Today was such a welcome relief from the hot weather we've had lately. The air was cool and damp, with a welcome breeze and intermittently cloudy sky, although the clouds gifted us with only a few fat drops of rain.
This evening, since the humidity is high (87%) and the temperature has already dropped to 40 F, I lit fires in each fireplace. The cats love this and, after a bit of jostling for position because they have to share, they are sleeping contentedly on their favorite hearth.
I'm curled up in my wing chair by the living room fireplace, listening to the crackling of the wood and drinking a mug of Lady Grey tea. The windows are open, and I can smell the wonderful dampness in the air and hear the low murmuring of the creek. The leaves that have fallen scurry outside the open windows and the roof above, pushed by the little breeze. Their dry, sibilant whispering speaks of future cold days and nights to their sisters and brothers who haven't left the safety of the dogwoods, alders and oaks to take part in the wild dance of Autumn, while the pines and cedars seem to sigh with relief at the thought of the benediction of rain and snow.
Tuesday, September 29, '09, 12:56 a.m. (Click on the picture to enlarge it).
Hope is such a tenuous thing, as delicate and thin as the clouds that barely veil the stars in the sky in the above photo. Nothing has ever been accomplished by just hoping. Yet who could live without hope?
I think hope is what gives us the courage to go on trying when the odds seem stacked insurmountably against us. Hope that things will get better, hope that things won't get any worse, hope that we will somehow, some way, imagine a way to make what we are hoping for a reality.
Several times in my life, hope has left me, to be replaced with a despair so profound, so bottomless, I don't know how my heart kept beating. I stumbled my way through these times because I have been blessed with tenacity. Slowly, like the light of a distant star that that dims, then brightens, then dims again, always shining a little brighter each time, hope eventually came back to me, and I could imagine ways to make things better.
Hope, tenacity and imagination. They are, I believe, the most important gifts of the Great Creator for this sometimes incredibly joyous, sometimes excruciatingly hard, journey through life.
I was out in the back garden this afternoon when I noticed this beautiful butterfly, a California Sister (thanks, Miss Vicki), perched on a Dogwood leaf right next to some Dogwood berries.
Of course, I didn't have either one of my cameras with me. I rushed back into the house and grabbed one, all the while thinking that I was rushing for nothing because the butterfly would surely be gone when I got back.
Amazingly, she was still there! I usually have a really hard time photographing insects because they just don't stay still long enough. But it was almost like this one was posing for me.
I had never realized how scary-looking butterfly faces are until this one turned to look right at me. I gasped (stupidly) and she flew away. And maybe she was thinking:
"Eeeeek! Those humans are really scary-looking! And why do they only have one, giant, round eye?!"
Anyway, I still think their wings are beautiful...
I've always had a fascination with windows and doors, so I thought I'd post one every Wednesday. For obvious reasons, I won't post what town or village they're in, but I've a file full of pictures of doors and windows that I've taken in my rambles all over these mountains.
I don't know why they fascinate me; maybe, like eyes are said to be the windows to the soul of living beings, windows and doors let one see a bit of the soul of a house?
We named him that because, if he likes you, he likes to bump you with the top of his head. And if he really likes you, he'll give you gentle kitty bites. We also call him Shadow Padric, Chieftain of the Padding Paws Clan.
I think Vicki Lane's cat, Eddie, looks a lot like Shadow...or maybe it's vice versa. Although I'm quite sure if Shadow were ever face to beak with a wild turkey he'd faint. He gets nervous when the Jays land on top of the kitty play yard and yell at him. (Quite a few years ago we built a 16 ft. wide by 39 ft. long play yard for them because we have such a large coyote population, and it just isn't safe for them to roam on their own).
But his favorite thing to do is to "mother" his baby brother, Timothy. We saved Timothy from a Raccoon when he was about 5 weeks old. Shadow wanted to take care of Timothy from the first moment we brought him into the house. I'd never heard Shadow meow, chirp and trill like that until he saw Timothy. We always keep our new adoptions separate from our other cats until they're tested and cleared for various contagious diseases, and sometimes they have to endure a few days of our other cats being rude (I monitor them closely so they're not too rude) when they're first out with the rest of the gang. But not little Timothy! Shadow, who weighs 19 lbs., made it clear that Timothy was under his protection and they've been best buddies ever since.
And tonight...La Luna in her full glory. There wasn't any haze
in the air when I took the first photo, but tonight is pretty hazy due to the smoke from the big fire near Los Angeles.
But whether she is seen through clear or hazy air, I think La Luna is always beautiful.
When I was a very little girl, I used to think that the moon sparkles on the lake would hold me up if I could just manage to step on them in exactly the right way. I had a rule, though, that if the first step onto a sparkle didn't hold me up there was no use in going further; the magic just wasn't going to work that night. Thank goodness there was one part of my mind that had a tiny shred of practicality!
and how the color mutates on every bloom and petal until the blooming season is over.
One of my great grand-nieces, who is six, asked me how the blossoms could change color so much, even on one petal. I told her that at night the artists of the Faerie People come with their brushes and wave them over the petals to change the color to suit their fancy. She wanted to know why they didn't need to bring along their paints and palettes. I told her that they didn't need to because their imaginations were so powerful that they could make the colors flow from their minds right onto the brush and, with the flick of a wrist and as quick as the beat of a wing, the petal would look just the way they imagined it.
She looked at me and asked, "Why can't we paint like that?" I replied, "Oh, darlin', we're just mere humans. The Faery People have magic, you know that. But I do believe that every painter, every writer, every person who makes something good, something that wouldn't harm anyone, something that they've only seen in their imagination into reality...well, I believe the Faery People count us as kin."
She replied, "So, because I made a painting today and mama likes to write stories...that means we're related to Faeries? Oh, I like that! Wait until I tell Mama!"
Smiling, I said, "Sugar, I'm pretty sure your mama already knows."
And some other Wildings, big and little, who kindly share their forest with me:
"To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Young Steller's Jay
Common to high altitude forests all over the west
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Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. ~~ Albert Einstein
June Is Adopt a Cat Month
But, there are always strays who need a loving home - so don't shop, ADOPT! Click the photo for helpful tips on adopting.
If they breathe, they live. If they live, they feel. If they feel, they love. If they love, they are aware. If they are aware, they have a soul. ~ Williams
I love cats because I enjoy my home and, little by little, they become its visible soul ~ Jean Cocteau (That's Malcolm O'Mewy on the chair)
Feed the Hungry
I think we are bound to, and by, Nature. We may want to deny this connection and try to believe we control the external world, but every time there's a snowstorm or drought we know our fate is tied to the world around us. ~~ Alice Hoffman
What I'm Reading Now:
Give a Child a Book
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors and the most patient of teachers.
Charles W. Eliot
A person who collects or is fond of books. Also, a person who immediately feels safe, happy, even euphoric, when holding a favorite book.
Care for a cuppa?
Where there is tea there is hope - Pinero
Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake
Click to visit Big Bear
Lake Gregory, Crestline
Click to visit Crestline
Click to visit Lake Arrowhead
A Favorite Quote
"I don't want life to imitate art; I want life to BE art." Carrie Fisher
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. ~ John Muir, from "The California Mountains"
I'm three-quarters Native American (Oglala Sioux and Cherokee), and one-quarter Northern Italian. I live in a little cottage with my furry "children" in a beautiful mountain forest where we enjoy daily visits from the little wild creatures. I love animals (you probably guessed), books, photography, tall trees, clear lakes, rain, snow, tea, the moon, and creating all kinds of art.