Bird watching – flagrant voyeurism

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Originally posted on The Beauty Along the Road:
A huge wild cherry tree near our house broke into full bloom around the middle of May.  ? So when I saw a pair of Baltimore Orioles cavorting in its branches, I…

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Wild Ember Sparking!

While I usually separate my just-for-pleasure blog, Beauty Along the Road, from my business blog Emerald Mountain Sanctuary, I felt nudged to introduce my readers to the business side of things.  There might just be a few people out there who are looking for exactly what I am offering.

If you are working on a long-term project, you know the challenges of remaining committed, of facing the inevitable questions of purpose and worth, the need for continuous inspiration and ability to consistently dip into your creative process, and accountability.

In the past, I have had the honor to support writers, artists, and entrepreneurs in their projects – working on a memoir, creating an artistic portfolio, establishing a thriving business, and consciously developing a new lifestyle after a major disruptive life event.

Three years ago, I created a creative project coaching workshop (called Creative Spark then) and participants met at my house in the remote mountains of Virginia.  During the second year, COVID hit and we had to move partially online, and partially to porch meetings.  COVID was my nudge to place the entire workshop series online so that location no longer presents an obstacle.


I am thrilled to announce the 2021 Creative Project Coaching workshop, Wild Ember Sparking. This monthly workshop series runs from March through October 2021 and assists you in getting your creative project off the ground, with clarity and purpose, and then supports your ongoing project. Learn the techniques you need to dive deeper into your creative process and get the work done by setting realistic, achievable goals and being held accountable by an experienced coach.

If you are curious, please check out the details:

Even if you don’t take the workshop, there’s a free pdf download with nature-inspired creativity exercises when you sign up for the newsletter.  These exercises are also being published this month by Psychology Today.  Click here for the first of two essays.

Enjoy and let me hear your feedback.


Posted in Artistic Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Where I am from

Where I am from

I am from the dark soil of vineyards
first seeded by Roman conquerors
and still yielding a famous Riesling
on the high slopes of the Rhine River.

I am from the dimmed hopes
of parents who rarely spoke of
war-time childhood wounds
but nursed them to the bitter end.

I am from Viking blood,
the early ones who left
known earth behind
to sail into the distant horizon.

I am from Africa’s
red savannah dust,
still searching for Grandfather’s face
among the strangers of the world.

I am risen from the burning stakes
of the Middle Ages,
quick to anger when dark forces
corral women and children.

I am a refugee from
the harsh religion of science;
I find shelter with plant spirits
and the un-nameable wisdom
of deep green trees.

Annette Naber

Posted in Ekphrastica (Photos & Poems), Healing Ourselves and the Planet | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

A Resilient and Creative New Year!

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on The Beauty Along the Road:
I found my theme for the New Year:   Resilience and Creativity. Hurricane Matthew, on its path up the Atlantic coast back in October, must have swept this large tree branch onto this…

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What I saw today….

We spent our pandemic Thanksgiving doing what we enjoy:  going for a drive through the mountains, no masks needed, no social distancing necessary – just me and my husband coasting along the empty, narrow, and winding country roads.

We can always count on seeing some beautiful pastoral scenes so typical of the Allegheny Highlands of Virginia and West Virginia.

Cows graze in a field still green (a bit unusual for this time of year; global warming definitely a factor):

pastoral scene with grazing cowsLight and shadow variations as the sun played hide-and-seek with clouds:

light and shadows on hills

A herd of goats slowly advances up a hill searching for juicy grasses:

goats on a hill

Then we come across some quirky scenes reflecting the rural nature of the place, expressions of creativity and a certain make-do mindset.

What do you think about this piggy mailbox?  It comes with an opening at the pig’s rear-end….

piggy mailbox

Someone’s living quarters from a long time ago, now storage for useless trash:

old bus

The name of the lane leading into the property with the deserted bus:  Slim Pickings Boulevard:

The entry fence was a sculpture created from engine parts (cam shaft, crank shaft, gears – as identified by my husband):

fence from machine parts

And a creepy little gate guardian:

gate guardian

But the creepiest – and most sinister – find today was a large tree with dead animal carcasses hanging from it.  Someone must hate coyotes very much.

tree with dead coyotes hanging from it

It seems like we have to take the beauty with the weird and the ugly, side by side.

Life these days…

Life like it’s always been…

We came home to a crock pot steaming with chicken and sweet potatoes.

A simple day in the country.

Posted in Appalachia, Artistic Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments