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Posts tagged ‘nature photography’

SEARCHING FOR SPRING, PART 8: Blooms Around Town

 

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?

MOTHER’S DAY APPRECIATION

“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?

EARTH DAY 2017

EARTH DAY 2017:  We Need to Do Better

“To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.”   Wendell Berry

“The earth we abuse and the living things we kill will, in the end, take their revenge, for in exploiting their presence we are diminishing our future.”   Marya Mannes

I try to celebrate Earth Day every time I head out into Nature, not just once a year. 

But today demands a special celebration because it is the 47th anniversary of the first Earth Day. 

Today’s Earth Day Celebrations champion not just the beauty and variety of our natural world, but the role humans should play in preserving our Earth for future generations.  As stewards, we need to protect the natural world not plunder it for easy profits.  Part of this stewardship means we need to develop alternative energies, protect spiritual lands as well as national parks, work on local as well as global conservation efforts, and make strides to counter the problems of climate change.

Not everyone accepts this responsibility to protect our world.  Current government actions are even undermining protections that have long been in place to preserve the environment and not exploit its treasures and undercutting funding for the science needed to help make things better.  If you want to get more informed and more involved on some efforts to keep preserving the Earth for the future, consider joining the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy or the Natural Resources Defense Council in their efforts.

I’m sharing some of my favorite photos to show some of the wonders of Nature that inspire me with awe and reverence, that generate contemplation and reflection, that make me see the need for interdependence with all of nature.  It is easy to see God at work out in Nature!  How can we not take care of the Earth?  Maybe these photos will help suggest some of what is at stake if responsibility for protecting the Earth continues to be ignored or—worse–abrogated.

Get involved today!  If you need a reminder about the importance of Nature and all its wonders, go for a drive or take a hike! Maybe you will find some ancient voices carved in the hills.  Happy Earth Day 2017.   How are you celebrating the day?

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Some Quotes about the Need to Protect Our Earth

“We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.”   Kurt Vonnegut

“The only thing that scares me more than space aliens is the idea that there aren’t any space aliens.  We can’t be the best that creation has to offer.  I pray we’re not all there is.  If so, we’re in big trouble.”   Ellen DeGeneres

“Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.”   Jacques-Yves Cousteau

“Every day is Earth Day, and I vote we start investing in a secure climate future right now.”   Jackie Speier

“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth.”   Abraham Lincoln

“You carry Mother Earth within you.  She is not outside of you.  Mother Earth is not just your environment.  In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth, which is the highest form of prayer.”   Thich Nhat Hanh

“Earth as an ecosystem stands out in all of the universe.  There’s no place that we know about that can support life as we know it, not even out sister planet, Mars, where we might set up housekeeping someday, but at great effort and trouble we have to recreate the things we take for granted here.”   Sylvia Earle

“If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either.”   Joseph Wood Krutch

“We have a moral responsibility to protect the earth and ensure that our children and grandchildren have a healthy and sustainable environment in which to live.”  Jim Clyburn

“Life on earth is more like a verb.  It repairs, maintains, re-creates, and outdoes itself.”   Lynn Margulis

“But when I wasn’t working, I was usually at a window looking down at Earth. . . . The view of Earth is spectacular.”   Sally Rider

“I see a lot of damage to Mother Earth.  I see water being taken from creeks where water belongs to animals, not to oil companies.”   Winona LaDuke

“Sell a country?  Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth?  Did not the Great Spirit make them for the use of his children?”   Tecumseh

“Life is abundant, and life is beautiful.  And it’s a good place that we’re all in, you know, on this earth, if we take care of it.”   Alice Walker

 

 

 

EARTH: Weekly Photo Challenge

“It is wholesome and necessary things for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know the sense of wonder and humility.”  Rachel Carson

Earth is such a glorious paradox. It is everywhere, so common and typical but—at the same time—so unique, showing beauty and variety specific to each place.  Earth can run alongside a road or stretch across an open field; it can reach the heights of a mountain or stay close to the ground, supporting blossoms.  No matter where Earth is, it is worthy of celebration.  Over the last several years, I have enjoyed Earth across several states as pictured below.

ARIZONA

CALIFORNIA

COLORADO

NEVADA

NEW MEXICO

UTAH

WYOMING

This post is my response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth.

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SOME QUOTES ABOUT THE BEAUTY AND WONDER OF EARTH

“I’m fascinated by beautiful scenery and what we have here on this Earth.”  Matt Lanter

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.”   Kahlil Gibran

“Earth’s crammed with heaven. . .  but only he who sees, takes off his shoes.”   Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”  Henry David Thoreau

SEARCHING FOR SPRING, PART 7: Finding Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge

I needed a day out in Nature! 

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

 “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”   Edward Abbey

I continued my Search for Spring by driving into the hills southwest of Maricopa, California.  My goal was to find the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge.  It is closed to the public, but the roads that run along its perimeter promised great views of the area.  There was a slim possibility that I might see some Condors soaring on the thermals, but that did not happen on this cloudy gray day.

One set of directions I found online said to take Klipstein Canyon Road until it connects with Cerro Noroeste Road that parallels the wildlife refuge.  Only Klipstein Canyon Road no longer allows the public to traverse its entire length.  The few miles I traveled were pretty and rather desolate but also offered some flowers and birds. I even enjoyed the occasional “Private Property” signs.

Greater Roadrunner

California Quail

I finally found Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge via Cerro Noroeste Road. This route was also rather isolated and punctuated with occasional flowers and grand vistas.  Next year, I will drive this route a bit earlier in the year when I bet more flowers will be in bloom.

Horned Larks Were Around Singing, But Not Getting Very Close

Cerro Noroeste Road eventually looped onto Mil Portrero Road and then Cuddy Valley Road, leading me up to Pine Mountain before hitting I-5 to drive home.

All in all, I found some great views, a few flowers and a couple birds.

It was a wonderful afternoon!

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A FEW QUOTES ABOUT THE POWER OF NATURE

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

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.  It will never fail you.”   Claude Monet

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

“Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”   Margaret Atwood

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.  There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”   Rachel Carson

SEARCHING FOR SPRING, PART 6: Lupine, Poppies & More, oh my!

“EARTH LAUGHS IN FLOWERS.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two of my favorite wildflowers are Lupine and California Poppies.  They are both so bold and bright that when they make an appearance, you have to notice them.  A great place to watch for their first appearance each spring is driving I-5 over the Grapevine.  When patches of orange paint the hills, it is time to start exploring the area with more diligence.

A great spot to find a closer view of wildflowers is on the Gorman Post Road, near the top of the Grapevine.  This year was no different, but the poppies were not as evident as usual.  The lupines, however, were flanking the road along with some other colorful blooms.

Fortunately, the California Poppies were taking over the fields en route to the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve State Park.  According to the staff, the east side of the park was where poppies were most likely to be found on its actual grounds. When a friend and I were there on a weekend in early April—as predicted by the staff—it was almost impossible to get into the parking lot and past the entry kiosk.  We chose not to wait at least an hour to be able to look for a parking space, especially since we had already been sitting for close to an hour on the adjacent roads.  I’m really not crazy about crowds.

On a Weekday–Weekends The Cars Would Be Ten Times Worse

These Distant Hills Are Officially Part of the Preserve

The poppies, however, do not simply grow in the Poppy Preserve.  Their audacious color erupts along the roads and throughout the fields in the whole area surrounding the park.  And the poppies are joined by some other blooms as well.

Several Stands of These Pink Trees Were Blooming Along Lancaster Road

If you have not wandered by Gorman and then on Lancaster Road toward the Poppy Preserve, the time to get out there is now.  You will be rewarded with seeing some of the boldest and brightest wildflowers around!

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”    Iris Murdoch

“For myself I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free and spontaneous.”   Edward Abbey

“I must have flowers, always and always.”   Claude Monet

“How does the Meadow-flower its bloom unfold?  Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and, in that freedom, bold.”  William Wordsworth

“Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!’”   Robert Orben

“It is Spring again.  The earth is like a child that knows a poem by heart.”   Rainer Maria

SEARCHING FOR SPRING, PART 5: Red Rock Canyon State Park (CA)

My Spring 2017 search for wildflowers drew me to California’s Red Rock Canyon State Park a couple of times.  I was hoping for a repeat of the glorious display of Desert Dandelions I had seen back in Spring 2015.  Alas, that was the not the case.

But there were flowers to augment the iconic iron-laden sandstone that welcomes visitors to the state park.  It was a relaxing afternoon—and I might go back again later this spring to see what else might be in bloom.

The iconic cliffs and buttes have been used in many movies and television shows over the years, including Buck Rogers (TV series), The Big Country, The Outlaw, Jurassic Park and 40 Guns to Apache Pass (Audie Murphy’s last film).  For size comparison, the “little” mushroom like formation is 25 feet tall.

Throughout the grounds of Red Rock Canyon, various spring blossoms were evident.  No one type of plant was very abundant, but their colors jumped out from the muted grounds.

The drive into the park from both directions offered some colorful flowers as well.  The golden fields were found along Highway 14 north of the park, while the Globe Mallow were starting to blossom along the highway to the south.

I could not have asked for a better afternoon drive!

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“Spend the afternoon.  You can’t take it with you.”   Annie Dillard

“In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.”   Henry David Thoreau

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