When it comes to nature photography, there aren’t too many categories more popular than that of sunsets. However, sunrises have become more and more favored by me. The combination of the quietness of dawn, fresh morning air, and the sun coming into view while painting the sky with vibrant colors, makes the moment very much one to remember. Summer in particular has some really gorgeous sunrises like the one I was privileged enough to snap above. The sun illuminated the sky with tones of oranges and red, providing a true work of art to behold. Though summer is just about officially over here, there are still magnificent sunrises to be seen! So next time you’re up early take a moment to stop enjoy the view, it’s the perfect way to start your day.
One of the many things I love about our Monsoon season here in Arizona is that the rain provides a much needed replenishment for the desert landscape and more. What was once discolored and dying is now vibrant and bursting with life, the air filled with absolute freshness, animals out enjoying the water puddles left over by the torrential rain. In addition, insects buzzing around doing what they do (annoy me), mosquitoes anyone? Despite the latter, the trip truly was a blissful one. If you’re ever in Arizona I recommend visiting this lovely place known as the Casa Grande Mountains.
This is a nature blog first and foremost, but in this post I want to talk about something a little different, mental health. Mental health is just as important as any other so don’t neglect it. Give it the time and attention it deserves, that you deserve. We live in a society plagued with varying hardships, an abundance of bad news, and now a worldwide pandemic. In addition we all have personal problems that we have to deal with on a daily basis. These things combined can at times overwhelm even the most resilient of individuals. Making us feel like giving up, for some permanently.
I want to address a couple things. One being that us humans have the tendency at times to suppress our emotions, or feel the need to put up a strong demeanor for others. We can also be very independent at times, feeling like we have to go through and overcome our struggles by ourselves. In reality none of us need to, or should have to face our storms alone. In the words of Bill Withers, ” We all need somebody to lean on”. Rather extroverted or introverted, humans are social beings in the sense that we all need support and encouragement at times. Someone to listen to, and someone to listen to us.
Reaching out though can be much easier said than done, especially for ones suffering from mental illnesses. So please use this as a reminder to check up on your loved ones. Let them know that they’re cared for, loved, and that you will be the companion they need in their darkest hours. Some are very good at hiding their true pain, the war deep within their heart and mind, so don’t just assume that because they seem fine outwardly, that they are on the inside. With that being said, it’s important to not be overbearing or too forward in your approach. Subtleness and tactfulness go a long away. And if you yourself need someone but feel too embarrassed, reserved, or don’t want to seem negative, like a burden too others in regards of talking about your problems, know that those who truly care about you will welcome you and your problems with opens arms.
In conclusion, there’s nothing wrong with needing help. So be someone who reaches out, rather it be in regards to helping someone else or getting help for yourself. Surround yourself with support, fight the urge to bear the storm alone. Rather it be a friend, a family member, a hotline, God, etc., reach out. Most importantly whatever war you are fighting within, keep fighting. Don’t give up. The war can be won. I may not know you personally, but I love you and care for your well being. So fight, fight fight!
Most people who know me closely know about my love for these little ones. I affectionately refer to them as my youngins. Ground squirrels are well-adapted to desert life. They can stay active even on the hottest of days, although they do tend to limit their activity during the heat of the afternoon sun. They live underground in the winter, typically from late August or September until January or February. They go into torpor, but do not hibernate. One of my favorite hobbies is to make little feeders for them. Over time they have become very comfortable with me, approaching me with no fear and even allowing me to feed them out of my hand on occasion. These little ones bring me a lot of joy, so I want to share that joy with all of you! So say hello to two of the youngins, you’ll being seeing more of them in the future.
Sometimes it easy for the hustle and bustle of life to distract us from the art all around that is nature. Rather it be a sunset, an animal, a nice breeze, or one of the other countless gifts of nature, take a moment to take it in. The best part is this gift is free and all around. So stop and stare, and feel the peace that God provides through the wonders of creation.
Nature, so fascinating and unique
Open fields and tall peaks
Grass swaying from here to there
A gentle breeze flows through the air
Birds chirping in the oak trees
Bunnies scattering throughout all the leaves
Sunny days and starry nights
Nature truly is a beautiful sight
Swishing here and splashing there
Baby cubs with their mama bear
Animals of all different shapes and sizes
Little bugs with their many disguises
Orchids, Tulips, Violets, Roses
Being observed by baby dears with their sniffling noses
The little squirrels out for a play
Having fun each and every day
Stars illuminating the night’s sky
Far beyond earth, up so high
Nature so amazing in all its parts
Nature truly is a work of art
Poem by joramiles
Back in March I needed to get away for a bit so I took a trip up the hill to Lakeside, Arizona. The serenity I felt being completely surrounded in nature was exactly what I desired. A one minute walk from the house to be completely engulfed in trees. All the cares and worries of life simply melted away as if touched by fire. The only important thing in that moment was the beauty right around me, nature. If you’re ever in Arizona I highly recommended taking a trip up to Lakeside and experiencing a little slice of paradise.
Here in Arizona we have Monsoon season which can get quite intense, and that’s exactly what happened on this day. It was quite the experience but the best part was the sunset that proceeded it. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds bringing hope of the calmer times ahead. Though the sky was covered in the darkness the sun pierced through in all it’s glory providing a light of hope in the west. Is there a lesson to be learned here? I think so. That lesson being no matter how hard times may get, how intense the storm may seem to be at times, there’s light at the end. And where there is light, darkness cannot dwell.
This particular day was a very cloudy one and that’s exactly what made this sunset so special. The suns reflection danced off the clouds to create a sky that presented itself as if on fire. On this particular evening I had just finished a hike when the sky formed this work of art. What better way to end a day out in nature then with a beautiful goodbye from the sun, and that’s exactly what I got.