Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Sunset

The sun sets on another year. It always amazes me when I think of everything, the flowers, the rivers, lakes, deer, butterflies, humans spinning around the sun taking a whole 365 days to make one round on our tiny blue ball.

We've made it around another time. Amazing...Happy New Year!  

Friday, December 30, 2011

A World in a Tree Stump

A whole world exists in this hollowed out tree stump. Tiny, miniature mushrooms have tiny bites taken from them. Such a cozy place for tiny creatures.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Earth-ship Sunrise

A purple cloud hangs halfway down;
Sky, yellow, gold below,
The naked trees beyond the town,
Like masts against it show,

Bare masts and spars of our earth-ship,
With shining snow sails furled,
And through the sea of space we slip
That flows all around the world.

 Edmund Clarence Stedman in 1900

Our earth-ship still rises to the same purple and golden skies as we move through a sea of space in a new century.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Morning Snow

This morning wore a wintry white. Big, wet flakes were floating down from a steely blue grey sky.

It was slippery going and the dogs and I left our foot prints behind to prove that we had been collecting a few lacy flakes on our eyelashes.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Icy Beads

A line of icy beads formed a few January's ago. It's not nearly that cold this December. I long for some white to break up our brown and tans. This winter so far is a dreary gray and brown.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Day the Sun Stood Still

Did you see the sun stand still yesterday? Chances are you didn't even though it did---sort of.

The sun has finally reached its southernmost point in the sky, meaning it stopped for a day. Today it started moving north again and will move a little further north each day as it rises in the eastern sky.  Eventually it will rise due east at the Vernal equinox and as far north of east as it can on the Summer Solstice.

The sunrise, won't begin happening earlier, however, until the 8th of January. Our sunsets have been coming later ever since around December 11th. Did you notice?        

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Romantic Stories No More Told

The frost has settled down upon the trees,
And ruthlessly strangled off the fantasies,
Of leaves that have gone unnoticed, swept like old,
Romantic stories now no more to be told.

The trees down the boulevard stand naked in thought,
Their abundant summery wordage silenced, caught
in the grim undertow, naked the trees confront,
Implacable winter's long, cross-questioning brunt.

 D.H. Lawrence

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Weather....Could be Worse

The weather outside is not quite frightful, but it is dreary with not much hope for a white Christmas . So, I dug through the archives and found a photo reminder of a January sunset with ankle deep snow that has been sticking around forever with its worn foot prints and dirty top layer.

And now the day doesn't seem so dreary after all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lichen and Moss

A moss covered lichen is a combination of two interesting organisms.

The lichen is neither completely a fungus nor completely a plant---but a combination of the two with cells of both.

The moss lives upon the lichen and yet is not living off of the lichen like a parasite would.

Fascinating organisms---the two.     

Monday, December 19, 2011

Forecast Dark and Misty

As if the sun didn't have enough problems showing its face this time of year we had an eery fog descend over the area Sunday morning, making everything dark and mysterious.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Bare Bones of It

"It was a cold still afternoon with a hard steely sky overhead, when he slipped out of the warm parlour into the open air. The country lay bare and entirely leafless around him, and he thought that he had never seen so far and so intimately into the insides of things as on that winter day when Nature was deep in her annual slumber and seemed to have kicked the clothes off...He was glad that he liked the country undecorated, hard, and stripped of its finery. He had got down to the bare bones of it, and they were fine and strong and simple.... 

from Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows    

Friday, December 16, 2011

December Sunrise

The sun was lazy, showing its pale, anemic face well after seven this morning. We have only one more week before we can start adding minutes to our daylight.

Until then the sun will drag its feet as if it is too tired to face another winter morning.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sweetness of the Swamp

Sweet is the swamp with its secrets,
Until we meet a snake,
T'is then we sigh for houses,
And our departure take 

At that enthralling gallop
That only childhood knows.
A snake is summer's treason,
And guile is where it goes.....

Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cup of Coffee Creek Morning

How about a cup of Coffee Creek this morning?

At dusk the other day I spotted a coyote drinking from the shore pictured here. It was a bit too dark to take a photo and I doubt if my canine companions would have sat still for that one anyway.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Buck

This guy has been elusive. He's only around in the early morning as the sun comes out and runs at a moments notice---unlike the does that like to hang out at Coffee Creek.

Today he had a friend with him, also a buck, but shyer even than he was.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

First Snowfall

Our first snowfall and baby it's cold outside!

Even at evening time this path was one of the less traveled---not even a squirrel or mouse's foot prints.
That's the evening sun painting the trees rosy but without warmth.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blue Sky Over a Frozen World of Foot Prints

Tiny footprints line the bank of this bayou of the Kankakee River; signs of all the little creatures that scavenge a living from the land.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunrise over Sea of Sand

An eerie, weak, wintry sun rises over a dune. This one is from the archives. We haven't had snow yet.

The weather's been kind.   

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lily Pad Flower

The inner workings of a lily pad flower are quite interesting--- don't you think? Who could imagine such a thing? A whole dance floor for frogs!

This picture from my archives this morning, was taken on a warm summer day. May it warm your heart.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Prince

From the archives on this dark and dreary late fall day...a princely frog on a summer day to you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bird Trap

It's heartbreaking to see a wild bird crippled, dead, or dying because of garbage that makes its way to the beach. One odd thing that seems to make it to beaches everywhere are balloons and the ribbons that are attached to them. I have miles of ribbons that were collected off of a few square yards of beach at the Indiana Dunes.

This item, though, I couldn't clean up and carry out. And I fear this piece of snow fence that blew in from somewhere will provide a trap for some unsuspecting sea bird.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fairy Land

Francis Thompson (1859–1907)

Know you what it is to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of to-day.

 It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul; it is to live in a nutshell and to count yourself the king of infinite space; it is

        To see a world in a grain of sand,
        And a Heaven in a wild flower,
        Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
        And eternity in an hour;
it is to know not as yet that you are under sentence of life, nor petition that it be commuted into death.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Far Away From the Cares of the City

Seeing across Lake Michigan from the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore doesn't always call for a clear day---more often than not the view is better when it is cloudy and cold.

The Dunes are full of peace; making the Chicago view even better.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Late Fall on Sugar Creek

Sugar Creek is a fine stream to canoe in the summer. I also like to visit in the fall and winter. This year it is as high as I've seen it---with areas of rapids.

The beauty of this Indiana stream flows through the seasons of the year. Even in December's peace the joyful splash of the water's flow feeds the soul.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bowed Waterfall

One of the many waterfalls flowing through the canyons of Shades State Park, this waterfall, unlike many, is bowed in the middle rather than concave. It's shaped by freezing temperatures that freeze the sides, but not the center where water flows year round.

Bowed or concave, the sound of the water tinkling over the rocks is wonderful as you follow the falls on the hike down the path along the fall's edge.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Forest of Green Energy at Sunset

When you're in the midst of a windfarm there is a other-worldly feeling. It's not quite industrial; not quite agricultural. And the nearly silent whirling all the way to the horizon is mesmerizing.

Driving through it at sunset is particularly unreal. Each windmill has its own blinking, red light announcing its silent presence to the coming nightfall.    

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cliffs, Waterfalls, Vertigo

One place in Indiana where you can be truly challenged by a trail is in Shades State Park. The park is full of cliffs, waterfalls flowing to Sugar Creek, and glorious, dizzy vistas.

The park area may be named shades because of the heavy forested area, the crevices between the cliffs, or simply because there were several murders here in the area in pioneer days.

Today the park is simply gorgeous and an exciting place to spend an afternoon exploring.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

All Aboard!

Like most National Parks, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore has a railroad running to it.

Recently a caboose, a nearly extinct commodity, was parked near the Dunes. I remember when nearly every train had a caboose, and a man to wave to traveling inside.

It reminded me of the Christmas classic and  I thought this caboose appropriate for Small Business Saturday when everyone is going out and supporting their local community businesses during the holiday season, the good old fashioned way.    

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dancing Dune Deer

In spite of the recent deer reduction days at Indiana Dunes there are several deer left.

This deer and some buddies were foraging on the top of one of the higher dunes. It couldn't quite decide if I was there or not. Maybe it is just a bit more nearsighted than its friends that disappeared shortly after I walked up.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Among my thanks giving I am thankful for the nature of Indiana and the hardworking people that manage the  wild areas that we have left so that little guys like these can still exist.

And I'm sure if these deer could talk they would be thankful that we eat turkey for Thanksgiving Day.    

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Found a Mate...

The lonely swan at the Indiana Dunes appears to have found a mate...only time will tell.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cypress Trees in Indiana

Cypress Trees are fairly rare in the northern part of Indiana. They like swampy conditions that keep their feet wet.

This line of Cypress trees stands on the edge of a lake in Chain of Lakes State Park.

The pinecone of the Cypress has one of the most wonderful smells in the world.  

Monday, November 21, 2011


This time of year the focus of a hike is on the tiny and brown, so when a delicate peach colored mushroom pops up out of the brown fallen leaves, it is cause for celebration for the eyes.

This tiny mushroom was like a flower the other day when I found it on my daily walk through the forest.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gnarly Tree

Some trees look better naked. I don't know about this one, though, scrapping the sky with its gnarly branches.

It was misshapen by some unseen force and almost sneers at passersby.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Reflections on Sylvan Lake

A wind blew all the clouds out of a crystal blue November sky which was reflected by Sylvan Lake near the home of Indiana author, Gene Stratton Porter.

What wonders could be written while looking out on this view still!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November Sky

This morning is crisp and cold and brilliantly sunny. And the sky is filled with puffy, pink, cotton candy clouds billowing eastward in a hurry to reach warmer weather.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Big Buck Escapes from Indiana State Park!

Yesterday the Indiana State Parks had one of their annual deer culling hunts. If they don't do this the deer end up eating all the forest underbrush and then starving to death---not a good way to die from what I hear.

And the big buck? Sorry I did see a beautiful, magnificently healthy buck that made Harry Potter's patronus look like---well like the deer in the picture.

But like 9 of every 10 pictures---the big, beautiful one got away.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coffee Creek

A lake or a pond is so unmoving, unchanging; once they get sick they need massive human help to get well.

A stream is ever changing, feeding creatures big and small all along its route; and when it gets sick all it has to do is be allowed to clean itself---wash away the troubles, the poisons, the cares that we humans have dropped in it.

In the end the streams wear down the rocks, the dams, the human interferences.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Morning Deer

Like the sight impaired creature it is, this tiny deer stood looking towards me and the dogs in the early morning sun.

The dogs like to pretend to be big hunters (couldn't be further from the fact) and so remained still and pointed the deer while I moved with caution.

This deer was no bigger than a Great Dane, and stood there for several minutes wondering if there was someone or something sharing that portion of the woods.

But then it started doing that thing with its mouth. This is the 2nd time in as many weeks that I've captured a deer making faces at me:


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Staying For the Winter

This little Tufted Titmouse will probably be staying for the winter especially if someone keeps up the feeding at Coffee Creek Park.

But according to old time records, this bird used to migrate south, which could be a sign of global warming or just more bird feeders, or both.  

Friday, November 11, 2011


This little chickadee was grabbing a big breakfast this morning---taking off with the biggest piece of something. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Misty Sunrise

This morning's misty sunrise made the deer less careful, like they were wrapped in the security of the foggy blanket. It was easy to sneak up on them and for them to surprise me.

Sunrise was delayed by the bank of clouds on the horizon. The foggy blanket remained.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Drops of Dew

ERE with cold beads of midnight dew Had mingled tears of thine, I grieved, fond Youth! --William Woodsworth

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Foggy Morn

This morning's sun struggled to show through a heavy, foggy landscape.

But as that November sun rose it illuminated the dripping landscape in a million iridescent particles of light that sparkled all the colors of the rainbow.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Morning Deer

You would think, that those large eyes would be really accurate, but deer really don't see well. If you remain still and quiet they won't even see you. Their eyes are designed more to see motion against a background rather than detailed focus.