Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Art and Nature at Bluffside Park, Winona


Shift Happens at Bluffside Park in Winona, Minnesota.  Sarah Johnson and Marcie Ratliff shared art opportunities. This event was curated by Sharon Mansur.

Sharon Mansur and Sarah Johnson at the beginning of the experience.  We were invited to take a breath and notice the area around us and then follow the signs for the adventure--that we could participate in or pass.

Follow the arrows:





Creating installations with colorful leaves and sticks was fun.




Sticks, leaves, pipe-cleaners, googly eyes and puff balls were fun to play with.

Then write a message on the ground to share with friends?

Be U!


Hi Beautiful

You Can Do It


I Love You  


Jamie and Dawn created with me today.

 Sharon Mansur, Dancer, Creative

Marcie Ratliff, Torn Paper Poems, Engage Winona

Sarah Johnson, Creative Laurette





Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tundra Swans on the Mississippi River

We took a drive down the river to Brownsville, Minnesota to see the Tundras Swans in late November.

We were not sure, if we'd see them.  Along the shore nearer to home, the water was frozen.  The cold came early in our area this year.  As we got closer to Brownsville and the lookout, we could hear them.  If you look in the distance of this photo, you can see stripes of white.  There are thousands of birds closer to the center of the water.

In 2011, we went down earlier in November nearer to sundown and the area was in a pink haze from sunset. Check out those pictures on Amazing Beauty on the Backwaters of the Mississippi.
That post gives some interesting facts about the marvel of their flight and the distances that they travel.

To learn more about the Tundras Swans and find the observation deck, see  Brownsville, Minnesota.

There is a short video about the swans and shows the large amount present that you may be able to see.  The wind noise in the video detracts from the amazing sounds that they all make.  The website gives some good information about the size of the swans and their nesting habits and habitat needs.

Next November, make a trip to see them!  It is worth your time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Messy Abundance: Wild Feminine Wisdom of this Earth

This is a repost from Chandra Sherin: Moon Muses

It is a lovely article and photos about nature, our place, messy and neat.  Oh, so lovely.  Check her out at Moon Muses.

Ash tree debris
Ash tree debris

On a walk with my dog, there is no way to avoid walking on the hackberries and then the debris from the ash tree along the sidewalk by our house. There they are all strewn out in hope and abundance. It is nature’s way, in the spring and the fall, to shower down an abundance of seeds, berries, blooms in order to ensure continuance. A beautiful symbol for us, really. Yet, mixed with that observation I remember the scorn, resentment and sometimes outright neurosis of people who saw or see this aspect of nature interfering with their sense of order, neatness, convenience and other structures of thought that have been built in opposition to what is natural.

Hackberries on the sidewalk.

Hackberries on the sidewalk.
The idea that a tree is messy comes to mind. That was a foreign concept when I first heard it. “I hate that tree. It is so messy! Cut it down!” I had not experienced that attitude in my own family and as an adult it was an abrupt introduction that came with home ownership. What I was hearing was that walnut trees were a nuisance because they get in the way of mowing, mulberries are weed trees because they grow so quickly, stain pavement and allow the birds to poop purple poop on freshly washed cars; that a person would love to have a flowering tree or a tree with berries but they are so messy! I had only ever known that trees are homes for many creatures, they help us breathe cleaner air, provide shade; walnut trees feed the squirrels in the winter, mulberries feed the birds and people. The “messiness” comes and goes in cycles and once was recognized and appreciated as food, fruit, harvest.

I wonder at how creativity and especially creative people living in ways that are different (than the structures set in place by today’s institutions and “traditional” venues as THE way to be and work and live) are seen and treated so much like the critics I thought of who spoke of and treat certain trees that bear fruit, nuts and other debris with such animosity and disrespect.
The idea of the “nuisance” of these fruitful trees is created because of made up constructs that go unquestioned.
“If my cement is stained, I will not be liked or respected. If birds poop on my car it affects the value, the paint, my esteem and causes me to have to wash my car again. If there are walnuts in my yard I will have to do extra work because I need to mow my lawn. I need to have grass and mow my lawn because that is what everyone does. If I have debris from trees all over my yard it has to be cleaned up. I must keep my yard manicured like the aristocracy from England of old so as to denote my status, esteem and untouchableness. I must use pesticides to maintain a “perfect image”. ”

For me personally, if someone judges me or sees my property as less because there are some passing stains from nature on the cement, or clovers and violets growing more than grass, I see them as missing what is really important in life and forgetting the deeper harmony and appreciation for nature and what nature requires. I remember that the artificial constructs are constantly demanding us to be overly self-conscious, to the point of applying poisons to our own land and seeing nature as nuisance and even, sometimes, enemy to be homogenized.
Cement is there to help us to walk and drive more easily. That is all. It is utilitarian. Is it good to take care of what you have on the material level? Of course. And it can become a preoccupation and a distortion too.
Click and Clack from Car Talk (NPR) always suggested it is better to get a used car than a new one. They knew that then a person is less prone to becoming outrageously upset about every scratch, ding or smattering of bird poop and can relax about it. There are more important things in life than getting mad about bird poop on cars because of certain trees.

Some of this is about wanting control and order. Some of it is about stupid norms in our society that ignore and refuse to respect the wisdom and gifts of nature. And it has gotten to the point where this kind of mindset is threatening nature and her creatures in critical and serious ways. And it affects our health. In many ways. Our health and well-being is strengthened and enhanced by connecting with nature and her elements, by feeling a part of the natural world. When we respect and recognize the gifts and power of even the messiest parts of nature, we begin to allow that kind of wild messy abundance that exists within our own being as well.
So my shoes have berries pasted to the bottom of them by pine needles with sap and ash tree debris to boot. So my cement is stained for a while and my yard is unruly like a mini forest. So what? Am I less human? Is it less valuable?
I am a creative person who lives in a counter-cultural way. Not because I want to be different, but because that is how I am wired and who I am. I don’t seem to fit in with the Institutional, the highly organized and structured corporations, the mainstream “Traditional” structures….even if I want to, I have ended up feeling like those messy trees when I try. I am regularly told by those who know me how talented I am, how many gifts I have and such a great ability to teach, yet I don’t seem to fit anywhere. I don’t seem to have value in this monetarily centered world. I don’t believe that, but that is the message I have gotten overall from it.

I realize that the only way I am to hope to make a sustainable living is to jump through their hoops, which would be a death to my spirit at this point, OR make my own way, plodding along, throwing my fruit and seeds everywhere I can and further with the help of the wind (Spirit) in hopes of continuance via messy abundance in harmony with nature.
The concrete and the literal can always be symbolic of inner states of being and outer realities. There is always depth and purpose strewn out before us. Sometimes the people we love are messy and inconvenient. And when they are gone, that is often what we miss most. When the children are small the chaos and demand and mess can seem stressful. When they are older it is missed. When the dog destroyed beloved material objects or ripped up the garbage, it was outrageous and bad. When they are gone, that short life, that messiness is missed and thought of with humor and tenderness.
When we realize this, we raise our awareness to a level that embraces the wisdom of nature. Mother Nature, our Earth is ordered chaos, messy abundance, wild wisdom and beauty. As are we, when we free ourselves from the facades and constructs that have alienated our being from simple wisdom and simple truths.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Finding Natural Areas in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Finding natural areas in a new city can be a wonderful adventure.  I had a day to explore Milwaukee, Wisconsin between dance events on Saturday and Monday.   Looking at art at the Milwaukee Art Museum was on my agenda.  And going to the Domes to see the desert and the tropics.  But I had a little time and the parks and trails near Lake Michigan gave me great pleasure.  Here are some photos of the places that I explored.

A beautiful sunny day with a chilly wind.  The leaf buds were not venturing out yet on April 27th.

The daffodils were blooming every where in the city.

I appreciate the shadows that the branches are casting on the earth.  Oh, we live on a beautiful earth.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Prairie Yard

Heath aster & little bluestem grass

Seed pods of butterfly weed and prairie cinquifoil

Stiff goldenrod in bloom

The autumn colors in the prairie are bronze, tan, and chocolate brown as the flowers dry to create seedpods with seeds tucked inside.  The goldenrods and asters still shine with color on a September day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wild Prairie Garden

My prairie yard is growing fast with all of the warm weather.  The blue wild indigo, Baptisia australis is in full bloom.

The white wild indigo, Baptisia alba is coming in a close second.  The cream indigos, Baptisia bracteata are finished blooming.  The alien species such as dandelions were very few.  But as usual many Chinese Elm sprouted and I weeded them out.  Many clump forming grasses, non native took a strong hold this year—and I’ve been pulling them all spring.

This white wild indigo is just starting to bloom; most of it is in bud form yet.  It will soon be in its full blooming glory.

This white wild indigo is almost in full bloom.  You can see her sister, the blue wild indigo in the background.  There's a yellow climbing rose behind the blue wild indigo, beside my east porch that has been filled with yellow blossoms.  Now just a few blossoms remain.  My beloved non-natives such as the early tulips, crocuses, and hyacinth are finished blooming for the season.  Most of the lilacs are finished too.  The flowers have such a short life of glory.  It seems one day they are blooming and the next the blooms are finished and they are making seeds.  I don’t think that it is quite that quick; it just seems that way when I’m not paying attention.

What are some of your favorite spring and early summer flowers?  Do you prefer perennial or annual flowers?  Shrubs, vines, or flowers?  Some of all of them?  What in the floral realm soothes your soul?  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Julia Crozier

The Blue Heron Gallery and Studio is home to the artwork of Julia Crozier and a number of artists fine work.  In the front is the gallery showcasing oil paintings, chalk and oil pastels, linoleum prints, ink wash artworks, along with jewelry, cards, silk scarves, and other smaller gift items.  She shared with me some of her thoughts about her art.

Julia likes to paint abstractly because the story of the artwork unfolds as she works.  In viewing the painting some parts may not be as noticeable at first, but as the viewer continues looking more parts of the painting unfold.  She said that is what is so fascinating with abstract art, you see more and more as you look at it.

South Dakota, a primitive part of the Badlands.  As a child, her family traveled to the Western United States.  Those wide open spaces call to Julia.  She has traveled there often with her parents, sister, husband, and daughters.

Julia uses sketching to remember a landscape.  She takes many photographs to remind her of the images of a landscape as well.  Sometimes, Julia does not have art materials with her or the time to devote to a sketch is not available. Instead of relying on sketches or her camera, she is working with her memory to recreate the feeling and the look of a landscape. She takes those essences of the land and paints from her memory.  It is a skill; she practices often.

This painting started as a drawing created on site at Woodlawn Cemetery.  Its tonal quality of black and grey gives it a moonlight feeling.  However, there is no black in the painting.

These two oil paintings were reworked by the artist.  Julia likes the result of these two very much.  "They look like new paintings," she says.

 Two other oil paintings are Tree Roots and the Flicker.  She created drawings of the flicker from a real bird that had been found dead and kept in her freezer until she was ready to create it into a painting.

The painting to the far right on the wall is called Subterranean River.  It is a multi-layered painting using encaustic, oil paints, and fabric to create the look of an underground river.  This painting was the result of reading that she has done on geology, water, and underground rivers.

This pomegranate tree was seen on a trip that they took into the Grand Canyon.  You can learn more about one of her Grand Canyon adventures on Julia’s website,  Another trip like this is planned for May 2012 with her sister and her parents.  It’ll be a rafting trip that is designed for artists with stops along the way to sketch and photograph the beauty of the canyon.

This is a small ink wash drawing of the Mill Ruins near the Guthrie Theatre and St Anthony Falls in Minneapolis.

  She likes to work large to create what looks like a science chart.

Here’s Julia and Sadie in the gallery.  Sadie is a loving companion and a good gallery dog.

This is an abstract painting on the wall behind Julia and Sadie. The painting gives the viewer a visceral feeling of space and time.

The Blue Heron Gallery and Studio has become Midwest Music Store.  It has wonderful art along with featuring performing artists, 168 E. 3rd St., Winona, MN 55987. 




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