Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bowl of the Year

I've been reading Sue Bender's Everyday Sacred. The cover image is a simple bowl and since Bender is a potter, the bowl is a central theme in her book. Bender thoughtfully reflects on the monk's beggar bowl, with which he asks for his daily nourishment.

It occured to me that a year is like a bowl - circular, complete, repeating from one year to the next, with an arbitrary beginning / ending point. And yet each year, unique.

What has filled your 2009 bowl? What did you ask for? What came to your bowl unbidden? Perhaps your bowl was filled with ease, perhaps challenge or hardship, certainly it was filled with change.

No matter what your year bowl contains, I imagine it is rich and savory. Yet you may want to spice it up a bit, or perhaps add an accompaniment to cool it down.

Bring your year bowl into your heart space and feel deep appreciation for a year of nourishment, for the gift and blessings of the year. Feel gratitude as well for the challenges, which may take some time to reveal their lessons or blessings.

Lastly, carefully cleanse your bowl and prepare it for a new year of offerings.

May your new year bring you peace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Importance of Appreciation

"If there is a sin against life, it consists not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life." Albert Camus

How often do you find yourself wishing 'if only...' If only I could sing. If only I had more imagination. If only I were taller, shorter, smarter, funnier. Oh, the list goes on.

How much of our life we waste by failing to acknowledge and appreciate our own gifts. As we pine away for a different talent or gift, the world suffers the loss of our own 'grandeur'.

As we approach a new year, I ask you to take a hard look at yourself. Do you minimize your creativity, humor, writing ability, or perhaps capacity to care for others? The world is not served by your denial of your gifts and strengths.

I would like to challenge you to embrace your strengths and talents and find a way to share them. Not only will other beings on the planet benefit, YOU will also find greater inner peace and joy in your life.

Happy Holidays to all.

photograph by Danilo Rizzuti on

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Thanks to Joel and Michelle Levey for their Thought for the Day email, and for sending this poem by Thich Nhat Hanh.

There are jewels everywhere in the cosmos - -
I want to offer you a handful of them this morning.
The diamonds I offer will shine through days and nights.
Each minute of our life is an individual jewel,
Containing sky, earth, river and clouds;
You need only breathe gently and mindfully
and all the miracles will be displayed.
The birds sing. The pines chant. The flowers bloom.
There is the blue sky and there are white clouds.
The eyes of the people you love shine
And your smile reflects full awareness.
You are the wealthiest person on Earth,
But have been going around to beg in distant lands for happiness,
Do stop being a destitute person;
Come back and receive your heritage.
Let us offer each other happiness
and establish ourselves in the present moment.
We should let go of our sorrow
And embrace life in our two arms.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Creative Hurdle # 1

Those of you who are artists, you know who you are. Claim the name artist! You've been making stuff since you were, what, three?? Yes, that makes you an artist!

You don't have to be selling anything or showing stuff or having your creations in a museum somewhere, YOU JUST HAVE TO LOVE MAKING STUFF!

That's it! So go call yourself an artist 500 times till you can say it, dance it, write it, sing it, joke it, giggle it, and shout it right out loud - I AM AN ARTIST!

Wouldn't it be fun to sky write it? Guess What? I Am An Artist!

What fun ways can you think of to announce yourself to the world? I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Simple and Profound

This poem came in email today from author and teacher Mary O'Malley. Enjoy.

I used to be an answer machine.
Toss in the problem.....
ching ching,
out came an answer.
The mind got A's
while the heart languished.
So I came here and you asked me to
live in questions like:
Is it kind?
Can I meet myself here?
What is the flavor of my wall?
And the mind went....
ching, ching, ching, ching, ching.
Yes? No? Vanilla?????
You smiled.
And finally....
my heart answered,
without a word.
Dee Endelman

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I got to hear quilt artist Susan Shie last night at the Front Range Contemporary Quilters meeting in Westminster, Colorado. She's delightful with a great sense of humor. I'm looking forward to taking her workshop later this week at High Peaks Camp outside Estes Park.

When I got home I saw Robert Genn's twice weekly newsletter on Artists with Low Self Esteem. You can find this letter here. I count myself as one of the 10 percent or more of artists with low self esteem, due to childhood experiences.

I learned two things from Susan and Robert tonight that have helped me immensely. First, Susan pointed out that one of the recurring images in her quilts is the stinkpot. Stinkpots are like compost bins or piles. You put your garbage thoughts in them and they decay and through a magical energy exchange turn into the most wonderful fertile muck that helps you grow strong. I love that idea of a stinkpot filled with all my stinky negative self doubt, where I can imagine it changing into a mud mask that will comfort, support and encourage me!

Second, Robert wrote that a 'patient methodical approach' is needed to overcome low self esteem. As I reflected on this, I recognized a problem area for me. Because this process of dealing with low self esteem takes sooooooo much time, and I want to be over it like last YEAR, I often look at slow progress and interpret it as NO progress!

Does this happen to you? If so, stop this moment, think back 5 or 10 or 20 years, and see how far you've come. Right? The fact that there's still more work to do does not negate how much work you've ALREADY DONE!

So get your stinkpot ready and next time you catch yourself saying something mean and nasty to yourself, write it down and stick it in the stinkpot. The more garbage you put in there, and the worse it smells, the more lovely will be your flower beds and the juicier will be your tomatoes!

Here's my stinkpot. What's yours look like?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Meeting the Troll Beneath the Bridge

Bead artist Robin Atkins shared her reflection on a lecture by visionary artist and architect James Hubbell in a post called "Work of the Artist, The Space Between." Hubbell described the space between opposites as the place where energy resides and that this is where the artist works. Read Robin's full reflection HERE.

I have enjoyed living with this idea this week. As I shared in my previous post this week, I spent some time by the St. Vrain Creek playing with paint. The process was messy and I had no idea what the outcome would be. And just being in it was glorious.

At the same time, I had to let go of outcome, of my desire to make something pretty or meaningful, and just BE. I had to let go of my fear that I would make something that could not be classified as "art."

I chose to enter that space between known and unknown, spirit and matter, idea and substance and give way to that mystic process that stitches, melds, paints them together in the most unpredictable and magical way.

I agree with Hubbell that the artist is herself or himself the bridge between opposites. My take is that artists are the bridge between spirit and matter. When the artist is willing to enter the flow between the two, not just cross above, the object that he or she creates has magic. This art has the power to take the viewer beyond into that messy place in between shores where the unknown comes into being - to meet the troll beneath the bridge.

When you wade through the muck and vegetation and out over the slippery rocks into the capricious flow of the current, you find yourself in an exhilarating space, wild and untamable, scary but full of life. You meet the troll and learn his secrets.

And isn't that the art that shakes you out of your shoes?

For more inspiration from Robin, check out my interview with her HERE on my website.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Freedom from Self Improvement

Jennifer Louden, the Comfort Queen, has declared this week the freedom from self improvement week, and I've signed up!

This does NOT mean that we get to let ourselves go hog wild and do everything we normally do to keep our urges under control (Ice cream!!!!!) but that we give ourselves the grace of accepting ourselves as we are. Knowing that we are already good and wonderful and amazing. Our job is to let ourselves see this. Beyond see, experience!

So I realized this morning that I could NOT spend another day at my computer trying to knock out more writing or other parts of my developing creativity coaching biz. I gathered up some acrylic paint, a big sketchbook, some fabric and my folding chair and headed down route 7 to this lovely spot. Here I planned to free myself from responsibility to work with some freeing no expectation art making.

I sat on a huge flat rock by the St. Vrain Creek. I practiced my qi gong, Cosmic Freedom Qigong, no less :-). I was intrigued by the patterns on the beech tree next to the rock and this made its way into my painting.

And of course, I have a compulsion to use every last bit of paint left on my palette. This is where I work with wild abandon, as I dipped the muslin I brought in the creek to wet it, then made monoprints with the leftover paint.

Topped by an iced chai latte, this was the perfect day for celebrating my self, complete as I am, loving and enjoying what I love to do.

What does your perfect day of celebrating you look like?

Monday, August 31, 2009

What's Calling You?

Last night my husband and I took a walk at one of our usual places, Lake Estes. The photo above is from Sprague Lake, but when I tell my story, you'll see why I chose it.

We were on the north side of the lake, with the golf course to the north of us. On the golf course was a mixed herd of elk, including a bull, several cows, and some frisky babies, born last May.

All of a sudden I heard a pitiful and frantic mewing from across the lake. I couldn't see anything over there but some people. I thought it might have been a child, but it didn't sound quite like a child crying.

Then I saw it - one of the baby elk, anxiously pacing along the far shore, crying constantly for help. Somehow, he must have missed crossing with the rest of the clan. My heart broke for him. He was obviously missing his momma and friends and was desperately trying to get their attention.

Then he just had to do it - he plunged into the lake and made his way across. Fortunately the water is not too deep, but in the center he had to swim. Brave little guy, he made it across, only to have to cross the rain-swollen Big Thompson. And he made it across that too!

He found his momma very quickly on the golf course and although she seemed not to welcome it, she did let him nurse a bit. His little herdmates scampered over to greet him. I was so happy that all ended well.

It made me think about what we long for, especially related to our artistic expression. What inside you is crying for attention? To what lengths are you willing to go to give it voice? Will you be brave enough to take the plunge? I know I have been inspired by a baby elk and will remember him next time I'm ready to start a project.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Believe in Your Creativity SlideShow

I took a teleclass 2 weeks ago on making slideshows and I am HOOKED! I love doing these. I enjoy the whole kit and caboodle and get lost in it for hours! So here is my slideshow on discovering your sources of inspiration. In it you will also see why it's so important to know YOUR inspiration.

I have entered this slideshow in the World's Best Presentation Contest 09, so if you like it, please take a moment to vote for it here. If you cannot view the presentation below, click here to view. I'd love to read any comments. Enjoy the show!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Overcoming Barriers

My friend Katie and I hiked up the Longs Peak trail Wednesday for a mile and a half (of the 8 mile journey to the summit). Katie is planning to move soon. The mountain that she sees daily from her front door was calling her to walk its trail before she leaves. Katie has asthma, so was unsure of her ability to hike a steep uphill trail. As a precaution, she was armed with meds and a small can of oxygen. However, she did great, only took one hit of oxygen, and hiked further than she expected!
We had a wonderful morning and spent our time talking about art and writing and inspiration and challenges. Concerns about our abilities to hike the trail dropped away as we became absorbed in our conversation. We also created a ritual by a small sheltered rock nook to honor our Mother Earth and pray for her and our loved ones.
I had been avoiding such uphill hikes for the past couple of years, thinking my knees particularly were not up for the climb. I am very grateful that Katie asked me to go on this hike, because the mountain trails give me such deep renewal and I accomplished far more than I thought possible!
Sound familiar? Where in your life do you need a similar big or little push? How might you enlist a friend to help you? Or how might you pay it forward and help a friend?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Big Creative Block Lifted!

Today is a wonderful day for my creativity! I have been blocked for months! I've had fabric out to try to get motivated, talked with students in my creativity coaching class about the block, tried making my expectations more limited, and still couldn't get started.

I left my OT job at our local hospital a year ago about this time and that was very painful for me. I jumped into building up my coaching business, but felt very sad about leaving patients and co-workers who had become friends.

I also had packed up my downtown studio and moved it into storage 6 months prior to leaving that job. I brought some supplies, fabrics and beads home, but lots went into storage. This morning I finally unpacked a big box of beads that's been sitting, in the way, on my worktable for a year. I really didn't remember what was in it, and, OH GLORY, LOOK WHAT I FOUND!!!
These are some antique glass Mardi Gras beads that I bought on a vacation to New Orleans probably 15 years ago! Obviously they had never been thrown from a float!! They are glass, made in Czechoslovakia, and obviously seconds, but so colorful and bright and fun!These are just of few of my very favorites. Some glass shell beads I bought from Robin Atkins a few years ago, some great old coral, ancient Roman (green) glass beads that had been cleaned, some small clay Central American birds from a great dealer in Hinsdale, IL, a partial strand of ancient glass and striped agate amulets, and a cast polymer clay face.
I feel like the floodgates have opened, creativity can flow again! Like the Japanese goddess Amateratsu, the stone has been removed, I've come out of the dark cave, into the sunlight and my spirit, seeing all that just thrills me, can dance wildly! I didn't realize that my block was my grief at leaving my work pals, and thought I'd gotten over that. Finding my favorite beads was another important step in completing that circle, and allowing me to move forward.

See you later, I'm off to pet my beads!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How I Use Books

Robin Atkins just asked in her blog Beadlust if anyone else underlines and writes in books like she does. Well, yes I do, Robin. It took me a long time to get over my childhood library training of "Don't write in books. Don't bend down the corners of the pages."
Sometime in my adulthood, maybe because of the many years I've spent in school, I decided my own books were meant to be useful. Useful to me means I can write my responses and thoughts right there by the lines that inspired them.
I journal irregularly, and often can't find which journal I wrote something in, if I want to retrieve it, but with a little hunting, I CAN ALWAYS FIND my favorite or most thought-provoking books.
So I am unaplogeticly a full service consumer of my books. How about you?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Staying in the Flow

When we're making art, we're in a change process. The paint or yarn or beads we work with change in front of us as we make a brushstroke, throw the shuttle and beat the weft, or thread on a new bead. Everything shifts from moment to moment.

This play is a big part of the wonderful energy we feel when we make art. Often we like the progression. Sometimes we don't. What happens with you when things are not looking the way you want them to? When that green you just used somehow throws the balance off in the work you're doing.

Part of your response will depend on how well you manage your inner critic. The critic loves pinches in the artistic process, and will seize them and become merciless with it's yammering. When this has happened to me, I have tended to freeze. The part of my brain that registers fear or anxiety gets triggered, and often in the past I have had to stop working.

This part of the brain is called the amygdala. It is responsible for fight, flight and freeze responses. It's quite useful at times, but not when making art. When this part of the brain gets activated, our decision-making becomes compromised. We actually temporarily LOSE IQ points, making solutions to that glob of green impossible to find.

There is a way to short-circuit this fear or anxiety response, and dive back into the creative flow. It is simply to breathe, 5 seconds in - deep into the belly; 5 seconds out - releasing fully. Breathe deeply and slowly for 5 minutes or more. Your body will start to relax, and you will become centered. You might focus for a moment on how much you enjoy making art. From this place, your thoughtful and reflective brain areas will start to work again.

You will have dissipated the energy of the inner critic and possibilities will begin to appear. You can take a nice refreshing stretch and move right back into the rhythms of weaving, beading or painting. You can come up with a cool way to integrate that gob of green.
How will you remember to do this next time the critic strikes? Practice.
Make it a point to practice slow deep breathing several times throughout the day - when you get up, when you sit down at your computer, when you come to a red light, before you start making art. Remembering to take a deep breathing break when you need the clarity becomes much easier when you make it a habit throughout your day.
How about trying it right now?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Play and Art-making

How much do you play as you make art? What separation exists, if any, between playing and "serious" art making?

I am going to be focusing on the topic of play this year. I know that I want to play more in my artmaking. I feel a distinction, rightly or not, between "serious" topics that demand focus and intention, versus the times I pick up my body tattoo pens or other playthings and have no expectations.

I hope my exploration leads me to discover how I can integrate these two approaches that seem so different, or whether there is indeed a schizm between art for fun and art for purpose, message or meaning.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Win Tickets to Social Media Success Summit 2009

WHAT: 11 World Leaders in Social Media Share the Goods on Social Media Success!!
WHEN: May 26, 27, June 3,10,17, mostly mid-day Pacific
WHERE: Your own computer in your own office
WHAT TO BRING: Your enthusiasm and questions! You won't even need paper because it's all recorded for you!
Why do I want to win a seat? I am a newbie in the social media world and a newbie entrepreneur as well. I want to create success for so that I can reach women who are hungering to express the depths of their creativity. Just imagine the powerful impact of all that unfettered creative energy and joy!
I know that this Social Media Success Summit will help me spread the seeds of creativity far and wide.

What is Your Treasure?

Two years ago construction of a new house was begun on the lot next to ours. I spent two full evenings digging up cactus plants that would have been scraped away and moving them to my front yard. Now each May they bloom prolificly and their fuschia blossoms fill me with joy.

What can you do now, however challenging, that will give you hours of delight later?

We had to remove this nest from the outside grate of our fireplace. Oh, the tenderness of a nest and small speckled eggs! What is your treasure?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Coaching Change

I am always fascinated with the similar patterns that are created by the movement of wind and water on sand, stone, and materials in water. I snapped these photos this week in Rocky Mountain National Park's Fall River in the Endovalley picnic area.

Energy, whether wind, water, or human, causes incremental change - one wave upon another. Then there is a tiny shift, and the pattern continues, reinforced and guided by the previous step.

This is one way the process of change occurs in our lives. Oh, we long for the dramatic, the single moment of enlightenment, being struck blind and undergoing a total conversion. This happens in nature also, witness the hurricane, the earthquake and the horrific upheaval that is left in its wake. Thankfully this type of change occurs less often.

Coaching focuses on change of the incremental variety. This change has the potential to become a lasting pattern of behavior. It is gentle to the spirit and creates its own momentum, making the process flow along with less effort, and almost no destruction.

After a season, one can notice that a new behavior, regular walking, or painting for a time each evening, has become part of the fabric of one's life. All it took to establish was a small amount of energy, applied regularly, over a season of time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Who Are You Anyway?

This is an important question for artists. The Myers Briggs personality types can provide useful information. For example, do you like to see the big picture? Or perhaps you prefer to take things one step at a time, and only need to know the next couple of steps.

Whether you have difficulties starting a piece of artwork, or more difficulty knowing when it's finished, can be based in your personality type.

Personality types tend to stay constant over one's life. One can choose to act outside of type, such as performers who are introverted in everyday life, but use extraversion when they're on stage. But we never really change our type. I know this, I thought I wanted to be an extrovert for years. It didn't happen.

It is most liberating to accept one's type, and understand your strengths. We are so much more effective and happy when we are playing to our strengths. I tried this at a party recently. Instead of forcing myself to be outgoing, I sat and had a deep conversation with one person. It was very satisfying to both of us. I enjoyed that so much I'm actually looking forward to my next party!

An introverted artist might enjoy writing a blog or posting photos of his or her work, while an extraverted artist would likely thrive on teaching others and giving demonstrations.

As an artist, a detail person (the sensory type) would love working on the meticulous small steps of stitching or bead embroidery. This would drive a big picture person (intuitive type) nuts! When you have unfinished projects, it may be that once you get to the part that requires attention to detail, you lose interest. You may want to look for types of artwork that can be finished quickly, such as paper casting or randomly painting warp yarns and then quickly weaving them off.

On the other hand, the detail oriented person may have trouble finishing a project, because it can always be tinkered with a bit more. Knowing this about yourself allows you to celebrate your love of detail and give yourself a deadline for stopping work on a particular project.

You can take a quick personality type test online here. Click on Jung Typology Career Indicator Test and you can learn which of 16 types you are. Then a google search on your type will let you learn about your type. We're all something, and when we make the most of who we are, we bring our unique gifts into the world.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Honoring Creative Ideas

What is your relationship with your creativity? The images, the materials, the subjects that come to you asking to be made visible? Are you able to cherish them, nurture them and be grateful? Even when you don't understand them?

I am just starting to be receptive to those ideas that come to me and seem bizarre. I used to question them, oftentimes so much so that they never came to fruition. Try as I might, I am just not cut out for conventional work. I admire it, but what comes to me is something else.

This is a gut "doll" I made. I wasn't very pleased with her until I was looking for an image to express my sorrow over the potential extinction of so many species. Then she was perfect.

Another strange idea that came to me during a tapestry class I took at Penland School of Arts and Crafts was to make a bowl using Cheerios™ as beads. I did, and it actually sold in the auction at the end of the session. This is a later vessel, using MultiGrain Cheerios™. I love the rough texture of Cheerios™ and the weight and flexibility of the vessel.I went on to use the MultiGrain Cheerios™ in a beadweaving project. This piece is called "Demeter Celebrating Grain." The colors are the natural color of the cereal. I admit that I questioned all of these pieces. They are all made of materials that cannot be made permanent without destroying their best characteristics. I have since made dolls stuffed with rocks and had other non-traditional ideas that I have not tried. Does this sound familiar?

A year ago, I had another desire come to me and I just finished a sample. I am beginning to accept that, for me, this is art. I have tried to weave and quilt and print fabrics but these quirky things keep coming along and making me oddly joyful as I start to embrace and celebrate them.

What is whispering to you? When you follow the tugs, I bet you'll find yourself grinning inside.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Death Valley Photos

I am having trouble with my slide show that has disappeared for some reason and I'll continue to work on that. I thank my dear friend Robin for her suggestion to add still shots for those not having fast computer connections. So, to catch two birds with one peanut (I love birds and don't want to kill them with stones) I'm going to add some still shots of Death Valley. The image above is from the Furnace Creek Inn, an historic inn, complete with restaurant, spa, and afternoon tea. The setting is surreal, as the Inn grounds are an oasis of palm trees and tropical plants in an area where it looks like almost nothing lives. As I stood on the verandah of the inn, I imagined myself in an exclusive 30's Hollywood setting, looking out over a harbor on the Pacific. However, the "ocean" that is seen in the distance is a dry shimmering salt sea.

The above photo is along the Golden Canyon trail, which is mostly rocks, scant vegetation, even less of it alive, and only one fly that I saw. No birds, no lizards.

Even the rocks are dry and cracked!

The above shot shows the Red Rocks at the end of the trail, beyond the end of the trail, as it turned out.

Golden Canyon trail ends here in a blind hollow called Red Cathedral. This steep climb rewarded me with a surprisingly intimate space in the midst of a vast landscape.

The view outward from the Cathedral is shows the labyrinthine nature of the trail.

During our late afternoon drive through Artists Loop, we were rewarded with the setting sun's illumination of the rocks' almost unbelievable colors, as seen in the above 2 photos.

Small flowers bloomed at the entrance to the park, offering a small refreshment at the end of a parched landscape. As you can see, they survive with very little soil or moisture, reminding me to be grateful for the abundance of resources available to me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Death Valley

My husband and I went to Death Valley National Park today and hiked through Golden Canyon. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, but still, hiking in the dry desert dehydrated us and wore us out. We drove along Artist's Road, where the rocks were "painted" with surprising colors. They were especially stunning in the late day sunlight. I expected desert, but there are almost no plants here, just one that looks like holly, and half of them were dead. I saw no birds. A fly flew by me in Golden Canyon. That was it!!

It's fun to explore a new and foreign landscape and enjoy the treasures it offers. In this case, amazing colors, beautiful solidified sand dune structures, and a landscape that mimics what I imagine the moon is like.

When I got home I made a slide show on One True Media that I've entered below. This helped me appreciate our day's explorations even more, because now I get to share them.

What have you explored recently? How might you memorialize or share the experience?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Slowly Fading into the Depths of Time

Petroglyph Magic

As I viewed the photos I took today at Valley of Fire State Park north of Las Vegas, NV, I saw contemporary human graffiti that I hadn't noticed in the bright sunlight. These petroglyphs are slowly fading due to the effects of wind, weather, pollution, and careless people. I thought of how empty the world will be when these ancient messages disappear for good. The petroglyphs' increasingly ephemeral existence breaks my heart and feeds my gratitude that they still exist to inspire wonder.

I had the photo program "fix" this photo and love the effect. Almost looks like a version of constellations overlying the depths of the solar system. Isn't it amazing that one can walk into the desert in the presence of human imagery from nearly 2,000 years ago and ponder its meaning?

These haunting pictures, pecked as they are in the desert varnish covering red sandstone formations, lead me to contemplate the power of the image. What gives these petroglyphs their power? The intention with which they were created? The integrity of their making with the pulse of the life of the people who made them? What gives some art this cathedral-like sense of awe and wonder? How might those of us who make art infuse our work with this depth of spirit?

May these petroglyphs inspire wonder and reflection for generations to come.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert on genius

Here is a refreshing take on creativity. Please enjoy this talk by clicking here.


Friday, February 20, 2009

The Natural Beauty of the Las Vegas Area

This is inviting Crystal Springs at the Ash Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, west of Las Vegas near the town of Parump, NV. Ash Mountain NWR was created to preserve the 30 or so springs that generate 10,000 gallons of water per minute. This helped preserve the environment that houses the tiny and magical pupfish. The sign on the boardwalk said "No Swimming" but the beautiful blue 87 degree water was mighty inviting.

There's a blue pupfish in the lower center of this photo. I was mesmerized by these tiny fish chasing each other through the algae in Point of Rocks Springs.

Cacti on the mountainside above Point of Rocks Springs. The pink barrel cacti were especially plump and beautiful.

Nearing sunset at Ash Mountain NWR. This was a lovely day. Although we've received quite a bit of rain and mountain snow recently, wildflowers were not yet blooming here, although the ranger told me that some are blooming just up the road in Death Valley National Park. I ran out of time today, but will make it to Death Valley before we head home next month.

I hope you enjoy this brief overview. I also found that in the absolute quietude of a landscape where most of the time all I could hear was my own footsteps, I was able to hear my soul speak. May these lands always be present and even more, may there always be people who love them.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Blog Kick-off

I am in Las Vegas, NV, escaping winter with my husband Chuck and our pooch Fred. I spent the past week listening to speakers in the smARTIST telesummit, here, which has been fabulous and I'll write more about that later. I wanted to show my two favorite photos from our drive out.

I saw this mesa covered with snow just as we left Grand Junction. She is a grand lady in her flowing skirts.

The combination of sunlight and remnants of snowfall on this Utah mountainside really accentuated the rock outcroppings.
This was the first time I've seen snow on the buttes or Utah mountains, and it was breathtaking. I appreciated anew the beauty of my adopted state and region of the country. You can see what I mean.

Wherever you live, what special beauty inspires you this season?