The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.
I’ve lived in cities and in the country. I’ve lived in the suburbs and in towering high rises. No matter where I live, I’ve spotted wildlife–in city parks, in alleys, on the subway tracks (shudder), in zoos, and in the woods. When we lived in rural New Hampshire, possums, raccoons, skunks, deer, and moose were regular visitors to the neighborhood.
Anne makes a good point that we often overlook wildlife close to home. So, for her challenge this week, she gives us the chance to stop and take a closer look at a variety of wildlife that lives nearby.
Every night the owl with his wild monkey-face calls through the black branches, and the mice freeze and the rabbits shiver in the snowy fields— and then there is the long, deep trough of silence when he stops singing, and steps into the air.
― Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Volume One
I’ve become more aware of owls after reading the Harry Potter series, but these noctural animals are hard to find. I photographed a stunning barn owl at the Southeast Wildlife Exposition in Charleston, SC several years ago. Its unique feathers, moon face, and eyes are mysterious and dramatic, don’t you think?
Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.
― John Muir
This bee was gathering nectar one summer’s day in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was the first time I had a clear view of Its yellow hairs, which match the color of the petals. From this angle, I could easily see how the bee uses the hair to capture pollen.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
— Maya Angelou
A butterfly landed on the finger of this adorable little girl at Meier Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Once a year, the gardens release over a thousand of these beautiful insects in its Night of the Butterflies exhibit.
I knew the legends of the birds. Seagulls were the souls of dead soldiers. Owls were the souls of women. Doves were the recently departed souls of unmarried girls. Was there a bird for the souls of people like me?
— Ruta Sepetys (Salt to the Sea)
Walking along the beach one afternoon in Hollywood, Florida, I stopped to capture a few seagulls along the shore. I usually think of them as birds that prey on people’s lunches, but in this image, I had to admit they were almost beautiful.
There is the heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.
— Mary Oliver (Evidence: Poems)
This yellow finch was grabbing a snack when I captured him one afternoon in Meier Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I love its vivid coloring.
There’s a Polar BearShel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic
In our Frigidaire–
He likes it ’cause it’s cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He’s nibbling the noodles,
And munching the rice,
He’s slurping the soda,
He’s licking the ice.
This summer, we flew to the far north, not far from the Arctic Circle. I was certain we’d spot deer, bison, elk or even bears. In fact, the Yukon Territory in Canada is home to approximately 17,000 polar bears.
But we didn’t spot any wildlife until we visited The MacBride Museum in White Horse. Although I’m not a fan of taxidermy, I was impressed with the size and beauty of this polar bear.
Anne’s theme this week has helped me appreciate once again all the creatures that share our neighborhoods–no matter where we live. They are an essential part of our existence here on earth and have a role to play in the seasonal cycles and the health of our planet. Thanks, Anne for selecting this theme!
Last week, we had a lot of fun exploring Exposure. A special thanks to Sofia for selecting a technical theme that is essential to understand once we decide to go off automatic settings. Finally, we’re excited to announce our challenge next week will be guest hosted by Jude (aka HeyJude) of Cornwall in Colours. She is a very talented gardener and photographer. It’s a pleasure to welcome her.
Until then, have a week filled with good health, sunshine, and plenty of inspiration.