Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roses and rust

" . . . nature works as steadily in rust
as in rose petals."

~Esther Warren Dendel
From The September 2009 issue of The Sun Magazine

Image 1: by Kathleen Kimball-Baker
Image 2: bu psilver (silverph)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Everyday angels

"Blessed is the influence
 of one true,
loving soul on another."

~ George Eliot

Image: Dos Angeles by Jaime Olaya at art.com

Sunday, September 27, 2009

'Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy'

Happy Birthday
to my
Darling Sean!

This one's for you . . . 

And the lyrics to John Lennon's gorgeous song:

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He's on the run and your daddy's here,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It's getting better and better,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we'll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it's a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,
Darling Sean


Such a surprise, such a delightful, life-altering, life-filling surprise you were 28 years ago.
You brighten all who come near you.
And lucky me, to have seen you come of age.
I love you,
~ Ma

Saturday, September 26, 2009

"The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the freshness of the morning dew drops
on the the flowers
speaks to me.
The strength of the fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me,

and my heart soars."

~ Chief Dan George

Image by aurikan/Group of Seven Reproduction 3

Friday, September 25, 2009

'Dragonflies don't begin with wings'

A couple years ago, I woke early one morning and took my dogs for a walk.

Crossing a wet soccer field nearby, I happened to look down and was surprised to see a perfectly still dragonfly, its wings glistening with dew. Fearing it would get trampled if it stayed there too long, I gingerly lifted and set it on my hand in hopes the sun would dry its wings enough to fly again.

We walked around that way for nearly 30 minutes, me catching the aurora colors of its transparent wings wing as the sun warmed them, the dragonfly maintaining perfect stillness.

And then it quivered. It walked around my hand for a moment, and flew away.

I'd never held a live dragonfly before then, much less been a morning perch for one.

The moment was exquisitely beautiful and fleeting. It's possible it had just been born. Is it possible we both had?


By Chris Heeter
August 19, 2009

Dragonflies don't begin with wings.

They begin underwater
on the bottom
in the sand or mud or rocks.
Eating most everything that fits in their mouths.

The larvae eat and grow
until some instinct tells them to climb through that ceiling of water;
break the surface onto a blade of grass or a rock;
and to hold still.
To dry up, let their backs split open, and emerge.

From a water being to a sky being.

Swooping, hovering, diving.
Radiant in sunlight,
translucent wings, multi-faceted eyes, bright brilliant colors.

In truth, we all have wings.
And we all call crawl through the muck at the bottom.

The journey comes in believing there is life above what we can see.
And the trust of holding still, even feeling split open
in order to try our wings.

Chris Heeter, a wilderness guide, poet, speaker, and life coach, runs The Wild Institute .

Image by audreyjm529

Monday, September 21, 2009

Everyone loves a blooper!

Just look at the detail on those trees!
(The macro feature continues to confound Kathleen)

Today, I deliver on a double dare .

And so does my fine friend Derrick of Melrose Musings .

And, I hope, a few of you as well.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of my most embarrassing forays into the world of digital photography.

Because, as we all know, nobody's perfect!


Nora, will you please hold still!

(Trampled by a 75-pound Rottweiller mix, Kathleen attempts iPhone photography)


Scotty, exactly what part of "beam me up"
did you not understand?

(Kathleen captures The Great St. Agnes Academy Senior Class Vanishing Act)


My, what weird, er, bright eyes
you have there, Miss Charlotte!

(Kathleen works on perfecting her use of the red-eye correction feature)


Julie asks for a picture for posterity
 of THE perfect strawberry

(The macro feature continues to confound Kathleen)


A plague of radioactive fire flies
descends on Minneapolis neighborhood

(Another failed attempt to use the iPhone to capture fabulous light show in the sky)


Oh, who cares about a little skin in the end?

(Kathleen has no idea what she was trying to do here)


And the bride opts for a halo rather than a veil

(Kathleen accepts that she will never make it in wedding photography)


So there you have it.
Now, go check out Derrick's part of the double-dare meme.

(Psst...don't let him show me up, ok?)
Send me your links
and I'll add them here.
Go on now, give us your worst shot!

Go on, have a look:

From Jennifer at Jennifer on the verge

Sunday, September 20, 2009


"And so,
do not forget:
Every dawn as it comes
is a holy event
and every day is holy."

~ White Buffalo Calf Woman
as told by Black Elk

Image by Felipe Guerra


Where did the time go? This is my 200th post. I completely missed 100!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

That "gray" feeling

As a little girl, when I was about to come down with a bug,
I had the oddest way of explaining how I was feeling to my mom.

I've got that gray feeling, Mommy.

But she understood perfectly.
It meant I had a scratchy throat.

She'd take my temperature, give me 2 yummy orange-flavored baby aspirin, tuck me into bed, spread Vicks Vapo Rub on my chest, cover it with a cloth diaper, and off I'd go -- to sleep, to rest, to get better.

With pandemic influenza blazing its way around the northern hemisphere right now,
if you get "that gray feeling" in your throat,
I do hope you'll take good care, tuck yourself into bed, drink some hot tea or whatever gives you comfort, and rest your weary bones.
Soon enough you'll be "in the pink."

So tell me, how do you take care of yourself when you get sick? 


Image by tunnelblick

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Go on, give us your worst shot! We double-dare you!

Why I could never make it as a wedding photographer

Now, before you say no, hear me out.

See, I've been following the blog of this Scottish chap (no, not the bagpiper dude above) who posts extraordinary photographs of extraordinary places from all around the world. It's as if nothing comes out of his camera but extraordinariness. All these castles and cathedrals and ancient bridges and gilded sculptures and sunken gardens appear on his blog as if they were right outside his door. (Actually, I think a few are.)

More than once, I've asked him if he's capable of taking a bad picture. Hint, hint. And more than once he's responded that of course he is. And still, nothing but perfection ever shows. Well, that kind of standard simply cannot go unchallenged. We are humans, after all, not photobots!

So, I finally hit my limit, and I dared him to post a bad shot. Not only that, I double-dared him. If he'd do it, so would I. It takes some courage to show one's imperfections, right? Especially for all the world to see! But it's a good thing not to take ourselves too seriously at times and to be able to chuckle at our foibles, right?

Well, Derrick, being the gentleman that he is, accepted the dare. And then we thought, hmmmm, why keep the fun all to ourselves, why not dare kindly invite the rest of you amazing bloggers out there to join our "photographic imperfection" day.

And so, a meme was born. (Is that even possible?)
Thus . . .
 My delightful (and extraordinarily talented) friend, Derrick of Melrose Musings , and I
cordially invite you to
  Prove the adage that nobody's perfect
on Monday, September 21, 2009. 
Got that?
You have genuine permission to let your guard down along with the rest of us and
give us your worst shot.
So here's the plan, to quote Derrick;
 (Cue the Scottish accent):

"Simply dive into your digital dark room; flip through your photo album; or sort out your slides and extricate a photograph that didn't turn out quite as expected. The subject can be anything you like (within the bounds of decency, of course!). As for its failings: it could be under or over exposed, poorly focussed, an action shot that was too late for the action, an accidental click of the shutter; the list is endless. You're bound to have one somewhere, we all do!

If you're feeling brave, or brazen, you might like to post a few. Or you may wish to pair the bad with the good and show us what the shot was really intended to look like; the choice is yours. If you are happy to participate, please let either Kathleen or Derrick know and we will add your blog to the list for all the eager visitors to see."



Think of this as bloopers. 

Should be fun-- extraordinarily so!

 My chance to capture EarthDoctor son in a suit blows past me . . . 
(You mean I was supposed to take it off the macro setting?)

With open hands

"You have made me so rich,
oh God,
please let me share out 
your beauty with open hands."

Letters from Westerbork

Image by notsogoodphotography

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dog days of fall

Meet my new friend, Tobias.
 He's a Leonberger, a breed named after the city in Germany.
It seems the town wanted a dog bred
to resemble the animal on its flag -- a lion!
Does he look lion-like to you?

Tobias is 180 pounds of pure snuggles and love.
Not surprisingly, he's a wonderful therapy dog.
His paws are bigger than my hands and he's quite fond of acorns.

He also enjoys checking out his good looks in a car window.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . 
Ms. Charlotte had herself a little pout and took up residence exactly where I was trying to sit to get some work done.
She wasn't thrilled that I came home
with telltale kisses from Tobias on my face.

But in the end, her visit to the dog park got the better of her.

And everyone's resting now, except me.
But that's about to change.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Not a cloud in the sky

But a care in the world

Oh, yes,
I remember
the moment I heard the news
The relentless replay of the images
And the deep blue of the sky
The disbelief
The dust
The fear
The diaspora on the bridges
How everything changed
How much I longed for peace.

I remember dinner that night.

PreciousGrrrl daughter
growled with fury and
wanted to fight with someone,
to enlist in something.

RockStar son
had been reading essays
by writers from around 
the world about his
country 'tis of thee
And he tried to piece
together an understanding

At his request, we turned off the television.

And just days before
I had finished reading
Barbara Kingsolver's novel,
the Poisonwood Bible,
and I felt something big

 and amiss. Still do. 

So unreal
so hard to fathom.

Until tonight,
when I read this
while commemorative fireworks
boomed in the distance.

It felt personal.

And I need to see something
beautiful when I look
at the blue sky on this morning.


Please have a look at Chef Kar's deft handling of today's remembrance in 55 words, part of a theme on Fridays hosted by G-man, whose own post of 55 words deserves is a must-read, too.


I send you peace.


Image by lassi.kurkijarvi

Abstractions of perfect peace . . .

the absolute stillness of



cloud and field and puddle



of perfect peace

~ Hugh Prather
I Touch the Earth, the Earth Touches Me

Image by Martin Finlayson

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Guest blogger: Cora speaks

Oh, for goodness sakes! Kathleen asked me to write a post tonight because she's too embarrassed to do it herself.

She wishes to thank two bloggers who gave her a shout out in the past week. I told her a simple thank you would do, but she's given to effervescence sometimes, and this is one of those times.

I truly don't understand her reluctance to speak for herself sometimes. Charlotte and I have been teaching her to bark and howl but she's devolving into a dog rather slowly these days and needs quite a bit more training. Once her knees are mended and she's on the trail again, we're pretty sure she'll come along nicely.

At any rate, after listening to her blather on and on this evening, I suggested she might like to go to bed. She agreed if I agreed to be a guest blogger. 

She's been an erratic blog visitor of late -- something to do with keeping very busy because of a pandemic -- but she didn't want more time to pass before she expressed her gratitude.

She mentioned Joycee of Granny Mountain and a kind and heart-felt tribute.

Cora! She likened my little blog on the prairie and 3 others to a yummy bowl of cereal, a food  "that warms you and stays with you." I wish I'd thought of those words, because they certainly apply to her beautiful blog. I'm so grateful I discovered Joycee and her creativity!
And she also talked about Jen of Jennifer on the Verge.

Cora! Jen called three posts I'd written about loneliness and solitude "beautiful." Can you believe it? Several years ago, Jen walked with me through some dark times, generously sharing her insight and kindness. Talk about beautiful! She is one class act with such original ideas and so many funny and tender things to say.

Kathleen really hopes you pay a visit to these bloggers. She wants you to "catch a glimpse of their lovely spirits shining through." 

And now, by your leave, I'm going to retire to the boudoir and get some beauty sleep. 

Good night, all. Sweet dreams.


"So many areas of our lives can benefit
from the application of gentleness.
The beauty of gentleness lies in its multifaceted nature.
It is part love,
part compassion,
part patience,
part understanding,
and part respect for others."

~ Excepted from the Daily Om

Image by Pat McDonald

Monday, September 7, 2009

Transient, imperfect, beautiful

I was quite taken with a post on A New York Magpie's Eye , a blog where there's plenty of room to breathe and where it's tempting to linger and soak up beautiful photography with just the right amount of words.

The author's May 17 post on the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi often rests in the back of my mind as I look at the world through my point and shoot's eye. I plan to learn more about this lovely aesthetic.

In the meantime, a humble attempt at capturing what strikes me as transient, imperfect, and beautiful . . .

Wood and rust 

A weed

Golden bark at dawn

Waves and rocks

Gills of a mushroom

Clay pots

Fender of a trailer

Light, leaves, and shadows
And may you experience Wabi Sabi throughout your day.
Images copyright (c) 2009. Kathleen Kimball-Baker

A great privilege

"Gratitude for the gift of life is 
the primary wellspring of all religions,
the hallmark of the mystic, the
source of all true art . . . It is a
privilege to be alive in this time
when we can choose to take part
in the self-healing of our world."

~ Joana Macy

Image by maessive


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