Mindfulness in Nature

Last spring, I found myself sitting by this pond wishing there was something interesting to photograph. I decided to sit and just wait. I was hoping maybe a Heron or Egret might fly in and allow me to play paparazzi. I waited and I waited.

I was bored and restless as I realized that Mother Nature probably wasn’t going to cooperate with my photo shoot fantasy. I let go of my expectations and I felt myself start to relax. I started to look at the ground and the plants at my feet.  I noticed rocks I hadn’t noticed before.  Individual plants stuck out to me instead of the clumps I only barely saw earlier.  I looked at where the water of the pond met the dry land.  I noticed Water Striders on the surface of the water.  I noticed a dragonfly landing on the some tall reeds nearby.

Out of the corner of my eye near my feet I saw movement.  I focused in that direction and noticed baby Strecker’s Chorus frogs no bigger than my thumbnail climbing from the water out to land.  These newly metamorphosed frogs were starting a new part of their lives right in front of me, and I almost didn’t notice.

I didn’t get any bird pictures that day, but I did walk away with a great lesson.  If you stop and look around you outside, you’ll realize there is so much more going on than you realize.  The magic of life is in the details, and if you can slow your mind down and take in the world around you, amazing things will surface.

Michigan Nature Fix

Red Oaks – photo by H. Valey

I’m in west Michigan on a business trip. I’ve never been here before. I must admit I imagined the whole state to look like Detroit. It does not. Where we are is quite beautiful. I thought I’d be stuck indoors with AC air the whole week but I managed to get out for awhile last night and this morning. The Red Oaks tower to the sky, Raccoons fished among the cattails and swallows glided across the small pond.

Bandit In the Cattails- H. Valey

Cicadas whirred and bees flitted from wildflower to wildflower. It was hard to return back to my group of co-workers.

Raven Cam at UT Texas

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Raven – photo by H. Valey

In some parts of the US, Ravens are pretty ubiquitous.  Here in Austin their appearance is a bit more rare, but it seems I see more and more of them every year.  Austin is a bird friendly town and in that fashion the Austin UT campus has set up a couple of cool bird cams this spring.  The first one was the Peregrine Falcon cam on the University Texas Tower and now there is a Raven cam.  A nesting pair of Ravens has set up a nest outside of the Texas Advanced Computing Center on campus and you can watch them raise their chicks online while you’re at work. Pretty cool stuff!