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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Hawk Messengers

This beauty appeared in a series of images that I just found today. I am currently editing photographs for a collection of aviary delights and this beauty caught my eye. 
The bright sky, the red of the tail feathers and the transparency of the wings made me very happy. 


The hawks have been circling the property and their call has been filling my heart. 
While many of the migrating birds are now gone, the hawks and the owls remain. 
Just last night I heard the owls in the tress outside and I wished that they would allow me a sneak peak of them perched in the trees. While the owls have been here for years, I have never been able to photograph them as they come out at night. For now, I must be satisfied with my glorious hawks and be grateful that they fly low enough for me to capture these kinds of magnificent details. 
Hawks always feel like messengers for me, it is as though they are trying to convey an important piece of information from the heavens.

Praying Mantis Medicine and Autumn Sweetness.

It is Autumn now and for several months, the mantis have been revealing themselves to me. At first, on my back door. They hid behind the vines of the passionflowers and they seemed to blend in to an environment that kept them safe.



They had an eye on the house, the garden and on my every move. 
As I got close to them, they would turn their triangular heads, look at me, and seemingly study my every move. They peered through the windows and when I knocked on the glass doors they would move their heads in inquisitive ways.



At one point I felt as though I was under their mindful watch. 
I write 'they' because there were two. At first I thought the couple may have been mating. And then it appeared as though there was only one. So I expected that the female had devoured the male in her mating ritual and that she was preparing to lay eggs. 
My hypothesis was thrown to the wind yesterday when I found two mantis inside my house. No nest, larvae or babies were ever found.


So both mantis were delicately taken outside and released, but my curiosity could not fathom why two were inside my house and how on earth they managed to camouflage  themselves so well. 
A few images were captured, but they are very difficult to photograph.  
 I had the felt sense yesterday that they were protecting the land, keeping an eye on the hummingbird garden and gifting their presence to us. 
They say that they symbolize stillness, mindfulness, protection and good fortune. 
If this is all true, then I have been blessed twice and I am deeply grateful.
Wishing everyone golden sunsets and autumnal sweetness.



Best wishes,
Maria






Monday, September 2, 2019

The Art of Allowing, Transition.

As the season is transitioning, the light is softening into a gold elixir hazy dream experience, and the leaves are turning new and vibrant colors. The holly tree that produced small green berries in the summer heat, is offering red skins that deepen in color with each passing day. As lovely as these gem like berries are to witness, I see the small birds of the garden seeking them out for food as the days grow shorter. The bush is shaking quickly as the berries are being plucked by the titmouse. A part of me wants to say;
 'Stop! Please wait...'



 Moments like this make the transition time bittersweet. 
I sometimes notice a little bit of deeper resistance in my own physiology as these changing season times emerge. I feel like these moments arise with a little bit of melancholy. The brief sadness is not because there is anything specific to be sad about, rather it is a passing of time kind of sadness.
Already the hummingbirds are actively feeding to prepare for their journeys to warmer climates. 
The farmer's markets are coming to an end and the acorns are falling. 
The first acorns fell last week, and my internal response was mixed. Delight for cooler weather and new colors but morose because the colored leaves will follow. 
Today my felt sense was to lean into the transition with a more open heart and allow the details of change to be noticed rather than turning away from them with tension. 
I am sharing pictures that I have taken in the past few weeks that have captured the delicate changes in colors, textures and intensities of the natural world.



I decided that this week ahead, will be marked by more attention, more observation and more beauty. Rather than bemoaning the drying flowers, I will stay with them and capture their elegant decay and their wilting forms. 
What I am hearing is 'be kind with the process and let it happen, rest with it, sit with the shift and just be the observer of what is happening in this very moment.'
As I write this piece, there is a hawk crying overhead and hummingbirds and wasps are competing for nectar before the days draws to the close. They pull me into their natural rhythms and beg of me to give them a few minutes of my time. 


In Chinese medicine, this is the time of letting go, of allowing and keeping an eye on the health of our lungs and immunity. As cooler nights emerge, wrap in a little more warmth and stay gentle in the period of closing in...



Friday, August 30, 2019

Magic of the Day.

In the garden today. 


What a gorgeous dance of three hummingbird graces in the morning light. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

This Little Beauty, Rabbit Medicine.

This little beauty has been relishing in the garden delights of the multitude of ferns. I had wondered why the ferns were not reaching their full shady summer potential. The fronds have remained short and have not grown past a certain height. Where did the refined and elegant fiddleheads, apexes, pinnae, and blades of the green beauties go?
I adore the pre-historic perfection of the alternating leaflets. They remind of my grandmother Isabelle every year. I imagine that her compassionate heart would have delighted in the twitching nose, the shaking whiskers, the glossy eyes, the audacity, and the sweetness of the furry culprit. 


We would have made an elaborate story of 'how the bunny ate the garden'... it would have been a full blown illustrated and magnificent creation of botanical wonder. 
I caught a glimpse of these shenanigans out of the corner of my eye earlier in the season. 
Now my empty fern bed has explained the largesse of the adult rabbit that my newly adopted canine wonder has been chasing recklessly in the night. 
Rabbit medicine is quick, graceful, quiet and kind. 
This little sweet one has been prancing across the yard, the ferns and under the steps all summer. 
As menacing as his presence has been, we are grateful for his gentle energy. 


The light is now changing, and softening. The waters are warm and delicious. 
The seaweeds are pulling into themselves, the ospreys are competing for large prey, and the monarchs are making their way towards Mexico. 
The end of the hot summer days and nights are near and we are delighting in the rthymic waves of sound that the cicadas sing in the cedar trees. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Diamond Seas and Breaching Whales

Our last trip to the Great South Channel with CRESLI was abbreviated by big weather, but we had beautiful encounters with cetaceans and we were gifted spectacular and dramatic displays of common dolphin pods leaping through the water and humpback whales breaching. 
It has been two years since I was out there, and I missed the expansive skies and generous stripes of saturated color.
The day began with beautiful orange and crimson hues, we sat on the deck drinking coffee and tea while basking in the brilliant glow of the emerging light. For me, these are the most magical moments. The unfiltered light and the new energy of the sun that sends gem like colors up into the dark night sky. 


The hues are pure, rich, deep and opaque. They remind me of the incredible gift of a new beginning that we are awarded each and every day. 


The dawn gave way to clear skies and breaching humpback whales. I have taken this special trip several times and each one is very different. I try new ways of capturing the essence of the whales and dolphins in this environment through various lenses. 



This image is my favorite. It is of the underside of a pectoral fin that greeted us with waving enthusiasm. I see the markings as stories that tell us of scars, encounters, and travels to far away waters. In this image, I see the likeness of a bird. It reminds me of the barn swallow that is tattooed on the hands, chests, arms or necks of sailors that have traveled over 5,000 nautical miles. 


The tradition of the swallow tattoo also claims that if the sailor were to drown, the swallow would carry the soul to heaven, and ensure a safe return. This whale has no doubt traveled many miles and I found it both curious and beautiful that it too had a similar avian marking. 


I also love the black shiny humpback skin and the individual markings and unique forms of the dorsal fins. I am always in awe of the patterns of the scars and textures, so personal and unique to each whale. 






One of the highlights of these trips is being with the dolphins and watching them ride the bow and feeling the playful energy of the pods. The images are dreamy and a bit blurry but they capture the ephemeral moments of the joyful connections that we experienced as we plowed through the deep green waters. 




This time at sea was particularly interesting because of the amazing women that I met onboard. Scientists, writers, artists, whale lovers and a magical bee keeper sharing information, resources, alongside personal and professional desires and dreams that will make the world a better place. 
Thank you ladies for all of the inspiration and laughter. 



And thank you Dr. Kopelman for your dedication and for sharing your wit, humor and wisdom with all of us. You are a rare and special gem.
My gratitude to the captain and crew of the Viking that make this very special trip possible.