Monday, May 24, 2010

One Butterfly...

And about 200 photos! I got caught up in the moment when I spotted this West Coast Lady butterfly (Vanessa arabella) visiting recently. It was just so awesome that she (or he) stayed around - she would fly off, then come back over because she really liked that Homestead Verbena. I kept following her and clicking away:-) I had to move very slowly, because the slighest movement sent her flying. Anyways, following are just of few of my favorite shots - which one do you like best? I've put the 1st in our shop, and I'm not sure if I'll add another. I love butterflies - here's hoping for more photo opps soon!

"Pretty Lady"

west coast lady butterfly


vanessa arabella, west coast lady

"Strike a Pose!"

west coast lady butterfly

"Digging in!"

west coast lady

"Sideways Swirl"

Friday, May 14, 2010

A little inspiration...

ladybug, sunflower

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author unknown

Photo is "Hold on to Your Dreams", and prints are available here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Today, and every day, really, I give thanks for having such a wonderful mom! Not only has she always been a great mom, but she's also a truly good person whom I'm fortunate to have as my best friend. I wish for every person to have one good parent, biological or otherwise. As corny as it might sound, I believe that love and that foundation are truly what make the world go around:-)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Snake Medicine

While I know snakes aren't to everyone's liking, I've always found them fascinating. Spiders, on the other hand, not so much;-) Recently, we had two unique snake experiences on one of our drives. These experiences made me look up "Snake Medicine" when we returned home. If you aren't familiar with animal shamanism or medicine, I urge you to do some research. You may be surprised by what you learn! This website has a wonderful, extensive list of animals, and is always the first one I go to: Animal Spirits. I also have some books - this one was given to me, and is really interesting (the cards make it even more so!): Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals I'm not heavily into it, but it intrigues me enough to keep coming back to it when I have unusual animal encounters.

So, the snake experiences definitely qualified as unusual. The first happened when I caught something in a tree out the corner of my eye. My initial thought was snake, and then I thought it couldn't be. We pulled over, and I walked back to the spot thinking it had to be a rope or something. Nope, it was most definitely a snake, and a dead one to boot! I don't think this photo is too graphic to post. I believe it's a California Kingsnake. What's unclear is how it got into the tree. Did someone run over it and then sling it on the tree for something to find? Or, did a bird of prey get it, and have its meal interrupted? It looks like there are a couple of flat places, so I'm not sure which scenario fits.

dead california kingsnake
I figured a dead snake would be like drawing the card in the contrary position; it "indicates an imbalance in the medicine of that card". I read that part in the book above, and it definitely spoke to my mom and I - here's some of it:

" may have chosen to mask your ability to change. Look at the idea that you may fear changing your present state of affairs because this may entail a short passage into discomfort... Is the old pattern safe, reliable, and a rut?"

Yup! Exactly what's happening in our lives right now - we've become stuck in this place since my grandparents passed. We're caught between wanting to move on, and not knowing how. Fear definitely plays a part. It's past time to shed this skin, and that snake was a powerful symbol.

Pacific Gopher Snake, Central California
If we had just seen the dead snake, we may not have paid attention or looked it up. However, when we met this Pacific Gopher Snake, we had our "Aha!" moment. We'd come around a curve, and then saw him in the opposite lane. Again, we were able to pull over and get out. I kept getting closer and closer with my camera - it was awesome! We knew we had to get him out of the road, though. So, my mom grabbed a stick and nudged him off the road (okay, so neither of us was quite into the idea of picking him up, harmless as he was;-). He disappeared into the grasses, and we got back into the car. Right after, two cars came up the hill in that lane - if we hadn't seen and moved him, he, too, would have been dead. Hence, the name of the photo: "Lucky" - it was for us and for him (and I thought this shot was cool enough to put in our shop:-).

Pacific Gopher Snake portrait
From what I've read, Snake medicine is very powerful. With the shedding of the skin, it's no wonder snakes represent transmutation. That's the main quality that stood out the most in my research for my own life. It's what's needed now, and is definitely what both my mom and I are working on. I thank Snake for appearing when I most needed him/her - I truly appreciate the magic of nature! I hope you've enjoyed this little journey, and that it will make you look more closely at special animal encounters in your life. If you already do this, I'd love to know of your own experiences:-)