Lens-Artists Challenge #109 – Under the Sun

Ocean, dad, daughter, surf, play, iPhone

PROUD DAD

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”

Henry Ward Beecher

This week Amy’s “Under the Sun” challenge can be interpreted in many different ways –  after all, isn’t EVERYTHING on earth actually under the sun? For those of us living in a beach community however, it most often means enjoying the sand and surf during the intense heat of our summers.  As I  mentioned in my last post, I was recently asked to photograph a friend’s family visit. My opening image as well as the one that follows were both made during that outing as the family’s children enjoyed the sun and surf.

 

four, children, ocean, blue

FANTASTIC FOUR

“Sunshine is Nature’s hug and spirit breath to the earth.  “

Terri Guillemets

It’s always fun to see children enjoying their first time trip to the ocean. Since one of the families is from the midwest, this was a first for their youngest daughter. The position of our barrier island creates waves that are typically quite gentle – perfect for a little one’s first experience. In light of the pandemic’s travel restrictions, It was a special treat to see the grandparents, parents and children enjoying our beach together. 

shoes on beach

ABANDONED???

“The sun shines on everybody. You’ve got to keep believing. “

Dontrelle Willis

I captured the image above in an earlier beach outing. I had to laugh at the abandon I imagined the shoes’ owners felt as they dropped their footwear and had a run down to the water. There is nothing quite like the feeling of bare feet in the sand, followed closely by splashing into the refreshing ocean waves.

beach, Kiawah, beachgoers, surf

BEFORE THE STORM

“Every morning the rising sun invites and inspires us to begin again.”

Debasish Mridha

Finally, I’ve included an image I captured the evening before Hurricane Isaias was scheduled to arrive. The surf was churning a bit more than usual, and the sun was very nearly set. Beachgoers were enjoying the larger-than-usual waves and the lovely pre-storm breezes. Sincere thanks to those who expressed concern for our safety as the storm moved into our area. Fortunately for us it created only a bit of rain and wind. Our neighbors to the north in Pawley’s Island and Myrtle Beach were impacted much more severely as were many in North Carolina and further up the eastern coast. Our thoughts are with them as they recover from nature’s wrath.

Thanks to Amy for the opportunity to highlight some of our beautiful beach time here on Kiawah. We look forward to seeing what YOU find interesting under the sun in your part of the world. Remember to link to Amy’s post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you. Hoping to see you here on Travels and Trifles next week as I host challenge #110.

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #108 – SANCTUARY

sea oats, blue sky, grass, kiawah island

BENDING WITH THE WIND

“Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.”

Rumi

This week the Lens-Artists team is excited to welcome Guest Host Xenia Tran of Tranature and Whippet Wisdom. Her challenge, Sanctuary, is most appropriate for these troubled times. As I searched for appropriate quotes on the subject many alternatives were covered – things like home, books, religion and art for example. For me, although I appreciate and relate to all of those suggestions and more, I find my explorations of nature, often combined with photography, to be a favorite sources of solace.

beach path, bicycle

INTO THE LIGHT

“In every heart there is a room, a sanctuary safe and strong.”

Billy Joel

This week I was asked by a friend to photograph her family as they were visiting from the midwest (lucky her, lucky them!). While I was awaiting their arrival I was struck by the beauty of the afternoon and the peace and quiet that nature affords us as we deal with life’s challenges. All of this week’s images are from that afternoon on Kiawah’s beach, and are a reminder of the incredibly restorative power of nature.

bicycles, beach path, sea oats

CONVEYANCE OF CHOICE

“The sanctuary of peace dwells within. Seek it out and all things will be added to you.”

Peace Pilgrim

A place of sanctuary has never been more important than it has become these past months. As we struggle with uncertainty, fear, and isolation it becomes ever more critical to find temporary escape – a retreat for moments of peace and calm. Spending time among nature’s offerings – the warmth of the sun, an ocean breeze, the shade of a forest canopy – nourishes my soul and brings me a sense of contentment. I realize how fortunate I am that all of these things are readily available via a short walk or bike ride. Sharing them with my husband or a good friend makes them even more therapeutic.

boardwalk, path, beach, kiawah island

PATH TO SERENITY

“There is sanctuary in being alone with nature.”

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

My quotes this week refer primarily to our individual power to find a place of sanctuary within ourselves. However difficult things may be, we can surely find reasons for gratitude and opportunities for growth. It’s not always easy, but here’s to finding our way no matter the challenges we face.

Sincere thanks to the community of creative and talented bloggers who continue to honor us with participation in our challenge. Thanks also to Xenia for her interesting and beautifully presented theme this week. Please be sure to link your response to her original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us all find you.  Next week we’re back to our regular schedule with Amy leading our challenge. Until then, be careful out there and stay safe!

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #107 – Winter

SNOWY SWEETGRASS

SNOWY SWEETGRASS

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it’s necessary to stand out in the cold.”‘

Aristotle

I will admit I am not a fan of winter. The harshest winter we experienced living in the northeastern US convinced us it was time to move south. We hit the road in February of 2000, more than happy to leave the cold behind. Our first winter after moving to Charleston, SC we never once needed a coat and thought we’d found heaven on earth. That was before our first southern summer of course, but that’s a story for another day 😊.

blue sky, snow, frozen grasses, Kiawah

WINTER BLUES

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently?”

Lewis Carroll

Unfortunately, it turns out our first southern winter was a bit of an anomaly, although we’ve had several equally mild winters since. In a more typical winter we have our share of cold days – although those in places like Minnesota or Vermont would laugh at what we call cold. For us, an actual freeze or snow is extremely rare. Having lived here these 20 years we’ve had serious winter storms exactly twice. The first was Named Storm Leon in January of 2014, the second in January of 2018. In the latter, 5 inches (12 cm )of snow with no snowplows to clear the streets literally shut down the city for 5 days.

ice covered dried leaves

FROZEN

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.”

John Burroughs

Winter storm Leon, although I despise cold, is for me a very fond memory. Our world of ferns, flowers and leaves was suddenly and totally encased in a sheet of ice. Once the storm abated my husband and I donned the winter clothes we’d brought from our home up north and headed out to survey and photograph a world of wonder. We had the entire island to ourselves and the photographic opportunity was astounding.

ICE-ENCASED FLOWER

ENCASED

“Well I know now. I know a little more how much much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person.”

Sylvia Plath

I’ve included three images from that day, the two above and one below. I’d never seen such a thing before nor have I since. Ice is almost non-existent here in the south and when winter hits in the north the leaves and flowers are already long gone.  To see the plants encased in their icy shrouds was so amazing I didn’t even notice the bitter cold. Fortunately we returned to our normal mild winter weather almost immediately and were astounded that the plants weren’t harmed in the least. Quite a lesson in Mother Nature’s magic.

icy grasses, beach sign, kiawah

THIS WAY TO THE BEACH

“The field was covered with ice crystals sticking up like a garden of little diamonds.”

Chris Kurtz

We hope you’ve enjoyed having a bit of advance notice for our challenges this month. A big thank you to Ann-Christine for hosting July’s final season, Winter. We’re excited to announce that we’ll be starting August with a special Guest Host, Xenia, author of two beautiful books of poetry and photography as well as host of her two blogs Tranature and Whippet Wisdom. Be sure to watch for her challenge on August 1. 

Sincere thanks as always to our followers for their creativity and continued support of our challenge. We look forward to seeing your perspectives on winter. Please link them to Ann-Christine’s exquisite post here, and use the Lens-Artists Tag to help all of our participants find you. Until then, as always stay safe and be well.

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #106 – AUTUMN

autumn vista

HUDSON COUNTY VISTA

“The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale”

Cornelia L. Tuthill

For me, as our seasonal challenges turn to autumn, my thoughts turn to two things – color and family. Color, of course, is obvious. The yellows, reds and golds of autumn are everywhere as the seasons change and the trees erupt in an annual show of finery. Here on Kiawah though, our autumn colors (with the exception of our beautiful sweetgrass) are a bit more subdued. In a normal year we seek autumn’s beauty with family visits. 

AUTUMN, NYC, FALL COLOR

AUTUMN IN THE CITY

“When everything looks like a magical oil painting, you know you are in Autumn!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Our family in New York City is fortunate to have been able to take refuge from the pandemic in nearby Hudson County. Most years we have visited them in the city, and from there made a family trip to the countryside.  My opening image was captured as the sun was setting over their back porch view of  Hudson County. The second is an iPhone capture I made during a family walk along NYC’s Hudson River. Both images are from last year’s autumn visit.  We are sincerely hoping there will be a 2020 version this coming fall.

autumn, fall, color, Hudson County

AUTUMN IN THE COUNTRY

“All the sun-faded colors of summer repainted by vivid reds and golds clinging to branches soon to be covered with snow.”

Naomi Ragen

I couldn’t resist one more image of the glories of fall in New York’s Hudson County. The image above comes from a solitary walk my Fuji and I took one afternoon while the family was otherwise occupied. As a native northeasterner, the beauties of fall foliage and their scent wafting through the air is one of the few things I truly miss living in the South. The season which follows it….not so much!

fall foliage, Arizona

ARIZONA AUTUMN

“The sunsets of Autumn—are they not gorgeous beyond description?”

Charles Lanman

Crossing the country for another family visit, my husband and I sometimes visit my brother and sister-in-law at their home in Arizona. One evening I walked out into their back yard expecting to find yet another beautiful sunset. I was stunned by the way the light was hitting the large tree in his neighbor’s back yard, and turned my back on the sunset to capture its fiery glow.

AUTUMN, SWEETGRASS, KIAWAH ISLAND

AUTUMN SWEETGRASS, KIAWAH ISLAND

“As long as Autumn lasts, I shall not have hands, canvas and colors enough to paint the beautiful things I see.”

Vincent Van Gogh

Of course I could not leave a discussion of autumn without at least one image of Kiawah’s sweetgrass. While it’s true that much of our plant life retains it’s green foliage throughout the year, our normally yellowy-green sweetgrass spends much of autumn showing off in beautiful shades of purplish-pink. Soft and willowy looking, do not be fooled – it’s blades are prickly and pointed, protecting it from any who might wish to take a few fronds back home. Here, the return of the sweetgrass to its plebeian yellow/green tint is a sure sign that winter is waiting in the wings.

As always, sincere thanks to those who responded to last week’s spring challenge. (Yes, we realize spring does not follow summer nor does autumn follow spring, but you must admit we made you think about it for an extra minute, didn’t we? 🙃 ) We very much enjoyed all of your responses – especially yours truly, since I am currently embroiled in another hot, humid southern summer! We hope to see you next week when Ann-Christine brings you Winter, our final seasonal challenge. In the meanwhile, please be sure to link your Autumn response to Patti’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG to help us find you.

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #105 – SPRING

MAGNOLIA GARDENS CYPRESS SWAMP

MAGICAL MAGNOLIA GARDENS

“Spring will come and so will happiness. Hold on. Life will get warmer.”

Anita Krizzan

Next up on our seasonal challenges, this week we turn to thoughts of Spring. Noted by poets and lyricists as a season of hope and renewal, spring teaches us that despite (or perhaps because of) the hardships of winter, our world will once again blossom with new life.  As we continue to deal with the issues of the day, spring teaches us to remain hopeful despite our challenges. One of the many rituals of the season here in the Charleson area is a visit to beautiful Magnolia Gardens. There we might learn from the cypress trees which draw strength and nourishment from waters that would destroy a less-resilient species.

DRAMATIC SKY, KIAWAH ISLAND

UNDER THREAT

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”

Bernard Williams

Spring here on Kiawah also delivers some incredibly dramatic skies – yet another example of nature’s lessons. The image above shows a line of beachfront cottages made smaller by the immense, threatening clouds. Yet for the observant among us, there is a small bright spot in the center of the maelstrom.  We can learn from Mother Nature that despite the worst moments there is always a spot of hope somewhere even when troubles threaten to engulf us.

egret chicks, nest

SWEET CHICKS

“Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”

Robert H. Schuller

Spring is also a time of rebirth – not only of the plants and flowers but also of the creatures with whom we share Mother Earth. Pandemic notwithstanding, birds continue to deliver and nourish their chicks, does give birth to fawns and tiny alligators emit high-pitched, musical melodies as they take joy in swimming through the lagoons. Of course, we are always mindful that mom is surely keeping a watchful eye on them (and more importantly, on us) should her fierce protection be required.

ALLIGATOR HATCHLINGS

TINY GATOR HATCHLINGS

“If we had no winter the spring would not be so pleasant. if we did not taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

Anne Bradstreet

There are reasons that platitudes exist. They take note of things that are commonplace and widely acknowledged. If one searches for quotations about spring there are significantly more than on most other subjects. The vast majority speak to hope, renewal, rebirth, determination … you get the idea. There have certainly been days in the recent past when most of us have wondered when we will ever return to life as we knew it. Surely others have felt the same during trying times in the past – the great depression, world wars, earthquakes and other natural disasters – yet somehow time heals, trials end, and we are reborn with a new appreciation of the things we’d long taken for granted.

WILDFLOWER

WILDFLOWERS

“That is one good thing about this world–there are always sure to be more springs.”

L.M. Montgomery

So let us pause, refresh, and reset our expectations. We have been given the gift of time – to learn more about ourselves and the world around us, and to develop a new or renewed appreciation for living every moment. Personally, I’m working on developing a view of the “new normal” as an opportunity for self-improvement, definitely an uphill battle for me – how about you? 

Speaking of opportunity, many of you ran with the opportunity to shine in your responses to last week’s SUMMER challenge. Your posts ranged from poignant to buoyant, were both clever and original and offered some unique perspectives for all to enjoy. We very much appreciate your support of our challenge as we come together creatively to navigate these difficult times.

Have You Seen These?

Finally, we hope you’ll join us again next week as Patti brings us our Autumn challenge. In the meanwhile and as always, stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #104 – SUMMER

beach, parachutes, Kiawah Island

FLOATING BY

“Summer is singing with joy, and the beaches are inviting you with dancing waves.”

Debasish Mridha

I’m happy to open this week’s post with a summertime view of Kiawah’s beautiful beach. As you can see, there are two parasails floating in from above, their pilots looking as if they haven’t a care in the world – if only it were so! We are fortunate to be experiencing lockdown in a place where the air is fresh and the sea is a short walk away. Never mind that our daily temperatures typically reach the high 80s Fahrenheit (32 C) and feel even hotter due to our high humidity. We count ourselves lucky to be able to experience nature’s bounty these days.

clouds, ocean, pelicans

AHEAD OF THE STORM

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanket.”

Kelle Elmore

Our summers here on the island often include fairly violent but short-lived storms in the late afternoon/early evening. In the image above the clouds begin to gather and the pelicans, as always, are getting out ahead of it. In order to control social distancing, we are now required to reserve time slots at our community’s seaside pools. Yesterday my husband and I had briefly considered the 3:00 pm time slot. We laughed from the comfort of our home when at 3:15 the skies opened, thunder roared and lightning flashed. Then we felt a bit guilty thinking of the others who probably WERE using that valuable slot!

Beach, feet, dunes

BEACH BLANKET BINGO

“Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly,”

Van Morrison

Yep, that’s me in a lovely self-portrait 🙂. The capture is from a day last week when we managed to secure a slot and the sun obliged perfectly. Note the lack of pedicure – one of many minor, annoying side effects of the pandemic. And no, the toes on my right foot did NOT get sunburned.

shrimp boat at rest

SUMMER SHRIMP A-COMIN’

“There’s a magical sense of possibility that stretches like a bridge between June and August. A sense that anything can happen.”

Aimee Friedman

Summer on Kiawah also means fresh shrimp, which we can buy from our local market or, as shown above, fresh from the shrimp boats as they return from the sea. Truth be told, you haven’t tasted shrimp until you’ve bought it fresh and tasted its sweetness. Our area is famous for its lowcountry shrimp boils; complete with locally grown potatoes and corn on the cob, it’s summer on a plate!

deer at water fountain

THIRSTY SUMMER VISITOR

“Rejoice as summer should…chase away sorrows by living.”

Melissa Marr

 

I’ll close this week’s post with an image I captured earlier this week from my window. A sweet and very thirsty deer had traveled our long driveway to the front courtyard to drink from the bubbling water element. Typically we see the birds dropping in for a refreshing dip but this was a first for sure! I guess we’re not the only ones feeling the heat of summer. 

Thank you for joining us this week and as always for your support of our challenge. We hope summer in your part of the world is a happy one for you and yours, pandemic notwithstanding. (I appreciate the thought in Ms. Marr’s quote above and intend to follow it to the letter 🙂) Please be sure to link your response to Amy’s original challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you.  We hope to see you next week for a breath of SPRING right here on Travels and Trifles. Until then, as always, stay safe out there!

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #103 – SURPRISE

girl, seascape, ocean

WORLD OF WONDER

“The best part of the journey is the surprise and wonder along the way.”

Ken Poirot

This week Ann-Christine challenges us to share images of things that surprise us. I must admit it occurred to me that if something really surprises us, we’re unlikely to have camera in hand to capture the moment. That said, I set out this week to find at least a few examples. In my opening image, while beach walking with a good friend (camera in hand) I was surprised to see this adorable little one all by herself apparently pondering the majesty of Kiawah’s beautiful seascape.  Now THAT is my idea of a perfect pandemic moment.

“The most pleasant surprise is to get lost in the beauty of life.”

Debasihs Mridha

Yet another moment of true surprise occurred as I was playing golf with some friends on one of our local Kiawah courses. As we were walking between two marsh-front holes I happened to notice two young guys on paddle boards going by in the creek. In this case I did NOT have my camera but I did have my trusty iphone (as always, the best camera is the one you have with you!) and I captured them as they paddled by. It’s certainly not something one would expect to see on the golf course.

pink wildflowers

IN THE PINK

“The more you try to control the world, the less magic you get. It’s really about being open and surprised.”

Larry Sultan

Yet another golfing surprise came in the form of the lovely pink wildflowers shown in the image above. It’s often said that the best golfers are able to notice the beauty around them, enjoying the day as well as the game. This is definitely NOT my usual strength! Again it was iPhone to the rescue as I walked by this lovely natural landscape in the marsh beyond the course. Candidly, I was surprised not only by the beauty of the day, but also by how much I enjoyed combining the game with paying greater attention to the abundance of nature’s gifts.

AFTER THE STORM

“The photographer reminds us that the actual world is full of surprise, which is precisely what most people tend to forget.”

John Rosenthal

My final image represents several surprises. First, it is a reminder of last week’s unexpected and surprisingly violent storm. Second it shows us one of nature’s most lovely gifts, the surprise of a rainbow after the storm. Third, and to me most surprising, I am NOT the photographer who captured the truly lovely image. A good friend with whom I golfed several times this week made the image from her back yard with her iPhone. She and I had laughed several times at my frustration with trying to find surprising captures. When she told me she’d taken the rainbow image the evening before our game I jumped on the opportunity to share her result. The surprise is that I have never before included anyone’s images other than my own, but as they say, there’s a first time for everything! So thanks Dar, for helping me with this week’s post. 😀

Speaking of this week’s post, please remember to add the Lens-Artists TAG to your response for inclusion in our WordPress Lens-Artists Reader section. Using tags can significantly increase your views and comments. For instructions on adding tags click on this link https://wordpress.com/support/posts/tags/”. 

Finally, the Lens-Artists team has a special “Surprise” for July. We will be hosting the theme “Seasons” for the entire month and are announcing the sequence in advance. The schedule will be:

  • July 4    Amy brings us Summer;
  • July 11  Spring will be hosted here on Travels and Trifles
  • July 18  Patti will host Autumn/Fall
  • July 25  Ann-Christine will close out the event with Winter

We hope you’ll join us with your own surprises this week – remember to link to Ann-Christine’s original post here. As always, our thanks for your continued support. Stay safe out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #102 – A Quiet Place

SCOTLAND FOG

SCOTTISH FOG

“When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Ansel Adams

As I thought about Patti’s Quiet Place challenge, my mind immediately went to a mystical journey through the Scottish Highlands that I hope never to forget. Tucked away in the remote northwest corner of the country, we’d driven hours on a one-lane road to reach our destination in Lochinver along Scotland’s magical coast.

northwest Scotland road

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

“I have never heard a more eloquent silence.”

Laurie Halsey Anderson

We made the drive in the early evening as dusk was settling in and the infamous Scottish fog was creeping over the hillsides. During our nearly 3-hour drive we saw a total of 2 or 3 cars, one of them shown above.  The beauty that surrounded us was more breathtaking at every turn, which helped ease our fears that another car could be approaching around one of the many blind curves. At one point our only choice was to back up until we found a berm to allow another car to drive by in the opposite direction.

HEATHER, Scotland, FOG

HEATHER AND FOG

“The world is quiet here.”

Lemony Snicket

Around many of the bends in the road there were amazing vistas. Stone ruins, heather-covered hills, small lochs with weathered boats, and one with a beautiful copse of trees standing in its center. The fog brought with it a silence much deeper than that of a city or town. In the quiet, one could almost feel the presence of those who’d traveled the same road long before. 

copse of trees

COPSE

“So quiet one can almost hear other people’s dreams.”

Gayle Forman

It was a long and difficult journey worth every moment of white-knuckle driving. My ever-patient husband never complained about my requests to stop for photography along the way. As the fog thickened, its dense moisture left me, my camera and my lenses fairly drenched by the end of the trip. Happily, no harm done and all for a good cause.  

boats, loch, scotland, clouds

AROUND THE BEND

“Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow.”

Frank McCourt

Eventually we reached our destination and after a much-needed meal and a good night’s sleep we set off to see the surrounding sights by light of day. I’ve included above one of many peaceful scenes, this one from a nearby loch. We spent several days in the area enjoying the quiet and restoring our own inner peace as we closed in on the end of our Scottish journey. For the most part our weather while in Scotland had been amazing and the Scottish light every bit as beautiful as any I’d ever seen. Somehow though, I believe the fog-shrouded quiet is the Scotland that will stay with me far longer.

Many thanks to all who responded to last week’s One Single Flower challenge; and special thanks to Cee for the care and support she’s given to so many of us. It was our honor to have her lead our challenge – not surprisingly one of our most popular to-date . We look forward to seeing your response to this week’s Quiet Place. Remember to link your post to Patti’s original challenge here, and to use the Lens-Artists TAG so we can more easily find you. We hope you’ll join us next week when Ann-Christine brings us Challenge #103.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #101 – A Single Flower

flower with bee

LET IT BEE

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”

Buddha

This week we are excited to have Cee, one of the most successful bloggers on WordPress, joining us as Guest Host. Beyond her creativity and talent, she is well-known for generously helping others to succeed. As a new blogger eight years ago (yikes!), it was Cee whose reblog of my post generated one of the largest responses Travels and Trifles has had. I still remember my excitement as the likes and comments poured in.  I couldn’t be more proud to see her leading our challenge with her amazing spirit and beautiful photography.

magnolia

ETHEREAL SOUTHERN BEAUTY

“Minds are like flowers, they open only when the time is right.”

Stephen Richards

I’ll admit that my archive of images is a bit short on flowers. Truly though, any photographer in the southern U.S. will most always have at least a few images of a beautiful magnolia. Fossil records suggest it has been with us for 150 million years, making it the first flowering plant. Unlike other flowers, these blossoms grow on trees, and are fertilized by beetles rather than bees. To my mind, their beauty is surpassed only by their incredible fragrance.

light, lily

LOVELY LIGHT

“The loveliest of all, the lily family….with this plant the whole world would seem rich though none other existed.”

John Muir

Let me be perfectly honest, although I love flowers I have absolutely no talent when it comes to growing them. I am the classic “black thumb”, deadly to any flower that comes near me! I’ve been known to photograph them but not often, and more usually either when plentiful in a field or when they are being visited by a bee or a butterfly. That said, I’ve done my best to respond to Cee’s call for a single flower (although admittedly my opening image may be a bit of a stretch on that front).

partial daisy on green background

DAISY, DAISY

“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the daisy of its simple charm.

Therese of Lisieux

Because I am not prone to photographing a single flower, and because at the moment we are restricted to our local environment, several of this week’s blooms are among those I’ve previously posted. On the other hand, they are some of my personal favorites so with your indulgence I’ve included them as well as several new images in today’s post.

pink and white rose

A ROSE IS A ROSE

“A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way.”

Miranda Kerr

Those who follow me know that I include quotes as well as images to support my message. The search can be harder for some posts than others. Interestingly, it seems there are more quotes about flowers than one could ever hope to use. For today’s post I chose those that spoke to the individual species as well as those that referenced a perspective on our humanity. In today’s climate it’s helpful to find quotes that speak to hope, individuality, and appreciation of the differences that make us unique as individuals yet stronger as a whole.

HUMMINGBIRD, FLOWER

NOURISHING NECTAR

“Connecting our hearts through love yields a nectar so sweet we are forever full.”

Amy Lee Mercree

Sometimes nature simply grants a gift, and our job is to be ready to take advantage of it when it is presented.The image above is one example. My attempt for most of that morning to capture a hummingbird without including a feeder had been very frustrating. Then, that afternoon while golfing near my brother and sister-in-law’s Colorado home, we came upon this gorgeous little bird feeding on vibrant red/orange flowers. I was thrilled to get the opportunity I’d wanted in a more natural environment. 

butterfly, flower, orange, red, yellow

ON TOP OF THE WORLD

“The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.”

Ecouchard Le Brun

I’ll close this week’s post with three favorite images of butterflies on single flowers. The first image shows how wonderful nature can be when she blesses us with coordinated colors. The two below illustrate how beautiful  differences can be.

butterfly, flower, stripes, orange

MELANGE OF COLOR

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty. “

Maya Angelou

I particularly liked Maya Angelou’s quote above. In these troubled times it is important to remember that nothing worthwhile comes without difficulty. If we believe in the goal, the journey becomes more tolerable.

pink flower, yellow butterfly

IN THE PINK

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”

Lady Bird Johnson

I got a bit carried away with Cee’s single flower challenge, which you can find here. We look forward to seeing your interpretation and enjoying the beauty of your responses. Be sure to link to Cee’s original post and to include the Lens-Artists tag so that we can more easily find you. We hope to see you again next week when Patti brings us Challenge #102 –  and as always our sincere thanks for your continued support. Special thanks to those who congratulated the team on our 100th Challenge – it’s been an amazing journey. Be safe out there and if possible, try to pause for a moment to enjoy nature’s bounty. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #100 – The Long and Winding Road

road, hill, keffiyeh

WINDING HER WAY, AMMAN, JORDAN

“Feel kinship with fellow travelers on the long and winding road toward unification.”

Brian Greene

As you can imagine, the team at Lens-Artists coordinates challenge subjects throughout the year to avoid duplication or confusion. Little did we know when we chose the theme for this week’s challenge how very timely it would be. The entire world has been trudging wearily along the long and winding road of a pandemic that most of us would not have believed possible even a few short months ago. Added to that, here in the U.S. the past week brought tremendous unrest following a horrific instance of police brutality in Minneapolis, MN.

DRAGON'S BACK, RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

WINDING THROUGH THE RICE FIELDS, YUNNAN, CHINA

“The winding road slants downward many a time.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Protests have been taking place in most major cities and many smaller ones, including our own beloved Charleston. Many of the protests are peaceful – seeking justice in the specific case as well as sweeping changes in the policies and programs that foster inequality among our citizens. Sadly, in several cities some of the protests turned violent, smashing windows, looting stores, defacing and burning buildings and police cars, and most importantly in some cases causing loss of life.

autumn foliage, winding road

WINDING THROUGH AUTUMN, NY, USA

“Sometimes you have to stop, turn around, and take the longer harder road.”

Ash Sweeney

Most are of the opinion that violence defeats the purpose of the protests and causes harm in many cases to the very people hoping for change. There is speculation that some of the violence is driven by outsiders rather than local citizens. The impacted shops and restaurants had only recently re-opened following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions; sadly many may now close permanently. Jobs will be lost and freedoms will be further restricted. Curfews have been imposed on many of our cities and scientists fear an uptick in virus cases due to the large gatherings.

path, trees, golf course, Kiawah

WINDING THROUGH THE TREES, KIAWAH, USA

“Life is not always perfect. Like a road, it has many bends, ups and down, but that’s its beauty.”

Amit Ray

It is my firm belief that the vast majority believe in the merit of the protesters’ cause, and that justice will prevail in the specific case in question. Further, I believe we will see fundamental change to many of the laws and policies that foster inequality sooner rather than later due in large part to the peaceful protests taking place throughout our country. It is my fervent desire that those who believe in the cause will help to quell the mayhem that is defeating their purpose. Beyond protesting, write to your senators and congressmen and let them know you are watching. Write to your local and national newspapers. Make your vote count. Be an advocate for change. Let your voice be heard any way you can, but in a way which is not hurtful to others. Remember Nelson Mandela’s words “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Utah, road, rock arch

WINDING THROUGH THE ARCHES, UTAH, USA

“Sometimes the only way to find a way is to get lost.”

Talismanist Giebra

Do you find yourself wondering how much worse the problems in the U.S., as well as those in the rest of the world can get? I know I do. My hope is that we will be stronger as people and as nations when we begin to see our problems as part of our past rather than the present. Perhaps Talismanist Giebra is right – we’ve been lost and are looking to find the way out.  Let’s hope we find it soon – the warriors are becoming weary. Hang in there my friends, there is often a rainbow after the storm. 

This week, share your images and thoughts about the long and winding road. Feel free to be literal or metaphorical in your approach. Know how much we appreciate your support and enjoy seeing your responses to our challenges. Be sure to link them to my original post and to include the Lens-Artists Tag.

Speaking of responses, thank you as always for your creative approaches to Amy’s Old and New challenge last week.  Have you seen these?

  • Anne Leueen shares images of medieval armor vs current horse “decor” in her Horse Addict blog
  • Wendy of My Plaid Heart shares an astounding experience as RAF jets fly over ancient Duffus Castle
  • We welcome Meikah of Wordplay at Midlife who bravely shares both old and newer images of herself

Finally, we are excited to announce that next week the Lens-Artists team will be bringing you a very special event. Cee of Ceenphotography has graciously agreed to lead us on our next challenge. All four members of the Lens-Artists team will join Cee next Saturday at noon EST in response to her challenge subject. We look forward to seeing where she leads us, and hope you’ll join the fun as well.