Wheeler Lake

Gulf Fritillary

 

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Lining our sidewalk at the lake were Virginia Sweetspire, lovely native shrubs beloved by all manner of butterflies and bees, praying mantis and spiders.  One chilly morning in autumn I went out to find gulf fritillaries clinging to dangling seedpods waiting for the sun to come out.  Chilled, they were captive for my lens.  I must plant more Virginia Sweetspire.   They colonize so do be careful where you plant them.  They love moist soils and are perfect for stream beds, ponds and creeks and help control erosion.  They are also stunningly beautiful in the spring with long white floral tassels.

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Empathy

ImageSkirts of Angels (C) 2005 by Debi Bradford

 

“Religion is for people who are afraid to go to hell. 

Spirituality is for people who have already been there.”

Bonnie Raitt

 

I love Bonnie Raitt; her music, her spirit, her Life wisdom, her strength.  Her words resonate with me this morning.  Everyone has something going on in their lives.  Cancer, mental anguish, physical challenges, family difficulties, terrible work environment, something.  One affliction may be more awful than another but unless you are RIGHT THERE IN THEIR SPACE, one cannot judge, one cannot pooh-pooh their condition. 

Enter empathy.  My goal in Life, daily, is to be empathetic.  Listen to the other person.  Open my heart.  LISTEN and actually hear them.  Imagine myself in their place.  Do not add to their angst but flow with them like water in a rocky brook. 

Not just people but also the animals, Earth’s creatures, and the Earth herself.  Be empathetic to the trees and water.  FEEL the Earth.  Literally lie down on her surface and caress her grasses, grab hands full of soil and smell it, cup water in your hands and let it spill back to its source.  Release creatures from your homes – do not automatically kill a snake or spider for they, too, have their purpose on this Earth.  Be empathetic.  Be more than yourself.  This is my goal. 

There are people here in the blogging world who have so much knowledge.  I am forever grateful for this place, this space, within which I learn so much.  Thank you all for sharing so much of yourselves here. 

 

About the photo:  2005 at Wheeler Lake, North Alabama.  A wide spot along the Tennessee River where I lived at that time.   I had just gotten my new Canon 20D and was busy exploring the world of digital photography.  My home office overlooked the river.  Always an early riser I was up well before dawn.  I couldn’t see anything for the fog but once the sun came out and began to burn it off I witnessed swirls of cotton candy lift up off the water and dance into the sky.  Naturally, I went out to try my hand at capturing what I was seeing but couldn’t imagine the images turning out like they did.  I believe something else guided my hand that day for this, my favorite image of the day, defines my Spirituality.  This is my  Column of Light.

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”

Sting

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!”

Mists of Avalon

The morning was frigid.  Easily in the teens.  The waters were cold, but not that cold, and covered with a thick fog.  The sun rose, the winds began and the mists began swirling and rising into the air.  I shot and shot until my fingers were the color of bright red lobsters.  These mists are one of my favorite memories.  Black and white makes this look kinda surreal.

Sunrise

Hurricane Rita Sunrise

Bright orange glowed beneath my closed eyes like those of a jack o’ lantern at Halloween.  The sky was glowing well before the sun rose from the hillside.  I grabbed the camera and hustled to the dock below.  Standing above water glowing like molten lava I shot waves of tangerine, orange and gold both above and below, in the lake.  The show lasted about 5 minutes before the clouds ran together, blocking the sunrise.  Eventually, these outer bands of Hurricane Rita turned Wheeler Lake into the Red Sea as torrential rains drained the south’s red clay into the river.  Winds here in North Alabama reached 80 mph.  I could not imagine being any closer to the eye of such a beast.  It was an experience like no other.