Dialogue with the Body

dedicated to cleanliness

I watched two swans go through their lengthy preening process, cleaning and smoothing their feathers with the help of their beak.

How did they know which feathers needed tidying up and re-arranging? Could they feel somehow the slightest tension of feathers out of place? The way we would feel hair matting down or the slightest weight of something foreign on our skin?

Did they know how to clean themselves by learning from their parents, through pure instinct or a combination of both?

How do we know how to clean ourselves? First our mother washes us and then we begin to use soap and shampoo and lotions on our own as we get older. Some people do a pretty good job at it while others don’t seem to be so aware of greasy hair, dirt under the fingernails, stains on their clothing, or simply don’t care.

And beyond cleanliness, what else do we need to know from our body to keep ourselves in good health, agile, and capable of all the functional movements necessary for daily activities?

Mirror, mirror on the wall

The swan was able to reach remote areas of the body with its long, strong neck that moved like a snake, from one side to the other side, and all the way to the tail feathers.

It used its neck to smooth down the feathers, in a sensual, delicious, massage-like motion. It reminded me of graceful yoga exercises that extend the spine and keep the body flexible.

textured side feathers

A final spreading of the wings to ensure everything was in its proper place:

wing spread

And off they went into the pond playground

two swans heading into the water

I left a satisfied voyeur and with a sense of wonder about the dialogue we have with our own bodies. The body tells us when it is uncomfortable, in pain, or in need of movement. The appearance of skin, hair, and fingernails…. the light in our eyes… our posture and gait… an inner sense of something being aligned or something else being out of balance…. a rumbling in the stomach or quickly dropping energy to indicate that we need to eat… an inner longing for touch and affection… a strong sense of arousal when we feel in danger….

Our body is constantly talking. Do you listen?

More posts on “Dialogue” at the Weekly Photo Challenge.

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Sunday Stills: A Picture as a Song

Ed of Sunday Stills put out this photo challenge:

“…find pics that represent musical groups or songs as pics and when you post them let the folks guess what they are. Just say if they are a song or group… Have fun with this one.”

So, here is my picture. It represents a song by a single song writer:

first light

What songs can you think of that would go with this picture?

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On the Edges

My eyes always scan the edges – edges of the road, forest edges, water’s edge, ridge edges. Life seems richer and more alive along the edges.

Driving along a one-lane ridge road on Virginia’s highest elevation, Allegheny Mountain, you feel like you are on the top edge:

Top edge of Virginia

Top edge of Virginia

Here is another view:

View from Allegheny Mountain

View from Allegheny Mountain

The seed heads of spring flowers create interest along a roadside fence:

wild parsnip seedheads

wild parsnip seedheads

Late summer is also my favorite time for tall, flashy wildflowers along the edges of country roads and un-mowed portions of pastures.

Joe Pye Weed and Ironweed paint breathtaking color canvasses along the road:

Plants themselves can be “edgy:” either because they are prickly or thorny (thistles, roses, burdock), or because they are toxic to humans and/or animals (poison ivy, poke weed, datura).

This teasel is quite prickly:

teasel

The Datura plant or Jimson Weed displays large, attractive blossoms but is a dangerous plant that can induce hallucinations (or worse).

datura

I enjoyed watching these deer race up the hill to the top edge

deer on the edge of the ridge

And I accidentally ended up between this Mama bear and her twin cubs, a potentially very edgy situation. Luckily, I was in my car and had the luxury to take this picture before backing away.

mama bear

This post was created in response to Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Edge.

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Country Scenes, Children’s Dreams, & Beauty Queens

The Street Parade is always the official start of the Highland County Fair. Days in advance, the grass along the side of the road is neatly cut. Hours before the parade, empty lawn chairs line the roads to secure their owners’ front row seats. Whole families (often three or even four generations) gather at the side of the road, plastic bags or baskets in hand – essential receptacles for candy thrown by the handful from the parade floats and vehicles.

The Parade is basically a showcase for local businesses and organizations as well as individuals with special hobbies. Antique vehicles are always popular:

All the various beauty queens and kings get to participate. I do understand the function of the Maple Queen and her court – each year, a new crew of high school beauties is selected to represent the county during the all-important maple festival. Here is this year’s Maple Queen and her princesses:

Maple Queen and her court

Maple Queen and her court

I never quite understood the purpose of the Fire Queens and the fact that nine of them are needed each year. Here they are all perfecting their beauty-queen wave:

Fire queens

Fire queens

Not to be forgotten are last year’s Little Miss and Master Highland:

Little Miss and Master Highland

Little Miss and Master Highland

I rather enjoyed the bubbles created by the bubble machine on this float:

Bubbles rising

Bubbles rising

This little girl from a neighboring county must have felt like a true princess sitting on top of a vehicle, her legs dangling thru the sunroof,

Little beauty queen

Little beauty queen

while her daddy and little baby sister were operating the vehicle:

Baby at the wheel

Baby at the wheel

Then there are gleaming fire engines from various locations, mostly fairly modern equipment:

Fire truck

Fire truck

and Smokey the Bear waving the American flag:

Smokey the Bear on the fire truck

Smokey the Bear on the fire truck

Not quite sure what this fire truck actually does:

Bolar Fire truck

Bolar Fire truck

The Little Switzerland Cloggers are always an essential component of any county event and are fun to watch:

Cloggers

Cloggers

No hometown parade would be complete without its High School Band:

High school band

High school band

The Allegheny Mountain String Project is a local music school, obviously specializing in exposing children to music from a very early age.

Allegheny Mountain String Project

Allegheny Mountain String Project

This man is advertising his barn quilt business. Barn quilts are colorful designs mounted on barns or homes and has become quite the trend in our county lately.

Barn quilt painter

Barn quilt painter

Local banks always design a colorful float. This one reflects the theme of the 2014 Fair: “Country Scenes and Children’s Dreams.”

Bank float

Bank float

Country Scenes and Children's Dreams

Country Scenes and Children’s Dreams

And, of course, every parade needs its clowns!

Little clowns

Little clowns

The little rainbow clown

The little rainbow clown

And while there was no dentist in the parade, the massive amounts of candy thrown to the masses will ensure job security for dentists for a while to come:

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Orange Crush

Our County Fair began with a horse show last weekend. During a break in the competition, this orange bottle caught my attention, placed next to a lady sitting near me.

orange crush and handbag

For those of you who don’t know “Orange Crush:” it’s one of those beverages that consists of water, high fructose corn syrup, an obscene amount of food coloring, artificial flavoring, and who knows what other carcinogenic ingredients. It calls itself orange soda. They must have been selling it at a fair booth because here was another one:

She’s swinging that bottle back and forth, back and forth, all the while scanning the area for someone. Ah, here he is, the owner of the bottle. Finally, she gets to return it to him. I was intrigued by their body language. What else did they share beyond that orange crush?

He is thirsty and drinks from the bottle.

And then they leave together.

heading out

Hmm…

I took many more pictures of orange-colored things: saddles, riders in orange coats, a horse with an orange mane, a girl with orange hair, orange school buses (don’t call them yellow!), orange markings along a fence, flowers. I didn’t even realize there was so much orange in my environment until I chose to look for it.
And the pictures that made it into my blog were of an unhealthy soda drink that nevertheless appears to be popular around here. Seems kind of pointless, doesn’t it? It was fun, though, to track the movement of the bottle and to watch how it changed hands and to wonder about the relationship between these two very young people.

This post was created in response to Ailsa’s travel theme “Orange.”

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