Another Day, Another Walk
~An old dead tree, shelter and food that endangered birds call home
~A high lookout, for a winged sentinel, an advantage against its enemy
~A River bank, protection for Herons hunting for prey
~An underground burrow, shelter for a Gopher Tortoise
~A fallen leaf, a moment in time to reminisce of days past
~Lush bushes, a hiding place for birds to feel safe
Another Adventure, Another Journey
Another Chance for Mother Nature to Fill my Heart
I turn over and take a peek at the clock. It tells me, “Not time yet.” It is 4:00am and I had set the alarm for 4:30am. I lie here with emotions of excitement, anticipation and a smidgen of apprehension as I think about my day ahead.
I know I won’t fall back to sleep, so I quietly try to sneak out of bed; with my two four-legged friends close by, hearing and watching my every move and a hubby tuned into every stir, there is no sneaking. Okay, everyone up!
I get dressed, enjoy my send off filled with encouraging words, gather my gear and out the door I go. Out of my subdivision, I turn right!
Right! It is rare, especially in the early morning hours before sunrise, that I would turn right and head up into the mountains. Alone.
On this morning I do.
The narrow, winding road is two-lanes, so I need to pay close attention to my driving. I turn on the radio thinking it might help me relax, but after a few minutes, I turn it off. I want to think about my day. I don’t hurry, but I need to be in Estes Park at 6:30am.
I enjoy the ride into the mountains; as darkness zips past my window, I feel the known landmarks passing by, more than I see them. The closer to Estes Park I get, the more my excitement increases along with my smidgen of apprehension. I arrive at the prearranged meeting place right on time. The golden arches are smiling down at me, I smile back.
I park so I can observe the activities in the store, carefully watching the occupants. I tell myself, just go inside. I leave my gear and purse inside the car and head into the McDonalds. As I am looking around, a man walks up to me and asks “is your name Sheila?” I look at him directly, willing his eyes to tell me his character.
He has kind, friendly eyes so I shake his offered hand and tell him yes. He then leads me over to another gentleman, whom I recognize from a photo and I am finally introduced to the person I drove into the mountains to meet. After a few minutes of conversation, I tell them, “I will be right back, I need to call my husband.” They look at each other and looking back at me ask: “To tell him you are okay?” I reply “exactly.”
We eat breakfast, while sharing with each other tidbits of who we are. Then the man I came to meet asks me: “What do you want to learn today?” I open my iPad, and tell him what I had carefully thought about and jotted down. He listens carefully and then asks to see my photographs and offers his critique. I listen carefully and with an open mind.
After breakfast we load my gear into their vehicle and head into Rocky Mountain National Park. I am on my way to a new experience, one that brings me out of my comfort zone (remember my smidgen of apprehension) into a new life adventure and one that brings me such joy it is hard to describe. Excitement and anticipation are still with me, but apprehension seems to have faded along with the dark sky.
A full day of instruction, with a successful, professional, wildlife photographer and his business partner, whom captures a darn beautiful image himself, Begins!
After an enjoyable morning, photographing wildlife in the park, we break for lunch, then head back into the park for afternoon lessons. The afternoon lessons are different, because the lighting is different, and we have fun adjusting to the mountains’ array of moods.
At the close of this day, September 24, 2012, one I will treasure always, I leave them, standing under the golden arches, with hugs, appreciation, admiration and friendship.
As I head down the mountain, I look forward to sharing my day with hubby. I learned a lot, built a strong foundation of confidence in my abilities and realized “no matter” I will enjoy, my passion, this hobby, always giving my best and continuing to learn each and everyday.
This image was taken February, 2012 near Eastbank Campground, an Army Corps of Engineer park.
Neighborly encounter, on the trail
I observe binoculars around her neck
Ah, something in common
I am a birder you see
A wonderful hobby, a life long passion
We stop to chat
What birds have you seen today, I ask
New to this hobby, so I offer her an excursion
Other locations to search for birds
“Yes, maybe one day, perhaps in the fall
We’ll also do some hiking”
Now, I see her on the trail
Binoculars around her neck
Head down as she passes
How sad for her
She has no time for me
I had a birding mentor
She became my friend
Her name was Ann
A kind and gentle soul
She taught me well
I treasure those days, with heartfelt appreciation
For they are no more, she is gone now
~By Sheila 08/20/2013~
This image was taken, in my yard, last year about this time. I saw a Nuthatch last evening, pecking its way down a Pine to its base to then grab a seed out of a feeder. So much fun to watch.
Miracle of life
Children are born and like roots of strong trees our foundations are formed
We live our young lives with love of family teaching us right from wrong
Success is release
A treasured gift given with love to choose our path
Miracle of life
Finding a partner to share your life, how lucky am I to have found mine
Success is balance
His reserve and quite to my emotional and talkative side
His pause to leap, to my hang-on lets go
Miracle of life
Our partnership of respect, love, devotion and individualism
Success is commonality
A sense of adventure and a joy for simplicity
A fondness for finding beauty in nature and a wonder of the universe
Miracle of life
Celebrating this day
Success is commitment
On our special day years ago we took our vows to share our lives
With love and commitment we enter into our thirty-ninth year
On this day ten years ago, I turned 50. No big deal!
Today, I turned 60 and this one seems like a bigger deal!
Why, has sixty been much more emotional for me; another decade gone perhaps?
I will give it more though and see what answers I come up with.
Not complaining, I have enjoyed every single year and hopefully I will continue to enjoy each and every year going forward.
But my gosh – 60!
I keep telling myself: “Get over it, no big deal.”
Until I figure this out, I will try to keep my head on straight!
Do you have a particular birthday that seemed somewhat upsetting for you?
~ Hay ~
Growing up my family always had horses. Mom and Dad had a beautiful Roan colored mare named Lady. Over the years my brother and sister-in-law had several Tennessee Walking horses. I would go with them out to “The Barn” to feed, cleanup, ride and to watch others ride. There was just something calming about hanging out at the horse barn. The smell of hay and other horsey smells triggers fond memories of being with them and enjoying the love we all shared for these beautiful horses and each other.
~ Sweet Olive Tree ~
I can still picture my Mother-in-law and Father-in-law sitting on their front porch. On the porch sat an old glider and maybe three chairs. You know the kind, metal, old, a little rusty and perhaps with a few loose screws causing the glider and chairs to squeak.
We would all gather on their porch, usually after a fabulous dinner. Racing to be the first out there, because if you didn’t get a chair or find room on the glider you had to sit on the porch steps. No problem the porch steps were just fine and they didn’t squeak.
Growing next to the porch was a beautiful, gnarly, Sweet Olive tree. When this tree bloomed its tiny, white flowers the scent was like no other. The heavenly scent of blooming Sweet Olive trees always brings me back in time to their front porch with wonderful memories of family gatherings. I loved them dearly.
~ The Sea ~
My Mom, younger sister and I would go on a summer vacation to the Gulf of Mexico – maybe Mississippi, but most often Florida. The smells along the shore of the Gulf trigger happy memories of laying on the beach, eating a picnic lunch, giggling uncontrollably about nothing, creating sand castles, swimming and just being with Mom and Sis. We would always miss Dad, because he never went with us, more often then not he worked a six day week. He worked as a carpenter, long hours, hard work. Mom also worked, so having uninterrupted time with her was extremely special.
~ Freshly Cut Grass ~
As a young child growing up in Louisiana, in the early days without air conditioning, my family and I would sleep with our windows open. My Dad would get up early, usually on the weekend and start cutting grass. The heavy southern rains always brought plenty of luscious grass to play on.
The smell of freshly mowed grass, along with the humming sound of the lawn mower, triggers a very delightful memory of being a child, sleeping late and waking up feeling happy knowing it was Dad’s day off.
To this day when I smell freshly mowed grass or hear the distant sound of a running lawnmower, it conjures up memories of Dad. A happy time indeed.