Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dust in the Wind

We run through life doing our very best each and every day. We are crunched for time and seem to be meeting ourselves coming home as we leave the next morning. Working hard doesn't seem to be enough anymore, and we don't seem to have a moment to think about how to work smart. Running around like hamsters in a cage, day in and day out, more paperwork and more computer work, more phone calls and more errands, take the kids here and take on another job. When did life get so crazy?

Watching the mist rise off the lake this morning Kansas came to mind. No, not the state - the group and their song, "Dust in the Wind." I offer these lyrics to you today to contemplate as this is how I'm feeling today:

I close my eyes
only for a moment and the moment's gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes with curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind
Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, through we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Now don't hang on
Nothin' lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won't another minute buy.
Dust in the wind
Everything is dust in the wind

Yesterday's news scared me and should scare us all. Today, I seek consolation but can't seem to find it. Sorry to be such a downer today but ... well ... there ya go.

Added disclaimer: This really didn't have anything to do with the financial mess.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

November 5, 2005

Autumn is in the air. The Red Buckeyes are bejeweled with their luscious, textured seedpods. Soon they'll open and these rich, mahogany seeds will drop to the ground and do their best to ensure continuation of the species. Buckeye seeds appear in late summer in a fig-sized leathery pouch. The dark brown seed are large, smooth and take on a rich luster as they harden and are handled. Wildlife, with the possible exception of squirrels, shun the bitter, poisonous seeds. Squirrels have been hoarding these seedpods long before they reach the stage you see above. This photo was taken in 2005, and since then I've rarely been able to find any seeds themselves. The Red Buckeyes are denuded of seedpods much earlier these days.

An old custom is carrying seed pods in your pocket. Supposedly, the seeds are carried as an old remedy to ward off rheumatism and other assorted ailments. Mostly, they are considered lucky charms. The old saying went "You'll never find a dead man with a buckeye in his pocket." Today, their most likely used sort of like a worry stone - something to roll around in your hand.

I have a little clay bowl of dried buckeyes on my table. They dry into a dark, chestnut brown and get slightly wrinkled. They are beautiful accompaniment to my clay and wooden bowls filled with rocks and flotsam from here and other sites.

The little teal clay bowl to the lower left holds about 7-8 buckeye seeds. The solid reddish rocks are from Wales, the gold & red rock is from our backyard.

This wooden bowl from Valdivia, Chili holds smooth river rocks from around the Southeastern region.

This blue pottery plate from Chili holds fossils and petrified bones from our riverbank, plus some seashells from the Gulf of Mexico. If you think I have a lot of rocks, you should see my seashell collection. And these are just the small rocks. My husband tolerates this obsession and actually brings me rocks from his journeys. My challenge is keeping up with where they came from! I'm not that organized, you see.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


So there I was slumped back into the sofa, looking up to the ceiling after another chat with my teenager when the fan and its shadow caught my attention. There were no more words left for the teen so I shot into the air. I hate this fan 'cause it's just ugly and shows every cobweb, but it does cool the house. But, I digress.

Foiled again by the wily lass I schlump back to my lair (office) to log on and check out my blogging buddies. While one teenager disappoints this particular evening another teenager has honored my blog. Michaela at Floodwaters Photography has been a source of inspiration and delight to me since discovering her a few months ago. She is witty and smart and compassionate and extraordinarily talented. That she likes my humble blog just made my night - thanks, Michaela.

Accordingly, I must share this award with seven people whose blogs fill me up with beauty, thought, reflection, or whatever it is that draws me in. There are many blogs that do this for me, yet some that refuse awards, so I thought about it and here's my list.

Rachel at Blue Algae Creative: http://bluealgaecreative.blogspot.com/

I used to lurk at Rachel's blog simply because I felt it too beautiful for any insipid responses from me. Her blog is an artistic masterpiece. The colors she uses appeals to me just like a clear mountain stream. Thanks, Rachel, for creating such a soothing place to visit.

Nancy Bond's blog draws me in every time with her extraordinary photographs and amazing poetry and prose. Her words and images are so vivid that I can feel them deep inside. They warm me softly and create a pool of contentment in my soul. I visit here every day because a day without Soliloquy is a day without sunshine.

Daniel at Nature at Close Range: http://www.natureatcloserange.com/

I met Daniel last year when he and his wife and 8 kids (you read that right) rented a house across the street while their family home was being repaired after burning. Daniel and I first noticed we loved nature photography, then we discovered we both blogged, and then we found out we were both self-professed Nature Geeks. Daniel and his son Sebastian are particularly close and love exploring nature together. Heck, some of the rest of his brood may be going out with him as well by now! Anyway, Daniel is a walking encyclopedia about birds, bugs, spiders, snakes, fish, and all the etcetera this area offers. Thanks, Daniel for being such fun and I miss you guys being across the street!

Each and every time I visit Lisa's blog I learn something. She outlines so much about her garden and her life, punctuating each post with lovely photographs and heartfelt descriptions. Lisa just did a scrumptious piece about autumn berries that I loved, and she has Jerusalem Artichokes growing in her yard. I envy her backyard and it's lovely blooms. Oh, and I love her dog! Thanks, Lisa, for delighting me every day!

Robin at Robin's Nesting Place: http://robinsnestingplace.blogspot.com/

Robin's macro photos of butterflies and blossoms leave me breathless. Her recent post is about raising black swallowtails on her parsley and fennel, complete with pics of the chrysalis' and the caterpillars and the newly-dried butterflies with wings outstretched. I went through this process last year as well. Robin's blog is a whirlwind of gardening frenzy that I love, love, love and her photos ... as I said ... are indeed amazing! Thanks, Robin, for sharing so much of yourself with us!

Carol at The Blessing Counter: http://theblessingcounter.blogspot.com/

Carol is a long-time friend who is an amazing wife and mother of four of the bestest kids I've ever met. Carol is a talented writer and photographer and is my spiritual mentor. (she doesn't know that, but I reckon she will now) I met Carol 14 or 15 years ago when I hired her as my assistant at our television station. I tried hard to keep her at arm's length but our friendship and bond was too strong. Today, we remain good friends and always will. She's become quite the blogger and I know you'll love her as much as I do! Thanks, Carol, for being my friend.

Outer Banks Mom is the greenest lady I've ever known. I visit her blog daily for inspiration, information, knowledge, and to get fired up about issues that truly matter. I also visit her blog for cool-o recipes, like the Cilantro Margarita that's amazing! Besides which, Outer Banks Mom lives, obviously, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. North Carolina is one of my favorite States, period. It's the perfect state with wild, wonderful seashores, tides as wide and long as a summer day, lighthouses and wild horses, waterways and seashells and shrimp boats to the east, and rolling emerald hills, clear mountain streams with glorious rocks and cliffs and rapids and old growth trees to the west. Visiting Outer Banks Mom's blog is like visiting my favorite place....without using any gas..and teaching me what it's truly like to be Green. Thanks, OBM for being there.
DANG! I forgot to put the award in here, so here it is!!!! But putting it in messed with my spacing, drat! Rats! I don't have time to pretty this back up but it's all heartfelt.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

November 14, 2005

This was the very first photo taken with my Canon 20D when it was brand new, right out of the box on November 14, 2005. I love, love, love my camera, almost unhealthily so. I have a passion for it and love the weight of it, the look of it, the feel of it. It's comfortable in my hand. It's almost as though it's an additional appendage. It's a part of me. It's intrinsically connected to my heart, my eyes, my hands and my soul. The only object that comes remarkably close to this same sort of intimate relationship with an electronic device is the one I share with my iPod, but that's another post entirely.

My first camera was a Yashica FX something 35mm with 3 lenses: 55mm, 28mm and a 70-135mm zoom. That camera documented much of my young adulthood, capturing driftwood and campfires and beaches and lakes and spiders - gosh, the same sorts of things I shoot now. That camera was my constant companion until it developed a serious light leak so she's up on a shelf now. She still receives a good dusting and gentle caresses now and then.

After I reluctantly retired the Yashica I was without a camera for many years. Looking back, those were turbulent times with lots of drifting and seeking...and not finding...myself. In hindsight, and I don't need a "Hindsight Committee" to figure this out, I believe it was because I wasn't out in the field doing what I love. No campfires, no water or lakes, no photography, nothing. It was work and school and work and work and school and actually going out and getting plastered with people I didn't really like. I wasn't me, and I was miserable.

A change of friends helped, as did a new career. Then Bob came into my life and I began to settle. After we were married he gave me a new camera - a Canon Elan II EOS with a sweet 100-300 zoom and a 55mm lens. Oh, wow! Oh, yeah! I played with that for a few years and then along came the first digital into the household when my tech-head husband HAD to buy a Sony Cybershot 5.0 megapixel.

I scoffed. Puh-lease.......that's not a "real" camera, I said in my snottiest voice complete with elitist attitude. Ahem, I'm a PHOTOGRAPHER, honey. Cough, cough. I ignored the little Sony completely, and continued to drive my film into town, picking it up days later and though I was always, always unhappy with the results I kept my unhappiness a secret. I went so far as to consider and plan my own darkroom I was so displeased with my prints.

I can't remember what possessed me to try the Sony but one day I did. That's when I discovered something called Immediate Gratification. Sometime later I discovered Photoshop. Then I got the Canon 20D. Now I want a Canon 40D body. I'm in digital heaven, and I'm loving it. It's completely addictive, and I know many of you are nodding your heads and saying Amen! This isn't to say that film cameras are bad, or poloroids are bad - I'm just not gifted with those mediums. Not to suggest that I'm "gifted" with digital, but that it's simply bringing pleasure and joy into my life.

These days my Canon Elan II sits beside the Yashica and I dust them often, and sometimes I hold them, look through their eyepiece and silently say "Thank you." (to say that out loud would raise eyebrows) Who knows...one day I may take the Canon Elan II out for a spin and see what comes of it.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Nancy at Soliloquy has made me hungry for Autumn with its
smokey smells, crisp air and jeweled colors.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

February 1, 2006

Watching this slow, burning sunrise
was like staring at the
glowing embers of a campfire.

Monday, September 15, 2008

October 13, 2003

October is my favorite month of the year. On this day our front walk was lined with Monarch butterflies gorging themselves on blossoms in preparation for their continued migration southward. The air was getting crisp and the Possumhaw berries were already completely scarlet. The Monarchs weren't frightened off easily by observers as they fluttered around us, over us and between us seeking nectar. Each one fed until exhaustion took hold, and then would find a branch and stretch out their stained glass wings to catch the weak sun's rays.
I am the Monarch Butterfly
Avisha N. Sanassie
I am the Monarch butterfly
I am the king of kings
Soaring high on gloden wings
I am the monarch butterfly
Floating high through the air
I am the monarch butterfly
See me soar and glide
I am the monarch butterfly
Only the luky ones will recieve
the long awaited butterfly kiss
I am the monarch butterfly
I am the king of kings

Friday, September 12, 2008

November 27, 2004

This is straight out of the camera - no photoshopping and no changes in saturation. This is the real deal. A spectacular sunrise, it heralded the arrival of a terrific and terrifying storm. Windows shook and vibrated due to 60 mph winds, and water gushed through the cracks left by the caulking that popped out. Water ran down our walls from upper windows and bulged beneath the paint and drywall. I was up all night mopping up with towels. We had to move the furniture and place buckets and bowls everywhere to catch the dribbles from our loft windows. Well, not "we" as my husband was out of town.

This particular storm was the first one of many similar storms in our lake house. This shot is facing southeast, and when winds come from that direction there's nothing to stop it as that's the river channel. Fierce winds slammed into our front windows like a fiend, rattling the rafters and shaking windows. It boomed and the house shuddered and creaked. But the windows held and the house stayed on its foundation and all was well after a little repair work.

Our lake is beautiful and I love a good storm. It's a good thing, because storms here can be quite fierce since we're beside open water. No doubt every one of you have similar weather stories. I take the bad with the good as with these storms come great photo opportunities.

I'm adding this bit on Friday night - I thought about my post this afternoon and decided to post an informal disclaimer. I'm not for a moment comparing my storm experience with those of the hurricane victims. While we've had our times here, my heart is going out tonight to those in Ike's path. I cannot imagine, and never want to experience, the fury of a hurricane.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

August 19, 2004

The "Y"

Years ago, obviously in 2004, we visited friends in Sevierville, Tennessee. Close to Gatlinburg but away from the craziness of that tourist trap, Sevierville is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes. Rolling hills that we Southerners love to call "mountains" are vast, lush greenery, and the veins of these emerald hills are filled with icy water from deep within. These veins open at various points creating brooks that become creeks that widen to streams that become rapids heading down at breakneck speed toward eternity.
It was there at a mountaintop rapid that we found this steam that's locally called "The Y." Our kids tubed down it, jumped into it, swam in it, but this gal found its magic was truly in the details of the ordinary.
Like the rocks. The rocks of Tennessee are round, fashioned by time, shaped by explosive, frigid waters. While the kids played I left for the side streams, looked down and took this shot. It's been one of my favorites since.
I could stare at it for hours, this photo. Clear, icy waters dappling over rounded multi-colored rocks. My two favorite natural subjects together. Water and stone, colors and magnification - clarity.
If only I could be this clear with my thoughts and dreams, expounding with friends and family, with being a person overall. I've always envied those who know with such clairity where they're from and where they're going. Like this icy steam in the Great Smoky Mountains, they follow their path.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Outer Banks Mom and Nancy at Sililoquy turned me on to Wordle. This afternoon I was just playing around waiting to head off to a meeting and created this little diddy. How fun was this! This are my words for The Lake. Okay...gotta run. TTFN!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

February 4, 2004

by James Taylor
JT on Sony.com: "There is a theory suggested by the planetologist John Lovelock, that life (on earth) is one inter connected, self regulating organism (watch out). He named it the GAIA theory after the ancient Greek earth goddess (evidently). Your basic tree huggers anthem."
A self-professed tree hugger of the highest order, this song by the original and best JT speaks to my heart. This sunrise photo always brings the verse "petal sky and the rosy dawn" to mind. Enjoy James Taylor's words and give the song a listen. If I could get my Playlist to change for me (major tech problems I'm not in the mood to fool with) I'd play it for you.
The sky was light and the land all dark
The sun rose up over Central Park
I was walking home from work
The petal sky and the rosy dawn
The world turning on the burning sun
Sacred wet green one we live on
Run run run run said the automobile and we ran
Run for your life take to your heels
Foolish school of fish on wheels
Turn away from your animal kind
Try to leave your body just to live in your mind
Leave your cold cruel mother earth behind
As if you were your own creation
As if you were the chosen nation
And the world around you just a rude and
Dangerous invasion
Someone's got to stop us now
Save us from us
No one's gonna stop us now
We thought we ought to walk awhile
So we left that town in a single file
Up and up and up mile after mile after mile
We reached the tree line and I dropped my pack
Sat down on my haunches and I looked back down
Over the mountain
Helpless and speechless and breathless
Pray for the forest pray to the tree
Pray for the fish in the deep blue sea
Pray for yourself and for God's sake
Say one for me
Poor wretched unbeliever
Someone's got to stop us now
Save us from us Gaia
No one's gonna stop us now
So on this lovely, cool, pre-fall Sunday morning during my walk with Baylee, the sun was rising through the trees and a fog was lifting and it was beautiful and this song came to mind. Enjoy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Humble Gratitude

It isn't often that one is rendered speechless, to tears, or experiences spontaneous, surprised laughter. Some act, some vision, music or song, painting or speech, literary genius or the perfect joke...something, or some one's actions, brings you to your knees or is so overwhelmingly unexpected that it changes you forever. It just comes to you, this thing, like a wave washing up the sand.

Twice this week it happened to me. This is one of the stories.

I was drawn to Randy J. Cole's blog merely by its name, "Random Stone." Anything having to do with stones automatically has my attention so I clicked to link to it. There, I became totally immersed in Randy's writing, poetry and art. To this day I am entertained there, or enlightened there, or amazed there. His talent for telling stories is remarkable. He draws me in every time.

Over time through comments and visits back and forth we have forged a nice relationship built on respect. I know the "why" of Random Stone and he knows the "why" of Giraffe Head Tree, the names of our blogs. Sometimes we e-mail back and forth depending on the situation.

We were doing that earlier this week. I'd asked for his permission to use one of his poems. We chatted back and forth a little and that was that. Some time passed and out of the blue comes an e-mail from Randy. In his usual humble fashion Randy said something akin to 'here's this thing you can do with it anything you like.' Not those words but that was the sentiment.

Randy J. Cole had written a poem about the Giraffe Head Tree.

I opened the attachment and was met by the poem you read above. Reading it rendered me speechless, but I laughed with glee and tears welled up in my eyes. I must have read it 50 times in a row before I could move. This gift was unexpected and absolutely perfect and oh, so timely. I created the little graphic with Randy's poem - word for word - and placed it atop a close-up of the Giraffe Head Tree's bark for everyone to see.

You know how blustery, gray, rainy days end and the sun burns through the center,melting the clouds away and a rainbow forms? That's how my soul felt as I read his poem, this gift.

Thank you, Randy J. Cole.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

November 10, 2004

November 10, 2004 dawned with a vengeance. It was bitterly cold, with a strong wind from the north that cut right through you. There's no friction on the lake, therefore nothing to stop the icy blast except my pitiful excuse for a jacket.

The new condominium wasn't yet completed so I stole to their concrete decking with my Sony Cybershot to watch the show. It was a spectacular sunrise. Swirling clouds looked like tornadoes. The upper level winds must have been tremendous as this morning's play changed acts every few minutes. Deep, bright cobalt sky, violet lake. The Sony did a tremendous job considering it was just a 5.0 megapixel. It was one sweet camera, that Sony.

Flipping through the photos, frame by frame, I'm still amazed at how quickly the skies changed that morning. My hands red, ears aching, I had to leave the lake for the warmth of home and coffee, but it was a "really moment."


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