Call of the Wilderness

“The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.”

~Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th President of the United States of America

(Quote Source: quoteaddicts.com)

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Autumn colors begin to make their annual appearance in northern Wisconsin.

Goodbye Summer 2016

“Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings.”

~ Dr. Henry Cloud (1956- ), American psychologist

(Quote Source: brainyquote.com)

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Maple leaves showing off their color for this first day of fall.

Wild Morning Glory

“The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.”

~Robert Doisneau (1912-1994), French photographer

(Quote Source: brainyquote.com)

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While some may debate the “excitement” of this photo, I encourage viewers to consider the way the vine has wound its way around the dead branches of an old tree.  It was the lovely pink blossom of this wild morning glory that caught my eye as I walked. Note the blossoms yet to open during these lovely fall days of September – an unexpected find that brought a smile to my face.

A lovely walkway…

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only tune in.”

~George Washington Carver (1860s-1943), American botanist and inventor

(Quote Source: smithsonianmag.com)

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A lovely walkway at Burwell Park in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Juvenile Sandhill Crane

“Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty.  It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.  The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words.”

~ Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There

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I was startled to come upon this juvenile Sandhill Crane standing alone in a clearing.  No doubt the parents had taken cover by hiding among the trees in the background.

Early Summer Days…

“Early summer days are a jubilee time for birds.  In the fields, around the house, in the barn, in the woods, in the swamp – everywhere love and songs and nests and eggs.”

~E. B. White, (1899-1985) American writer

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This is a fledgling American Robin sitting in a pine tree. I love the little downy feathers still sticking up on top of its head.

White-tailed Deer

“Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.”

~Fred Bear, (1902-1988) American bow hunter, bow manufacturer, author, and television host

(Quote Source: wideopenspaces.com)

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This is a White-tailed Deer standing in a field of wildflowers.

Compassionate Viewpoint

“But, to love nature and to hate humanity is illogical. Humanity is part of the whole. To truly love the world is also to love human ingenuity and playfulness. Nature does not need to be cleansed of human artifacts to be beautiful or coherent. Yes, we should be less greedy, untidy, wasteful, and shortsighted. But let us not turn responsibility into self-hatred. Our biggest failing is, after all, lack of compassion for the world. Including ourselves.”

~ David George Haskell,  The Forest Unseen

(Quote Source: goodreads.com)

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I took this photo in 2014 of a ranch in Wyoming — a setting that seemed such a lovely representation of humans working with and for nature.

Old Tree

“Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.”

~ Dr. Karen Shragg, Think Like a Tree 

(Quote Source: spiritoftrees.org)

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I have often wished that old trees could share their stories.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Instead of a quote, today I share with you a brief clip from a 1950’s television show, The Honeymooners.  Characters Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and Ed Norton (Art Carney) are meeting for lunch in the park when Ed spots a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

(Television clip found on YouTube.com)

I grew up believing that a bird with this curious name was merely fictional. To me, the name was invented by a television writer to add humor to this particular sketch on The Honeymooners.

Fast forward to the summer of 2015 when I caught a shot of this bird.  I had not seen it before.  Imagine my surprise to learn that it was in fact a real Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.  Wow!

So, I guess this is what Ed Norton was looking at in the park that day with his binoculars.

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The Park

“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.”

~ Sigurd F. Olson, (1899-1982) American author and environmentalist

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When I am overwhelmed, irritated, or simply bored with the demands of daily routine I love to escape to a “park.”  Whether that park is national, state, or local; it is the sound of birds, the fresh air, and the enormity of the great outdoors that often puts my own concerns into perspective.  This shot was taken on a recent visit to Banning State Park in Minnesota.

Natural Recycling

“Nature doth thus kindly heal every wound.  By the mediation of a thousand little mosses and fungi, the most unsightly objects become radiant of beauty.  There seem to be two sides of this world, presented us at different time, as we see things in growth or dissolution, in life or death.  And seen with the eye of the poet, as God sees them, all things are alive and beautiful.”

~Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher; author of the book, Walden

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Fungi: Mother Nature’s recycling system

Listen

“The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, no objects to be exploited.  Everything has its own voice.  Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees — all these have voices and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.”

~ Thomas Berry (1914-2009), Catholic priest of the Passionist order

(Quote via ourhabitatgarden.org)

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The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker that often excavates nest holes in dead or diseased trees.  As I strolled my property I heard, and then discovered, one hammering on a dead tree.  I hoped that a nest was being built!  It turned out that this handsome bird was not in the market for a home, but I did get a chance to take a few photographs.

Spring

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

~ Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher; author of the book, Walden

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The Hepatica wildflowers have poked their way up through the remains of last fall.  Spring has truly arrived in northern Minnesota.

Great Horned Owl Napping

“When you’re making a film, you have an obligation to fill the frame with life.”

~Joss Whedon (1964- )American screenwriter, film and television director, film and television producer, comic book author, and composer (Wikipedia)

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Taking a picture of an owl can be a tricky endeavor!  It took me quite awhile to find a spot in which I could actually see most of this sleeping beauty.