Tree Party

tree

When the zephyr appears,

We flutter and sway,

A waltz in the wind,

An impassioned ballet.

If the squalls should arrive,

We’ll shake, and we’ll sing,

Let loose of the branch,

Square dance in a ring.

The birds will take part,

Building homes for the new,

Whistling with joy,

Loving chirps, or a coo.

It’s a party, my friend,

Nature offers with glee,

Come join, all are welcome,

Better yet… it is free!


The image is another recycled photo; our Ginkgo. That tree is huge, and it just keeps growing, and growing…

Anyway, I was working on it last night and this afternoon, and was tickled when I saw the Word of the Day Challenge: Zephyr. How fitting!

Not to bring up the elephant in the room, but my walking came to a halt—just for this week. In case anyone is curious. It’s been pretty hot, like in the high 90’s, so I took a little break. We put up a little pool in the backyard, to soak our feet in, and watching the birds play inspired the poem.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!
—Janet

Loquat Tree

Another Day in Paradise

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

One of the things that I love the most about the Garden Art series is the fact that it’s limited to my backyard. Well, with the exception of my neighbor’s Flowering Pear that is.

There are so many cool things in our yard, but the truth is… I don’t go out there as often as I should. Been there, done that maybe? What I’m trying to say is that I—like many others—tend to take what I have for granted.

Things lose their appeal after a while.

To go a step further, I’m no real fan of our Loquat Tree. The fruit gets brown and a great deal of them end up on the ground. You can see squirrel bites in them, too. It needs to be topped, so it’s too tall and the branches rub against the cables that stretch across the sky.

I know, I know… I sound like a cranky old grumbler. That’s my point. This Garden Art series is forcing me to forget what I think or feel about the things that have been around me for what seems like forever… and to look at them in a whole new way.

That’s what makes this piece special to me. That little star of the show is just two inches in size. I see growth, regeneration and renewal in this shot. It wasn’t easy to see, I had to look for it.

I see tropical flair, beautiful colors, and glistening light… things I don’t normally notice. The backyard looks brand new!

I feel very blessed today. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it’s another beautiful day here in paradise!

Thank you for reading!

Enjoy your day… and may everything seem brand new!

Carpe Noctem

I realized this evening that I stay up much later than I used to. I wanted to work on this image tonight because I just love the trees. The next thing I knew it was after midnight again! If you ask me, I think all of the lines from the leafless branches seem to make their own art. I love how nature does that; flaunts its beauty without shame, even in the most vulnerable and unexpected places.

I was never quite sure if the trees were even alive when I took the photograph, because as far as my eyes could see, it looked like sticks… upon sticks… upon sticks! Still, it looked beautiful to me. I think it has to do with growing up in the city. When all you really know of nature is what’s in your own backyard—or in the neighborhood park—glimpses of natural landscapes, untouched by man, create a sense of awe and wonder that’s truly unforgettable. I love that.

Anyway, the later it got, the more I thought about how I’m becoming a night owl again. I’ve always loved the night. Of course, I used to love the wild night life. Now… it’s my quiet time… when I can think without interruption. That’s when I decided that I needed to add the finishing touch. Something personal. A little night owl… hanging out with the trees… just like me.

Seize the Night!

It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day.

Vincent van Gogh

Upside Down

Sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down so you can learn how to live right side up.

I’ve been having some weird feelings lately. I think I’d call it “lack of joy,” but at the same time I keep reminding myself to stay grateful. What I’m REALLY grateful for is the fact that I have the wherewithal to remind myself of that!

What I’ve been catching myself doing a lot lately is living everywhere but in the present, and I realized today that this is the reason my joy has slipped away. Believe it or not, I still have eleven weeks left in this semester and I’ve spent hours—if not days—trying to plan my schedule for spring. I even met with someone at the university I’ll be transferring to next year so that I could start planning ahead for those classes too!

I know it’s smart to have goals and plan ahead, that’s not the issue. For me, the problem occurs when—in making those plans—I lose sight of where I am right now. Similar to how some people go on “speed dates,” I find myself wanting to “speed learn.” Instead of looking forward to each new day and being grateful for what I GET to do, I start approaching each day as something I need to GET THROUGH. It’s like saying “I want to be there, not here.

Where’s the joy in that?!

So… I took some time to relax and let my brain recalibrate, and I went back to an old shot of our ginkgo tree. I wanted to create something that represented what’s been going on inside of me lately. I guess it’s sort of quiet and serene, with spurts of energy, moments of frustration and anxiety, and a touch of overthinking.

Oh, and it’s upside down.

Believe it or not that started as a mistake when I accidentally hit the rotate button. Not only did I think it look cooler from this new perspective, it’s what got me to thinking about my inclination to live in the future.

It was also a great reminder that sometimes mistakes aren’t actually mistakes; they’re just stepping stones to better places.

Life is good and God is great!
—Stay encouraged—

Perfectly Imperfect

Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state. Thomas de Quincey

It’s the first day of “spring break” here in California, and I wanted to share a photograph I took last year, just before fall. I shot this while I was working on a project for my photography class, but I ended up changing my subject to water and I never turned this one in. The tree may look familiar to some of you; it’s the Ginkgo that sits in the backyard.  I wanted to do something in black and white today, and I’m crazy about all of the organic lines.
Tree

Everything is going really well these days! I celebrated 2 years sober on March 7th – and a full load of classes this semester is keeping me busy (and out of trouble). I’ve been exploring different majors, and have been told that this is actually par for the course; most students change their majors up to 4 times before they finally find what fits.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter! I’ve missed being here, I’ve missed you all, and I look forward to sharing more of my writing, photography and art again – on a regular basis.

Shady Dreams

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. -John Barrymore

I found this quote not long after I wrote my bit about TIME. It sure makes sense! It doesn’t exactly fit with the featured image here, but considering I’m still dreaming of cooler places, the dream theme kind of works for now.

I’ve posted images of this location before. I finally googled it tonight and found out it’s Deerwood Arboretum and Nature Area in Brentwood, Tennessee. From the 2011 road trip. Boy, it’s time for another trip so I can get a new stockpile of images!

Anyway, I did a light paint effect, and added a lens flare just for the heck of it. The way the sun was shining on the water made me think of that little addition. I thought this place was lovely. I think this image kind of looks like a jungle!

I’ve worked on several photographs for my new series, but so far I haven’t like any of the results…

But, I’m working on it.

I hope you are all doing well! Blessings, Peace and Love!! ♥♥♥

New Reflections

After working on my last image The View, I got an idea for a new series I want to try.

And I’m going to try and stick to my guns this time!

I’m going to focus on images that have views or reflections within the photograph, similar to when I set out to do that “frames within frames” project some months ago.

But I’m going to do varying effects on one image- like my featured image that retains the photograph in the window reflection, but a sketched effect for the building and trees. I’ve been wanting to jazz things up, and this will give me some great practice and a new approach to some old images as well.

I love change!

A Good Start

Rise up and attack the day with enthusiasm!

It’s already 11:45 a.m. here in California, so this quote is a wee bit tardy… but it’s a good one nonetheless. And I had an extended coffee time, so it’s still morning in my eyes. 😉

I did some wandering around the backyard earlier and shot this bloom in our Crepe Myrtle. I was actually tracking a squirrel… but having camera in hand got my creative juices flowing and I decided to focus on the colorful flower instead.

I did a little Photoshop work, to mimic a painting (again). I guess I’m kind of stuck on doing exaggerated effects at the moment. It’s so fun!

I picked up another library book, called Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots. Looking at it last night got me itching to get out and walk the streets again. I just might later this week!

Anyway, I thought I would share some Wednesday enthusiasm with you all.

Have a beautiful day!! (or evening for some of you!)

Blessings, Peace and Love!

Nature’s Collage

Well, I had a great time visiting my sister! Not quite the photo ops I had anticipated, but hanging out with her was the real treat, so I’m not complaining! I was asked to be on a panel Tuesday night—at a recovery center—and I’m really looking forward to that. If it wasn’t for the commitment, I would have stayed in Riverside a little longer… but it’s nice to be home.

I shot this today; the loquat tree as a backdrop to the pansy redbud. Just something to do. Today is my first day back and the backyard has changed quite a bit in a week! Anyway… Spring is such a great time for change. Cleaning, reorganizing, new activities, getting rid of things, and fresh starts. Every day!

Peace and Love to you!
—Janet

Spring Fling

Our backyard is absolutely blooming with color these past few days, and the Ginkgo is coming to life. Just about a week ago we could practically count the leaves on it!

One thing I am really grateful for this past year is living with my mom. Besides the fact that we keep each other company (and I have a roof over my head!), I’m really coming to appreciate the nature that is here. I think it took the onset of spring for me to realize it too.

I’ve known this backyard since I was about three years old and this was probably the first year I can remember where I actually watched this tree go from green to yellow, to completely bare… and now here we are again. These leaves are actually very small by the way. This shot is up-close and personal.

I haven’t been out around town much lately, so this morning I wandered around the yard to see what was new, and decided to share this little portion of our gigantic tree.

Blessings!!

Rainy Days

Trees, by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast.

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray.

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair.

Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Floating Notes

My persistence is starting to pay off and I finally caught a few leaves mid-air. I did it! The leaves are everywhere today. It’s a stretch, but I think the tree resembles a person playing a violin, and the leaves are the music notes, floating up to the heavens.

Oh, and what’s even more exciting is that it’s supposed to rain here soon. I’m looking forward to puddle hunting later, or tomorrow. And to top it off, we lit the fireplace.

God is great, and life is good!

Inside Our Ginkgo

inside-gingko

Our Ginkgo is too tall to get the whole tree into a good photograph, so I decided to get inside of it and look up. I kind of like how it came out!

Below is a black and white, from another angle. I’ve always loved black and whites, but there’s so much color around lately, it’s hard not to show it. I really DO like this one! Except it’s really hard to see the details or outline of the leaves.

I realized today that I lost my glasses awhile back and am so used to not wearing them that this is probably the reason I have a hard time seeing through the lens! Go figure.

ginkgo-bw

Walk of Serenity

My last LONG road trip was the adventure I had with my youngest son—the one I mentioned before. We went all OVER the place, but what sparked the idea in the first place was that, for some reason unbeknownst to me now, I bought passes to the Country Music Festival, in Nashville. Even more baffling is that I chose HIM to go with me, because he doesn’t even like country music!

We had an awesome time, but he’d reached an age where traveling with mom felt a bit weird, so I’m not sure he’d ever do that again. The photo was taken at a park in Brentwood, Tennessee. Seeing it tonight made me want to take a walk down the somewhat winding road, and just soak in the serenity. So peaceful.

Blessings-

Chasing The Wind

Gingko

We had quite a bit of wind this morning, so I thought I’d go out and see if it’s possible to capture the breeze in photos. This is the top of our Ginkgo swaying. I took so many shots, and I’m sure this isn’t the best pick, but I lost patience and just went with this one.

I’m thinking I need to work on the patience thing. I’m no expert, but it’s my best guess that photography requires a lot of patience. More than I have anyway. I don’t know what the hurry is but I’m always rushing. I need to slow down. That will be my mantra for this next week. SLOW DOWN… EASY DOES IT.

Anyway, while looking UP all morning I caught this next shot. I had to just aim and shoot because these guys were in a hurry too!

Birds in Flight

I thought it was kind of cool. I get excited when I get a bird in my shot because they move fast. The wind got pretty crazy; doors were slamming, things were falling—and I tried to catch falling leaves in midair, but that’s really tough to do!

Blessings!