Posts Tagged ‘scavenger hunt’

fox tracks

It’s so easy for us to take the earth beneath our feet for granted. It demands nothing of us. We know it has nowhere else to go. It’s here to stay.

The earth nourishes. Its stability enables seeds to grow. Animals dig in it and make tunnels and dens for shelter.  The sand at left was dug out of dunes by foxes at Rainbow Haven Beach.

The colors of the earth are varying shades of brown, oranges and yellows.  This element is found in nature in the light sand on the beach, rich dark soil and compost in gardens, shifting desert sands, clay, mud and stones.

An agricultural adage says the tiny animals that live below the surface of a healthy pasture weigh more than the cows grazing above it.   In a catalogue selling composting equipment I read that two handfuls of healthy soil contain more living organisms than there are people on the earth.  What these beings are and what they can be doing is difficult to even begin to comprehend,  but it helps to realize that even though they are many,  they work as one.
~Carol Williams
Bringing a Garden to Life, 1998


Images from our scavenger hunt illustrate earth’s many forms, from the red Australian sand to the wet seashore in England and beautiful fields in British Columbia and Michigan.  The image of a cave entrance from Scene Through My Eyes reveals earth’s mysterious qualities of depth and hidden strength.

Earth images in the montage above were taken from submissions to a Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt.

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green window
The living room window is covered with a curtain of green vines at this time of year.  I feel like I am looking out into the world from the shelter of a forest cover of green.  The layers of Boston Ivy leaves insulate the house from the outdoor heat during these summer months. Later in the autumn, they’ll turn a brilliant red.

To humans, the green wood element refreshes the spirit in springtime and provides food in the summer and fall.   It represents growth and life, attracting and nurturing living creatures within its environment.

If I keep a green bough in my heart,
the singing bird will come.
~ Chinese proverb

wood montage

This montage of images from our scavenger hunt shows how beautiful wood is in all its stages of growth and decay: from young seedling or shoot, to leaf and fruit laden bush or tree, to aged tree stump and driftwood found along the seashore.  It can be pliable but also sturdy.  The wood element thrives with water, is harmed by metal, destroyed by fire and draws its strength from the earth.

Montage images were taken from the Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt.

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license plate

Along with an image of the Bluenose schooner, our Nova Scotia license plates have ‘Canada’s Ocean Playground’ written on them. Water is everywhere here: in the sea that surrounds us almost completely, the lakes that dot the province inland and the misty bogs that are found in the spaces between. To live in Nova Scotia is to know water. Our history and lore is full of fishermen, sailors and privateers, men who made a living at sea.

But you don’t need to be a Bluenoser to know water. You just need to live on the planet. Water is everywhere and where it is most rare, there it is also most precious.

water water

Water images from our recent scavenger hunt reveal the variety of ways water infiltrates our psyches.  Jessica from The Magical Mundane offered that “Water is a feminine, flowing element associated with patience and quiet strength, but it can also generate fear with its power.”  Dawn‘s image at centre, of a fish in water, is from Australia, where water resources are highly vulnerable to climate change.

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.

~ Benjamin Franklin

Water’s colors range from bright aqua to the darkest of blue-blacks with everything in between.  It is also transparent.  Fluid and adaptable, water conforms itself to whatever shape will hold it:  crystals in snow, or droplets in clouds and rain, fruits and flowers and swimming pools.  Water also makes up most of our human bodies.  We are water itself.

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.

~ Loren Eiseley

License plate photo credit:  woody1778 at Flickr

Water images photo credits:  A Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt

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The following is a list of links for submissions received to date  for the scavenger hunt:

  1. Jessica at The Magical Mundane in Michigan USA
  2. Kathy at Opening the Door, Walking Outside in Michigan USA
  3. JoAnn at Scene Through My Eyes in Washington USA
  4. Dawn at Sahlah Photos & Thoughts in Washington USA
  5. Jessica at Nature in Focus in the United Kingdom
  6. Robin at Robin Eye Photography in New York USA
  7. Pamela at Books in Northport in Michigan USA
  8. Gerry at Torch Lake Views in Michigan USA
  9. Joan (see images below) in British Columbia Canada

Information about the scavenger hunt can be found in the following posts:

Thank you to everyone who participated and everyone who offered comments, both here and on participants’ blogs.  I’ll be posting a recap and an announcement of winners later this week.


The following images were submitted to the scavenger hunt by Joan in British Columbia:

flaming leaves

FIRE–Flaming leaves reach for the sky, Sardis Park, BC  (Patterns: Branch, flame-like tips)harrison lake

WATER–Evening at Harrison Lake, BC  (Pattern: Meander–the crests of the mountains)

silver hair

METAL–The Canadian Silverhair, Native to BC  (Pattern: Spiral)

tree rings

WOOD–Tree rings, Cultus Lake, BC  (Pattern: Circle)


EARTH–Wild grass on a misty day, Greendale, BC  (Pattern: Branch)

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moon shell 2

Here in Nova Scotia, shellfish such as lobsters and crabs are our most famous scavengers, bottom feeders that keep the ocean clean of decaying matter.  Scavenging may be a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.   Some scavengers, such as cockroaches and vultures,  are considered quite unattractive, making the job they do seem even more lowly.   Others, such as lovely molluscs, seem to make the act of scavenging less repulsive.  However, regardless of  how they appear to the rest of us, all scavengers are skilled at making the most of whatever they can find.

medium shellA scavenger hunt is a game where the goal is to complete tasks or find items on a list. The Mid-Summer Scavenger Hunt outlined earlier this season involves taking photos showing each of 5 elements in nature: water, earth, fire, wood and metal. You take your list and your camera, go outside and do your best to find one of each. Scavenger hunting is fun and all are invited to give it a try.  The last day to submit your entry is this coming Monday, July 20th.

Although going out into nature with your eyes wide open is its own reward, there will be prizes for participants.  If you haven’t submit your entry yet, remember to…

  • Be creative.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Be a lateral thinker.
  • Engage both sides of your brain.

Prizes will take the form of color reproductions of drawings featured either on Flandrum Hill or my art blog, Drawing Conclusions.  Last season, all in good fun, Gerry of Torch Lake Views offered a virtual Goldsworthy award.  Who knows what interesting things will happen this time round!

As of this morning, two creative scavengers in Michigan have already participated and posted their results:

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red leaf

Five elements are thought to exist in Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of interpreting environments.  These are:  earth, water, fire, metal and wood.  Colors are also believed to represent these elements.  In the image above, a blazing red leaf gives the impression of fire. Its fire quality is emphasized even more by its triangular shape which is reminiscent of the tongue of a flame.


Brown garden stones, shown supporting one another above, represent the earth element, a symbol for wisdom.  Along with browns, yellows and oranges also allude to the nurturing earth.  Square shapes emphasize this element even further.  

green stems

The wood element, which symbolizes growth, is ubiquitous in a forest landscape where it is revealed in a variety of greens.  Yet, even near the ocean or in the city, green growth is not difficult to find.  The branch shape in the green floral stems above, found along a salt marsh, underlines the wood element in this image even further.

grey rainbow haven

White, grey, silver and gold reveal the metal element in nature.  Positively, this element can communicate strength and solidity.  Negatively, it can suggest sadness, as in the image above, of an overcast and rainy day at the beach.

Blue Flag Iris

Water can be represented in a landscape by a pond or stream, but also by the presence of cool, dark blues as shown in the Blue Flag Iris at left.  A bed of black tulips planted in the shape of a meander would be especially representational of the water element.

Like nature, color can be both simple and complex.  It never ceases to amaze or arouse wonder in those who seek to understand it better.

This post is written to provide further insight into the relationship between the elements and color in nature, as first introduced in my earlier post about a Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt.

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
~ Georgia O’Keefe

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