May 2010

trumpet flower - past prime

Today’s Photo – I invite you to simply “be” with it, not even attempting to “figure it out.”

It has such a rich and different feel to it that I presented it without explanation in the weekly, emailed Picture to Ponder. The discussion and more photos follow here on the blog.

Background –
A friend of mine had such fun guessing at what the image is, I thought I would revert to my original intention when I first started publishing. In the introduction to Issue 1, Dec. 9, 2004, I stated:

“Several years ago someone I admire saw several groupings of photos that I had recently taken. She was quite moved and stated, ‘Sheila, the world needs to see your relationship to art and nature.’

After several minutes of further viewing, she said, ‘I don’t know where this is coming from, but something is telling me to tell you, ‘Don’t talk!’

And I, who always had a lot to say, understood. For me, to ‘talk’ puts something between you and the picture, possibly altering your response, certainly depriving you of the opportunity of discovering your own pure, initial response.”

Today’s Photo Story –
This past weekend I was on my way out of a home where I interviewed a couple for a new neighbor article.  As I was leaving, I noted the following “expired” Trumpet Flowers, clinging to the sides of a glass bowl/vase.

I started past it, telling Mayte, the woman I interviewed, about  my “mantra”, “If you see something that catches your eye, photograph it and then decide if it means anything.” All the while, I had no intention of photographing it.  I was simply suggesting that she do it.  Then I realized it had “caught MY eye”, so I took my own advice. The ever-ready camera came out and I started photographing, first the vase, then focusing in on individual flowers.  The top photo is a close-up of one of the flowers. Below is a second.

(Note – Check Monday’s post below, for a demonstration of another of my “tips”, “When in a funk take you camera out and photograph whatever catches your eye.” The change in “literal” focus, spills over resulting in focus shifts in what is transpiring in your world.)

Self-Reflecting Queries
Today, I invite you to explore your response to one photo only in Picture to Ponder today with no description.

Were you able to simply be with it? Did you have a response to the colors? The textures? If so, was it in your mind or was it more visceral?

Did you need to know what the image is? Was there impatience, frustration, anger, or annoyance at not having an immediate answer? Curiosity?

Will you/did you go to the Web to check it out? How was this for you?

Finally, pondering the responses and emotions you might have experienced, I invite you to look into your life to find the areas, or times, when you might have similar reactions. How do you handle them? Might reflecting on this in the future, support you in different resolutions?

Far more questions than usual and please do find a way to have fun with them. Also, please post your responses in the COMMENTS section below.

For Those Unfamiliar with Trumpet Flowers – The following combo shows a Trumpet Flower bud and a close-up of the inside of another, taken at Tropic Plants.


This weekend, I was feeling sad, a little lonely and slightly depressed. Though I was functioning and had completed an interesting interview, I couldn’t get past a feeling of lethargy.  I finally decided that a walk in nature would “pick me up.”  So I went to Green Cay Wetlands with my camera in its bag on my shoulder and walked for a while.

Nothing was happening. My mood was not shifing, no elevation. (In retrospect I’m noticing how we think “it” will take place outside of ourselves.) Finally, I remembered, once again, “Sheila, it’s not the walk that you tell people to do.  It’s taking the camera out of the bag and starting to photograph WHATEVER catches your eye.  So I “snapped” the first thing in the distance that caught me eye.

I didn’t even realize that it was a palm leaf in the distance. All I saw was some texture in what seemed to be a light-colored “wall” of something.  Didn’t matter.  Focusing on something other than my disparate thoughts was starting to work.

Next came a couple of shots of this Roseate Spoonbill in the distance. Already, I was feeling better. The purple gallinule and black-necked stilts were simply a bonus.

The final image that grabbed my attention and really pulled me in was the warmth and light, the brilliance, of the afternoon sunlight reflected off the boards on the side of the boardwalk path at Green Cay.  In the distance, I was able to pull it close with my telephoto lens and capture the image in the top photo shown above.

And, to give the full picture I also photographed the railing shadows cast by the sun.

I could continue to spell out analogies and metaphors for life, for representations of mood shifting, AND I’ll leave all that to you, letting the photos speak for themselves.

Bottom line for me, I experienced once again, the power of the camera as my best friend, my energizer, my re-focuser, the transformer in my life.

I invite you to partner with your camera as a friend and mood stabilizer and expander in your life. To read more on how to do this for yourself, as well as seeing how others have experienced photography as transformation, simply fill in your name and email address under the Little Blue Heron photo and SUBSCRIBE at the top of the column on the right. Once you confirm your interest, you will get, by return email, EXPAND YOUR VISION, the 15 page report that includes 7 Tips for getting unstuck.

Happy shifting.


For today’s post, I’m moved to share a recent red-winged blackbird photo from Green Cay Wetlands. It’s the photograph that “popped” out as the one wanting to be featured, while I was working on creating videos. It also became the final slide, with data, on the one I created with me talking on the boardwalk in Green Cay Wetlands.

In the completed video I also incorporated a slideshow of photographs from Green Cay, demonstrating the possibility of respite from Nature photos. You can see it on the Picture to Ponder testimonials page. Notice also, that I’ve now created this as a page for people to subscribe to Picture to Ponder.

If Picture to Ponder makes a difference in your life, I’d appreciate your passing on the link for that page –

If you enjoy the bird and would like to hear his voice, plus those of moorhens and limpkins in the background, I put another short (one-minute) video (2 red-winged blackbirds) up of two then one. It’s fun to watch the single bird’s body swell as he “chatters” as you come to the end of the video.

Today’s Photo

red-winged blackbird in Green Cay Wetlands

Red-winged blackbird on the railing at Green Cay Wetlands in Boynton Beach, FL –

Let’s view him as a symbol calling greetings and congratulations to all the upcoming Graduates about to embark on the next stages of their lives. Today’s Photo Story –
Today’s red-winged blackbird is also a way of my acknowledging my beautiful granddaughter Kaitlyn’s graduation from High School this week.

Seven years ago, when she was 11, she used my camera and got a wonderful picture of a blackbird in Wakodahatchee Wetlands. It seemed to be years before one stayed still long enough for me to get a non-blurry picture. For that photo and others, see Kaitlyn’s Photos. You can click on any one of the images for an enlargement and then use the arrows to continue viewing.

Self-Reflecting Queries –
As in life, today’s bird, could be labeled, or viewed, in many different ways. Because of the usual, past “elusiveness” of the red-winged blackbirds I’ve encountered, I am enjoying seeing and labeling this picture as a symbol of celebration and acknowledgment.

I invite you to look into your life for some of the triggers and memories that come up for you. Which are causes for celebration? Are there any which bring up negative memories that you can now put a different “spin” on?

I also invite you to look around you in your environment to pick something, natural or otherwise, that you can deem a reminder for celebrating.

As always have fun with this and please post your responses in the COMMENTS below.


Today’s Picture to Ponder photos are a little different from our usual flowers, birds and/or reflections and may not be considered by you as “pretty” pictures. They are the result of “ponderings” I’ve been in for the past week. See “Story” below.

The bottom line is my often times repeated observations, “where there are shadows, there is light” had surfaced. “In order to have shadows we MUST have light.” This thus was the underlying observation, as I glanced toward the front door at the end of my foyer yesterday. The pattern below below popped out at me. Sunlight was coming in the sidelight windows casting shadows of the plant in its path. The second, railing and exposed screw photo, suggests, to me, noticing the anchors in our lives.

Also, the shadows and light theme, seems to be fitting to acknowledge the official launch of CHECK MATES, today, with several bonuses for those who purchase it today.

“Despite the growing awareness of such conditions, stereotypes persist…and an inspiring (and inspired) group of writers have boldly decided to do something about that. Together, they have compiled a groundbreaking new book – a collection of Fiction, Poetry and Artwork about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by People with OCD. See Check Mates for Bonuses and Purchasing information.”

Today’s Photos

light and shadows on front foyer floor

exposed screw on railing in Green Cay drill into wood knot

The top photo is of Light and Plant shadows on my foyer floor.

The lower photo is an exposed screw anchoring the top of the boardwalk railing in Green Cay Wetlands. Though there is not much in shadows here, I do love the coloring and the rhythm of the patterns in the wood.

Today’s Photos’ Story

At random times the light and shadows observation “hits” me. Last week, on one of the Awakened Wisdom bonus calls, I asked Patrick Ryan a question in relation to the “meaning” of something someone had told me. It related to something Patrick had said. Not knowing me, he said he couldn’t answer the question.

What he suggested was that I take a walk in Nature with that question in mind and pay attention to whatever showed up. (Almost sounded like I was speaking.) He said I could find the answers in that.

I don’t know that I found the “exact answer” AND the first observation that hit me, before even going out for a walk, were the shadows of outside plants, dancing on my patio in the midst of large blocks of light. The shadows danced; the light stayed bright and stable!

Later on in the day, when I went for a walk on the boardwalk at Green Cay Wetlands, the first thing I saw was a collapsed spider web still holding firmly on to the top and bottom of upper and lower boards. So now a reminder of the “stabililty” in my life came into my consciousness. After that, in addition to my usual noticing of wood knots, screws and nuts and bolts started surfacing into my field of perception.

Self-Reflecting Queries
Bottom line query today:

In your life do you spend most of your time looking at the shadows, or do you focus on the light, allowing the shadows to simply help define the light that’s there?

If you are intrigued with the thought of shadows, my friend Renee Barnow wrote on Groundhog Day, here in the US, “Seeing Your Shadow” on her blog. In it she put forth two queries:

҉ۢ Ask what is good about your shadow, for those of us who are uncomfortable seeing our shadow and

• Move into even more sunlight with your shadow, which will be with you anyway as, “You take yourself with you wherever you go,” and see what shows up in the brilliance of the sun” See Right-Line Blog.”

Lastly, since I did bring up discovering “screws and bolts” as anchors in life, I invite you to look at those components which lock the components of your life together and support you.

If you find yourself in occasional states of fear, as have a few people I’ve coached recently, I invite you to pay particular attention to the latter.

I suggest that you also use self-acknowledgment, a daily diary of at least five things for which you can acknowledge yourself. This is one way of setting up, or adding to your “tool box.”

As always have fun with this and please post your responses in the COMMENTS section below.


Today’s post relates to trust – trusting ourselves and our instincts.

The featured image, a photo/drawing has been “beckoning” me from my patio wall for several weeks, requesting being shared with you in Picture to Ponder. (More in the “Today’s Photos Story” below.)

Today’s Photos

Echinacea #1 photo/drawing

Photo/Drawings of Echinacea Flowers from a field of flowers in the gardens of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY

I present them for you to simply enjoy with no further aesthetic description or response on my part.

Today’s Photos’ Story
As I stated above, the top picture is on my patio. It’s at the far end, directly in my line of vision from my kitchen, and gives me a lift every time I look at it. For several weeks I have been thinking about featuring it here in Picture to Ponder. Then, not finding it in my computer immediately, I let it pass.

This Echinacea photo/drawing was done almost 10 years ago, as was the one below it. The latter is actually the first of the series that I did and has always been one of my favorites. When it “showed up” as the cover insert in a binder I found last week, I decided to finally respond to my initial instinct to share the photo/drawing(s) with you.

“Photo/drawings”, my term, are something that I discovered/created while “playing” when I first got a color printer
and a scanner. They are scanned photos, printed out, and then drawn on directly with permanent ink pens. This art form predated my being on the web and were actually the impetus for setting up my first web site – Nature’s – nine years ago. Given their evolution, the photo/drawings fall into the category of what I call, and have written about, my Accidental Art.

I got quite absorbed in the whole process, creating note cards, 8″ X 10″ prints and then uploaded them for printing on products on Cafe Press. It always pleased me when people told me they would often visit Nature’s Playground or my Nature Art sites simply for a 10-minute, reenergizing reprieve during the day.

And, then I moved to Florida, got totally immersed with my digital camera and other responsibilities and I “abandoned” (interesting to “hear” myself use that word as I write) the photo/drawing process.

So, on to today’s Self-Reflecting Queries. How does, or may, all of this relate to you?

Note – The other day I got an email from Facebook from someone who purchased two large prints several years ago. He stated that every time he passes them he “smiles with joy.”

Should the process appeal to you and you have need for large prints, or know anyone else who does, I do have an overstock inventory of several of the photo/drawing images, in prints approximately 18″ X 24″, on Nature’s Playground Large Prints page.

Self-Reflecting Queries
I surprised myself, above, when I wrote of “abandonment”. So much of life is being in action, then moving on; going from one place to another. I have done a lot of this in my lifetime and although I’ve started lots of things, many of which I’ve dropped and not completed, I don’t recall having “abandoned” anything.

It’s an interesting query for me in my life and I invite you to look at areas where you may have incompletions in your life. Is there anything you need to do to be complete with them, either with further action, or simply by declaration? Is anything coming up for you that feels like there was “abondonment” involved?

If so, I invite you to write about it for yourself to see if anything “actionable” comes up for you. I also invite you to futher explore and then take that action or actions.

And, back to what originally I thought today’s queries were going to be (referencing its having taken me a month to feature today’s first-appearing image):

Is there any place recently you’ve had the thought or feeling to do something and have yet to take action? Is it a “trust” issue, or something else? Do you usually follow your instincts or do you wait and weigh all your options?

There is no “right” answer. It’s simply becoming aware of your mode of operation and perhaps gaining some freedom as a result, if this is something you desire.

As always have fun with this and please post your responses in the COMMENTS section below.