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Oh no!  It’s after dinner, and I haven’t any outdoor blog idea…or any photos to share!  What should I do?

The Old Friend "Eagle Pond"

The Old Friend "Eagle Pond"

Obviously, hop in the car and drive down to the Eagle Pond.  One could walk, but there’s the problem of those waggy-tailed roaming dogs who live in between here and there.  I’m sorry, but I didn’t want their tongue-panting sweet-lipped noisy jumpy company.  I wanted….shhhh….quiet….sitting beside the pond until the Mind is as still as the reflection of trees on the water.

Geometric reflections

Geometric reflections

Well, the Mind never did get that quiet.  However, the camera lens began to wander here and there, up and down, around and around, seeking some interesting views.  It wanted to see some deer lapping water from the still pond, or perhaps an eagle diving low, or maybe even the reflection of a dragonfly against the blue depths.  Never mind what it wanted.

Instead it saw:

Slugs on pink

Slugs on pink

The question is:  what is that pink lifeboat the slugs are marooned upon?  I carefully leaned forward to gently prod.  Seemed like a pink mushroom. It rested very close to the water.  The slugs seemed happy.

Cushion of soft wet green moss

Cushion of soft wet green moss

I brought a dry purple cushion to sit upon next to the pond, considering that it rained gustily much of the morning.  Can you imagine how soaked you would be if you lowered yourself unwittingly upon that wet green moss?  You’d be headed home in two seconds flat, and just think how wet your car seat would get.

Beaver-chewed floating sticks

Beaver-chewed floating sticks

Just before heading home, I discovered a new path in the woods.  It was an animal trail, probably a deer trail.  I imagined the deer coming down to drink in the early pink morning skies.  Perhaps the beavers or otters splashing around.  Chickadees singing overhead.  Kind of makes you want to get up at 6 a.m. and sit cross-legged in the dawn, doesn’t it?  Kind of?  Almost?

Hidden deer path

Hidden deer path

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Ice melting on Keweenaw Bay in L'Anse

Ice melting on Keweenaw Bay in L'Anse

You know the feeling when you’ve been peering too intently at details for awhile?  Our eyes get bleary and we realize we’re focusing rather exclusively on the small picture, the minute aspects, the details.  Suddenly we expand our vision and see the BIG PICTURE.

Ahhh, to relax and witness the larger landscape.  They say the eagle soars high above us in the sky and witnesses the world entirely different than many of us humans.  Its view rotates in an all-encompassing way.  It perhaps sees the lake, the seagulls, the nest, the people, the trees, the hills, the boats and the fish as a connected whole rather than separated into minuscule parts.  (Except maybe when it’s hungry, it only sees the fish…) 

When we suddenly feel cramped or too focused from examining, say, the whorls on tree bark or tiny wintergreen berries or listening to our minds re-hash certain incidents for the fifty thousandth time…maybe it’s a moment to expand our view and see the wider picture.  Pause and allow our minds to rest in the 360 degree view that always surrounds us.

The Eagle Pond (or "Timmy's Pond, depending on who you are)

The Eagle Pond (or "Timmy's Pond, depending on who you are)

Yesterday I walked down to the Eagle Pond, pausing to examine dozens of details.  Snap the camera, snap, snap.  Always going smaller, into the details, into the lines and colors and etchings.  Today we’ll expand larger.  Do you actually want to see the pond itself?  Readers, meet the Eagle Pond.  Eagle Pond, meet my friends and family and other lovers of the outdoors.

The eagles soar here every day

The eagles soar here every day

The first photo highlighted the Keweenaw Bay.  This picture reveals our Huron Bay.  There’s a jutting peninsula that settles out onto Lake Superior between the two bays.  That’s where we live.  Keweenaw Bay is like the big brother or big sister to the Huron Bay, which measures much smaller.

I loved the sky.  It seemed milky yesterday.  A bald eagle flew off toward the other side of the bay, probably disturbed because I settled myself under its tree perch.  Such majestic flapping of wings, such a noble head and white tail feathers.  The immature eagles take four to five years to reach full plumage with the white tail; as youngsters they’re mottled and spotty dark brown and white.

Cheri and Art Jones, our neighbors (and blog readers!)

Cheri and Art Jones, our neighbors (and blog readers!)

OK, moving slightly away from soaring with the eagles and experiencing the wider view, and coming down to earth…I had a very exciting outdoor adventure today!  I walked down the road to meet Cheri and AJ, who are regular readers of this blog, from Ohio.  They have a garage where they’re camping on our road, and plan to retire here eventually. 

Cheri and AJ were probably the only readers anxious to get me home from the Florida vacation so they could hear how spring was progressing in the Upper Peninsula.  “Yes, yes, Florida’s OK and everything, BUT…”  

I tried to lure them on a tramp through the woods to a gorgeous ravine, but they were heading back to Ohio today.  Oh darn!  Next time, we all agreed.  They are the nicest couple and I feel really grateful that the space of this blog brought us together.  Stay tuned, you guys, for LOTS more Upper Peninsula outdoors adventures in the next…how many days?…getting out the calculator…256 days!

Joe Bollech captures a photo of a tiny yellow crocus.  How many of these are there in the U.P.?

Joe Bollech captures a photo of a tiny yellow crocus. How many of these are there in the U.P.?

This day contained miracles.  I suppose every day comes filled to the brim with miracles, but today they announced themselves loudly.  Everywhere I walked outside the Miracles announced themselves.

The first picture isn’t even mine.  Chatting with my friend Sue earlier in the day, she admitted the spotting of daffodil near her house.  Really?  A daffodil??  I said the hunt was on for crocuses, as a certain friend (yes, Margo, it’s you) had suggested the crocuses should be blooming.  I was beginning to think Margo might be dreaming, as she now lives down in Arizona.  But, sure enough, Sue decided to go look on the hill behind her house.

You see the results!  Her husband received the job of conducting the photo shoot and emailing Spring’s delightful crocus peeking up from the earth.  He sent a white flower bulb, as well.  Now isn’t that a miracle?

Sap popsicle

Sap popsicle

The second miracle occurred immediately after leaving the house.  A sap icicle dripped from a tree branch, maybe six inches long.  I tasted the sweet icicle (better than any popsicle let me tell you!) before it dropped to the ground.  Believe me, I was on my hands and knees looking for it.  Only a small piece the size of a nickel remained.  Oh how sweet it was!

Doesn't that look like a bird, maybe an eagle, etched in stone?

Doesn't that look like a bird, maybe an eagle, etched in stone?

Walking slowly down the road toward the Eagle Pond. The above rock suddenly announced its very own Miracle.  Wow, who etched that bird on its face shining for us all to see?  Probably a road grader or bulldozer, as it rested on the edge of the road.  My heart smiled, wanting to show it to all of you.

The Eagle Pond is my name for a lovely little pond down at the end of the road.  An elderly neighbor recently shared that she calls it Timmy’s pond because her grandson used to fish there when he was a kid.  They would wonder “Where’s Timmy?” and it turned out he was always fishing at the pond. I’ve decided the eagle’s own rights to the pond’s name it, as they spend the most time there these days.

Eagle fluff just blowin' in the wind

Eagle fluff just blowin' in the wind

You see from the photo above that the eagle left a bit of his (or her) fluff as a tiny Miracle.  In later summer, they’ll drop long black feathers or majestic white tail feathers to the ground.  Each one is a gift to the Universe.  I like to sit next to the sacred feathers and express gratitude, or pray, or admire the quill and tiny network of feathers.  What gorgeous clothes the eagles wear.

Ice-encased branches over rushing stream

Ice-encased branches over rushing stream

Twenty steps away from the eagle fluff, heading toward the running stream, already plotting how to cross it without falling in, another gasp rose involuntarily.  What beautiful ice formations!  The photos refused to capture the shimmering icy look of it.  I’ve rarely seen such thick branch-icicles. 

How many more Miracles can fit in a single blog?  How about two more? 

Language of pine needles and bits of cone on snow

Language of pine needles and bits of cone on snow

OK, maybe you won’t count this pine needle photo as a Miracle.  But I do!  It felt like calligraphy in some weird way.  Of course, I was thinking about calligraphy all day since visiting Salah’s blog and seeing how she’d captured a calligraphy shot out of simple aluminum shards.  Hers looks like real calligraphy, but this photo felt strangely like it was telling a story.  And if you stared at all the needles and cones long enough, you’d know.  (Look around Salah’s blog; she has lots of great nature shots!  I’m sure she won’t mind if you linger.)

And finally, our Grand Finale!  How about a leaf etched in mud?  It’s almost like art.  I love it, how ’bout you?

Leaf etched in mud.  OK, is anyone else excited about this?

Leaf etched in mud. OK, is anyone else excited about this?

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