“Yes, I Am Thankful”

Yes, I am thankful!

Not because this is Thanksgiving in this very tiny part of the world.

In fact I do not single out one day of the year to be thankful. I choose instead to keep this day as any other, and be grateful as always for the many blessings that I continue to enjoy all year long!

I thought I would though, take a moment and acknowledge just a few of those people, and things that I am so very blessed with.

I am so very thankful to be alive! Do you realize how totally amazing that actually is? We are alive!

I am so grateful to have a wonderful family, a roof over my head, plenty of food  to eat, not just today, but all year long, warm clothes, and the freedom to pursue my dreams! Yes, my dreams! That is amazing also!

I want to thank all of you that have been my friends and supporters through all of these years. I may not know all of you in person, but you’ve made a difference in my life, yes you have!  I count you among my friends, and I hope that I have made even just a tiny bit of difference in your lives too!

I am thankful to be put on this earth at this time, the time that was meant for me to be here. Even with all of the problems facing us as a human race  today, we still have more opportunities for personal growth, the ability to enjoy better health, we are able to make more choices for our lives, and most of all we have the ability to help others.

In helping others it can be something as little as a Smile given in charity to a stranger, kind words of encouragement given when someone is having a bad day, or donating time and money to a worthy cause. We can make a difference! We in this year 2014 and every year after, have the opportunity and responsibility to give of ourselves to help others. I am thankful for the ability to do that!

Here are just a few of my favorite quotes on being thankful and having gratitude. Enjoy!

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
These are but trifles, to be sure;
but, scattered along life’s pathway,
the good they do is inconceivable.

~Joseph Addison~

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
and creates a vision for tomorrow.

~Melody Beattie~

The best and most beautiful things in this world
cannot be seen or even heard,
but must be felt with the heart.

~Helen Keller~

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation,
you will discover that your life will
suddenly be filled with gratitude,
a feeling that nurtures the soul.

~Rabbi Harold Kushner~

 

"In Red and Gold"
“In Red and Gold”

“Palm Fronds and Shadows”

Last spring, after the long winter we had experienced in the Midwest, I felt that I needed to see something that looked like spring, even though it surely didn’t look or feel like it outside!

I took a day to myself and went to the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids Michigan. I walked leisurely around the entire inside of this wonderful sanctuary, away  from the winter doldrums, and finally ended up in The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.

There were lovely tropical plants and flowers everywhere. I enjoyed everything, and of course photographed too many flowers and plants to count, but sometimes it’s the little things that really capture your attention.

In this case I was strolling past some very large palm fronds. The light from above was just barely shining through. I looked up and noticed the shadows of leaves of another plant as it hung above the palm leaves. What a lovely sight! I just had to make a few photographs of these fronds and shadows! If you know me, you’ll know that one of my other favorite things is finding nature abstracts. This to me fit the bill! 🙂

The image to me imparts a hint of mystery and also a feeling of peace. The combinations of green hues and  the darker but subtle shadows of the leaves, seemed just perfect!

Enjoy!

"Palm Frond"
“Palm Frond”

“Flowing Water”

 

Earlier this fall I made more than one trip up to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I was trying to capture the fall color at the right times in several different locations. Well that didn’t exactly go as planned. Probably Murphy’s Law! 😉
I did manage to get to some locations though at the best time for color! 🙂

During my trips I did have quite a few “bad weather days”. Some are the kind you feel you just have to go out in to experience the raw power of nature. Other times it seemed a good time to kick back and relax, to just wait for things to clear.

One of my favorite subjects to photograph on those cloudy dreary days, which I encountered quite a bit, are waterfalls. I made it to several falls this time in the Munising area near Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore.

Munising Falls is one of them. It was rainy, getting close to sunset, and quite breezy, but oh so beautiful!  This is one of many images I made at the falls. I love to watch the flowing water!

"Munising Falls in the beginning of autumn.
“Munising Falls in the beginning of autumn.

The area if your not familiar with it, is an easy trail from the car to the falls. A Ranger station is located on the site. There are three platformed viewing areas but the main location which is the first one you’ll see is by far the best one for good access to the view. I enjoyed talking with the rangers that are on staff there, they are quite friendly and knowledgeable, and very happy to answer any questions you may have.

I made many photographs of the falls and surrounding rock formations, many I have up on my site already. This image instead of giving you a full view of Munising Falls, as I have in other photos, is a tighter crop that shows off the flow of water and rock behind it.

I can imagine many other places where I’d like to stand in order to get closer or to get more interesting compositions, but there are pretty strict park rules about where you can and cannot go. These rules to some might seem restrictive, but in order to preserve the rock formations, plants and other forms of nature in the area they must be followed.

Often times when in locations such as these you’ll find people going over or under fences, heading off of the specified trails and disobeying park rules. What we all need to understand is that the rules are there to protect the beauty we are seeing. To protect the fragile plants, the amazing rock formations, and the habitat for so many forms of wildlife.

If everyone were to ignore the rules and guidelines, then what we see today would not be there in the same form for very long. That would be a sad situation indeed.

I encourage all of you to visit our natural areas, the parks, wilderness, preserves, and shores, local, state, and national. While your there enjoy all of the beauty the place has to offer, while still obeying the rules!

“The Beginning and End”

Last month on a fall color trip I got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise and sunset on two of the Great Lakes.

What a soothing and peaceful sunrise I had this day on Lake Huron! The only sounds to be heard were of gulls, ducks, and geese as they appeared on the scene as daylight broke! This was the beginning.

"Peace at Sunrise"
“Peace at Sunrise”

After a day of hunting for scenic places with fall color I went out along Lake Michigan for a sunset. It was what I call a nearly endless sunset. It didn’t get going with much color at first, but when it did, it didn’t want to stop! I stayed photographing the color until I knew I really had to leave. Even after I left the scene I had a hard time keeping my eye off of the side and rear view mirror as the color kept changing!

Red Sky at Night.
Red Sky at Night.

You know what they say about Red Sky at Night? A sailors delight! I have to say that it was for sure, the night was clear and the waters smooth. The next day also brought beautiful clear weather. I guess the mariners of old knew their skies! 🙂