The amazing power…

of fossils.

A fossil is so powerful. It’s moving. This is my ancestor. The naturalist is moved by the fossil… not the cross.

Greg Graffin

It’s one thing to imagine life that inhabited the earth before our time and quite another to be surrounded by evidence of its existence.

A humbling and moving experience is how I would describe it. I can’t imagine the thrill of actually taking part in discovering evidence of lifeforms that existed 65-230 million years ago.

There’s a fragility about it all.

Kind of puts man in perspective: we truly are but a speck.

Kind of makes me revere nature all the more.

Nephology…

the study or contemplation of clouds.

mammatus clouds

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.

John Muir

I love a good storm. There’s something about it that makes you feel alive. It engages all of your senses in a way that never happens on a sunny, clear day.

Clouds scud across the sky and if you’re lucky some of the more unusual cloud formations appear. These mammatus clouds appeared ever so briefly, perhaps 4 minutes, but it was amazing to watch them develop and slip away into a swirl of gray.

So excited to add them to my ever growing collection of clouds.

A moment…

to remember.


If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.

Eleonora Duse

This week one of my blog followers lost a man very dear to her heart. As is often the case when I sat down this morning to write, one image seemed to fit. I know that she appreciated every day that she had and that is the message that keeps repeating itself. Louder each time so as not to be overlooked.

Live in the moment. Appreciate what you have right now. Don’t leave words unspoken and never wait for a better time to be happy.

Dwelling in…

conflict.

A used tire, coated in ice, litters the surface of Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho while others lurk below the surface.
What Lies Beneath © Sheryl R Garrison

Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.

Louis Aragon

Looking at this image makes me think that there really isn’t much hope for humanity. The simplest concept that the earth could go on without us but that we can’t survive without its natural resources seems to elude a large percentage of the population.

Perhaps those are the same ones that love to dwell in conflict. Where everything is never enough and the concept of accountability is just a word that’s too long to pronounce. The conflict becomes too intoxicating to put down and common sense falls by the wayside.

But I digress…

I”ll likely not be around in 50 years but those tires sure will be.

It’s (almost always) about the water.

Top of…

the food chain.

BT 4-EditIn every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir

Some people can go all of their lives and never see a glimpse of these top of the apex predators.

This year I’ve been on a roll, catching my first glimpse from 20 feet away. A chance encounter on foot that fortunately ended well, no cubs to protect or kill to guard. Considering that they’ve been clocked at 30 mph it makes 20 feet feel like a hop, skip, and a jump away.

When we first saw this most perfect of natural track traps laden with grizzly prints set by a layer of frost covering the wet mud, I almost had to remind myself to breathe.

Tracks are rapidly becoming something that I find great joy in photographing. I think in part it’s the transient nature and the luck involved with encountering them at just the right moment. Capturing them, these intimate landscapes, provides a permanent record that places like this still exist.

They tell a story as you follow them ever mindful that the beast that created them has been there and still might be. Interspersed amidst the grizzly tracks were tracks from  black bear, mountain lion, elk, and later on, those of my Staffords.

But soon the wind will blow and the snow will fall, erasing the signs that in the wilderness the wild is never far away.

Stay vigilant and always check your surroundings…

The apex…

of scenting ability.

DSC_0770-3Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Years ago while involved in Search and Rescue I was introduced to tracking by a man named Jim Marshall. He cultivated in me an appreciation for awareness and personal space and the second nature to be always looking for indicators.

Today, one of my greatest joys is to find signs of animals passing through the wilderness and letting my imagination run wild with the back stories.

The discovery pictured above, along with a huge pile of hair laden scat, was heart rate elevating!

I searched for the perfect track to photograph and my mind raced with thoughts.

As a former bloodhound handler and instructor of scent theory, I’m well versed in the abilities of certain animals because of physiological makeup to be scenting machines.

Here I was in close proximity to one of the animals at the apex of this description…the grizzly bear. An animal purported to be able to scent 300 times more than a bloodhound.

This is the beauty of photography. Each time I look at this photograph I will remember the cold, the heightened awareness, the silence, and the joy that we felt when we saw it.

I had hoped to see elusive bear number TEN  of the year but I’m okay with it not being this particular bear.

Was he watching? Very likely.

Was I? Always.

Nature’s magnificence…

and coming back.

DSC_0446-Edit-2-Edit-3I wish that all of nature’s magnificence, the emotion of the land, the living energy of the place could be photographed.

Annie Leibovitz

This week has been a reminder of and an eye-opener to the scars that we bear.

This stand of trees still soars majestically skyward but bore not the brightly colored leaves of autumn, only blackened trunks and open wounds from the Kenow fire that swept through last year.

I find myself listening more and looking beyond the outer shells.

I find myself more willing to speak openly and wonder if that energy is being felt.

I find myself coming back.