Category Archives: Photo Journal

Serpents and Milkweeds

I was out of breath as I reached the top of the bluff.  But it was worth the hike.  I now had a falcon’s-eye view out over the South Fork of the Snake River.  Absolutely beautiful.

The sprawling flood plain to the East was fully plowed and planted.  Potatoes, wheat, and alfalfa.  And maybe a few specialty crops lay low in the distance.  Broccoli, cauliflower, rhubarb, and cabbage.  Casting different hues of green.  Forest green to fern, to mantis, to dark pastel, to castelton.

Continue reading Serpents and Milkweeds

Hawthorn

It’s that time of year.  The flowering trees have started to bloom.  It usually begins with Wild Cherry and Plumb.   Then come the Redbuds and Magnolias.  Then Dogwoods, Catalpas, Buckeyes, and Mimosas.

There are a lot of trees in my area with small, white flowers.  Probably too many to know all of them.  But the other day, when I was out on the trail,  I spied this little beauty laying in the grass.  It only took a second to realize that it wasn’t a ground flower.  There was an entire blanket of these blooms lying under a tree.  The Hawthorn Tree.

This was the first time I took a close look at this particular blossom.  And it was quite a gift for the day 🙂

The center sort of looks like a creature with unfolding tentacles.  Perhaps a Sea Anemone.  Take in its beauty and use your imagination.  What do you see?

LOGOz

Missouri Hawthorne Tree Flower +C1

For Vera

Look closely.  What do you see?

About three years back, I was walking along the roadside and I saw Red Clover blooming in the ditch.  I bent over and snapped a picture, a close up, without even giving it much thought.

Later, back home.  I opened the pic up on the computer screen and my jaw dropped.  It was, is, absolutely stunning!  At least I think so.

What we often regard as single blooms are really composite flowers.  A cluster of miniature florets forming that glorious efflorescence.  And this is what I saw.

Red Clover+C1

A common plant.  So common that people don’t seem to notice it.  Just walk on by.

The Bumble Bees notice it , though.  It seems to be one of their favorites.

But just look at those tiny composite flowers.  The angle of the ones at the top produce the effect of looking at flames dancing in a fire.

But straight on, you can see the tiny detail of each independent bloom.  The red veins of each. Those vascular bundles of Xylem and Phloem that extend the entire length of the plant. The Pistil, holding the reproductive organs.  Each of these tiny flowers will become a seed . . . once the bees do their work.   It will transform and appear much like the head of a Dandelion, before the tiny umbrellas balloon its many children to their distant destinations.  To start the cycle anew.

And to the side and lower views, you see each of the microblooms’ petals.  What an intricate design.

Like a cluster of diminutive orchids.

So many focal points.  The camera can’t decide.  It zooms in on the tiny hairlike projections in between the hues of crimson.

Three years ago, with the snapping of a picture, I snapped back into life.  Back into the life that matters most.  Appreciating the real world and all its glory.  And this re-awaking was fueled by what some would call the commonplace.  Would scarcely give a glance to such a plant.  A wildflower.  An uncultivated beast.

After all, it’s not a Rose . . .

My friend Vera and I were talking about this in relation to my post Wildflowers yesterday.  The uniqueness, the beauty, the ability to recognize and appreciate it before it’s gone.  And I think she said it perfectly when she said:

“It’s funny how we are inclined to categorize things as common or rare, forgetting/ignoring the fact that each one is unique within their own kind. It takes wise reminders to be conscious of that. To have the capacity to appreciate beauty while it lasts, or indeed, transience, in general, demands high wisdom and appropriate temperament.”

And so I dedicate this post to her.  And if you really want to read some fine poetry, and by “fine” I mean amazing, you should check out her blog.  To Dad With Love Poetry.

Until the next wildflower . . .

LOGOz

 

Wildflowers

I captured this image when I was on one of my hikes in the Northwest.  High desert wildflowers were everywhere.

Many were flowers I had not seen before, like this one.  Many others seem to be common all over the states.

I always wonder what evolutionary adaptations these plants have made to thrive in the area where they live.  Is it the altitude, or the days’ photoperiods, or the temperature, or the elements in the soil, or the amount of precipitation?  All combining to produce something with just the right colors and the perfect perfume to attract the pollinators that will ensure their reproduction.

And they interlink in the complex fabric of life so they help ensure other species’ survival.  Even our own 🙂

High Desert Wildflower 4 + Retro

LOGOz

Bees

I took this pic a while back when I was traveling through Michigan.  It really doesn’t matter where you are, Bees have a direct impact on all of our lives.  Without them, pollination would be severely impaired and we’d have a lot more difficultly breathing and eating.  Basically we need them to live.

In China, they’ve killed off so many bees that people are are having to hand-pollinate fruit trees.  Check out these pics from the Huffington Post – These Photos Capture the Startling Effect Of Shrinking Bee Populations.

And for a nice, easy read on how hives function, check out this blog from Big Island Bees titled: Bee Hive Hierarchy and Activities.

Of course, I like the pic because I think the bee is just beautiful.  A perfect work of art with Nature as the master artist.  Oh, the flower is pretty too 🙂

LOGOz

 

 

Journey

Who knew what a journey a chance meeting would spur.  And perhaps it’s still only beginning.

It wasn’t long ago that I was forced into early retirement.  So I gave myself a couple of years to find a new home.  I wanted a fresh start.  A clean slate.  A new beginning where I had no personal history.  No evil employers.  No ex-wives.  No pain of remembrance.

I was very methodical.  I searched locations, climates, recreation, proximity to my bucket list of national parks, housing markets, and state and federal tax implications.  Yes, believe it or not, if you move to a state other than the one paying your pension, you can be double taxed on your same income.

It was a lot to consider.

And I finally hit upon an area where I thought could pull all of those factors together.  So, I contacted various realtors, complied a list of properties on the market, jumped on a plane and spent a week touring homes and the surrounding area.

It was an area sort of familiar to me.  I had been there 40 years earlier when I was a young pup bumming around the country and living in my car and out in the wilderness.  Of course, the once sleepy little city had grown.  And I discovered I didn’t like the housing prospects.  It didn’t feel like home.

But while I was there, I would make a connection.  A beautiful soul that burned bright.  A golden flame.

A chance meeting in a chance location.  A moment in time, but at that moment it was time to fly that 1400 miles back home.

Conversations ensued, and she told me of an amazing world not that far from those first explorations.  I traveled again and found that magical oasis.  But I couldn’t stay.  At least not at this juncture in time.

This has been the beginning of a new chapter in life.  That meeting brought me out from behind the barriers I had surrounded myself with.  Broken down the walls of despair.  Set me on a new path.

A journey to recapture the heart and spirit of life.  Who knows where it may lead?

***

Photo: I took this photo of these lonely railroad tracks out in a remote area in the Southwest.  I was playing with it in the photo editor and suddenly it came to life.  What made this image possible was dust.  There were high winds that day sweeping dust across the desert floor and scattering into the atmosphere.  That added a blur factor you can see at the base of the distant mountains.  It also added a medium to refract light adding varying hues to the sky and clouds.  A slight enhancement turned a drab photo into art.  A friend described it as looking like an Albert Bierstadt painting.

And that photo’s story parallels my journey.  A chance number of elements came together to produce a never-seen-before beauty.  And the image itself is one of travel across great distances.  Who knows where these tracks may lead?  Where that train might take us?

 

Frog Pond Magic

A while back, while hiking, I stumbled upon a small frog pond.  It was early afternoon and the angle of the sun, lighting, and nature itself came together in a very magical way.

There was an electric green moss growing in that crystal clear pond and the surface of the water reflected the surrounding trees.  The sky was a magnificent deep hue of blue.  As you can see, I captured several shots with my cell phone camera.

I visited this pond several times thereafter and the conditions for these images never repeated themselves.  Amazing, even the same places, events, and times can never be experienced twice the same 🙂

 

 

Frog Pond Magic 1

***

A Little Magic

What happens when you mix the edge of a clear mountain stream with a bucket full of multicolored sedimentary stones, add a tablespoon of current reverberating off the bank, and then a dash of the afternoon sun’s refracting photons?  Well this . . .

River Rock

Photo:  Somewhere in Montana 🙂