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Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to photograph five natural subjects that each captures one of the following elements.  Each one is characterized by one or several colors that may be substituted for a literal image of the element.  We must then post ona blog or email flandrumhill (the organizer of this hunt) with the depictions by July 20th.

The elements are:

1.  Fire (red)

2.  Water (blue or black)

3.  Metal (white, gold or silver)

4.  Earth (brown or yellow)

5.  Wood (green)

Even though she posted notice of the Scavenger Hunt on Midsummer’s Eve, some of us have not yet completed the assignment.  This morning I knew today was the day.  But how to proceed, how to proceed? 

One could cheat and copy photos already taken.  But that wouldn’t satisfy requirements for an outdoor adventure today.  Sitting on the couch, pondering, suddenly the playing field materialized in the mind’s eye.

I am pretty much convinced we can find exciting treasures in small patches of earth.  Like our back yards.  Our front yards.  We don’t need to travel long distances.  We sometimes just need to plop on a piece of land and explore.  In the world of tiny-seeing, in smallness, in slowness…a magnificent world often opens up to us.

Would it be possible to find all the natural elements of this scavenger hunt in a small patch of ground? 

I took the measuring stick out into an area surrounding the fire pit which last burned on Winter Solstice at the consecration of this Outdoor Commitment.  See this blog to view our fire and blurry lights from the darkness of the night. We danced around the flames, honoring the shortest day of the year.  And we spoke our plans and desires for the upcoming seasons.  How apropos to re-visit this place and truly look deeply on Midsummer’s Eve.  (Well, let’s not quibble.  It is a little past June 2oth.  But in theory we’re still celebrating the long days of summer with this scavenger hunt.)

OK, OK, I’m almost through “setting the stage”.  The photos shall now present themselves.  Let me tell you how hard it is to limit the photos to five!  I could easily post ten or twelve here.  But, alas.  Flandrumhill said five, and we don’t want to break the rules so quickly.

Earth.  Brown meandering...hmmm, don't know what it is.  But I like it.

Earth. Brown meandering...hmmm, don't know what it is. But I like it.

Ooops, almost forgot to tell you.  There’s more to this scavenger hunt than meets the eye.  Not only should we photograph the five natural elements, we are also encouraged to include patterns of nature.  (I figured this would be fairly impossible in a 12 X 12 foot patch of earth, but you’d be surprised.)  Here are five common patterns:  stars, circles, spirals, branching out and meanders.

I found lots of dried brown and orange leaves and the yellow centers of daisies, as well as buttercups.  Also the soil itself, but well hidden beneath layers and layers of breaking-down debris and rotting leaves.

Rain drops on fern

Water. Rain drops on fern.

Fortunately, it had just rained.  Moisture glistened on the plants and leaves.  Of course this meant one needed to wear rain pants to intimately explore the terrain on hands and knees.  Other photo possibilities included the leaden blue heavy clouded sky and above and the black burned wood and ash in the wood pit.

Red of the fire element paints this leaf

Fire. Red of the fire element paints this leaf.

The fire element seemed the most challenging to find in the small plot of land.  The berries weren’t ripe, darn it.  No beautiful red flowers dangled above green stems anywhere.  There was the actual fire pit.  I contemplated that for awhile.  That’s when something started to click in the brain.  The elements aren’t actually solid and separate, are they?

Take the burned wood sitting in the fire pit.  The wood represents the earth.  The dark black ash represents water.  The fire pit itself represents the fire.  Gray silvery ash represents the metal element and green (wood) surrounds it.  Wood is what it is.  The five elements dance together and apart, present in all.

The above leaf looks like it has some sort of discoloring, perhaps a fungus or mold. 

Pearly everlasting like a radiant nucleus of a star

Metal. Pearly everlasting like a radiant nucleus of a star.

The pearly everlasting represents the Metal Element, white beauty that she is. 

The wood element (three leaf clover) with its repeating circles

Wood. The wood element (three leaf clover) with its repeating circles.

The color green ruled the 12 x 12 foot plot!  Everywhere you looked, green vibrated and grew gustily all around.  From the ferns to the leaves to the plants…we can tell it’s the depth of summer.  I am wondering whether one could discover each of the five elements in this same plot at Winter Solstice?  Hmmm….

Thanks for the fun, flandrumhill!

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