Sunday, June 6, 2010

Up Close

First, I need to say thanks for all your thoughtful and heartfelt responses to my last post.  I've been thinking a lot about what prairie girl said about looking closely at the natural world around us.  I realized as I read her amazing words that that's exactly what I've been doing, too, in reaction to this BP disaster.  I feel a palpable need to get as close to living creatures and plants and rocks and water as I can.  As I said in my own comments on the last post, even the stuff like a colony of beetles eating the carcass of a chipmunk (don't worry, I didn't photograph it) is a profound thing to see because it is part of the natural cycle of life--nature doing its own housekeeping thing, housekeeping that we human beings so often seem incapable of doing.

As I walk the pathways at Great Meadows, though, watching the birds and being watched by curious dragonflies, I am grateful for the many people who do see themselves as caretakers of the natural world (like the biologists who remove invasive species from the marsh at GM each week in summer). It's not something we are separate from after all.  I suppose it is easy to believe we are as we buy frozen, prepackaged foods and wander through air-conditioned shopping malls, but I have to remind myself that I am connected to the tree fallen on the forest floor and teeming with the life of insects, squirrels, chipmunks, mushrooms, moss, and ferns.  They all are certainly more real, more necessary than the thingamabobs I throw into my plastic cart at Target. (By the way, can someone tell me why these huge stores so often don't reuse their plastic hangers?) 

Above is a curious dragonfly who landed on Todd's shirt.  I was happy that he let me take several shots of him before he flew away.  As he sparkled in the bright midday sun, we stood quietly.  I thought, how often do I do this--just stand without making a sound, without thoughts that reach beyond this moment to the next desire, the next movement, the next new fixation?  Almost never.  I'm grateful to the dragonfly who by simply doing his own dragonfly-thing reminded me of how much I miss by living for the future or worrying about the past instead of being, acting, living, feeling in the present.

P.S. Please visit Karina's blog for more about the effects of the BP disaster and her beautiful state of Louisiana.


  1. this is a beautiful post, just like the previous one. I had not posted anything remotely political on my blog but a couple of days ago, I did, in reference to the BP oil spill too. So heartbreaking to see it. But you are helping us too by showing us the natural beauty of your surroundings. Provides a little bit of escapism from the world around us.

  2. boy you summed up my often, too often, living for the future and not living in the moment. i have to work harder on this one !

  3. Here in the west of Ireland there are destructive and unneeded gorse fires in these early summer months - wanton damage on a smaller scale. I may have to instigate public readings of your persuasive posts. Yes, we should all stop and be as often as we can.

  4. wonderfu Gigi a lovely post and thoughtful

  5. Wonderful post, Gigi. That fisrt dragonfly shot is amazing - you can even see the subtle veining on its wings. Fantastic

    xo Erin

  6. Living in the present may be my biggest challenge and the moments when I succeed are my best moments. I will strive to be there is about smelling the roses or smelling any scents that are around.

  7. Gigi,

    I just knew all the drama in the Gulf would touch you. I can't find the words to describe how I feel. But, I have borrowed from book artist, Claire Moore. You might like to take a peek at my latest post. Some things never change!



  8. You say it so beautifully what alot of us can't put into words, thank you my friend for that. I am beyond devastated by what has happened with this latest disaster. I have been making alot of changes in my home and with my lifestyle to live more environmentally conscious (which I have for a long time now), enjoying life as it comes with whatever it presents to us, to be grateful and to respect nature in all of it's glory. Your pictures are so gorgeous yet tell wonderful stories to us all! Have a beautiful Sunday! xxoo :)

  9. Gigi ~
    Beautifully said and shown.
    A great reminder from our dear Prairie Girl! I've been taking longer walks and moving slower as the crumb and I soak up every. single. morsel of nature that we can find. It truly does help to restore the faith....

  10. Worrying over past and future, is something we all do often, I think. To be be here now, right now is the greatest gift we have... I don't want to miss it! Let's be like the dragonfly... :o) ((HUGS))

  11. dearest gigi ...
    my heart swells to read your words and see your magnificent images ... dragon flies are incredibly dear to my heart ~ they are so friendly ~ love that the one lighted so you could capture his/her exquisite beauty and detail!

    so ... of course, your last post has filled my thoughts, and my mind has been reeling ... what IS the solution?

    genuine, deep appreciation for the gift of nature and all it's glory truly helps us as individuals to embrace and protect ...
    but what about the big guy ~ what about the general populace that apathetically doesn't share the same plea ~ how do we get EVERYONE on board? ... to really see up close?

    so, then i was thinking about simply mel's comment about all the brilliant minds in the world and surely there are people who can work at fixing this ~ i agree, melissa ~ there has to be someone out there that knows what to do!

    i was thinking that much of the world isn't ready to give up the fast pace they are living, or the conveniences, or the escalated, needless and somewhat greedy desires that are eroding our world at an alarming rate ... i am not sure the most brilliant minds could convince folks to give this lifestyle up ...

    it would take a global crisis that actually paralyzed the planet to awaken everyone in a hurry ...

    BUT! and so ... the word that comes to mind is alternative (i know ~ it is a word that is being used continuously, but it has to be put into concrete action).
    and this is where the brilliant minds come in ...
    create alternatives ~ sound, hard fast, powerful alternatives that are enforced by the governments that still allow some of these desires and needs but in a way that isn't harming mother earth ...
    there are growing alternatives now, but we need 'heavy hitters' ...

    so, now we have to get the brilliant, positive, forward thinking minds in bed with the government heads ...
    and pray they get along blissfully with a common goal ... to save the planet ... and all our precious creatures, flora and fauna ...

    it is our responsibility as the people to put aside all past thoughts about governing and demand of our government to drop the 'old boys' way and get a futuristic plan in place that works ... i am ashamedly not a political person as i think the whole system is a bit of a game ... and while i am eternally grateful for so many of our freedoms, i am so frustrated with so many of their actions or inactions ... so, i guess we need to get more vocal and express our concerns more loudly?

    oh oh ... i could be in trouble for saying this, but perhaps more women as leaders?

    whoa ... sorry to get carried away ... (you almost had me swearing, too ;)

    paying attention and taking time to be grateful for the gifts around us, and speaking out loud as you have gigi, is definitely a step in the right direction ... and i thank you so much for helping spread and create awareness ~ today and every day as we encourage and find the energy to take this new path to protect our planet ...

    praying ~

  12. It is a balance I feel is important to try to find...the balance of living for the moment, deeply, yet remaining mindful of the future. At times it seems so least for a single individual...but it seems difficult if not impossible for an entire community...Thank you Gigi for writing so beautifully about this and helping to raise awareness...

    I enclose a link to Charlie Risedel's photos...

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you, my friends for your thoughts. I am growing and learning from you, and you are influencing my own choices and actions in ways that I can't express yet, but that I will eventually explain. You never cease to amaze me.

    Thanks, Oliag, for the link to those photos, which everyone needs to see and contemplate. Prairiegirl, I'm right with you on more women as leaders! But even if we're not involved in politics, as artists, writers, photographers, sisters, moms, and aunts, we have a great deal of power to change the world! Our influence can be huge, and I think we need to keep on doing what we're doing. I, for one, will not shut up. Loving and caring for the natural world isn't just warm and fuzzy tree hugging (although I'm all for that, too), it's about the survival of our planet, all its many life forms, and the water and land that help to sustain them/us all.

  14. Gigi, I feel very fortunate to have found your blog and that you have shared your readers. I feel very powerless in this world and in the situation that we find ourselves in. The most we can hope is that each of us does what little he or she can do and that united, we will be heard.

    Yours for a better world,


  15. I have a friend that says "notice what you notice", translated notice the small things around you every day. Your post also reminds me to take notice. Thanks!

  16. what a truly lovely post,Gigi~~

  17. Once again, spoken from the heart...and for the hearts of many of us. Thank you.

  18. Yes, beautifully done, Gigi. Please come to my blog and read my post "...this just in" about the hideousness of this disaster. Go see Backwards in High Heels, and Errant Aesthete too. We all agree. xx's

  19. A beautiful, heartfelt post, Gigi, and in words more meaningful and true than I could write myself. Thank you for asking us, in such a genuine and earnest way to pause and actually give real thought to this. It's so easy to gasp in dismay and shake our heads at the news headlines and then just carry on as always.

    Thank you. C x

  20. What an uplifting, Transcendentalist post, amazing Gigi. And good on those biologists for removing all that purple loosestrife!

    Big hugs, xo.

  21. Wow! yes, ditto. How much we miss in life....waiting, wanting, being insecure, not content, not quiet, not being present. I do think that is what nature gives us the most of - besides her gifts of food etc she gives us pause....what a wonderful post. thanks. I think we need to always remind one another of these truths.

  22. amazing dialogue gigi.
    you continually inspire...
    course love the words of pg....

    thank you for making me stop and think.. you are a gift.

    happy weekend....xxo, kim

  23. There is something so powerful, so healing in the natural world, isn't there? Some quiet time outside is like a hymn, a prayer, a meditation. Thank you for these words that have reminded me of that. I think I'll head outside.

  24. It is so hard sometimes not to get overwhelmed with anger when disasters happen in our natural world at the hands of careless humans. Why is the human race so driven by money?

    Nature is such a powerful healer...and so perfectly balanced if it is left untouched, unharmed. I walk through the trees every morning and find myself deeply connected and calmed by the sounds and scents and quiet busyness of all the beautiful creatures who live there. Aren't dragonflies wonderful? A pretty little blue one landed on my hand two days ago as I was taking pictures. He didn't seem to be bothered at all that I had to move my hand around to adjust my camera...he just stayed with me. It was almost as though he was telling me what to capture... his home..his beautiful landscape.

  25. Oh wow...I just realised. This was the post you were writing as I was writing mine on the meadow I was exploring. So connected we are Gigi.
    Love to you. xo


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