Summer is winding down as the first week of September has brought a preview of the colors of fall to the banks of the Merrimack River and beyond. The other evening after attending the wake of an old friend from high school, I decided to drive down to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge as I had the camera in the car.
Before I even got to the Refuge, I was struck by the late day light on the west facing wall of the iconic Pink House on the Plum Island Turnpike. I quickly veered off the side of the road, parked my car and grabbed the camera. I took numerous shots with both a 70 – 300 mm zoom and a 10 – 24 mm wide angle (both Nikon).
The light was breathtaking. The wall was illuminated with a golden glow that mingled sweetly with the fall tones of the marsh grasses and brush around the house. As I walked back and forth along the roadside with the camera taking shots from different angles with my two lens I suddenly realized there was a Red-tailed Hawk sitting on the chimney of the house. My spirit bird had come to visit.
Always tuned to the energy of the wild creatures and other forces of nature, I was grateful for the visit of my messenger, the Red-tailed. Continue reading
As a visual spatial person, I see most everything within the boundaries of a frame. That said, I feel that photography comes naturally to me. Many, many years ago I painted, oils, but I love the fact that with my camera I can instantly create art and channel what I see into something tangible to share with others.
Here in the photos below, I was fascinated by the patterns created by the colors and shapes, mixed with reflection of the building and the motion of both the Mallard ducks and the waters of the Merrimack River at the historic Lowell’s Boat Shop in Amesbury, Massachusetts.
I build my understanding and reason about all things in life around the nature that borders my world. I absorb the entities of nature that are around me.
I take up sometimes for the briefest of moments, the flight of the hawk, or the hop of the rabbit. I scream like the fox, I swish like the fish flowing downstream with the tide. I peer into the pool of water and find my reflection. I am the wild creatures and the wild creatures are me.
It is in the moments of communing with nature that I am free from the commonplace stresses of the world. It is in the moments that I let my imagination run wild and soar free, with the wild creatures around me, that I am free from the stresses of the world.
I build my sanity and reason around myself with the nature that surrounds my realm. I am the eagle hunting fish in the river. I am the squirrel storing nuts for winter. I am the buds on the trees in the spring. I am the river as to flows to the ocean. I am the ocean whose waves crash on the shore. I am the nature that borders my world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature is a series of eight essays that touch upon a variety of thoughts on nature in writings on Nature, Commodity, Beauty, Language, Discipline, Idealism, Spirit and Prospects. Emerson’s essays were initially published anonymously and were influenced by his early form of Transcendentalism. He composed the essays in Nature after leaving the Unitarian ministry. (Emerson p. viii) Emerson’s Nature has influenced Emerson’s friend Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, John Burroughs and many others since its first publication. What Emerson entreats in Nature is that man must foray into nature in order to understand the “perpetual presence of the sublime.” (Emerson p. 6)
I am forever caught up in the “perpetual presence of the sublime,” that Emerson speaks of, for nature never ceases to amaze me and in that, my heart is like that of a child, as Emerson alludes: “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other, who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” (Emerson p. 7)
Emerson speaks to my soul when he says, “In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages,” (Emerson p. 8) for I see the wilderness as the most blessed of places where beauty is forever changing moment by moment. Nature is such that it is constantly changing with its own forces at work constantly, the wind, the skies, the oceans, the forest, the fields. All ever changing. All ever beautiful even in its decay. Continue reading
Thoreau speaks of walking in nature as a “sort of crusade,” a pilgrimage of sorts, in search of all that is holy in the midst of nature. (Thoreau p.72) In fact, Thoreau calls walking a noble art, one that is not unlike the Knights of old. (Thoreau p. 73) On this, I cannot disagree for I feel my walks in nature take on a higher order in my life and connect me to all of my senses at once and without a doubt to a higher order within the universe.
It is in walking in the afternoon Thoreau says that, he would “fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.” (Thoreau p. 78) In fact, if the thought of things other than nature invade his time walking, he would find himself returned to his senses through nature, recognizing he has no business walking in the woods, if he is “thinking of something out of woods.” (Thoreau p. 79) For it is the “subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it,” that “will direct us aright.” (Thoreau p. 85) Yes, I can concur for when I walk I find the ills of my life are lessen, the pains in my heart are healed, and my senses are awaken by the smallest gift of nature that speaks to me as I stroll through nature’s woods and pastures.
Moreover, in the midst of Thoreau’s exhalations of the restorative power of nature on our psyche, he takes time to remind us of our duty to preserve nature, for “all good things are wild and free.” (Thoreau p. 107) Without nature, the question begs, what place does man have in the world. Thoreau implores us to preserve nature and to respect nature. Thoreau draws the parallel of walking in nature as a spiritual connection to the world in which we live, a connection that is vital to our very lives.
Thoreau, Henry David. “Walking.” Emerson, Ralph Waldo and Henry David Thoreau. Nature / Walking. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1991. p. 71 – 122.
I sit at my desk mesmerized… The river has shifted its flow and is moving upstream with the force of the incoming tide from the ocean. Along the sides of the river, the water is rippling in an undulating motion as if trying to go against the movement of the upstream flow.
I am captivated by the flow of the river and its motion, seeming so unnatural a motion, to flow upstream instead of down. Yet, every day the river takes a trek both up and down stream, for I live on the lower end of the mighty Merrimack River, where the tides of the river shift with the ocean’s tides. The frigid temperatures of this day have created massive sheets and formations of ice, which stretch across to the center of the river. They are captivating to watch as they move past my vantage point at my desk window.
I think of the river, in all of its guises, as part of me, in all of my guises. I am as changeable and impermanent as the river. I feel the cold hard edges of the ice jarring me from the inside, begging me to reach deeper into the depths of my own source that I might understand the very flow of life.
I see the forms of other life and substances caught in the ice, frozen for a time, creating more texture, forming more questions in my mind. Where did this branch come from? Where is it going? Who am I in the grand scheme of it all. Continue reading