Last weekend we fled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get out of the smoke in the valley. There was some smoke lingering there too, but it was a good reminder that a colorful Fall is here, the skies are still blue, and the air is breathable. The reflection on Sand Pond at Sardine Lake was still and peaceful with no mosquitos in sight.
Peaceful Sand Pond
This last week we voluntarily moved all those things we thought were important to us but had to leave one very precious thing behind. The Atlas Fire was on the ridge, not terribly far from the neighborhood we live in. I said goodbye to this item I had to leave behind and said I would be back, but it made me realize how very much I take this piece for granted and what tremendous pleasure this thing has yielded me over the course of about thirty years. I hadn’t even given this prized possession a name. So before anymore time passes, here is the name; Beauty. You see, Beauty fully fills my life with joy, peace, and a tranquility that few other things can offer. My black Knabe grand piano has given me Beauty, fully for years and never asked for anything in return except a yearly tuning. Beauty fully was too large to pack in the car. You see, everything you need, or is very important to you, can fit in a car. It was a lightbulb moment for me. If my family were still living with us, we’d pack them in first and possibly leave everything else behind. All that is important to you, fits in your car. That means we have many creature comforts that don’t hold much value in our hearts. When it comes to what’s important, family is at the very top of my list, and I think it is at the top of yours too. Don’t forget to let those family members know the depth of the Beauty they fully bring to you.
I had this weeks blog all put together and just about ready to send when I drove down the road and had to stop to take a few photos of this amazing field of sunflowers.
Old Santa Cruz Mountain Faded Sign
This Doesn’t Stop Most
Sea of Yellow
Mix Yellow, Blue, & Green
I happen to know the farmer who is growing these and he truly needs people to not trespass on this particular field of flowers. I’ve seen “no trespassing” signs for years. We had them all over the Santa Cruz mountains when I was a kid. Most of them were so old that you could hardly read what they said, but we all knew that we weren’t supposed to cross that line. Today people see fields of flowers and they all rush out to get a selfie of themselves standing in the field. It takes its toll and they don’t understand that the owner really does need them to stay out of the fields. (It’s not just sunflower fields that cause people to do this. Flower fields, in general, attract bees and people.) I know that cell phones don’t have long-range lenses but maybe it’s time to take the old cameras out of the closet and put the phones away. I did not trespass. I’ve always tried to avoid it. Private places are private and public places are, well, public and free to trespass on. Next time you’re tempted, please remember to give the farmer a break.
While I was waiting for these photos to download, or upload, I could see that this year has led me to photograph bodies of water more than anything else. You might see that I was in search of water again but was pleasantly surprised to see this, lovingly placed, field of Agapanthus perched above the Pacific Ocean on Highway 1. I had to turn the car around and get out to take a shot and walk in the coolness of this cliffside. It was a busy place and I was not the only person who stopped with camera in hand.
Just as I had finished taking pictures and started to return to the car, this caught my eye. What a wonderful surprise to see this white flower with one tiny pink bloom in it’s center. How did that happen?
It made me think about the likenesses of plants, scenery, people, and creatures. I thought about how we look at things and think they are the same, but they are not. We are all unique individuals with something that is extremely special about each of us. Just passing by, you might only see the white cluster, but take a closer look and the true beauty of the plant is so small yet brilliant.
Do you think we eventually could end up with pink flowers with one tiny little white flower in each of the centers? Seems unlikely that would ever happen, but it’s fun to consider such a metamorphosis.
I’ve missed a couple of weeks of posting and I’ve got a good reason why that happened. I’ve been in the south of France, staying in small villages and fully enjoying the sights. I had wanted to go to Provence, France to see the lavender in bloom but the timing was a bit off so I had to settle for the red poppies as they were still blooming about everywhere we went.
Just outside of St. Martin du Bromes.
Overlooking Lac du la Sainte-Croix.
France is filled with bug loving flowers.
I am happy to be home, but have had an incredible vacation with family and friends. It is a wonderful way to travel and a great way to get to know each other better while in a relaxed environment. These poppies were planted in remembrance of the lives that were lost to war. It seems like we are always at war some place in the world. Sad really. The poppies are beautiful but what they symbolize is war and it’s casualties. It makes you stop and think about the sacrifices people have made to keep us from harms way.
As we traveled about, it was hard to miss the metal doors with peep-holes, the stone buildings with metal shutters, and the lack of children playing in the streets. When I was a child we had many freedoms, so many that we didn’t realize how very wonderful freedom was. Today is different from then. There are often days when I miss those yesterdays.
Last weekend we went to my aunt’s house for her 90th birthday. She is in fine health and has so many stories that she wants to reminisce about. We had a great time with her and I would erge anyone who has a friend or loved one who would love a chat or a visit from you to do so; today. Why put something off for tomorrow that you can accomplish today? On the way home we stopped by New Clairvaux Winery in Vina, CA.
Swallowtail at New Clairveux
In the Garden
As we were leaving, a butterfly caught my eye. It’s upper wings were working, what seemed like, excessively hard and fast. I thought it was a hummingbird at first but it was a swallowtail butterfly. I never knew that the butterflies wings could work independently of one another. It was beautiful to see but very difficult to catch in a photo. As we pulled away from the winery, we saw the water iris and another swallowtail butterfly whose wings did not seem to be moving at such a rapid pace. As I drew closer I could see that the wings were quite tattered. I think this is why the movement was slower. What amazing creatures those butterflies are. They fly about the world seeking out the colorful flowers and continuing to fly, even when their wings are breaking down. This is what I think we can take away from the flight of the butterfly; stay true to your course and keep going even when the going gets tough.
It’s that time of year again when we get to meet the newest critter families that romp around our cabin. Just like our own kids, they grow up so fast. In just a short time we won’t be able to tell the babies from the adults.
New Graeagle Family
They all love to play together when they’re young and then it’s hard to get them all together when they grow-up. Where ever you are this weekend, give your mom a call and let her know how much she means to you. If your mom is gone, channel some lovely memories her way. I wish all of you a Very Happy Mother’s Day.
There are times when I wonder why I am so drawn to taking photos when I travel to various places. I suppose it’s so I’ll keep those images with me in a tangible way. I find that I keep those images and experiences with me anyway. When I look at these photos from Hawaii,
Tiny Sand Crabs
it seems that I can still hear the pounding surf, see the sea spray on my sunglasses, and feel the gritty sand between my toes. These images bring back the temperature of the day, the wind that completely messed up my hair, and the delight I found in seeing the crab’s shadow rush across the sand. The mountains were quiet, filled with hanging clouds that spat occasional raindrops at us. My mind is filled with these memories but these photos bring back all those other pieces and feelings that made taking the photos so important to me at that moment in time on that particular day.
I take photos because I love all the places I have been and I want to keep those memories with me always.