Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Small Towns

Amy starts out this week’s challenge with:

This week the photo challenge is about the countryside and/or small towns.

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere;

and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself”   –author unknown

Here in the Midwest, small towns are often found along the shores of the numerous lakes. 

Ephraim, Door County, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan

Bayfield, Wisconsin on Lake Superior

Sometimes you will find a really BIG town on the shores of these lakes, too!

Chicago, Illinois on Lake Michigan

Being from a small town is nothing to be ashamed of. Even if the town’s name is Embarrass…

French fur traders found it difficult to float logs down the meandering river that runs by this town. They would create log jams, hindering the flow of timber to its destination. “Embarrass” in French means “block or hinder”. The Embarrass River and the town of Embarrass is not hiding a dark scandal, after all. 

School bus stop, Woodman, Wisconsin

Small towns that can sustain their small populations are wonderful models of the future, not simply relics of the past. Putting humans on the landscape while paying close attention to scale and carrying capacity is a challenge that must be addressed if our species is to survive much longer on this planet. 

My Favorite Fathers

These are still my favorite fathers, and always will be. I did comment on a FB page today that Aldo Leopold was another fine example of Fatherhood – his 5 children all became Environmental Scientists. However, I didn’t know him personally.

scillagrace

The obvious blog subject of the day here in the U.S. of A. is Father’s Day.  I have two stellar examples of fathers prominent in my thoughts and conspicuously absent in the flesh.  My husband, the father of my four children, died in 2008.  My father, who had 5 children, died in 2010.  What they have in common is that they both felt woefully disappointed by their own fathers (at one time) and were determined to do better.  I’m glad to say that my husband had the chance to improve his relationship with his dad over the years, whereas my father did not.  They both had an internal sense of the kind of father they wanted to be, and were clear in their values.  They were incredibly dependable, stable providers of basic things, although in slightly different mixtures.  My husband was far more of a “warm fuzzy”, emotional Teddy Bear. …

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Architecture

I’m so impressed with Amy’s beautiful challenge post of the architecture of Machu Picchu with the accompanying audio that I’m going to have to go in a completely different direction for my post so as not to invite comparison.
After the sublime…the ridiculous.

And the humble.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Close-Up

Thanks to Ann-Christine for this week’s challenge, and for including those of us who don’t have a macro lens. I love close-up shots and have longed for a macro lens, but just haven’t spent the money…yet.

Getting a closer look proves a few things:

1) There’s endless fascination in the world of detail — pattern and form emerge in astonishing places.

2) A change of perspective is eye-opening and stimulates the imagination.

3) You can never exhaust the discovery of something, even something that you think is commonplace and familiar.

Getting close up invites us into a world of enhanced appreciation. There’s so much to enjoy with our vision…even without fancy gadgets. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Nature

“Measured against the agenda of human survival, how might we rethink education? Let me suggest six principles.

First, all education is environmental education.” — David Orr, What Is Education For?

 

I actually met and spoke to David Orr at a conference near the Aldo Leopold Foundation Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin a few years ago. He is a fascinating speaker, a person who has clearly thought a great deal about how humans fit into the natural world.

Yesterday, I spent the morning volunteering in a homeschool class at a Nature Center. The children, aged 6-8, shared their journal entries during snack time. They each had spent time in a “Secret Place”, observing the natural world around them, drawing pictures, writing sentences using vocabulary words, and playing. I was so pleased to see this, and told them that they were following in the footsteps of Aldo Leopold, Henry David Thoreau, Beatrix Potter and many, many others — very important thinkers and learners.

What do we need to learn from Nature? So much. I have a page on this blog called “Spiritual Lessons from Nature”. Click on the link just under the header if you’re curious about them.

Some things I’ve learned about Nature: it’s powerful and deserving of respect. 

It’s complex and autonomous.

It’s vast and largely incomprehensible.

It’s older than anyone can imagine. 

It’s more detailed than anyone can see. 

Humans are just one small leaf on the great Tree of Life.  That’s always good to remember. 

Thanks to Patti for hosting this challenge and for sharing stunning photos of Fiji.

Lens-Artists Challenge: Shadows

Tina at Travels & Trifles illustrated her challenge with a beautiful opening photo of shadow that evokes spaciousness, loneliness, and the passage of time. As the Earth turns and the Sun’s light falls at different angles, shadows lengthen, shade increases, and cool darkness creeps over stationary objects.

There’s something mournful in that, although it needn’t be. Change is not all good or all bad.  Monochrome isn’t really black & white.  It’s gray.

  
In the end, shadows cast depth and perspective on our view of our selves and our little lives. They keep us humble.