Lens-Artists Challenge: Delicate

Love is like wildflowers;
It’s often found in the most unlikely places.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once upon a time, I did a WordPress Photo Challenge on “Delicate” – but that particular interpretation is history by now. 

Yesterday, I was teaching kids at the Riveredge Nature Center about ephemeral wildflowers. They are delicate, fragile, and…ephemeral as well.

While the blooms of ephemeral wildflowers are a fleeting splash of joy and color on the landscape, the roots are native, hardy, and deep. They belong, they return, and they endure in the grand scheme. I believe Love is like that. That kind of Love returns to me each Mother’s Day. 

When a good foundation supports that which is delicate, its beauty transcends time and circumstance and endures. Let us all love each other with tenderness and care, for we are all delicate creatures yearning to grow strong. 

Thank you, Ann-Christine, for inviting us to ponder the Delicate nature of Life. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Street Art

I am almost stumped by Patti’s Lens-Artist Challenge this week. My photographs are largely of natural subjects, and I am not likely to be in an urban setting with a camera. However, I did have one photo come to mind…

So, definitely paint is involved…and a street…and something natural because…me.  And yes, I moved the painted leaf because it was stuck fast. Then I took a picture of it. Does that make me a street artist?

Okay. Cool!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Less is More

Amy’s challenge this week is a very meaningful one. Imagine how the Earth would benefit if the human species truly embraced the idea that “Less is the new More!”

We’ve all seen news articles showing evidence of huge flotillas of garbage in our oceans, of urban sprawl eating up wilderness, and of first world over-consumption. I remember being visually struck by a National Geographic article by photographer Peter Menzel showing the possessions of an average family from a variety of countries across the world. (Material World: A Global Family Portrait) The American family had enough possessions to fill the end of their cul de sac. 

One of the benefits of my preferred way of travel, camping, is that it gives me the opportunity to live very simply. The clothes I’m wearing, a tent, a box of matches, some bedding, and a few cooking utensils are completely sufficient. The food I eat is recycled: gathered in and returned to the land. The vast landscapes of the outdoors are anything but simple. The world is a complex array of ecosystems. But focusing on one feature reveals the astounding beauty of simple design.

Removing extraneous clutter from my photos and my way of life allows me to focus on the wonder of the essence of Life. That I am alive and that I am surrounded by life that exists on levels more intricate and vast than I can see or imagine is…simply…amazing.  

Lens-Artists Challenge: Hello, April!

For this week’s challenge, Amy sends a colorful April “Hello” from Texas and quotes Rachel Carson:

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature–

the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.”

Here in Wisconsin, the temperatures are just starting to creep up into true Springtime levels. This morning, there was no frost on the ground, so the maple syrup season will start to taper off, and soon April will show off her new spring colors. Last year, we had a late snow storm that caused a major interruption in spring growth. The first brood of sandhill crane chicks on this property died, the deer ate all the tulip shoots, and my garden planting energy never really recovered. Here’s a contrasting shot of the last two years in the turkey mating season. 

I’m looking forward to seeing the forsythia bloom.

I am looking forward to seeing the first woodland wildflowers take their brief turn on the forest stage.

 

How this Spring will actually unfold, however, is uncertain. Instability in our global climate has resulted in unprecedented changes that manifest locally in more alarming ways each year. I am not sure who April will be when I meet her this year. However, I will surely observe and photograph her, and find her beautiful.

There is something infinitely healing, I believe, in accepting Nature in all her autonomy and taking responsibility for the ways we abuse her.  

 

Lens-Artists Challenge: Around the Neighborhood

Tina’s photo challenge post showcases the birds that live on the barrier islands of South Carolina. The birds in my neighborhood include sandhill cranes…

These majestic migratory birds mate for life, returning to the wetland area behind my house to nest and raise their young each year. Last weekend, I sighted a pair in the sky just south of the Wisconsin border. I wait with anticipation the sound of their raspy bugle cry over my neighborhood. There is snow still on the ground, but today, the temperature is finally above freezing and a light rain is falling. I hope for the joyful return of the mating couple. I hope that they will not lose any chicks to a late snowfall like last year. I hope that I don’t see another colt hit by a car before he learns to fly. And I hope to see at least three begin the long flight to Florida when the leaves lose green and turn to gold, red, and brown.

Wild turkeys are also neighborhood residents.

They stick around all year. In early spring, Tom comes into the yard with his fully fanned out tail, herding hens like some slow moving Zamboni back and forth on the melting ice. When the grass is a nice spring green, broods of up to a dozen little brown chicks scurry through the tall shoots, barely visible around their mamma’s legs. By the time the greens turn brown, there are flocks bustling about all day, roosting in low branches in the evening.

I love these feathered neighbors. Their antics are always fascinating, and I’m so lucky to share this place with them. 

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.