Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Happiness Is…

I see trees of green…

…red roses, too…

…I see skies of blue and clouds of white…

…the bright, blessed day…

…the dark, sacred night……and I think to myself, “What a wonderful world!”

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky…

…are also on the faces of people passing by…

I see friends shaking hands, saying “How do you do?” They’re really saying, “I love you.”

I hear babies cry; I watch them grow…

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world!”

This wonderful song always makes me cry. In my mind, I hear the voices of Louis Armstrong, David Attenborough and the Barrington Childrens Choir expressing these words of appreciation. I feel myself dancing to it with my daughter at her wedding. It is my song of happiness for the best the world has shown me…the Earth and Sky, loving People and my children. It is truly a wonder-filled world, and I am forever happy to be in it.
Thank you, Ann-Christine, for challenging us to articulate all our reasons for happiness. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Contemplating Water

“Water is the driving force in nature.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I reflect things as they are.
— Thich Nhat Hahn

How is your nature allowing you to reflect reality and drive change? Just something to contemplate….

Thanks, Patti, for inviting us to share thoughts and photos on Water!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Open Sesame – Doors and Doorways

I’m an out-of-doors sort of person, and my photo albums reflect that. This photo immediately popped into my mind when I saw the challenge theme today. This is my idea of a doorway, and it’s almost the only door I’ve ever photographed.

Maybe I just don’t like doors. They represent separation, closing off, exclusion. They can be so imposing when they’re closed, and so limiting even when they’re open.  I like this door. It invites but does not insist. It gives you options, but it is interesting enough not to ignore. And it is humble in its surroundings.

This is the door I choose. Thank you, Tina, for focusing my attention on doors today. 

 

Lens-Artist Weekly Photo Challenge: Magical Light

“Light! More light!” – last words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Was Goethe, the celebrated poet and scientist and author of The Theory of Colors, crying out his final request in an effort to quench his thirst for enlightenment of the mind, the soul, or the eye? Or all three?
I am sure they are all interconnected.
Coincidentally, his deathbed wish became the motto of Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where I sent my oldest child to college. 

Three things converged earlier this week to illustrate to me the power of light and its affect on my soul.

First, on Sunday, we switched our clocks back from Daylight Savings Time. The sun slips further away from the Northern Hemisphere, and daylight hours are noticeably diminished. Nights fall early, and mornings are dark.

On Tuesday, the U.S. had midterm elections. An ominous gloom has settled and hung over this country since our last election. I am anxious for my children, the planet, and the future. I feel the grip of darkness in my soul.

I suspect that I am susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. I feel physically drained, deeply depressed, cold and vulnerable. Cloudy, dark days bring questions of personal survival to my mind. And then, Thursday night, temperatures dropped and the first snow fell. 

Fortunately, the next morning I was scheduled to volunteer in a Nature Center class of fourth graders. I drove carefully through the falling snow, noticing changes all around. The minute I arrived in the parking lot, I saw a small child lifting her face to the sky with her tongue out, hoping to catch a falling flake. Her face was lit with joy.

Light from the souls of the children flooded my day. Snow angels, snowball target practice, a hike through the woods to the river, and the emergence of a distant but brilliant sun made my mood by the late morning sparkle. There is magic in light, in warmth, in proximity to the energy of our home star, the Sun. The magic brings life to every living thing. I am aware of its sustenance and my dependence on it. And I give thanks for it every day. Thanks, also, to Amy for inviting us to share the magic with this Photo Challenge! 

Protect & Invest in Ecosystems

So, my daughter Susan took my photos and made a beautiful slideshow PSA to remind people how important it is to invest in and protect our state ecosystems for the good of the land and for generations to come. Please VOTE on November 6th and use the power of your choice to help conserve our natural places. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Blending In and Standing Out

The environment. Ecosystems. We are in them and of them and we are them. We are interconnected with everything around us. We blend in and stand out simultaneously. 

May all beings appreciate their surroundings, their selves, and the relationship between all things. May this appreciation grow into respect, affection, and peaceful harmony. 

Thanks, Leya, for inviting us to see the ways things Blend In and Stand Out. Enjoy your forest!