A Mote of Dust Suspended in a Sunbeam


I rarely reblog but this touched me deeply. The beauty of the words spoken brought tears to my eyes and the reality expressed humbled me. Please enrich yourself by viewing this video.

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and popularizer of natural and space science

CARL SAGAN was the David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences and Director of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University. He played a leading role in the American space program since its inception. He was a consultant and adviser to NASA since the 1950’s, briefed the Apollo astronauts before their flights to the Moon, and was an experimenter on theMariner, Viking, Voyager, and Galileoexpeditions to the planets. He helped solve the mysteries of the high temperatures of Venus (answer: massive greenhouse effect), the seasonal changes on Mars (answer: windblown dust), and the reddish haze of Titan (answer: complex organic molecules). MORE [The Carl Sagan Portal

Video posted to YouTube by CarlSaganPortal.

Earth as seen from Apollo 17.

“A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam . . . ” Carl Sagan


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Shooting Practice

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With camera, not a gun. As I was leaving worship this morning, I noticed these cascading leaves in front of where we parked and decided I would return with camera. The day was beautiful with the sun filtered by thin, high clouds. I also decided to take my inexpensive tripod instead of my unipod because I haven’t been real excited with the clarity of my photos with the unipod, but started using it because the tripod is awkward to use. I’m thinking I may want a new tripod with a ball head.

This turned into a time of experimenting with camera settings and of trying to capture falling leaves. It also meant I practiced patience as I waited for leaves to fall in the right place – the place where my camera lens was pointed.

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A shooting leaf.

fall leaves 031 Tomorrow Julie & I are going out for some early morning light and color so maybe I’ll try again. I like the excitement of being at the front end of my learning curve where I’m bordering on being clueless.

Let Her Be

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Grandma said, “Let her be.” I heard this, from the time I was very small, it gave me permission. The messages to be good, to be quiet, to settle down, to stop it, and to not do that were also heard but the most important message was to let her be. This message was directed at parents who were working hard to raise me to be a responsible and good person, and mostly I have been. But I seem to be listening mostly to Grandma these days.

Let her be. What a strong message. Be. Feels as strong as God telling us “I am.” These messages can’t be more concise or clearer. They ring like crystal.

I spent some time reading Freeman Patterson last night, his book Embracing Creation about the art of photography. I am intrigued with his thoughts about how what we choose to photograph can be used to better understand who we are and what we desire from our lives. He writes about those special places that feel like home – not structures but places in the world where we feel ageless. Where we are a child, an adult, and also very old. Places that are timeless.

Docks on small inland lakes have made their way into many of my photographs. This dock was taken yesterday morning, at the boat launch at Portage Lake; Grandma lived on the other side of this small lake. My favorite place to be was lying on my tummy on the dock in early morning. The diamonds sparkling on the calm water as minnows tickled my fingers that dangle oh-so-still in the water. The warmth of the sun is welcome in the lingering coolness of the night. In these minutes my eight-year-old body is ageless, I have the curiosity and innocence of childhood and the wisdom of age. I am one with the world, and the world is good. My 70-year-old body is still ageless as I feel myself on this dock. I can be.

Aging is strange. I know I don’t have long to live, maybe 10 to 15 years. This length of time felt so long when my body was young and I was growing, developing. Now that my body is declining I don’t long for the future, at least not the future as we measure time in years. I wonder if my activities of today could be my best moments? I realize that my future is uncertain.

Does choosing to photograph this dock, does the echo of Grandma’s words in the shadows of my mind mean that I am yearning for something?  Maybe I am yearning to be. Maybe I am yearning to be as I am, as I am 70, instead of as I was in some past time. Lately I have been finding joy in being as I fold laundry, make the bed, can tomatoes, read, blog, garden. How wonderful it is to savor what I am doing instead of fretting about all there is to do and whether my body will let me do it. What joy it is to be, alive in this moment. Yes, Let Her Be.