I went exploring through photo folders in search of something to post on this rainy (yes, rain! 😀) afternoon and started looking at images from my visit to the Chatfield Audubon Center last May. This one caught my eye because, well, blooms and bees!
I was fairly confident that photo showed a honey bee feasting on Wild Plum blossoms. And I knew for sure the bird on the left was a Common Grackle.
But then I looked some more and came across the photo below and had no idea what I was seeing. The image is poor quality, but I figured there were enough identifying features to make an identification. Sure enough, this is a type of whiptail lizard, specifically, a Six-lined Racerunner (the third photo is the best match). Woot woot!
That research victory got me looking more closely at other photos in the folder and I came across one which proved more difficult to identify. How would you describe this plant? I tried double leaves, spade-shaped leaves, double blooms, and then just searched “colorado wildflower yellow” and there it was: Leafy Spurge.
People keep telling me about cool apps they have on their phones for identifying flora and fauna, but I never remember them in the moment. How about you? Do you use apps? If so, what’s your recommendation?
I photographed these two Rocky Mountain Columbine last July while camping.
And now I want to go back and sit with their delicate beauty. Instead, I must put on my running shoes and pound out a few miles before tuning into my Barnraisers Project cohort Zoom meeting.
Soon, though, I will be back amongst the blooming wildflowers.
Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;
they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
~ Luther Burbank
Whatever you’re doing today, I hope the experience includes beauty. But just in case, here’s a little gift from me to you.
I photographed this on the Oh Be Joyful Trail, which seems very fitting. Here’s to the joy of our beautiful natural world!
This day started off pretty well — among other things, added 20 minutes to my yearly hoop-dancing total — and then Zippy and I went out to deliver food boxes to people via Rocky Mountain Mutual Aid Network. And I think that’s where the day began to feel not-so-good, when we were out and about, and saw that the vast majority of people were unmasked in indoor spaces. It wasn’t news: this is how it’s been for months and months. For some reason, it hit me harder today. How can we as a society normalize mass death and disability? How can we sacrifice our health for “freedom”? What will we do when our healthcare system collapses beneath the weight of our selfishness?emot
Anyway, here’s a pretty flower.
Wild aster. July 13, 2022
Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy weekend.
Yesterday was emotionally rough for me and upon waking this morning, I feared sinking into that dark place again. So, I vowed to keep myself occupied all day. We took Emma for a walk before it got too hot and after that, I cleaned, did laundry, wrote, did my yoga and hooped for a while. Somewhere in there, I also took a short nap with Loki-cat on my chest.
It’s now 7:00 p.m. and I made it through the day without tears. Might not seem like a lot, but today’s success gives me confidence and momentum for tomorrow. I’m celebrating with this wildflower bouquet.
Routt National Forest. July 12, 2022.
This bouquet is also offered up to anyone else struggling out there. You aren’t alone. You are beautiful and enough, just as you are. Keep shining your light.
Today I am thankful for:
beautiful surprises along the trail,
Lynx Pass Campground. July 13, 2022
creatives & their creations,
hitting SEND on a brand new manuscript to my agent,
rain last night & cooler temperatures today,
and my family, friends, and comrades in this beautiful & brutal world.
Plants are not like us,
and the more you study plants,
the more different and deep ways
you see that they are not like us.
~ Hope Jahren
Sometimes it’s good to blur the lines a bit.
May 9, 2022
Disclosure: my intent in taking this photo was to capture the entire image in sharp focus. Didn’t turn out that way. But that’s okay, because focus isn’t always the be-all, end-all. It’s healthy to balance focus and a lack of focus. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I awaken from yet another bout of daydreaming.
It’s been a rough day on the heels of other emotionally difficult days this week. Despite ordering one of these Let This Radicalize You (rather than lead you to despair) shirts a few days ago, I confess to tilting heavily toward despair right now. No need for me to list the multiple crises we’re facing because that’ll just make me more sad/angry and give people reason to quit reading.
Instead, I’ll celebrate the fact that I’m no longer withdrawing into myself and am here with a post. HELLO, OUT THERE!
Here’s one of my favorite recent photos:
June 22, 2022
Okay, that’s it for my burst of energy. Sending good wishes to anyone who’s read this far . . . 💚
Yesterday, we drove Moby the Great White Campervan to the mountains for some rest and relaxation. Our intention was a few hours of peace and rejuvenation. We’d never been there before and were thrilled to claim a small parking area next to Buffalo Creek. I explored with the camera and captured some nice shots. This is where I sat to work on my novel revisions.
Buffalo Creek. June 22, 2022
I sat in a chair on the little patch of beach at the bottom of the photo and revised a chapter on my laptop as Zippy and Emma napped in the van. Rushing water. Clean air. A shiny, green hummingbird buzzing in for a visit.
The entire experience soothed my spirit and, as I type these words, I’m already looking forward to a return visit. May each of us experience peace and rejuvenation in these very difficult days.
June 17, 2022
An early bloomer
shining on its own timeline
It’s snowy and gray out my window, so I went in search of a little color and warmth. Enter the Queen’s Crown.
August 28, 2019
I photographed this on a hike at Square Top Lakes and am warmed by its colorful and intricate self. My identification research tells me that the succulent leaves turn red in the fall and you can just see the tips beginning to turn. This wildflower is very lovely, but I’m glad we’re currently headed into spring rather than autumn.
Despite today’s frigid temperatures, spring is around the corner, and I’m warming myself with memories of a hike in the open space last June. We’d gotten lots of snow last winter and so the flowers were magnificent.
Here’s a burst of color from a type of blooming thistle that’s probably invasive and somewhat annoying when it scratches my legs as I run past on the trails. But pretty, right?
June 24, 2021
I don’t have the time to identify these yellow wildflowers because, well, there are sh*t-tons of yellow wildflowers. But it’s a lovely little wheel, isn’t it?
Here’s another probably-invasive thistle which is also scratchy-scratchy when I run past, but right now reminds me of a burst of warm, pink sunshine.
Lastly, here’s a delicate specimen that, despite its straight-forward appearance, defies identification. White and yellow wildflowers definitely test my skills.
This latest snowfall is priming the ground for another glorious wildflower display and I look forward to exploring with my camera in a few months.
We cut our neighborhood walk short today due to rapidly falling temperatures. When we left the house, it was about 39 degrees. Approximately ten minutes later, it was 28 degrees. At least, that’s what Zippy’s phone said when he checked it. As for me, I couldn’t see much of anything because my cold nose was buried in my neck gator which then caused my glasses to steam up. All this to say, I’m craving warmer weather right now and making due with looking at summer hiking photos.
Here’s some flora and fauna from a Square Top Lakes hike:
Rocky Mountain Parnassian on a Wild Aster. August 28, 2019
Ahh, I can practically feel that sunshine on my shoulders.
Here’s a little color for anyone who needs it right now. These photos were taken on July 15, 2021, on the Oh Be Joyful Trail outside Crested Butte, Colorado. I don’t have the energy to research the first two species (so if anyone knows, educate me :)).
This last is Fireweed which I first grew to love while living in Alaska.
Another hiker was crouched next to a patch of them along the trail that day, photographing the blooms with the biggest smile on her face. “This is my favorite flower of all,” she said.
It might be nearing the end of the day, but it’s never too late to share gratitude. Today I am grateful for a productive critique session with my critique group last night. As always, the Writing Roosters had good insights and offered suggestions that will make my beloved novel shine.
And to celebrate, here’s a bouquet of wild asters that remind me of a fireworks display. I photographed them last summer as we hiked the Oh Be Joyful Trail.
July 15, 2021
Oh, to be joyful and filled with gratitude.
I sometimes hoard photos I especially love, waiting for The Perfect Moment to post here. I’ve been holding onto this Rocky Mountain Bee Plant photo for over two months.
August 7, 2021
At the time I took this picture, I didn’t know what I was looking at. We’d driven past many of these plants alongside the road as we headed to a camping destination in August and I made a note to photograph them on the return trip. When I saw a patch of them as we drove home, I somewhat quickly veered to a little driveway off the road, and parked. Seeing the flowers up close, I was overcome by their beauty and photographed them from different angles. I can still feel my smile of delight. Several vehicles roared past, horns blowing as passengers happy-waved. I wasn’t the only Rocky Mountain Bee Plant fan.
So why share this treasured photo today? It’s the start of a new week and I’m buoyed by good feelings as I finish up revisions on my manuscript. Also, it’s my sister’s birthday.
Here’s to beautiful discoveries that sometimes bloom in the ditches!
All those who love Nature she loves in return, and will richly reward, not perhaps with the good things they are commonly called, but with the best things, of this world–not with money and titles, horses and carriages, but with bright and happy thoughts, contentment and peace of mind. ~ John Lubbock
Blue Flax in the open space. June 24, 2021
This Rocky Mountain Bee Plant feels like a symbol of where I’m at with the revisions of my middle grade novel. Some aspects of the story have fully bloomed and won’t change much as I continue revising.
August 7, 2021
Other aspects are still revealing themselves to me. Slowly unfurling their blossoms to become beautiful, integral, and incredibly obvious how-did-I-not-already-know-that components of the whole.
It’s an exciting and gratifying place to be in the process.
The love of Nature, again, helps us greatly to keep ourselves free from those mean and petty cares which interfere so much with calm and peace of mind.
~ SirJohn Lubbock
Wild Aster along Oh Be Joyful Trail. July 15, 2021
What nature delivers to us is never stale.
Because what nature creates has eternity in it.
~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
June 24, 2021
June 24, 2021
June 24, 2021
June 24, 2021
We did end up going to Crested Butte last week and were blessed with rain almost the entire four-hour drive. That much-needed precipitation cleared the air of wildfire smoke and the drive over Cottonwood Pass was absolutely delicious. Green-green-green with a smattering of wildflowers.
We spent one of our nights at Oh Be Joyful Campground and hiked partway in on the Oh Be Joyful Trail. Here’s a taste of what we saw:
July 15, 2021
The wild asters were more abundant than we’d ever experienced, but this wild rose also caught my eye.
Zippy and Emma
The five-mile afternoon hike was balm for our souls. And after running three-plus miles that morning, we eagerly welcomed bedtime.
Especially the short-legged doggo who could barely keep her eyes open after we returned to camp.
A truly joyous experience.
Open space. June 24, 2021
Poor little yarrow
a victim of aggression
two fates now entwined