Weekly Photo Challenge: Off-Season

One of the advantages of being self-employed is that you can take advantage of the freedom of your schedule and do things when you feel like it.   Steve and I like to travel in the spring and fall when places are less crowded.  Consequently, we got the opportunity to be the ONLY visitors at a National Park one day.  It was Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, and it was April.  Here is what the walk up to the Visitor’s Center looked like:

off season 3We hadn’t really come equipped to hike in so much snow, so we settled for watching the video describing the volcanic terrain from inside the cozy Visitor’s Center.  One park ranger is all we saw there that day.  (I should note that this was in 2011, before the severe droughts of more recent years.)

Here’s a local off-season shot:

off season  Milwaukee on the first warm day in March.

I hesitate to label anything off-season, though.  All seasons of the year are open for exploration.  Nature is doing its thing whether crowds show up or not, and I love to see natural areas at any time and at different times.  It’s always beautiful, always worth it.  Here is my final shot of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas in October: 

off season 2

Off-Season

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid Wings

The picture of the Sydney Opera House reminds me of this photo I took this week on a walk through the Fox Hill Nature Preserve, one of the properties owned by my new employer, Cedar Lakes Conservation Foundation. 

VividElectric lights don’t seem to hold a candle to a day of sunshine on the first of June when the air temperature is a cool 55 degrees Fahrenheit.  Even in mid-day, every color seemed to pop with vibrancy and life!

Vivid

Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs Along the Way

Today’s challenge is to photograph scenes that are not your destination, but are the ‘mundane moments’ in between.  This is a bit tricky, as I try very hard not to see any moment as mundane and not to focus on a destination and forget that the journey and process are very important.  I have lots of photos of the flowers along the way as well.  So, I thought I’d do something a bit different.  I’m going to show you wayside signs.  This first one is one of my favorites, located just beyond the security checkpoint at the Milwaukee airport:

RecombobIt makes you consider: what is recombobulation?  How discombobulated do you feel when you have relinquished your shoes, purse, backpack, laptop and phone and had your body scanned by electronic devices?  How about this one:

poisonHow considerate to warn cars passing on the highway that poisonous gas has leaked from these oil refineries!  But once you are passing, how do you heed the ‘Do Not Enter’ warning?  Do not enter what?  The surrounding airspace? Then there’s this:

handling batsI wonder at the necessity of this sign.  Who would manhandle a bat if they happened to come upon one in a cave?  I hate to think.  If not afraid, I would hope they’d be respectful.  And finally, consider this proposition:picnicHow would you set the table in this picnic area?  I hope you brought plenty of duct tape and napkins!

On the Way

Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken is not Finished

This week’s challenge is perfect for the photos I took yesterday at Hippie Tom’s Serendipity Farm – an antique/junque pickers’ and gleaners’ mecca in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Steve and I were out for a ramble through a wildlife area and stumbled upon the road signs advertizing his sale.  The parking area was bustling, TV cameras were rolling, and Hippie Tom was in full swing for Spring.  It seems that his farm is only open twice a year for the public to browse and discover treasure in his vast complex of old out-buildings.  It’s a jungle of old and semi-new, broken and mostly intact, recyclable and re-purposeable stuff.  And we do create a lot of stuff, us humans.  It makes no sense to simply throw it on a trash heap, polluting the land with it.  Reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse.  Broken is not finished.  There is purpose and life even during brokenness.  If there weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to type with my left pinkie right now.  (Broke it in high school.  It’s distinctly crooked, but usable.  Yup, I play keyboards and sometimes guitar with it…not expertly, but ‘proficiently’.)


Broken

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Enveloped, Please!

What does “enveloped” mean to you?  Signed, sealed, delivered, secure, safe, covered.  A wonderful environment for inner growth; a wonderful place from which to emerge.  Staying enveloped indefinitely is not my idea of living, though.  The thrill of ripping open that seal and discovering the treasure inside is life revealed and reveled in!


Enveloped

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

In the Wisconsin woodlands, the force of Nature in Springtime is GROWTH!

growth piercing

Plants that have lain dormant for months have an incredible urge to surge and unfurl.  You can see greening in a matter of hours, really.  The wildflowers on the forest floor have a limited opportunity to pop up and take in the sunshine before the canopy leaves provide too much shade.  Early May is the best time to see woodland wildflowers in bloom.

trout lily

A wildflower is an inspirational force of nature.  You may think they are delicate and fragile, and they are, being ephemerals.  But they are also survivors.  They are perennials uniquely adapted to their habitat.  They do not require any tending, care, watering, pruning, pampering or husbandry to blaze up every year with the desire to GROW.  I like to think of them as my ‘spirit flowers’.  I’ve been a widow and single mother of 4 for 7 years; I am a woman with a fierce desire to grow and sustain my life and my kids’ in the most natural way I can.  My kids are grown and living independently from me now, and we are each beautiful illustrations of the fragility and tenacity of life.  Yes, we are WILDFLOWERS in many ways.  

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and nurturers of life who recognize the force and the freedom of growth in themselves and in others!

Forces of Nature