Brilliant Bursts of Nature

I explored the beautiful gems of summer hidden in nature this past week. The next four weeks I’ll be sharing the brilliant bursts of nature I discovered.

I hope you enjoy!

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Munsinger Gardens in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

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An exquisite fountain, again at Munsinger Gardens.

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All that’s left of my grandparents’ farm where I spent nearly every Sunday while growing up. The farm may be gone, but my memories are vividly present.

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Emerald moss carpet leading to a fabulous fern garden.

IMG_4050Beautiful forest among the fern garden.

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Such a gorgeous sunset.

In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!
― Mehmet Murat ildan

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. — Laura Ingalls Wilder

Nature at its Finest

We spent some time at our place in Estes Park, Colorado this past weekend. In fact, we’re actually there now as I write this post. Before me is the amazing mountainside on the other side of the river right outside my sliding glass door, a cup of coffee at my side, one of my fur babies at my feet. This morning I enjoyed the hot tub right outside my door as the sun rose on the mountaintops. Typically there are a lot of tourists here, as Estes Park is consistently recognized as one of the top visiting sites, but this weekend was quiet and so peaceful. Every time I’m here, I’m reminded how blessed my life is.

Since I can’t seem to get enough of this place and would live up here if my day job and my husband’s commitments didn’t keep us elsewhere, I thought I’d share some of its charm with everyone. It doesn’t matter the season, it’s heaven on earth.

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This is one of my favorite little walkout hiding places. It’s located right off the trail that circles Lake Estes. The lake’s shoreline is about 4 miles.

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A lot of weddings are held here, also on the shoreline of Lake Estes.

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Bear frequent the area so these are located everywhere. Last fall as we were walking the fur babies in the early morning hours at our place, we ran into a mama and her two babies in our parking lot. That was a little too close for me!

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The art of fly fishing has always fascinated me and is on my bucket list. Someday. This river connects to Lake Estes. I’ve never fished here–yet–but rumor has it there are Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Sockeye salmon, Yellow perch, and Cutthroat trout.

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The mountains in the back of this photo were breathtaking on my run this morning.

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This beast was unconcerned with the growing crowd around him last summer.

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This duel was right outside of our sliding glass doors last fall.

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This beauty was allowing us to admire him this afternoon.

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We hiked this trail last summer. It’s located in Rocky Mountain National Park. Our place is a mere 1/2 mile from the entrance to the park.

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This is off the same hiking trail last summer in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Now it’s back to camp. Camp NaNo, that is. Book two in the Whispering Pines Mysteries is well underway. And no surprise, it’s set in the Colorado mountains. But I need to step it up a bit if I’m going to meet my goal.

Have a beautiful week.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. John Muir

 

Vacation Highlight

Last week I disappeared off of the blog radar for a spell while I went on vacation. When I went back to work this past Monday I had three people ask me what the highlight of my vacation was.  The same answer to all three people resulted in the same response from all three.

Clearly these were not writing co-workers who asked me the question.

As we were walking on the sidewalk in Taos, taking in the sights–and there are a lot of sights in Taos, many of which involve people–I saw a sign propped on the sidewalk in front of Brodsky Books bookstore – Natalie Goldberg was to appear there that evening from 4:00 – 6:00.  I stopped dead in my tracks,  grabbed my husband’s arm to stop him from walking any further and tried not to trip over my jaw that hit the ground. That couldn’t possibly be THE Natalie Goldberg, could it? The one who’s books Wild Mind and Writing Down the Bones offered validation to my love of writing?  And what about Old Friend From Far Away that is now assisting me in writing my memoir? Oh Man! I seriously could not contain my excitement! And thank goodness my husband knows me well enough to allow me a moment to catch my breath before expecting to know the reason for my “crazy.”

 

The rest of the afternoon I checked my watch every few minutes to be sure I wouldn’t be late, and when I got there I unashamedly squished myself into the already packed room. My husband, bless him, walked back to the lodge where we were staying and left me there to bask in the glow of the writerly atmosphere, surrounded by books, people who love words and story, and  listen to Natalie read her work.

After I floated dreamily back to the lodge–no joke–I thanked God for being with me on that vacation, because that was no coincidence.  That was a gift from my Father. And then I wrote.  I wrote with renewed passion and enthusiasm fueled by that blessing, hoping I was blessing my Father.

And Taos? The artistic vibe there was amazing. It bred creativity like no place else I’ve ever been.

“Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make it so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, or drop a jar of applesauce.”
Natalie Goldberg

 

 

 

 

“V” is for…

Vacation

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Who doesn’t love a vacation? The image of my toes in the sand, a cool drink in my hand…ahhh…heaven.

When I was younger my definition of vacation was narrow, including only the traditional meaning of the word–“a period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel.” (Merriam-Webster).

As I get older–although I prefer the word “seasoned” rather than older–I have developed a much broader view of the word, which now encompasses the full definition–”

1:  a respite or a time of respite from something :  intermission

2a :  a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended
 b :  a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3:  a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation
(“Vacation.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vacation)

Vacation means more than just a break.  Taking a break from something has its time and place, but taking a vacation is feeding the soul.

It means spending time reading a book in the sun, even if it’s on my backyard patio, with a glass of lemonade, without a shred of guilt from thinking I should be doing something.

Vacation means going somewhere with no phone service, no television, and no computer.

It means pitching a tent in the woods with nothing but a backpack, the smell of oak trees and bonfire smoke, sounds of rustling leaves, black coffee early in the morning, and the ripples on the waters surface to start the day.

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It means a day spent lying in a boat floating in the water for an afternoon, throwing a line in to catch dinner, and even dozing off in the sun.

It means picnics under a big oak tree, eating nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and chips, stretching out for an afternoon nap afterwards.

What does your ideal vacation look like?