Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird Curiosity Eclipsing Fear

There is something in me that craves a sunrise.  I’ve known this for a long time.  It’s an exhilarating feeling, a feeling of adventure, of anticipation, of freedom.   Perhaps it’s because getting up early means you have a special mission…to board a plane or set off on a journey or explore a new day.  I think I first experienced this adventurous feeling when my sister and I set off cross-country on a road trip when she was 20 and I was 16.  She was going back to college in Ohio in her newly purchased car.  We set off from our home in California, and I was along for company.  Unfortunately, we never made it to Ohio because we crashed in Nebraska and she was killed.  That rather put a damper on my adventurous spirit for quite a while.  But I recently discovered that I still love a road trip even though I can never put disaster completely out of my mind.  Learning to embrace that perceived conflict, that life is exciting and wonderful and not entirely safe all at the same time, has been a great journey in itself.

Sunrise in Kansas on my most recent road trip

Sunrise in Kansas on my most recent road trip

It’s like the feeling I get when I’m camping ‘far from civilization’.  The nights seem very dark and very long as I lie awake in a tent with howling winds or other unidentified sounds surrounding me.  I feel aware and a bit afraid and very alive.  When the sun begins to rise, I feel eager to rush outside and see the light dawn on all those things that felt so mysterious and vaguely threatening.  I realize then that a sense of curiosity is eclipsing my fear.  That is what I want to develop more and more.  Perhaps that’s a return to childhood; perhaps that’s what maturity is.

Early morning frost on the tent in New Mexico - same trip

Early morning frost on the tent in New Mexico – same trip

Early Bird

Weekly Photo Challenge: Afloat, temporarily

Afloat: borne on the water, free of difficulties. 

glass 4Not exactly the same as ‘adrift’.  You can be anxious, being adrift, afraid you’ve lost your bearings, veered off course, or abandoned your purpose.  Afloat is the feeling of being supported gently, effortlessly.  It’s a kind of dreamy state, I think.  Last year, the day after my birthday, I treated myself to a sail on the Denis Sullivan, a facsimile of a 19th century lake vessel owned by the museum where I worked at the time.  The day was completely calm and foggy. 

dreamy denisThere was a very quiet, gentleness to the water.  It was very relaxing.  The crew still went through the activities of raising the sails, and we helped (a little), but mostly hung around idle.

It’s nice to be afloat, but I wouldn’t want to do it every day.  I like being engaged in a stimulating effort to take responsibility for myself in my life.  I don’t want to expect an easy ride, and I don’t want to complain or blame some other entity for not supporting me.  I appreciate resources, but I don’t feel entitled to them, and I’m very willing to go without a lot of things.  I think this attitude is very simple and useful.

connect 2

© 2015, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Afloat

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Merciful Blur

“It’s all a merciful blur…” is one of my mother’s signature responses.  (from a description of 10 Silly Sayings that characterize her 80-year-old personality, from THIS POST)  Blurring can be a good coping skill.  It can be a result of too little sleep, too much crying, too much alcohol, or too much fantasy.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, now and again.  Softening edges can be useful when you’re feeling scraped and bruised.  But it’s only temporary, for me.  I really want to live my life in clear focus, as aware as I can be, facing reality.  Consequently, I doubt I’ve kept many blurry photos.  Here’s one I took yesterday…

blurry gate

…and here’s one I took from the passenger’s seat on I-94.  I was trying to imitate Karen McRae from “draw and shoot”.  Her art is superb (which explains why she’s got almost 15,000 followers!).

winter blurWhat I mostly get are blurry photos of people who don’t stay still…

picnic blur…or places that are poorly lit.

cave blurIt is a challenge to develop the appropriately artistic “merciful blur”, to be used in scary situations (like on the Jersey turnpike?).  Still working on it…spider blur

Blur

Folly

“Just when you think you’ve got a ‘fool-proof’ solution…..they build a better fool.”

“They say happiness is the folly of fools; pity poor me, one of the fools.” – from Scrooge the musical

Have you got any pictures of foolishness?

And did you notice that foolishness is man-made?  Nothing in my Nature Photo file fits this category.  Think about it….

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

Spring is host to many different kinds of ephemerals: ponds, wildflowers and insects, to name a few broad categories.  Nature is ever-changing; habitats and inhabitants come and go.  Yet humans often like to think of themselves as permanent and solid (‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’).  This is a great irony, given our surroundings.  To live in the moment, to appreciate your own presence and transience in the same breath — there is the key to living gracefully!  To realize life is as beautiful and fleeting as frost on my window,…

frost script

as powerful and swift as a rush of laughter.

mirth 3

It flickers like a candle flame: mesmerizing, warm and ultimately fragile….

new fire

 …while surrounded by mighty forces which shape its destiny.

refractionYes, my life is ephemeral, but LIFE is an ongoing flow that fills the aeons. 

moving waterTreat it well and tread lightly, my friends.

IMG_0290

 Ephemeral

March Gladness – Go Badgers!

I took this photo at the Milwaukee Zoo last March.  Usually, it’s hard to spot a badger even at the zoo, as they like to dig and burrow by nature and are not as active in the daytime.  However, the warming temperatures brought this one out to enjoy some sunshine.  badgerIn captivity, the average badger lifespan is Sweet 16, but not in the wild.  The oldest wild badger was but 14 years old.  These animals prefer a solitary lifestyle.  Typically, you won’t find more than 5 badgers in a square kilometer.  They are not party animals.  They are skilled diggers with powerful jaws.  They prey on rodents and other earth-dwellers and supplement their diet with corn and sunflower seeds.  They wisely store and cache food as well. 

Badger meat has been included in some cultures’ cuisine, such as French and North American; their fur was used in the past to make shaving and paint brushes because of its fine ability to retain water.  Its greatest predator is, in fact, humans.  They destroy their habitat and sometimes poison them to stop them from digging tunnels in pasture land.  However, in British Columbia, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, hunting badgers is illegal.  I’m glad. 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh and Refresh

“Fresh and refresh were sitting in a boat…” (anyone remember that old joke about Pete and Repeat?) Would you believe I’ve been waiting for 20 minutes now for my computer to wake up and let me access my photo files?  How many times have I hit ‘refresh’? 

I have also been waiting (rather impatiently, again) for signs of spring.  Finally, the temperatures got warmer last week, and I saw the first scilla siberica pop up in the garden.  Can you believe something as tender as this little flower can crack through the crusty earth?  What is the force behind its penetrating power? 

scilla sibericaIt must be the power of Life, of change and renewal.  (To see a photo essay I did recently entitled: Renewed Like An Eagle – A Spiritual Lesson from Nature, click here.) I am winter weary and ready for fresh growth.  I can’t wait for more of Life bursting from the soil!

Happy Spring!  May you be refreshed by the change!

Fresh