This week, we take a look at the elements in nature and beyond. Consider these four main elements: water, air, fire, and earth, substances formerly believed to compose the physical universe. Within each element are versions, for example, earth–which includes rocks, stones, soil, wood, etc. Water takes three forms: ice, vapor (clouds, steam), and liquid. The wind and sky are components of air… you get the idea.
If you want to get technical, you can approach this challenge from the periodic table of elements and metals or tackle aether, also called quintessence (the fifth element), a material that fills the region of the universe above the terrestrial sphere (according to a variety of sources). Some of us might have unintentional photos of aether (aka pics of “nothing”).
Merriam-Webster and Collins Online Dictionaries have multiple definitions for the word elemental. “Fundamental; basic; primal (the elemental needs of humans); of or relating to the nature of earth, air, water, and fire considered as elements; being a chemical element in uncombined form; being an essential or the basic part or parts.”
This week I am also introducing my word of the year (WOTY).
Bur first, to get you started on our elemental journey, last week I mentioned we visited Grand Coulee Dam, a two-hour drive west of Spokane, where I enjoyed wonderful photo-ops of deer. I promised you a picture of the dam. In this photo taken January 22, 2022, the outside temps were 25F, below freezing. You can make out the icy trails of water rolling down the face, surrounded by low clouds, snow, and ice. A good example of how humankind corraled the elements (water and stone) together to create: hydropower for irrigation and water supply, and electricity, a version of fire. This image in no way does the size of the dam justice. It really is massive…
Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River about 90 miles northwest of Spokane, Washington, is one of the largest structures ever built by mankind–an engineering wonder built in 1933-1942. Its mass of concrete stands 550 feet high and 5,223 feet long, or just shy of a mile. Grand Coulee contains 12 million cubic yards of concrete, or enough to build a highway from Seattle to Miami. More massive than the Great Pyramid of Giza, Grand Coulee is listed by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States.National Park Service
An Elemental Autumn Weekend in the Desert
Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.John Muir
As I was thinking about Becky B’s ODD squares challenge that begins February 1st, I remembered my previously-shared odd clouds and went back into my photo archives from October 2016 to the weekend we traveled to the Mojave Desert area in Southern California. We stayed with friends in the Helendale area near Victorville and attended their Halloween event. During that weekend, it seemed that all the elements came together as we explored the area!
This image shows all four elements of air, water vapor in the form of clouds, and Mother Earth in the form of plants and soil. I suppose it’s a stretch to use the telephone pole as a symbol of “fire” as a conduit for electricity.
In the home we stayed in, ducks greeted us at the backyard deck at sunrise, happily floating on the Mohave River Aquafer of Silver Lake.
This area of the Mohave Desert driving toward the Tehachapi Mountains is known to be windy, hence the wind turbines. Our friends can windsurf on Silver Lake, where hundreds of homes line the marina areas.
A flame lights a candle as the Halloween party commences, under the fiery sunset. Even the sun can’t withstand the power of clouds as they obscure its light.
Earth: Man-made Structures of Stone and Wood
My friend created beautiful decorations at her party that included this collection of stones and gems. The marina shows examples of stone and wood built over water, under a cloudy sky.
The wood structure marks the Historic Route 66 sign.
My Word of the Year (WOTY)
Today I’m officially introducing my WOTY (word of the year). Recalling this week’s theme, my word reflects the theme of elements, or more specifically, in this case, elemental, if we accept the definition of it being an essential or basic part or parts.
My word of the year is WALK.
That being said, it seems to me a WOTY is a guide for the way we act and think, right? Walking is a part of me! This is my first time mindfully sharing a WOTY and I have admired those who have determined theirs over the years while sticking to their word’s meanings. Between many of my fellow bloggers who have shared theirs and encouragement from our church, 2022 seemed like a great time to start.
I know it doesn’t seem like a dynamic word, but it kept making its presence known to me and serves as both a spiritual and physical reminder of values I hold dear.
This is a two-fold word of the year. After two years of uncertainty and stress from the pandemic as well as moving to a new state in 2020, buying/selling real estate and all of that inherent stress, I desperately need to continue my spiritual walk with the Lord, as well as my physical walks outdoors.
Some Definitions of WALK
Walk is a verb: to go on foot: step, hike, hobble, strut, waddle, wander, walk the dogMerriam-Webster
Walk is a noun: “a relaxed journey on foot for exercise or pleasure.”
A place (walkway, promenade), go on a walk
Walking is a manner of living, a spiritual walk…
For we walk by faith, not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7
To connect walk to the elements, think of things we say:
- Walk on water, walking in the water
- Firewalk, walk over live coals
- Walking on air, the clouds are walking
- A walk in the park (earth)…
Walking in the Physical and the Spiritual
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out I found, was really going in.”John Muir
I find it easy to walk and hike in my area. The snow and ice have made it a little touchy this winter, but I choose main roads that are cleared and sanded by the snowplows. Like Frank shares with us at Beach Walk Reflections, I find my mind is made clear and I can think better while walking. The fresh air is incredible and of course quite crisp now in winter. But when that winter sun finally shines after weeks of fog, it feels miraculous. I’m already prone to SAD as I’ve mentioned, but even a 30-minute walk with the dogs is amazing mental and physical therapy. I get to talk with the Lord a little, too, and utter a few prayers as they come to me.
Having a spiritual walk coupled with a physical daily walk is just the elemental structure I need. As I embark on a daily spiritual walk with God, I shall truly be grateful for my life.
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31
“Lord, you are my rock in times I have walked by faith through fire toward the living waters of your Word. May your Holy Spirit refresh me in my daily walks.” My elemental prayer.
Photo Challenges this Week
There is some serious double-dipping going on this week as I contribute to several challenges.
- Becky B’s ODD squares (Preview)
- Cats and Trails and Garden Tales
- Frank’s Beach Walk Reflections
- Hammad’s Weekend Skies
- Johnbo’s CellPic Sunday
- Jez’ Water, Water Everywhere
- Jo’s Monday Walk
- Lens-Artists: Travel
- Marsha’s Writers Quotes Wednesday: Word of the Year
- Word of the Year Link-Up Party (co-hosted by 4 bloggers)
Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders
Sunday Stills weekly photo challenge is easy to join. You have all week to share and link your post.
- Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
- Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
- Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
- Tag your post “Sunday Stills.”
- Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
This Week’s Links
Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are this week’s links from bloggers who shared photos of the elements.
- YOUR NAME HERE!
- Always Write
- Beach Walk Reflections
- Bend Branches
- Between the Lines
- Bushoys World
- Calling All Rush-Babes
- The Day After
- Deb’s World
- Easin’ Along Image shared in comments
- Geriatrix FotoGallery
- Graham’s Island
- Hugh’s Views and News
- Idaho Bluebird (I missed her “white” post, but this has snow!)
- Idaho Bluebird
- Loving Life
- Musin’ with Susan
- Now At Home
- Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After
- Picture Retirement
- Priorhouse Blog
- Retirement Reflections Image shared on Instagram
- NEW Savoring Sixty and Beyond
- That Travel Lady In Her Shoes
- This is Another Story
- Travels and Trifles
- Travel With Me
- Whippet Wisdom
- Wind Kisses
- Woolly Muses
- Working On Exploring wildlife encounters
- Working on Exploring
Themes for February are ready to view on my Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Page. This page is updated monthly and I am open to YOUR theme ideas, too! February is National Feed the Birds month, so we’ll kick off next week’s Sunday Stills (February 6) by feeding the birds.
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I’m looking forward to seeing your posts of the elements this week. Please feel free to be creative and have a great week!
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