Month: April 2014


ImageBlue Reflection (C) 2013 by Debi Bradford


Morning came early after a fitful, tossy-turny night.  Tornadoes ripped up my homeland yesterday, laying it bare by frightening, extreme elements.  I’ve lived through many tornadoes which fortunately turned left or right or lifted up and didn’t hit the house where I’d hunkered down.  My family and friends along that long, long path of destruction are on my mind, in my heart and thoughts this morning.  Sending them courage and strength and lots of love.


ImageAlive (C) 2013 by Debi Bradford


In the middle of the tornadoes a very good friend was laying her mother to rest after a long illness.  No amount of tornadoes could stop that process.  I wasn’t there because I was here but what my friend told me later will stay with me forever.  She said as she watched her mother’s life slip away breath by breath she noticed a profound difference in her face.  Lines began disappearing and her face became youthful.  The pallor of sickness left and her skin began to glow.  She turned back into the beautiful woman she was before her illness.  My friend likened it to a new birth, a new beginning, and watching this miracle brought my friend peace.  Isn’t that lovely?


ImageMorning Has Broken (C) 2013 by Debi Bradford


Events such as these open my heart to Gratitude as I reflect upon the gifts given me.  Today, I am extraordinarily grateful for my life and that of my friends and family, people in my blogosphere, acquaintances and old workmates, musicians whose tunes get my foot to tapping, and Adam, our waiter at Nikki’s last night who gave us such great service with humor and a smile.  Grateful for my Twinnie and upcoming trip to Scotland.  Happy to find a new Soul Friend Photographer.  Thankful for the extra weight I carry because I am not hungry.  Happy for this grey, foggy morning because I can breathe it in, see it and feel the moisture on my skin.  Life is Precious.  What a Gift, what a Gift.


North Carolina Azalea Festival 2014


Tangled Up (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


There weren’t many blooms the day I visited Airlie Gardens for the Azalea Festival.  Heavy rains and strong winds had decimated most of the blossoms, ripping them up and laying down the tulips.  But the garden is resilient.  Pockets of azaleas enjoyed the cooler sunny day, raising their faces to the sunshine in defiance and happiness.


ImageEmerging (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


Soft green leaves had already shoved the dark leathery old leaves off the tips of live oaks.  These lively green leaves were bursting through the Spanish moss and greedily soaking in the sunshine.


ImageArchway (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


I found a pergola with a stunning arched entrance where I lingered, amazed by the treasure.  I’d somehow missed this architectural interest in all my recent trips.  Sauntering through the half moon shape, the lines in the gravel made by sun through the feature were fascinating.


ImageResurrection Ferns (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


The resurrection ferns lie atop massive live oak branches like icing on a cake.  Draping Spanish moss, filtered sunlight make the scene look surreal.  Indeed, it is…it is.


ImagePeeking Through (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford


It was a lovely walk through a beautiful place.  Peaceful, serene, meditative.  Alone, I sat for long periods and thought of nothing but instead breathed deeply and became one with Nature. 

Practice Resurrection

All text excerpted from Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.”

Inspired by blog post How to Practice Resurrection and Earth Day Every Day, Through the Luminary Lens  by Bruce Thomas

Imitation is the truest form of flattery.  My friend Bo Mackison and I decided to honor Mr. Berry’s text and Mr. Thomas’s blog post with our personal interpretations of the same.  To see Bo’s blog post honoring the same go here.


Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.


ImageSnowcones Copyright 2014 by Debi Bradford


When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.



Momentum Copyright 2013 by Debi Bradford


So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.



Rosy Dawn Copyright 2007 by Debi Bradford


Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.



The Hidden Green Copyright 2007 by Debi Bradford


Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.



Ponderosa Pine Copyright 2012 by Debi Bradford


Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.



Sunset Buckeye Copyright 2008 by Debi Bradford


Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.



New Friend Copyright 2013 by Debi Bradford


Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.



Salt Marsh Copyright 2013 by Debi Bradford


Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.



Beach Tracks Copyright 2014 by Debi Bradford

Practice Resurrection



Bruce Witzel’s blog post reflects feelings I’d had for ages but couldn’t put into the right words. The text by Wendell Berry will make you stop in your tracks to reflect on your life. I intend to do some soul searching in earnest after reading this. I urge you to read this today. Thank you, Bruce.

through the luminary lens

Mural at the Heard Museum, Phoenix Arizona

Youth and Society


Our old boardwalk at the lake

Montreal Metro.

On Mesa Verde

girl_meditating_hologram1 - photo source unknown


photo credit – Guy Mendes, Wikipedia

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Halcyon Days

IMG_2760_1000x667Halcyon Days (C) 2013 by Debi Bradford

Not from successful love alone,
Nor wealth, nor honor’d middle age, nor victories of politics or war;
But as life wanes, and all the turbulent passions calm,
As gorgeous, vapory, silent hues cover the evening sky,
As softness, fulness, rest, suffuse the frame, like freshier, balmier air,
As the days take on a mellower light, and the apple at last hangs
really finish’d and indolent-ripe on the tree,
Then for the teeming quietest, happiest days of all!
The brooding and blissful halcyon days!

Walt Whitman

These days the phrase “halcyon days” refers to lovely days well remembered, usually in the summer with abundant sunshine.  Calm, blissful days.  This Walt Whitman poem is a favorite of mine and seems to capture that feeling, that mood of the blissful halcyon days.

Looking further into the word I discovered that “Halcyon” is a bird of Greek legend, also the name of the European kingfisher.  The website “The Phrase Finder,”  states “The ancients believed that the bird made a floating nest in the Aegean Sea and had the power to calm the waves while brooding her eggs. Fourteen days of calm weather were to be expected when the Halcyon was nesting – around the winter solstice, usually 21st or 22nd of December. The Halcyon days are generally regarded as beginning on the 14th or 15th of December.”

By the 16th century the phrase ‘halcyon days’ had lost its association with the nesting time of the bird and had taken on the figurative meaning of ‘calm days’.  Shakespeare used this phrase in his works.

An interesting bit about the kingfisher and “halcyon days.”  The kingfisher is associated with other powers relating to the weather. In mediaeval times it was thought that if the dried carcass of a kingfisher was hung up it would always point its beak in the direction of the wind, according to the same site.  Perhaps that’s where the idea came from for weathervanes.

Language, phrases morph, evolve over time.  I enjoy learning how and where a phrase or word originated.

The Thickening



Personal growth, emotional growth, Spiritual growth.  These expansions can be detected through what I call a “thickening.”  Just like the physical growth of children where they stop growing upward and their bodies thicken in preparation for the next growth shoot so does our inner realm, our soul, as we prepare for the next emotional, personal, spiritual phase of Life growth.




This is where I am – a “thickening.”  Artists need quiet time of absorption and reflection in order to bound forward into their next phase of creativity.  Sit, ponder, observe, think, write, stillness, listen, absorb.  Two people introduced to me in the blogosphere have recently, one unwittingly, given me new tools for my personal thickening.

Bo Mackison, “Artist, Writer, Guide” and excellent Photographer, has been a source of inspiration for many years now.  Recently, we met in person for the first time and I discovered a Soul Sister.  Bo’s Desert Wisdom Cards have become a morning ritual for me since her visit last November.  Bo always surprises me, challenges me in quiet ways.  She gives me support, friendship and guidance.  Photography as a metaphor is something she does incredibly well.  She always makes me think.   If you would like to say “Hi” to Bo her website is

Cnawan Fahey will be surprised to see his name here since we’ve only very recently “met” in the blogosphere.  I have begun following his Sunrise Sadhana blog feature with intense curiosity.  His words are awakening something deep within me.  I’m not sure just what is awakening but I figure it’s part of the thickening process and look forward to following my heart and soul to see where this awakening leads.  If you are curious as well about Cnawan’s Sunrise Sadhana please visit his blog at




Today’s Desert Wisdom Card is QUEST.

I look forward to seeing what the day brings, or rather what I bring to the day.

Brand New Day

ImageShagbark Silhouette

Sunrise.  January 3, 2005.  Taken with a Sony Cybershot 5.0 Megapixel – my first digital camera..  At that time I lived on Wheeler Lake, which was a wide spot in the Tennessee River west of Decatur.  It was here that my soul was awakened and I shagged off the pretenses of my former corporate existence.  The Real Me emerged as I remembered my love of photography and music and nature.  It was a heady time filled with daily adventures from the small to the grand.  Red headed woodpeckers nested in a nearby snag close to the deck.  Red buckeyes grew wild on the bank.  Great blue herons landed in trees and flew by often like huge pterodactyls with their raucous calls.  Barges thrummed by daily, the Delta Queen cruises entertained with the music of calliopes and most weekends bass boats roared by at 80mph chasing the elusive fishes.  It was paradise.  

Some ask if I prefer beach or lake/river.  My answer is … yes. 

I love Nature in all her moods.

“Turn the clock to zero buddy
Don’t wanna be no fuddy duddy
Started up a brand new day”


Okay, yesterday was kind of a fuddy duddy post.  In the immortal words of Sting,

“…the river’s wide, we’ll swim across – starting up a Brand New Day!”

Nature’s Truths


Sand reclaims steps to the beach

Last spring the beach underwent an intensive, and extensive, beach renewal program.  For months a huge barge floated offshore piping sand collected from the ocean bed onto the beach.  A herd of bulldozers carved massive pools in the beaches into which the sand was pumped out of massive black pipes.  Dark brown ocean sand blew high into the sky out of the wide open mouths.  That sand mixed with sea water filled the holes and seabirds swirled overhead, stood in streams and audaciously plucked stunned blood worms and mollusks and fishes out of the fray, screaming with delight.  It was carnage. 


Sand, dollar weed and fence

This is common practice along shorelines.  It’s not just here.  Man wants to build as close to the ocean as possible.  However, doing so they threaten the very environment within which they want to live.  They threaten their own homes, their own businesses.  Dunes and sea oats and dollarweed and a gazillion native beach plants are there for a reason.  They protect.  And, even with them Nature will not be denied.  Beaches change naturally.  Ebb and flow.  Nature reclaims its Sacred Space.

ImageBuild your houses if you wish and plan grand steps to take you to the beach, but this is what happens.  It’s inevitable.  The beach was “renourished” less than a year ago to the tune of over 5 million dollars and already that sand is gone.  It’s gone.  Only now are the shells beginning to return and the beach has returned to the shape we found it in when we moved here – undulating and steeper.  That’s the way it wants to be. 

ImageLast spring, after the barges and pipes and bulldozers finally left the beach I went to the beach to sit, to walk, to experience what they’d done.  The beach had easily tripled in depth and was flatter, sloping nicely out into the sea.  The disconcerting part to me was the knowledge that I was sitting on Sacred Ground.  The smell was that of decomposing sea creatures, and that odor lasted for weeks.  As the unrelenting ocean waves began tearing into the new sand I found during my morning walks the shells of lightning whelks, channel whelks, moon snails, lettered olives – shells that were thick enough to survive the trauma of being sucked off the ocean floor, rushed through thousands of feet of piping and thrown into the air.  The creatures within them were not so lucky.


Unnatural cliffs of sand gradually eroding, going back to the sea

As the beach recovers the district is already planning the next renourishment.  Apparently, this is done every 3 years, give or take.  I am not looking forward to it. 

North Carolina Azalea Festival

ImageSpring officially begins for me with the North Carolina Azalea Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina.

I’m not a huge fan of large events.

However, azaleas are blooming everywhere in this town and surrounding gardens!

Colors bright and vivid that make me happy!


2013 was a rough year for the azaleas thanks to numerous storms and cold weather.

Tulips planted at Airlie Gardens brought color to help accentuate the azaleas, live oaks and sweeping greenery.


Azaleas in more protected areas grew tall, creating floral hallways leading to lakes, benches and arbors.


In this image you can see the new, bright green live oak leaves peeking through Spanish moss.

The pollen is incredible.

My black car is now greenish yellow.


My favorite place to sit and think.

A sacred pine tree resides here.


Airlie Gardens is a small garden with easy walks through historic grounds.

A sweet place to be.

Live Oaks of Airlie Gardens

ImageThis weekend Wilmington, North Carolina, will be celebrating their annual Azalea Festival.

Last year I unwittingly went to Airlie Gardens in Wilmington during the festival.

Normally, I avoid crowds, preferring to soak up the peace and beauty in the quiet.

I wasn’t paying attention.


To my surprise the crowds were few and respectful of space.

Yes, I took photos of the azaleas and tulips.

But the live oaks draped in Spanish moss captivated me.

Most oaks here are hundreds of years old.

The Airlie Oak is over 400 years old.


Live oaks are evergreen.

They shed their leaves twice a year as new leaves randomly shove off old leaves.

The transition is always green.


Live oaks have enchanted the South for centuries.

They are one of my favorite trees.