The beauty of being thrifty

Moss patterns

It is always fun when Mother Nature shows you something you didn’t expect to see. Here, the moss patterns reveal the water currents, as clearly as if they’d been drawn with crayon.

And, as I looked closer, I recognized a pattern that I’d seen it before: it resembled the curve in the bark of an ancient tree, growing around the scar of an old, pruned branch.

Count on Mother Nature to be parsimonious. Why invent a new image, when you have one waiting in the wings to be used again!

All the vanity, all the charm, all the beauty of life
is made up of light and shadow.

~Leo Tolstoy~

 

The magic of being still

Bow tie for the pond

Every now and then, nature presents us with a joke, if we are only receptive enough to catch it. Here, I found a perfect bow tie in the middle of the Dead Horse Park lagoon. Just waiting for someone to turn it around and paste it onto a beautiful package.

Or perhaps, it already was the ideal present, just waiting to be untied!

The universe is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to go sharper.
~Eden Phillpotts~

Low water crossing in SILENCE IN WEST FORK

One of the fun parts about writing the Pegasus Quincy mystery series is to revisit favorite haunts of mine in the Verde Valley. This low-water crossing is featured in the SILENCE OF WEST FORK.

Peg has just discovered that a possible witness to a murder lives in a hidden shack on the other side of this bridge. But it is a low-water crossing. That means she has to drive through water, hoping that her car won’t slip off either side before she reaches dry land on the other side.

Today, the water is low. When she returns, it may be impossible to cross.

Life is not risk-free, whether in fiction or in the real-life adventures we all face, every day.

Layers of water

Layers of water

I’m sure there’s a scientific term for the refractions and reflections present in water, but to me those layers of water are endlessly fascinating. Whenever I get near a pond or a creek, my photographer’s fingers get itchy!

Perhaps it is the paradox of something so clear and transparent being able to reflect light back into our eyes in such a striking manner. It’s like seeing something twice, or three times, or four.

I think it is very difficult to figure out
where things come from. The only explanation
I’m able to give is in one word. That is “energy.”
Sometimes it’s destructive.
Sometimes it’s beautiful,
more creative, more rarefied.

~Dale Chihuly~

 

Perfect symmetry

water symmetry

Upside down, right side up, left to right, right to left. If you’ve ever noticed, we don’t often find (almost) perfect symmetry in nature. That’s why, when I found this vista, I was delighted.

Symmetry creates a comforting predictability. Two by two, like the story of Madeleine living in the convent. Or Noah’s animals in the ark. As children begin to explore a continually new, exciting world, they need to return occasionally to what they know.

Every up has a down. Every night has a day. Shared pairs of togetherness.

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
~Sesame Street Song~

 

Doing the hard thing

Lake in New Hampshire

In the summer the sun rises early in New Hampshire. I knew there would be something to see if I set the alarm and rose to greet it. But I’d flown across country the day before and spent a good part of the evening catching up with family happenings.

I didn’t want to get up. Even so, I stumbled out and discovered this.

Beauty will sometimes allow us to share in its fullness if we do the hard thing, the one thing we really would rather not do. The reward becomes worth the effort.

We live in a moment of history
where change is so speeded up
that we begin to see the present
only when it is already disappearing.

~R. D. Laing~

 

Odd man out

picture of 3 ducks on a pond

Two ducks deep in conversation. A third trying to horn in. The odd man out.

I was delighted to see Google list so many variants for this term: oddity, nonconformist, maverick, misfit, fish out of water, square peg in a round hole.

One by one I tried them on for this little duck. Definitely not a fish out of water. A square peg in a round hole? I don’t think so. But one term, maverick, definitely seems to fit. This duck strikes me as someone who speaks his own mind, who will not conform, no matter what the odds.

We all need to be that odd duck out of water sometimes. It’s good for the soul!

The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.
~Ellen Parr~

 

 

Equilibrium for a planet of paradox

Picture of pothole in Arizona desert

I’m a Weather Channel junkie, and this week I’ve been glued to the screen watching rivers overflow, highways flood, people rescued from rooftops and attics. Water at its most destructive.

Yet I am reminded that it isn’t always this way. In the Arizona desert, water is precious, every single drop. On the trail around Courthouse Butte near Sedona, this little pothole has always been a favorite of mine. It’s not big–maybe a foot long and less than that deep.

But long after the monsoon rains have departed, it will hold water which sustains the desert animals: deer, javelina, coatimundi, rabbits, and pack rats. Reaching for the last drop, they will travel for miles to visit it. Water as precious as diamonds, life-sustaining.

We live on a planet of paradox!

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As time remains free of all that it frames
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
~John O’Donohue, For Equilibrium~

Summer green afternoon

Picture of summer green water

As you drive through Oak Creek Canyon, you’ll see a sign for Ensinoso Park. There, if you stop your car and walk down the hill you’ll find this secret place.

I’ve visited when it is dressed in winter white and fall gold, but nothing is so startling as the passionate green of summer, when the creek borrows color from the moisture-loving sycamores, alders, and ashes that line the banks.

To me, water is the ultimate “yes” person. It says, whatever you want me to be, I’ll be. Hard, soft, liquid, mist. I’ll reflect back your blue skies, your gray storms, your green leaves. Yes! I’m here. Just ask.

Summer afternoon–summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
~Henry James~

Look behind you

It was a cold, sunlit morning in November when I took this photograph of the crystal water at Red Rock Crossing. Behind me were the magnificent totems of Cathedral Rock, but I chose to look down, instead.

The soft sandstone had been worn smooth by the creek that ebbs and flows according to the season, and the rock glowed red under the edge of water.

I’ve found in photography that what is behind me may more interesting as the obvious subject in front, as it was this morning.

That happens in life. Focused on what we expect to see, we ignore everything else around us. We lose the beauty gained using “soft eyes.”

I searched through rebellion, drugs, diet, mysticism, religion, intellectualism and much more, only to find that truth is basically simple and feels good, clear and right.
~Chick Corea~