Yosemite – where you receive abundant natural blessings.

Yosemite Falls from Valley floor.

Yosemite Falls from Valley floor.

A few weeks ago I wanted to get out of the office and do some camping, but all my favorite coastal sites were full.  So, for the fun of it, I looked online at campgrounds in other locations to see what might be available.  I couldn’t believe it when, on a Friday, I checked Yosemite and, lo and behold, the valley’s Upper Pines Campground had a vacancy for the next Monday and Tuesday.

Knowing that summer brings crowds, that the temperatures were predicted to be near 90, and that we were still in the grip of our California drought, I imagined that the waterfalls were likely to be barely trickling.  Nonetheless, I booked the site.  At best, I hoped a few wildflowers might be lingering in the higher elevations and perhaps, in the valley, I could spot a mule deer or two nibbling through the early morning grasses.

Pond near Tuolumne Meadows  reflects tree-lined shore.

Pond near Tuolumne Meadows reflects tree-lined shore.

I discovered from the little research I was able to do that even the casual visitor could experience some of the solitude of Yosemite without getting outfitted for a backpack expedition.  On the negative side, I read that Yosemite Falls usually stops flowing in August and that last year’s drought left the falls dry all summer. The cascade that makes up the waterfall is fed solely by snow-melt, so, in normal years, the peak flow is in late May when the sun warms the winter’s white blanket high in the mountains.  But, thanks to a storm in the high Sierras the night before my arrival, the waterfalls were gushing when I arrived.

Snow plant bloom under pine trees

Snow plant bloom under pine trees.

It is said that Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on the planet   This national park is roughly the size of Rhode Island and is a United Nations World Heritage Site.  Although the valley proper is a little less than 200 miles from my front door I hadn’t spent any time there with my camera.  Perhaps this is because it is such an iconic location and one would find it a real challenge to capture stunning images that would even come close to those I had already admired in magazines.

Winter is the ideal season for photographers.  You probably have seen some of the images of the golden afternoon light on Half-Dome as it is reflected in the calm, mirror-like center of the Merced River.  Other photos emblazoned on my mind — the first light on El Capitan framed from the valley by snow-laden branches, or the snow-laden pines and great sequoias viewed from the tunnel vista.

Half-Dome bathed in last light.

Half-Dome bathed in last light.

Towering more than 350 stories above Yosemite Valley, El Capitan is the largest exposed granite monolith in the world.  “No temple made with human hands can compare with Yosemite,” wrote John Muir, whose crusading led to the creation of the park.  Captivated by his words and the exquisite photographs of Ansel Adams and others like him, any summer’s day can find about 14,000 people in Yosemite Village, the hub of the valley.

Bridalveil Falls

Bridalveil Falls

What I had forgotten is that even “pedestrian” photos of Yosemite are phenomenal.

Indeed, though I did not experience snow and ice, flaming sunsets or long journeys into the wilderness, I felt I came home with a few nice images.

Since this is the 100th anniversary of the National Park System perhaps it is time to visit more of them, and to do it with gratitude for those who had the foresight to set aside public lands for us all to honor, enjoy and receive abundant natural blessings.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than one seeks.”   – John Muir

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July – The grace and beauty of Swan wisdom – take the ride!

July 1 - PalaceFA copySan Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts is a stunning historic landmark.  Modeled after classic Greco-Roman architecture, the palace was built as a temporary structure for the 1915 Pan-American Exhibition.  It stood for decades until it was reconstructed with more permanent materials in 1967.  In addition, the landscape around it is breathtaking in its beauty, showcasing a wonderful variety of plant and animal life.  I am especially moved by the gorgeous swans that make the palace pond their home.

Blanche and her mate, Blue Boy, are bouncing back after a string of tragic events over the past several years. In mid-May they had four chicks.  I visited the swimming fur-balls within days of their hatching, but, even by then, there were only three.  Most likely the first “swanling” (cygnet) to go missing was the victim of other animals.  Swan caretakers say that the tiny creature may have become a meal for a snapping turtle, big-mouth bass or owl.

July 1 - swan chick copyLast week just one swanling, now a hardy juvenile, was still swimming with its parents.  Volunteers on the palace grounds say that, while the disappearance of the chicks was sad, the young ones would probably have been killed by their father come mating time.  Despite all this drama, the beauty and lure of the swans are still very empowering.

Swans represent grace and beauty on many levels. They are associated with love, poetry and music. In Roman mythology swans are sacred to Venus, the love goddess; in the Greek tradition they are often pictured singing to the accompaniment of a lyre.  For the Celtic people, the swan represented the soul, our eternal essence.

Swan’s Wisdom includes awakening the power of self, balance, grace, and creative inner beauty.  She offers this wisdom to us all!

Taking a ride on mama-swan!

Taking a ride on mama-swan!

The Ugly Duckling is a widely-known children’s story about an obviously odd little duckling. This “ugly duckling” doesn’t look like her brothers and sisters and is rejected and labeled a misfit. In the end, however, all are surprised when she grows into being the most elegant of birds, the swan. The story reminds us that true beauty grows from within, that each of us has inner grace and beauty, and that awareness of our inner beauty nurtures our self-esteem.  Further, as we come to appreciate our own true beauty, we gain confidence to venture into new realms and tap into new inner powers.

Juvenile Swan in pond reflecting Palace of Fine Arts

Juvenile Swan in pond reflecting colors from the Palace of Fine Arts

Swans show us how to be confident in our intrinsic power and beauty. When we appropriate this grace, we are able to see and nurture the inner beauty in others. The grace of Swan-Wisdom helps us live a balanced life and enables us to be at home on many planes of reality, to see that we each are more than we appear to be – we are equally physical and spiritual beings. Both are sacred and interdependent.

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June – walking down a path…into the light!

Many guided meditations ask us to visualize ourselves walking down a path. Like roads, paths are meant to lead us to a particular destination, but they are very different. Paths keep us close to the environment we are walking through and invite us to engage with the trees and the earth, the sky, sea and the meadow wildflowers.

June 1 - Haris Beach 2a WEB

Pathway that ends at sunset – Harris Beach, OR

Perhaps you choose in your meditation a pathway which leads into the forest. The forest is a common symbol for a place of mystery or challenge or the unknown. It can also be one of those thin places where the curtain to the divine opens and invites us in.

The “Enchanted Forest” is often where we are lured by Sophia to places we would rather not go. Among the trees we are challenged to confront our fears as well as our hopes. The forest pathway leads us to new discoveries about ourselves.

June 1-TressLightRays 1 WEB

Land’s End above Sutro Baths – San Francisco, CA

Although I live in the city, many parks and coastal pathways provide opportunities to venture into wooded areas. When the morning fog is swirling around the trees and the sun is coming up in the east, I see wonderful rays of light shining through the branches of Monterey Pine, Cypress and Eucalyptus trees. I used to refer to these shafts of light as God Rays but I now call them either the breath of the goddess or her light beams. (The metaphors are basically the same, but the paradigms they represent are diametrically different.)

Whether we see these light rays as symbols, signs, mystical moments or simply the results of specific weather conditions, they are a source of beauty and blessing. May the light enter directly into our hearts and souls while leading us down the pathways to new revelations and wholeness.

June 1 -LightRays 2 WEB

Strawberry Hill at Stow Lake, Golden Gate Park

Luminous Light,

leading us from wisdom to Wisdom,

may we be drawn into the comfort of your presence.

Make the gloomy night of our souls

beautiful and bright.

Enlighten the fragile fabric of our beings.

Ever transformed by the light of Sophia-love

we become light rays revealing

pathways to peace and joy.

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May – Quietness to honking laughter!

May 1 - Snow Geese Mass 2 copyIf I had been near a volcano, I would have been convinced that the white shapes ascending into the sky were the prelude of a large scale eruption. But I was in the middle of flat, uncultivated farmland. My first sighting was from a distance, and I could not identify what was happening. It was late afternoon, and the light was coming from a low side angle.  Then, all of a sudden, I heard the honking and saw the movement. I could tell it was flapping wings by the thousands.

Usually, when I’m photographing in a new location, I do a little research ahead of time so I know what is happening in the landscape – among the wildlife as well as in the farmland plantings. But I had gone for just one subject, and this was not it. It was already spring, so I had expected the wintering flocks and fly-by migrations to be over. But, much to my surprise, the Snow Geese had not yet headed north for their Arctic Ocean nesting grounds.

May 1 - Two Snow Geese copyNorth American first nation peoples had long observed the migration patterns of the Snow Geese. They gave them the name Chen Hyperboreus which means “from beyond the north.” They are breathtaking, pure-white birds with black wingtips. During the winter, when they feed in the fields north of Seattle, they take in a lot of iron, so you will find rust colors in the feathers on their heads. This coloration, while beautiful in itself, is just temporary.

The geese fly over and around the gorgeously-planted tulip farms of Skagit County, WA, where some fields are deliberately flooded for the wintering Snow Geese. At night they rest in the waters of Skagit Bay. Although you might not see them at dusk or after dark, you will hear them from a distance. They sound like they are having a party.

May 1 - Snow Geese Mass copyAs is often the case, I hum or sing Goddess chants to complement what I am photographing. Majik-Norma Joyce’s chant recorded by Libana began to run through my head and across my lips – “We’re a river of birds in migration, a nation of women with wings.” This chant beautifully captures the essence of sisterhood and the momentum of the women’s spirituality movement. When I saw those thousands of birds I knew there was hope for the realignment of the world as women likewise fly together working for peace and justice.

In another field, a stone’s throw away from this particular flock, sat a rusting 1940’s Chevy. As I circled the vehicle each small patch of rust and peeling paint gave way to abstract images that mimicked the colors and dance of the Snow Geese (at least in my seeing). For me these details (see below) also evoked the essence of the movement from one season to another: winter to spring, sleepiness to a highly awakened state, rest to restlessness, quietness to honking laughter! The next celebration begins.

May 1 - Rusting Chevy copy

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April – Tip-toe through the tulips with her…

As tulips open they mimic the shape of the female body, the body which in ancient times was honored as a vessel of grace. Yet they, both tulips and women, remain grounded in the earth. I also love tulips because they remind me of chalices.

April-TulipRows Afternoon copyRecently I was walking among the tulip fields of Skagit Valley, WA, and it felt like being connected to a rainbow assortment of countless chalices or little Goddesses swaying in the afternoon breezes. Many mile-long fields of tulips are scattered throughout the valley as are the many events and activities that comprise a month-long tulip festival. The tulip fields are the crops of RoozenGaarde/Washington Bulb Co. and Tulip Town, and the fields are different each year due to crop rotation.

Last light on tulips

Last light on tulips

Every April hundreds of thousands of people enjoy this celebration of spring as millions of tulips burst into bloom. As with all things governed by Mother Nature, the tulips bloom according to their own schedule sometime during the festival. I was there at the very beginning and wasn’t disappointed.

As the festival continues on its journey through spring – now for 32 years, people visit from across the United States and from around the world. The beauty of the these chalice-like flowers truly transcends differences, bringing cultures, ages and diverse lifestyles together to marvel at nature’s abundant colors.

The chalice, a goblet/bowl-shaped cup, is an ancient symbol of the Goddess, the womb and the female reproductive organs. It also represents water, which is a female element, and the feminine qualities of intuition, subconscious, psychic ability and gestation.

April-Tulip Backlit Chalice copy

Chalice-like tulip back lit in late evening

For the Sufis, the chalice symbolizes the sharing of blessings for it enables the desert communities to share water, milk and hospitality which are indispensable to their cultures.

Wide angle lens renders close to infinity in focus

Wide angle lens renders close to infinity in focus

 

For Christians, the chalice is the symbol of the Eucharist, the Meal of Thanksgiving. Using it, Christians commemorate Jesus’ last supper when he encouraged the women and men who gathered in the upper room to remember the meal as a sign and sacrament of a new world order of forgiveness and love. I believe Jesus deliberately raised the chalice to symbolize the divine feminine needed for the redemption of the world.

The end of gender-egalitarian, Goddess-worshipping civilization occurred more than 1500 years before Christianity appeared on the scene, although pockets of goddess worship continued to exist here and there. By the time Christianity fused with the imperialist goals under Constantine, it had become a religion (rather than a movement) that accepted the domination culture of classical antiquity.

Riane Eisler’s study of prehistory and ancient history in “The Chalice and the Blade” shows that the domination of the male gender over the female gender is not an eternal and inevitable feature of human social organization, but that another type of society, a partnership society rooted in gender equality is possible. So tip-toe through the tulips and envision that unfolding world. I am with her!

Tulips reflected in small pond at Tulip Town

Tulips reflected in small pond at Tulip Town

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March 4 – Why draw a circle and a straight line?

Detail of the deYoung Entrance

Detail of the deYoung Entrance

I have only taken one drawing/painting class. That was when I was at Central Park Junior High School in Schenectady, New York. I was in the eighth grade, and I must confess I do not remember much of the class, not even the teacher’s name or what she looked like. But I do remember her very first words: “After you learn to draw a circle and a straight line you can do anything.”

Under her tutelage, we practiced over and over again the twist of the wrist for a circle and then a swish of the wrist for a line. Each student filled up pages with circles and lines until we almost perfected them.

Gas Station Tank Cover

Gas Station Tank Cover

My only other art courses were in college: art history, art appreciation, and ceramics. Art appreciation was a wonderful class. My college was located in Bronxville, New York, just a short, inexpensive (at that time) train ride into New York City. So the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney, just to mention a few, were the extensions of our classroom work. My favorite artist became sculptor Alexander Calder whose huge mobiles of colorful circles attached to black lines which from the ceiling of MOMA’s largest exhibit hall.

Many artists made contour line drawings on paper, but Calder was the first to use wire to create three-dimensional line “drawings” of people, animals, and objects. He introduced line into sculpture as an element unto itself. Later Calder shifted from figurative linear sculptures in wire to abstract forms in motion by creating the first mobiles. Composed of pivoting lengths of wire counterbalanced with thin metal fins the entire piece was randomly arranged and rearranged in space by the air moving the individual parts.

To this day, thanks to that eighth-grade class, I love images that have circles and lines in them. To some extent all images have circles and lines in them. But those great abstract images that deliberately juxtaposition circles and lines seem to be filled with endless interpretations.

deYoung Museum exterior detail - lights on inside.

deYoung Museum exterior detail – lights on inside.

Many years later when I was reflecting on that mantra of my eighth-grader teacher, “a circle and a straight line,” I have come to believe that her instruction was far more reaching then drawing those shapes.  She was talking about philosophies, ways of thinking, cultural paradigms and life styles.

Linear and circular thought patterns are often seen as polar opposites.  But perhaps they can be partners in creating new ways of being as they were on those sketch pads in eighth grade.  Each of these modes has a set of operating conditions that are intuitively different.

Knots and Grain -Circles and Lines

Knots and Grain -Circles and Lines

Scientists often think linearly while artists think circularly; men on average lean towards linear thinking while women are more circular. Aboriginal people traditionally think in circles while westerners tend to think linearly; patriarchal religions present their dogma linearly while goddessians create community circularly.

Linear thinking is considered logical, objective, disciplined, and goal oriented, all in order to push back against the dangers fear has identified for us.  Perhaps this way of thinking provides for our survival. Circular thinking is rooted in a drive to be inclusive and transparent – a belief that the answer will come when everyone shares their innate wisdom, and a diverse array of thoughts are considered and integrated. Without circular thinking we could not change, feel contentment or develop relationships.

A circle and a line – toiling together rather than in opposition; it might just work! It certainly does in the “skin” of the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park.

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March Week 3 – Joy is like the rain! And Sun!

March 3 -WaterIris 2 copy

Raindrops on Douglas Iris

When I was eight years old I loved to sing songs I learned at church. One of my favorites was a newly published hymn, “Joy is Like the Rain.” It was written by a Medical Mission Sister. I sang her words with passion, “I saw raindrops on my window, Joy is like the rain. Laughter runs across my pain, slips away and comes again. Joy is like the rain.”

Who would have guessed that many years later the author and composer of that song would become one of my most admired feminist theologians? In addition to the “Our Mother” that we use in our worship at Ebenezer/herchurch, Miriam Therese Winter has produced volumes of feminist re-imaged biblical stories, women psalms, and liturgical material as well as hymnals and 13 music albums. They are like water wells for parched hearts and droplets of wisdom in barren times. Her words and images are some of my favorite things, and they refresh my soul.

My other favorite childhood song was first sung by Julie Andrews, as Sister Maria, to all the Van Trap children in that copious bed during a frightening thunderstorm — “Yes, these are a few of my favorite things: raindrops on windows and warm woolen mittens…”

March 3 -WaterIris copyIt may not be the best psychology when we need specific or long-term therapy, but often our favorite things, favorite places, and favorite people can shape and re-mold us into moments of joy. I am a person whose temperament is often reflective of the weather, the seasons and the sway of the cosmos. Even though I know how important our recent down-pouring rain is to our four year drought, I was ready for another of my favorite joy-evoking things – a day of sunshine.

As I enjoyed the first day of sun after many days of rain, the water in pools and puddles still graced the land like raindrops of love and grace. In the midst of my photography I am sure I sang out loud, “I saw raindrops on the river, Joy is like the rain. Bit by bit the river grows, till all at once it overflows. Joy is like the rain.”

Written in 1965 “Joy is like the Rain,” became the signature song of the Medical Mission Sisters’ ministry of music and was embraced by inter-faith traditions and many cultures around the world. Mariam Therese Winter says of this song, “It was simply a heart’s credo under excruciating stress, a covenant with One Who, unknown to me then, was leading me along a path I never would have chosen but have wholeheartedly embraced. I smile

March 3 -VineyardWater copyevery time I sing it or hear it, for I know, and God/dess knows, that this song was sung to life at a point when I felt no joy within me, yet it circled back to me with more joy, more love than any one lifetime can hold. It was my song of faith and trust once, and it still is.”

March 3-CowFace copyMay your song of faith and trust fall down like the rain and flood your heart with grace and love.

Songlines. Hymns, Songs, Rounds and Refrains for Prayer and Praise, by Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sisters. Spanning the past half of a century, these songs are still as fresh as raindrops on the first spring wildflowers!

Images:  Raindrops on Douglas Iris, Pt. Reyes (shallow depth of field – f/2.8), Korbel Vineyard along the Russian River, Calf with a moist nose – Pt. Reyes.

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February week 2 – The magnolias are also a symbol of hope!

"Magnolia Zenni " - rarest in the Garden

“Magnolia Zenni ” – rarest in the Garden

We have entered the season of Lent, a 40 day period in which people journey with Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the way of sacred compassion. This sacred compassion opens our hearts to others, especially those who have been marginalized, exploited and discriminated against.

Our word Lent comes from a word meaning “lengthen,” probably referring to nature’s lengthening of the daylight hours in this season. Days are longer as we move from life to death to regeneration, and in so doing we touch the wounds that emerge along the journey. We remember that we are elemental creatures, part of the earth, and we pray for strength for the journey and seek healing for the Web of Life.

One of my favorite meditative walks this time of year is among the exquisite stands of magnolia trees blooming in the San Francisco Botanical Garden and scattered throughout the Golden Gate Park. The map supplied upon entering Strybing Arboretum will point the way to 25 different species of these magnificent trees.

Feb 2 - Magnolia 3 copyThe unfolding magnolia blossoms resemble the Sufi dance of the whirling dervishes who often clothe themselves in flowing white robes and red conical headgear. Sufi dance essentially rotates about its own axis, and through this movement the dancers experience alternate states of consciousness and mystical ecstasy. Like the heart of the magnolia bloom, the Sufi soul seems to emerge from earthly ties to enter the realm of the divine.

Feb 2 - Magnolia 4 copyPink is one of the common colors for magnolia blossoms. The shade of pink will vary from tree to tree – the flowers may be pale pink to bright fuchsia. But even more common than pink are white or cream-colored flowers. These flowers will range in color from pure, stark white to an almost yellow-toned cream. Like all magnolia blossoms, white and cream-colored blossoms are highly fragrant.

Let us dance with the magnolias and the whirling dervishes for global protection of the marginalized and of Mother Earth herself upon whom we often walk with little respect or understanding of the devastation of our footprints!

The magnolias are also a symbol of hope for us because they are an old species that has survived many geological changes such as mountain formations, ice ages and perhaps whirling dancing dinosaurs. There are now nearly 250 species of magnolia around the world. Although their origins are rooted in Asia there are some 50 species native to the Americas. Six new world beauties are in our own park!

Feb 2 - Magnolia 2 copyAs we walk among the magnificent magnolias or through the tent camps of the homeless we enter the realm of the divine. Therein let us pray for strength for the journey and healing for the Web of Life.

Magnificent Magnolias!

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February week 1 – pushing up through all that litter!

Way Caps - Marin County

Way Caps – Marin County

California has so many different climate zones that one can usually find mushrooms blooming almost any time of the year. Mushrooms, however, need water to develop, and, until recently, most of our state was void of water.  With the rains of the past few weeks, mushrooms are popping up and showing off their shapes and colors,

Feb 1 - Death Cap copy

Amanita pushing up through the needles

There are two principal mushroom fruiting seasons – autumn into winter, and spring. In each of these seasons different mushrooms appear. Autumn mushrooms usually form 1 to 2 weeks after the first major rainfall. They will continue blooming until it becomes too wet or too cold. The spring mushrooms (which I have yet to photograph) become prolific after the snow melt in the mountains or spring rains in the lowlands.

The diversity of the fall mushrooms far exceeds the spring varieties. In addition to water, mushrooms need access to nutrients, and, to get the nutrients they need, many mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with particular species of trees. Therefore it ought to be pretty predictable where and when certain mushrooms are found. Although mushroom hunting, once a little-practiced activity, has become extremely popular, fortunately for photographers, some of the most beautiful mushrooms are poisonous and therefore pretty much left in place.

Perhaps red and toxic go together (not a political statement). In the category of “pretty but poisonous” are the Red Russulas, Fly Amanitas, Red Boletes (though most of the other Boletes/Porcini are delectable) and Waxy Caps. Some of the mushroom identification books say the edibility of these varieties is “unknown.” Any takers?

Feb 1 - Rusella copy

Russula after the winter rains finally arrived

I love the way mushrooms have to push their way up through the forest litter or the muddy soil of the meadows. Some mushrooms develop below the duff and poke through only at maturity. Some grow underground, and others fully develop above ground. But to me they are all very pushy – making their way through needles and grass and fallen limbs.

Feb 1 - 2 Waxy Caps copyIn this case “pushy” is a very admirable and necessary trait for survival. Just like women, they need to take charge and be tough. But article after article reminds us that our society, embedded in patriarchal practices, thinks women are too pushy when they assert themselves, but, on the other hand, they are seen as wimpy and weak if they are too quiet.

Catherine Rampell, in her SF Chronicle column, The Millennial View, wrote recently: “Too tough, too quiet – women can’t win.” Why should a woman need to strive for a personality balance, not being too macho nor too feminine? Unfortunately, in politics as in every corner of life, women are still being judged by “masculine standards” which we can never embody because we neither want to nor need to. I am with the mushrooms – keep pushing up through all that litter!

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January Week 4 – Probably no one can name them all.

Jan 4 - SandPiper Reflect copyI’m not a big birder. “Ornithology,” the study of birds, takes a lot of dedication, time and education. And there are some species where even the experts will hedge. Those who are able to identify birds and understand their habitats deserve great admiration. Probably no one can name them all. I consider myself a bird notice-er.

It wasn’t really too long ago, I confess, that I generalized that all big birds that floated on water were simply ducks. But once you start to notice bird behaviors – like how one duck is diving under water and staying there a while and another is putting its head underwater and thrusting its rump skyward to balance itself, it becomes obvious they aren’t the same kind of bird.

Jan 4 - BHead 1 copyThe fact that some of these ducks are divers and some are dabblers became the first tag of distinction I noticed. My encounters with the birds has helped me realize that being a “notice-er” can make an immense difference in how one experiences life. It draws you closer and makes you more appreciative of the particularity of the creatures, beings or elements with which you are in physical proximity.

Peterson’s Field Guide for Western Birds says “Collectively, the three common, streaked, sparrow-sized sandpipers resident in North America are nicknamed ‘peeps.’ The British call their similar ones “stints.” They look so identical. But eventually I started to notice the difference in the color of their legs. They run and fly pretty fast so you have to identify them quickly or hope they will soon be content to perch on shoreline rocks.

Jan 4 - BHead 2 copyThe ancients chose bird images among the personas they gave to the Goddess. For instance, most birds take flight and seem to be free and unencumbered by the rules of others. Then, too, the mother bird was known to warmly care for the chicks and do anything, including offer up its own body, for their welfare. These metaphors continued even into Judeo-Christian imagery where God was thought of as a mother eagle (dynamic empowerment) and a mother hen (intimate cuddling). Also, Christ was depicted as a female pelican in art and literature.

Once we start to “take notice” we enter into new understandings and interdependent relationships. The birds remind us that the Eternal Mother God offers us an unconditional love that will shelter us. Therefore we need not fear to notice ourselves or others! Count me, Mother God, among your peeps!

FYI – both the Buffleheads and Lesser Sandpipers are migratory birds and are presently in our area. Before spring arrives they will head back to northern Canada and Alaska, so be sure to get out there now and be an alert notice-er.

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