About Michael Doran

I have been encouraged and inspired by many throughout my life, and seek to do the same for others. My blogs and photographs reflect who I am and what I am thinking or seeing at the moment I post something. I hope what I share brings pleasure and meaning to others. Thank you for viewing my posts.

BLUE HERON

One must stand…

Before one walks…

And, one cannot fly until one stands…

This episode begins with a swift flight from one side of a small lake to the opposite side. From a football field away something grabbed Miss Heron’s attention which resulted in a sudden dash…from watching to flying to stalking to fishing.

Intentional, natural, instinctive, graceful, and deadly !

I was reminded once again that no matter how beautiful and inspiring nature is, she can also be lethal. Just ask the frog. I certainly don’t want to tangle with this bird.

Herein lies the purpose of the telephoto lens: to capture something up-close, but by doing so from a distance. Safer that way.

Gone Fishin’

“Gone fishin’, instead of just a wishin’ ”

This was the tagline / theme song to The Fisherman’s Friend, a local television show which aired from 1953 to 1974. Harold Ensley was the originator and main character of this production. He was a Kansas native, a minister, an avid fisherman and an astute businessman. His show was broadcast live from each venue and often with notable quests.

As a child I would occasionally tune-in to Gone Fishin’, as the show was affectionately called. I remember being confounded when I watched his show. On the one hand it was like “watching paint dry”, and on the other hand it was informational and relaxing. Fishing didn’t grab me like it did Harold and a host of his dedicated followers. Perhaps my lack of success affected my enthusiasm. However, I was pretty good at snagging underwater brush.

Yesterday, as I watched the sun rise above the east treeline, I caught a glimpse of a couple fishermen. This fellow had just set-up on a small dock while the other fellow trolled the lake in his boat…he had a four-legged companion with him. I spoke with this man for a few minutes. We talked of the fantastic, unseasonably cool weather that encompassed our geography (men usually talk about weather). We also spoke of seizing opportunities such as the beautiful morning, a freshwater lake, and having the availability required to fish. We didn’t talk about CV19, politics, BLM or finances. Refreshing!

You will not find an epiphany in this post nor a judgement of any kind. Instead, I have chosen to share a mundane moment in time and place…with the under-current of exceptional. To rest in the midst of nature, commune with the Creator, and enjoy a brief interaction with another individual is sublime. Prior to this moment I spent an hour with a good friend, talking over coffee as the sun warmed our faces. I am blessed and take nothing for granted.

Wildflowers

These wildflowers came-of-age after seeds were scattered on a small plot of ground. Over the course of a few months and with nature’s guiding hand, the verdant foliage grew and the flowers bloomed.

There are myriad features concerning flowers which fascinate me. From indigo lotus’ of ancient Egypt to contemporary and magnificent hybrids of an English garden; from fields of ruby-red poppies to rows of French lavender, flowers are simply amazing. They are undeniably marvelous!

The fullness of colors. The variety of shapes. The sizes and heights. The plethora of fragrances. Their insect attracting and repelling qualities. Many have medicinal properties and some, such as nasturtiums, are edible.

Whether growing near the top of oxygen-starved mountains or in the harshest deserts, flowers are a reminder of resiliency. Conversely, they also reveal the delicate nature of life since a flower-pot zinnia won’t survive more than a week without water.

With about four million species, flowers are one of God’s best creations.They make us smile. They usher in feelings of awe. They remind us of days past. They hold the promise of future joys. They comfort and decorate and celebrate. They make living more enjoyable.

Why not enjoy a flower today? Observing is better than picking! And, planting is even better.

“Here’s Looking at You, Kid”

I had the privilege of visiting an old friend of mine. This gelding, whose name escapes me, showed himself in a nearby pasture. I have been looking for him for months.

He was not aware of the C-19 pandemic, civil unrest, financial crisis, political pandering or other maladies that plague America (and much of the world).

I told him I wish I wasn’t so informed. Then, I sighed.

He swished his tail, turned back to grazing, and slowly walked away. He was content with what he had and what he was doing.

As I surveyed this grand creature enjoying his simple life, I looked towards the rolling canopy above and simply said, “Thank you”.

For a moment I was reminded that peace and contentment are a condition of the heart, and not based on circumstances or stuff.

As Bogart told Bergman in Casablanca, “Here’s looking at you, kid”. It was Bogey’s way of saying I gotta go now, but things will work out.

STONES

Visited a part of Kansas City, Missouri the other day…hadn’t been to this area for quite some time. The above home is Tiffany Castle, built in 1909, from native limestone. This structure is young compared to a plethora of the world’s architectural treasures, but it is still impressive. Worth the visit to view it and adjacent houses of like materials.

What comes to mind when you recognize the word STONES ?

Rock. Hard. Strong. Building Block. Tool. Weapon. Table. Cliff. Escarpment. Fjord.

Petrology: Igneous; Sedimentary; Metamorphic.

Brief History: Two stone tablets; Five smooth stones; Millstone; Cornerstone; Capstone.

Quips: Hard as a rock; Dumber than a rock; Heart of stone; Rock solid; Stone cold.

People & Things: Rolling Stones; The Rock (actor); Stony River; Fortress; Cairns; Grand Canyon; Victoria Falls; Petra; Parthenon; Stone Hedge; Pyramids.

Thought: When the heart is like stony ground, no seeds of hope are allowed to sprout. Only when the hardened crust is broken loose can a sprig shoot forth, penetrating what was once thought impossible. Hence, the reason farmers use plows to breakup the fallow earth. It is a process I have learned from, and much to my chagrin, continue to repeat. There is hope.

A Cardinal Moment

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Much can be said about the beauty of our feathered friends. The variety of shapes and sizes. The tail feathers. The varied beaks. Wing spans. The chirps and the songs. Their flight patterns and eating habits. Nest building and mating. Food choices.

The more colorful, the more timid (at least in our neighborhood). Cardinals are one such bird. They are a delight to witness when they choose to appear. Cardinals always seem to be in pairs. As in many of natures species, the male is the brighter of the two, but certainly no more important.

 

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It is unusual to find a Cardinal perched on a feeder. They normally forage on the ground or in trees and shrubs. For this male, the temptation must have been too great to be relegated to bottom feeding. As for the female, she chose to dine with company !

 

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Photograph disclaimer: These two were shot through a glass door and with zero-time to prepare which translates to not-so-vivid images. We enjoyed them anyway. Always a blessing to see God’s handiwork in action.

 

May you find color in life today.

Thank You

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 If the sun refuse to shine                                                                                                                       I would still be loving you                                                                                                             When mountains crumble to the sea                                                                                         There will still be you and me

Kind woman, I give you my heart                                                                                                      Kind woman, nothing more                                                                                                                

 Little drops of rain whisper of the pain                                                                                          Tears of loves lost in the days gone by                                                                                           My love is strong, with you there is no wrong                                                                                 Together we shall go until we die                                                                                                       My, my, my inspiration is what you are to me                                                                                 Inspiration look, see                                                                                                                            

 And so today, my world it smiles                                                                                                         Your hand in mine, we walk the miles                                                                                               Thanks to you it will be done                                                                                                               For you to me are the only one                                                                                                           Happiness, no more to be sad                                                                                                             Happiness, I am glad

If the sun refuse to shine                                                                                                                      I would still be loving you                                             

A Whiter Shade of Pale

 

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The Procol Harum song from 1967 is full of skillful instrumentation and some mystical lyrics. It is an iconic song as far as rock ‘n roll is concerned and many people know it well. I thought of this song as I searched for this photograph of Carson, our Westie, which I took in the summer of 2018. Carson was indeed white when clean, but took on various shades of pale, especially after digging in dirt which was almost a daily ritual for him !

The song’s meaning is full of conjecture and possibly some unpleasantness. My intent is only to focus on the title which fits the image I chose. Our world is full of questions and much conjecture due to the pandemic. We read and hear daily of one-sentence snippets of hope and encouragement for which I question their benefit. On the flip side are the purveyors of doom-and-gloom forecasts. I doubt these are helpful to anyone.

So, we exist in a time where there seems to be a lot of pale and very little white which I equate with truth and purity (not about skin color). This much I feel is certain…our world will not be the same once we are rid of this virus and its devastating effects. My purpose is to look at the positives that will come (and are currently taking place) out of this uncertain experience. Hope is an essential ingredient, as is a real dose of unbiased reality. Remain vigilant in staying engaged and find an anchor to hold onto to. Mine is Jesus. I hope you stay secure. Carson was.