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Posts Tagged ‘love’

bumblebee in field of clover

The lawn is laden with clover this week, offering an all-you-can-eat bumblebee buffet.  The bumblebees’ activity is so quick and their movement so constant (they’re as busy as bees you know) that almost every photograph I took of them was blurred.  It was also a challenge to not step on the bees as I attempted to photograph them while they worked.

bumblebee showing pollen basket on clover

As they travel from clover floret to floret seeking nectar, female worker bumblebees fill the pollen baskets on their hind legs.  By the time these baskets are considered full by the bee, each might contain up to a million grains of pollen.  Imagine the care and hard work required to gather so many grains!  This pollen will then be carried home to feed the next generation of bees.

clover floret

Due to their long tongues, bumblebees are the insects most capable of reaching the nectar hidden within the folds of the clover floret.  Bumblebees pay for the pollen grains they gather by cross-pollinating the many clover florets they visit.  They’re hairy little creatures, magnets for any pollen they encounter as they go about their busy work.  Later, back at home, they’ll use special combs on their legs to carefully clean off any pollen that’s left lingering on their bodies.

bumblebee on clover

One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care.  Such is the nature of bees…
~ Leo Tolstoy

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2014

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dawn july 9 2013

Summer seems to take forever to arrive to this part of the world.  Sometimes love can feel like that too.  Despite the long anticipation, we often feel unprepared for its arrival.

This past week’s heat wave was overwhelming but it’s hard to complain after such a long wait.   The best we can do is embrace its offerings and enjoy each caress of summer warmth on our limbs.

The earth has received the embrace of the sun and we shall see the results of that love.
~ Sitting Bull

pink peony

Peonies in the garden open their inner hearts gladly.  How many of us dare to open our hearts so courageously to love?  The combination of warm rains and sparkling sunshine has increased the size and number of their blooms.  For some the abundance is a burden that can only be carried so long.  How easily we too can flounder under the weight of  all the responsibilities that accompany love.

peonies falling over

Wild Ragged Robin flowers seem to have a more modest response.  Their delicate petals stretch out in the sun as if to say ‘Here I am World.  Take me as I am.’  Perhaps the happiest souls among us are those who simply feel loved for themselves, just as they are.

pink ragged robin

On the seashore, wet purplish-pink Irish Moss sparkles in the sunshine.  If we are loved consistently and unconditionally, do we not begin to reflect love in the same way?

pink irish moss on shore

Love has its own time, its own season, and its own reasons for coming and going. You cannot bribe it or coerce it or reason it into staying. You can only embrace it when it arrives and give it away when it comes to you.
~ Kent Nerburn

new growth on partridgeberry bush

In the back woods, new pink growth emerges from a partridgeberry bush, ravaged by hungry wildlife earlier this spring.  Where there’s sunshine and warm rain, there’s the promise of an abundant harvest once the summer’s past.  Perhaps the greatest comfort of love’s embrace is hope for the future.

Text and photographs Amy-Lynn Bell 2013

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Earth, my dearest, I will. Oh believe me, you no longer need your springtimes to win me over – one of them, ah, even one, is already too much for my blood. Unspeakably, I have belonged to you, from the first.
~  Rainer Maria Rilke

The Earth doesn’t care about age or wrinkles.  What’s a decade or two when you’re a billion years old and a few cracks when you’re scarred regularly by earthquakes? 

And what does the Earth care about how often the floor is swept? It considers last autumn’s litter simply next year’s humus.

And so what does the Earth value?  Could the persistence of grass be a clue?

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
~ Kahlil Gibran

New life amid the forest debris

Where man finds dissatisfaction, the Earth finds promise and the potential for renewal. Fallen trees and fallen leaves are all cherished for what they can offer now, not just the strength and beauty they possessed in days gone by.

Male woodpecker clinging to the underside of a fallen birch tree

Spring is in the air and it’s Earth Day.   Get outdoors and let yourself fall in love.

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Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
~ Dr. Seuss The Lorax

How do you get a child to care about nature?  You’d think it would come naturally to all children, but it doesn’t.  Bright light, rough textures and cold winds can all make it difficult for some children to like being outdoors.  It helps to make it personal.  Just as children learn how to love other humans by first forming an attachment to their primary caregiver, so too do they learn how to love nature by first forming a personal attachment to an individual natural setting.  This setting could be a backyard, a garden, park or a wood. Sometimes, all it takes is an attachment to a solitary tree to begin a lifelong relationship with nature.

Exploring textures

A simple walk around with your child can provide them with the opportunity to get to know every nook and cranny of their outdoor world.  Even in your own yard, you’d be surprised what creatures share your space.  Encourage your child to look under rocks and peek inside bushes.  The more you know about local wildlife, the more you’re going to want to know.  Field guides can be helpful and the Internet can offer a great deal of information, but neither resource is a subsitute for personal observation. 

Just playing a game of hide and seek can help increase a child’s comfort level outdoors.  If you have safety concerns, pair a young child with an older child or adult as they hide or do a search.  The goal is to get them accustomed to outdoor textures such as the prickliness of evergreen needles and the roughness of tree trunks. 

Keep your sense of proportion by regularly, preferably daily, visiting the natural world. 
~ Catlin Matthews


You needn’t stay outdoors for long.  Frequent visits in different seasons and weather will reveal that bright sunshine, precipitation, wind and cold are all part of nature and can even be enjoyed when dressed appropriately.  Once a child gets beyond their initial comfort zone, it becomes easy to take next steps to forming an attachment with the natural world.  Before you know it, they’ll be crying to stay outside.

This post is the third in a series about Getting Children Outdoors

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stone beach

Finding the ideal love is like trying to find a perfectly symmetrical stone on the beach.  It’s not easy.  Even with so many possibilities, the task is more difficult than one would imagine.  And the longer you look, the slimmer the odds of finding that perfect specimen may seem.  Though some might appear somewhat perfect at a distance, upon closer inspection, it soon becomes apparent that they are not quite so.

That’s not to say that it’s downright impossible to find perfect specimens. They are indeed out there, but be forewarned that many years may pass between one discovery and the next.

circular stones

Whether or not we realize it, we also search for physical symmetry in other human beings. Characteristic of good genes and general good health in nature, perfect symmetry in a mate would likely increase one’s chances of creating healthy offspring.  No wonder we’re so drawn to people with beautifully symmetrical faces.

And yet, there is a certain charm and character attributable to the not-so-symmetrical. With perhaps an even stronger  magnetism, especially where romantic love is concerned, we are drawn towards the imperfect.  Why? One theory suggests that while our minds are pleasantly calmed by symmetry, they also quickly become bored with it.  Intrigued by complexity, when faced with marginally flawed symmetry, our minds are perked and subconsciously go to work to try and figure out what’s causing the disparity.

Although the human body is symmetrical in so many ways, the shape of the human heart is not.   Could that be a clue that perfection in matters of the heart was created to be elusive?   If we are to achieve any semblance of perfection in love, like the rare round stones found sometimes on the beach, it’s only due to years of surviving the pounding waves and stormy seas.  Now there’s something to ponder as we approach Valentine’s Day.

Text and images copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012

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What on earth would you liken love to?  Ever since King Solomon compared his beloved to a garden of delights, poets and writers of prose have made use of elements in nature to describe their feelings of  love in terms that others can understand.  

In the 1700s, ‘The Ploughman’s Poet’ Robert Burns wrote:

My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June…

These wild roses found growing behind Rainbow Haven beach last summer are more pink than red, but the effect is similar.  Their petals look so soft and tender, and the buds seem especially full of promise. 

Anyone who thinks love is only for the young might be surprised to learn that Pulitzer prize winner Carl Sandburg was in his eighties when he wrote these lines from Offering and Rebuff:

I could love you, as dry roots love rain.
I could hold you, as branches in the wind brandish petals.
Forgive me for speaking so soon.

 

‘The Poet for the Planet,’ John Denver, frequently found inspiration in nature… 

You fill up my senses
Like a night in the forest
Like a mountain in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like the sleepy blue ocean…

Later in life, Denver also wrote

Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of change…

If love is anything, it’s never that way for long.  Like so much in nature, it keeps transforming itself as well as those who are touched by it.  

Matt Groening, creator of the comic strip ‘Life in Hell’ and ‘The Simpsons’ wrote:

Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath.  At night, the ice weasels come.

Though ice weasels (ermines), like this one I found last winter in the salt marsh, are pretty cute creatures, they tend to go right for the jugular when attacking.  Love can be like that too.

In good times and bad, there is no denying the power love has over our lives.  Perhaps Solomon, the wisest man who ever walked the planet, said it best…

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.
~ Song of Solomon 8.7

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you’re in the mood to read more about love, here are some previous posts on the topic:

The Deepest Secret

Love at the Beach

Transformations

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