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Posts Tagged ‘hope’

maple buds in spring

Canadian maple buds.  Check. 

coltsfoot in bloom

Coltsfoot.  Check.

junco attacking car mirror

Mating-crazed junco obsessed with its reflection in my car’s mirror.  Check.

chickadee and mourning dove calling from treetops

Chickadee and mourning dove calling from the treetops.  Check.  Check.

crawly creatures under rocks

Creepy crawlies under the garden stones:  Millipede, earthworm, beetle, salamander.  Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.

Nova Scotia slug

Slug.  Check.

red squirrel defending its territory

Red squirrel defending its territory.  Check.

snowshoe hare in april

Snowshoe hare on the lawn.  Check.

periwinkle or myrtle

The first periwinkle of the season.  Check.

Hope rekindled.  Check.

 

 

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Some days just seem to crawl along don’t they?  So little progress is made towards our intended destination that it’s difficult to stay motivated and enthusiastic about the task set before us.  Take heart.  The caterpillars are here to shed some light on a situation that befalls us all at times.

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.
~  Oliver Wendell Holmes

Though we’re already well into the fall season, caterpillars can still be seen roaming the trails.  They seem more determined than usual as they motor along.  Yet compared to us humans, their speed is still painfully slow.  Don’t they get discouraged?  How do they keep their sense of direction intact while crossing such wide expanses? 

Don’t they ever second-guess their goals as they plod along, and wonder if it’s all worth the tremendous effort?

Sometimes thinking too much can destroy your momentum.
~  Tom Watson

No, I don’t think they dwell on the length of the journey or sink into spirals of despair at their slow progress.  They know deep inside that they’re called to a higher purpose.  Their butterfly heart tells them this with each small step they take.

sulphur butterfly

They trust that there will be time enough to fly at the speed of light later. For now, their focus is on the next step, however small it may be. 

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Although seeing a butterfly in springtime is always a joy, seeing one in winter is sure to set anyone’s heart aflutter. 

These fragile creatures, known for their marvelous ability to transform themselves from caterpillar to winged wonder, have often been employed as symbols of the soul, hope and renewal.

In late winter when there is still the threat of harsh weather, one doesn’t expect to find such a delicate creature in the woods. My grandson was turning a log over in the forest to examine a shelf fungus more closely when he caught sight of the butterfly. 

 Though its wings appeared frosted and stiff, we brought it indoors to have a closer look.  We were quickly able to identify it as a Mourning Cloak  (Nymphalis antiopa), a species that can convert glucose into antifreeze in order to survive the cold.  When its wings are closed, showing only the dark undersides, it’s also extremely well camouflaged in dark woods.

What is unsought will go undetected.
~ Sophocles

Too often, we only see what we expect to.  Adults usually don’t expect to see butterflies in winter.  But a five-year-old wouldn’t have such set expectations, so his eyes would not so easily dismiss the shape of delicate wings for dried leaves.  I wondered how many Mourning Cloaks I had missed seeing in the winter woods over the years.

Within minutes of being indoors, the butterfly was opening its wings.  Though it looked a bit ragged, it was still alive.     

The older we get, the better we learn how to manage expectations.  We don’t like to disappoint others and we especially don’t like to disappoint ourselves so we get into the habit of expecting less of everything around us.  Yet, surely there’s something to be lost in lowering expectations in order to avoid disappointment.  Besides butterflies in winter, what else might we be missing?

High expectations are the key to everything.
~  Sam Walton

Thank you to Joseph Belicek of Edmonton Alberta for identifying this butterfly’s subspecies as hyperborea.

Scott over at Views Infinitum is offering a macro photography challenge to all who are interested.  Deadline for submissions is March 23rd.  The close-up images shown above were made by using the macro mode on the Nikon Coolpix S8000.

 

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Spring sunlight bounces off the fog and onto the sea as the spruce trees watch in awe.  Light shows like this don’t happen every day.  In the woods, light is filtering through the mist and trees, putting on a spectacle of a different kind.

Beams of light are descending onto the forest floor further down the path.  Light shining through mist or trees in a forest can often appear otherworldly or heaven-sent.  This is especially so if the rays of light are separated from one another.  It’s no wonder that walking towards such a light is often used as a metaphor for attaining a peaceful presence in the next life.  

Spring:  An experience in immortality.

~ Henry David Thoreau

In the marsh, spring light is putting its mark on every surface. Nothing is so fine it can escape its touch.

Even colors are affected. Greens appear fresher and more full of life.   Pinks seem more tender and delicate.   Even the sky seems a kinder blue.  Nature is lighter and human nature can’t help but respond with a feeling of hope that at least for today, all things are possible. 

It’s amazing how spring light can so transform the world.

The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.

~ Edwin Way Teale

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