Revisiting my Iceland photographs now changed to Black nad white. All photographs taken in September 2017 by Diana Dunlap
CHANGE FOR THE YEAR OF 2018
A new year has arrived! Time to change things that we’ve wanted to change. We make resolutions, cast prayers to the wind, and reflect on what happened in the previous year. Fire works explode all over the globe heralding the change from one year to the next.
PEACE, LOVE AND HAPPINESS for ALL!
Open hearts, yes, open hearts all around.
Step out of your comfort zones and explore being crazy, absolutely bonkers in fact.
No time like NOW!
Roll with it, the ride is part of the fun, not just the goal achieved.
Increase the amount of time that you give to LAUGHTER.
You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often
to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or have been carefully kept.
Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and
Your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things
Don’t matter at all, because when you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
words from the Velveteen Rabbit
Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2018, from McClures beach, California
A Gaelic Blessing
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow wind work these words
Of love around you,
an invisible cloak to mind your life
Inspiration for this photo collage from photos around Iceleand at Sunrise.
Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017
Standing on the Hverfjall crater that was formed 2500 years ago
I am reminded that there was and is currently fire under this island
The crater has a memory of it etched in its form softened by time
We are still living in an Ice age, albeit without mammoths running about
We still have Ice caps on both poles and elephants are the distant cousins of the Mammoths
What stands out as I look out over the crater is that time is a relative situation, depending on how and who is measuring it
The planet Earth is full of myriad wonders and beauty that we have the privilege of enjoying and witnessing the changes that are occurring
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017
At such a towering cliff overlooking a vast landscape
I am acutely aware of how insignificant I am
All of my worries fade
As I walk it seems that the land is moving instead of me
Then looking through to another side of life
I am aware of the guardian for this mountain
Then I feel ease and protection
When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
And take that first step into the darkness of the unknown,
You must believe that one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid for you to stand upon,
Or, you will be taught how to fly.
Photo Collage by Diana Dunlap 2017
After the journey through the Misty Arch we land deep within a golden cave
Inside of this gleaming cave is a misty watery presence
With a rainbow reflecting off of it
I will call this the oracle
So one is allowed to ask the oracle a question
An hopefully receive an answer to that question
I only had to stand there and this was the answer to the unspoken question
“My first word of advice is this, say yes. In fact say yes as often as you can. Yes is a beginning, it’s how things grow. Yes leads to new experiences, and thus knowledge and wisdom. Yes is for young people, and an attitude of yes is how you will be able to go forward in these uncertain times.” –Michael Hogan
Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017
As if drawn up from the depths of the Arctic Ocean
Giant glacial ice crystals rush through the misty Arch
When did this arch arise and from where?
Why is it here?
Photo collage by Diana Dunlap 2017
As the Solheimajkull glacier breaks off into sparkling tourquoise and white ice scultures, they create a bay of ice water. This water carries the sculpted ice to the black sand beach known as the diamond beach. The beach is covered with these diamonds, not for sale or for the taking. They are melting, they are for your eyes only to be captured in that moment not to be repeated. This is truely the most amazingly enchanting site I have ever seen. The word beautiful hardly covers it. As I was editing these images that Paul Simon song played in my head.
People say she’s crazy
She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes
Well that’s one way to lose these
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes
All of the photos in this blog were taken in Iceland at the Jokulsarlon Diamond (Ice) Beach, by Diana Dunlap 2017
Magical Waterfalls of Iceland
And above all, watch with glittering eye 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.
This is a view from the back of a waterfall in Iceland. The energy here was crackling with negative ions like something I’ve never dreamed of seeing. Iceland has thousands of waterfall gracing its land. It’s truely a water world in all of its forms; glacial, geothermal, rain, rivers, mist,shoreline waves and Ice.
Photographed at sunrise from Baker Beach, San Francisco, July 2017.
Chin up, chin up
Everybody loves a happy face
Wear it, share it
It’ll brighten up the darkest place
Let a little sunshine in
You’ll be on the right side
Looking at the bright side
Up with your chinny chin chin
–E.B. White from Charlotte’s Web
When walking the beach there is a choir of two, the incoming wave and the withdrawing wave.
Antiphony is a musical term for call response type of music, usually associated with Gregorian chanting and classical style.
The effect is both peaceful and uplifting, which may explain why walking on the beach is something most humans are drawn to.
Through the Trees
Sometimes a favorite hike opens a passage you hadn’t noticed before.
The familiar becomes new and wondrous.
These two trees approached at the right angel reveal a passageway to another world.
The light reveals a shaman’s staff
A pair of fox appear as if from the stars
In Native American wisdom the Fox symbolizes camouflage.
Where are you?
Under the ferns?
Becoming the forest,
So I can learn?
Are you watching?
Invisible to me?
Trying to teach me,
To become a tree?
A Quote from Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson
May you live in Interesting Times
–Old Chinese Curse
On the cover of Orion magazine in 2012 was featured an amazing photograph by Tom Wolfe, this was the inspiration for this painting/photograph.
There are few words left to say about Climate Change, it’s in our faces every day.
Whether you are a believer or a denier doesn’t really matter, those are views of the human mind. What does matter is the physical reality of our planet and our bodies, which are embedded in the planet.
Let this image speak to you without further explanation.
Each and every one of us is both cause and solution, and each of us can make simple changes in our lives to turn this around. Something as obvious as what we eat, how we grow it and how we use the waste, has a great impact and can be done by all, no matter where we live, our culture or age.
In Paul Hawken’s new book, Drawdown, he addresses 100 things that can be done to reverse global warming.
And never forget the words of Bobby McFerrin (outlook is very important)
“Don’t Worry Be Happy”
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
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
“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.”
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
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
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.
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.
“We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is,
Knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”
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
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.”
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
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!
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!
In Machu Picchu, prepare for the feeling of Awe and Magic. There 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.