Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Listening to the Heart Beat of the Earth

This morning was purely magical.  One of these warm, quiet mornings that soothed my soul. 

The peace and tranquility took a while to seep in, though, and, ironically, it was the rapid tap-tap-tapping of a visiting Woodpecker that finally did it.  I quietly put down my gardening tools, found a sun-drenched Palo Verde tree to lean against and listened to what some Native American tribes believe is the Heartbeat of the Earth, Woodpecker's rhythmic tapping.

I listened to the stillness.

I listened with more than my ears and eyes this time. I felt the slight breeze of warm air on my skin, smelled the scent of early lemon blossoms, heard the other sounds of activity going on around me which I'd been oblivious to: the calling of Quail, the big black Raven chortling up in the palm tree and the whisper of his wings as he flew over me, the little Lizard scrambling up on a rock to catch some late season sun, the two Hummingbirds quarreling over dining rights to a nearby bush, one of the Dogs lapping some water from the pool.  Only the World knows what other activities were going on that I didn't have the sensitivity to notice. 

They are always there for me to tune into, these messages from nature. The World seems to be reminding me  that its dialogue is coming to me through all the senses.  Even now as I finish writing this a little Hawk is crying out from the top of a tall palm.  All the other birds are quiet now, it is Hawk's turn.  The beat goes on.

To the victor, the spoils.

Temporarily sated from the endless chore of feeding herself.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gratitude and Platitudes

A joyful in-the-moment kinda guy.

Thanksgiving 2010 is one I'll be remembering for a while.

I learned that my being in gratitude can simply be another politically correct platitude.  Something I can parrot with the best of them.  The World had a message about gratitude for me these past few days, and quite a hard-hitting message it was.

My much loved dog came down with an intestinal disorder about a week before Thanksgiving and after the second trip to the vet I realized this wasn't necessarily going to be an easy fix.  There also loomed the possibility that there wouldn't be any fix at all.  I quickly came to the understanding of just how difficult it can be to stay out of fear and be in gratitude, the very thing we seemed to be asked to do a lot in these trying times.

Finally, as of last night, Fuzzy got his spark back and this morning he is close to normal again.

A special thanks to a vet who cared so much about Fuzzy as to call me for a progress report on Thanksgiving morning.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Following the Dream

Lately I've been noticing a lot of moving and restructuring in the lives of several of my friends and also in the lives of a lot of acquaintances.  I've been feeling a few rumblings in my life, too.  It seems that heavens and the Earth are demanding something from us.  I feel I, for one, am being asked to grow.  Become more of who I can be.  I have observed that those who are throwing caution to the winds and are embracing this urge for change are finding themselves in much better situations than the one they just left - albeit with their heads still spinning.  Following the dream has paid big dividends for at least one good friend. 

Some of those around me are resisting the urge to grow, me included in some ways, and they are struggling somewhat.  I've observed fortune is favouring the bold, so, to quote one of my bold friends, it's time to hang on to my tail cos I'm going for a ride!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Cleansing Storms

The dark ominous shadows of clouds over Deep Canyon.

Over the past few days my part of the world has been deluged with unexpectedly heavy rains along with crackling lightning and deep growling thunder.  The sun and the clouds have been in vigorous competition to control the skies, one minute dark and brooding, next golden light flooding down.  I've found it exhilarating!  In the calmer moments between the downpours I wander outside and enjoy the cool moist desert with it's most unique and unforgettable odour.

The vegetation, so used to surviving in the harshest of conditions, is absorbing this life giving elixir from the heavens as fast as those cells can handle it, for who knows when the next rain will come?  Within a couple of days new growth will be evident everywhere I look.  That is the nature of the desert.

The rich saturated colours of the rain soaked landscape.
I can't help but make the connection between this desert storm and storms I've had in my life.  Whenever I've been coming down with some sort of sickness I've felt heavy and sluggish with trouble concentrating on anything.  As the condition moves through me I get to feeling worse until healing begins again.  It is the same when I'm struggling with an emotional issue.  Nothing is clear and I have no energy.  I'm stagnant. But then I come out the other side and I'm brimming with health and vitality again   My thoughts are clear, my heart is optimistic again and I have my mojo back. Stagnation gives way to new growth again.

In my world I've found every cloud does seem to have a silver lining.

A late rose blooming after the rains.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cloudy Vision

It was late afternoon recently and I was inside finishing off few last minute chores before walking the dogs.  It got quite dark quite quickly and I, thinking it was later than it was, scrambled to get done and get out before night really set in.

On stepping outside with chaotic dogs ensnaring my legs I looked up to see it really wasn't that late at all.  The sun was being shut out by a very thick cloud almost directly above me.  What would have stopped me in my tracks, if the dogs hadn't already managed that, was these uncanny rays of light bouncing back up into the sky.  I was awestruck at the time and still am now when I see this picture I snapped with a simple little point and shoot camera.  I have not manipulated this image at all, this is as I saw it.

I got to thinking about the metaphor the World was presenting to me here through that simple little Lens.  I've often heard the saying of someone being 'under a cloud' and this is literally what I saw.  That life giving powerful sun was being deflected by one little cloud.  Light was all around, but not under, the cloud. 

I wonder how many times in my life I've been under a cloud and not realised I only had to take a few steps sideways to get back to the light?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stalking Cacti

I've been closely watching a cactus in my neighbourhood these past few days.  Every year almost without warning it throws out a beautiful big fragrant white flower, then just as quickly it's gone again.  That seems to be the cacti way.  I've never managed to get a picture of it though I surely have tried.  This year was to be the exception.  I've been stalking that plant with my camera!

Well, the World had a message for me through the Lens as it usually seems to, but this one wasn't what I expected at all.  That potentially magnificent cactus bud simply did not open!  It went from a fat juicy bud almost bursting at the seams to a withered up dead appendage, in just two days.   I had even visited it after dark in case it was one of the night blooming Cereus, but no, not even at night was it about to open.  I was/am so disappointed.

I got to thinking what could the message be here for me.  What  point of view, or what metaphor, was the World offering me?  Then it hit me:  what if I died, bursting with unrealized potential?  It probably wouldn't concern me at the time, I'd be dead, right?  But what about the World around me?  We all came into this World with  unique gifts and talents which, if we don't discover and use them, could the Universe/God, family, friends, or even our community,  be just as disappointed as I was when the bud withheld it's gift from me?

Popular author and public speaker, Wayne Dyer, often reminds us 'not to die with our music still in us' and now, more than ever I can see his point.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Remembering the Good Ole Days

Jasmine from Nature's Whispers Blog has encouraged her followers to explorer the history at our doorsteps and share it with each other.  Leading by example Jasmine has blogged about some very interesting historical sights near her home in Wales in her "Sharing Treasure" segment which I invite you to check it out.

I got to thinking about where I live and the stories this place could tell!  My home is in the Palm Springs, California area which was the playground for the rich and famous Hollywood set from the late '20's through to the latter part of the century.  Back in the day most of the stars contracts only allowed them to travel 100 miles maximum from the studios on their days off when they were under contract.  Palm Springs is exactly 100 miles from Hollywood.  And so the heydays began...

Set into the landscaping of a private home near me I had noticed these plaques and thought this would be the perfect time to turn my Lens to the past and see what message the World has for me.

Bill Morrow:  Well respected screen writer and producer in the early to mid century. He worked with Bing Crosby and shared the screen writing for the Frank Sinatra Show which ran from 1957-8.
Pete Petitto: A good friend to Bing Crosby and his family.  Pete was Crosby's road manager and also managed the Crosby boys, Bing's sons on their singing road trips.
Trav Rogers: He first arrived in Palm Springs in 1929 leading a string of 15 horses.  Quite the entrepreneur, Trav was a man of vision.  His first move was to set up riding stables and bar simply called The Stables.  It quickly became popular with the monied set and upgraded it's name to Rogers Ranch Club.  The downstairs bar was remembered by many, if only because of it's name - the Mink and Manure Club!  Apparently the bar floor had horse stalls either side and a long table for the ladies to place their mink coats in preparation for partying down. 30 years later Trav was still an active developer.  He and another created a yacht club in the north shore of the Salton Sea, a few miles to the east of Palm Springs.  It was the largest on the west coast at the time.  Not bad considering the Salton Sea is landlocked.
Edie Fischer I was unable to find any information on but I will keep digging.

I have always been fascinated with history.  I wonder at the challenges people faced and how they overcame them.  I wonder at the stories they used to tell before tvs dominated the evenings.  I wonder what they would like to say to me, here in 2010, if I had the ears to listen?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall's Bounty

Autumn has arrived this year with more than a little fan-fare.  For the first time in 20 years the fall (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere) equinox and the full moon arrived on the same day.  Somehow those coinciding events made the arrival of the fall more meaningful to me this year. 

I was driving through apple country looking at those beautiful ruby globes ripening on the trees.  The trees were looking a little tired and their foliage was somewhat dried up but the apples were rosy, crisp and bursting with sweetness.  The parent tree had given it's all to it's off-spring and was now ready to cut the fruit loose. Those plump apples with their seeds inside could continue to take their genetic message out in to the world.

I got the feeling that that is where our beautiful Mother Earth is at with us.  She has given us her all and is tired, polluted and dried up.  Some even believe the Earth is going through menopause now.  She's done mothering us, it's time for us to stop sucking the Mother dry and start creating our own lives.  It's an interesting philosophy and whether is stands up to closer scrutiny or not, it carries a sensible message which few could deny.

I am grateful for the bounty and beauty of this Earth.  Using my camera I give back to the Mother in the best way I know how, by encouraging others to use their gifts.  We all have them, you know.  And we can thank God, Goddess, Mother Earth for those, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The World had an interesting message for me this week, although I have a strong suspicion that he/she God has been hammering away at me for a very long time in attempt to get me receptive enough to hear it!

It was one of allowing.  As in letting go of trying to control situations that are not mine to control.  I have had too many responsibilities accumulating, and in my efforts to do everything well quite a few things began to slip through the cracks.  As a result I've had my load lightened i.e I've had to allow someone else take over what I was never well suited for anyway.

It has been quite challenging to watch someone else do what I have been doing in a completely different, and dare I say, 'wrong', way and allow them to do it without my interfering.  The ego has taken quite a battering, and yet when I can just allow the situation to be, (I can't change it anyway!), and let go of the outcome it's amazing how much time and energy I have to do what I do best.  I can give myself my undivided attention and stuff gets done.  What's more, I'm having fun doing it.

One of the tasks left on my to-do list is photographing all the plants on the property and cataloging them in file.  I am having so much fun with this.  I can turn my Lens on the plants and let the magic happen.
My work has become my play time.  In fact, I can even imagine I can see fairies dancing in the creosote flowers below.

It became apparent to me for perhaps the first time in my life that there are no fairy badges of honour presented to those who stubbornly persevere with joyless labour, and yet if I allow myself to yield to the nudging of the the Universe my life is so much easier, more fun and definitely more productive.

And maybe the fairies do dance, too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Today in the garden several snake skins were revealed as the bushes' wild summer growth was trimmed back.   Those skins were so surreal.  There were four of them, ghostly white and when the sun hit them they glowed in quite an eerie way.

The snakes had outgrown their skins and, without much fuss or anxiety that I'm aware of, had simply discarded them and moved on with their lives.  I'm sure it must have itched a little as it came off and possibly even left the snake with a few tender spots for a day or two, but I didn't see any dead snakes entrapped in their shedding skins so all must be well in their world.

Isn't that the way it should be with us as well?   Snakes are said to transmute their forms which isn't quite the same as transform.  To transmute means to switch it up, so to speak.  To evolve in some way. I wonder just how many times have I stayed where I am, resisting the urge to evolve. Keeping myself small because I'm afraid of a little discomfort if I step forward into a more powerful version of myself.

I looked at my plants transformed from an enthusiastic tangle of branches to a tightly shaped bush ready to grow again, then looked at the snake skins.  The snakes were done with their old forms, they had transmuted into new forms.  There was no going back for them.  They were totally committed to their new lives.

I realize that is what I'm being asked to do.  This world is ready and patiently waiting for me to step into my power and live to my potential.  Living small is not helping anyone, least of all myself.  I will move forward, that's a given as nature has control, but will it be a bold and joyful transmutation or digging my heels in, kicking  and screaming.  The choice is mine.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Being Neighborly"

My next door neighbor is a very feisty, out spoken 85 year old lady.  She lives on a big property with only her memories for company.  Originally from a big family where all the siblings were as outspoken as she, this diminutive, in size if not in spirit, old lady is now alone.  She never married and her closest family are on the east coast, as far from her Californian home as it's possible to get without crossing the ocean.

I have become terribly important to her as she desperately tries to maintain her independence fearful of being a burden on anyone.  What a dilemma!  I want to always be available to help her out when needed and yet losing myself to her every whim really isn't healthy for me, which ultimately won't be the best for her either.  I get stressed beyond measure as I shirk my 'real job' to help out a neighbor.  She, in turn, has to put up with my attitude silently because her usual means of defense is a very aggressive tongue which she can't use as she  can't afford to alienate me. How mean spirited of me and how humiliating to her.  I guess this is exactly what is meant by the expression 'as cold a charity'.

I was pondering this situation today as I walked her property checking for areas the need attention.  I couldn't help but think in a heart centered world all of this old lady's neighbors would be looking in on her and valuing her for her wisdom, her stories, her contributions to the world and she would feel valued and wouldn't laser people with her tongue - er, well, perhaps not as often!  So, that has to start with me.  How can I help her live her life with dignity?  It's very easy for me to say that she isn't my problem and no-one could blame me for staying on my side of the fence, but that isn't an option for me.  We are all brothers and sisters.  If one of us is cut we all bleed. As I prayed for coping skills and boundary reinforcements I noticed these ceramic doves my neighbor has attached to her palm trees.  Universal symbols of peace?  Perhaps my prayers were heard after all?  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Present for Thunderheads

Did you know that the World, Universe, he/she God, call it what you will, loves us so much it is always offering us presents? One of a kind unique gifts that all too often we never even notice?

I live in the desert. Seeing any cloud is a rare and treasured occasion for me. So imagine my delight when those pure white puff balls lounged on the mountains tops above me for several days. This time I was present for my presents and it is with joy I'd like to share the World's gift to me through my lens.....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Battered Butterfly

I always find time to wander around in my garden at some point during the day. Usually the World has something to share with me .... well, always, but sometimes I'm too into 'doing' to notice. I've been trying to get a nice picture of a swallowtail butterfly all summer and the other day one was flitting around the lantana inviting my attention. I took a couple of nice images and it wasn't until I downloaded them that I noticed this lovely butterfly has had a few trials of it's own. Both wings were shredded.

How perfect! A perfect imperfection! If I care to look at anything deeply enough I'm sure I can find an 'imperfection' but isn't that what makes us special? Life experience can leave it's scars, but the healing, growing beyond and the wisdom learned that gives us our unique character.

Enjoy your life, little butterfly. You've earned it.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Getting Back to Me

It's been one of those weeks that where the challenges have bombarded me from all sides. By the end of the week self doubt was setting in heavily - I could have coped with these better....why on earth did I allow them to get away with that?...how could I have forgotten that? - and so on. Finally, yesterday afternoon, late as the sun was going down, I 'remembered' that I've always found solace outside in nature. In this case nature was my back yard, heaven on earth to me. Soon I received the inner promptings to go a get my camera. The World had something to say to me through the lens.

I was reluctant as I could see there was only a few minutes of decent light left but when I have a camera in my hand my thinking really does shift. With that in mind I dug it out from where it had been buried all week and these are the messages that came to me from the World thru my lens.

Catching the last of the sun's rays this black bee was high up in the flowers selecting nectar for it's hive. No self doubt there.

On the edge of the lawn commanding attention is the grand old prickly pear cactus. This year it is laden with fruit and I was reminded that nature's bounty is everywhere.

Further along with my wanderings this scruffy little bird invited my attention. I was reminded that it didn't matter how I look as God created us and values us all equally. We are not ranked according to our 'plumage'.

By now it was bordering on too dark to take a compelling picture but the World wasn't finished with me. I spotted a dove settling in for the evening on a branch safely out of reach of opportunist predators. As I gave it my attention I noticed it's mate was on a branch beside it. Doves are beautiful peaceful creatures and when I saw the two of them on different branches it occurred to me I needed to bring some balance into my thinking to create space for that peace and tranquility I'd been lacking over the week.

Feeling calmed and comforted I put those crazy thoughts to rest for the evening. This morning as I was revisiting my pictures with the thought I could use a few of them in this commentary the World sent me one last message.....

"See? There really is nothing to be concerned about! I will even scratch my chops right in front of you because there is nothing to be afraid of."

This little guy was literally right outside my office window and I was able to pluck my memory card out of the computer, throw it in the camera and take this without leaving my seat. How's that for a metaphor?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gandhi would be Encouraged

Mahatma Gandhi is remembered and often quoted for saying "the greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can by judged by the way it's animals are treated".

This beautiful mare is enjoying a loving caress knowing she is safe and her future is secure now. With decades of carefully manipulated breeding behind her she was expected to run like the wildfires glinting in her fiery coat - and make a lot of money for someone. Instead she found her way to a feedlot, just another unwanted and frightened soul with a fast approaching expiry date.

Gandhi would be encouraged to know that this nation is morally progressing. Gigondas, and several of her companions are now living in stress free luxury. They were rescued by folk who care about the way this country's animals are treated.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Bee Tree

The graceful remains of what was once a beautiful strong oak tree commands it's own space in the lush vegetation around it. Many may wonder what use is it now? Surely it's dangerous and could fall at a moments notice so why doesn't someone just cut it down?

Ah, but Mother Nature doesn't mind that it is old and bare. While that oak tree may not produce acorns any more it is still a valuable member of the forest as it provides a safe and spacious home for a large colony of bees.

Isn't it interesting that in nature forms change constantly but nothing is ever discarded as useless. I think, too often, we forget we are also part of nature and that the same rules apply to us. We value youth, health and vitality in this society, but some of us forget there has to be balance. For all this doing, there must be 'beeing'. Nature doesn't value one as being more important than the other.

The old declining oak tree hosting vigorous and industrious bees, perfect harmony.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ducks in a Row?

The expression 'having to get my ducks in a row' means attempting to get control of various circumstances and situations in order for a planned action to be successful. Never an easy thing to do.

I have found when I try to control a situation too rigidly, I'm cutting myself off from the creative flow and can be setting myself up for failure. At the very least an action is postponed. I am learning that if I can get most of the ingredients in position then forge ahead allowing myself to be in the moment, then very often those last couple of ducks will find their place. Usually it's not where I was trying to force them to fit, either, but where they are most beneficial to a successful outcome. Or not. It is then that I find I really didn't need them anyway.

Life has a miraculous way of sorting itself out if we just allow it to.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Keeping in Touch

Our lives are becoming more hectic and although there is a huge push afoot to simplify, it is easier said than done. The internet is a powerful tool for sending a message to one person, or to the masses, instantaneously. Sending texts or emails to the latest personal communication gadget has become the accepted way to dialogue with one another. Just as fast as the message is sent, it is usually deleted. It disappears back into the ether without further thought.

Every once in a while I like to sit down with a cup of coffee and take the time write a long, thoughtful letter to a friend, or perhaps a relative. I smile when I imagine them dragging that endless pile of fliers and bills out of their mailbox and finding my letter buried amongst them. An invitation to find a moment to relax and maybe even think about others who would appreciate being remembered the old fashioned way. And do you know what? That letter is probably going to be around and revisited for quite a while.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Lonesome Gods

The Lonesome Gods is the title of one of the prolific western writer, Louis L'Amour's last books. In it L'Amour comments that in days gone by the Ancient Ones who walked this land before us, worshiped their Gods, the land and nature. They created what we know as petroglyphs. We no longer fully understand the symbolism of each of these mysterious drawings. Many of us have moved far from being in touch with our sacred earth. The Gods are awaiting our return. We need not be lonesome anymore.
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Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembering Our Heroes

On Memorial Day the thoughtful among us honor those American soldiers who have lost their lives in service. Young men and women who believed in their cause strongly enough to die for it.

There have been other heroes in our lives who may not have died on the battlefield but deserved to be remembered more the once a year none the less. Not necessarily to mourn their dying but to remember their living! People of courage and character who by their examples have offered us ways of living lives that are honorable and uplifting.

Perhaps we could even learn from them and honor them while they are still alive?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Tribute and a Dedication

Occasionally, or perhaps often, we cross paths with someone who inspires and encourages us. One who sees in us what we can't see for ourselves.

I dedicate this blog to my special friend who died a year ago today. A generous and patient teacher, a beautiful spirit and with a talent so rare and pure the Universe could only share you with us for a little while. You are my inspiration. You gave me my wings but couldn't be around to see me fly.

I miss you, Ramon, and I salute you with every click of my shutter.
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010


"Life is magnificent.....It is truth dreaming of love. Our lives, this world, is our canvas with which to paint upon with such glories that the Universe has never before witnessed."

These are lines from a play I attended this weekend. "Daughter", by renown writer Bradley Rand Smith, is a look at the possibility the Yeshua ben Joseph (Jesus) has returned as promised, but in the form of a woman.

Exquisitely acted by 3 women, this play didn't embrace any one religious or spiritual viewpoint. It seemed to pull from various beliefs and offered a very thought provoking and uplifting way of celebrating our lives and our differences - our canvases - with tolerance and compassion.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Our Potential thru the World's Lens

From a human perception this is a simple little variegated agave and yet, thru the World's lens it is tall and stately, reaching up to the heavens. This strong little plant has no human doubts to hinder it. It will simply allow the forces of nature to assist it in reaching it's full potential. The ancient texts all say humans have this very same potential. Let's allow some allowing for ourselves.
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Looking for the Light

Have you ever noticed that even the most ordinary things become extraordinary when the light catches them at a certain angle? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could always remember to look for that light. It's there somewhere.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rosemary for Remembrance

There was a simpler time when flowers were more than just a lovely eye-catching splash of color in the bouquet or garden.

Their beauty could uplift spirits, their scent could invoke nostalgic memories, their fragility remind one of innocence.

Those flowers are still there, their eternally optimistic faces shining up at us. Remember...?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The animals always know

In this fast, and often confusing world, animals still have unerring instincts.