Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Light my fire…

Posted in explore, family, journey, memory, nature, ponder, time, travel, UncategorizedComments Off on Light my fire…

Where I grew up , in upstate New York, if you were lucky enough to be a Girl Scout, you went to Girl Scout Camp Thunderbird for two weeks if you had sold enough cookies to qualify.

I loved, loved, loved Girl Scout camp. It was two weeks of heaven. I never got homesick, and came home looking and smelling like a small woodland animal.

I’m fairly certain that Girl Scout Camp gave me my love of camping, which I have only recently rediscovered. I am amazed to see how quickly the campgrounds fill up. In fact they are practically booked solid through August already. Young , old, singles, families, everyone is out there. It occurs to me it’s the most democratic recreational activity we share in this country.

Camping is still as popular today as it ever was, and if  you have not been in a while, I am here to encourage you to rediscover it . If for no other reason than the best part of camping – the campfire. It’s the very best part of the day, as it gets cool, dark, and everything revolves around the fire. You hunker down in your chair, cozied up to the smoke and flames as night surrounds you in a giant hug. And every camp site around is doing the exact same thing, having a similar experience. Sounds get quieter as voices and activity gets less and less till only the sound of crackling wood and flickers from campsite to campsite are left. Children have passed out from exhaustion and fresh air. Adults are in charge of nothing more than a stick to poke at the flames and wood and watch the fire as hours pass and embers die down.

If you are lucky, the stars will come out. If you are very, very lucky, you will have timed your trip during a full moon. The fire will be hypnotic.  The moon light is in fact, silvery. There will be a lovely comforting sense of order and whatever silly worldly troubles that consumed your day will burn away in the red coals of the campfire. It’s the cheapest therapy on earth. A bundle of wood and a match.

When morning comes, the smell of wood burning wakes you up, and the fire again is something to center you while coffee or tea taste a hundred times better in the fresh air than around the kitchen table. And I like how I feel after a couple days of camping- like a small animal again- closer to the earth, grounded and happy minute to minute, for the breeze to blow, the sun to rise or set, birdsong, stream rushing, fire crackling.

” Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” Walt Whitman

do you hoodoo?

Posted in 7 deadlies, beginnings, explore, journey, nature, notice, ponder, time, travelComments Off on do you hoodoo?

Most people don’t know that there is a second Grand Canyon in the United States. Well, there is, and it’s in the northern panhandle of the great state of Texas.  Palo Duro Canyon,  the second deepest canyon, though nowhere near as vast as the Grand Canyon. Still, ancient and once filled with dinosaurs like it’s big brother, and home 12,000 years ago to humans.  One of my favorite sights in the canyon are hoodoos. Those crazy balancing rock formations that often resemble animals or forms that usually give way to their names – camel rock, lighthouse etc. These irregular rock pillars develop in areas of sporadic, heavy rainfall from rocks with different resistance to erosion by wind and rain. The softer layers give way underneath often leaving a cap rock of harder sandstone. They eventually disappear as they collapse from erosion. Sounds eerily like what happens to us in time doesn’t it?

Visits to these ancient places have a humbling affect on me. Knowing how much came before us, and how long it took for us to catch up with the past reminds me how small and powerless we are on this big planet. Unlike others, I find a great deal of comfort in that. I don’t mind being small and helpless in nature’s eyes. I like knowing my place. I like knowing nature gets the last word, and standing beside a hoodoo is a reminder of that.



Man in Nature

Posted in art, explore, friends, gifts, journey, nature, notice, time, travel, Uncategorized1 Comment

Man is such a busy creature.

Not that it’s always productive, or even good. We do evil things, we do good things. We try very hard to make sense of it all. But sometimes, if we walk slow enough, with an open heart and open eyes, nature reveals herself to us in ways that can teach us and guide us  and maybe make us better for having walked on the earth.

I went for a day trip with my friend Sarah to Lost Maples Park, a Texas state natural area off of F.M. 187 in Vanderpool , Texas. The maple trees were at their peak, and it rivaled anything in New England for it’s color.

We hiked, we photographed, we watched in wonder, mother nature painting on her canvas.  All we had to do was show up.

As I walked past a sycamore tree, marveling at the beautiful texture of the bark, what caught my eye was mother nature reminding me what a part of it all we really are. There was a tiny ‘bark’ figure, walking right off the tree trunk. I snapped the photo and had a good chuckle as I was remind yet again –

                                             It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see.


nature gets the last word

Posted in journey, nature, notice, ponder, Uncategorized1 Comment

As an artist, it’s both frustrating and humbling to constantly be reminded how futile it is to try to beat nature at creating beautiful things. All efforts seem so futile when you look closely at the simplest of things … the patterns on a seashell, the colors of a bird’s feathers, the clouds overhead. I use nature as my teacher and every day is again a reminder there is simply no way to learn these wonders in such a short time. It’s like always being in kindergarten.

I remain always on my knees in appreciation of the wondrous beauty of it all.

If someone or something always gets the last word, let it be Mother Nature. What good and lovely hands to be in, from the beginning to the end.

(featured photo by Catherine Massaro)

the heat is on

Posted in explore, food, nature, notice, travel3 Comments

We’re having a heat wave. Should be over 100 for the next 3 or 4 days. I’m waiting to see if it breaks a record in Death Valley as they are predicting. If you have never driven through Death Valley, though I would not recommend you go now (February is nice!) it’s a wonderful surprise, and very ‘desert’ beautiful. Plus you get to stand at the lowest spot below sea level in the U.S. The starkness of a desert landscape is so beautiful to me and I took so many pictures of the sand dunes. But it’s not for everyone. All of nature is beautiful to me though – I have yet to find a corner of this country that I did not find beauty in. Or maybe it’s through an artists’ eye, because after all … being an artist is all about noticing things.


(photograph by Catherine Massaro)

dog days of summer

Posted in dogs, notice, RenoComments Off on dog days of summer

Damn it’s hot! 

Go bite some water.

(photo by Catherine Massaro)

nature gets the last word

Posted in nature, time2 Comments

For over a decade now I’ve lived in somewhat rural places, usually with a fair amount of acreage around the property. The good and bad to living like this is nature tends to creep on you. The upside ; lots of wildlife, vistas, stars at night, well water, distance between you and any neighbors. The down side – nature creeps on you.

I spent the last week pulling up sage, lots of sage, weeds of all high desert growth, grasses, and cutting back desert hardy plants like Arctic willow and , oh yea, did I mention sage? I love and hate sage. I love the smell of it as it always reminds me of New Mexico. But it will, and can, grow fast and everywhere you don’t want it to in the high desert. I would rather spend hours beating back nature from my doorstep than an equal amount of time in a clean gym pounding down on a treadmill. The satisfaction I get from yard-scaping is immeasurable . It’s a different sort of canvas for me. Rocks and dirt, sage and gravel, pine trees and boulders.

This creep of nature is humbling. It’s a no win proposition, year after year. But I love it. I love to be reminded over and over again, that NATURE GETS THE LAST WORD.


( photo by Catherine Massaro)