Jewels of the Queen Mother/Earth Day 2015

night sky nps-2night sky nps-1Public domain photos courtesy of National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior

Jewels of the Queen Mother

Brilliant beyond Cartier’s imagining
fitting crown for a queenly brow
jeweled geometry of shape and pattern
sprinkled with diamonds
sown with platinum
dusted with silver
dotted with rubies

gleaming treasure veiled in light
uncloaks in shadow of the night

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century was a world-exclusive-to-Denver-Colorado exhibit of Cartier creations which closed last month. As otherworldly and exquisite as human work can be.  Here are some examples:Cartier-1jpgCartier-2


The actual diamonds from photos above are bright white; the colors you see in the photographs are from my cell phone camera and reflected light in the exhibit.  However, the jeweled cherry trees and bracelet with cherry tree motif below do have colored jewels.jeweled cherry trees and bracelet





Cartier cherry tree bracelet-1Cartier sapphire pendantthe Jupiter of sapphire pendants


Cartier sky clock Cartier lunar modulelunar landing module
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Elusive and Unmistakeable…

Goldfinch! double goldfinch single goldfinch-1

goldfinch-3 goldfinch-4 goldfinch-5 Mr. goldfinch Mr. Goldfinch-2


It must be spring!

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Essence of Approaching Rain – Sniff!

The Smell of Approaching Rain!

Australian scientists Isabel Joy Bear and Richard Thomas identified and named the smell of rain approaching: they called it “petrichor … the unique odor which can be regarded as an ‘ichor’ or ‘tenuous essence’ derived from rock or stone”.  This article from EarthSky news describes their discovery in the 1960’s. Petrichor is the scent the earth itself releases when humidity is present in the air, particularly after a dry spell. Humidity fills pores in the earth’s surface with minute amounts of water. The “oil” or essence is released from the surface into the air. Rain and wind accelerate the process. An Indian perfumery called this essence “matti ka attar” or “Earth perfume”.

Now scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have released a slow-motion video of this process in motion.

It is raining here, thank goodness, and that earth perfume sure smells good!!  I’d like a bottle of it.




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Aloha Pihemanu!


More about albatross from Greg Joder, who spent four months on Midway Island with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. See albatross smile…

Originally posted on My Earth:

So, my four month term in the USFWS biological volunteer program came to an end and my flight off Midway Atoll was a few days ago.  I’m both ready to get back home and also already missing the birds, the ocean, solitude and geographic isolation.  There are a few people I will miss too and hope to work with again some day.  I’ll continue to post more interesting photos and video of Midway once I am home in Tucson, though I will also return to making posts of the desert life and other wildlife work.

Ipomoea (species of morning glory). Copyright: Greg Joder/USFWS

On Midway, the albatross are in full swing raising their chicks.  The nestlings are getting bigger and hungrier, so the adults are making lots of trips to sea to catch food.  Most of the chicks are too big for the adult to brood, though some still try…

View original 63 more words

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Anne Frank

Anne Frank

 Face of hope and promise
words of longing yearning to flower
keep faith with a world
where love of cruelty
passes like a dying wind

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Albatross Sing and Dance

Courtesy of the always-amazing Cornell Lab of Ornithology comes this video of albatross singing and dancing.  Seeing is believing!

Does this sound a little like whale song?

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Spring Garden

red bud miracle red bud miracle-1Red Bud miracle – budding blossoms survived two snow storms and freezing temperatures to open – one of a handful of times ever.

Spring Garden

 Impatient green unfolding
moist penetrating
growth ascending –
life reborn
in joy’s season
of gentle light and new warmth

 You chose this time
to join the earth
strength gone for striving upwards
content to mulch the garden of generations

Dear Bloggers,
Please forgive my long-standing inattention.  This has been a difficult and distracting time with major human and canine health concerns. 
My mother-in-law of 96 years died today.  For many months she struggled and fought the onslaught with accustomed stubbornness;  in the end she did not suffer too severely. Her advanced age and rich full life don’t seem to make things easier for the family.  About these pictures:  Ruth would have said that “red bud” is the wrong name for this tree – the blossoms are not red, they’re magenta.
This poem is written for her and also for my own mother, who died several years ago in the spring.
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Here is my best photograph of Venus, Mars, and the setting crescent moon from the evening of February 20. Yesterday the 21st was a huge snowstorm, so nothing was visible. My camera settings admitted too much light, so here is the original – the lightest – Mars, Venus, and the moonwith various adjustments for contrast, color, and/or brightness. Mars was definitely orange, although it doesn’t seem so in the photos.  You could see the full sphere of the moon filling out the crescent.convergenceP1030508-2P1030508-3


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Mars and Venus Conjoin

This is not about: “She’s from Venus; he’s from … an alternate universe?” This is about two real planets in conjunction.35 Stunning Hi-Res 35 Stunning Hi-Res

Public domain images courtesy of Jay Hilgert

Named after Roman gods who, at least in theory, controlled the solar system as Rome did much of Europe, Mars and Venus now appear setting close together in the night sky. Today they will set about 10 minutes apart. On Saturday, February 21, they will set the sky aflame!

And the view on Friday, February 20, is nothing to sneeze at, either.  Mars, Venus, and the crescent moon will all be setting together.

Also see Sky and Telescope:
and timing for England

“No matter where you live worldwide, just look west. We’ll all see these worlds, though their orientation to each other and your horizon might look different from our chart.”

Last weekend in the mountains I saw Jupiter rising in the east 35 Stunning Hi-Res

and, 180 degrees opposite in the west, Venus setting. Head-turning.

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“and it was good”

In our Western creation story, Genesis, the first book of the Bible, God creates the world in six days. After each of the first five days, God assesses his handiwork and expresses his satisfaction with the phrase: “…and … it was good”.  After the sixth and final day: “… and behold, it was very good”.*

sunrise at cabinNot awesome, not fabulous or fantastic, not the best or superb, but “very good”. Is God the ultimate moderator of words, reviewing the exquisite beauty of creation with a qualified adjective? God’s approval appears to be infinite, but the expression is measured. What do we make of this?

Is something else being communicated here? Something about the state of the universe itself?

Many people assume that the universe is neither benign nor malicious, that its internal workings do not tend to, do not push us towards, either good or evil; that good and evil are what we humans make of them. I wonder.

Is God conveying an understanding that the universe just created is inherently good, that is, full of goodness? Are love, decency, compassion, and warmth the essence of what flows around us? Why do we expect the ultimate victor in war to be the decent side? Why should this be in a world where good and evil are evenly balanced?

Our own life experiences influence us in this determination, and each one must decide for himself. Yet I feel certain that this language of “goodness” contains more than a grammar lesson, an example of controlled and understated writing technique.

May we as humans live up to the expectations of the universe and make this world one of goodness.

*Genesis I:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31
This will be enough Bible study for the time.
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