“…Of inspiration on the humblest lay.”

“Most Sweet It Is”

by William Wordsworth

Most sweet it is with unuplifted eyes
To pace the ground, if path be there or none,

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While a fair region round the traveler lies
Which he forbears again to look upon;

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Pleased rather with some soft ideal scene,
The work of Fancy, or some happy tone

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Of meditation, slipping in between
The beauty coming and the beauty gone,

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If Thought and Love desert us, from that day
Let us break off all commerce with the Muse;

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With Thought and Love companions of our way,
Whate’er the senses take or may refuse,

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The Mind’s internal heaven shall shed her dews
Of inspiration on the humblest lay.

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Photographs were taken on one of the walks within simple places that Julie & I try to do weekly, in search of beauty, inspiration, tranquility and wonder (and photographs worth keeping). It was a beautiful, dewy, cool summer morning at The Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary, maintained by the Audubon Society, in the Waterloo Recreational Area in southern Michigan, USA.

 

Filling up at the Garden

20170321-DSC_0011On Tuesday, on the way home from my weekly trip to the Naples Botanical Garden, I happened upon the memory of “going to the filling station.” At some point in my earlier years we used this phrase to indicate that we needed to get our auto gassed up – we needed to buy some petro.

20170321-DSC_0002-2.jpgI know what triggered that memory. I had just gotten my emotional tank filled at the Botanical Garden. With daylight savings time (meaningless phrase) the garden is very different at 8:00 in the morning. I headed to the lotus pond to catch the gentle morning sun as it works its way across the pond, illuminating the lily heads, gently closed for the night. As the sunlight moves through the eastern trees, the gentle light quickly moves over and around the lily pads. Usually I work quickly because I want to catch that magic image and also when the sun clears the trees it brings a harshness that washes out the color. On this morning I took a few photos and then sat down on one of the benches.

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I sat and watched the sun illuminate the top of the trees towards the west, and listened to the birds. The air was still cool and the garden was unusually quiet of human traffic. I took some deep breaths and felt my soul smile. In this small corner of the world all was well and I was taking it in. For this brief time in the garden I shut out all my worries about the well being of our democracy, threats of policy changes that will hurt our most vulnerable citizens, and the multiple threats to life, health and safety around the world – including increasing risk of nuclear war.

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I walked the boardwalk to the other side of the pond, knowing that I didn’t have much sun time to get to another body of water where lotus bloom, but I didn’t/couldn’t hurry. I wanted to stroll. I stopped to photograph a new blossom/seed pod I have never seen before…

and was drawn down a path I never noticed before. It felt like a jungle path; I expected to hear monkeys screeching at me from the tree tops. I knew where it went but couldn’t see how it got there. I stopped to listen to a woodpecker and a mourning dove. I felt the timeless peace of the plants that surrounded me.

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I made it to the lotus pond and took a couple of photos, found a couple of other fun plants that I may or may not share at a later time, and was drawn to the crushed shell path between the designed gardens and the natural preserve areas. I found myself standing and looking over Lake Tupke (named after the Seminole herbalist Alice Micco Snow whose nickname was Tupke). A woman walked toward me and we smiled toward each other – she asked me what I was looking at. I chuckled and said I was trying to figure out how to photograph the personality of the lake. She looked in the direction I was looking, smiled and walked on.

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I continued my fill-up as I strolled around the familiar walks of the garden. I was more interested in being than in photographing although my camera with my beloved 50mm dedicated lens did some work, probably more work than my heart that slowed down to keep pace with my slow pace. I sat on benches when I felt I was moving too fast – and gazed. I had nowhere else I needed to be and nothing better I needed to do.

I wasn’t comatose – just free of hassle. I still thought about what I was experiencing, integrated new observation into my brain’s store of knowledge, and had new thoughts about how I create images with my camera. I was free to experience life as I was living it – not life in the past nor what life may bring next week.

And of course I was free to experience my usual ending to my time in the garden – by filling up my tummy with a scone (took half home to JB) and a cold glass of ginger limeade as I gazed over the place in the garden where I began my morning’s journey. Now that’s a full-circle fill-up.

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Magic Shadows of Winter

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Have you ever experienced the magic of the winter shadows in a deciduous woods? I have always been fascinated by the play of light and shadow as I ride a dirt road, feeling the warming sun filter through the blinks of darkened shadow. This is natures way of warming the earth in the dead of cold, then bringing forth bright green leaves as an introductory play with light, as we wait for the thick green canopy that cools us when the summer temperature rises.

My response to Cheri’s Weekly Photo Challenge of Shadow. It was fun thinking about the difference in light between Michigan and Florida, between summer and winter, and thus how shadows show themselves.

Autumn Equinox

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I am a couple of days late – but we had a couple of days that felt like the dog-days of late summer, hot and humid. I have a hard time keeping my energy up on those days. But that didn’t stop Julie and I from fully experiencing the joy of this special seasonal day.

It was a glorious sunrise with golden skies that cast a glow over the whole world making even the most common beautiful. I didn’t get any photos of this glory because I was hurrying to pick Julie up at 7:30. Next week we will have start a little earlier but we commented on how fast we are loosing daylight hours. I also looked for the sun in the wrong place when we were going past favorite photo sites – the sun has migrated south.

The sunlight is softer as it lowers in the southern sky – and we also had a thin haze of clouds that helped to deflect the harshness of direct sunlight.

20160922-dsc_0206I found that I was pulled to the beauty of the most common of road-side scenes. They were different because of a slight change to fall colors and the natural progression of plants as they prepare to cast their seeds for a chance of survive for another year.

 

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Our senses also told us it was fall because the crows become the dominate bird-call, along with geese and sand hill cranes who are flocking and making lots of noise. We marveled at the large swaths of wild asters blooming along the roads. Julie said that they grow in little bouquets.20160922-dsc_0200

Our last stop along the dirt roads was at a pumpkin patch. This tells us that October is fast approaching.

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Wherever your dot on the map is, I hope you will take note of the changes that come as we enter another season of nature and life. Feel free to link your post in the comments so we can all enjoy what autumn looks like in your neighborhood. Happy Autumn Equinox.