Weekly Photo Challenge: Swans at Half Light



When I was a little girl, my father read to me from E.B. White’s story “The Trumpet of the Swan”. I was 8 years old when that book was published, and I can imagine my father buying it to read to me and my 3 older sisters with his own great curiosity about that remarkable writer neatly disguised as paternal generosity. I had a fascination with the part where the young swan stays at the Ritz Carlton in Boston and eats watercress sandwiches provided by room service, probably in part because I was born in Massachusetts. We had moved to the Midwest when I was 4 years old. When I was 14, we moved to California. When I was 29 and had 4 kids of my own, I moved back to Illinois. Five years ago, I moved up to Wisconsin. In the north woods, and the edge of designated Wilderness, I saw my first wild swans in the half light of evening as I was setting up camp with Steve. I thought of Louis the swan and of finding your true wild voice. I heard the deep silence of that Place and felt the tender understanding of my father, who loved the outdoors. I stood on the soft, summer pine forest floor and took these pictures. To me, the world is poetry – in moment and memory. 


Weekly Photo Challenge: Dance

“I am the joy in change and movement.” – Steve’s statement of identity from a Transformations School of Spiritual Psychology exercise. 

I have always loved dancing, although I don’t always love change and movement in other areas of my life. My problem as a dancer has always been that I’m too cerebral and not as intuitive and fluid as I’d like to be, especially when learning someone else’s choreography.  When I “freestyle”, I think I do better. It has to do with allowing yourself to open up and be unconcerned whether you’re “doing it right”, to just go with the flow of feeling and response. It feels fabulous to let myself move to music! I get a great sense of my biology and my emotions – and it gives my brain a much needed rest!

So what images come to mind when thinking of movement and freedom?

Water, clouds, wind, birds and bodies.


May you move joyfully through your day today, and thanks for your visit!


The Color Green

I’ve never been to Ireland, but I love the color green. I carry a bit of it with me at all times, in my eyes.

I do have a great-grandmother who I think was born there. My grandmother’s name was Marion Keefe McFarland. My husband’s grandmother’s name was Mabelle Claire Mahanna Sargent. Today I think of them, for I knew them both, a little. But mostly, I think of green.

For all of you celebrating Irish, I wish you the best of St. Patrick’s Days!

I Love This Place!

This month, I was honored to be the Associate Editor of The Be Zine, and the theme of the issue is “The Joys of Nature: Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces”.  Browse the entire blogazine here

What exactly is our relationship with Earth, its wilderness, its gardens and its green spaces?  

steve sturgeon river feet

Of course we all value this place in some way. I won’t call it our home, although we all live here; we can live nowhere else. To me, the idea of ownership seems inappropriate at least and inaccurate at best. This place may be closer to owning me, in fact.  And ‘home’ makes it seem so domesticated. Is that what it is? Or is it unapologetically wild and autonomous? I have decided to approach this place as I would an equal: with humility and respect for both of us. That seems to be the best moral decision I can make.

Others don’t agree. They consider this place a servant in need of stewardship. They talk of ‘eco-system services’ and measure the value of this place by the benefits it provides to one species, a single leaf on the great Tree of Life – Humans. They extract the elements that serve them, but they are not producers, like plants; they are consumers. They talk in economic terms, like ‘board feet’, but the only thing they truly produce is waste, of which only a minimal amount can be absorbed and re-used. They concern themselves with ‘management’, imagining a parental responsibility for the growth and training of this place. It’s ironic to me that the child they attend is billions of years their senior. the gorge wilderness

This place is often valued for its beauty, prized for delicate and powerful sensual elements that fill the soul and spark the imagination.  Many who praise it lift it far up on a pedestal of mysticism but decline to offer it their understanding or their presence. To them, it can become remote, surreal and alien, a romantic fantasy on an epic canvas.

Some view this place with disinterest, perturbation, or downright disgust. Standing on it just means that it’s beneath them; they will not allow themselves to be grounded. It takes a great expenditure of energy to maintain this separation, but they achieve this distance by employing every distraction and applying every veneer currently available.P1040782

This has been called the “Athropocene Era”, the geological epoch of Humans. We are the dominant species at the moment and the major force impacting the Earth. We’re no longer a hunter-gatherer society, and our advancing technology is always at the expense of natural resources, even if our intention is to use it for conservation efforts.  For example, the ‘progress’ we have made in recycling plastic still uses tremendous energy to break down the material and still results in the production of waste and toxins. The unchecked growth of our species has effected the climate of the entire planet and threatens a mass extinction.  

It stands to reason that the only way to lessen our impact is to become less numerous, consume less, and produce less waste. We must slow down and live simpler, more sustainable lifestyles in order to stop this growth mentality that has become a global menace. Then we can begin to nurture an equal relationship to this place and its inhabitants.



Let us spend time with this place, pay a lover’s attention to its moods, its responses. Let’s be careful what we take and what we leave behind. Let’s respect this place in every detail and not dismiss the nuances in its character. Let us champion its autonomy and dignity, seeking to understand but not using that understanding for our own advancement and growth. Let’s explore to gain wisdom, not to invade. And let us celebrate our love for this place! Teach it! Demonstrate it in song, story, art and work!


I hope we will not grow weary or discouraged in this love. There will certainly come a new age of geography yet, whether our species is included or not. In our own lifetimes, though, living a loving relationship to this place is its own reward. It is a love to fill the heart, soul, mind and body and bless the world.

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Love

“The Universe has been telling me to focus on Love. ” That’s exactly what I’ve been hearing, too!!  

I’ve been working on editing this month’s issue of the Be Zine coming out on the 15th on the theme “Nature: Wilderness, Gardens, and Green Spaces”.  I discovered (or re-discovered) that it’s all about our relationship to this Place.  Our existence is about a relationship.  ALL of existence is about a relationship (don’t take my word for it – ask Albert Einstein!).  In other words, it’s ALL about Love.  

Love makes the world go ’round. Not just our love for others of our species, but the Love that holds all of Life in its embrace. Respect it all!

One Love

Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

“The combination of simultaneous musical notes…having a pleasing effect.”

“The quality of forming a pleasing or consistent whole.”

I have a B. A. in Music/Vocal performance.  Harmony is something that means many things to me.  It evokes memories of listening to my late husband’s barbershop quartet rehearsing in the living room, listening to my children sing tight vocal jazz arrangements with their friends, and performing with church choirs week in and week out.  

Harmony is rich and pleasing and ethereal.  How do you photograph that feeling? You might think of going directly to musical instruments.  Something like this:

Then again, that does not quite capture the mood.  Perhaps it looks more like this:



Yes, I think that’s better!