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!

Lens Artist Photo Challenge: Changeable

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
Alan Wilson Watts

Steve and I woke up yesterday to a brilliant autumn ballet of frost and color, sun and wind. We said goodbye to the sandhill cranes in our backyard and drove up to Door County to dance with the colors at Peninsula State Park on Green Bay.
Living in Wisconsin does have its benefits. 

Thanks to Amy at The World is a Book for this challenge.

Full-on Summer

After a week of cool, wet weather with low temperatures in the 50s overnight, the Midwest summer has hit Wisconsin. My garden is thick with arugula, and the tomato plant is growing at the rate of a jungle vine. The heat index today is in the danger zone with a high temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity at 78%.

I refuse to turn on the air-conditioner in the house; I have none in my car. I rely on all those passive techniques my mother taught me when we were living in the 1875 Victorian in the Chicago suburbs. I don’t have an attic here; this is a Lannon stone ranch-style house. I open all the windows and the front door at night to let in the cool air and shut everything up when the sun rises in the morning. I have a box fan in the living/dining room, no ceiling fans.

Steve converses about Buddhist mindfulness. What does it feel like in this weather? Without judgement, accepting what is, what do I notice?

The trees are swaying outside my window. As hot as it is, there is a stiff breeze. I see a million shades of green. I hear the hum of the fan. Birdsong woke me at 4:40 a.m., before I shut the windows. I noticed smells inside the house after I shut them. Melting soap in the bathroom. Coffee. My body feels slow, swollen, lazy.

I am trying not to dread the fundraising event I am working tonight. The dress is “formal”. The open bar and silent auction are outside, on the patio. My dress is made of an unfortunately synthetic material (long story). I imagine I will sweat. I fear social embarrassment…and I do not. I don’t really care that much. I like myself. I do fine work. The rest is unimportant. I will practice being gracious and compassionate, and I will come back home to my cool stone house at the end of the evening, strip down and lie beneath an open window, waiting for a thunderstorm. All will be well.

Outside, the butterflies and chipmunks, the birds and deer and Charles the woodchuck go slowly about their summer growth. I imagine that while they may sweat, they do not fret. I aspire to learn their wisdom. 

Team Galasso and the “Die Bees” Walk

The Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, known to 2-year old Josie as the “Die Bees Walk”, took place on a gorgeous fall day in Chicago. The route was a three mile circle around Lincoln Park and just a mile and a half from my daughter Emily’s home. By a great miracle, all four of my children were able to attend, plus my eldest’s best friend Katie (the mother of little Josie), my son-in-law Andy, and my middle daughter’s boyfriend Jake. I took lots of pictures, got some exercise (seven miles of walking total, I figure), ate a delicious gluten-free vegan meal, and collected hugs and kisses from my children. Totally satisfying! Here’s the gallery:

An American Adventure: Part Twelve

Memorial Day weekend around Moab, Utah was amazingly congested. This year, the Colorado river ran higher than usual from the recent snowstorm.  Recreational sites dot Highway 128 at regular intervals, and they all seemed to be full of boaters, campers, and bikers – humans with big, metal toys. We were searching for an entirely different kind of adventure, so we drove on north…and ended up at Dinosaur National Monument on the Green River.

However, the campsites with shade and accessible by our 2-wheel drive sedan were full up, and we didn’t have the energy to search for dispersed camping in the Ashley National Forest. We decided to break down and spend the night in an inn. After nine days, a hot bath was just too tempting! I have to say, I have a hard time ignoring my appreciation for plumbing. I can do it, but I can too easily undo it, too. Just 6 days into our adventure, I boiled some water on the campfire to wash our hair. The feel of water on my thirsty scalp out there on the canyon edge was exhilarating! Steve and I both have hair that grows almost down to our waists, though. Washing it and rinsing it thoroughly takes a lot of water. Without a handy renewable supply, it seems a poor choice.

But here’s another chance for awareness: how do I use water? What do I use it for? How much do I use? Can I use less? Should I use less?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflecting on the Moods of Water

Our planet’s surface is about 70% water. That means that water is in a lot of different places, in different climates, in different habitats, making an impact in a lot of different ways, catching the light in different ways, and creating a lot of different scenes. Water is a universal solution for a million different situations and can be a mirror for any expression. It seems to be found in any landscape, big or small.

And to be the perfect medium for any mood, calm and pensive…

…or vibrant...

…or enigmatically abstract.

 Reflecting shadow and light, stillness and movement, water carries the dynamic play of life.

There’s so much to appreciate about water. And maybe the time to be aware of that is every time you take a healthy sip. Then you can also reflect on how the water you drink got to you and how that process is impacting the planet. But that’s another post…

Reflecting

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Good Match

A “satisfying pairing” you say? Oh, so many come to mind…

There are, obviously, the many combinations of happily mated people:

As well as deliciously married flavors, like cheese and truffles or herbs:

cheese

And then there are the natural cooperations of plants and animals, like the monarch butterfly that feeds on milkweed in the larval stage and then benefits from that toxin as an adult that is distasteful to predators and pollinates wildflowers:

monarch prince

Sometimes, though, it’s just as satisfying to put two things together that don’t seem to have much in common – just for the hell of it: 

prickly feathery cold

Even if you never liked all those essay questions you answered in High School that started with “Compare and contrast….”, you probably learned something by thinking about them. What I hope to learn in the Match Games I play is appreciation — because the world is full of fascinating examples of A Good Match. 

good-match
A Good Match