TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “Nature photography

Winter Doldrums


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It is frigid outside and has been for a few days now.  It is frigid in many parts of the country.  The holidays have come and gone. Now begins the nitty gritty of hard winter work.  I find myself listless and not wanting to go out or exercise or paint or take pictures or do much of anything I usually love to do.  I have a cold but that does not excuse this lassitude and when I go to my favorite deli, I find that Terry is in the same mood.  “I was ready to go home the moment I came in,” she said.  And I wondered.  My husband was dour and I was sour.  What is this?  Could it be some vestigial remnants of human hibernation?  Maybe we should hibernate for awhile each winter.  We binge on food and drink over the holidays.  Perhaps we should be sleeping off the extra pounds.

I who love winter and live for Fall each summer find myself longing to hear the music of the spring peepers.  It is months away– well, about a month and a half away.  They are the first harbingers of new life for me.  Terry, who also loves winter, tells me today she is sick of winter.  Perhaps it is this string of Arctic air and grey days and icy road conditions.  Perhaps it is the human condition to always be dissatisfied with something or other.

I miss the squirrels.  It has been so cold they seem to be laying low in their nests.  Judging from the tracks in the back yard the only animals on the move are the deer.  And as much as I love the silence of winter, I find myself longing for the sweet dulcet music of birdsong at mating season in spring. 

We bought this calendar that has a celestial map of the sky for each month so you can find the constellations in the night sky.  But it has been too overcast or too cold or too something.  We have yet to go out with flashlights and match the map with the canopy of stars.  But I am still humbled in a dazzled psyche over the view of the stars through the stripped down trees that we see out our window from bed every night.

Then again maybe it is laziness.  Too many sugar highs in December have led to a deep low in February.  And with a tease of spring one day in which the temperature reached almost 50 degrees maybe we were let down even further.  Not liking being unproductive I think I can overcome this– but maybe the thing is to go with the flow and allow a period of inactivity, let the land lay fallow, so that an increase in productivity may eventually result.

Maybe the thing to do is not to panic.  Spring will come.  Hopefully, if man has not destroyed all the vernal pools, the spring peepers will return and, if pesticides have not destroyed all the birds, sweet mating songs will be sung and bees and other insects will buzz.  And if the weather turns more clement, our spirits will once again soar and we will be busy buzzing with the business of living.

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Eye-Locks, Namaste and God


Namaste!

Namaskar!

Namaskaram!

The Hindu greeting: “I bow to the God in you.”

I love this form of greeting– so much better than a handshake.

Christians believe God dwells within our souls. Perhaps other religions do as well. It seems Hindus do also if that is not too simplistic of me to express. Please excuse me if it is.

In some of the best of the old Bollywood classics love is portrayed without so much as a simple kiss. It is shown by gazing into the eyes of the beloved and saying “I see God in you.”

Eyes are the window to the soul. For people such as my husband and myself who are on the Autism Spectrum, eye contact is fearsome. It is threatening. And yet eye contact is precious beyond all fortune. Eye contact in love is wondrous and life-changing.

I have seen God in my husband’s eyes for a fleeting moment of eye contact on a walk in the countryside when we were being loving with one another… and on precious contact when I come in to talk to him while he is on the computer in New York City. I have seen God in my husband when he is telling a joke and I am laughing at him and he is so happy to make me laugh. He is child like, God like. It seems I hit the jackpot in marrying him. Looking deeply into another’s eyes, the “right” other, one finds God is Love, God is Joy. This is nothing new– just new to me.

One time I looked deeply into another’s eyes with a person I worked with long before I met my husband. It reached down deep inside both of us and it changed my life forever. It led me on a road to a complete breakdown and a long road back rebuilding my personality slowly in therapy until I was whole. And then I met my husband. And eye-contact with him is precious. It is special. Not frequent and in its rarity, powerful and sacred.

Eye-locks are powerful, potent conveyors of love, joy, sadness and finally, and most importantly, they can be a vehicle to God.

Welcome to samples of my writing showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.


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JOY * PEACE * LOVE


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Welcome to samples of my writing and art work showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.


The Edge of Winter


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It is an overcast day.  Brightly colored birds stand out like jewels in the greyness.  The winter birds– jays and cardinals, juncos, black-capped chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches and downy woodpeckers flock to the bird feeder and it has to be filled up almost every day.  The red berries on the bushes are nearly all gone and the feeder is becoming a matter of survival.  On our walks we see empty nests held in the bare arms of winter trees.  An empty robin’s nest is filled with snow– the hatchlings and the mother long gone to fairer climes.  The trees are stripped down to their souls.  With ice storms they become tinkling chandeliers.  In the rain the few remaining dead leaves drip icy tear drops.

Occasionally a dove visits the feeder.  The chipmunk, who gathered scattered seeds under the feeder all fall, is not to be seen.  He must be in torpor in his den.  According to Bernd Heinrich in: The Winter World: the Ingenuity of Animal Survival, the eastern chipmunk builds a twelve foot storage system with a nest chamber some three feet down and a tunnel system which includes a food storage chamber.  Heinrich says chipmunks go in and out of torpor.  He reasons that they would not gather food if they were to be in torpor all winter long.  We will probably not see our chipmunk for the rest of the winter for, in his stuporous state, he would be easy prey.  However he can be roused to eat and venture outdoors if need be, especially in March when there still may be snow on the ground but mating season begins.

The grey squirrels are busy clearing snow from branches as they run along tree limbs.  On the ground they dig through the snow for the walnuts we watched them bury in the ground with their noses this fall.  They do not need to hibernate for they have food stores which they built up in the autumn and leafy, well-insulated nests.  The red squirrels survive winter by putting on a thick, insulating fur.

The back yard is a maze of tunnels.  We think they are deer mouse tunnels as many have tunneled their way into our house.  But they must get by the feral cat who sometimes waits out a snow storm under our deck.  In the woods, the occasional deer waits out the same storm under a squat fir tree.   The tracks in the snow tell the story of how they weathered a Nor’Easter.

Beneath the tracks in the snow, in the frozen leaf litter, the insect world is dormant.  Some hibernate.  Others fill their bodies with antifreeze, glycerol, to stay alive.  Heinrich talks about  woolly bears hibernating but they are also capable of freezing solid and surviving, coming to life again as they thaw in the spring.  The pupae, however, don’t survive being frozen. 

In Winter: an Ecological Handbook, authors, James C. Halfpenny, Elizabeth Besiot and Roy Douglas Ozonne, tell us that the reptiles and amphibians pick out a “microclimate for hibernation that does not freeze” for their winter, such as the “bottoms of ponds, streams, or deep in the ground.”

Our stream flows out back in the marsh under ice and snow and one can see the elongated bubbles of running water.  In the pond next door the turtles lay beneath the ice in their hibernacula.  At the end of the book, The Year of the Turtle, David M. Carroll, the naturalist, author and artist, has his watercolor of a spotted turtle hibernating.  This picture is hypnotic and in its spell, I think of all the animals hibernating beneath our feet in lugubrious gloom.  It reminds me of the penguins in the film, The March of the Penguins, in the dead of an Antarctic winter, huddled together for warmth in the harsh, strong winds and snow, taking turns being on the outside of the huddle.  Winter can be magnificent in its transformations yet tragic in its harshness: hibernating animals who freeze to death and deer starving to death in the snow among the victims of its violence.

Carroll’s drawing shows the turtle all alone, withdrawn into its shell under less than two feet of water lodged firmly in the mud under ice under snow in a sunny winter’s day, a far better clime than the penguin’s–  and yet it evokes a certain sadness for this little creature all alone beneath the snow, in a torpid state.  The turtle is missing out on a sunny day, sleeping a deep sleep in a “half year of stillness.”

Carroll’s writing is sheer poetry as he describes the turtle’s hibernation: “Mounting layers of snow silently cover the ice.  Night after night in the harshest depth of winter, as Orion and the Pleiades burn distant and brilliant in the black sky and strong winds howl off the mountain to the northwest, the turtles rest beneath the ice.  With the life in them nearly suspended, reduced to its most tenuous hold, all but extinct in the vast, inhospitable regime that reaches above them to the limits of the universe, they lie within their shells, waiting for the earth to make its required turnings and return them to the sun that will awaken them to another season.” 

I think of the turtles below, along with all the other beautiful creatures.   I wish them a kind sleep from which they will safely stir with the life force surging through their veins as the sun brings them to the fullness of life again.  The death of some, and the half life of so many, proffers the poignancy of winter.

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Welcome to samples of my writing and art work showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.”  “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.


The Trees of Late Fall & the Promise of Winter


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Bontecou Lake Swamp, Millbrook, New York

Every year what budded in autumn blossoms full blown in the weeks before official winter– my love affair with trees. Trees that were drop-dead gorgeous in their fall colors are now bare, with the exception of evergreens and a few stray deciduous trees that refuse to relinquish their leaves. Now the trees are stripped down to their souls and their souls sing a siren song to the universe.

The tops of trees lift my spirit; brushlike they paint the sky the baby pinks and blues of mornings, and the majestic magentas and violets of day’s end. Each tree has its signature shape against the sky, like a fingerprint or a snowflake, similar yet each unique. Some treetops in their bare state are shaped like a fancy coiffure; others look like wrought iron filigree. On distant mountains, against the snowy ground, some look like stubble on an old man’s unshaven face.

It is the cold, colorful pre-winter sky showing through, and showing off, the bare branches that woos me. The bare curvaceous branches are stark, dark lines against the bright of day and the inky sky of night. These resplendent creatures are living lines that explode. Branches tangle like the lines in a Jackson Pollock painting. Others curve in the sensuous lines of a Brancusi sculpture. Buxom tree trunks stand strong surrounded by their colorful, dead blossoms amid the ground cover and their burgeoning berries, the offspring of a Renaissance Madonna. In truth these trees are not like art at all. Rather art imitates them– their beauty provides the timeless inspiration for artists, writers and poets of all ages and styles.

Trees not only inspire, they themselves are paragons of diversity. One look out of a car window while driving on the Taconic and one can see squat pines alongside towering majestic firs, birches interspersed with maple and oak. And together the different brown and tan barks interspersed with evergreens create not only a mosaic of contrasting colors, but display an example to inspire humans to live together in peaceful unity.

These beneficent beings carry the heavy, dark grey clouds of winter. When it snows the tree trunks become canvases for the abstract patterns of windblown-snow, while the serpentine branches are outlined in white. In ice storms their branches become chandeliers, each enveloped in glassine ice. While in the melancholy of a winter rain, the branches become oiled skins of snakes weeping to the ground below. And finally, in the night sky, the branches hold the stars in their arms, those with leaves holding them in their hands, as they nurse the moon.

All trees, no matter what their species, age or height, stand tall in proud humility, their arms reaching up to the Heavens to our Creator in prayer– soft-spoken beings of peace and tranquility towering over us, while we wee, little creatures race around distractedly below.

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Hammond Road, Millbrook, NY


Realism and Abstraction no.2


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Millbrook in Autumn– from Realism to Abstraction


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Bontecou Lake in Autumn


Millbrook, New York

This landscape no longer exists. Cut down for hunters. 😢


Autumn Memories


Millbrook, NY “Cool Change” by Little River Band

Que Bella



Starlight, Starbright


Another reblog…

MOONSIDE

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Starlight through the skylight
Moonlight just above the roof
Fireflies flickering flames
Random to our eyes
In a dizzying mercurial display
Flitting to the tune
Of trilling frogs
And the flutter of batwings
I see goblins in the windows
Alone would be terrified
With you here beatified
By the beauty of the silence
Punctuated by the frogs
Spotlighted by the moon
And the sparkling stars
Whose dust makes up
These rented bodies we carry
While inside heartbeats
Tick away our lives
To the beat of a flashing firefly
Or a flickering star.

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My Cathedral


Another reblog…

MOONSIDE

The wilderness
is my cathedral
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The sky
my steeple
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The trees
my buttresses
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Hay bales
my statuary
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Flowers
my stained glass
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A babbling brook
my organ
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Frogs and toads
my choir
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Fields of wildflowers
my incense
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Thunder storms
my high mass
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A very diverse congregation…

From cows

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to snails and turtles

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to gazillions
of insects

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Deer sometimes come round

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Butterflies abound

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Moths, too

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Birds of every hue

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All that’s missing is you

but you worship your own way

doing charity every day

more than I can say

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Informal art show


An informal art show of photographs and photographs of original paintings before they go as a donation hopefully.


Last Snows/Millbrook/New York City


 


From Death to Life


Another rebirth


Blessings of the Winter Solstice


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Christmas and Winter Solstice blessings to all those who have visited Moonside and especially to those to whom I was unable to respond due to physical or mental illness, a HUGE THANK YOU!!  

And to all… may you feel the joy of Christmas no matter what your circumstance, color, creed or faith and be blessed by health, happiness and peace in the New Year!

Love, Ellen

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The Lone Fir Tree


A lone fir tree

stands stalwart in a forest of red

watching over the turtles sleeping peacefully

in their hibernaculum

in the icy pond

as God

watches over us

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A silent night of peace to each of you

and a berry, merry Christmas!

Love always,

Ellen

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When Words Have Gone


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White birch

P1140639_edited-1December Reflections

P1140635_edited-1In the woods


Entangled in the Web of Thoughts


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Hieroglyphics on a Blade of Grass


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Homage to Wolf Kahn



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“Dear ones, the light of God is moving through me this day… I am in His sea of Light, in that eternal land.  Wherever I am, in this life or beyond, I am always roaming in that eternity.  I want you to come there also, for you are my brothers an sisters and I cannot bear to see you left in delusion.” 

Paramahansa Yogananda


Humble Lily


 

After the crash

from

mania

to

depression…

humility

shame

gratitude

grace


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Lily with Raindrops


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