Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Magic from the Great South Channel

Humpback bubble feeding nets, frothy aqua waters, shiny black skins, spouts of rainbows, flying dolphins, breaching whales, swishing tails, and spectacular skies filled my last CRESLI trip out to the Great South Channel. This was my third trip, and it was just as awe inspiring as the trips of years past. It was filled with riveting conversations with fellow naturalists, scientists and writers, shared snacks, and stories of adventures in far away places.
(It's all about the snacks.)
We also exchanged the curiosities of the natural world that we experienced in the past calendar year.
 And, most importantly, we had many laughs with new and old friends.

While taking pictures, I tried to focus on the textures, patterns and the details of whales and pelagic wildlife. Below are the bubbles that are seen as the Humpback whales collectively create a net that concentrates their food. As the sea life comes to the surface, birds swoop in, often sitting on the heads of the whales as they travel with open mouths. 

Below is a Humpback with it's lower jaw billowing and baleen exposed as it comes to the surface of the water to fill its mouth with food. 

Below, one can see a sand eel caught in the baleen of the Humpback. This frothy swirling feeding  mass makes for an exciting symphony of sounds. One of my favorite moments was watching the faces of fellow travelers as the early morning pink skies revealed this magical and mysterious feeding grounds. Sleepy incredulous eyes watched with what I can only express as pure joy, as the whales 
traveled the blue grey slate morning waters. 
There is little to say in moments like this, one can only rest in the knowing that it feels like a sacred experience. Or the places in ourselves where we feel our soulful spaces, knowing that we are part of something greater, and more beautiful.

Observing the water catch the light as the boat traveled at sunset was like watching a gold plated river move under sorbet skies. And as the moon rose, it looked like glitter was being poured over the surface of the ocean. These moments are like optical illusions, filled with exquisite colors, textures and salty goodness. Thank you everyone for sharing this moment with me. 

During moments like these, my imagination goes to a time when botanists and naturalists traveled months or even years along far oceanic routes to new lands to collect and document specimens. Something in my cellular memory speaks to this kind of travel. 

My grandmother Isabelle May who had deep roots in Appalachia, was a botanist and shared many of her travel adventures to far away places during my childhood. Through her letters and conversations, she spread her love of meeting new people, drawing plants and sharing her gifts. 
Her curiosity was contagious and feels very much alive in me, especially when I spoke with fellow naturalists.

 In years past, it felt unlikely that I could ever catch a photograph of one of the common dolphins in the air! They are so fast, most of my dolphin photography is done underwater with more time and contact.
I am thrilled that I was able to capture this dolphin with its' shimmering skin and visible markings, most likely from other dolphins.

The tail of the Humpback whales are especially graceful and beautiful. 

I love how in the photograph below, the early morning light reflected off of the skin of the tail. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Passion Flowers and a Sweetheart Moth.

Yesterday brought a surprising amount of energy from the Heart into the garden. A new passion flower erupted into a dark purple surprise and a Sweetheart moth revealed itself and its dark orange underwings. 
The genus is Catocala, they are also known as underwings. 

 What I love about this picture below is that you can actually see the proboscis curled up between the eyes and just a hint of the orange under the wings. 

It is the height of the warm season so there are many new discoveries in nature. 
Another new discovery that I welcome everyone to explore is the new look of my website:

It is updated and redesigned with many new images. 
Please feel free to have a look! 

Best wishes, 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Sacred Spaces

There is a beautiful hummingbird that has become a resident here in the garden over the past two months. Until today, it has been incredibly elusive and shy as it drinks the nectar from the salvia, fuchsia,  cleome, cardinal vine, and agastache flowers. This morning, it appeared to be more comfortable with my presence and allowed me to take photographs as it was perched in a cedar tree on the edge of the garden. It sat on a thin dry branch. It was protected and safe.

I am very curious about what creates a sanctuary and a safe place for one to land and mend. This concept is very important as I assist my patients heal from trauma. Sometimes the layers of  trauma may present as complex and energetically dense. Creating a safe and contained space is the first and most important step to regulating and mending. When we feel safe, our nervous system is more available for healing work and we are able to access more spaciousness within our bodies through the para-sympathetic state. This spaciousness allows us to slowly uncouple the energy of trauma from our physiology.

I feel that this is the most sacred healing work and when the physical spaces that we live and work in reflect order and a precious energy then the unwinding may be more elegant and supported. 
Today I created a small sacred space in my office where I included fresh flowers, some of my favorite crystals and one of my favorite statues. I love what I created and realized that this made me so very happy. My little vignette sits on top of a Florentine set of drawers that belonged to my grandmother Isabelle. The Chinese lacquer vase belonged to my mother and one of the crystals was a gift from a dear friend that is beautifully tucked away in a small metal tin with an image of a peacock on the lid. Having fresh flowers, like a gorgeous, fragrant and elegant magnolia takes us where we can allow ourselves to be enveloped by the senses, nature and beauty. 
One could find sanctuary in the center of a magnolia, or in the shimmering surface of a crystal, or a photograph of a magical hummingbird. These are all beautiful resources.
During these volatile  times on the planet, staying true to ourselves, our process of regulation and cultivating sacred spaces feels more important than ever. Our capacity to regulate, stay fluid and maintain flow is ultimately what I believe will help to stabilize unsettled energies that we may feel within ourselves and the outside world.
My next creative projects will include creating sacred spaces in nature with cedar branches and vines that I have been collecting for over a year.  I am also helping others find and create sacred spaces on their properties and in their homes so that they may develop their own sanctuaries for healing, resting and mending.
Wishing everyone a safe and beautiful season. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Atlantic Spotted Dolphins.

As I work on updating my new Prettymedicine website, I discovered over one hundred pictures that I never saw or edited from my last trip to the warm waters of the Bahamas.
There were many precious gems, but this one took my breath away. 
A mother and baby Atlantic Spotted Dolphin. 

I will add a blog post when my fresh new site is up. 
Until then, may everyone dream with the dolphins. 
Best wishes,