…after a long day, you need to hug a big kitty.
and don’t miss a look at this fella’s paws. Incredible… [Read more...]
…after a long day, you need to hug a big kitty.
and don’t miss a look at this fella’s paws. Incredible… [Read more...]
Why must people kneel down to pray?
If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do.
I’d go out into a great big field all alone or
in the deep, deep woods and
I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky
that looks as if there was no end to its blueness.
And then I’d just feel a prayer.
— L.M. Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1875-1942) was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents. She was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. Montgomery’s early life was very lonely. Despite having relations nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, as what developed her creative mind.
Source: …Just Saying
The butterfly’s brain,
the size of a grain of salt,
guides her to Mexico.
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
Notes: Photo Source: nathab.com. Poem Source: Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry. Post title inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
“This is Your Brain on Silence“ by Daniel A. Gross:
“Silence, Please” has proven to be the most popular theme in Finland’s rebranding, and one of the most popular pages on VisitFinland.com. Maybe silence sells because, so often, we treat it as a tangible thing—something easily broken, like porcelain or crystal, and something delicate and valuable. Vikman remembers a time when she experienced the rarity of nearly complete silence. Standing in the Finnish wilderness, she strained her ears to pick out the faintest sounds of animals or wind. “It’s strange,” she says, “the way you change. You have all the power—you can break the silence with even with the smallest sounds. And then you don’t want to do it. You try to be as quiet as you can be.”
Yes. But, a paper bird.
Be sure not to miss the entire collection of paper birds at her website: Diana Beltran Herrera
DIANA BELTRAN HERRERA (b. 1987, Colombia) is a designer and artist that has been working over the past years with paper as the primary medium in the production of her work. After graduating from her BA degree in industrial Design, Herrera realized that she wasn’t interested in pursuing a design practice as a life career, as she was more interested in the theories of understanding of nature and material as an element that exist around us and is present in an everyday routine. For Herrera, there is a considerable distance in the relationship between human and nature, and throughout her work, she aims to repair this relation by producing elements that are constantly removed, altered and forgotten. Her work is presented as a resistance where those sculptures remain in an ideal state and act like a model of representation of a reality that doesnt suffer any change.
…after a long day, you need to hang out with your best friend
It is the Treehotel’s Bird’s Nest room in Harads, in northern Sweden. From the outside, the room resembles an actual nest, a conglomerate of giant twigs. But from the inside, the room looks like that of a luxury resort. It’s large enough to sleep four. The design was to provide a contrast between indoors and outdoors.
Don’t miss photo’s of the inside of the Bird’s Nest Room at Grindtv.com: Treehotel puts you up…in a bird’s nest.
Susan finds an abandoned baby bird on the lawn in the backyard. She has to protect it. To save it.
She cups it in her hand. She calls out to me to help.
“Put it back.”
I don’t get a response. A few minutes later she has the bird in a clear, plastic container. Where did she find that? (Note to self: Cache of Bird paraphernalia is growing.)
“Look at how cute she is.”
I glance at it. I’m gulping the flashback: What’s with you and birds? It was a different mother then. A Robin. Also, trying, to protect her young. The irony not lost on me.
“What do you think we should do?”
“I think you should put it back.” She’s getting attached. This will end badly.
“But it can’t fly!”
Zeke is circling. He’s sniffing wildly. His eyes are full. His breed and his blood, the Vizsla, was trained for generations to look up. To flush. To retrieve. It’s all about Birds.
“Its Mother can’t find it either. Go put it back. Near the trees.”
She ignores me. (Again.) I see her cupping the bird. Bobbing its beak in water.
“Come on birdy. Take a drink. Then we’re going back.”
That was Thursday.
Birdy had reappeared near the fence yesterday afternoon.
Caleb, his harem and baby Albino out for a walk on Hump Day…
Source: Benoit Cappronnier. Camels and baby albino camel taken in Massawa, Etritrea.
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Metamorphosis
Shooting the void in silence,
like a bird,
A bird that shuts his wings
for better speed.
~ Frederick Goddard Tuckerman, From ”Sonnet XXVIII”
Catching up on your posts and came across your July 7 Monday Mantra. Thought you might like to see the original video of the reggae-biased Morepork … so named for their call. If you live close to bush in New Zealand, you turn on the porch light and these little guys will come calling to feed on the moths.”
This little Morepork (or Ruru in Maori) arrived at New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust’s Green Bay Hospital in Auckland when it was about a week old. Now it is flying and has lost most of its baby feathers. New Zealand Bird Rescue supports the community by assisting many thousands of sick, orphaned, injured and lost birds every year. Birds that come into care here are rehabilitated until they are ready for release back into the wild. We accept and care for all New Zealand birds; no bird is ever turned away. Many have been victims of cat attacks, road accidents, pollution, fishing line entanglements, and human ignorance or cruelty.
Thank you Stephen.
Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.
The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.
What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.
- Wendell Berry
When you are a young person, you are like a young creek, and you meet many rocks, many obstacles and difficulties on your way. You hurry to get past these obstacles and get to the ocean. But as the creek moves down through the fields, it becomes larger and calmer and it can enjoy the reflection of the sky. It’s wonderful. You will arrive at the sea anyway so enjoy the journey. Enjoy the sunshine, the sunset, the moon, the birds, the trees, and the many beauties along the way. Taste every moment of your daily life.
- Thich Nhat Hanh
Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers points us to a wonderful story at the Audubon Magazine titled: What It’d Take to Build a Human-Sized Robin’s Nest.
Find Rob’s post here: Nest.
And be sure to click through. Wonderful Story.
Source: Huffington Post (Baby owl was 1 week old when he was admitted to the New Zealand Bird Rescue Hospital.)
Source: Fairy-Wren (Eastern Meadowlark)
“But to preserve something is to delay that act indefinitely. Maybe preserves are where a historian’s urges meet a cook’s capacities. I wish that I could put up yesterday’s evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind afire, a day of harmony, ten thousand glorious days of clouds that will instead vanish and never be seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in the interim and tasted again as needed. My historian’s nature regards with dismay that all these things arise and perish, though there will always be more clouds and more days, if not for me or for you. Photographs preserve a little of this, and I’ve kept tens of thousands of e-mails and letters, but there is no going back.”
—Rebecca Solnit, from The Faraway Nearby
“We loved the evocative nature of ‘Godspeed You’ and wanted to create something beautiful and atmospheric to compliment the themes of the track. We particularly focused on the idea that we are part of something that is greater than us all. We decided on a simple narrative that follows a girl’s journey back into nature, watching as she is gradually dwarfed by the dramatic landscapes surrounding her, until she is finally enveloped into the earth – only to rise again as part of the natural landscape. Finally, she is cleansed and returns to the world as a woman reborn.”
~ Jack Pirie & Alex Hylands, Directors
[...] whales sing the same song,
all of them, across the globe
in the chill of the Arctic
and while lazing through the Pacific for a year
and suddenly change their tone,
all of them at once.
The first few hours of that new language
filling the ocean with sonic waves
that ricochet wildly,
finally accidentally intersecting in such a way that is
where have you been I’ve missed you so much.
- Jenna Ogilvie, from “Rosetta Stone“
“We tend to think animals are lower than us, but all the scientists in the world couldn’t design and operate a bumblebee’s wing. We can’t jump or run very fast, and we can’t carry vast weights like an ant can. We can’t see in the dark and we can’t fly except crammed in a noisy tube like sardines, which doesn’t count. Humans compared to animals are almost totally deaf, and we can’t smell a fart in an elevator by their standards. We are finite and separate, and neurotic, while the consciousness of an animal is at peace and eternal. We strive and go crazy to become more important. Animals rest and sleep and enjoy the company of each other. We think we have evolved upwards from animals but we have lost almost all of their qualities and abilities. The idea that animals don’t have consciousness or that they don’t have a soul is rather crass. It shows a lack of consciousness. They talk, they have families, they feel things, they act individually or together to solve problems, they often care of their young as a tribal unit. They play, they travel, and medicate themselves when they get sick. They cry when others in the herd die, they know about us humans. Of course they have a soul, a very pristine one. We humans are only now attempting with the recent rise in consciousness to achieve the soul that animals have naturally.”
- Stuart Wilde
Frank Bruni, NY Times: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:
Read Bruni’s worthy full article here: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:
Okay, not one can write a symphony, or a dictionary,
or even a letter to an old friend, full of remembrance
Not one can manage a single sound though the blue jays
carp and whistle all day in the branches, without
the push of the wind.
But to tell the truth after a while I’m pale with longing
for their thick bodies ruckled with lichen
and you can’t keep me from the woods, from the tonnage
of their shoulders, and their shining green hair.
Today is a day like any other: twenty-four hours, a
little sunshine, a little rain.
Listen, says ambition, nervously shifting her weight from
one boot to another — why don’t you get going?
For there I am, in the mossy shadows, under the trees.
And to tell the truth I don’t want to let go of the wrists
of idleness, I don’t want to sell my life for money,
I don’t even want to come in out of the rain.
- Mary Oliver, “Black Oaks” in West Wind
There are places in and around our great cities, where the natural world has all but disappeared. You can make out streets and sidewalks, autos, parking garages, advertising billboards, monuments of glass and steel. But not a tree, or a blade of grass or any animal, besides of course, the Humans. There are lot’s of Humans. Only when you look up straight up through the skyscraper canyons, can you make out a star or a patch of blue. Reminders of what was there long before humans came to be. It’s not hard going to work every day in such a place to be impressed with ourselves. How we’ve transformed the earth for our benefit and convenience. But a few hundred miles up or down, there are no humans, our impact on the universe is nil. In the last 10,000 years, an instant in our long history, we’ve abandoned the nomadic life. We’ve domesticated the plants and animals. Why chase the food, when you can make it come to you? For all its material advantages, the sedentary life has left us edgy, unfulfilled. Even after 400 generations in villages and cities, we haven’t forgotten. There are now people on every continent and the remotest islands. From pole to pole. From Mount Everest to the Dead Sea. On the ocean bottoms, and even, occasionally in residence two miles up. Humans, like the Gods of old, living in the sky. These days there seems no where left to explore. Victims of their very success, the explorers now, pretty much, stay home.
The lodgepole pines I had seen as red and dying were now part of the story they introduced as fire ecology, with pine bark beetles entering the cambium layer of the tree, killing it, and preparing it for fire. Ted spoke of the flames rising with the heat in the forest, splitting open the cones that drop their seeds in the seared soil for the lodgepole’s regeneration the following year. “Lodgepole pinecones may remain unopened for years and burst open only during a forest fire,” Ted said. “They are referred to as serotinous cones.” As a young Mormon woman, I heard “Resurrection.”
~ Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
It was one of the most emailed and shared NY Times articles this month. It has set off a frenzy of opposing responses from religious groups and from folks who believe in life on other planets – – along with others who are in violent agreement. I read it the day it was published (May 2nd). I found it interesting that for a man clutching the fence (The Believer of Convenience), it has been looming in my consciousness since then. And, like Lightman, it frightened me too.
The tornadoes that have been devastating parts of the South and Midwest, just weeks after a deadly mudslide in Washington, demonstrate once again the unimaginable power of nature…
…Aren’t we a part of nature, born in nature, sustained by the food brought forth by nature, warmed by the natural sun? Don’t we have a deep spiritual connection with the wind and the water and the land that Emerson and Wordsworth so lovingly described, that Turner and Constable painted in scenes of serenity and grandeur? How could Mother Nature do this to us, her children?
…Yet despite our strongly felt kinship and oneness with nature, all the evidence suggests that nature doesn’t care one whit about us. Tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions happen without the slightest consideration for human inhabitants…Our comfort with nature is an illusion.
…In the other direction, nature is constantly given human qualities. Wordsworth wrote that “nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Mother Nature has comforted us in every culture on earth.
…I would argue that we have been fooling ourselves. Nature, in fact, is mindless. Nature is neither friend nor foe, neither malevolent nor benevolent.
…Nature is purposeless. Nature simply is. We may find nature beautiful or terrible, but those feelings are human constructions. Such utter and complete mindlessness is hard for us to accept. We feel such a strong connection to nature. But the relationship between nature and us is one-sided. There is no reciprocity. There is no mind on the other side of the wall. That absence of mind, coupled with so much power, is what so frightened me on the sailboat in Greece.
…we should not be concerned about protecting our planet. Nature can survive far more than what we can do to it and is totally oblivious to whether homo sapiens lives or dies in the next hundred years. Our concern should be about protecting ourselves — because we have only ourselves to protect us.
Read entire article: Our Lonely Home in Nature
One needs a place (or so I find) where one can spiritually dig oneself in. The weather here has changed to heavy rolling mists and thick soft rain. The mountains disappear very beautifully, one by one. The lake has become grave and one feels the silence. This, instead of being depressing as it is in the South, has a sober charm. In the South there is too much light whereas exquisitely breathtaking fog is all I care about. This grass, too, waving high, with one o’clocks like bubbles and flowering fruit trees like branches of red and white coral. One looks and one becomes absorbed … Do you know what I mean? I feel, at present, I should like to have a small chalet, high up somewhere, and live there for a round year, luxuriating in solitude and harmony.
—Katherine Mansfield, from a letter dated 9 May 1921, The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfield: Volume Four, 1920-1921
…You need a scratch right there, right there. That’s the spot. Don’t stop. Don’t stop…
…you just need to hug a giant bunny.
And, if you just need to see more…check this out:
I’m slumped on a beach chair.
Earbuds are pumping in music, partially muffling the surf.
My baseball cap is pulled down low.
My Kindle is in my right hand, blocking the sun, and the rest of me.
Unrecognizable. Unapproachable. Body language spewing “Prickly Man. No Talking.”
She ambles within 3 feet.
She inches closer, determined to get my attention.
I peak out from under my hat.
Her iris’ are mandarin oranges circling jet black darkness.
And both eyes are locked on mine.
She stares. And stares. And stares.
I go back to reading.
She inches closer. And begins to preen her tail feathers.
Middle Aged Man has managed to repel all bikini clad women.
And, now he’s getting hit on by a Pigeon. What a Stud! [Read more...]
Too often we start with seeing what is wrong with this world.
We wallow in ‘what’s wrong.’
We need to instead ‘celebrate what’s right with the world.’
And adopt this as our perspective. Our frame of focus.
The lights dimmed after his introductory remarks. Dewitt Jones is one of America’s top freelance photographers. He has worked for the National Geographic magazine for 20 years. He is the author of nine books on nature and leadership. And he’s an inspirational speaker.
Hundreds of us sat, hushed, in the dark, awaiting light to be beamed from three large projection screens. He then flashed up a photograph.
See this untamed field of green, dotted by bright yellow dandelions.
This is the Selkirk Mountains in British Columbia.
I was dialed in. Selkirk Mountains. My mountains. My British Columbia. My Canada. What were the odds that he would have picked this shot and this story? [Read more...]
Dr. Philip Hoare: wsj.com: Swimming with Sperm Whales in the Atlantic Ocean:
“I’d been fascinated—obsessed, really—with whales since I was a boy…It wasn’t till the year 2000 that I came face-to-face with the real animals, on a whale-watching tour off the coast of Cape Cod. Nothing compares with the sight of a 50-foot, 50-ton humpback breaching a dozen yards off your boat, surrounded by a halo of glistening sea spray…
…The water was calm and the animals were socializing at the surface. There was no time to put on my wet suit; I jammed on my fins, pulled on a mask and snorkel and squeaked over the side of boat—and into the profound…Suddenly, there they were, only a bus-length away: more than a dozen leviathans. My vision was wall-to-wall whales. I could feel my heart beating hard against my rib cage. The largest of the animals detached itself from the pod and began to swim directly at me…
…The whale kept on coming. “OK,” I thought. “It’s either going to ram me with that enormous head—or it’s going to open its mouth at the last moment.”
…But just as I was reconciling myself to the inevitable, I felt—I didn’t hear—the whale’s sonar begin to click through my body. Click-click-click. Through my skull, through my sternum, its exquisitely accurate echo location scanning me like an MRI…The whale came within an arm’s reach. I could have touched it, but I knew that wasn’t part of the contract. It turned on its side and looked me right in the eye. It was a look of sentience, and of comprehension…
…Then the whale dove into its domain, from the blue into the black below. I laughed to myself, out of relief or ecstasy. That night, when I closed my eyes, the whale swam into my head. It’s still there now.
Day 3. Contemplating a third consecutive day of running. The body was saying No. The Heart was saying No. The Head was saying take the day off.
No inspiration to run. No inspiration to write. (Yet, you seemingly have an abundance of inspiration to eat. Go figure. You think these things would balance themselves out. Laws of nature and all that. Wasn’t that Darwin?)
Who is she? The photograph up top. No idea. But there she was. Stretching. Graceful. Peaceful. And pointing the way to the front door. (Out Butthead. Out!)
On the continuum of awful to ethereal, the morning is rated as sublime. (I could never figure out how to use “sublime” in a sentence and here it is. Feels awkward, like an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Big word, so much bigger than you. Shameful how you jammed that in there. Has to be some form of writer / hacker malpractice.) [Read more...]
Put a few thousand ants on to a pile of dirt and in a week they will have built a labyrinthine city inside it. If a flood hits the colony they can mesh their own bodies together into a raft the size of a dinner plate and ship themselves to safety. All done without blueprint or leader. How? Not because ants are smart. But because they know to follow simple rules. Three, to be exact. Read more here.
~ Emily Singer, The Remarkable Self Organization of Ants, Quanta Magazine
I have never wanted anything more than the wild creatures have, a broad waft of clean air, a day to lie on the grass at times, with nothing to do but to slip the blades through my fingers, and look as long as I pleased at the whole blue arch, and the screens of green and white between; leave for a month to float and float along the salt crests and among the foam, or roll with my naked skin over a clean long stretch of sunshiny sand; food that I liked, straight from the cool ground, and time to taste its sweetness, and time to rest after tasting; sleep when it came, and stillness, that the sleep might leave me when it would, not sooner … This is what I wanted,—this, and free contact with my fellows … not to love and lie, and be ashamed, but to love and say I love, and be glad of it; to feel the currents of ten thousand years of passion flooding me, body to body, as the wild things meet. I have asked no more.
~ Voltairine De Cleyre (1866-1912)
Here’s my morning meditation. 20,000 to 40,000 big-eye trevally shoal as part of a mating ritual. MUSIC UP.
Do you know what is like to be like an elephant? walk like an elephant? eat like an elephant?
i saw my grandmother hold out
her hand cupping a small offering
of seed to one of the wild sparrows
that frequented the bird bath she
filled with fresh water every day
she stood still
maybe stopped breathing
while the sparrow looked
at her, then the seed
then back as if he was
judging her character
he jumped into her hand
began to eat
a woman holding
a small god
~ Richard Vargas, why i feed the birds
~ Florida Scott-Maxwell, The Measure of My Days
George Ball is the chairman of the Burpee Seed Company and a former president of the American Horticultural Society. Here’s the intro to his article titled: “Spring Is Here. Why Take a Break?”
As Thursday is the first day of spring, it seems timely to ask, why does anyone go on spring vacation? It seems odd to fly to a tropical destination at the very moment that one of the great astonishments of life on Earth is taking place right at home. When friends tell me their spring-vacation plans, they mention the word “escape.” Really? You want to escape from spring? That’s like fleeing paradise. Far better to escape to spring.
You cannot access the season’s magic on your laptop or smartphone; you can’t watch it on TV or catch it on your radio or simply read about it. If you wish to apprehend spring in its ineffable splendor, you have to show up in person, with every one of your senses engaged, and personally participate in this annual miracle.
The media world in which we dwell offers us a shared spectacle of limitless images, constant chatter, endless noise, infinite information and mountains of data—at once a stimulant and a narcotic. What’s lacking in this man-made media galaxy is everything that matters: beauty, love, magic, mystery, grandeur, rapture, the miraculous. Not to forget poetry, delicacy, refinement, purity, splendor, intimacy, innocence, fulfillment, inspiration. And then there’s nuance, drama, poignancy, integrity, harmony.
Where will you find these? On your smartphone? Non. On your tropical vacation? Unlikely. Discover the magnitude, mystery and wonder of life at home, working in your garden, in springtime….
It gets better. Read the rest here: Spring Is Here. Why Take a Break?
Image Source: My Favourite Web Photos
Thank you Carol
“We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe.
Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day – the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening?
It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we’re miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn’t seasoned just the way we like.
When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we’re up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first.
In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.”
~ Mark Nepo