Last week’s photo challenge was to share a photo of something “unlikely”; something that may fit into the category of “never say never”.
I, for the most part, stopped saying “never” decades ago when I realized that many, if not most, of the things that I said “never” to ended up being an important part of my life journey.
I first recognized that pattern in my early 40’s when in a span of 2 years I became a devotee of an Indian guru (and still am), a “groupie” of a rock band named “Tribal Therapy” (for about a year), and started going to an African-American Pentecostal church (for about 15 years.) At the time when these life changes began, I had described myself as being somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist for 20 years. If, at that time, someone had told me these things would become a life focus of mine, I would have adamantly said “never… no way… not a chance”.
The other area where I have moved from “never” to it being a life focus is photography. I took some photos as a teenager, a college student and when my children were young but at some point developed the belief that photography keeps one from being in the moment; that you don’t “live” when you are focused on preserving a past moment.
I started blogging in 2014. I soon decided that my posts looked better when there were photos in them. Since most photos on the internet are copyrighted, I started looking for ones in the public domain. While over the years I have found some good sources, like pixabay.com and Creative Commons, finding free photos was a very time consuming endeavor at first. It occurred to me that I could solve that problem by taking photographs of my own.
As my interest in nature developed, I became interested in nature photography. At that point, a whole new world opened up for me.
I even bought a microscope and began to snap pictures with my iPhone and an adapter.
I suspect photography will be in my life for a long time.
I will continue to make it a practice to (almost) never say never.
On Friday morning, December 15th, I decided to go to the roof of my building to practice Tai Chi. I was so drawn by the view in front of me that I soon stopped the Tai Chi and took in the beauty of the land below. I had never seen it look so mystical. Some of the pictures look more like paintings to me than photos.
Whenever I am on the roof, I also watch the majestic eagles soaring overhead. They often fly much closer than these but they pass-by so fast that it is hard to snap a photo and get anything but sky.
To read the previous posts in this series click here.
There have been very few geckos in my room (in India) this year. I have missed them. The ones I have seen have been very small, about a third of the size of the ones I see in December. Maybe this is the time of year they are born.
A few days ago, when I was lounging on my bed, I looked up and saw a baby gecko. It was less than two inches from its head to the bottom of its tail. My photo didn’t turn out very clear so I decided to share it using a PicMonkey effect called Edge. That effect allows only the outline of the object being photographed to be visible. Do you see the outline of the little gecko? I really like how the photo turned out.
The gecko was located just below the place where the ceiling meets the wall. I watched it for some time. I was struck by how long it stayed in one place. I knew geckos eat insects so I decided it was waiting for one to come near. The only insects I’ve seen in the room are mosquitoes so it was probably waiting to eat one of those. The gecko was more patient than I was, so in time I stopped waiting for it to move and left the room.
When I returned an hour later, the gecko was in the same part of the room, but it had turned the other direction; it was facing south instead of north. The gecko continued to wait. I continued to watch it periodically. I didn’t have the patience to be waiting quietly to see what happened next.
About an hour later, I noticed the gecko start to walk down the wall. My half-hearted attempt at waiting was over! I decided I would video the gecko’s descent. The problem was, I had to get closer to do that. And when I moved in, the gecko stopped. It looked like it was watching me, waiting for me to go away. I waited for some time but once again, the gecko had more patience than I did. Eventually, I stopped waiting for the opportunity to take a video and took a still photo instead. I decided to use the PicMonkey Frost effect on this one.
I could learn a lot about patience from a gecko, if I was willing to wait long enough to learn it! But I guess that is a learning in and of itself.
When the tsunami hit Amma’s ashram in Amritapuri, Kerala, India in 2004, everyone in the village and the ashram had to be transported to the mainland by canoe. Over the next two years, Amma built a walking bridge that connected the peninsula to the mainland, so that everybody could be evacuated quickly should the need ever arise again. Last January, I took this photo of that bridge from a canoe.
And I took these when I was walking from the mainland to the ashram in December 2016.
The view from both sides of the bridge is so beautiful.
Yesterday I took on the challenge of removing bindweed (morning glory) and blackberry vines from a thimbleberry shrub.
The bindweed wraps itself around each stem, weighing it down and eventually killing it.
The thimbleberry leaves are beautiful. They have three to seven lobes and are soft and hairy.
I tried to unwind the bindweed from each thimbleberry stem carefully, but the leaves and stems are so fragile that I lost many of them in the process of trying to free them. The stems are now free from blackberry and bindweed vines but I’m going to have to get under the shrub and dig out the blackberry roots to keep it that way. We will probably have to deal with the bindweed every year.
It was fun to watch the stems straighten once they were relieved of the weight of the bindweed. The shrub still looks scraggly but it will fill in and return to the beauty it is meant to be.
The density of the bindweed made it hard to tell where the shrub began and ended. The area towards the back had a much thicker layer of bindweed.
As I started to cut it away, I realized that it wasn’t thumbleberry that was under it, it was a gigantic fern. With renewed energy, I started cutting away the bindweed. Before long, the fern was free!
I love doing this work. It is full of mystery and adventure and is so rewarding.
When I attended Amma’s programs at MA Center Chicago last summer, I walked to their big echinacea field. I found the flowers fascinating. I loved how unusual they looked at each stage of development and was particularly intrigued by the spikes in the center of the flower.
Soon after returning to Seattle, I decided to purchase some echinacea plants for my own garden… and a microscope. When I looked at the flower under the microscope, I gasped; my eyes beheld the magnificence and wonder of nature. (Click on the galleries to enlarge the photos.)