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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Down South

It is a familiar call. Just raise your head to the direction of the sound. You will see formations of the feathered "pilots" practicing their flight down South. The rehearsals start in August. In September, more and more geese and ducks are flocking to the area. They stay at the lagoon until late October. The birds feed on the grass and whatever else they can find close to the water. Occasionally, some passers by would swoosh some bread for the birds.

It was amazing to see this year that park caretakers shaved the grass in the middle of October, just at that time when the birds flocked to feed. Strangely enough, the grass was hardly growing this summer. There was no tall grass at all. And yet, an irresistible human urge to use noisy powerful grass shavers left just muddy stubs for the birds to feed on. Oh, the arrogance of men who have conquered the NATURE!
Fortunately, rains picked up in October, and the grass is green and growing now.

Swimming Light

I found a way to catch the Sun. Its blinding light is elusive, if one attempts to look it up high in the skies.

My Sun is "swimming" with the fish... What a magnificent energy! Enough warmth to bring to life so much beauty and goodness...
Just stand still for a moment and gaze at the reflection in the pond. Where is it? Up here or down there? Or is it in your heart and soul?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birch Trees

Birch trees are special to us. Not just because they are gorgeous and different, but because they were an inseparable part of the landscape of our childhood and youth. Many fairy tales and songs describe the elegant tree.

We were very glad to see quite a few birch trees growing in the park. However, these trees must not like the climate, and they are not thriving. In the past 22 years, several of them have died. Besides, young trees that were planted here a few years back were tortured and broken by the "homo sapient" who inhabit the area.

We hope that remaining few trees will survive. There is something very special and unique about the birch trees in spring time submerged in a green "fog", and then in the fall, when their golden leaves gently shimmer in the sun above our heads creating music of their own.

Egret or Heron?

What a find! I am trying to get as close as possible without chasing this magnificent bird away, but it is quite a task, considering that my big black dog is with me on a leash. Now I am really glad I took her to the dog school where I learned the commands "sit" and "stay." Oh, how I wish I had a real powerful zoom lense...
I am not an experienced bird watcher, so for me to suddenly appear in the presence of such a beautiful bird is an amazing privilege.
I looked it up in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Birds, Eastern Region of North America. That's it, I should be looking for the Central Region. I do not see such exact bird among the photographs.
It looks like an egret, but could be a heron? I search the Web and discover that Egret and Heron are of the same family of birds. I am looking at the Great Blue Heron in the warm Autumn sun.
This is where I found a similar bird:

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Squirrels are very industrious, curious, cute, and funny. Sometimes they would stop and look straight at me as if to pose for the camera. These little animals have very smart and inquisitive gaze. Other times they will scoot away as fast as they can and will quickly disappear to the top of the tallest tree with an amazing ease. In the Fall, it is easier to see their little nests through the lacy maze of the leafless branches.

Some call these forest critters "tree rats;" to others they are pests ruining their property. At times people express genuine hatred at the mention of a squirrel. I heard of a man who has a hobby to kill them and he is keeping score that exceeds a 100 already. Then why do we choose to live on the streets lined up with trees and why we establish new developments in the areas close to the forests and parks?
There were few cases in my life when I won some people over to the side of those who like squirrels, or at least tolerate them now and do not get all worked up over their presence near by.

To me squirrels are those funny characters described in folk tales and children's poems. They have a role to play in the big picture of NATURE. I wish I could see the world from the tree tops as they can. That would be quite a view.

I want to see one person who works as hard as a squirrel to provide for themselves and their family. And yet, a frequent site in the urban environment is a squirrel killed by a driver. Can't drivers really let them cross the street, or they are just vicious and cruel? I remember a teenage girl yelling to the driver of a car "hit it, hit it!..." when she saw a squirrel running in front of the car. Why?

It is also difficult to read in a paper about squirrel hunting seasons. We cannot control ourselves, but we pretend to be able to control nature. Why do we need to hunt squirrels? Are we hungry, do we need those fur hats?

And if squirrel ruins your property, it is good for the economy. Someone will get busy fixing your property.

Our Favorite View

Every season rewards us with a magnificent view of the lagoon from this spot. Peace and serenity prevails in our minds while just looking at the lagoon by the golf course.

Today was one last warm yet breezy day. The skies in the afternoon were so clear and blue. At night storm brought thunderous rain reminding us that summer is really over.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Marquette Park

"This tablet and adjacent elm tree stand here as a memorial to those from this community who served in the world war 1914-1918."

Marquette Park is my favorite place to walk. It is a wonderful place to rest and relax and to enjoy eternal beauty of NATURE. I dedicate this journal to all who take care of this beautiful piece of land. And I want to ask the rest of the population not to soil, destroy, or damage it in any way.

If you will look for information about this little "island" in the huge metropolis, you will most likely come across some articles about the park district works, and, certainly, about the social history of the area. My thoughts, however, are mostly directed to the natural miracles that I find here, especially while looking through the camera lens. Certain disturbing sights are also a part of this park these days. In this photo journal of my photo reflections you will see the creative glory of nature, and the destructive ugliness of human activities. I will not pretend that I know the answer to the questions WHY NATURE IS SO BEAUTIFUL, and WHY SOME US ARE EAGER TO DESTROY IT.

I find it appropriate to open this journal with some images of the monument dedicated to soldiers. It is just so great that this lone rock was left and not destroyed by the newer generations. Those commemorated were here first, as were people who created this park. We came later. It is up to us how we will honor their memory and their gift to us - Marquette Park.
I am grateful to my family for their tremendous respect for and love of NATURE. As an artistic person I cannot stop being amazed by the pallet of colors, shapes, textures that I find everywhere, starting with a tiny bug and ending with the vastness of the cloudy skies. I love this constant state of being surprised and amazed. While I still can see and feel it, I am alive.
As a business person, I am very fortunate to have found SHAKLEE. I am a serious follower of Dr. Shaklee's philosophy a core of which is summarized in the following statement: "Our first goal should be living in harmony with Nature, for the Laws of Nature are fixed laws. They will never change, so we must adjust our lives in accordance with their demands." /"Reflections on a Philosophy."/

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Autumn Colors

Early September, and the ripe fruit are already falling to the ground. In two months, all colors will fade into browns and greys; for now, so many jewels kissed by the Sun decorate the park; so many precious colorful and shapely gifts of NATURE give pleasure to our eyes.

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