Thursday, June 20, 2013

Neighborhood Watch

When I first moved to this mostly rural neighborhood nearly two years ago I was impressed with the local dogs.  I called them the Neighborhood Watch as I couldn't walk around the block without my presence being noted and barked on every step of the way.  Some of those dogs, in fact most of them, looked like they meant business, too.

As I got to know my neighbors I learned the history of these watchful canines.  It turns out that nearly every dog arrived on their respective properties as a stray, refugee or, in one case, from death row at the local animal shelter. The property owners just accommodated them.  One neighbor told me they put up a boundary fence to stop more strays arriving as they'd reached capacity!

In so many ways, without any fanfare, people of this world are following their hearts to do the right thing and in return these dogs are determined to keep their new families safe.

I'm linking this to Friday My Town Shoot Out!!  This week's topic is 'Through the Fence'.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Balance aka The Yin and the Yang

Three or four times a week I meet with a group of women and we power walk - although sometimes its a  dawdle and chat - over, above and through the exquisite Big Morongo Canyon Preserve near my home.  For about an hour and a half we climb up steep hills, scale rocky ridges, jog down the hills and finish off with a lovely half mile or so of flat through the lush shady canopy finishing back where we started.

We have great camaraderie.  We laugh, we tease, we tell off-colour jokes, we support and encourage each other, and we even have prayer circles occasionally when someone needs an extra boost, and all the while we are getting fitter and stronger.

Occasionally I'm especially lucky:  I get to go home, grab breakfast, then load up my camera and come back to the same park.  This time I am alone and can tune in to the beauty around me and here the whisperings of the trees and flowers.  I can get down on my belly and really visit with the tiny but beautiful little flowers that line the trail.

I am so fortunate to have the balance to the vibrant energy of my hiking girls and the introspective energy of  my camera, myself and nature.

Stream Orchid (Epipactus Gigantea)

Stream Orchid


Yerba Mansa

Yerba Mansa
lichen on quartz rock

Hedgehog Cactus

Today my message from the World, through my lens, to me was all about balance.  The Yin and the Yang.  I also got to appreciate once again just how fortunate I am.

Linking to Nature Notes at Rambling Woods

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Handling the No

I think we've all had times when it seems every door I see cracked open gets firmly closed in my face as I approach it.  Very frustrating.  Some of us hardier souls just seem to thrive on a challenge and are determined to either go around that closed door or crash right on through it, but I find it off putting.

Lately I seem to be coming up against those closed doors too often and am finding it depressing, however yesterday the Universe offered me another way of looking at it.  I was walking in my favorite park appreciating a rare cool overcast day when the sun broke through the cloud and flooded the park with golden light.  I quickly returned to my car for my camera then made myself comfortable at a picnic table to enjoy this spectacular lighting.

My reverie was abruptly interrupted by a Red-tailed Hawk making a dive for a bird in the grass right in front of me!!  I was shocked and thrilled!  The bird made its escape leaving only a few feathers behind and the hawk retreated to a low branch of a nearby tree.  I was able to study this hawk for a minute or two and it clearly wasn't showing frustration or depression at its recent disappointment.  It simply regrouped and carried on with the task at hand - finding dinner for the family.

Here was my message of the day:  don't dwell in the past, all my energy must be directed towards moving forward in a calm and detached manner.   Thank you Hawk, the Messenger.

I'm linking this to Nature Notes and Wild Bird Wednesday.   Please follow the links to more nature activities from around the world.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Clean Slate

"You have to begin to tell the story of your life

 as you now want it to be 

and discontinue the tales of how it been

or how it is now"
                                                                      - Abraham Hicks

Someone posted this quote on Face Book the other day.  Of all the many little quotes that scroll endlessly past each day, this one stood out.  Isn't it funny how you can hear the same message in dozens of different forms but somehow it doesn't 'fizz' until the mind is open to receive it?  At least, this is the way it is with me.

This morning I woke up to an exquisitely beautiful feather down blanket of snow all around.  Even before the sun came up my dog and I were out frolicking like a pair of kids in fairy dust.  I'm sure it's now apparent that I don't get much snow where I live.

With the Abraham Hicks quote still simmering in the back of my mind  I gradually came to the realisation that this snow was a perfect metaphor for a clean slate.  Yesterday is buried and I can begin to tell my story as I now want it to be.  Everyday I have this choice, but so often I get entwined in yesterday's dramas that story of my 'life as I now want it to be' is left to default.  I can clearly see this is not how I want to continue operating my life.

But I have a choice.

Linking to:   Walk and Click Wednesdays.
                     Cool Clicks Thursday

Click for yourself and follow the link on over to see more creative entries.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Being Open to Opportunity Is One Thing

Being ready to act on it is quite another.

That is the message I received today as I strolled through my much loved local park.  As is usual for me I had my camera and my dog, and, as is also usual for me, I get my best insights when I have the camera to my eye.  This park I frequent, Covington Park, is adjoining the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, a world renown birding site, so there's always a great chance rare birds can be seen in this dog friendly park next door.  I was inviting whoever wanted to show up to pose for me as I walked along.  I saw a Red Tail Hawk in the distance, too far away to photograph, but so thrilling to watch as it soared, dived and circled.

My dog and I slowly wended our way back to the parking lot enjoying the shade of the bare cottonwoods when I was urged to glance up.  A beautiful Red Tail Hawk was gliding in to land right above me!  It's glorious red tail was glowing like embers in the setting sun as it braced itself for landing.  I had inadvertently wandered under the very tree in which it was building its nest. By the time I saw the hawk and snapped a couple of pictures it was too close to me for the lens I was using.

Red Tail Hawk bringing in nesting material.

Mmmm...there's one stick poking me in the you-know-what....

There was my message: when I send an invitation to the Universe stay awake for the the answer!
Getting the camera up and getting the picture would help, too.  Of course, it wasn't lost on me that this is a good philosophy for most aspects of my life, too.

I'm linking this to Nature Notes at Michelle's Rambling Woods Blog.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Circle of Life

"Bringing to light what is right in the world" has been my motto for a while now, however, more and more often lately I've been allowing myself to get sucked into the turmoil that is going on in the world around us.  Every day it seems there is more to be concerned about, and it has begun to take a toll on my sense of well being.

I choose not to allow that to continue.

Once again I turned to my camera.  When I am open the Universe really can offer messages of well being through my lens.  If I can pull my focus in to just what is in front of me, which is all anyone can deal with at one time, then I do get to see the beauty and the balance.  Just like the four seasons except on a much larger scale, there is a period of new growth, maturity, gradual decline, then decay.  Some might say our society is in decay, but that isn't necessarily good or bad, it is just balance.  The decay then nourishes the new growth; that is the circle of life.

I choose to look for the signs of spring.

Spring bulbs.  So welcome!

The full flush of summer.  Butterflies and bees on wildflowers.

The glorious saturated colours of the late fall.

A dusting of snow heralds a winter's morning.

I'm  linking this to ABC Wednesday.  Please follow the link to more fun explorations of the letter 'C'.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Magic in the Air

When I was little I believed in magic.  I believed in guardian angels and I believed in miracles, too.  By the time I was 8 or 9 the cynical world I lived in had knocked such enlivening thoughts out of me and for many years my life was quite flat.  Not bad, just mundane and I was always vaguely resentful that magic had been explained away.  It wasn't until I reached my middle years that I began to challenge those cynical voices from my past, and to cautiously entertain the possibility that magic and miracles were still around just waiting for me to believe in them again.

When I have my camera in my hand it seems the whole Universe endeavors to dance in front of my lens, like the fairies of my childhood, reminding me magic is still in the air. Now I find it easy to believe in magic and see evidence of it everywhere. Below are frozen patterns of ice on the windshield of my car. How magical is that?

Frost patterns on my car window
 Linking to Friday My Town Shoot Out  who's theme this week is 'Frozen in Time'.  Hop on over and check out the creative takes on this theme.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Staying Present

In days past I've often been quite reactive.  Not necessarily in hurtful ways, at least not to others, but my tendency when things don't go my way is to get anxious and start projecting where this current irritation will lead.  My projections never lead to a good outcome.  Fortunately I am not a worrier by nature and I usually put a stop to this negative projecting fairly quickly before any harm is done.

I was driving down my little country road the other day, running barely on time for an appointment when my wheel began knocking ominously.  I got out and walked around the car and couldn't find a problem.   Perhaps it was because the world didn't end on 12-21-12, or maybe it was simply because the stresses of the Christmas and New Year were over, I was able to stay calm, hoping for the best.  It was when I was at the gas station filling up that I noticed one tire was indeed three quarters flat.  Once again I put my flappable self on the back burner and dealt only with the facts presented:  i) the tire wasn't completely flat and therefore could be driven (carefully!) a short distance, ii) there is a tire shop within 50yards of the gas station.  So far so good.

My next moment to get myself in a flap immediately presented itself - the tire was punctured through the sidewall and not repairable.  I needed a new tire!  The tire was only a few months old and I wasn't in the mood to buy yet another tire!  Breathe...  I took a moment to regroup then asked the mechanic to put on my spare.  I loaded up the ruined tire, took it to the shop where I purchased it, where I was informed they have a road hazard warranty and my tire would be replaced with new one for the price of another road hazard warranty - $16 only!!

Here I will make a shameless plug for America's Tire.  You guys rock.

At the end of the day I realized that even in the middle of the storm you never know just when, against all odds, a ray of sun is going to break through.  For me it isn't easy to always be positive but neutral works very well, too, I just need to stay in the moment and keep my eyes open.

Add caption
I'm linking this to at the challenge this week is one tree and this just seems to fit.  Click on the link to see more interpretations of one tree.