I wasn’t the only one enjoying the fall colors! This is bear #10 for the season. As always, shot with a telephoto from the safety of the vehicle then cropped. This guy was stuffing himself with snowberries and though he was well aware of our presence, he seemed satisfied that we meant him no harm. I feel privileged every time I get to see one of these in the wild.
I’m not a big fan of Hallmark holidays. Some are easier to ignore than others, but not this one. This one is a blatant reminder of what I no longer have, and I know I’m not alone with these feelings.
That’s the thing about life—you aren’t guaranteed more of anything. Not time, not love, not even relationships. One day you can wake up and words left unsaid, or spoken in anger, are what remain. Echoing through an eternity of what might have been. My father’s been gone for decades now but I know that he knew how much he was loved. I’m happy I told him that. And I was never more sure of his love than in those times when I wasn’t the best daughter.
Father’s Day is joyful for some and painful for others. I think about the men in my life and am so proud of them. Amongst them are great fathers, new fathers, sons taking care of fathers. Some have lost fathers, some have lost children, some have lost dogs—you know I can’t forget the dog dads!
It takes a special person to be a father and maturity on the part of the child to understand the complexity of the relationship.
My father painted landscapes and the ones that I own are amongst my most prized possessions. And every time the shutter clicks on a landscape like the one above, I think of him.
I’m glad I didn’t only celebrate my dad on the third Sunday in June. I may not have known it in the moment but he gave my life a richness that I’m forever grateful for.
Relationships can be as transient as alpenglow in the mountains—treasure the good ones. If there isn’t balance in the relationship, if it’s predicated on you doing all the work, consider walking away. Life’s too short, spend it with the people you love. The ones whose love you never question.
Today marks World Environment Day and I can’t agree more with this year’s slogan Only One Earth.
This past year I studied and photographed milkweed through each season, then planted some in my garden—for when monarchs are caterpillars, it’s their main food source. And like bees, monarchs are important pollinators.
My garden is filled with bee and butterfly-friendly plants as well as assorted shallow water sources for the honeybees to rehydrate from and gather water to haul back to the hive.
This year we participated in No Mow May. We let the dandelions run amok and didn’t cut the lawn until June—dandelions provide critical early season nutrients for the pollinators.
We play chess at a tiny table in the center of the garden surrounded by a variety of bees and butterflies, hard at work.
There is only one earth and I’ll continue to capture it frame by frame until it’s gone.
In our travels yesterday we passed a man toting a camera and lens longer in length than my arm. When my husband asked me if I’d like a lens of that size I could truthfully answer no.
While I do love macro photography and images that could be described as intimate landscapes—tiny sections of a larger scene—I’m more passionate about the story. I’m just as excited about seeing signs that an animal has passed as I am seeing the animal itself.
The light covering of snow softened the harsh landscape winter left behind and as we got out of my Jeep, the rattling bugle-like call of a Sandhill Crane echoed through the mountains.
A hike towards the marshland uncovered fox tracks, wolf tracks, and winged impressions left behind by perhaps a large hawk. Striding along the snowy landscape was the source of those melodic calls.
Nature is all around us. It lives in transient moments not always captured by a camera.
But on this morning I’m glad it was.
I’m one week into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and, so far, am on track to hit the required 50,000 word count by November 3oth.
With that in mind, I chose an image today that didn’t need a lot of words. Thursday brought an incredible display of Aurora Borealis—amazing colors so intense that they were visible to the naked eye. I was so grateful that we were able to catch it in such a gorgeous setting.
These are the moments! Take time to get outside and look up.
Monday will mark a day of Thanksgiving in Canada. It’s been on my mind this week as I contemplate what it means to me, and the word that keeps coming to mind is home.
This word symbolizes different things to different people. For some it’s geographical, sometimes an object itself. For others it’s fluid and changes through the years. For a handful of people it will forever bring to mind one specific place.
The last idea makes the least sense to me—the house does not make a home—if it did, I would never have had the courage to move on. And we all have to move on, whether we want to or not. Life throws curveballs.
For me, what makes a home is that feeling of comfort I get when I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than right there, surrounded by people that love me unconditionally. And their presence need not always be physical. I’m blessed to have family and friends scattered near and far and every time I speak to one of those people I collectively call family, I feel grateful.
This Thanksgiving comes with some loss but I’m going to reframe it not as a loss, but as an opening for something new. I’ll be spending the day with my husband, and an extended family that I’ve grown even closer to. An unexpected gift, and one that I’ll treasure.
For those celebrating Thanksgiving, I wish you a happy one spent in the company of friends and family. And for those that aren’t, have an extra special day filled with whatever brings you joy.
The image above is of a beaver lodge, photographed during the golden hour of the morning, in a place that oddly enough feels a lot like home.
We’re living in uncomfortable times. For many of us, social circles have shrunk and our outings, should we take one, take place in anonymity or the virtual world. Masked, and muffled by being masked, there are no chance engagements with strangers. The news doesn’t stop, though. Life does go on, and each painful, horrendous event that’s disclosed becomes a magnet to hoards begging to be seen as part of that inner circle—leeching off the pain of victims, revictimizing those directly affected. In a world inundated by social media and choking with videos screaming look at me, look at me I want to be the bear.
I publish more photographs than I used to on my own social media pages because I’m aware that people haven’t been traveling and it’s a way of connecting and passing along to others the beauty of our natural world. I’m especially proud of the ones that are shared by my favorite science-based sites like EarthSky, Les Cowley’s AtOptics, and The Cloud Appreciation Society. Collectively, those sites have inspired and educated me—where were these people when I was young and wondering what to do with myself?! Fortunately it’s never too late to learn and I’m grateful to the scientists, physicists, and field experts who share their knowledge with me.
The morning light is golden and burnishes the leaves of the undergrowth—a stark contrast against the skeletal trees, reminders of a past fire. The sounds and the sights of the mountains and forests sustain me. They calm and enchant me while reminding me that change still exists.
In the image above, a bear sits high up on the mountainside, oblivious to the cars driving below. At peace with the moment he’s in. Is it an amazing photo? No, it was taken at the outer reaches of my telephoto lens, but it made me stop and think look at him, look at him!
Live your truth, reconcile your path, and if you can…be the bear.
without acknowledging my father’s birthday. When I came across this pastoral landscape accented by light falling on a distant mountain, it struck me that it was the kind of scenery he would have loved to have painted. I can almost see him slathering color upon the mountains with his palette knife and scratching detail into the hay bales in the foreground with a stiff, tapered brush.
My father’s been gone for almost twenty years but the memories linger. He wasn’t the perfect father but I always knew that he loved me and he knew that I loved him. I’d give almost anything to share with him what my life’s like now.
Love is imperfect, but that’s as it should be. It lives in darkness and light—touching some for a day and others for a lifetime—a gift, not a right. If you love someone, tell them today, in case tomorrow never comes.
Happy birthday, Dad!
The beauty of light as it interacts with a creek. The rays refract and converge through the water’s surface—their flickering forms created by an almost infinite combination of depth, wind, solar angle, and surface.
It’s (almost always) about the water.
(a series on human nature)
If you hadn’t been standing so close
I might have spotted the knife before it
Slid underneath the skin
Covering my heart.