Magical Mundanities Episode 1 – magic in shades of gray

Floribunda rose in black and white, Westfir, Oregon

It’s easy to love a sunrise. The promise of a new day, bright, vibrant colors transform ordinary clouds into enchanting abstract patterns. Yes, it’s easy to love bright colors. It takes a special kind of soul though to love a lead-gray sky. I do because I see. I see the divine in a tiny bit of clear quartz among the gravel bed. I see the promise of eternity in the monochrome grayness of a cloudy day. I spend my days trying to be open to everyday epiphanies, the magical mundanities, of an ordinary life.

In nature I find gray everywhere, perhaps because it makes such a perfect backdrop. Perhaps because it’s everywhere. Perhaps because it is the middle of the road, half way between black and white, like the color of my hair, old enough to know better, but still willing to take a bash at it.

For Sunday Stills where our color challenge is Gray

Here gray concrete paving stones provide a backdrop for a young black swallowtail with brilliant wing stripes in Jiujiang, China

A white-faced Heron stalks his shadow in New Zealand

Gray mist hangs over the pavilion at Lulin Lake on Lushan Mountain, China

Vast gray depths and composition of a cloud formation in Rapid City, SD, USA

“Tall buildings no bigger than blocks on the floor
Wellington afloat on the harbour haze:
You think of how most men spend their days
In offices as cramped as elevators…”

Well weathered words of wisdom on faded gray planks of Wellington NZ waterfront.

If we were having coffee this week, I’d confide in hushed tones that I’ve never liked the color black for a wardrobe choice *insert shocked gasp*. Black is technically the absence of color and frankly, it washes out my already pale complexion. Then, I discovered all the infinite possibilities of gray. It has become a staple neutral of my wardrobe.

Ah well, I’m off to ponder the questions of the universe including the antics of the gray dove outside my window.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills — Blessed be the wild things

For Sunday Stills – celebrating kids and pets

“The time has come,” I thought today
“to ponder many things
like kids and pets and photographs
and why the wild bird sings”

I find myself in a bewilderment. Kids and pets … hmmm, I have no pets, and I generally don’t post pictures of kids (even my own). So that leaves me with those beautiful souls with whom we share this little blue world. I love the feeling of awe when I encounter animals in their natural habitat. I say a little prayer of thanks and treasure the places where the wild things are.

Above, a juvenile big horn sheep in Zion National Park, Utah. They sometimes come down from the higher elevations to feed and pose for tourists.

Here American Buffalo at Custer State Park in South Dakota. You don’t realize how truly huge they are until you experience them up close.

One harried momma duck with a passel of ducklings in Christ Church, NZ. We watched them cross the path heading for the pond, and laughed and laughed and laughed at Momma scolding and herding the brood. Yes, the comedy of motherhood is universal.

My precious little puff balls – Great Horned Owlets in our big pine in South Dakota. I think these count as both pets and kids. We watched them all summer grow from tiny bits of fluff to the day they stretched their wings and set out on their own. They were no longer cute little babies but full grown, gasp inspiring, raptors.

The Three Amigos in the Marlborough District of NZ. In a field full of spring lambs, these little guys found themselves a hill to defend. 🙂

Til next time ~Meet me where the wild things are ~JP

Sunday Stills – In Violet Perfusion

For Sunday Stills our monthly color challenge and the couleur du mois is *insert drum roll* — VIOLET! OK, I have a confession to make, I am a “purple” kind of person, my aura is violet with deep blue accents. Any shade of violet from deep eggplant to pastel lavender works for me.

Violet is the color of light at the short wavelength end of the visible spectrum, between blue and invisible ultraviolet. It is one of the seven colors that Isaac Newton labeled when dividing the spectrum of visible light in 1672. Violet light has a wavelength between approximately 380 and 450 nanometers. Wikipedia

Skies painted in whorls
of violet perfusion
the visible spectrum
fading into light

 

Another sunrise on Kauai. I keep returning to that particular island, that particular town, that particular hotel, always seeking and always finding, that certain slant of light.

Reflections at Byodo-in temple on Oahu. A spectacularly simple water lily.

A lovely little hollyhock, springing out before her sisters. Violet is such a shocking color in nature, I can’t just pass it by but must stop and ponder it’s vibrancy and meaning.

Violet lily of the valley “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” ~Alice Walker

Sunset beyond the mountains in Kaikoura, NZ I wonder if beyond those mountains lay Laketown. “It simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons in it.” ~JRR Tolkien

Pinkish violet beaver tail flowers, because violet should always shock and enthrall us.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills — Emerging in Spring

Marsha at Always Write is hosting Sunday Stills this week, where our prompt is “Emerging.” So appropriate for Spring. Here in the Black Hills, we are still waiting for Spring patiently, ummm… with hopeful hearts … oh c’mon already. So here’s a little emerging tale from my archives and a few current shots as well.

Through the silent winter
the world deeply slumbers
emerging in the spring I find
everything is different
and yet
everything’s the same

Spring is slowly emerging from the frozen Winter, here annuals beginning to pop up in the flower beds, ready to start a new season.

Things bloom late in this part of the country but when they do, oh my. The world quickly become a cacophony of sight and scent as the flowers compete for attention.

Here a shot from the high deserts of Utah, as succulents wriggle their way out of a crack in the stones. A classic example of “bloom where you are planted.”

And finally, a tiny sand crab emerging from his hidey hole on the beach in Kapaa, Hawaii

That’s it for this week, here at Chez Spoons, we wait for Spring to emerge from Winter’s cold embrace.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills – Peace in the Rain

For Sunday Stills where our theme is “rain.”

Rains come and rains go
warm touch, melting snow
rainy days spent by the fire
your hand in mine, all I require
pitter patter’s old refrain
I find peace in the rain

There are so many types of rain. All of which have been in short supply this year here in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I’ve reached into my archives for some examples.

First there’s Impending Rain that rain that you feel coming, the drops just haven’t fallen … yet — rain on the horizon, Kapaa, Kauai

Then there’s Calm Drenching Rain — the kind that makes farmers happy as it nourishes young plants. A rainy day walk in Shinsekai Market, Osaka, Japan

There’s the gentle passing rain, just enough to wet the flowers and remind us how beautiful rain truly is. Here a few glistening drops on an Iris in Queens Garden, Invercargill, NZ.

 

And then there’s the Violent Frozen Rain, the bane of farmers, ranchers, and RV owners alike — Hail. Above is a shot of the first hail storm I ever encountered, it fell with a startling ferocity (native Californian that I am). The hail stones are tiny really, and I have seen much, much worse (baseball size stones) since.

 

And then there’s the rain that everyone fears, the Unstoppable Rain. Water is such a gentle element that sometimes we need a reminder that it can also be deadly, ferocious, and terrifying. Five days of flooding left us and most of our neighbors stranded in the RV park when our tiny creek over flowed it’s banks and took out the bridge. In this shot, the flood waters. From this angle, the creek is generally not visible.

Til next time ~Chin up buttercup, Spring’s here ~JP

Sunday Stills — The Rose that Blooms

Red Rose in Pahrump, Nevada — on the way to Death Valley 62 miles west of Las Vegas — deep desert.

For Sunday Stills our monthly color challenge for February is *insert drum roll* Rosy Red.

Of all the beauties in life
none are quite so grand
as the rose that bloom
in the desert sands

 

 

Speaking of unlikely rosy reds — this Claret Cup cactus definitely catches the eye. These buds open to resemble a wine glass filled with …. yep claret.

 

For some exotic rosy reds, how about these Ti plants from the Dole Plantation Gardens, Oahu Hawaii

 

For a little more exotic goodness how about these red beauties. Actually, I prefer them in their roasted form. Yep those are “coffee cherries” the fruit from which coffee beans come to make that magical potion known throughout the civilized world as COFFEE. Yes, I’m a bit of an enthusiast. This tour through the Kauai Coffee Plantation came with free, unlimited tastings of their many, many, many varietals and flavors. Superhubs blames this excusion for my new found love of “flavored” coffees, says it has corrupted my pallet. Hey, you can’t say I’ve had too much coffee, you don’t know me that well, maybe I LIKE twitching! OK, maybe a decaf macchiato, with a few chocolate covered peaberries (mutant coffee bean).

 

A bit more exotic rosy red flamboyance, this adult macaw, flying wild and free …. well sort of, in Pahrump, Nevada. He, his mate and a smaller mated pair are frequently seen out and about in the desert where they are part of a cage free sanctuary.

And finally because no post about Red would be complete without mention of my beloved Zion, this huge beauty from Kolob Canyons (aka the backside of Zion) this beloved and (so far as I can tell) un-named behemoth is viewed here from Taylor Creek Trail.

 

Til next time ~Stay wild moon child ~JP

Sunday Stills — Temps Have Fallen

For Sunday Stills — Fallen

The pine trees all have long since
dropped their load of pollen
the last red leaf of maple
months ago has fallen
landscapes now of purest white
outside it’s wt* degrees farenheit

I have to admit that my first thought when I saw the prompt was *insert dumb look here* so I thought — fallen, fallen like in fallen angel? Yeah I read Jim Butcher, no members of the Fallen here. Let’s just say that from there my thoughts got weirder and weirder (yeah I know, whoda thunk) Anyway, then I got to thinking about petals on the plum tree in our former RV park of residence in Utah. Do you know I do not have a single picture (that I can locate) of those petals once they hit the ground. Hmpf, well I guess I’m just gonna have to wing it. I went down the rabbit hole of photo archive digging and before I knew it, it’s almost dinner time. So you’re stuck with “things that have fallen.”

Flowering plum tree – Virgin, Utah before all the petals had fallen

A heavy coat of florescent yellow pine pollen, there are no scratches, paint peels or rubs on the car, that’s all pollen. Ewww took me weeks to get it out of everything.

Little spontaneous waterfalls here in Zion National Park where fallen rocks, trees, and other debris wash down the canyon until they get stuck and create those beautiful babbling brook sounds.

This was part of a massive rockslide that wiped out a good section of highway going through Zion National Park in Utah a few years ago. To quote the zen master C3PO “it’s possible this asteroid is not entirely stable.”

Waterfall at the entrance to the Temple of Sinewava the rock shelf is worn from water that has fallen over it for centuries. Regrettably the waterfall no longer flows.

And finally, Sterling Castle, Scotland grave yard, tributes to fallen ancestors.

Til next time ~stay wild moon child ~JP

Sunday Stills – The Landscape of My Life

For Sunday Stills – Your Favorite Landscapes

The Landscape of My Life

The landscape of my life lies before me
and it is beautiful
filled with the ‘teeners of Colorado
bleeding their rust-colored stains
the Grand Canyon deep and vast
where Condor shadows fade in twilight
Sunset on a snowy field sends skyward
a brilliant flash of gold
south to Death Valley’s salt flats
eerie, barren, grey and cold
I have seen so many sights
from Zion and Osaka,
New Zealand and Kauai
The landscape of my life lies before me
and … it is beautiful

We spent many summers in Colorado, Silverton, Ouray and Durango. It was here in the Red Mountain Pass I began to understand “Colorado Rocky Mountain High” whether from the majesty of the landscape or the lack of oxygen, I cannot say.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We have visited there several times alone and with family. Pictures cannot do it justice for it is the very definition of the word “vast.” I have never felt so small.

“Flash of Green” over the horizon in South Dakota. “Presence of God” moment, perhaps a soul coming back to earth.

Badwater Basin salt flats in Death Valley, California. 200 square miles of … nothing. All I could think was “what must the settlers have thought?”

Shugakuin Imperial Villa, Kyoto, Japan. There is a reason Kyoto is one of my spiritual centers and this shot pretty much says it all.

Skyline of Osaka, Japan from Osaka Castle. A stop at a okonomiyaki restaurant on the way home reminds me that some things are the same world wide. Like, pizza.

Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah. We spent a decade of falls, winters, and springs exploring this beautiful National Park. The awe and grandeur are never exaggerated. It lives up to it’s name “Sanctuary” and peace of mind, body and soul are palpable.

One of a hundred soul-stirring sunrises on Kapaa Beach, Hawaii. During our morning walk along the beach tears started rolling down my face. When Superhubs asked me what was wrong, I told him “my hands don’t hurt.” For the first time in decades, my hands did. not. hurt. The absence of pain, not relief of pain but the absence of it, can be a real eye-opener.


Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Sunday Stills – Storm Cloud Blessings

For Sunday Stills — Fog and Clouds

and JusJoJan – Specs

Storm Cloud Blessings

Winds from the north,
fog blowing in
changes are coming,
it’s about to begin
Winter blows in
with his terrible might
the sky up above me
is soon blocked from sight
specs of light from behind
now the clouds sweep away
rainbow breaking through
blessing me on this day

Nephology weirdness out my back door. Some of the cloud patterns we have here in South Dakota defy identification.

Mountains peeking out from an ethereal layer of fog and cloud taken from the beach in Kaikoura, NZ

And of course no discussion of fog and clouds should overlook the bizarre manifestation that is frozen fog. A couple of bushes up the street covered in fog crystals

closeup of frozen fog phenomenon

And no compilation of clouds would be complete without a flamboyant sunset (or sunrise). This was taken out my front door a few weeks ago

“It’s clouds’ illusions I recall, I really don’t know clouds, at all”
— Joni Mitchell – (saw that coming didn’t you?)

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

Sunday Stills — Glaciers of emotion

A flash at sunset

For Sunday Stills our monthly color challenge – Glacier Blue

Feelings shift like oceans
beneath the frozen ice
glaciers of emotions
pain too long denied
struggle against the cold
mind closed against the truth
pressures build, exploding in
a single tear of glacier blue

 

Blue Sunrise — Kauai

Blue ocean – Princetown, Hawaii

and MORE blue oceans — Kaikoura, NZ are you sensing a theme here?

Snowy night in Richfield, UT I love the way the street lights at dusk create the blue glow

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP