Tag Archives: Nature photography

Summer Bliss

Feeling the shock in my solar plexus of loosing everything that I just wrote I sit and stare at the empty screen. It is kind of funny to be noticing my own disbelief, the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach as I press the UNDO button over and over again while hearing in my head: “What have I done?” .

Two hummingbirds come and hover around my head, one on each side. Maybe they are trying to balance my brain. I smile at the thought. Or perhaps they have come to comfort me, which is rather unlikely. But I do like the idea. They sure take my mind of what is no more and instead I breathe in the sweet summer air and enjoy the gentle buzzing as the little helicopter birds check out the colourful clothing hanging on the line. I strung up a long cord between the trees and it feels like I am sitting in a room with walls made of towels, bedding and clothing.

June’s unexpected heat wave brought back something that I didn’t know I had been missing. In my youth I would spend many days and hours just reading novels. Riding my bike to the beach or pool on those long hot summer days you would always find at least one book in my bag. Alternating between swimming and lying at the beach reading, life was full of simple pleasures and endless reading. The epic classics like War and Peace, Doctor Zhivago, Anna Karenina, Beyond Sing The Woods and many others opened my heart and mind to different worlds, different world views and of course the human journey in a story created by brilliant diverse writers.

With no escaping the incredible heat other than dipping into the lake or ocean I found myself with very little energy or motivation to even move in the last week of June. So I picked up a novel from the library and found myself reading for hours and hours till deep into the night not wanting to break the spell of the story. A visit to one of my neighbours who shares the love of reading resulted in bringing back a little more treasures. Just holding these books in my hands and turning the pages brought pleasure. It almost felt like I was slowly remembering an old part of me. How sweet it felt to drop the to-do list and instead read to my heart’s content for just the pure pleasure of it.

Sleeping outside most nights brought more magic. Drifting in and out of sleep only to see the sparkling sky every time I opened my eyes, while hearing the whales’ deep breathing and watching Grandmother Moon travel across the sky were also unexpected gifts. And one night the wind came and cooled me like no fan could. Finally I slept so deep I didn’t wake up till the sun was already high in the sky hidden behind clouds.

The cooler temperatures however brought an army of wasps. These great warriors do not let the hummingbirds return to their feeder and have chased me from the deck as well. I have moved my lounge chair and found a different spot to hang out and enjoy these beautiful summer days. Feeling deeply content with simple pleasures like dreaming up new variations of ice tea, finding more novels to order through the library or reading a good poem or two I pause to take in all this beauty.

I hope you are able to fully enjoy this summer and perhaps remember something that makes your heart sing. Sometimes just the memory is enough and other times we may dip our toes back into what we used to love.

And speaking of good poems, here is one that came to me this morning as I sat in the early morning light out on the bluff. I opened a book randomly and this was the poem that greeted me:

Rice

It grew in the black mud.

It grew under the tiger’s orange paws.

Its stems thinner than candles, and as straight.

Its leaves like the feathers of egrets, but green.

The grains cresting, wanting to burst.

Oh, blood of the tiger.

I don’t want you just to sit down at the table.

I don’t want you just to eat, and be content.

I want you to walk out into the fields

where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.

I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.

I want you to fill your hands with the mud, like a blessing.

~ by Mary Oliver (from her book “Devotions”)

And off to the garden I go….

Perfectly Imperfect

For a moment everything appeared calm and perfect. Even the pigeons on the roof of the ferry building were closing their eyes after a good grooming session. It made me wonder if they felt as relieved as me that the sun had come out despite the rather gloomy weather forecast. Then without warning the peacefulness was interrupted by a crow joining the sleepy crowd. Everyone scattered making room for the strange visitor who nonchalantly moved to the eavestrough for a drink. Holding up a found treasure which looked like a white pearl in his beak he stared down at me. It felt like one of these special moments that invites you stop everything you are doing or thinking and just become present.

Not sure until the last moment if I was going to risk the predicted stormy weather to visit my sons on Mayne Island I am so glad that I went for it. Driving down Vancouver Island and making my way in stages I was enchanted by the fall colours and the dramatic changes of weather embracing the feeling of freedom.

From sun to heavy rainfalls autumn made itself known to be here. Rainbows graced the sky a few times making the long awaited visit even more special. It was my first trip since Christmas and it felt wonderful to be walking along the trails with my sons sharing the treasures and views along the way just like we have done since they were little except in those days we lived on a mountain top in the interior and now we were sharing the wonders of a little island in the ocean.

Every now and then one of them pointed out something they wanted me to see like a large snail crossing our path or a seagull rocking precariously on a moving log in the water giving me a glimpse of the past and of the wonder and curiosity in the young boys eyes seeing or experiencing something for the first time. Yet so many times I still have the experience of awe in nature and seeing with brand new eyes and I sense it is still there in them as well. Nature just invites this kind of opening and expansion.

Having visited Mayne Island quite a few times now the different landscape still surprises me each time I go. It is so much fun to discover more details and let my eyes feast on unfamiliar rock and sand formations that seem so unique to this island. Hearing also more about the rich history fills in the imagination of what it must have been like in the past and colourful sceneries come alive in a new way.

This trip my curiosity was drawn to the strange mounds of rocks scattered all over the forest. They look like little peaks where the ocean may have pushed the rocks into pyramid shaped forms a long time ago. It made me realize how everything changes over time and consider how high the water must have been at the time these came into being. What seems normal today may some day be something odd or strange, not quite fitting the landscape surrounding it.

Taking in the beautiful colours of the water surrounding the island it took me a while to figure out who was hiding in the kelp. All I could see was the whiskers of some mysterious water creature. It looked like a beaver, but I dismissed that idea not sure that beavers actually live in the ocean. So my next guess was an otter, but it wasn’t that either. Ever so slowly the animal’s head rose fully out of the water revealing a very sleepy seal, who could barely keep his eyes open to take a look at me before sinking back down until only his mouth and whiskers showed just above the waterline.

Standing still I watched it rise and fall, opening and closing its eyes, I imagine it was probably glad when I decided to join my sons and leave it be in peace. My sons were waiting for me around the bend and we got one last glimpse together of the seal hiding for an afternoon nap floating in the kelp before we moved on.

As short as the trip was the joy of sharing these special moments with loved ones was priceless and well worth the effort. I was so grateful that the weather was part of the wonder rather than stopping the trip before it even began. Watching the ferries go by and the dramatic change of clouds and light was like watching a silent movie together while we shared food, memories and what is current in our lives.

On my ferry rides and drive home I had much time to reflect and rejoice in the time we had together and feeling the fullness of my heart. Remembering also the recent visit of my dear friend and a special tapping session she did with me where she helped me embrace my “perfect imperfections“. Examining how much the idea of perfection had stopped me from doing certain things in my life because I knew I could never be perfect at it, her simple statement that I was being perfect at being imperfect brought tears of joy and relief. This I could be!

Laughing out loud on this perfect drive home I was so happy to embrace the beauty of imperfection. The freedom and joy I have felt since releasing this old belief formed such a long time ago is quite remarkable. Knowing whatever I do is perfect in its imperfection allows me to have a lot more fun with whatever I do.