Friday, July 29, 2016


Never say there is nothing beautiful 
in the world anymore.  There is always something
to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.

Albert Schweitzer

I took another walk this morning through the 300-acre South Carolina Botanical Garden, which, to my good fortune, is located less than half an hour from my house. As I had done in recent days, I took my camera and was primarily focused on capturing images of some of the butterflies that are abundant in this area this during July and August.  As I finished taking photos of the butterflies and began returning to my car, I turned around and saw these wonderful green, oval leaves that were backlit by the sun.  It was a truly magical moment, one of those luminous moments in which time seems to be literally suspended.  After a few minutes of absorbing what I was seeing, I shot the header photo, which turned out to be my favorite image of the day. 

Here are some of the other images I've taken in recent days — mostly butterflies and moths, but also a few flowers along the way.  I've also added some insightful words from others who, like me, find nature to be a perennial source of beauty, contentment, and joy. 

I only ask to be free.
The butterflies are free.
Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole
what it concedes to the butterflies.

Charles Dickens
Bleak House

Happiness is like a butterfly:
the more you chase it, the more it will elude you,
but if you turn your attention to other things, 
it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.

Henry David Thoreau

It seems to me that the natural world
is the greatest source of excitement; 
the greatest source of visual beauty;
the greatest source of intellectual interest.
It is the greatest source
 of so much in life that makes life worth living.

David Attenborough

Deep in their roots, 
all flowers keep the light.

Theodore Roethke

Butterflies are self propelled flowers.

R.H. Heinlein

My soul can find no staircase to Heaven
unless it be through Earth's loveliness.


I embrace emerging experience.
I participate in discovery.
I am a butterfly.
I am not a butterfly collector.
I want the experience of the butterfly.

William Stafford

The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound
coming out of the flowers.


I dreamed I was a butterfly,
flitting around in the sky;
then I awoke.  
Now I wonder:
Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly,
or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?

Chuang Tzu

When you take a flower in your hand
and really look at it, it's your world for the moment.
I want to give that world to someone else.
Most people in the city rush around so,
they have no time to look at a flower.
I want them to see it whether they want to or not.

Georgia O'Keefe

If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we would rise up rooted, like trees.


The earth laughs in flowers.


It is written on the arched sky;
it looks out from every star.
It is the poetry of Nature;
it is that which uplifts the spirit within us.

John Ruskin

Nature is not a place to visit.
It is home.

Gary Snyder

I go to nature to be soothed,
and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.

John Burroughs

The butterfly counts not
months but moments,
and has time enough.

Rabindranath Tagore

Nature never deceives us;
it is we who deceive ourselves.

Jean-Jacque Rousseau

There is pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes, 
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

Lord Byron


  1. This post is a pure delight, George! Yes, I love the luminosity of that header photo. David Attenborough is a national treasure over here. And Georgia O'Keefe - there was an excellent TV programme on her a few days ago. Her paintings of the New Mexico landscape are quite amazing. What an artist, and what a life.

    1. Thanks so much, Robert. Glad you liked this post — and especially the header image. This was one of those moments — and I'm sure you've experienced them — when one is preoccupied with one thing (butterflies, in this case), only to be suddenly gobsmacked by something unexpected, luminous, and totally mind-shifting.

      I can see why Attenborough is a national treasure in the U.K., as indeed he should be. As for Georgia O'Keefe, she was a master at getting us to see — and pay respectful attention to — a world that is sadly missed by people who are so "busy" that they cannot find the time to even look at a flower.

  2. there is nothing truer than these mirrors you have raised.

    each one hurts, rarefies, and releases. as they should.

  3. These are kind and generous words, Erin. Many thanks!

  4. After drinking in all their poignant beauty
    I leave your posts
    rested content and centered.

    1. Thanks for your lovely comments, Laura. If these images and words left you more contented and centered than before, I'm both honored and delighted.

  5. Love the backlit leaves. The scenes that catch you by surprise are always the best! It looks like you had pretty light for the entire visit!

    1. Thanks, Melissa. Glad you liked the posting. As for the backlit leaves, I think the early morning and late afternoon light is always best for photography.

  6. Beautiful photos, George - using that "bokeh" effect wonderfully. These are like eye-candy. I just keep scrolling up and down... :)

    Wendy (aka temporaryreality)

    1. Hi, Wendy! Great to hear from you. It's been a while. Recently, while trying to add something to my blogroll, the entire thing just vanished from my computer, and I've had some difficulty remembering how to reconstruct it. I say this because I am going to immediately add Wander-bird to the list so I can stay in touch. Glad you liked this post. Thanks for you lovely comment.

    2. Wendy, I can't seem to get my blogroll to take your url address, as least as I see it at the top of your blog. Could you tell me precisely what I should type in? Thanks.

  7. That's so nice, George! I haven't been as active among my favorite bloggers as I used to be (limited online time, much to do offline) but I thought I should check back in and it was nice to see that you were back from your hiatus AND that you're still posting your stellar photography. Done any painting lately? :)

    I love to do macro photography but am less than content with the way my digital camera hedges around focusing as closely as I'd like. Can you remind me what you're using (camera and lens-wise)?

    Thanks for taking a look at my blog, too, and for wanting to add it back to your blogroll. The url should be as follows: (include that last forward slash at the end, without it, it won't work).

    The whole crazy login/handle thing is because I have a self-hosted site (not or blogspot) and so I had to create a "shell" of a blog that would be acceptable to the bot-checker AND still allow me to forward folks on. I always count myself lucky when I comment somewhere and they allow me to just type my own name and url, but I'm not sure if blogspot allows that.

    Anyway, can't wait to go read today's post :)

    1. Sorry, Wendy, but I just discovered that I never posted and replied to your follow-up comment. Thanks for the URL information. As to my camera equipment, I use a Nikon D7000 as my primary camera, and my macro lens is a 105mm Micro-Nikkor. My preferred telephoto lens is a 80-400mm Nikkor.

  8. I always breath more deeply seeing nature through your lens, George. You are a wonderful photographer and always stimulate my mind, too. Thank you for those gifts.

    1. Many thanks, Barb, for your lovely and generous comments.

  9. I am stunned into silence by all the riches you reveal.

  10. Glad you enjoyed this, John. Thanks.