I trust your year is off to a grand start. 2014 has had a bit of a strange beginning for me, but after cramming some reflecting and planning into the last few days, I’m feeling a little more centered. I’m engaging in a bit of avoidance behavior at the moment after taking full advantage of a bonus winter vacation day, thanks to the Polar Vortex. I am not complaining. Otherwise, I would not have time for this post I’d intended to write a week ago.
One of our favorite things to do as a family is to jump in one of the cars and drive/ride around, cameras in hand and snap shots from the car or park and take photos of the interesting things, places and people we find. On New Year’s Day, the hubby, the little one and I took our photo-drive/walk to Monte Sano State Park. Monte Sano, Spanish for “Mountain of Health,” is a 2,140-acre “mountaintop retreat” located in Huntsville, Alabama. It rises 1,600 feet above sea level and has been attracting visitors since the early 1800s.
We walked quite a distance and took in so much beauty that we could hardly contain ourselves. We only left because it was nearing sunset, the time the park closes. It would have been great to see the wildlife in action during the evening hours.
I took dozens of shots, but I am mildly pleased with only a handful.
If you look closely, or maybe with a bit of imagination, you can see the shape of a heart in this tree. I have a “thing” for photographing trees, particularly the same tree through its seasonal changes. This tree reminds me of a heart-shaped tree I shot last September. That tree had lots of leaves, and the heart was a bit more obvious, but I imagine this is what “heart tree” looks like minus leaves.
The network of naked branches and limbs of the tall, thin, and fallen trees is intriguing enough to keep me occupied all day.
Then, from another angle and with rock formations, nature tells a different story.
My son and hubby had a nice long conversation about the possible tenant(s) of this tiny cave. Raccoons? Possums? A fox? [What does the fox say? Sorry. I cannot say the word “fox” without singing that song].
I am also fascinated with tree stumps or tree “remains.” Fueled by childhood stories of Hobbits, elves and fairies, I enjoy imagining tiny beings akin to humans living their lives beyond stumps and such, tiny hollowed tree communities thriving, undetected, right in the midst of us. What stories await us?
Note the twists and turns that must have occurred before this one (above) fell…as if it writhed and resisted the inevitable.
Our tree-lined path.
Time to leave.
This sunset photo was actually taken outside the park, at a lookout a few miles away–the first sunset of 2014.
I’m looking forward to returning to Monte Sano soon and can hardly wait to capture its beauty in the full bloom of spring.
Happy New Year!