Tag Archives: beauty

Chicory

Well, I’ve slowed down a little on my writing.  Time is a proportionate thing.  Right now I’m in training.  Training for my next adventure.

So as training time increases, time for everything decreases.

But since I’m out and about as part of my training, and since it’s Spring, it’s time for wildflowers and flowering trees.  I guess I’ll stick with the Photo Journal until the right combination of forces conspires to persuade me to tell another story.

Enjoy 🙂

LOGOz

Photo: Chicory – an amazing plant. You can use its roots as a coffee substitute.  And now for the close-up of the close-up . . . Hope you like the color Blue.

Chickory+C1

Beauty – Adaptive or Arbitrary

A number of days past, I made a post titled Wildflowers where I pondered the evolutionary adaptations of plants.  How their beauty, shape, and the perfume of their flowers attract certain pollinators to ensure the propagation of their species.

Naturally, I simply enjoy their beauty, regardless of how it came to be. 😊

Then yesterday, I stumbled upon an article discussing the theories of “adaptive adornment” versus “arbitrary beauty.”*  And I must admit, those terms are much more scientific and deliberately descriptive than my own ponderings.

It seems that Darwin had a second theory apart from natural selection – sexual selection.

Continue reading Beauty – Adaptive or Arbitrary

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

 

Busy Living

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice really, get busy living or get busy dying.”

– Andy talking with Red in The Shawshank Redemption.

I’ve always loved this quote.  It seems simple enough, but there’s a lot to it.  Some people say we are in the process of dying from the moment we are born.  That’s an organic process.  Can’t change it.  Can’t stop it.  But we can change what we’re doing when we’re alive.  While we’re still breathing.

Continue reading Busy Living

Silence is Golden, but Mantras . . .

You can fill in the blank in the title.  I might say . . . “are miraculous.”

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I can remember back in college, I had friends who used to wear their headphones constantly.  They told me they couldn’t study without listening to music.  And I always found that hard to believe because if I’m listening to music, the only other thing I can do at the same time is dance.  And I’m not so great at that either, although I have fun flailing about 🙂

I mean I can’t even go to sleep listening to music.  Music just seems to engage some part of my brain that carries me somewhere else completely.

And totally.

Continue reading Silence is Golden, but Mantras . . .

The Destination Was Her

It’s hard to describe,

truly meeting someone.

When eyes open,

Hearts synch.

 

A special soul,

To embrace,

Enfold, entwine.

 

But there were many separations.

Space-time matrices to traverse,

Miles,

Life Stages.

 

Two nurturing souls.

Playful,

Understanding.

 

Horizons expanded.

A mystical wonderland.

Alive and pulsating.

An endless flood of sensation.

 

Time shared.

Bonds forged.

 

Then a withering flame.

A magical land,

Turned landscape of loneliness.

The dichotomy of dissonance.

 

Beauty everywhere.

With heart-tie gone,

There could be no gravity.

 

The mark on the map

was never the journey’s end.

The geography was never Earthbound.

The destination was her . . .

Her heart.

 

LOGOz

 

Photo: From light years ago.  A special flame.

What’s in a Name?

Those of you who follow my blog know I’m constantly remarking about how powerful and fun words are.  I love words.  And if you can tell a story and manage to raise the image you’re trying to paint in another person’s mind, well, that’s when storytelling becomes art.

I love it when words can be used in alternative tenses.  Past, present, and future.  But they can also be used in multiple fashions.  As a noun, adjective, and verb.  All three.

But have you ever seen a proper noun be used with such multiplicity?

Continue reading What’s in a Name?

Day Dreaming

I woke up to a chilly negative seven degrees this morning.  That cold, biting air dug into my consciousness and said, “Hey, snap out of it.”  But what was “it?”

“It” has been the brain fog I’ve been in now for over a week.

“It” has thoroughly slapped me around, kicked in my rib cage, pummeled my face, knocked me down, and thrown me off balance.

“It” has challenged my days and made it difficult to write.

Yeah, I know, excuses, excuses.  But fighting pollution has taken on a whole new meaning for me this past couple of years.  Those unseen flyspecks, minute assassins, bouncing around my home.  Laying in wait.  Invading my brain.  Committing molecular murder.

With malice aforethought, “it” extinguishes my memory.

Evil.

Industrial chemicals.  A toxic world.

How to fight back?  Drift into a day dream . . .

A deep, clear, midnight blue lake, stretching out on the horizon, lapping against the shores of lodge pole pines, mountains shadow down in the distance.  Mirror reflections.  A shimmering pool.  A sailboat to slide across this glass surface.  Sanguine, tranquil, serene.

A distant memory.  Unleashing endorphins.  Light dancing in my camera’s lens. Euphoric.

I crank up the music – Freddy Jones Band – In a Day Dream

Tuesday morning,
Never looked so good.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

The sun is shining,
To wake me up.
No one around,
Just me and the sky.

I’m already in,
In a daydream.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

The sky is calling,
Calling out my name.
Telling me just to stay,
Stay and don’t go away.

I’m already in,
In a daydream.
I’m already in,
In a daydream.

In a daydream…
In a daydream…
In a daydream…
Already in a daydream…

And so I begin anew, rising from the flames, oscillating between past travels, and future adventures.  The words come . . .

***

Photo: Day dreaming of the Grand Tetons.

No Word for Art

Montana with Monture Quote - Ctn Divide - Logan Pass

Photo:  At the Continental Divide in Montana.

**This was a little tougher to put together than I imaged.  I had narrowed it down to three possible pics of mine – all beautiful, but I ultimately decided on this one.  Since WP cannot format it larger, I’ll repeat the quote here:

It is not surprising that Native American languages have no word for art, because beauty exists as an element of nature and everyday existence.  The very fiber of life begins with an understanding of natural gifts, an appreciation of the irrepressible forces of nature, creation, and expression.

Joel Monture – Mohawk

Contrasts – ምዕራፍ 7 – Molecular Hysteria

I paused for a few moments to take in the panorama.  Absolutely beautiful.

I was sitting on top of a mountain pass looking down through the outstretching valley below.  Mountain ridges rose parabolically, expanding outward and then opening up to a gorgeous vista.  More mountains in the distance shrouded in a light bluish haze.  The product of wind-blown dust and the sun’s rays bending around all of those tiny particles.  Photons bouncing through a prism, the colors and shadows changing constantly with Sol’s rotation.

The undulating hills bore the tracks of water courses, washes that were bone-dry now but would rapidly fill in the monsoon rains.  Rains that would carve.  The softness of water overpowering the hardness of basalt, granite, and rhyolite.  Like a sculptor of the landscape etching images that can best be scene from this bird’s-eye view.

Volcanic remains from a once violent explosion.  The center of the caldera sinking as millions of tons of smoke, ash, and debris filled the sky, blotting out the sun until the jet stream cleared the airways.  Once molten rock now overgrown with sagebrush, Mexican feather grass, manzanita, brittle brush, turpentine brush, prickly pears, mesquite, pinyon pine, alligator juniper, and scrub oak.

A light, warm wind blows as black hawks sore at dazzling heights – eye-level now that I’m at the peak.  I speak to them and offer thanks for their company.  A roadrunner scurries across the path in front of me carrying a freshly caught spiny lizard.  Life.  Predator and prey.  A continuous cycle.

There’s no other human soul around me and I’m basking in eternal peace.  Yet there is another battle silently raging in the recesses of my mind and body.  Ever pressing its way into the forefront of my consciousness.   An insidious illness that many doctors refuse to acknowledge even though some seven million Americans are afflicted.   Symptoms growing from minute exposures.  Triggering a cascade of molecular hysteria.  The body unable to compensate.

***

I found myself rapidly getting dizzy.  My brain was becoming foggy and then the headache came.  I noticed my heart beat was irregular, sometimes slowing down, and other times speeding up.  Skipping beats.  And there was the abdominal pain and nausea.   It was difficult to navigate to find a place to rest.  My voice cracked, became hoarse, it was difficult to speak.  There was short-term memory loss, the immediate short-term, making small instant decisions difficult.

You might think I had been poisoned.  Inhaled some insecticide by accident.  Perhaps a farmer spraying crops in the distance.

Or maybe I could have spilled some rat poison or gasoline on my hands.  Drank some polluted water.  Walked through the thick smoke of a brush fire.  Breathed paint fumes in a freshly painted house or from a recently stain deck.  Or maybe it was formaldehyde or ethylene.  Gassing-off of furniture or from the upholstery and plastic dashboard of the car.

All of these factors, and more, can be triggers.  But all I had done was get dressed.

You see, clothing manufactures are spraying all types of noxious chemicals on clothes now.  To make them last longer, wear better, not catch on fire, and not smell when we sweat.  Or to kill bugs when they’re shipped.  No different than the farmer spraying the crops.

Then there are the chemical detergents the clothes were washed in.  Or the washing machine and dryer themselves.  Now contaminated with chemical residues from past loads.

Chemicals that are truly poisonous, but which most people, at least for the moment, can tolerate in small amounts.  Some of us aren’t so fortunate.  Our bodies have become overwhelmed by all the toxins and we can’t clear our systems of them any longer.  Smaller amounts begin producing bigger reactions all the time.  It’s called toxicant-induced loss of intolerance.

And there’s no escape.

It began with a reaction to chemicals used to tan and waterproof leather.  A new pair of hiking boots.  And then exploded to any clothing, soaps and detergents, sunscreens, shaving creams, etc.  Anything that may contain any type of rubber accelerator, biocidic agent, or chromate.   Foods, now saturated with pesticides and herbicides and preservatives, can trigger it.  Molds, that produce endotoxins that gas-off or are carried by their microscopic spores, once inhaled, can debilitate.

This condition goes by various names.  Multiple chemical sensitivity, environmental illness, sick building syndrome, idiopathic environmental intolerance, ecologic illness, total allergy syndrome, and the 20th Century disease.  In terms of our military veterans, this can manifest as Gulf War Syndrome or Agent Orange disability.

One of the hindrances for doctors accepting the existence of the disease is their disagreement on how to define and name it.  It also doesn’t quite fit the traditional allergen-antibody reaction.  Instead of having hives, or a runny nose, watering eyes and difficulty breathing, the reaction is nuerotoxic, like a poisoning.

Despite the AMA’s denial, there is so much information about this disease and its various manifestations that I won’t attempt to try to cover it all.  Treatment is extremely limited and primarily consists of avoidance and boosting the body’s natural ability to detoxify.  Kind of hard to avoid clothing 🙂

Some medications can lessen symptoms but there is no treatment to my knowledge that is getting to the root cause – an increasingly toxic planet caused by human occupation and alleged progress.

If you find this concept hard to wrap your mind around consider this, there are some 85,000 chemical compounds licensed by the FDA for commercial use in America.  And very few have been tested for safety.  The umbilical cord blood of infants in this country, just prior to their birth, before they have even taken their first breath, test positive for up to 287 industrial chemicals with an average of 200 per baby.  These chemicals include: polyaromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, furans, pesticides, flame retardants, industrial lubricants, plastics, consumer product ingredients, wastes from burning coal, gasoline and garbage, lead, mercury, methylmercury, perfluorochemicals (PFCs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), to name but a few.

***

So, as I hike through this paradise of nature my mind grows cloudy and my body becomes weary.  A contrast of pristine beauty flooding my senses with intoxicating images, forms and scents.  A vision that is totally energizing and invigorating, while the body betrays and is overwhelmed with fatigue.  Predator and prey . . . the continuing cycle that none of us can escape.  But perhaps our predator has become ourselves.

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Postscript: Sometimes I believe that the Source strips away many of the material distractions in our lives to get us to focus on spiritual development.  You are compelled to pay attention to those matters of soul growth.  Our mission in life is not to work and pay bills and engage in immediate sense gratification.  There is so much more about getting to and experiencing our true essence.  I believe that this is one of those times.

Photo: Sitting on top of a mountain in the southwestern desert, gazing though the valley formed by an old volcanic caldera.

Language for “Chapter 7” in the title:   I know you’ve all noticed that I’ve been using different languages in the titles of these chapters I’ve themed as “Contrasts.”  Today’s choice was Amharic the Semitic language descended from Ge’ez that is the official language of Ethiopia.  I enjoy marveling at different languages as I explained in my post “Like.”

Prior Chapters of Contrasts:

Contrasts – Kapitel 1

Contrasts – Hoofstuk 2: Which Animals Do You Watch?

Contrasts – κεφάλαιο 3 – Cabrillo National Monument

Contrasts – Chapitre 4 – Two Museums

Contrasts– 第5章 – Wild Spaces

Contrasts – Isahluko 6 – Southwest versus Midwest

Source Materials:

Case Definitions for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

A Report on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

How many toxins is your baby getting in the womb?

Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns: Detailed Findings

What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivity?

Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity by Alison Johnson Chapter 2 The Elusive Search for a Place to Live

Chemical Sensitivity Foundation Research Bibliography

Seminar explores multiple chemical sensitivities topic

Fragrance-Free Workplaces

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Link Rot: As always, I cannot predict how long a hyperlink on the Net will hang around.  They tend to disappear over time or be hijacked to other sites, but they were current at the time I referenced them.

Like

I have to say, I really appreciate the WordPress community.  I learned about WordPress when I was looking at job postings for writers and started noticing that a number of them required WordPress experience.  So, I Googled it to find out what it was.

Then I met Laleh Chini on Twitter and was introduced to her blog, “A Voice from Iran.”

After checking out a few more blogs and seeing their beautiful formats, I decided to take the plunge.

One of the things that really amazes me it that we can meet people from all over the world.  And even if their blogs are written in different languages, it’s not much trouble to copy and paste something into Google Translate and read it.

I like looking at other languages and seeing how others compose their ideas.  I think the text is beautiful and I am awed about the whole concept of learning a language.  How do we master such a thing?  Other languages look so foreign to me, it’s hard for me to imagine how children in those countries grow up learning them.  And multilingual people fascinate me even more.

It is such a human trait.  Language.  It’s taken for granted.  And just look how much communication has evolved and the technology that we use now to share our stories all over the world.

I know we all love it when others in our community like our posts.  So here are a few examples of beautiful language from around the world from some of my blogging friends just using the word “like.”

Indonesian                           DisuKai

Turkish                                  Begendi

Italian                                     Mi piace

Norwegian                           Liker

Romanian                             Apreciaza

German                                Gefällt mir

Spanish                                 Me Gusta

Russian                                  нравится

Hindi                                       पसंद

Swedish                                Tycka om

French                                   J’aime

Irish                                        Cosúil

Japanese                               好き

Pakistan (Urdu)                  کی طرح

Nigeria (Yoruba)                 Bi

Phillipines (Filipino)         Katulad

Finnish                                     Kuten

Azerbaijani                            Bəyən

Portuguese                            Curtir

I’m sure you can all add to this list.

Another reason I like it when my blogging friends like my posts is that it reminds me to go check out their pages.  It’s hard to keep up with all of the good writing out there so that serves as a nice prompt.

Looking forward to liking more of your posts 🙂

***

Photo: A closeup of a cactus in bloom at a botanical garden in the southwest.  The feature image zooming-in is sort of other-worldly.  A friend described it as looking like an underwater organism – a sea creature.  An it does sort of look like a Sea Anemone.  The full view is below.  Amazing to see that flower with such exploding beauty thriving in desert conditions.  This is my analogy to the beauty of language in all it’s forms, unexpectedly breathtaking 🙂

Tohono Chul with Heather 4+C2

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

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