Astrology Rob Brezhny is a weekly source of inspiration for me, and sometimes he knocks my socks off with a profound connection, a pithy quote, a soulful connection. But today it’s just one simple sentence.
The Holy land is everywhere.
I spent my Memorial Day Weekend basking in my new home, enjoying the neighborhood and the house. This was somewhat a wise decision to keep things low key, and somewhat forced house arrest due to budget constraints. It worked out beautifully. With no dollars to spare my food was humble and home-made, my engagement was with neighbors, friends and pets, and my entertainment came from the cycle of the day.
One splendid evening I took a walk with dog Lily and cat Charlee, and we watched herons wading in the sunset waters of Piscataway Bay.
Last weekend I took photos of the magnolia seed pods and sent them to a friend, who exclaimed: “what an awesome praying mantis!”
I hadn’t even noticed the creature when I clicked the shutter. So, I thought, how many photos do I have with accidental critters in them? A few. But if I expand the concept, I have a great many images of life among the flowers.
Most, but not all, of these images have animals among the blossoms. Human animals included. In a few, like the first, the wildlife is invisible. It’s been a colorful year!
Fairy house on Capitol Hill
Poodles Lily & Laika in Congressional Cemetery
Compulsive Gardener Glee
Jose visits from the Left Coast
Lynn and her lovely daughters, plus Hunter
Laurels blooming on NoName Road
Pollinators at work
Blogger in Bliss
Silver-bordered Fritellary on Echinacia
Boats & Day Lilies
Zebra Swallowtail on Buttonbush
Lotus in the Mattawoman, flood tide. Who swims below?
More than 2100 entries were submitted for the 10th annual prize.
The 2013 winning entries reflect the latest advances in neuroscience and cell biology as documented by researchers, along with amazing glimpses of life on a microscopic scale captured by hobbyists, students and scientists.
Next year’s competition, which closes September 30, 2014 is already open for participants. Entrants can submit up to five still images, image sequences, or movies of life science subjects captured at any magnification using a compound light microscope. To enter the competition or view the BioScapes gallery of winners and Honorable Mentions, visitwww.OlympusBioScapes.com.
I had to share these great photos of burrowing owls, a critter I used to know when I lived in South Florida.
One thing that makes owls so appealing to us is their big eyes. The feather markings around the eyes also create what seem like human expressions. I see the same phenomenon in Tabby cats; their ‘mascara’ and facial markings give them striking expressions.
But these owls, they have great body language as well! Check them out:
Is that little owl yawning or singing? Belgian-based photographer Yves Adams has the answer as he’s the one behind the adorable shot. “Little owls are CUTE!,” he states. “They make you laugh with whatever they do! But when they start to yawn, my heart melts! This picture has been taken in Spain, with the help of Steve West. This is probably the male, who was clearly bored, while the female was in the nest on her eggs.”
Today, we bring you over a dozen photos that show you just how expressive owls can be. Whether it’s the way they tilt their heads or walk with attitude, you have to agree, they’re one photogenic bunch.
You read that right! I, a life-long arachnophobe, have found some spiders to love.
Well, it’s a longer story than that, of course. From my infant self becoming imprinted with my mothers terror, to my father’s cruel attempts to “cure” me, to my own decade’s long campaign to educate the fear away, I have a long, long and complicated relationship with spiders.
I’ve kept them for pets and fed them. I’ve watched them spin their webs in the porchlight. I’ve killed them with poison, a shoe, the vacuum cleaner (are they really dead, or will they crawl out and GET REVENGE?)
I’ve explored the deeply graphical nature of my phobia. ‘Six legs good, eight legs bad,’ my brain tells me, and I can detect those excess appendages half a block away. I have trouble with fabrics and wall coverings if they have too many little dark spots, because my heightened spider-scanning radar is constantly blaring an alarm. I can scare myself my moving my own hand in a creeping, spider-leggedy fashion.
But this post over at Wired magazine’s blog really made me happy to see spiders! (Through the safety of the digital photo, of course.) What amazing beasts! Check out Nicky Bay’s stunning photos of the remarkable variation in southeast asian arachnids.
There are lots more. Don’t be squeamish, go look at all of them. They are evidence of a profoundly creative Universe.
A friend of mine has been building her own water park in her back yard, one that includes among other things an outdoor shower and dog wash. I took both dogs for a lovely cedar massage bath and we talked about how summer heat meant seeking relief in the cool of the water.
I’ve been going to the water all my life. I love the rocky forest, adore the sky, dance around the fire, but my Element is irrevocably Water.
Yesterday the heat broke in the afternoon, a great whoosh of wind blew leaves, rattling and bone dry, and thunder rumbled, but not a drop of moisture fell. The thermometer dropped from 103f/39c to 88f/31c and the sense that I was imprisoned indoors lifted. My kayak was still on the car from Monday’s jaunt (more later) and I zipped over to the local launch ramp and managed to get both dogs in with me and go for a paddle. (No pics, alas, since my phone is so water-averse!)
It was glorious, if a bit awkward getting sorted. Lily didn’t want to sit in her seat behind me. Seneca was confused and had trouble arranging her boney arthritic limbs. But eventually, with much splashing and a false start (white poodle swimming behind kayak) we were off. My old dog barked at the waves, my young dog leant against my back, too warm, but reassuring for both of us. I paddled without clobbering anyone. We pushed out against the incoming tide, aided by a breeze from the stern.
I was rewarded by an osprey rush-hour, each bird carrying their fish like a suitcase as they flew. A very large and splendidly marked bald eagle sat prettily in a tree. When I paddled too close, s/he flew out in a circle but returned, showing off the broad white tail, handsome walnut dark wings and snowy crown. Catfish like leviathans leapt near the boat, thrilling that is! What if one managed to flop IN the boat? It’s happened!
A squadron of 21 white egrets flew overhead. We saw terns, tree swallows, geese, a green heron. I heard redwing blackbird, wood thrush and cardinal. Two very tall Great Blues flew in to find a roost, clearly a pair who wanted to be together. It looked tricky, all those long legs trying to perch in a tree.
Then the water breaks into rippled flowing colour of underwater and sky and three shades of each looping forth and back, I feel the most connected, I feel the flow, I feel at home.
I always ask for snow for my birthday, but since it falls in November, I haven’t had my wish fullfilled in some years. Today, however, this quiet grey began to creep over the landscape as I was at the gym for morning workout.
By lunchtime notable flakes were drifting down. an hour later and they began to clump together: enormous flakes or tiny snowballs. Now they’re sticking around, beginning to coat a world in white.
It will always feel like magic to me, this process. Tiny diamonds, one by one, join to transform the landscape, and they do it silently. The hush that snow brings feels like a holy breath, a significant blessing.