Sunday Stills: A Celebration of #Leaves

Red Maple

How is it November first already? This morning, here in the US, we set the clocks back to end daylight saving time. Lighter in the morning, darker at night, but I am glad to get that hour back!

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is all about leaves. No matter where you live, you may have some kind of display of leaves, whether they are newly green from spring in the southern hemisphere or a downright festival of leaves here in the northern hemisphere.

Believe it or not, here in Northern California, our leaves have not turned yet due to unseasonably warm weather. Once it gets cold enough overnight, the sap stops running within the trees and leaves start the process of changing colors to eventually drop as the trees become dormant.

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower quote

Join me as we celebrate leaves!

My current leaf images were gathered from central Oregon and Spokane, Washington during last week’s road trip to move another load of household items.

Our trip was delayed due to an Un-Named truck rental company’s decision to cancel our reservation for no reason. Although we were delayed by two days, we eventually got a great deal on the new rental and saved $1,400. To do this we had to drive the 20-foot truck there and back. Apparently, a lot of folks are moving out of California and trucks are not making it back. Oops, that would be us.

October Autumn Central Oregon
Central Oregon

So while hubby drove the first two days, I captured some fab Fall leaves on the road.

“I wonder if leaves feel lonely when they see their neighbors falling.”

John Muir

Once we got into Spokane, I wandered through my BIL’s backyard and took a lot of pics. I took these on Tuesday and Wednesday before we left early Thursday morning. On Friday, a major winter storm landed in Spokane, Eastern Washington, and Western Idaho and dumped over 7 inches of snow, breaking an October snowfall record from 1959! One more day of lingering and we would have been delayed getting home.

Red Maple
Red Maple

Needless to say, most of the beautiful leaves dropped like stones after the first snow! This image was taken two years ago right after the first snow on Veteran’s Day.

Fallen frosted leaves

Here are some more from my archives.

A California Fall, a mix of autumn leaves juxtaposed with palm trees.

Autumn leaves and palm
Autumn Birch Tree
Autumn birch leaves look like butterflies.
Autumn leaf on wood shows it's splendor

This was taken last December! I have a feeling our Fall colors may be delayed again until this December.

leaf reflections

I’m also joining the Lens-Artist challenge “Focus on the subject”, hosted by Patti Moed. I enjoy focusing on leaves as they have fallen onto the ground.

fall leaves on ground

This week’s images are also shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day (because every leaf is a flower) and for Dawn’s Festival of Leaves.

I look forward to seeing your images of leaves! Please feel free to share poetry, music or stories of your leaves!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Reflections of a Mother’s #Giving

Sunday Stills duck banner

Today is Mother’s Day in the US. In our current state of the world, many mothers will not see their families in person today.

This is the first Mother’s Day I am without my own mother. Many of you know she passed away on March 3rd, thankfully before the coronavirus prevented folks from spending time with their loved ones in the hospitals and care homes.

I dedicate today’s post and theme to all the mothers who give love, time, and their hearts to their families and communities.

My mom was a giver. She loved to shower family and friends with thoughtfully chosen and unusual gifts, especially to her grandchildren. She enjoyed perusing gift shops for just that right gift. This photo shows this tiny frog that hangs on the side of a potted plant. She gave me these years ago, both the frog and a tortoise. The plants are in my kitchen windowsill where I can see these all day and remember her thoughtfulness.

Frog plant hanger

Many commented on our Facebook post announcing her passing how much they enjoyed the gifts she had given them over the years.

Mom gave back to her community in many ways, most notably, her volunteer work with San Diego’s Project Wildlife. She spent 10 years from 1998, rescuing orphaned and injured ducks, nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into local lakes and reservoirs. She had a backyard full of ducks in various stages of need and health, some domestic and many wild.

Ducks enjoy the river
Wild ducks enjoy the river

I like to think that this photo of her as a teen (seen here playing with her pet skunk, while her brother plays with their pet, Lucky Duck), foreshadowed her interest in this happy endeavor.

Family enjoying pet duck and skunk

Mom’s giving was represented in her love for recreation and leisure. She loved gardening and cultivated beautiful roses. She taught me how to create potted flower vignettes in my garden and showed me how to cut back my roses for better growth. She would have loved my current backyard garden filled with sunflowers and plumeria.

Saucer-sized American Beauties
Saucer-sized American Beauties from my garden!

I believe her enduring legacy was that she instilled the love for our national parks and outdoor leisure spaces into not just her children, but her grandchildren and beyond.

Next generation in Yosemite

She was continually inspired by the words of John Muir and made sure we all received a healthy dose of nature and its awe-inspiring grandeur.

In every walk with nature...Muir
Yosemite Valley
Everyone needs beauty...and places to play in...
Sunset on Lembert Dome, high country of Yosemite

Like many moms, I will not be with my daughters this year. This lovely bouquet from my daughters arrived Wednesday night!

Floral Bouquet

Speaking of giving, last week was the traditional week of giving with Thursday designated as the Big Day of giving. Non-profit organizations really rely on monetary and in-kind donations to operate. I have my car full of bags ready to donate to local non-profits as soon as they re-open.

Giving

Sunday Stills is taking a break on May 17th but join us again on May 24th for our water-themed challenge.

Are you a mother, a daughter, a niece, an auntie, a grandmother or granddaughter? Please enjoy your Mother’s Day and reflect on those memories while making new ones!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: The Great #Outdoors

Great Outdoors American Flag

The last day of June 2019 is a wonderful way to spend in the outdoors, our theme for this week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge. June was National Great Outdoors Month, which seems appropriate as many folks begin their summer vacations.

To help inspire you, today I am sharing some of my favorite photos of this year’s visits to the great outdoors along with some motivational quotes.

You know that I am an outdoors person, therefore most of my leisure time is spent outdoors appreciating nature. Since hubby is an adventurous spirit, anything outdoors is our first choice for time together.

Last December found us in the Arizona desert enjoying a warm hike on one day and snowy New Year’s the next.

“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.”

Edward Abbey

In January we completed our road trip in Las Vegas in awe of the red rocks of Valley of Fire State Park. Once home we towed the trailer back to its storage location in the Sacramento Delta (in Antioch) and enjoyed the serenity of the valley fog.

During my spring break from teaching in mid-March, we spent as much time as possible outdoors in Hilo, Hawaii.

April is the start of windsurfing season. We moved the trailer again for the summer and enjoyed some water sports.

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and winds long to play with your hair.”

Kahlil Gibran

In May, I spent a lovely weekend in South Lake Tahoe at our ladies retreat taking moments to contemplate the still waters of Zephyr Cove.

There is no wi-fi in the forest, but you will find a better connection.

Before the retreat, I arrived early to take a bike ride around the Tahoe Keys Marina, a residential boating area amidst the pine trees. How amazing to walk outside your back door and hop on your watercraft! Yes, please!

Boats in Tahoe Marina

Of course, John Muir inspires countless generations to enjoy the great outdoors!

Wander a whole Summer
Everyone needs beauty...and places to play in...

“There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in this process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

I love this quote. The U.S. will celebrate Independence Day on July 4th this week. In the image below, the American flag stands tall and proud amidst the sacred lodgepole pines of Yosemite National Park.

Great Outdoors American Flag
Flying the flag at the Tioga Pass entrance of Yosemite

Did you notice that this image is square? Beginning July 1, join Becky B for Blue July squares. Until then, Happy Independence Day!

Sunday Stills July themes can be found here!

Sunday Stills Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title your post a little differently than mine.
  • 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.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week. Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

As the first half of the year comes to an end, did you experience the great outdoors?

© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: The #Spirit Moves Us

Yosemite Falls John Muir Quote

There is much we can do with this week’s Sunday Stills theme: SPIRIT.

Humankind yearns for spiritual connections, whether to nature, to other people, to the God of the Bible or to an un-named higher being.

Notre Dame Cathedral Pigeon

I want to take a moment to acknowledge this week’s devasting news about the horrific fire that all but destroyed the Notre Dame Cathedral. I grieved virtually alongside Parisians and the rest of the world as images unfolded showing the crumbling spire and damage to the nave and much of the church’s interior.

Photo by Gregory Hayes on Unsplash

This happened on the Monday during Holy Week, the traditional time of Christian celebration between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday.

“The cathedral is home to exquisite religious artifacts, paintings, sculptures and other priceless works of art. A chaplain and a French official were among a group of people who formed a human chain to save many of the church’s holy relics such as the Crown of Thorns believed to be worn by Jesus Christ.”

Notre Dame Cathedral on Fire

As our spirits grieve for the 850-year old church, an architectural marvel built in the Middle Ages, we must also acknowledge that our faith is not confined within the physical structure of the church itself, but in the belief that God is eternal, as are our souls.

As a Christian, I have accepted God’s grace through Jesus Christ that, when upon my death, my spirit shall live in eternity with God.

Cross and palms

“For I remember it is Easter morn, and life and love and peace are all newborn.”

Alice Freeman Palmer

“And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 1:4
Green-framed door of this quaint, steepled church in Sutter Creek California
Green-framed door of this quaint, steepled church in Sutter Creek California

Out of the ashes springs hope as we celebrate Easter Sunday today.

Earth Day

Monday, April 22 is Earth Day, a celebration of the Earth’s spirit as we inhabitants clean up and care for our environment.

Enjoy the memes celebrating nature’s spirit:

Yosemite Falls John Muir Quote
In every walk with nature...Muir
Nature holds the key to our...satisfaction. Quote

“May your spirit soar throughout the vast cathedral of your being.”

Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Whether you believe in a higher being, a natural Earth, follow an organized religion, or simply just believe, show us something that moves YOUR spirit.

Happy Easter!

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The Glow from “The Range of Light”

-...it still seems above all others the Range of Light.- john muir

Alpenglow

Alpenglow is an optical phenomenon in which a horizontal reddish glow is observed on the horizon opposite to the sun.

Tuolumne Meadows, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada’s high country of Yosemite National Park, is the place to witness the amazing alpenglow at sunset. The phenomenon often lingers for several minutes after the sun has completely set, filling the sky with the ethereal orange-red glow.

alpenglow on high Sierra
High Sierra sunset creates alpenglow on opposite horizon

Not only is alpenglow an amazing phenomenon, but John Muir described the Sierra Nevada Range as “The range of light.”

“Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light. And after ten years of wandering and wondering in the heart of it, rejoicing in its glorious floods of light, the white beams of the morning streaming through the passes, the noonday radiance on the crystal rocks, the flush of the alpenglow, and the irised spray of countless waterfalls, it still seems above all others the Range of Light.” — from The Yosemite (1912)

Hard to capture with anything other than the naked eye, there is something magical about the sunlit Glow reflected on the billions of pine needles that give off a light of their own.

Light emanates even from the pine needles

Even the shining granite known as “glacial polish” adds the ethereal glow Muir described.

Glacial Polish on Lembert Dome

The Range of Light has infused inspiration into my soul since I walked these meadows in 1968 as an eight year-old. TWSchrandt

For earlier post on this subject visit, No Room, But There’s a View.

Pin or Flip Me! 
-...it still seems above all others the Range of Light.- john muir

I hope you enjoyed some light and inspiration from my backyard (wink)! Posted for the Weekly Photo Challenge “Glow.”

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Opening a Thousand Windows

Quote by John Muir "Opening a Thousand Windows"

Pine Trees make a window onto the world of Yosemite Valley

While the featured image is not your typical glass-pained window, the frame of the pine trees yields a glorious view of El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

“Oh these vast, calm measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” John Muir

For all its natural beauty, sadly, this very mountain endured a recent rock-slide where reports from bystanders described “rocks the size of an apartment building” randomly detached and fell onto the valley floor.

John Muir’s sublime quote can be applied to any leisure experience we choose. Our leisure time spent enjoying wonderful places on our vacations and every day lives also opens countless windows to the wonders of our world.

This can be as adventurous as spending a day exploring an old, abandoned lighthouse in Mexico…

Framed in what's left of the Lighthouse window
Framed in what’s left of an abandoned lighthouse window

…to discovering a partially submerged window in an old abandoned pumphouse on Lake Natoma while stand-up paddling…

Old pumphouse window partially submerged plays trick on the eyes
Old pumphouse window partially submerged plays trick on the eyes

…Or as simple as enjoying the view of the swimming pool from a condo window…

Condo Window looks out onto leisure.

 

Feel free to share this on Pinterest!

Quote by John Muir "Opening a Thousand Windows"

 

Posting these Windows  of leisure for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

What windows open for you in your leisure time?

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I Feel the Earth Move

Yosemite Valley with Bridalveil Falls

Yosemite Valley with Bridalveil Falls

If you are a wilderness geek like me, you might know that today, April 21st is the 179th birthday of John Muir. If you didn’t know, let me tell you why he may have been considered (in my eyes) one of the most important men on Planet Earth.

John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. He was the founder of the Sierra Club.

According to sources, Muir petitioned the U.S. Congress for the National Park bill that was passed in 1890, establishing Yosemite as our second National Park. Do you know which was the first? (hint: also starts with a “Y”).

The spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings inspired readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas.

He is today referred to as the “Father of the National Parks.”

The above excerpts are from my previous post Wander a Whole Summer if You Can.

How fortunate we are as a nation to be the beneficiaries of the natural world that so moved Muir to strongly advocate for the preservation of our Earth.

In wildness lies the hope of the world. John Muir

Even though I have stepped foot in Yosemite National Park 25 times, I am still moved and awestruck at its incredible beauty!

Happy birthday, John Muir, and thank you from the bottom of our nation’s collective hearts!

April 22 happens to be the 2017 date to celebrate Earth Day.

On Earth Day, we celebrate all the gifts the world and nature make available to us. We recognize our complete dependence on its bounty. And we acknowledge the need for good stewardship to preserve its fruits for future generations. John Hoeven

This post was included in Where’s My Backpack’s Travel Theme: Earth.

Do you live near one of America’s 410 National Parks? To help celebrate Earth Day, take advantage of this weekend’s FREE entrance into any National Park and get back in touch with the Earth.

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What Do You Receive in Your Walk with Nature?

In every walk with nature...Muir

In every walk with nature...Muir

If you have followed my blog recently, you recall that I recently (re)-visited Yosemite National Park on Easter weekend.

You also may or may not know that this was my 24th visit to the park. Why yes, I rather do consider it my backyard. I am fortunate to live three hours’ drive away.

This view is from the Hwy 41 and offers visitors a stunning view known as “Inspiration Point.” Here you see El Capitan on your left, Half Dome in the middle with a bit of snow on its crown, then Bridalveil Falls to the right.

I typically visit Yosemite in the summer time, so I was more than excited to visit in early Spring and witness the thundering waterfalls and snow on the highest reaches. The valley’s elevation is at 4000 feet while the peaks reach elevations at about 7500 feet. The temperature got to 74 degrees in the valley during the day, but all roads leading to Glacier Point and Tioga Pass were closed due to high levels of snow (a good thing!).

I personally have seen this view more times now than I can count and I never grow tired of it. The dusting of snow was extra special.

“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir

Yosemite_BW

I hope you are as awe-inspired by the magnificence of Yosemite as I am. I also tried my hand at the same photo in black and white, too!

Which one do you like?


 

This Landscape photo is for the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Communing in the Half-Light

Half light of Tuolumne Meadows sunset

Half light of Tuolumne Meadows sunset

 

Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike. – John Muir

Today’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light, asks us to share a photo inspired by a poem, verse, song lyric or story. Nothing speaks to me more than how I feel when I am in the mountains communing with nature.

This quote by fellow Scotsman, John Muir, really says it all to me. Not only does he laud beauty and nature (to him, one in the same), but he also spells out where we find our leisure spaces, as well as a place in which to pray.

I always feel closer to God when I am here in Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.

If you follow my blog, you know I am a mountain girl with a lot of wind and water thrown in to balance me out. Seeing the sunset captured in this photo from 2011 as my family and I sat on the granite seat of Lembert Dome, still brings the peace of nature’s grandeur.

As this post is published today, on Good Friday 2016, I am traveling to Yosemite now for a long Easter weekend of hiking, cycling, and pure leisure. (Yes, I only live 4 hours away from there).

Everyone needs beauty...and places to play in...

Easter blessings to you from Yosemite!