Time and Tide: Weekly Photo Challenge

“The illimitable, silent, never-resting thing called Time – rolling, rushing on, swift, silent, like an all-embracing ocean-tide.”

Thomas Carlyle

MARSH SUNRISE

MARSH SUNRISE

Here in the lowcountry, life is dictated by the ebb and flow of the tides. Illustrated above, a beautiful sunrise highlights the marsh grasses as seawater flows into the creeks at high tide. Our normal tides will vary by up to 6′ on a given day – this past September historic flooding resulted from a combination of record-setting rainfall and an incredible 9’4″ high tide. So when I saw this week’s Time challenge, my thoughts turned quickly to the life-altering link between time and tides.

HIGH TIDE ON THE MARSH

HIGH TIDE ON THE MARSH

“The tides do not command the ship. The sailor does.”

Ogwo David Emenike

I’ve posted about the beloved bottle-nosed dolphins in our coastal marshes, and in particular about their very unique stranding behavior. Those of us who are fascinated by this behavior and have been lucky enough to observe it know that the dolphins strand most frequently at peak high and low tides. Their feeding behavior is driven by the arrival and departure of the mullet who are most plentiful at those times.

LIFE ON THE MARSH

LIFE ON THE MARSH

“Love is the tide that pulls out to sea, but always returns to kiss the shore at sunrise.”

Shannon L. Alder

Like the dolphins, the lives of our beautiful birds – all manner of egrets, herons, spoonbills, gulls, hawks, eagles, and so many more – are dependent on the affects of the changing tides. At low tide wading birds aggressively work the nutrient-rich pluff mud to feast on the tiny creatures living there. Soaring osprey and bald eagles fish for bigger game as tidal waters bring larger prey within their grasp.

EAST END

EAST END

“When you draw a line in the sand, be careful it is not low tide.”

Dixie Waters

One thing local residents know for certain – Mother Nature will definitely have her way with you 😊.  Recently she decided to create a channel through our beach at the far east end of our 10-mile island. At low tide one could walk across the beach to explore the other side. Many learned the hard way that the return trip was impossible if one did not pay attention to the cycle of the tides. The channel has since been closed after the town invested in renourishing the area with 100,000 cubic yards of sand. We shall see how long Mother Nature allows the sand to remain in place.

WATERY GRAVE

WATERY GRAVE

“Time and tide wait for no man.”

Geoffrey Chaucer**

The best example I’ve ever seen of the power of the tides and their impact over time was my visit to perennial photographers’ favorite Botany Bay in nearby Edisto, SC.  Scenes such as the one above made it quite clear that the trees were losing their battle against the rising tides, and with each passing hour their fate became ever more obvious. Sadly, we learned recently that the beach had eroded so much that visitors were no longer allowed access. I’ll stay apolitical here, but it’s difficult not to think about Global Warming when such events draw our attention.

Time, like the tide, marches on. Rather than make futile attempts to stop it, the better choice is to make the most of it. To quote Mother Teresa ““Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”  

** NOTE: The “time and tides” quote has been attributed in many different forms to several different authors. Most often it is noted as having first been used in its present form by Chaucer in his 1395 Prologue to the Clerk’s Tale.

Vibrant – Weekly Photo Challenge

“The more ugly, older, more cantankerous, more ill and poorer I become, the more I try to make amends by making my colors more vibrant, more balanced and beaming.”

Vincent Van Gogh

SONG OF SOLOMON

SONG OF SOLOMON

This week I finally got around to a long overdue purge of some old computer files. My reward for a job well-done was re-discovering a number of photos I’d long forgotten that were among my favorites from my travels. I thought this set of recollected captures from an ancient church in Provence was a nice fit for this week’s Vibrant challenge.

LIGHT OF DAY

LIGHT OF DAY

“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

Ronald Reagan

I loved the way the light shining through the tiny window lit up the textures on the antique walls, giving the church quite an ethereal feeling. One wonders how many times the faithful gathered here before the church fell into disrepair.

PULPIT

PULPIT

“I like things full of color and vibrant.”

Oscar de la Renta

Finally, the pulpit – a place from which we can assume countless sermons were delivered. What do you suppose their messages were, and do you think people listened and learned? One hopes the lessons focused on love, compassion and forgiveness rather than missives of fire and brimstone.

Wishing you a week of vibrancy and warmth (or in the case of our Australian friends, some cooling breezes) 😊

 

 

 

Optimism – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”

Dalai Lama XIV

SEEING IS BELIEVING

SEEING IS BELIEVING

One definition of optimism is “the belief that good must ultimately prevail over evil in the universe”. So call me an optimist, I’m a firm believer in the power of good over evil. Some would call that looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, and if so then bring ’em on, life looks better that way anyway. So, my thanks to Krista this week for asking what I’m optimistic about!

THREE MONKS

THREE MONKS

“Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier.”

Colin Powell

I am optimistic that those who seek to define their own beliefs as the only truth, and who hope to eradicate those who believe otherwise, may win some battles but will eventually lose the war.

CHINA'S GREAT WALL

CHINA’S GREAT WALL

“An optimist is a braver cynic.”

Colum McCann

I am optimistic that those who strive to make the world seem unsafe will not deter those of us who love to travel – to explore all of the world’s glory – and to experience the history and culture of the peoples with whom we share it.

BARNS AT TWILIGHT

BARNS AT TWILIGHT

“Optimism is not fantasy. It hopes for the best reality without departing from it.”

James Randall Robison

I am optimistic that we will one day understand that fundamentals such as doing unto others, the rewards of a job well-done, and the value of lending a helping hand are intrinsic to our universal health and well-being.

NATURE'S BEST

NATURE’S BEST

“Ignore cynicism, appreciate criticism, and embrace optimism.”

Debasish Mridha

I am optimistic that we will one day appreciate the importance of the nature that surrounds us – and that we will learn to preserve it for our children and our children’s children.

BOOTS ON THE GROUND

BOOTS ON THE GROUND

“If Churchill recommends optimism, who are you or I to quibble?”

Anthony Weston

I am optimistic that we can learn to walk in another man’s shoes, and having walked, will begin to embrace compassion and open-mindedness.

BUILDING BRIDGES

BUILDING BRIDGES

“Cynicism is a disease. Optimism is the cure.”

Aakashvani

I am optimistic that there are no differences so great, nor any chasms so wide, that they cannot be bridged by understanding and caring – if not now then perhaps by future generations.

GOING WITH THE FLOW

GOING WITH THE FLOW

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.”

Helen Keller

I am optimistic that as water flows through and around the most obstinate of rocks, those who persevere will eventually find a path to allow them to reach their goals.

MAJESTIC

MAJESTIC

“Optimism is found where gratitude abounds.”

Terry Crouson

I am optimistic that those creatures whose existence is threatened by loss of habitat, hunters’ guns, or any other hazard now and in the future will be treasured and re-introduced in large numbers to environments that can support them.

BROTHERLY LOVE

BROTHERLY LOVE

“You call it insanity, I call it optimism.”

Louise Penny

I am optimistic that love, caring, compassion and empathy, if not the entire answer, are a very good beginning.

And finally, I am optimistic that at least a few of you have managed to stay with me for this very long discussion on optimism 😊 Here’s to a better world – and why not?!

Alphabet Soup – Weekly Photo Challenge

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Nelson Mandela

PURE LIFE

PURE LIFE

It was in my freshman year of high school that I first fell in love with language, thanks to a French teacher who inspired us to look beyond the words to understand the people and the cultures behind them. This week’s Alphabet challenge stirred memories of that initial exposure and my subsequent quest to better appreciate the world’s languages.

WRITING AS ART

WRITING AS ART

“Who are we without our words?”  

Melina Marchetta

After studying French, Spanish and Latin in high school, I went on to become a language major in college. There I studied more French and Spanish as well as German and much more interestingly, linguistics. It was in the last that the evolution of language became much more clear – to the point that we were able to speak and write Swahili without actually studying it – a whole new world was suddenly opened to me.

JUMBLED LANGUAGE

JUMBLED LANGUAGE

“Pity the poor in spirit who know neither the enchantment nor the beauty of language.”  

Muriel Barbery

Beyond written language, in recent years scientists have begun to understand the many forms of communication used by other species. Sophisticated sonar communication between whales, the clicks of dolphins, the complex squawks of crows and even the use of foot stomping by elephants are all examples of languages we are only now beginning to explore.

NAXI PICTOGRAMS

NAXI PICTOGRAPHS

“I like you; your eyes are full of language.”

Anne Sexton

While we in the US think of our own alphabet as the method for depicting language in written form, other cultures offer much more extensive alternatives. The Chinese, for example, use thousands of symbols to depict their language.

THE BUS

THE BUS

“I dream of lost vocabularies that might express some of what we no longer can.”

Jack Gilbert

During our exploration of China I captured some of the examples of written language that I found most interesting. The pictographs used by the Naxi people, which is nearly extinct, were fascinating. Today’s opening capture of a hotel sign includes Chinese script as well as an English translation and if both fail, the lovely little pictoral image of the building. I especially liked the second image, which I made from a charming moment in a local park, where a group of seniors were practicing their art by writing on the pavement.The shot above made me smile because of it’s message – “Sincerity . Eternity”.  Seriously, how could you possibly expect to see such a sign on the back of a BUS of all places?!  And finally…..

TIGER LEAPING GORGE

TIGER LEAPING GORGE

“Language is the only homeland.”

Czeslaw Mitosz

I loved the sign captured above, not only for it’s message but for the sincere attempt at translation – which didn’t quite achieve idiomatic success, but got the idea across despite the disconnect 😊.

Here’s to communication – in whatever form it takes.

 

 

 

Fog – Weekly Photo Challenge Weight(less)

“The fog comes on little cat feet.”
Carl Sandburg
FOG

FOG

I’ve always loved that phrasing by Carl Sandburg. To me it conjures up an image of fog creeping in quietly on an otherwise normal day.  Whispy, watery, weightless clouds landing softly on the world around us. That’s exactly what happened last week as my husband and I were out enjoying a beautiful sunny day here on Kiawah. Quite suddenly we were engulfed the thickest fog I’ve ever seen. I managed to capture its essence with my i-phone; proving once again the adage that “the best camera is the one you have with you”.

This week’s challenge, weight(less) made me think immediately of that fog. To see what it brought to the mind of some other bloggers, click here.

 

 

2015 Favorites and Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle

“What the new year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the new year.”

Vern McLellan

HEART OF THE MATTER

HEART OF THE MATTER

Cheri has given us an interesting challenge to begin the new year. The Circle theme to me speaks to the circle of life, the turning of the calendar page and the opportunity to look back while moving forward. This is the time of year that we reflect on the year gone by, before embarking on the next step of life’s journey. The simple opening capture, one of our lovely lowcountry magnolia blossoms, reminds us to appreciate the small things in life, and to live in the present despite the ticking of the clock. It provides several circles within circles, much as life provides layers of depth and opportunity where what goes around does indeed come around.

Part of my year’s reflection also includes a review of 2015’s photographic moments. Although it feels a bit like choosing a favorite child 😩, for this week’s post I’ve selected some of my personal favorites. First up, during a visit to Arizona we found the dry, rocky landscapes (beyond the classic cacti at every turn) to have a beauty all their own.

ARIZONA MOONSCAPE

ARIZONA MOONSCAPE

“May the New Year bring you new strength, new hope, and new dreams.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

The year found me in a number of instructional presentations and shoots with some amazing professional photographers. Sessions with artists like Denise Ippolito, Arnie Zahn, Karen Vournakis, and Joyce Tennyson helped me to improve my skills and further define my artistic vision.

ONLY GOD CAN MAKE A TREE

ONLY GOD CAN MAKE A TREE

“New Year’s most glorious light is sweet hope!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

I very much enjoyed a session with local professional Kate Silva on the use of textures. The two photographs below made use of this technique.

ASPEN GROVE

ASPEN GROVE – COLORADO

“There are greater things to be achieved in every new year.”

Michael Bassey Johnson

The first, of a Colorado aspen grove, was made during a joyful visit to attend a family wedding. It inspired one of my favorite bloggers, Andrew Seal of The Changing Palette, to create a number of beautiful paintings, one of which he sent to me as a thank you gift. It will definitely have a prominent place in our new home.

The second, below, is a texturized photo of two junks in Vietnam that was taken several years ago. It found new life when I added some aging textures – proof that you really CAN teach an old dog new tricks 😊.

PASSAGE OF TIME

PASSAGE OF TIME

“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.”

Joey Adams

New techniques not-withstanding, pure compositions of nature’s best offerings resulted in some of my favorite images, such as the two captures below, both taken during our beautiful lowcountry spring.

REFLECTION

REFLECTION AT MORNING LIGHT

“New Beginnings are in order, and you are bound to feel some level of excitement as new chances come your way.”

Auliq Ice

SPRING IN BLOOM

SPRING IN BLOOM, MAGNOLIA GARDENS

“There will be always something old in the New Year!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Many of 2015’s favorites resulted from my bird sanctuary visit during breeding season. I could get lost in the captures from that day, but will restrict my self to the three featured below 😊

BABY BLUES

BABY BLUES

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

Oprah Winfrey

THE REAL ANGRY BIRD

THE REAL ANGRY BIRD!

“Hope – Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

PLUMAGE

PLUMAGE

“Last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.”

T.S. Eliot

I made the capture below in 2014, but in 2015 I was honored that it was chosen for a quarter-page, full-color feature in Charleston’s largest newspaper, the Post and Courier. It was published as an illustration of some of the beautiful areas surrounding our lovely city, with credit to yours-truly. Sadly, a recent article noted that erosion is threatening to destroy the other-worldly beach on which the photo was taken. I had no idea it was being published and learned about it from a friend who emailed me while my husband and I were vacationing in Scotland.

SUNRISE, BOTANY BAY

SUNRISE, BOTANY BAY

“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early!

Aleister Crowley

Speaking of Scotland……their beautiful landscapes presented me with so many opportunities, I was like the proverbial kid in a candy store. My ever-patient husband chauffeured me up, down, around and through some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever experienced. Unspoiled and hugely varied, it called to me at every turn. The three captures below are among my many favorites from the journey.

ROCKY SHORES, SCOTLAND

ROCKY SHORES, SCOTLAND

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.”

Melody Beattie

Beyond the beauty of the scene, I made the capture above after making an eagle on a par 5 at Turnberry’s famous Ailsa Golf Course where the lighthouse is located. Good golf and gorgeous scenery – it doesn’t get much better than that!

CABIN, SEA AND SKY, SCOTLAND

CABIN, SEA AND SKY, SCOTLAND

“Each year’s regrets are envelopes in which messages of hope are found for the New Year.”

John R. Dallas Jr

My husband and I shared a very special week of the journey with our daughter-in-law’s family,  several of whom are native to the country. To see a new part of the world through the ever-exuberant eyes of our granddaughter made the event that much more memorable.

STORMY SEAS

EVENING’S LIGHT, LOCHINVER

“We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.”

Hillary DePiano

Finally, I’d like to close with the photograph below, because it carries special meaning for me. It is a view from the porch of the home my husband and I sold earlier this year. It marks not only the end of 2015, but also the end of a wonderful 15 years, along with the beginning of a new adventure. I’m happy to report that we have found a new, smaller home on our beloved Kiawah Island, into which we will move at the end of March.

MARSH MEMORY

MARSH MEMORY

“It is easier for the year to change than to change ourselves.”

R. Joseph Hoffman

My sincere thanks to all of my followers, especially those who take the time to comment on my efforts. Special thanks to Randall Collis of China Sojourns Photography (another of my very favorite blogs) for earning the top spot in 2015’s list of frequent commenters. His most recent post on slowing the passage of time is an absolute must-read.

I look forward to sharing the New Year with all of you, and wish each of you an abundance of peace, kindness, friendship and love in 2016 and beyond.

 

Gathering to Gather – Weekly Photo Challenge

“Love: a string of coincidences that gather significance and become miracles.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This week Krista has asked us to illustrate the concept of “gathering” – in honor of the families and friends who will gather to celebrate the holidays in the coming days. Rather than focus on the many blessings of the season, the challenge brought to my mind an experience from our recent visit to China.

BACK TO BACK

BACK TO BACK

“By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower.”

Rabindranath Tagore

In several places we saw workers gathering to gather crops like rice and barley. In a country like China, where one of the primary resources is manpower, there is very little automation used in the fields. Rather the back-breaking labor is done by men and women alike. Children deliver water to the laborers who toil under the hot sun.

PEASANT GARB

PEASANT GARB

“He who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.”  

Henry David Thoreau

As I watched, I was reminded of a gentle dance performed by the workers’ coordinated  efforts and synchronized movements. Almost always there were iconic straw hats or colorful tribal costumes to further enhance the scene.

THRASHING

THRASHING

“Happiness doesn’t lie in the objects we gather around us. To find it, all we need to do is open our eyes.”  

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

One of my favorite things about travel is its ability to show us the lives of people around the world. Here in the US, for the most part crops are harvested using sophisticated machinery with minimal human intervention. Living in the south though, I’ve often thought of what it must have been like in colonial times. Crops like cotton and indigo were harvested in the intense heat of the lowcountry summers, when mosquitoes and no-see-ums were plentiful and bathing was a rare and infrequent luxury. Perhaps these scenes in China reflect some of what life must have been back then.

A TISKET A TASKET

A TISKET A TASKET

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”

Ansel Adams

Fingers torn, back aching, skin burned by the sun….what must a day in the fields have meant to those who labored for so little return? When the long day was over, did they share the fruits of their labor with family and friends, or more likely, did they fall into an exhausted sleep knowing tomorrow would be much the same as today?

WOMAN'S WORK IS NEVER DONE

WOMAN’S WORK IS NEVER DONE

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”  

Thomas Paine

How fortunate are we to live in an era and in a place where food is plentiful and the work to provide it is done by others? As we enjoy our holiday meals, do we think about where they came from and whose labor went into providing them?

HAT'S OFF

HAT’S OFF

“Gather the stars if you wish it so.”

Carl Sandburg

It is a mere accident of birth that we live as we do while others struggle through an entirely different existence. Let us make this holiday season one of giving – not only to our families and friends but also to strangers in need. Let us be generous, sharing the gifts we’ve been given. Give a dollar to help feed the hungry. Give an hour of your time to a child who needs help learning to read – or to a hard working immigrant trying to learn English. If nothing else, give the gift of a smile to a stranger. Who knows, it just might be exactly what he or she needs right at that moment.

Wishing you all the best of the season – may peace, love and joy fill your hearts, and generosity feed your soul.