So Many Angles

Sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees. The mind can’t quite ascertain what we are looking at. There is too much to take in all at once, or we see a configuration our brain has never seen before and doesn’t know how to interpret for us. A simple example might be: you see a person but you can’t figure out whether this person is male or female, so you keep looking for clues. Not that the gender of a stranger you will probably never see again really matters, but the mind dislikes ambiguity and seeks clarity.

entire stand from above

Sometimes, life holds too many options. They all seem equally worth pursuing but we just don’t know which one(s) we really want and need. I want to be creative, travel, grow my own food, make my own medicines, publish a book, make some money, hold trans-formative retreats, teach and mentor, protect the environment, make a difference, and….you see what I mean? There are only 24 hours in each day and only so much energy.


So – what if I change my perspective and look at things from a different angle?

seedheads from below

That’s a little better. All the distractions are gone and what remains is simpler shapes and outlines. But there are still too many options and angles and perspectives; more whittling down is required.

Ultimately, the distilled essence emerges, glistening with clarity:

single seedhead from above

Now I will meditate on this image, imprint it in my mind as the symbol for coming to the center of it all, after all the distractions and angles and options fall away.

What is it that is important today, in this moment? Everything else will unfold from here.

red poppy with bees

The Weekly Photo Challenge is: From Every Angle.

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Today was a Good Day

Sunday was a good day for a hike up on Spruce Knob, West Virginia’s highest mountain. The air is so clear that you can see for miles from the top.

View from Spruce Knob

View from Spruce Knob

It’s a great day to ride motorcycles with a group of friends:

talking motorcyles

Isn’t she a beauty?!

red Harley Davidson

It’s a perfect day for a picnic for this group of young Mennonites:

It’s a very good day to enjoy the fragrant forest air and sharing views with fellow hikers:

It’s a fortunate day to discover wildflowers in bloom, some common, some quite rare:

The day continues to shower us with goodness and surprises when we drive to the foot of the mountain and visit Spruce Knob Lake.

At the lake, it’s a mellow day to throw out a fishing line:

The golden trout swims circles around the fish hook, then disappears into the murky waters.

It’s a lucky day to watch birds of prey – a hawk, an osprey, and a bald eagle more successful at fishing than the humans:

As the afternoon turns into early evening, golden light warms creatures and landscape alike

before yielding to the shadows.

light and shadow along the lake

It was a very good day, full of beauty and abundance. Gratitude flows and glows like the golden afternoon light.

The Weekly Photo Challenge: Today was a Good Day.

Posted in Animals and Critters, Appalachia, Flora, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Creative Mailboxes

I am always delighted when I find random evidence of people’s creativity. Mailboxes can become the object of loving and creative attention. This one is certainly unique, perhaps a little drummer boy, or a stylized mail man?

Creative mailbox

How about this black and white mailbox – simple, but a step up from the plain, unadorned box. Perhaps they had a cloud pattern in mind?

black and white mailbox

This rusty old mailbox has seen better days but is not entirely without charm as entropy takes its course:

rusty mailbox

The most stunning mailbox display I’ve found is this row of mailboxes along a country road, almost smothered by a prolifically blooming clematis vine:

This mailbox challenge was suggested by Travel Words.

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Creepy Crawlies: Praying and Preying

I like finding a praying mantis in my garden – such composure, elegance, even cuteness. Just look at that dainty, triangular face and those huge composite eyes.

shimmering in morning light

This one climbed up a solar panel (can you see one of its legs partially missing?):

wing lifted

However, on closer inspection, they look very scary – sort of like the inspiration for a horror movie about irradiated insects that grow larger than humans.
Look at those massive mandibles!
I apologize for the quality of these close-ups – they were taken with my old camera. But it gives you an idea…

mantis rearing up

Mantises (in the Mantodea order of insects that contains over 2,400 species) live in temperate and tropical habitats; their closest relatives are cockroaches and termites. They can live up to one year.
Females have been observed eating their mate after copulation, a habit also known as sexual cannibalism.
After mating, the female lays her eggs in a frothy mass produced by abdominal glands. The froth then hardens around the eggs into a protective capsule. The capsule and the egg mass is called an ootheca. I have found oothecas wrapped around the woody stems of raspberry canes and forsythia bushes.

mantis close-up

Praying Mantises typically prey on other insects often holding still for long periods of time until dinner arrives. They snatch their prey with their long forelegs, hold it in a deadly embrace and begin eating its head first. The forelegs are equipped with spiny protrusions that make it easy to trap prey and prevent it from escaping.

I think I prefer to look at them from a respectable distance:

Mantis against blue sky

More info about praying mantises on Wikipedia.

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is “Creepy.”

Ed’s Sunday Stills Theme: “Going Buggy.”

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Infected Beauty: Creepy

Michelle from the Daily Post Photo Challenge says: “This week, show us something creepy — because hey, we can’t take photos of rainbows and puppies every day.”

I saw these deer along the road a few days ago – a young female deer, a strapping buck with a nice stack of antlers – the cliché of the peaceful, pastoral landscape. To my horror, I discovered that they were all infested with what looked like ticks at first, but then turned out to be flies. I was accustomed to seeing clouds of flies all over cows and even horses, but deer, cute little deer?! That’s just wrong – beauty marred.

Of course, the flies don’t discriminate – any warm, sweaty body will serve as a landing platform.

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