which is yet one of the illuminations of our skies.  A shining cloud is one of the most majestic of all secondary lights.”  Alice Meynell

“Let’s build us a happy, little cloud that floats around the sky.” Bob Ross

“He who seeks eternity should look at the sky, he who seeks the moment, should look at the cloud.”  Mia Couto

“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It is better to have your head in the clouds and know where you are. . . than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them and think that you are in paradise.”  Henry David Thoreau

 “I see trees of green, red roses too.  I see them bloom for me and you.  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.  I see skies of blue and clouds of white.  The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night.  And I think to myself what a wonderful world.”  Louis Armstrong

Oh, I Love A Cloudy Sky!

IMG_9814I love vacations where I drive the open roads.  Being under a gorgeous solid blue sky is always remarkable, the epitome of a good sunny day.  As Vincent Van Gogh says, “I never get tired of the blue sky.”  Of course, not every day is greeted by a wide open blue sky.

Clouds come and go, adding depth and variety to the sky above.  It is the wonder of the ever-changing sky that makes a IMG_9980country drive so inspiring.  There is also the paradox of a cloudy sky.  On the one hand, the clouds suggest mystery, change, complexity, wonder.  There is a spiritual element to watching a cloudy sky transform itself throughout the day.  Then, on the other hand, the clouds represent science, serving as a living example to air currents and water cycles.  There is an awareness of how life works if we study how clouds move and change over time.

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One of the best things about my most recent Nature Trek was being on the road every day for three weeks.  Each day’s drive was enhanced by watching the wonderful sky as it transformed itself throughout the day.  There is nothing so wondrous as a cloudy sky!

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SKY QUOTES

“The sky is an infinite movie to me.  I never get tired of looking at what’s happening up there.”    K. D. Lang

 “I always believe that the sky is the beginning of the limit.”   M C Hammer

 “We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well.  He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well.  If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.”  Mao Zedong

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“Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize:  a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes.  All is a miracle.”    Thich Nhat Hanh

“Go forth under the open sky, and listen to Nature’s teachings.”   William C. Bryant

“I always start a painting with the sky.”  Alfred Sisley

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“The sky is always there for me, while my life has been going through many, many changes.  When I look up to the sky, it gives me a nice feeling, like looking at an old friend.”  Yoko Ono

“Every time someone tried to explain to me there are limits to what one man can do, I pointed to the boundless sky and said, ‘There is the limit.’”   Jaiprakash Gaur

“There is the sky, which is all men’s together.”   Euripides

“Clouds do not really look like camels or sailing ships or castles in the sky.  They are simply a natural process at work.  So, too, perhaps, are our lives.”  Roger Ebert

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“The enormous lake stretched flat and smooth and white all the way to the edge of the gray sky.”  Laura Ingalls Wilder

“The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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“Excuse me while I kiss the sky.”   Jimi Hendrix

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”    Victor Hugo

“i thank you god for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”   e. e. cummings

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”    Henry David Thoreau

“The sky is the limit.  You never have the same experience twice.”  Frank McCourt

“You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds.”   Henry David Thoreau

“A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed. . . It feels an impulsion. . . . This is the place to go now.  But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.”   Richard Bach

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“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious.  And why shouldn’t it be?  It is the same the angels breathe.”    Mark Twain

“To see the Summer Sky is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie—True Poems flee—“    Emily Dickinson

“When scattered clouds are resting on the bosoms of hills, it seems as if one might climb into the heavenly region, earth being so intermixed with sky, and gradually transformed into it.”    Nathaniel Hawthorne

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.  May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”   Edward Abbey

“A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all—he’s walking on them.”   Leonard Louis Levinson

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“Those clouds are angels’ robes.”    Charles Kingsley

“We’d never know how high we are, till we are called to rise; and then, if we are true to plan, our statures touch the sky.”   Emily Dickinson

“Be still, sad heart!—and cease repining; behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”   Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”    Buddha

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DON’T YOU JUST LOVE A GLORIOUSLY CLOUDY SKY?

This post is my response to the Daily Post One-Word Prompt: Sky.

I have shared posts about my love of clouds before.

MY SOUTHWEST SOLITUDE ROAD TRIP 2015

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude,” Henry David Thoreau

“Solitude never hurt anyone.  Emily Dickinson lived alone, and she wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has ever known. . . then went crazy as a loon.”  spoken by Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons (Matt Groening)

MY SOUTHWEST SOLITUDE ROAD TRIP 2015: An Overview

IMG_7063In April, I traveled a total of 3,870 miles on a two-week road trip into the Southwest.  I knew what cities I would stay in for a few days each time and had some key attractions I wanted to visit.  But most of the trip was going to be simply wandering Arizona and New Mexico, enjoying the scenery and history of the area.  I even traveled a bit on an old stretch of historic Highway 66.  I had a wonderful time.

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

I travel alone on these trips—and typically someone will ask, “Why?”  Speculation is often that I would be lonely.  But that is never the case! Solitude is not loneliness—and I love the peace and quiet of the back roads I tend to travel. On those roads, it is easier to pull over and stop to watch some clouds drift by, appreciate some wildflowers, listen to some birds, even see some animals I wouldn’t otherwise notice.  Even without such wonders, the wide open spaces can be relaxing.  How can that be lonely?

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly

My overall game plan was to stay a few nights in Flagstaff, Arizona; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Gallup, New Mexico, taking day trips from those locations.  In part, I just wanted to immerse myself in the area geography, driving the backroads and visiting the small cities that are an integral part of the Tony Hillerman novels I enjoy.  I also knew I wanted to visit Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly, and Four Corners.  Other trips would be decided each day, from a list of possibilities I had generated.  I was also open to just following signs and seeing what I could see.

Some Views from Monument Valley:

Merrick Butte

Merrick Butte

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El Malpais National Monument

El Malpais National Monument

Eventually, I will share photos of some of the major stops I made on this two-week adventure.  But many of the memories are the smaller moments of each day, some that could not even be captured with a photo. For example, every morning as I left the Gallup hotel, there was a little sparrow in the tree by where I parked who sang good morning loud and clear.  But he was shy and never, ever let me capture his photo.  In fact, many birds and even some small animals kept me company along the road, but rarely let me take their pictures.  It is always a fun little game to try to catch them on film.

Some of these smaller memories I was able to preserve in photographs.

IMG_6906The promise of rain was a constant companion.  I was only ever really caught in a storm a couple of times, but the clouds were gorgeous almost every day.  One day, it even snowed on me in Santa Fe.  How cool is that?

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Lilacs in a Back Yard in Gallup

Lilacs in a Back Yard in Gallup

Flowers were also plentiful.  They always brighten any day!  Some flowers were in the cities, like some gorgeous lilac bushes that made me think of my mom.  One stretch near Shiprock, Aizona, offered miles and miles of wildflowers lining the road.  Other times, wildflowers offered isolated splashes of color and beauty.

False Red Yucca (Hesperaloe), Las Vegas

False Red Yucca (Hesperaloe), Las Vegas

False Red Yucca Close Up

False Red Yucca Close Up

Some views around Shiprock, Arizona, mostly Desert Mallow:

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Canyon de Chelly Roadside

Canyon de Chelly Roadside

Along the Verde River

Along the Verde River

Small Cactus Holding On Near Sedona

Small Cactus Holding On Near Sedona

Taking Root in Monument Valley

Taking Root in Monument Valley

Yucca in Bloom, Monument Valley

Yucca in Bloom, Monument Valley

Yucca Bloom Up Close

Yucca Bloom Up Close

Growing Out of Lava, Sunset Crater National Park

Growing Out of Lava, Sunset Crater National Park

Some Flowers in Petrified Forest National Park:

Desert Poppies

Desert Poppies

Indian Paintbrush Close Up

Indian Paintbrush Close Up

Common Name is Wild Apache Rose (I think)

Common Name is Wild Apache Rose (I think)

Apache Rose Close Up

Apache Rose Close Up

Shiprock National Monument in the Background

Shiprock National Monument in the Background

A few animals also cooperated as I traveled along, letting me catch them on film.  Horses wandered along the road at several locations.  Prairie Dogs were chittering alarms as I bounced along a gravel road traversing Valles Caldera National Preserve. Most scampered away, but eventually a few sentries came back to their posts.  I also shared shade with a little bunny on a break at the El Malpais National Conservation Area.

Prairie Dog, Valles Caldera National Preserve

Prairie Dog, Valles Caldera National Preserve

Near Canyon de Chelly

Near Canyon de Chelly

IMG_7152At one spot some sheep were literally running along the side of the road.  A ram was trailing behind, trying desperately—it seemed to me—to get back to the front of his little flock. That’s one of the hardest things about being a good leader—you need good followers!

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This little trip confirmed for me that Nature and Solitude are great traveling companions!

Canyon de Chelly Rim Drive

Canyon de Chelly Rim Drive

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THOUGHTS ABOUT NATURE & SOLITUDE

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.”  E. B. White

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”  Anne Frank

“If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.”  John Burroughs

“What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility.  This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”  Albert Einstein

“Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone.  It has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.”  Paul Tillich

“We live in a very tense society.  We are pulled apart. . . . and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together. . . . I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude.”  Helen Hayes

“Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.”  Lorraine Hansberry

“What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is being suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it—like a secret vice.”  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  Henry David Thoreau

Cloudy Skies

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“Now, if God made the clouds so beautiful, did He not mean us to gaze upon them and be thankful for them?”  Alfred Rowland

Oh, I love clouds!

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IMG_5508Clouds add beauty and majesty to any scene.  I recently took a road trip through the Southwest.  Some of my best memories are of the wondrous clouds that punctuated my drives along major and minor roadways.  I especially like when the cloudy sky takes over the scene, going on and on forever.  This is my first time responding to Jennifer’s One Word Photo Challenge.  This week’s theme is Cloudy, and you can see other entries here.

I have shared cloud images in the past here and here.

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 “We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.”  Konrad Adenauer

“A cloudless plain blue sky is like a flowerless garden.”  Terri Guillemets

“When we look up, it widens our horizons.  We see what a little speck we are in the universe, so insignificant, and we all take ourselves so seriously, but in the sky, there are no boundaries. No difference of caste or religion or race.”  Julia Gregson

“Clouds on clouds, in volumes driven, curtain round the vault of heaven.”  Thomas Love Peacock

“These clouds are angels’ robes.”  Charles Kingsley

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Watching Clouds Go By

Zion & Kolob Canyons 079I like science.  Really.  Perhaps even more than the average Joe or Jane.  But scientific language—although factual and correct—is just so technical.  Take CLOUDS, for example.  According to NationalGeographic.com, clouds are formed “when humid air cools enough for water vapor to condense into droplets or ice crystals.  The altitude at which this happens depends on the humidity and the rate of which temperature drops with elevation.”  The clouds themselves are categorized by the height of their base from the ground.  The categories include cirrus, stratus, and cumulous. Another Day with R & R 074

Now, don’t you agree that such a technical definition is incomplete, boring, dry (pardon the pun)?  How clouds are formed and of what they are made shares nothing about their wonder, beauty, complexity, even their drama.  When they appear on the horizon, they provide not only shade and potential rainfall, but change, excitement, detail.  They add depth to the scene and help spark the imagination.  These fanciful qualities of clouds are what makes them so special. clouds  22

Canyonlands Needles & I 70 045For me, clouds are most impressive when I am on the road, and the clouds take over the horizon. MO & KS drive to Dodge City 077

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Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Wonderful vistas themselves are just better with clouds!

Monument Valley, Arizona

Monument Valley, Arizona

Arizona Desert

Arizona Desert

Canyonlands National Park, Needles, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Needles, Utah

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Coastline, California

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Coastline, California

Pikes Peak, Colorado

Pikes Peak, Colorado

Mono Lake, California

Mono Lake, California

This post is my entry for Sunday Stills The Next Challenge: Clouds–visit the site to see all the other entries.  I shared my love of clouds in an earlier post as well:  “I Love Clouds.”

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 SOME QUOTES ABOUT CLOUDS!

“A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed. . . It feels an impulsion. . .this is the place to go now. But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond the horizons.’  Richard Bach

“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious.  And why shouldn’t it be.  It is the same the angels breathe.”  Mark Twain

“We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon.”  Konrad Adenauer

“A cloudless plain blue sky is like a flowerless garden.”  Terri Guillemets

“Now, if God made the clouds so beautiful, did He not mean us to gaze upon them and be thankful for them?”  Alfred Rowland

“Why do I love clouds?  Because you can’t save a cloud like you can save a leaf or a flower or a rock—clouds are now.”  Terri Guillemets

“In the afternoon I watch the clouds drift past the bald peak of Mount Tukihnikivats. (Someone has to do it.)”  Edward Abbey

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes in the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”  John Lubbock

WHITE IN ALL ITS SPLENDID VARIETY (One Word Photo Challenge: White)

WHITE IN ALL ITS SPLENDID VARIETY

weddingWhite is an intriguing color.  At times, it seems easy to overlook or use as a neutral background against which other colors will stand out.  Symbolically, white is often associated with innocence and purity, hence it’s the favorite color for wedding dresses.

rainbowWhen we consider bright white light—like sunshine—science tells us that white is actually all colors combined.  Sir Isaac Newton demonstrated that fact in 1666 when he charted how white light—when shown through a prism—refracts into the full color spectrum of the rainbow.  White is obviously more complicated and mysterious than first thought.

white featherStill, when I think of the colors of Nature, white is not the first one that comes to mind.  I more readily envision a blue, blue sky or the rich greens of trees.  Flowers typically come in many colorful varieties as well:  purple and yellow and red and all the shades in between. But when I stop to really look, white is out there.  More vibrant and alive, given the contrast with the other colors.  Sometimes it is strong and massive like snow or fragile and delicate like a wildflower in bloom or a feather floating in mid-air.

When I stop to really look for the power and energy of white out in the real world, I see that it is out there, almost everywhere I look.

CLOUDS & TREES AND THE MOON ON THE RISE

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Bryce NP, red rock canyon 137

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SNOW-CAPPED MOUNTAINS AND COTTON  IN THE FIELDS

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THE POWER OF WATER SURGING OVER THE FALLS AND THE SOFT BLANKET OF SNOW ON A WINTER AFTERNOON 

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THE MYSTERY OF FOG AND THE INTENSITY OF WAVES

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EGRETS, SWANS, PELICANS, SEAGULLS AND A PEACOCK TOO

Bosque de Apache outside Albu 226

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white pelicans

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BUT IT IS THE FLOWERS IN THEIR MANY SHAPES AND SIZES THAT TRULY SHOW THE BEAUTY, COMPLEXITY AND MAJESTY OF WHITE

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smal white sprig

small wild white

water lilies

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A FEW QUOTES

“All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.”   Erma Bombeck

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air as a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.  Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”  Thich Nhat Hanh

“Who in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white? Certainly not a mother.”  Erma Bombeck

“ELOQUENCE, n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.”  Ambrose Bierce

“Women think of all colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all.  White too. Their color is absolute.  It is the perfect harmony.”  Coco Chanel

“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.”  Lao Tzu

“Sometimes we need the fog to remind ourselves that all of life is not black and white.”  Jonathan Lockwood Huie

This post is my submission for the One Word Photo Challenge: White.  Don’t forget to view all the other entries!  I also really like green and orange.  What is your favorite color?

I LOVE CLOUDS!

100_1433Earlier this month, I was driving home from a short visit to Sequoia National Park.  My visit was cut short because of storms that were brewing and closing roads.  The night before there was a downpour. Storms were blowing in from the west, and rain and snow were expected by evening.  Mountain passes further south were even expected to close with snow levels reaching 3500 feet.

But that afternoon, driving home, the clouds were absolutely gorgeous!

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WHAT DO YOU SEE?

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 QUOTES ABOUT CLOUDS

 “You must not blame me if I do talk to the clouds.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Clouds suit my mood just fine.”   Marie Lu

“Thirty-nine years of my life had passed before I understood that clouds were not my enemy; that they were beautiful, and that I needed them. I suppose this, for me, marked the beginning of wisdom. Life is short.”   Iimani David  

“We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it. Life would be dull if we had to look up at cloudless monotony day after day.”  Gavin Pretor-Pinney   

“I miss the simple pleasures like a friendly hello, an unexpected smile, really looking into someone’s eyes when speaking, random acts of kindness, and days doing nothing but lying on a blanket in the grass watching the clouds roll on by.”   Rita Said   

“My experiences remind me that it’s those black clouds that make the blue skies even more beautiful.”    Kelly Clarkson  

“If you want to relax, watch the clouds pass by if you’re lying on the grass, or sit in front of the creek; just doing nothing and having those still moments is what really rejuvenates the body.”   Miranda Kerr

“We can never have enough of nature.  We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder cloud and the rain.”  Henry David Thoreau

“I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of ‘thinking’ and ‘enjoying’ what they call ‘living’, I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds.”  Jack Kerouac

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