Cardinal Luck

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It is rare (at least for me) to get a long look at a Cardinal staying in one place for more than a few seconds. They are timid and like to hide. So, I was a bit lucky to capture this male, however, it was at a full 300 mm zoom so the image is not as crisp and vibrant as I would have hoped for. However, it beats not having the photograph.

There is a special quality that this particular bird reveals when he stands tall on a branch. Besides his beautiful red coloring and unique beak, there is something more…something intangible. Perhaps I consider him as being regal due to his appearance. Perhaps, I simply notice how handsome he is. As with people, Mr. Red can’t take any credit for this fact. Only his Creator can. But, what if he wasn’t so handsome? Would that lessen his uniqueness…his beauty? As with people, something to ponder. Are we unique and beautiful because that’s how the world sees us or are we all that way simply because that is how we were created? I choose the later explanation, and hope you do, too.

In keeping with my thoughts about winter ending soon and spring turning to summer, I share this song bird with you. Celebrate his (your) uniqueness.

Dreaming of Summer

The absence of zinnias, monarchs, and vibrant greens make me long for summer. So, I decided to reveal some color to offset the dull hues of winter’s landscape. Not that winter can’t be beautiful, especially in the mountains, but here we have had little snow or color-just drab days and cold nights. Here are a few images taken last summer in our flower garden. There are so many more to reveal, but less is usually best. Think warm!
Monarchs & Zinnias c 9-18-11Monarchs & Zinnias h 9-18-11Monarchs & Zinnias a 9-18-11


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He leaned heavily toward the house and could have done considerable damage to the structure and overhead utilities. So, he had to go, as painful as it was to make the decision to take him down. I arranged the felling of this tree, paid for it’s removal, and even assisted the forester. Cheryl was sad to see him go as she and her siblings played under his branches when they were children. Memories remain even though the curled bark can no longer be touched nor the trunk scaled and branches climbed.

If this big tree could talk, he would speak of fields full of crops and of farming. He witnessed yearly plantings and harvests, grazing animals, and a farmstead with family members fulfilling their chores and friends sharing picnic lunches. Many a sunny day bathed this tree’s leaves while rain and snow drenched his roots. This old boy provided shelter for birds and squirrels who built countless nests in his secure branches. He knew the sounds of children’s laughter swinging high above the earth on homemade rope swings. This once proud maple eventually witnessed the development of a housing subdivision in the late 1950’s. Farmland was replaced by neatly organized neighborhoods with modern streets, utilities, houses and nearby amenities. Yet, he remained standing-like a sentinel.

Eventually, the process of rotting began within his lower trunk, thus reducing the ability of this tree to support the upper trunks and branches as they leaned uncomfortably toward the house. Yet, in spite of this gradual deterioration, he still managed to stand tall, grow leaves in the spring, and even provide a home for raccoons and opossums.

However, there comes a time when the risk outweighs the benefit and he had to be taken down. Watching this 125+ year old maple reduced to firewood made me think about life…and memories. Since there is no Fountain of Youth to drink from, no eternal elixir to be swallowed, and no magical spell which will stop aging; much of what will remain when we leave this home we call Earth are memories. In some cases there may be ongoing programs and inventions created by individuals, and great legacies of victories and cures. However, when one is remembered and even honored, the memories reign supreme.

Although my father fell 32 years ago, his birthday anniversary is today, February 4th. He would be 92 had he reached this day. I am grateful to have known him in a positive sort of way, and to have been loved by him even though I was only a young father when he died. To be sure, I recognize that all memories may not be pleasant for some, and may often be very painful to visit. Too many children don’t even know their father which is a travesty. However, my hope is for all of your future ones to be filled with much joy and fondness. Never take for granted the sweet moments when wonderful memories can be made, and then act upon them like there is no tomorrow. Spring is just around the corner!


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Horses on 87th 002


There is something about the majesty of a horse which has always captured my attention. Although I have never owned one (my sisters have), I admire their valiant appearance, renowned deeds of bravado and strength, and often a touch of grace.

This setting is idyllic, except for the drab effects of winter’s grays and browns. The wide open field, clear pond and a splattering of trees among the hillside make for a painter’s eye to capture and her hand to recreate as she chooses. Since I don’t paint, my simple photographs will have to do. I just wanted to share him with you.

Rusty, as I have named him due to the obvious color, is one of three equines which can be found most days grazing or lying on the field of grass near the fence, next to a busy road. He is a curious fellow and doesn’t mind me approaching him with camera in hand. I suppose one could describe him as friendly and inquisitive. He is also quite handsome.

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