nature

Staying in Focus: I’m Back! (I Think)

I can’t believe my last post was in August, and here it is October already.  We didn’t travel  this summer, or do much of anything, really. I lacked inspiration.  Then we had some family matters to work through.  My 93 year old mom suffered through a second round of Shingles and required  our help in getting her to doctor’s appointments, and weekly visits to help keep up with her household chores.

On the positive side, we had a lovely visit with Bill’s sister Pat, husband Rick and son Matt. They brought us a grandfather clock , which had been a gift given to their mother from their father just months before she passed away. Before his untimely death this past March, he had expressed the wish that someone in the family would take the clock. We had a space for it, and everyone agreed that it looked like it had always been there. During their stay we browsed the bookstore, looked at new houses in the area, and sampled the fare of local eateries.

Our 40th anniversary was September 4th. We finally found a few free days last week to get away to the mountains to relax and de-stress, and celebrate 40 years together. I took some nice pictures of Echo Lake. The trees were just beginning to trade their overall green color  for splashes of color like crimson, umber, sienna, red-orange and yellow.

So I’m back, I think. We are about to start my favorite season, and it is a busy one. I am preparing for our Moving Day Event – A walk for Parkinson’s disease . Pat’s  Patrol (my team) will number at least 17 this year. And I am proud to announce that we have achieved  our team goal of $720.00 raised for the National Parkinson Foundation. This will be followed by Halloween,  Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas, with buying gifts, wrapping, decorating, cooking, and visiting. with family and friends

So, I’ll try to keep up with posting (I wouldn’t mind a little snow this year. I love taking snow pictures!)

Here are some photos of Echo Lake:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 8: Natural World and Leading Lines

I love taking nature photographs, especially close-ups of flowers. The curves of the petals, the spirals, the textures all interest me. When the pickings are slim outside during the winter months, I take pictures of my houseplants, or buy a  bouquet of flowers at the market and bring them home, and play around with different exposures and settings. Here are my results: The last one is a photo of a butterfly I took last summer.

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Staying in Focus: Mother Nature, Master Sculptor

This weekend Mother Nature swept in with cold temperatures and a buffet of precipitation. We had rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.  Needless to say, the roads were icy, schools and businesses had to close and many people lost power.

Mother Nature, however, left me and my trusty camera a gift – the sun came out on Sunday and lit the ice-covered world with a crystal glow.  Mother Nature revealed her talent for ice sculpture, and I tried to capture some of it for you.

with icy fingers Mother Nature

paints each bush and tree

with silver gilt she so creates

a winter fantasy…

then I await the morning sun

with rapt anticipation

as it ignites a crystal world

beyond imagination

-pc 1998

 

 

 

Staying in Focus: Escape from Mount Sanctuary

ANNOUNCING the release of my novel for children:

 

 

Book Cover small

 

Although written with children in mind, the story is one you will never forget, a story of friendship, acceptance and tolerance for those different from us, of family and courage and sacrifice. It is a cautionary tale written to remind us how beautiful, yet fragile, is our world,  and how important is our stewardship of  it. It is  a story of  a boy coming of age, for readers of all ages.

 

Escape from Mount Sanctuary now available from the Kindle store at Amazon.com. It’s a bargain at only $.99. No Kindle, no problem. Simply download the FREE Kindle app  and you can view the book on your computer.  Here’s a link to the site:

http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Mount-Sanctuary-Imagine-discover-ebook/dp/B00JYJ5AZI/ref=pd_rhf_ee_p_dnr_2

 

On the lower right hand corner of the page you will see a link to the free Kindle app. The book will be available in print on demand in the coming weeks if you prefer traditional books.

Book Description

 April 25, 2014
What if you had the chance to discover the world all over again? In Escape from Mount Sanctuary, a young boy named Ke does exactly that. Ke has lived his life in special caverns built to shelter survivors and their descendants beneath the Earth’s surface following a cataclysmic event ages ago. Ke learns that there is an “outside” to his world, a world long thought abandoned. Ke is intrigued, especially when he meets a girl (Mira) from an outside settlement and a wolf named Tip, who possesses special abilities. With this pair of adventurers, Ke and his elder friend, Tuck, embark on a journey into a world far more wondrous, and dangerous, than they imagined. During their journey, Ke, a naïve young boy with dreams of becoming a storyteller, learns much about friendships and family, self-reliance and sacrifice. By journey’s end, they all come to realize that courage is not measured by one’s size or one’s age, but by the conviction in one’s heart. Their story celebrates the joy of discovery, the wonder of our world and the rewards of perseverance. It encourages its readers to follow their dreams wherever they may lead. It is about discovering the world all over again.

Staying In Focus: Eyes on Spring

A visit to the ophthalmologist today prompted the thoughts for these poems. With my eyes dilated and peeking out from behind my sunglasses, the colors of the green leaves unfurling on every bush and tree was a delight to see, especially with my eyes wide open.

I love perennials. Plant them once and every year they come back to surprise me. No one tells them when to start blooming – the instructions are coded in the tiny seeds we sow. Would that we could sow other seeds – of kindness, of appreciation, of consideration and love  and have them perennially bloom within us. Now that would be a sight to see!

 

Keep Your Eyes Open

a visit to the ophthalmologist

always an eye-opening experience

especially in early spring,

my eyes wide open to the view

of yellow and mossy and deep evergreen                                                                                                        IMG_3023

and every shade there is in between

blue green needles adorn the tall pines

and yellow green bushes arranged in a line

remind me to keep my eyes open to see

the beauty of nature surrounding me

the promise of life’s renewal each spring

and the joy and delight this season can bring!

 

 

 

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Perennially

We sow seeds carefully each spring

and look for the delights they bring

perennials will bloom again

a precious visit from a friend

If only we could sow the seeds

of kindness , love and understanding

appreciation, concern and care,

into people everywhere,

what a change this world would see –

and be renewed  –  perennially!

 

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A rare Southern snowstorm painted our landscape white yesterday, then added some icy accents. The weather  was challenging for drivers – it took my son 4-1/2 hours, rather than the usual twenty minutes, to get home. However, for a photographer it was amazing. Look at how Mother Nature has encased every leaf and berry in a coat of ice. Unfortunately we did not get the sun to come out today and set it all aglow. It would go from amazing to spectacular!

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Staying in Focus: Coves and Coastlines, Lakes and Rivers

There were some beautiful vistas of harbors and coves, lakes and rivers on our trip. The beaches of Scotland and Ireland are rocky for the most part, but the guides told us that doesn’t stop people from spending a day at the beach. The rocky coastlines have a wild, pristine look that speakk of ancient times, Viking raids, and adventure. We took a boat ride on Loch ness  and , no, we didn’t see Nessie, but I took this photo of a rocky outcropping and it looks kind of like  a prehistoric creature swimming in the lake, so that is my “Nessie”. Enjoy a cruise along the coasts and rivers and lakes. It’s a beautiful day to be on the water!

“Nessie”

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Off the coast of Northern  Ireland:

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Loch Ness, Inverness Scotland

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Southern Ireland

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Staying in Focus: The Island of Flowers

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St. Peter Port, Guernsey

When I first looked over the itinerary for our British Isle cruise, I was excited to discover that our first port of call would be the island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands. The reason for my excitement about this was because I had recently read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows . (Excellent Read). The novel takes place in 1946 when a young journalist strikes up a friendship,via letter writing, with a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and soon  begins to receive letters from others on the island, all relating their stories and experiences during the Nazi Occupation during WWII.

I didn’t expect to find the city of flowers on the island, however. I can describe St. Peter Port in no other way because flowers are everywhere you look – in baskets and wheel barrows, on fences and walls, spilling out of window boxes and hanging from every lamppost along the harbor. The local craftspeople were selling their wares, fresh made ice  cream from a local dairy tempted us all and the buildings and homes were picturesque, colorful and charming.

When we first arrived, the island was completely fogged in and we had to wait for clearance, so the tenders ferrying us to shore, could find their way. But soon the sun dismissed the fog and the mists rose, and we could see the island under  a bright blue sky.

island of flowers

we approach an island
shrouded in mists
like Avalon in King Arthur tales
we wait for the sun
to appear  and dismiss
the curtain of fog
and give us  a glimpse
of the island hidden
behind the white veil…

the picturesque city
of St. Peter Port
on the isle of Guernsey
a colorful village
filled with flowers –
flowers that  spill
from  round baskets
and overfill planters;
they hang from fences
and decorate lampposts
we see them in barrels
and along winding roads
filling wheel barrows
and teasing our noses
with delicate scents
the charm of this place
will stay long with me
and I’ll remember so dearly
St. Peter Port city
on the isle of Guernsey
with flowers  so pretty…
    –     pc 2013

An interesting face about Guernsey. It is not part of the British Empire, but rather a possession of the royal monarch herself.I promised you flavor, and St. Peter Port,  Guernsey has more flavor of color than Baskin Robbins has of ice cream. Enjoy a taste!!

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Staying in Focus: Return From the Sea

We just arrived home from our cruise around the British Isles and what a wonderful time we  had. I went in search of inspiration and I was not disappointed. I happened upon some revelations as well. I will not inundate you with my 2000 plus photographs but will instead try to convey the flavor of the British Isles with some photo collages and commentary. My first inspiration came from being aboard ship again. I love waking up to a sun rising over the sparkling water and wrapping myself in the more mellow tones of the sun setting at day’s end. I love waking up and peeking out behind the drapes to see where our adventures for the day will begin’. I decided, therefore, to start  with a simple concept: the sea.  Here are my favorites from the waters  around the British Isles.

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on a sea of inspiration

cruising round the British Isles

with sailboats as companions

tacking toward the setting sun…

and in coves,  ships find safe harbor

as the captains in their  cabins

dream of voyages  to come…

the sun bids clouds to gather

as rays of gold rain gently down

and  illuminate the sea;  for a

a sunset over Scotland forms

a memory not forgotten

easily.

-pc 2013

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap: Alaska

Daily Prompt: Tourist Trap:

Of all the places I have been to, the place I would return to in a heartbeat is Alaska. The untamed wilderness has always calledIMG_8549whale2 to me, mountains and glaciers and  waters of aquamarine.  I counted more bald eagles in one day in Juneau than I had counted  in all  the years of my life combined. But, most especially, it was where a dream of mine came true. It was in Alaska where I had my first encounter with the humpback whales. I have admired these huge denizens of the sea for years, and have supported my adopted whale, Ivory, for twenty years. Alaska is also the place where I experienced my first sunrise at sea. It was a profound experience, watching the sun rise and push back the shadow of night, the golden light spilling over the water , dancing a path of light from the sun to me.  The following are two poems, one a haiku entitled Sunrise,Sunset at Sea and one a sestina, And Did I Mention the Water is Aquamarine?

a path of gold from the sun to me

a path of gold from the sun to me

Sunrise , Sunset at Sea

 

we watch the sun rise
light vanquishes the darkness
and color returns

the calm sea reflects
ribbons of orange and pink
we stand mesmerized

 

 

as the sun rises
it paints a path of gold light
for us to follow
 

as the sun lowers
bands of dark purple and blue
bruise the evening sky

 rays of pale sunlight
reach out across the water
the sun bids farewell

we watch the sun set
the shades of night seep in
the sky veiled in gray

the calm sea darkens
a weary sun now at rest
color fades to black

the green waters stirred by the ship's passage

the green waters stirred by the ship’s passage

                              pc ‘2012

 

 (in a sestina, each sentence in the six paragraphs must end in six chosen words: Alaska, glaciers, aquamarine, paradise, mountains, whales. In each verse these words move around in a preset form. The sestina ends in a tercet and in each of those lines are two of the six chosen words)

 

 

And Did I Mention the Water is Aquamarine?

a pristine wilderness, wild and untamed,  a place called Alaska
a land of bears and  bald eagles;  graced with icy glaciers
and did I mention the water is aquamarine?
our ship slowly starts passage into the fjord, a slim slice of paradise
we pass the silent sentinels,  the mighty mountains,
a disturbance in the water;  we are in the company of whales


we spy a spout of steam,  a telltale sign, we watch for the whales
in summer, they come to feed on small fish off the coast of Alaska
fresh water runs in rivers from the melting snows of the mountains
slowly they move, ages old, ever-changing, grinding rock and ice, the glaciers
glow on a rare sunny day in July. We are thankful to be here in such a paradise
enchanted,  we watch the sunlight sparkle on waters of aquamarine

this is a color rarely seen – a translucent version of aquamarine
so pretty when it swirls, and suddenly,  there appear two killer whales
azure skies, the brilliant sun, running waters, crystal ice, this is my paradise
and a dream come true – long have I waited to come to Alaska
to see blue ice glowing in the fissures of the glaciers
and marvel at the snow capped peaks of lofty, rugged  mountains

beaches are fine, but take me to the mountains
especially those that surround waters of aquamarine
crack! the sound echoes, as  ice splits from the glaciers
in the gold of the setting sun, the breach of a whale
I’’ll forever remember the unrestrained beauty –Alaska
has all the facets of a true paradise

I walk in the beauty of this wilderness paradise
where wisps of fog conceal the tops of the mountains,
the leaves strung with pearls of morning dew.  Of Alaska,
I’ll always remember that incredible shade of aquamarine
and that sound in the night – the exhaling  breath of a whale
and those blue icebergs sailing by,  spawned by the glaciers

despite their age, there is a fragile beauty in the glaciers,
which is woven in the fabric of this natural paradise
I can hear it calling to me in the singing of the whales
as it  echoes through the canyons of the waiting mountains
and reflects in the waters of aquamarine
it’s a song of the wilderness,  – the song of Alaska

I came in search of whales, and the snow-capped mountains,
which rise in silhouette above the glacier ice fields, in a paradise,
a dream taken form in aquamarine – Alaska.

Itwo eagles
the Sawyer glacier

humpback whales humpback whales

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