Tag Archives: Nature

A Strange November

Carol A. Hand

Although the days are unseasonably warm

each evening the sun sets earlier

ushering in magical twilight

***

Twilight November Moon – 2017

***

The half-moon graces the eastern sky

promising more snowless weather

for the beginning of December

***

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A November Morning 2017

Carol A. Hand

 

bright reflecting sunshine

a dusting of snow

bracing cold air

the heavy odor

of diesel fuel

outside

everywhere

remind me

winter life in the city

comes with circi

convenience 

and costs

requiring

care

***

Pensive Pinto – November 9, 2017

***

Note:

Circi, also spelled as sirsee, circe, surcy, and surcee, is a word used mostly in the southern U.S. that means “an unexpected, usually small, gift” (English Language & Usage Stack Exchange).

November Reflections and Connections

Carol A. Hand

Reflections – November 1, 2017

Do you ever have mornings when a question plays in your thoughts and you don’t know the answer? This morning, as I gazed at the trees on this first day of November, I wondered if they process carbon dioxide in the winter. The answers I found are fascinating. Maybe everyone else learned this and remembers. But just in case, I thought others might find the answers interesting, too.

The first question that came to mind – Do trees process carbon dioxide (CO2) in winter?

Birch Tree in November, 2016

The answer –

“Most of the land mass of the earth is in the northern hemisphere, and most of the vegetation is Northern hemisphere. During autumn and winter, the leaves fall and exhale carbon dioxide (through decomposition). Throughout the spring and summer days, leaves grow and inhale carbon dioxide. So, when it’s winter in the northern hemisphere, global CO2 levels rise quite sharply and fall again during the warmer months.” (Michael Bloch, 2006, November 30. “Deciduous trees and carbon dioxide,” available at greenlivingtips.com).

Another site offered a more global, connected perspective.

“In general, it is inevitable (whether or not trees lose their leaves) that photosynthesis should reduce during the winter months, simply because there is less sunlight through the winter months. The question is as to where greater photosynthesis is happening, in the southern hemisphere (with large oceans, and more marine algae), or in the northern hemisphere (much great land masses), so which winter is the more significant (that of the north or that of the south)? Then you have the additional issue that as oceans get colder in winter, they will dissolve more CO2, and as they get warmer in the summer they will release some of this CO2 back into the atmosphere (this is also made more difficult to judge because of the complexities of the ocean currents).” (The Naked Scientists, 2007, July 10. “Carbon Dioxide in Winter,” available at thenakedscientists.com).

February 3, 2017

Winter, or rather, below freezing temperatures, affect photosynthesis for coniferous trees as well. (Ayumi Tanaka (2007), “Photosynthetic activity in winter needles of the evergreen tree Taxus cuspidata at low temperatures (2007), Tree Physiology 27, 641–648 © 2007 Heron Publishing—Victoria, Canada).

There is so much to learn about the complex interconnections on earth and how much we all depend on each and every being that shares the same tiny home. The most critical processes are often invisible. It makes me wonder about an educational system that fails in many cases to recognize our interdependence and responsibility for inclusive stewardship. In school, I learned how to dissect things, name all their parts with Latin words, and a little about how other living beings interact with their immediate environments. But we often don’t learn about the interconnections within a larger context, and the importance of helping to maintain the delicate balance necessary for all life to harmonize as each unique being performs its functions as part of a grand symphony throughout the millennia.

I’m grateful for the winter that brings rest for trees and the scent of new fallen snow, even if the air is laden with more CO2.

Reflections – November 6, 2017

The first Monday after
artificial “time” seasonal adjustment
allows me to wake “early”
greeted by the morning sun
streaming through the window
illuminating things that carry memories
with light and a golden glow

Morning Glow – November 6, 2017

I breathe in the light
so rare these days
highlighting poignant memories
of other times and places

The sewing table, now folded,
a legacy from my mother
like the skill I learned as a child
There was a time when I sewed often
with an old secondhand “portable” Necchi machine
if one can honestly call a 50 pound machine portable
but it traveled the country with me
from Los Angeles to Illinois,
to Massachusetts then Connecticut
to Wisconsin, Montana, and back
It’s how I clothed myself at times
and my daughter when she was a child
After decades, I had to retire the Necchi
when it could no longer be repaired

There are days when I can relate
to the feeling that one may no longer
be able to serve a useful purpose
The prayer flags hanging on the open door
symbolize family connections and repaired vision
but I honestly don’t know how
to repair a heart that keeps breaking
from senseless wars and destruction
or from cruelty and tragedy everyday

But today, I awoke to sunshine
with the awareness that I can still breathe
and do small things – trying to be mindful
and compassionate regardless of context
while I am here

October Transitions

Carol A. Hand

October is a time of transitions

Sorrow and joy interwoven in memories

of celebrating a dear daughter’s birth

and grieving a beloved mother’s death

A time when the green ash tree turns gold

and glows vibrantly in the afternoon sun

***

Green Ash Tree Turned Golden – October 23, 2017

***

A time when late-blooming flowers

Add grace and color to leaf-sprinkled gardens

***

Late-blooming African Daisies – October 23, 2017
Late-blooming African Daisies – October 23, 2017
Late-blooming African Daisies – October 23, 2017
Tiny-blue Flowers (?) in Mixed Wildflower Garden – October 23, 2017

***

October’s transitions memorialized in photos

to remind me of blooms and golden glow

just before the first northcountry snow

now blanketing the earth in winter white

***

Morning Snow – October 27, 2013
Morning Snow – October 27, 2013
Morning Snow – October 27, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

No doubt the morning snow will melt soon

before “real” winter settles in to stay for a while

***

 

September Reflections

Carol A. Hand

Morning on the Last Day of September, 2017

***

I’m grateful to be standing, here, witnessing autumn’s delight

long grass bending with the weight of sparkling dew, a welcome sight

the last of the clematis flowers colorfully translucent in the morning, bright

on our “pale blue dot” spinning and circling our sun, today sharing life-giving light

***

Autumn-Blooming Clematis

***

With deep gratitude to Carl Sagan.

In The Moment

Carol A. Hand

Being in the moment for a moment
Simply observing
as a busy ladybug climbs a blade of grass

I smile as the grass bends to the ground
Undeterred, she climbs another
When it remains upright she flies off
finding another blade that bends to her will

A father and son come into view
talking excitedly as they pass by
on their way to the playground
enjoying the moment
on this rare sunny afternoon

The ladybug, undisturbed
continues to explore and experiment
but it’s time for me to leave her
and return to a different reality

***

Microsoft WORD Clip Art

***

A Daytime Visitor

Carol A. Hand

Imagine, for a moment,
what it’s like to be born
to a life where one is prejudged
and regarded with fear or with scorn

Mid-morning visitor – September 1, 2017

I don’t smell like a flower
but I do have a scent
to protect me, a gentle creature
if healthy, with no malicious intent

I’m usually nocturnal
and not quite like any other
grazing now in the daytime
to feed my young, I’m a mother

A morning visitor getting closer

It’s true I’m an omnivore
I do eat eggs, berries and bees
but I eat beetles, grubs, grass hoppers
and your untended garbage if I please

I mean you no harm
but if you give me a wide berth
I’ll contribute my skills
working with you to care for our earth

Closer still – both thankful for the window between us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

Some facts about skunks:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk
http://www.wildskunkrescue.com/skunkbehaviors.htm
http://www.havahart.com/skunk-facts
http://www.wildskunkrescue.com/rabies.htm

***

Microsoft WORD Clip Art

***

Connecting the Dots

Carol A. Hand

Does it matter whether or not
we view changing global weather
as natural or human caused?
Perhaps.

While some cheer on Armageddon
others live with the illusion
that perhaps our homes
will soon be safe if human behaviors
change.

Whether or not changing our behavior helps
stabilize weather in the future,
don’t we owe it to the earth and our children
to act wisely and responsibly
anyway?

Global floods and worldwide wildfires rage
while more oil and gas pipelines are being built

Who’s to blame?
All of us who take it for granted
that the ease of having
gas, water, and electricity simply
delivered to our homes is our right
without considering the real costs
and environmentally safe, sustainable, viable, non-exploitive
alternatives.

We need to see how connected our well-being is
to the way we care for our earth
and the way we care for all those who also live here
because our earth’s health and continuing bounty
depend on wise and loving stewardship as well as
worldwide peace.

Lake Superior Sunset, photographer Jnana Hand

 

Sending love and blessings to all those who are on the frontlines of floods and fire.

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/01/world/deadly-world-floods/index.html
https://www.theguardian.com/world/wildfires
https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/nasa-sees-intense-fires-around-the-world
http://www.hydrocarbons-technology.com/features/featureworlds-longest-oil-gas-pipelines-imports/
https://theodora.com/pipelines/

August Reflections 2017

Carol A. Hand

August has been busy. Preparing to teach a research class, tending gardens, spending time with grandchildren and family, and taking time to simply live and reflect have kept me away from the blogosphere. Although my life will continue to be busy until the first freeze and beyond, I will try to stop by periodically to visit your blogs and share when I can. Your art and thoughts are thought-provoking and inspiring. Today, I’m sharing a few simple reflections recently penned as I send my best wishes to all.

Would-Be Dreamcatchers
August 9 2017

My heart is heavy as I think about my Native friends in Montana
Their incredible gifts and future visions palpable
They voiced so many hopeful possibilities
for the community health organization they guided
Valiantly, we faced daunting challenges
each carrying a compelling blueprint of what could be
We worked and laughed and cried together
as we overcame one obstacle after another
to help reweave an inclusive healthy community

***

Dreamcatchers – allowing only good dreams to survive and pass through to sleeping children

***

In the end, I had to leave for my own survival
before our task was completed
Vultures descended and shredded our dreams
Over the years I have learned of my friends’ struggles
against political adversaries and serious health issues
I wonder if I helped make their lives more difficult
by inspiring hope, by believing their strengths
and visions would be enough to overcome resistance…

And what of the people I refer to as vultures?
Perhaps they’re unaware that their actions
as agents in status quo structures of oppression
appear to motivated by protecting their positions
at any cost, destroying lives and what could be
Their actions limiting healthier possibilities for all in the process
Perhaps I will never understand why
this was the path they chose
and where it will finally lead them

Yet, I still mourn possibilities lost

It makes me wonder if it’s wiser and more compassionate
to simply find and live my own truths
though the suffering in the world remains unabated
weighing heavy on my heart…

Sufi Poet, Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, offers an insight I continue to ponder:

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Today, I also send prayers for the safety of my friends and all others in Montana as the Lolo Peak fire rages so close to their homes.

************

Reflections about Shifting Light and Shadow
August 12, 2017

gazing close at hand
watching light and shadow
move across the land

August morning

revealing a constant in my life
one moment knowing peace and joy
the next difficulty and strife

often shadows bring gifts despite our sorrow
sometimes unanticipated miracles appear if we’re patient
to reignite our gratitude upon the morrow

A Hollyhock Surprise – I’m not sure how it grew here

************

Just Here Now
August 19, 2017

so grateful for the peace and love in this “now”
a brief quiet moment as the day begins
sunlight filtered by leaves of rain-nourished trees
and muted by unopened window blinds
a little dog resting, curled beneath the bird’s cage
a parakeet silent and still beneath his protective night cover
dog and bird both patiently waiting for music to begin
so they can join their voices in song
greeting the peaceful morning
illuminating our shared place in the world

Queenie and Pinto

***

peace – a privilege so many are denied
sending blessings to all who are suffering

***