Vivid Emerald Lake

Vivid, almost surreal color is the first thing I noticed about Emerald Lake. We arrived on a cloudy day with light rain just starting to fall. On a sunny day, the lake color would be a little different. It is glacial rock flour that is suspended in the water that reflects this vivid blue-green hue, so I’m guessing the lake would look even more green in the sunshine.

The red canoe glides along Emerald Lake in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. September 2019

Rain or shine, Emerald Lake is not to be missed. While it would be stunning to see this lake in winter snow, access to the Lake is closed in winter due to high risk of avalanche along the route.

More photos to come of the scenic Canadian Rockies! I’ve just begun to process my new collection. Have you been there?

Nature’s Mysteries

Sometimes I can’t figure out why Nature develops the way it does, from the big questions (How was the Grand Canyon carved?) to the little ones (why did this tree grow like this?)

Why did this tree grow with a twisted trunk? From a hike in Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Nature’s mysteries keep us coming back to explore some more, and keep us reading and wondering why. I’m always impressed when I see “opportunistic plants” growing in the desert from tiny cracks in the rock where rainwater pools.

The Nave Where Grass Grows

The ruins of Saint Andrew’s Cathedral might tell stories better than a perfectly restored monument. Wandering through here on a quiet afternoon, one cannot hear the organ or the choir. One cannot see the stained windows that glimmer in other Cathedrals, or gaze up the columns to the arches in the high ceiling.

But you can walk up what was the center aisle, now overgrown with grass and feel the breeze off the North Sea. You can wonder what happened to the missing walls and ceiling.

The town’s people plundered this enormous 12th century Cathedral to build the town? Yes, they did. The 16-century Scottish reformation inspired zealots to dismantle and destroy Catholic churches and abbeys. Today 40% of Scots follow the Church of Scotland, while 20% of Scots are Catholics. Most Catholics are Irish immigrants who live in the Western Highlands.*

My observation is that religion plays a far smaller role in the life of most people today.

#cathedral, #scotland, #saintandrew, #saint, #standrews, #ruins, #story, #history
Ruins of 12 century Saint Andrew’s Cathedral calls for quiet reflection.

The relics of martyr Saint Andrew, who was crucified on a diagonal cross, made Saint Andrews an important pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages.  Today, we mainly know of Saint Andrews for its fine university and its 19 century golf course.

If you want to see and hear more about Scotland and northern England, go ahead and subscribe to my blog. There is much more to come from my recent trip there.

*Great Britain by Rick Steves, 22nd Edition.

 

The Shell Tree

The Shell Tree on Lover’s Key is a unique spot where countless passers by have hung a shell. I think they wish to be remembered by Nature at the same time they pay quiet homage to this tree, which lives on and continues to tell stories beyond its lifetime.

#loverskey, #tree, #skeleton, #shells, #rememberme, #stories
Take a close look at the shells carefully placed in the crevices and on the hooks on the skeleton of this tree.

It will be interesting to visit this site again after Hurricane Irma to see what remains.

Alligator, Open Wide!

Why do alligators lie there with their mouths open wide? Pretty much the same reason that a dog pants — to cool off. They might also lie in the shade or swim, but this gaping mouth gives us a good look at the gators large jaws and sharp teeth.

#alligator, #gator, #mouth, #teeth, #yawn, #why, #sony, #sunnyday, #everglades, #miami, #nationalpark, #nature, #wildlife
Alligator cooling off on a hot day in Shark Valley, part of Everglades National Park near Miami, Florida.

 

Reflections on a sunset

Sunsets, and especially sunsets over  the water, give us a rich feeling of satisfaction. You may have witnessed the sun sinking into the lake in front of your summer cabin or the sun sinking into the ocean from the west coast of just about any island or continent around the Globe. But why, have you wondered, do you cherish those opportunities to witness this daily event whenever you can? I can think of so many reasons — so many threads that weave a complex and rich tapestry in our minds.

Evocative sunset from Kona Coast of Hawaii, 2012
Evocative sunset from Kona Coast of Hawaii, 2012

First, you may notice the complimentary colors of orange and blue dominating the image. These colors are very pleasing to the human eye. Here, the sun sets at a great distance — as far as the eye can see on the distant horizon.  As humans, we feel a great sense of freedom and safety when we can see a long distance and see that the way is clear and without threats. Without thinking about it, we know the sun as an enormous source of energy, warmth and life. Without thinking of it, we know that water is life giving, always in motion and often signifies the journey we make through life. Without actually thinking about it, we see the clouds in motion, sometimes obscuring our view, in other places offering a window for us to see more light and more color.

We are passive observers. We cannot make this happen. We do not make this happen. Nature is powerful, very powerful.  We are not so powerful.  I am one person of billions on Earth, very small and rather fragile. As we quietly watch the sun set, we don’t have to act. We can just experience the sunset. For a few quiet minutes, we can just enjoy it. We have a few minutes to pause our busy day and reflect. This day is ending. In endings, we see beginnings. We believe the sun will rise again, and continue natural its cycle. We think about Time. Each moment is unique. Before our eyes, the view changes every moment. We can see it: each moment is fleeting and won’t be repeated. Time marches on. For how long?