Snail Mail | #ThursdayTreeLove | Tree Mail!

from LAW

Who says you can’t fit a tree in a mailbox? My pen friends certainly know how to use snail mail to share what’s growing in their parts of the world, and today I am sharing three photo postcards for your tree-loving pleasure.

My pen friend, Lori Ann W., sent the photo postcard above last October (2021) for a Love Notes prompt. On the back of her card, she wrote:

Find your way through your days knowing you are so very special and are cared about by so many!

A sweet message for a gorgeous scene! The photo was shot by one of her friends, who graciously allowed her to make postcards from the shot.

Christine B, my most prolific pen friend, sent the card below the previous October (2020) for Love Notes too.

from Christine

She wrote:

Give me just a second to remind you how important you are to so many. You have had a lot handed to you and I’m always impressed at how you handle everything.

Aww…this one brought (good) tears to my eyes.

The postcard features a dead ponderosa tree on the bank of Lake Mary in Flagstaff, Arizona. Christine told me Flagstaff has the largest standing ponderosa forest in the country. How cool is that?!

from Karolyn

Finally, these “tree feet” were sent to me by Karolyn for a Photographic Postcard swap on swap-bot. It was sent 6+ years ago, so it has been sitting in my “to be blogged” box an embarrassingly long time.

Karolyn, who’s from Missouri, captured the tree when she visited the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. She found this tree clinging to the rock alongside a waterfall.

All three photo postcards capture the timeless beauty of trees–one tree glowing in the sunset; one dead but standing tall with its evergreen friends; and one with deep, strong roots crawling along a waterfall. Gorgeous sights with beautiful lessons and messages I would have missed if it weren’t for cameras and snail mail.

Snail Mail Quick Tip: Tree mail is easy-peasy to send. Is there an interesting tree along the path you walk, jog, or drive regularly? Is there a favorite tree in your garden? Did you find a tree that took your breath away while you were in a park or on a nature trail? Trees are–thankfully-everywhere, so that makes sending trees a cinch: Just take a shot, have it printed at your local photo printer (even Walmart and Walgreens print postcards onsite), write a note, and send it on its way to make a mailbox and a human happy.


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

NPM | #ThursdayTreeLove | Blues for the Babies

When I published Tuesday’s blog post, I was unaware of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. I have been burying my head in the sand because the recent news cycle has been far from heartening. I learned about the loss of 19 children and two teachers in an early morning meeting. I sat through the meeting sick to my stomach and overwhelmed with grief. 

I thought about the appropriateness of the poem I shared Tuesday—especially its title, “The World Is Wild.” Any world in which an 18-year-old, a child himself, can purchase an assault weapon is out of control. I wondered how I would have crafted that poem had I written it Tuesday; I wondered if I would have been able to find the words.

There are times when the words weigh so heavily in my spirit that no amount of lifting can bring them to the surface. This does not feel like a time for poetry. Or a time for song. The only thing I can feel is a slow, long, moan–a deep gut sound that vibrates and sways and rattles the grief out of the soft and hard to reach places.

Our country seems oriented toward violence. Far too often the targets are innocent individuals minding their business and living their lives. And worse, far too often the targets are children wide-eyed with wild wonder and little clue about the dangers that lurk in dark, dark hearts.

It is mind-numbing to know that children are taught to run and hide in case of an active shooter, that teachers who are trained to educate must also be prepared to protect students from gun violence and even take a bullet for the children they are trained to educate. Why is that?! Why do school buildings become a one-sided war zone for twisted souls with a vendetta and time to kill?

I have no words. I have only the admonition to hold your babies close and hold the individuals who have lost their babies and loved ones close in your heart. Including the family of the perpetrator. They are hurting and grieving too.

The words below are the closing lines of a blues poem I wrote during my sophomore year in college. They are appropriate for this moment.

from “Nobody Told You to Be a Fool”
Chandra Lynn (Age: 20)

Just go to sleep, honey; rock your precious child;
Just close your eyes and rock that tiny child—

Protect that baby’s innocence; find comfort in his smile.  


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

NPM | 52Frames | Reflection

52Frames Week 9 Reflection

These landscapes of water and reflection have become an obsession.  –Claude Monet, August 11, 1908

For this week’s National Photography Month (NPM) posts, I am sharing a few photos from my growing 52Frames collection. I joined the community in January and, surprisingly, I have somehow managed to attain an 18-week streak so far.

52Frames offers a guided weekly photography challenge, designed to help [photographers] improve skills. Every week, we send […] new assignment. [Photographers] have 7 days to take [their] shot and share it with the community. Together, we give feedback and guidance to help [photographers] grow. Oh, and it’s totally free.

What I like most about 52Frames is that the challenges encourage me to take time for photography and creativity every week, so even if I have only a few minutes to spare before deadline, I take the shot.

The photograph above was my submission for “Week 9: Reflection.” I staged several types of reflection photos, but finally settled on this photo from Green Mountain. This was my first outing with the guys after my father passed. I needed the water, sky, trees, and moments of reflection. This scene took care of all those needs. It was shot on the same day as the photo featured in Two Poems for Your Monday.

I’ve shared a few other 52Frames challenge photos on the blog (see links below), but am looking forward to a 52-week streak, so I can share all 52 photos with you. Fingers crossed. 😉


Other 52Frames Photos: 

#ThursdayTreeLove | When the Cherry Tree Blossoms

CherryBlossoms3

I recently took a walk to the building on campus furthest from my own academic home. As I walked, I wondered about the cherry blossom trees near my building. Since the weather is erratic this time of year, I worried that I would miss the short-lived season of blooms. To my right–a little off my path–stood an already-blooming tree, near an almost-completed building on campus.

Work trucks, building materials, and a fence–not the most glorious backdrop for this beauty.

It’s odd [to me] to find trees growing just outside a construction site, sites often prepared by unearthing their nearby friends.  But when the cherry blossom opens, it makes all the sense in the world that a little beauty was left behind. 


I usually join Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. I’m joining a week earlier for the final April post because next week is all about sunflowers and poetry.  If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

#ThursdayTreeLove | Speckled Glory

52Frames Week 14Have I been so busy that it has been almost two weeks since my last post? How did we even get to mid-April so quickly?

Whew!

I have been busy, but everything is bursting with color here in Northern Alabama, so I have been taking “small moments” to photograph color. Last week I focused on the dogwood because the trees have been exploding with those gorgeous white blossoms all over the city! Though I have many shots, I cannot resist sharing with you the photo I shared for last week’s 52Frames prompt–nature.

I’m sharing the photo au naturale. It sort of “misses the point” to tamper with the bloom for a “nature” challenge. So, you get the photo in all its speckled glory!

Even when petals have flaws, all you see is a beautiful flower —Adrianne Elizabeth


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

#ThursdayTreeLove | It’s the Clouds for Me…

Tree Clouds-12

I’m just dropping in to share some iPhone clicks of trees and clouds. Most of the trees are not decked out in spring yet, but there are signs all around that spring is definitely here.

These pics are more about the clouds than the trees, but shhh…we won’t tell the trees. [Click an image for a closer look].

Until next time…


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.

Expressive Pics | Heal

A few days ago, I read a chapter from Morgan Harper Nichols’ latest book Peace Is a Practice. I bought the book thinking it would be filled with her soulful words and art, but though the art is minimal in this book, her words still strike a chord. While absolutely out of my mind and having difficulty starting the day, I read through “Healing.” In the chapter, she shares her struggle with the word “heal” and [among other things] encourages readers to walk slowly and not rush through their healing.

I am worthy
of the time it takes
to do the things
that heal my heart. –Morgan Harper Nichols

When I encountered Nichols’ words, I had been thinking about how we are expected to rush through our grief. Although we might recognize our need to take time to process and study the contours of our grief, the demands of life don’t always allow time for it. Sometimes people acknowledge and express sympathy over the hard loss, but they don’t make room for the heavy weight of our grief. They expect us to be okay immediately because it benefits them for us to be so.

If you are grieving in any way, think about what benefits you. Not in a selfish way, but in a healing way. Draw boundaries and make room for your grief. Do all the things that help you heal and take all the time you need to heal.

Expressive Pics | Foggy Mornings

Expressive Pic Foggy

“Life” has been challenging every fiber of my being lately, so I have turned to the three things that provide salve for my soul–God, my journals, and my camera. My conversations with God and my journal entries are private, but my photos can be shared with the world. 😀

My camera has been my constant companion as I attempt to express my feelings and focus on ordinary moments of joy. This morning’s dense fog required a photograph, but though I did “shoot my shot,” I captured the photo above a few months ago on my way to work. No worries–I was in a long line waiting at a traffic light. 😉

I don’t know what it is about them, but I love foggy mornings!

#ThursdayTreeLove | When Great Trees Fall, or My Father’s Tree

The Last Time Tree

Yesterday, while I was considering using the tree above for today’s #ThursdayTreeLove, I received a text message from my Raven, asking if I were in my office. I had a moment of excitement thinking she was visiting from California and was on her way to see me. Sadly, that was not the case. However, she had her sister, who lives in the area, deliver a beautiful “forever bouquet” with an elegant note tucked inside that only an English major could write [Biased? Perhaps]. Her note included the last verse of Maya Angelou’s poem below.

When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance, fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance of
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

What made Raven’s gift so timely was that this tree is from my parents’ backyard, and I have always associated this tree with my father–maybe because he was usually sitting quietly in or working in the yard in the vicinity of the tree. This photo was shot six days before his passing, moments before I last saw him living, breathing, and still being Daddy.


I am joining Parul Thakur for #ThursdayTreeLove every second and fourth Thursday of the month. If you would like to play along, post a picture of a tree on your blog and link it back to her latest #treelove post.