An Award

You could’a knocked me over with a feather when I found out many moons ago that my new blogging buddy Cnawan Fahey, over at Ethereal Nature, has given me an award.

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Cnawan knows I’ve been going through massive Scotland Withdrawal and has forgiven my lapse in response but today is THE DAY to acknowledge his lapse in judgment honor and pass it on to others.

I’ve been a WP blogger for a very short time, but in this time have connected with FAR more people than I did on Blogger.  There, I blogged for many years under the moniker of Giraffe Head Tree.  It’s still there, GHT.  I simply like WP’s formatting for photography much better, hence the switch.  Some of today’s honorees are from Blogger who have moved on to their own new websites with personal blogs and continue to inspire me to this day.  So without further delay here’s the list:  (…and there are more but in the interest of time and space I’m limiting my list as much as possible):   Not In Any Particular Order….

 

Bo Mackison

My Soul Friend, Bo Mackison is a true kindred nature spirit.  First discovered via blogger, the name of her then-blog is what attracted me – Seeded Earth.  Her stories of Midwestern prairies and southwestern deserts, accompanied by amazing photography have enthralled me for years.  Bo’s Desert Wisdom Cards have become a necessary part of my morning meditations.  Over time we have become actual in person friends.  That’s what blogging can do.  Please, check her out and tell her I said “Hello!”

 

Geogypsy

Gaelyn Olmstead has my dream job.  She is an honest-to-goodness Ranger at the Grand Canyon.  The GRAND CANYON…like you’ll get it better if I type it in all caps!  I’ve known Gaelyn since my GHT blogger stint and she is probably my longest term blogging buddy.  Gaelyn has taught me so much about the Grand Canyon and great southwest and lately she’s taught me about another part of our planet – South Africa, her other passion.  She ain’t called GeoGypsy for nothin.’

 

Ethereal Nature

Haha!  Cnawan, you can’t be left out of this list, my friend.  Your blog has captured my imagination.  I fancy myself a spiritual person who loves nature and I’ve learned from you ways to combine the two.  Your Sunrise Sadhana posts give me chills and brought on tears, so beautifully experienced and written are they.  Heartfelt poetry, insightful posts, fascinating photographs and fascinating stories are accompanied by such wisdom.  Most days I feel I’m not worthy enough to comment, or rather cannot find the proper words to match the complexity of your thoughts.  Thank you for sharing so much and opening my eyes, my mind.

 

Life, Photography & Other Mistakes

John Smith’s photography captured my attention from the get-go.  Not only is he SCOTTISH, a country I love fiercely and passionately, but his home base is just about the same latitude as Sting’s home town, Newcastle!  (Big Sting Fan I Am)  John’s photography and processing stands out as truly unique in my book.  He has a keen eye and shrewd skills and is such a nice guy!  Oh, and did I mention he’s Scottish?

 

Wilden Marsh:  Another Year with Nature at Hoo Wood and Wilden Marsh

Incredible macro photographs of birds, butterflies, bees and all manner of spiders, insects and whatever else he can find in Wilden Marsh and the Hoo Wood.  It was here that I learned about otter holts!  I love living at the beach but when I need a marsh and wood fix I come here.  Besides which, HOO WOOD???  How can you not love that name?!

 

Striking Photography by Bo Blog

I’m a weather nut.  Lightning storms, tornadoes, water spouts, you name it.  When tornado warnings sound off I’m one of the first nuts to go outside and see what I can see.  Bo doesn’t just go outside to look – he chases and photographs some amazing lightning storms.  His stuff makes my mouth water!  Also a very nice guy!

 

Dust Tracks on the Web

Janson Jones’ blog is the ultimate travel blog containing gorgeous scenery and absolutely incredible writing – better than any travel magazine I’ve read.  His stories have made me laugh, have given me perspective, have educated me and amazed me.  More than that, I like the way Janson thinks.   Nice, smart guy – wonderful blog.  Check him out.

 

Lorrie Bowden – Blessitude!

I just met Lorrie recently and just love her!  Her optimism and zest for living always makes my day.  Whenever I’m blue, whenever I need a little ray of sunshine I visit her blog.  My Sunrise Sister, from time to time we agree to take a sunrise pic on the same morning and post.  She writes haikus and poetry and accompanies them them beautiful photographs.  I’m enjoying getting to know Lorrie and hope you’ll go check out her happy place.

 

The Art of Quotation

I love art in all its forms and am fascinating by Artists from all walks of life – past and present – who wield brush, pen, pencil, camera, fabric, nature and throw their talents into creating works that inspire and amaze.  In this blog, Doug shares quotes form the famous and not-so-famous about their works and philosophies – little glimpses into what they are thinking, what makes them tick.  Doug adds an image of the Artist, whether photograph, painting or some artistic rendering.  I look forward to his daily inspiration.

 

There are other bloggers out there who likewise amaze and astound me but this is enough of a list … for now.  Thank you Cnawan.  This sunrise is for you.

 

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Sunrise Sisters

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Cloud Waves (c) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

My Scotland hangover may be coming to an end.  Maybe.  In the meantime my Sunrise Sister, Lorrie Bowden, thought a dual sunrise project might help snap me out of it.  If the sun gods are with her on her eastern coastline she’ll have a sunrise to share with us. Check her Lorrie’s blog here.

 

Our sunrise here on the eastern coastline of North Carolina was weak and filmy but pretty in its own way.

Arriving in time to capture these sweet little soft rays radiating out of waves of pale peach cloud waves I positioned myself behind the only stand of beach fencing to add a little interest.

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On Patrol (c) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Pelicans flew by, willets followed the waves in and out seeking creatures for breakfast, and gulls cried out overhead.

As the beach woke up the predawn Turtle Patrol was making their rounds.

There is a nest just a couple houses down from our walkway – so exciting!  The next should “boil” in September.

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Sunrise and Ocean (c) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Last view before heading in for coffee.  For the purists.

The Magic of Scotland

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The Lonely House (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

I confess I’m a bit of a mess.  Since returning from Scotland it seems my sense of direction has grown faulty.  The processing of photos has come to a close and now I’m left with Not Having Pictures Of Scotland To Process.  Thousands of images of this magical kingdom sitting on my computer waiting for me to do something with them.  Thousands have been culled to hundreds and yet I sit.  What next?

 

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The Cuillen (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

The admission here is simple:  processing these photos was a chance to tour Scotland again.  A similar rush of AHA! and OH YEAH! and OH MY! as I remembered stops and places and experiences.  Frankly, I wasn’t ready to return and believe my soul is still wandering about in the Highlands.  It certainly doesn’t seem to be within me right now.  “That’s my soul up there.” (Sting)

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Inukshuks at The Cuillen (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Words are failing me, the urge to blog escapes me, my mind wanders – its corners collecting dust until I can find my way again.  Have you ever experienced anything like this?  And, if so, what did you do to jumpstart your creative back in the Real World?  I’m at a loss in more ways than one.

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Enchantment (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Quite simply, I’m obsessed with Scotland.  Its history and lovely people, the sights and smells, the food and drink, the Highlands and the wild, wild north.  Once in everyone’s life one should have a similar experience, falling in love with a country.  I’ve visited other countries and loved them all, but Scotland grabbed my soul and won’t let go.  Nor do I want it to.

Isle of Mull

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Low Tide (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

We took a ferry from Oban to Craignure, Isle of Mull.

It was another dreich day, meaning grey and rainy.

Dreich is pronounced “dreek.”

One of the first words we learned there and one we used often.

For often it was dreich.

Gloriously dreich!

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Moss and Seaweed (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

We loaded onto the coach, which drove us all the way across the Isle of Mull to Fionnphort.

There we caught another ferry to the Isle of Iona.

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Rainy Day in Mull (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Our coach driver was on a tight timetable.  Ferry to ferry transfers – four in one day.

Additionally, portage of 26 souls through a very long route on Mull that is mostly one lane with pass-bys for oncoming traffic.

If I saw a coach coming off in the distance I would let it pass by, too.

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Farming Scotland Style (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

We passed mountains and glens, lochs with lobster/fish/oyster farming.

I was glad my skills had been honed in Death Valley doing through-the-window shots.

I did this a lot in Scotland.

If I may be frank, they’re my favorite images because they remind me of the beautiful countryside.

I can FEEL Scotland with each viewing.

Remember the feeling, the happiness, the warmth despite the dreich.

Or maybe because of it.

 

Impressions of Scotland

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Fionnphort (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Fionnphort on the Isle of Mull.  We crossed the Sound of Iona by ferry, leaving here for the Isle of Iona.

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Hill of the Angels (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Isle of Iona, Scotland.  St. Columba liked to pray on this hill while the sun set into the sea.  The story goes that a young monk followed St. Columba one evening, curious as to what he was doing on said hill.  The young monk watched “angels of light” ascending and descending upon St. Columba so the hill became known as the Hill of the Angels.  Lots of supernatural activity has been attributed to this site, accounting for a lot of both Christian and Pagan celebrations according to the Iona website.

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Window and rock (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Walking around inside the Iona Abbey, ferns growing wild upon its inner walls, breathing Celtic air, enjoying the scent of ancient stones there was this window and rock.  This abbey was founded by St. Columba in 563AD.

563AD.

Let that sink in.  I’ll wait.

 

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Black face sheep (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

There are several kinds of sheep that wander freely (or not) around Scotland and its islands.  The black face sheep is the most resilient and hardy, so we were informed.

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Baile Mor (C) by Debi Bradford

Of course, I had to take some photos of the beach.  Here we found nice sea glass and some pottery.  Rocks may or may not have been brought home.

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Somewhere in Mull (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

No idea where but I do know we were somewhere on the Isle of Mull racing back to catch another ferry to the mainland.  I got quite good at taking photographs from a moving vehicle.

I’ve lots to share so hold on tight.

I’ll be back.

 

Hurricane Arthur

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First Light (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

I am not sure what’s happening with WP but this is my third try at posting this morning.  Bear with me.  Or bare with me.  Your choice.  I returned home two days ago just in time to prepare the house for Hurricane Arthur.  As of this moment Arthur seems to prefer staying out in the ocean which is just fine by me.  As with such things it forced me to clean up some areas outside that were woefully needing cleaning.  I’m prepared and happy as a clam to stay inside and catch up on photo processing.  Scotland awaits, but first….a hurricane morning.

 

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Golden Arthur Sunrise (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

There was sunshine earlier, but a band of rain coming up from the south chased me home fairly quickly.  The tide was going out affording me good hunting, and good luck as I found two fossilized shark’s teeth and a few unidentified fossils.  My favorite things to find on the beach, hands down!

 

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The Lone Jogger (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Storm skies turn a luscious blue grey, throwing a cool color cast on everything.  I love that.  When Hurricane Sandy roared through the same thing happened.  Lots of moisture in the air.  My lens kept fogging up on the outside – I had to wipe it constantly.  Man, this camera is sooooo good.  It’s been through Death Valley, Scotland and two hurricanes without missing a beat.  LOVE my camera.

 

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Whichy Waves (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

So I’ve returned which isn’t any big news.  However, I’ve really missed reading posts and missed chatting with everyone and I’m sooo happy to be home.  Today, I’m working on Scotland while the rains and winds bluster around outside.  Rainy days are a favorite – a gift of time to do mindful things and fun things – photo processing, reading, cuddling up.   I’ll be back soon with more of Scotland but in the meantime enjoy Hurricane Arthur.

 

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Parting Shot (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Inverarary

ImageVital Spark (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Inverarary, Scotland, is a truly charming village located in western Scotland on Loch Fyne.  We were here a very short time, slogging through narrow, picturesque streets through a steady, gentle rainfall.  Inverarary means “Mouth of the aray” in Scottish-Gaelic.  We did not have time for a tour, but the Inverarary Maritime Heritage Museum is located here, based beside the iron sailing ship Arctic Penguin and the Vital Spark.  All the buildings were painted white with black trim.  I managed to get a few shots that I like.  Please enjoy.

 

ImageStone Bridge to Inverarary (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

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White Washed (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

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Loch Fyne (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

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Window and Bluebells (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Loch Lomond and the Trassachs National Park

ImageLoch Lomond (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

Our first conscious event (meaning after jet lag left our weary bodies!) in Scotland took us to Loch Lomond, deep in the Trassachs National Park.  We loaded onto a little boat that took us on a peaceful, circular route around the banks of this freshwater loch.  Loch Lomond is considered the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and highlands.  We sipped coffee laced with Scottish whiskey and enjoyed the stories shared through speakers by the captain as we stood on the upper deck in the misty rain.

 

ImageMisty Peaks (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

The story I enjoyed most was about the popular song, “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond.”  Everyone knows this particular lyric, “you take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland before ya.”  The song was published in 1841 but its author is unknown.  The poet Andrew Lang wrote a poem based on the lyrics later in 1876.  The poem, and likely song, reference the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion and the subsequent hanging of his supporters.

 

ImageThe Caretaker’s Cabin (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

“The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”

“By yon bonnie banks an’ by yon bonnie braes

Whaur the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond

Whaur me an’ my true love will ne’er meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomon’.

Chorus:

O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and Ah’ll tak’ the low road

And Ah’ll be in Scotlan’ afore ye

Fir me an’ my true love will ne’er meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomon’.

 

‘Twas there that we perted in yon shady glen

On the steep, steep sides o’ Ben Lomon’

Whaur in (soft) purple hue, the hielan hills we view

An’ the moon comin’ oot in the gloamin’.

(Chorus)

The wee birdies sing an’ the wild flouers spring

An’ in sunshine the waters are sleeping

But the broken heart it kens, nae second spring again

Tho’ the waeful may cease frae their greeting.”

 

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Banks of Loch Lomond (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

There are several interpretations of the lyrics but the one given to us by our guide matches this version: “Attributing the song to a Jacobite Highlander captured after the 1745 rising. The Hanoverian British victors were known to play cruel games on the captured Jacobites, and would supposedly find a pair of either brothers or friends and tell them one could live and the other would be executed, and it was up to the pair to decide. Thus the interpretation here is that the song is sung by the brother or friend who chose or was chosen to die. He is therefore telling his friend that they will both go back to Scotland, but he will go on the ‘low road’ or that of the dead, and be home first. Another supporting feature of this is that he states he will never meet his love again in the temporal world, on Loch Lomond. Some believe that this version is written entirely to a lover who lived near the loch.”  (Wikipedia)    

 

ImageIsland on the Loch (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

 

This experience was so delightful that I couldn’t imagine Scotland getting any better.  But it did.  Oh, it did. 

I’m back

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Orkney Island Stones (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

I’ve returned from the land of Ents, fairies and elves.

I understand there are also trolls, mermaids and various monsters of great legend in its mountains and lochs.

Ancient cobblestones beneath my feet

I toured castles and cathedrals,

a 5,000+ year settlement,

circles of standing stone,

falconry and sheep herding,

rode ferries to isles,

and back again,

sipped decadent Orkney ales

and touched peat from a bog.

Nearly 4,000 photos must be culled through,

named,

and most importantly,

identified!

Scotland is nothing short of magical.

I love Scotland.

I knew I would.

 Scotland is an incredibly GREEN country and its people are warm and friendly.

Time to get back to work but

I’m BACK!

I’ll Be Back

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I must away to immediately see about a family issue.

Afterward, I head overseas on an Adventure!

Blogging may or may not occur,

depending upon my skill level with remote devices

and available WiFi.

However, when I return the end of May/first of June

you will be inundated with images

from Scotland

and countless stories of me and my bestie

on our Grand Adventure!

You’ve been warned.

In the meantime please enjoy this,

my favorite beach image,

or one of them, anyway.

Breathe it in.

I’ll be back.