A Wing and a Prayer

On a wing and a prayer

‘Finally we could see the plane through the smoke, coming in on a wing and a prayer.’

I’ve always thought I got by in life on a wing and a prayer, a saying from WWII

 

 

I was born to parents that were at war, arriving after the war in 1946. Emotionally they were at war, even though it was over for the world there was the psychological fallout that remained.

Think English atheistic mother and devout Irish/Scottish protestant father. I came in after a 24hour labor that ended in surgically removing me from my Mother, not a happy beginning. Thus coming in on a wing and a prayer. Talk about setting the tone!

First important friend

Awaiting me was the best gift that my father ever gave me, my collie dog ‘Skippy”. She basically was my best friend and guardian as long as she lived, 17 years. She walked me to school everyday and picked me up at the end of the day. Yes, those were different times, kids walking to school with a dog instead of mom driving an SUV. She was a perfect companion, all unconditional love. She had my back.

Art my Savior

From the time I was 5, teachers and parents knew I had artistic talent. This allowed me to escape into the world of imagination and creativity, which has sustained me throughout my life.

First life changing experience

At the age 22 my boyfriend from Millbrook, NY and I hitchhiked through Mexico. No Visa, a few dollars and the first time to be out of the country. We decided to fast on water and lemon for 30 days hoping for some kind of enlightenment, and then we went to Oaxaca at a beach called Puerto Angel. While swimming in the ocean I lost awareness of swimming and instead was in the presence of chanting like I’ve not ever heard, coming from pulsing lights on a brilliant blue dome. There was the tunnel of golden light drawing me in. Then suddenly a voice said you can’t die now, too young and a lot of work to do. BAM! I’m flat face down on the sand surrounded by people who thought I was dead.

This isn’t an experience one can forget; it has a very strong imprint in the mind. Today these experiences are called NDE’s.

I have spent my life swimming, scuba diving, and kayaking in the ocean ever since.

By the Sea

BY THE SEA

 

Once upon a time a lone hawk hitched a ride on a Chinese wooden horse

They went out to the coast to watch the Zebras vacationing there

It was a fine site to see on a sunny summer day

Some days are just for FUN

 

 

MAGIC

 

“And above all watch with glittering eyes the

whole world around you because the greatest

secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely

places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

 

Ronald Dahl

 

Water to Gold

Water to Gold

 

 

From ‘Colors’ symbols-history-correlations

By Luciana Boccardi

On the color Black

 

The philosopher’s stone

The Magnum opus of the alchemical process analyses the values of black: the first of the four stages that govern our life, according to alchemy, and one which is linked to earth, night, winter, old age, wisdom, sadness and death.

It is followed by the second stage of white, corresponding to water, dawn, childhood and variable moods.

Yellow is the color of the third stage associated with air: noon, summer and youth.

The Fourth and last is the red stage, connected in alchemy to the element fire: light, autumn, sunset and maturity.

 

The passages from earth to water to air to fire mark the transformations of matter that progressively dematerializes until it reaches the ethereal and luminous consistency of the philosopher’s stone. This cyclical nature is a comforting guarantee that winter will be followed by spring, night by dawn, a symbol of resurrection.

 

Megan McIntyre is photographed at night performing a fire dance with 2 balls of fire.

In the Spirit of Rain and Floods

In the Spirit of Rain and Floods

 

All along the California coast, where I live, we have been experiencing record rains and flooding. In weather terms this is referred to as an atmospheric river. This comes with trees falling, streams turning to torrential rivers, waterfalls appearing out of nowhere and loss of power in our homes.

 

There is always an underlying spiritual message to what we are experiencing in the outer physical world that is important to note, if just for our sanities sake if nothing else. The following quotes seem fitting to this time we are in.

 

The photo collage this week started with a photo of a magical waterfall on a small break from the rain at the Lagunitas near Samuel P Taylor Park. This waterfall is normally not there. A glimpse into another realm.

 

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. 
I am haunted by waters.”
 
Norman Maclean, A River Runs through it

 

 

There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control.

Leo F. Buscaglia

 

 

Pick Me!

PLEASE PICK ME!

 

Anyone who has gone to a pet store, or animal rescue facility knows how it feels when you’ve been picked by the animal: There’s a spark of recognition and love, an interspecies connection that has been with us since humans populated the planet. When the first humans arrived the animals were here, as fearsome or friendly, either way, they were our first teachers about how to live on this earth.

 

In modern times we go to zoos, go on safaris, go whale watching and visit national parks around the globe to encounter animals that we haven’t seen before. We are usually amazed at their beauty!

 

And very importantly some of us choose to have pets or raise herd animals, choosing to care for and befriend them.

 

This image demonstrates the flirtatious way an animal knows to capture the heart of someone looking to make that connection; and hopefully take him/her home.

 

I have lived with several Zen masters-all of them cats.

Eckhart Tolle

Flamingo Rose

THE COLOR ROSE

 

Starting with a background of a close up view of a pink rose with dew, I became immersed in the color Rose.

Roses are as comfortable being tended by the angels as well as decorating a passionate valentine card.

The rose is the flower that alchemy likens to the philosopher’s stone; representing carnal and spiritual love.

 

Then pink takes hold of the vision and flamingos are asked to join the picture. All birds are messengers of some kind, so in this case I think they bring some playfulness to love, with multiple shades of pink to red.

 

BEAUTY

“We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is,

Knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

-Ray Bradbury

 

 

What If?

WHAT IF?

This week’s photograph started in Machu Picchu, Peru. Shot at sunrise creating the mystical blue light I began to imagine, what if. What if the ocean really did rise and come up to 8,000 feet above sea level, above the clouds.

This is a fantasy world; of course, those are things that happen at the end of Ice Ages.

Then everything changes, some species survive, and new ones take hold and Life, as we know it changes.

The world is a product of our minds and imaginations as much as the physical things we see with our eyes.

And in the words of Albert Einstein,

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Knowledge is limited.

Imagination encircles the world.”

Owl in the Daytime with Giraffes

Owl in the Daytime with Giraffes

Owls are rarely seen during the day, as they are nighttime hunters. Walking on a path in the Serengeti, I looked up and there it was staring at me with intensity and concentration.

I said to the Owl,” What are you doing here in bright daylight?” No answer, of course, so I snap a photograph and tell it how beautiful it is. Their eyes are very large, but they don’t move, which is why their heads can turn 240 degrees.

They are difficult to see because of a camouflaged coat of feathers that are soft to muffle the sound. Their sense of hearing and keen eyesight makes these birds exceptional hunters. So these birds basically live in the dark, making them very proficient hunters, able to see and hear what others don’t. It is probably this skillful hunting ability that brings its association with death in mythology.

Another interesting anomaly of wildlife in Africa is the giraffe. If you notice in this photo collage, the giraffe are eating what appear to be thorns. They eat the leaves of the Acacia trees (very carefully) with a very tough leathery tongue. The height of the giraffe’s neck evolved, as the acacia grew taller in response to the nibbling by the giraffes. There is only so far that can go, so now once a leaf is eaten the tree develops thorns. Then as if that wasn’t enough, once a leaf is eaten the tree produces tannin that makes all of the leaves distasteful, and it sends a watch out signal downwind to the other trees. So it goes with nature, very clever protective survival skills all around.

The take away here is adaptability and flexibility as the key to surviving, no matter the species.

Words of wisdom from Albert Einstein:

“There are two ways to live your life

One is as though nothing is a miracle

And one is as though everything is a miracle.”

 

 

ELEPHANTS: Primal Royalty of the Animal Kingdom

When you think of elephants, what comes to your mind?

Usually Their Massive Size

Elephants are huge mammals that can live to be 70-90 years old. They travel in matriarchal herds, which are led by the oldest female. They weigh in at 4-7 tons, so when you see them on safari they are bigger than the 6-passenger jeep.

They gracefully swing through the land browsing on grasses, trees and shrubs. I think they are the true gardeners of the African plains. Blazing trails, leaving huge footprints that smaller creatures can drink from. Their tusks are their tools for gathering food and clearing the trees. (Killing elephants for their tusks leaves them dependent on others for food, as well as it is being an unusually cruel practice)

Devotion to Family Matters

A matriarch, whose experience and long memory provide the culture, care and protection of the young, always leads elephant herds. Educating the young to the seasonal location of food and water are what allows for the survival of the herd and the species.

They Grieve for Their Deceased

Elephants pay respect to and grieve for their dead. They frequently visit the burial sites of their deceased herd members, touching the bones with their trunks and feet. When a member of the herd dies the Matriarch stands by the elephant flapping her ears and touching it with her feet. The herd assembles near and around her in support, brings offerings of grasses to cover the deceased.                  

To be sure elephants can display rage, pain and fear especially when defending their herd. The encroachment on their habitat from hunting, poaching and government culling has had a disorienting effect on them physically and emotionally.

“Our newly emerging compact with elephants…requires nothing less than a fundamental shift in the way we look at animals, and by extension, ourselves. It requires a new “trans-species psyche”, a commitment to move beyond an anthropocentric frame of reference, and in effect, be elephants.” –Charles Siebert

On Being a Lion

by Diana Dunlap

 When on safari last January we spent 3 days in a mobile tent camp, right in the middle of the plains where the lions lived, as well as Zebra, wildebeests and some Elephants. At night we could hear the distant roar of the lions, which was comforting rather than frightening. They were well fed and not interested in us.

For humanity the lion has been an icon for thousands of years, appearing in cultures across Asia, Africa and Europe. Despite the fact that this large cat is known for attacks on humans, it has always enjoyed a positive portrayal in various cultures as a strong and noble beast. And commonly referred to as the “king of beasts”, a symbol of royalty.

The lion was emblematic in Ancient Greece and Rome, symbolized as the constellation and zodiac sign Leo, and described in mythology, where its skin was borne by the hero Hercules, as a magical cloak. This may explain the primitive human behavior (that continues to this day) of taking a lion’s skin and head, as a status symbol for the one who killed the lion.

The qualities of Courage and Strength belong to the Lion. Roaring summons the power of the Sun. It is thought that the Lion can call down the thunder across the plains. The pride of lions is a family with strong bonds, protected by the male and nourished by the females.

Thought magic, thunder and lightening and the solar energy of Gold belong to the realm of the Lions.

What the Lion spirit brings with it, to teach us is self-control, mastery of emotions and staying centered in your core.

Be brave; know your own nobility and value in the world, and let it be known. There may a time that you will need to roar, go for it, and let your voice be heard!

Younger than the Sun

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t reflect on Africa.

This image of cheetahs reminds me of who they are and what we can learn from them. They are very ALERT, FOCUSED and when they see what they want they react QUICK AS LIGHTNING! They have keen site and strong brotherhoods. They are the fastest animal alive, running speed is 68-75 mph! They are not endangered but considered vulnerable due to loss of habitat in Africa, India, and Asia.

They hunt during the day and during the time that we observed them, they were looking into the distance, sleeping, or in the grass, in general acting like cats. There eyes are a brilliant red orange and our guide said they have between 2000-3000 spots. Beautiful animals.

The wisdom we can take away from these animals is related to accomplishing our goals. Staying focused and acting, as opposed to taking on to much and then procrastinating.

May the self esteem and swiftness of the Cheetah be with you in this new year of 2017!

The Magic of Machu Picchu

In Machu Picchu, prepare for the feeling of Awe and MagicThere are volumes written speculating the how and why of the architecture and the people who achieved this. But you have to see to believe. I encourage those of you reading this to put this on your travel list. This image is a composite of 2 photographs that I took while there in 2015. I hope this conveys some of the magic that lives there.

Raven Addressing the Light

Walking along the Lagunitas Creek, I was photographing the water reflections. When I was starting to pack up my camera this Raven flew in. Raven is one of my totem birds, so I was very pleased. He gave me several profile shots then flew off. A little artistic license in Photoshop to give him the light.

ravenlight copy

Remembering Africa

When I remember Africa I think first of Elephants, then the vast landscapes , the wild animals we don’t have in North America and the friendly people. I am posting a small painting I just finished called “The Boabab and the Elephant.” The Boabab Tree and the elephants have a symbiotic relationship. The tree provides moisture and water during drought time. The elephant pulls the bark off with it’s tusks and then has access to the water.

Poachers also carve out hiding holes in the trees. We hear daily of the news that every 15 minutes an Elephant is killed for it’s tusks, which. to me, is brutally sad. The Africans value their elephants, at least the ones that are protecting the parks. When you see a herd of elephants you have a new understanding and awe of these animals that have been on earth for 55 million years (55,000,000). Humans have been here 200,000 years. I thinks this speaks volumes as to who may hold some very valuable wisdom that is worth preserving for generations to come.

Elephants are a matriarchal society, they are herbivores, and they know and remember who cares for them and who is a danger. Finding food and water is remembered by the oldest matriarch, who leads the herd.

For the love of Elephants.

Vast Landscapes of Tanzania

The most striking thing that hit me while I was visiting Tanzania was the vast landscape. You see layers on the horizon as you look out, and of course you are looking to spot wildlife. Wildebeast and zebra are grazing in the lushness of the Ngorongoro crater, along with hippos in the lake. The sunsets framed with the silhouette of acacia trees is stunning. There is always the presence of Mt Kilimanjaro, even though not always visible. This vast and protected land is home to the grand and unusual wild life that is the pulse of Tanzania.

 

Big Cats

Big Cats of Serengeti, Tanzania, Africa

In January of 2016 there had been lots of rain so the Serengeti plain was lush green with grasses. The cats would lie around enjoying the sun and playing with their young cubs. We camped among the lions and on the game drives we spotted the cheetahs. They are magnificent and graceful animals. We witnessed them mating, grooming and rolling around enjoying life.

Primal Royalty

The Elephants of Tarangire National Park

There are approximately 4,000-5,000 elephants living in the Tarangire National park, Tanzania, Africa. They are protected by the boundaries of the park, however there are still incidents of poaching. The poachers carve a hole in the Baboab tree, hiding weapons and themselves in order to kill an elephant.

The herds roam freely grazing on the grass and trees, as they raise there young.

During this safari we observed a very touching and sad site. A mother elephant with the body of her dead child at her feet was grieving. You can’t help but feel for this site, knowing that there is nothing that you can do. She will stand there for many days moving her large ears, touching her feet to the child and swaying. This will go on until the body begins to decay, and the other elephants will bring grass to cover the child. The remainder of the herd stayed with her at a distance in respect. Wildlife researchers and photographers report that elephants have very specific grieving rituals and yes, they do shed tears. There was no way to know how this elephant died with no predators. The possibility is either drought or a snake bite.

The elephants are a complex matriarchal society, highly intelligent and capable of emotions as joy, playfulness, curiosity and sadness.  We observed these behaviors in the wild renewing respect for these amazing animals that carry wisdom that is over 35,000,000 years old.

 

 

Magic

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. –Ronald Dahl

These photos were taken on January 7 and 9 at the Nicasio Reservoir, Marin County, California. The drain and the filling of the reservoir were this morning at dawn during the rain that continues to bless us.

You can see the reservoir is filling up quickly. The last photo was at sunset casting a beautiful sepia light on the water and hills.

Walking on Ice

Imagine walking across a reservoir that has turned to ice due to a drop in temperature to 29 degrees fahrenheit? These photos were taken on New Years Day 2016, at dawn, on the Nicasio Reservoir, Marin County, California. This is a recreational area in the Nicasio Valley, for fishing and hiking.

There was steam rising off the ice covering the ground of frozen mud, and steam coming off the body of water. The reservoir has receded due to the drought, allowing one to cross it on foot. There is a bridge that is usually covered by water, but is now visible making an interesting image. It was the ice that made this a spectacular walk.

We have now moved into another week of rain, I think I will do another visit here and post later to compare. Happy New year, may the blessing of rain continue.

 

We Got Rain!

Here in the little town of Lagunitas, Marin County, California we have lots of rain. It’s been raining daily for over a week with short sun breaks in between. The hills have waterfalls flowing into the Lagunitas Creek where the salmon are playing and laying their eggs. The puddles on the paths produce beautiful reflections like gems. We’re all out with smiles on our faces celebrating the blessing of rain. Of course, this has only put a small dent in the drought, but it’s welcome and we have more coming.

The gift of Rain on our parched souls and our dry land. Happy Holy Days.

Focus on Beauty

There is so much talk in the media about climate change and all of the damage we, as humans, have brought upon this awe inspiring planet upon which we live. As long as we keep focused on the beauty of this and share that beauty in whatever form we can create, we will keep that beauty alive. Landscapes from around the globe remind us of the natural beauty that we have the privilege to live in and care for. We are in late fall here on the northern California Seashore, experiencing rain and sunshine! What a blessing! This photo was taken on December 1st at Drakes Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore, California.

“WE ARE ALL CUPS, CONSTANTLY AND QUIETLY BEING FILLED. THE TRICK IS, KNOWING HOW TO TIP OURSELVES OVER AND LET THE BEAUTIFUL STUFF OUT.” –Ray Bradbury

 

Courage from Dogs

On a quiet October day at sunset with camera pointed at the sun slipping into the calm ocean, a dog appears as a shadow backlit by the sun. Dogs, mythologically speaking, are our constant companions in the underworld, the night, the darkness. They lead us loyally to the next rising of light, loyal courageous and quiet guides. Sometimes animals are our wisest teachers, appearing when we need them most.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow” –Mary Anne Radmacher

Dream Sketching

I am often asked where I get my inspiration for my art. There are many inspiring things in life, so here I will address the unexpected source for inspiration: DREAMS.

Recently I had a dream where I saw myself painting a circle with a brush that had swirling wings coming off of it. The circle had a blue outline. I heard the words “All we know of Heaven” and then woke up.

What I did the following morning was unusual, I decided to Google the word Heaven. This took me to the Wikipedia site that displayed Gustave Dore’s print of Dante and Beatrice gazing at the high heavens. The uncanny thing about this was the resemblance to the dream image I had.

As I continue to reflect on this dream a painted the dream image, then I took a photo of it and imported it to Photoshop. I overlaid a photo of blue sky onto it, as the sky is a reminder of heaven to me.

Jung describes the collective unconscious as:” a psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. It doesn’t develop individually, but it is inherited.”

In my interpretation here I would say also that the collective unconscious hasn’t the boundaries of time. Thus, Dore and I could access the same archetype from different centuries. 

Heaven is where the souls of all of our ancestors live.