Thursday, December 15, 2011


If there is one thing clear about the centuries dominated by the factory and the wheel, it is that although the machine can make anything from a spoon to a landing-craft, a natural joy in earthly living is something it never has and never will be able to manufacture.

Henry Beston

Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of the fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.

Richard Feynman 

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness?  Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

Rachel Carson 

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
 John Muir

Only spread a fern-frond over a man's head and worldly cares are cast out, and freedom and beauty and peace come in.
John Muir 

There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.  This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom, the mother of all . . . There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a fountain of action and joy.  It rises up in wordless gentleness, and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being.
Thomas Merton 

Look!  Look!  Look deep into nature and you will understand everything.

Albert Einstein

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
E.B. White 

The earth laughs in flowers.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I begin to see an object when I cease to understand it.

Henry David Thoreau

Wisdom begins in wonder.


                                         i thank You God for this most amazing
                                         day: for the leaping greenly spirit of trees
                                         and a blue dream of sky; and for everything
                                         which is natural which is infinite which is yes

e.e. cummings

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

Lao Tzu

The world will never starve for wonder, but only for want of wonder.

C.K. Chesterton

After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on—have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear—what remains?  Nature remains.

Walt Whitman

Notes on Photos:  All photos were taken in the last couple of days here in coastal South Carolina. 


  1. Those pictures took my breath away, George. Pure, pure beauty. I stand in wonder, glad I cannot understand. The namelessness, the hidden wholeness reveals itself.

    Thank God Nature remains.

  2. Thanks, ROBERT. There are no words of my own in this post because I felt the same way about these visual experiences. They were so overwhelming, so penetrating into the soul of things, that I just wanted the photos to speak for themselves. And yes, it's so liberating to just stand in wonder, glad to experience something that is beyond understanding, something that works on the heart rather than the intellect.

  3. "YES," BONNIE! Could it be that everything else to be said about life simply dilutes the experience? Maybe the only two prayers we need to say are "yes" and "thank you."

  4. George, These are so very beautiful. What joy to see these beings in person and record their lives. Thank you for posting them. I am particularly enamored of the two sandpipers(?) in that beige creaminess of water, wings and sand. The e.e. quote above it is like a prayer of affirmation. "Yes," the perfect prayer, indeed.

  5. George, I hope you won't mind if I don't read the quotes now. The photos are meditations of themselves, each one unique, each one transcendent. I feel these visions, through you, as if they were your children (a la Robert's post of Gibran's poem), arrows shot from your bow, and both the bow and the arrow from the Creator's hand. I don't know that I've ever felt more moved by photographs of nature. Is it because you are my friend, and I know a little of your spirit and soul? I don't know, but this is a thin place, and no doubt about it.

    [Moved to tears.]

  6. Thanks for your lovely comments, TERESA. Yes, while I enjoy sharing these images, the real joy is being there in the moment, experiencing a real sense of oneness with the creatures. And yes, I think your favorite photo is one of Least Sandpipers. I liked the image for the same reason you did, specifically, that it had a soft, monochromatic feel to it. And, yes, "yes" is the perfect prayer.

  7. No, RUTH, of course I do not mind if you do not read the quotes. In fact, the reason you find no words of my own in this post is that I could not find words adequate to reflect my experience with these places and creatures. Yes, in a way, I think of these birds as my children, or perhaps my fellow travelers. When I spend time with them, I always feel we are in the same dance of life—spinning, hiding, soaring, dancing, trying to turn an act of survival into a work of art. These are indeed thin places, and that is why I spend a great deal of time there, mostly in solitude except for nature itself.

  8. Absolutely stunning photos! The egret with fish might be my favorite, but not by much—they're all amazing. I believe the quotes, taken in total, capture what we sometimes forget…that nature is to be experienced in every way—physically, intellectually, spiritually.

    To those two prayers, I would add a third, "please," which, rather than acknowledging agreement or gratitude, takes us out of our current selves and into the future by expressing desire and hope.

  9. Oh my - each picture and caption are a beautiful gift this morning - "thank you"
    Love Gail

  10. Exquisite pictures George - and good quotes. When one looks at things as simple as a snowflake througha microscope, one realises the absolute superiority of nature.

  11. Thanks, GRIZZ, for your thoughtful comments. Yes, I was quite pleased with the egret and fish shot. It was one of those lucky situations. I was shooting from an enclosed structure on a pier, and the egret landed and began to feed very nearby. I agree with you about the prayer of "please." Saying "please," saying "yes," saying "thank you" — just four words, but they can fortify a life for anything.

  12. Thanks for the lovely comments, Gail, and peace to you as well, not just at Christmas, but throughout each and every year.

  13. Thanks for the kind comments, Pat. Yes, when I look around my little corner of the world, I find myself agreeing with you about "the absolute superiority of nature."

  14. What a wonderful post, especially your photos. I love them all, especially the great egret standing in water and dipping its bill into water which holds a perfect reflection. That's quite a photo, but they're all stunning, really.

    EB White's quote speaks to me except humans are not capable of outwitting nature; we dimwit ourselves when we think we are apart from nature when, in reality, we are a part of nature. That space between "a" and "part" makes all the difference...

  15. Thanks for the comments, DAN. Glad you liked the photos, and I agree with you about humans being incapable of outwitting nature. Ah, but they try, don't they, all, of course, to their long term harm. And, yes, we are a part, not apart.

  16. I have no words to adequately describe the beauty of these photographs, in themselves reproductions of nature at her most beautiful.

  17. Thanks so much, FRIKO. Your generous comments are greatly appreciated. The gifts, of course, are from nature herself; I simply took the photos.

  18. These are incredibly beautiful photographs George and you have used some wonderful quotes too. The natural world is so full of beauty and power and is a real solace to the spirit. I find the quote by E B White especially in tune with my own thoughts.

  19. Hi George, Every one of these gorgeous photographs are certainly a reason to pause over Nature... Meditations for sure.. Beautiful and crisp...

    ... you must have stayed very still to get some of these shots... and the water still too and the sky calm too... everything feels as if time stood still... you have so much beauty in your midst but the best thing is, is that you acknowledge it.

  20. Thanks so much, ROWAN. Go glad you liked the photos and the E.B. White quote. Merry Christmas to you!

  21. Thanks for you kind comments, GWEN. Oh yes, much stillness and much patience were required to get these shots, and rest assured that there were many failed attempts. Ordinarily, patience is not my strong suit; when I am with nature, however, things seem rather timeless and I can spend hours simply watching the movement of light.

  22. Beautiful. Each scroll down presented something new and wonderful.

  23. Thanks for the kind comments, HERRINGBONE! If I have presented something new and wonderful, my day has been made.

  24. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

    And thank God for E.B. White!

    I can't help but think ... "Animal Kingdom" at Disney World (one trip was ENOUGH, thank you) was pretty amazing and it is manufactured... :)

    And, if South Carolina (specifically historic Charleston) didn't get SO HOT int he summer, it would be my year round residence. But then again, I do adore the mountains... I'm so fickle. (ha)

    Your photography is STUNNING and I think it pairs perfectly with poetry.

  25. Just thought I would share this with you as I think (quietly) walking (sneaking) along the waterways of South Carolina can be very rewarding. I have spied many birds and alligators and, very briefly, turtles. The trick is to NOT bring a four year old along with! :) The following poem is not grand by any means, just an attempt to express a very unique moment for me...

    Time Stood Still

    I'm sure you have had many a similar experience. This blue heron was truly three feet away from me at one point. (I was unable to photograph at that close a distance) I was on a bike, riding the beach shoreline and I still can't believe how close I was able to get. He must have been fed fish by fisherman ... I just can't explain it otherwise.

  26. Thanks for the lovely comments, MARGARET. Thanks also for the photos and poem about your experience with the blue heron at Sea Pines. These types of encounters are often mystical in nature, and they reinforce the notion that we are all interconnected.

  27. Your pictures are enormously beautiful and serene. For a land-locked Kansan, I see another world on your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Welcome, BLUE-I'D-BLOND, and thanks for your lovely comments. I hope you will stop by and share your thoughts again.

  29. Oh how lucky I am to have found your exquisite website!

  30. Thank you, SHARON. I am lucky as well that you found my site. Thanks for dropping by, hope you will return, and have a Happy New Year!

  31. You are a supreme photographer, George! You clearly adopted the pace of nature à la Emerson. Your second shot, with the two water lilies, is perfection in color, composition, and technique. Thank you for sharing these shots so that we may see what you see.

    Thank you also for presenting these enlightening quotes. I've copied the Emerson and Muir quotes for inspiration.

  32. Thanks for your lovely and flattering comments, DUTCHBABY! May your new year be the happiest ever, and may great images flow through the lens of your camera. Glad you liked the photo of the water lilies; it's a favorite of mine as well.