Sunday, May 24, 2009


This photo is from May 20. I made it the wallpaper on my computer desktop because it is so peaceful and its home. But seeing it that frequently, I notice the swan feathers and some organic debris and so I was going to switch it back to my turtle photo which has no imperfections, but instead, I'm trying to understand the message from that. I've been taking a class on Ralph Waldo Emerson, so here's what I believe he has to say on the subject of imperfections. First, there is always something amiss in every perfection. "Nature sends no creature, no man into the world, without adding a small excess of his proper quality." (from Emerson's essay 'Nature'.) I like this because I'm often too loud or too talkative, and now I believe that's just nature. It's my gift, I identify it by realizing I have a little too much of it. The swans maybe just have slightly too many feathers, and the molting of them is part of nature, and the feathers contribute to the lake's environment in some way I suppose.

Another thing Emerson has to say on the subject, is that just our observation of something in the past causes it to be beautiful. "Behind us, as we go, all things assume pleasing forms, as clouds do far off. not only things familiar and stale, but even the weed at the water-side, the old house, the foolish person, -- however neglected in the passing, -- have a grace in the past." (from Emerson's Spiritual Laws)

Here are my "weeds by the water-side." This was taken on a walk with my husband and our dog, at sunset May 21.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Partnerships are a wonder in the world. They are not easy. It's not a melding of the minds, it's a connection that has some dimension other than mutual benefit. It's not that black and white. It's multi-faceted and it's generally private, even in Nature.

You do get glimpses though, it depends on where and when you look. The snapshot above was taken around 6:30 pm on May 14. You don't necessarily see a relationship between those ducks other than that they are ducks, and probably male and female (I'm going by the coloring). However, they happened to be in the lake because I nudged the male off the bank. I saw him and took a movie just before the snapshot posted above. Take a look at the movie below and look at the center of the frame. I didn't even see the female until she moved to the edge of the lake.

They acted together to protect themselves, one leading, the other following without bickering (well who knows, maybe they were silently duck-bickering), and then they went on their own ways, but came back together. Who knows what they were doing separately, but partners do things separately and those experiences contribute to the other, even when they aren't shared experiences.

When you fly on an airplane, the safety instructions emphasize that if you are traveling with a child or dependent, you need to put your oxygen mask on first if there's trouble, and then help your dependent. It goes somewhat against our natural instincts, but it makes sense and has to be done. You are both partners on this trip, and you have different responsibilities to yourselves and to the partnership. Partners need to take care of themselves first, based on their knowledge and experience. This strengthens the pair. If you both had the same exact experiences, you'd be less.

The message here is that the mysteries of our individual nature strengthen our partnerships. Not secrets, but separate experiences that impart a different wisdom, and an intriguing mystery.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


This is before dinner at around 6:30 and it's raining. When it's raining and shelter is unavailable what do you do? These swans, on this day, preen and perch. Thinking about this made me consider posturing as a viable life tactic. When in doubt strike a pose. Note the swan on the right.

This one was a revelation. I'm facing non-optimal conditions in a few situations, and I'm going to give posturing a shot. It's a completely unemotional reaction. In fact it's not a reaction, it's a choice. And choice is always more powerful than reactive drama.

Lie Low, May 13 Followup

I thought there was nothing on the log except swan feathers, but when I looked at the photo, there was one turtle (on the right side.) This photo was taken before work around 7am. I came home and wrote the post below. Then when I drove by on the way to work, there was a half-log load of turtles. Not as full as what i've posted here, but a number of them.

The message here? I thought it was that sometimes you need to lie low (no turtles). But being that there was one turtle and the others came later, what I take away from log-land this time is that it's not only important to do what you're meant to do, but also to do it at the time that you are meant to.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I go past the lake almost every weekday morning for some inspiration and insight to kick off my day and I usually get it. Today I took a look first at my email, and my father had sent me this link . It's a short video of a young man, DJ Gregory, who decided to walk every hole of every course of the 2008 PGA Golf Tour, despite the fact that he has Cerebral Palsy, and the walking is difficult and painful. This is his blog

I also watched a video of the swans from May 9, which I find really beautiful, particularly the lake sounds, and I had yet to post. I thought about the constancy of this young man walking the holes and completing his task and although it's not the same, I took the time to go to the lake because that's what I do, I write about the experience, not watching a video of my experience. (I did post the video though, see the last post).

Today, the sun is gorgeous, the sounds are gorgeous, and I thought wow, there's probably going to be something great there for me to photograph. The sounds were great, the trees were great, but the lake and the log were still and when things aren't flowing, you get overgrowth and some debris. The log had swan feathers but nothing else. No turtles, swans or ducks yet. However, there were birds, goldfinches I think, bright yellow bodies with black wings, that I never see there. They were flying all around but too fast and too far away when they landed to photograph. I love the sounds, and those birds are actually the ones you hear in the videos I've posted.

So what's the message for me today? I'm feeling very challenged by my own limitations at work and so I was looking for validation in my thought processes somehow. Here's the message, no one needs validation, we all just do what we do and that's life at it's best.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Swan Lake, early morning May 9

Swan Log - May 9

May 2, Silliness

And then, as I walked away from the turtle parade on my idyllic lake, a wackier parade was going by with a moose. So I thought I'd add it, and a sort of silly swan sight, that's also quite common on the lake.

May 2, Sunny Afternoon

By the afternoon, it was sunny and there was another turtle parade. I'd love to catch those turtles climbing out one day. I bet they do it all at once. This time they're facing in the opposite direction (as opposed to an earlier posting). Still all in the same direction though. And that's not what I see all the time. Sometimes they're all in different directions with a swan here or there.

May 2, Misty Morning

I was on vacation last week and although I visited the lake and took pictures, I wasn't posting anything. Mainly because it rained every day. But Saturday May 2, was beautiful. The early morning was another misty one and I'm attaching those photos here. The gray mist is much softer now, because there is so much more green popping out. It felt like hobbit-land.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I've been having tremendous fun with the turtle postings. My friend Rev John, used some of the photos and some of the text in his Friday night service and the feedback was touching because it's amazing how many people are drawn to the turtles. My friend Robbin was already in the habit of walking down to the lake and noticing the turtles (and swans, geese, red-winged blackbirds, ducks, etc...) so she commented as well. I was surprised we hadn't run into each other, but we did on Saturday. I have more good turtle pics, but they'll have to wait to be posted, as I can't lay my hands on the camera at the moment. My painting friends have also been commenting, so I'm seeing just why people blog.

I'm on vacation this week with the intention to organize my personal life. Yesterday I slept all day, I was exhausted. Today I have more energy, but not a whole lot. It's nice to have some time off, without actually having to do anything. Maybe I'll find what my natural rhythm actually is. I've been jumping through the required paces as we all do for so long that I'm out of touch with it. I think I'm 'turtling' just holing up in the house and seeking the sun when I feel like it.

Friday, May 1, 2009


This morning was gray and misty, but still that has its own beauty. I find these mornings are where I appreciate the most that I'm part of a lake community. The houses and the scenery all have meaning, we've lived here for 16 years. I look at the lake I picture my son and his friends out there in their canoe. I see my daughter as a little girl playing on the swings in the lakeside park. I note the dock that we raised money for when I was part of the elementary school pta. It goes on and on.

In the gray mist, you can picture the way this was when there were just Native Americans here. Or in that first shot I've posted, I picture the hotel that used to be on that bank when this was a vacation spot. All those memories -- pentimenti -- are more prominent when it's gray and mysterious. It's a mysterious beauty, a thinking beauty, rather than the bold-take-your-breath away beauty of a bright sunny morning.