Joys of nature

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Joys of nature

I'd like to start a new thread for people to relate the small things they see in the natural world that give them a measure of joy and/or wonder.  This subject occurred to me the other night when my son came running into the kitchen to invite me to check out a tree frog that had just jumped onto our front window and stuck there with its suction cup feet.  The nearest shrub is about three feet away and below the level of the window.  It stayed there long enough that we got a number of pictures.  I'd never seen anything like that before.

The subject also brings to mind a book I first read back in the 70's by Annie Dillard entitled Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.  Dillard simply wrote of things she observed on her small acreage somewhere in PA.  It's a wonderful book filled with stories of natural happenings that truly astonished me.

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Late Afternoon Thunderstorm

Excellent Idea Doug.

This time of year, I enjoy taking a moment to watch the thunderheads roll in off of the Gulf (of Mexico) in the late afternoon. The wind will kick-up and the stifling humidity will transform into the smell of rain approaching. Yesterday, a particularly impressive thunderhead blackened our sky in the early afternoon. Sitting on my third story deck, I felt I was in a tree house as the wind whipped the bamboo and trees around me. As the lightening approached, I could feel a slight tingle on my skin when the air around me took on an electric charge as the occasional cool breeze passed through.

Then you hear the first drop hit. At first, you don't recognize it for what it is, but then its followed by another a few seconds later, and another, and before you know it the sky is falling. Then comes the moment I was waiting for all along. The rain is roaring around you, lightening and thunder are close enough to be perceived as one event, and strong gusts of wind are throwing around your possessions like a scene from The Exorcist. If you resist the urge to seek cover inside, and instead leave yourself slightly exposed to the power of nature, you are rewarded with a wonder feeling of integrated insignificance. For a fleeting moment, your world is not limited by the confines of your thoughts, responsibilities, and anxieties. Your nothing.

As the rain begins to wind down, and the lightening moves off into the distance, a palpable sense of silence moves over the landscape. There is a particular smell that is created when rain hits hot concrete or asphalt. Its a fresh smell, like the rain has washed away the bleakness of the urban landscape, if for only a moment. And if it has rained long enough, a chorus of tree frogs breaks the silence left by the storm.

All is well.

(Except for my router which the lightening fried)

 

Thanks for allowing me to share that...Jeff

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Re: Joys of nature - Summer Morning

I'm sitting on my porch as the mid-morning sun shines down on the echinacea, bee balm, lilies and black eyed susans.  Bees and other insects are hovering over the flowers.  I hear a distant cardinal singing - "cheer  - cheer  - cheer  - cheer - cheer - cheer".  I hear goldfinch, the constant chirp of crickets, the faint sound of leaves moving in the breeze and the faintest hint of sound from the wind chime when a slight gust moves through the porch, lightly touching my face with coolness.  It brings that sweet and pungent midsummer smell from the woods that says "Green!".  Between the occasional hums of cars out on the main road, the soundscape feels so vast that I imagine this summer morning just goes on over the horizon and off into infinity and into forever - back into days just like this in my childhood and - hopefully - summer days in my elderhood.  Days when I perceive connections that I couldn't even imagine exist today  Just as - as a boy - I couldn't imagine much of what I'm perceiving right now..  The first cicada buzzes in the tree tops and I can feel the heat of the day in my imagination even if it's not quite here yet.

What a gift to be working today at my laptop on the porch.

The woods are beckoning already. Off to work so there's time for a cool lunchtime walk.

Steve

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Re: Joys of nature

Jeff

Among the things I miss most from my childhood days in the Great Plains are the absolutely glorious storms that hammer the area several times a year, very reminiscent of your description of the storm over the gulf.  They really do remind one of how insignificant our daily concerns are in the grand scheme.  Thanks for sharing.

Steve

You must live a little south of me.  Our lilies aren't blossoming yet, but the rest sounds very familiar.  Thanks for setting the scene so eloquently.

Yesterday I was taking my dog (german short hair pointer) for a walk in the woods behind my place when he scattered a flock of about 15 turkeys, and then dashed about madly trying to play with them.  For a minute or so I just stayed in one place listening to turkeys taking flight unseen but all around me.  It was an audio landscape that was quite thrilling to witness.  Alarming for the birds, perhaps, but of no harm.

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Re: Joys of nature

The mountains and rolling hills here in Pennsylvania are a feast to the eye this summer.  The frequent rains have alternated with pleasant sunshine to produce a landscape that is rich with a hundred shades of green -- everything from deep forest blue-greens to the emerald green of roadside grasses to the lime green of light shining through the upper leaves of endless fields of corn.  Driving down a country road, everywhere you look you see colors that aren't even in the Crayola crayon box.  A friend from Montana remarked that she had never seen so much gorgeous green vegetation in her life.  I've lived here for 30 years and it still delights me to drink in the beauty of the land.  Adding to the pretty scenery are clusters of colorful flowers that are lavishly planted in yards and porch pots, making the limestone farmhouses look like postcards.  Add an Amish horse and buggy going by with adorable little children in straw hats peeking out the back window, and it's like a vacation day just driving into town to go on errands.

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Re: Joys of nature

 

Morning Flight and Storm over the Gulf

(edit: I think I fixed the problem)

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Re: Joys of nature

Jeff

I don't know if its my computer or not, but your pics aren't coming through.

Doug

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Re: Joys of nature

 Sorry Doug,

Its probably user error on my part. I'm still trying to figure out how to post a pic using a url. I'll keep working on it....Jeff

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Can You See This Pic?

 

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Re: Joys of nature

Yes, it's stunning.  I must get to Hawaii sometime.

Doug

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Re: Joys of nature

Thats great, I finally figured it out!

I actually took that picture 1 year ago today.

Are you interested in seeing any more? I don't want to hijack your thread.

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Re: Joys of nature

Sure, I'd like to see more.  Hawaii is an amazing example of the joys of nature.

Doug

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Re: Joys of nature

 Hey Doug,

I sure appreciate you starting this thread.  And I'd love to see more pictures.  I realized a long time ago that immersing myself in the awesome beauty of nature is one of the best ways for me to handle the coming bad times emotionally.  Its great to know that others on this site obviously feel the same way.  And, its great to know other folks who find real joy in other than the stuff that we can buy.  Whew!

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Re: Joys of nature

The following video was a time-lapsed shot of a sunset from Makena Beach in south Maui. The original video was about 40 minutes, but I sped it up.

 

 

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Re: Joys of nature

Ben

Thanks, I started the thread for just that reason.  I find that I discover something new on just about every hike I take on even the most familiar trails in the woods.  Nothing nourishes the soul more than time spent in the wilds.

Doug

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More Maui Pics

 

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Re: Joys of nature
JAG wrote:

The following video was a time-lapsed shot of a sunset from Makena Beach in south Maui. The original video was about 40 minutes, but I sped it up.

Jeff,

This is a private video on YouTube.  You'll have to make it publicly available for others to see it from here.

Ron

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Re: Joys of nature

 

Thanks for letting me share some of my pics of Maui. Unfortunately, they could never do that place justice. Its by far the most beautiful place I have ever been, and the landscapes are as diverse as the mainland US.

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Re: Joys of nature

 JAG --

Is what you call Makena beach also known as "Big Beach" by the locals?  Cuz if so that headland on the R-hand side of your sunset vid is the lower boundary of my favorite beachy stomping grounds when I was a local, a.k.a. Little Beach.  Fine memories of many afternoons there!  Thanks for taking me back.

Viva -- Sager

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Re: Joys of nature

 Sager, isn't Little Beach a nude beach?

(edit: Yes, Makena=Big Beach)

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Eric Rolph's Photos of Maui

 These pics are from Eric Rolph's Photostream on Flickr. While his pics have benefited by some advanced post-production work, I think he has done a wonderful job of capturing the beauty of Maui. Clink his link above to see more of his work.

 

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Streamside

There is no joy of nature that I enjoy more than sitting by a stream. Its a pleasure that I rarely get because the nearest stream is several hours away. When I last visited Maui, I took the time to capture some HD video of Iao stream early one Sunday morning. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than how many words is 2 minutes of HD video worth?

You can view my video of that Sunday morning so far away by clicking here

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy it.

Jeff

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Re: Streamside

Jeff,

One of my fondest memories is fishing for largemouth bass in a jungle stream in Kauai on the property of a house we rented there.  The stream was crystal clear and the bass were a silvery color unlike the greenish or brownish hues I've seen most other places.  You'd part the reeds and spot a bass sitting in a hole (like trout fishing), toss a plastic worm upstream, float it down to the fish, watch it inhale the bait, and then set the hook.  Nothing like it.  Thanks for bringing me back there. 

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Re: Joys of nature

AO;

Ah . . . You've reminded me of fishing in the Kleena Kleene river in western BC . . . . We didn't even have a pole . . .  Just some line and a hook,  and an improvised sinker and bobber.  We'd spot an eddy in the river, and just "twirl" the line into it, and catch rainbow trout . . . Usually, enough for dinner within a half hour.  We'd throw the head to the dog, and roast the rest on a stick, over a fire, right at the river bank . . . .  Roasting fish on a stick was tricky . . . . We used to say that if the fish fell off of the stick into the fire, it was too done, and if it hadn't fallen off the stick yet, it wasn't done enough . . . .       They were the best fish I've ever tasted . . . really clean-tasting . . . . 

-- C1oudfire

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Re: Joys of nature
JAG wrote:

 Sager, isn't Little Beach a nude beach?

(edit: Yes, Makena=Big Beach)

Ehrm...I believe the correct term is Clothing Optional.     Nothing like bodysurfing in the alltogether...

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Re: Joys of nature
SagerXX wrote:
JAG wrote:

 Sager, isn't Little Beach a nude beach?

(edit: Yes, Makena=Big Beach)

Ehrm...I believe the correct term is Clothing Optional.     Nothing like bodysurfing in the alltogether...

    OK, boys . . . I'm struggling to relate this to the 3 E's . . . .  

 

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Re: Joys of nature
C1oudfire wrote:
SagerXX wrote:
JAG wrote:

 Sager, isn't Little Beach a nude beach?

(edit: Yes, Makena=Big Beach)

Ehrm...I believe the correct term is Clothing Optional.     Nothing like bodysurfing in the alltogether...

    OK, boys . . . I'm struggling to relate this to the 3 E's . . . .  

 

Some things -- like the perfect wave (and communing w/same) -- just ain't amenable to 'splanation (regardless of ones sartorial estate).  I'll say no more.  

 

 

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Re: Joys of nature

It occured to me today that one of my favorite seasons of the year is peach season.  I love peachs and can gorge myself on them for the extent of the season and not get tired of them.  I just put a bunch of sliced up peachs on a bowl of ice cream and will now enjoy.

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Peaches and Maui In Flight Video

Doug,

Peaches are one of the few things that it is difficult to grow here on the Gulf Coast, there is not enough chilling hours for most varieties. I'm going to keep trying though, because my daughter loves them.

On to a different joy of nature...Maui In Flight:

 Composed from some footage that I purchased after our charter Helicopter tour in Maui last year.

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Re: Joys of nature

 Today I spent some time with my daughters and a few other kids peering into flowers with a 10x hand lens.  It's amazing what you see in there!  Just turn off the old thinker, take some deep, slow breaths and really see it.  If you don't own a lens, the experience is well worth the cost.

Steve

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Re: Joys of nature

Jeff

I don't seem to be able to open the video.  There's a message saying I have to accept "the sender's friend request."  I don't know what that means.  Probably my own ignorance of such things.

Steve

I have a hand lens and lots of nature guides of all kinds, and have been using them for decades.  My daughter is heading off to college to study "Forest Health", a science heavy course of study that she hopes will keep her in the woods for ever.  I take some credit for that because I have been dragging her and my son into the forests, wetlands, seashores and mountains of the northeast since they were infants.  It apparently rubbed off.  I couldn't be happier.  Watching and learning how nature works is as close to magic as anything I have discovered.

Keep up your efforts with your daughters.  You and they will be rewarded in many ways.

Doug

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