Archive for the ‘photography’ Tag

The American bald eagle; iconic symbol of strength and might

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Like a vulture claiming it for its own

an eagle sits perched upon the spoils;

the body of a deer laid open like prey

from that which hunts, stalking to find

those vulnerable and weak, failing of mind,

the eagle; strong, enduring, and with might

guards and defends what he claims for his own

and stands watchful, eyes searching, locking on sight

any who would come and take with a fight

from he who stands over what remains of life.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

We captured the above photo of a bald eagle on our way down from the mountains recently. It was a quick shot taken from the car window, but we were happy to have gotten only the eagle in the picture considering that it was perched on the body of a killed deer during its ‘mealtime.’

The American bald eagle, the iconic symbol of the United States is noted for endurance and strength. Its image, seen on flags, coins, military uniforms, historical emblems, records, etc. symbolizes our country’s greatness, character, and honor. It was founded on such principles, over two hundred years ago. When I saw this eagle laying claim to this fallen dear I thought of the wars fought, battles won, our rights and freedoms saved with the might and strength of our military swooping down upon its enemies who come against us to lay claim to what we defend, fight for, build up and strive to protect. The American bald eagle represents honor with a fierce protectiveness that fights to gain what he needs to survive.

It graces the skies, soars over mountain tops, flies over bodies of water, swoops down and captures, much like our military forces. Wherever it flies, it is unafraid, determined, intent, purposeful. It is in nature how one must survive, one game pitted against another, size and strength always determining the victim from the victor. And in life, in this country it is how we must be to not just survive, but to thrive, to continue to be, ‘one  nation, under God, indivisible, with life, liberty and justice for all.’ A country that is free, one of honor, one that can lead by example, not just by might, must be one that acknowledges a higher power. The American bald eagle holds its head high. I hope we can be a country that does the same, not bow its head in shame. I wonder.

JEJ

 

 

Remembering that special member of our family

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When a Dog Steals Your Heart

 

When a dog steals your heart

it becomes that kind of love

where a bond of mutual trust

is formed from the start.

It grows stronger through the years

and when it is his time

and your heart is filled with grief

you watch through your tears

as he’s quietly put to sleep.

You’re thankful for what you had

and the memories that you keep,

but now you say goodbye

after his last and final breath,

and when it’s time to part

you clutch his collar, leash and tags

like they’re pieces to his heart.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

The above poem is one I wrote and shared a few years ago when we lost our beloved Titus, to cancer and epileptic attacks. After enjoying him for ten years since raising him from a pup we had to put him down, and grieved for a year over him before finally adopting another dog. We still miss Titus. Looking at recent pictures of a litter of yellow pups born to a breeder’s female dog I was reminded of our precious Titus Maximus, and all the happy moments and years we had with him. This post is inspired by the prompt given for today’s Daily Post Discovery challenge prompt. Animals are one of those special gifts God blesses us with, and our bond with them is never forgotten, and in many ways can even teach us how we can strengthen and fortify relationships with those in our circle of friends and family. Animals can teach us much about life, friendship, devotion, support and ways to relate to people in life. This post is done for the Daily Post prompt, here at; https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/animal/

The annual quest for Colorado gold

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Every year when the leaves turn and Autumn arrives we head out, on our quest to look for the best places to photograph the changes in color and the Aspens turning a bright golden-yellow. And sometimes, a shot of something else will do too when we stop to explore along the road. The top photo is one of the Aspens in the Rocky Mountains seen off highway 7 between Lyons and Nederland, Co.

The bottom photo is one of Barker Dam off the road on the way down to the city of Boulder. Timing, location and altitude can make all the difference in the color and changes seen. In some areas just a few days earlier, there was more color with rust and red tones showing in some of the plant life, brighter in places, but in others it had not yet reached its peak. Photographers with tripods set in place can be spotted along the road, as everyone wants to capture the gold.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/quest/

The Blessing of the Old Sewing Machine

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An antique sewing machine from the 1800s. It is one of my collected antique pieces acquired over the years. The photo above was my inspiration for the fictional story below.  I don’t use this machine for personal use, but I do sew, on my own Kenmore machine I have had for about fifty years.

The Blessing of the Old Sewing Machine

Bent over at the shoulders, her bones small and brittle she leaned in, head bowed to see clearly her stitches as the old sewing machine made a repetitive pattern on the fabric pieces, all of them cut from dresses she’d made her granddaughter when worn as a little girl. The machine made clicking sounds as it faithfully worked across each row, fed under the presser foot by thin, arthritic fingers. Her foot tapped with steady rhythm the large iron foot pedal below the machine. Her family tried to bless her with a new Singer sewing machine one Christmas, but she would not hear of it. Her old ‘Nelly’ had been with her for so long she refused to give her up, a gift from her long departed husband. Nelly was an old trusted friend, that would remain with her until its end, or hers.

Her eyes were failing her as she attempted to finish the quilt in time for her granddaughter’s dowry shower. Wire rimmed glasses rested on the indented straight nose. They helped little in gaining her vision acuity as she squinted. She looked for any puckered or uneven stitches. Ah, Nelly, you miss a few, too. We work hard to catch up, growing old together, and where will your grave be when my foot can peddle you no more? Soon, Darla will have her dresses again, reborn in this dowry quilt.

Ah…I remember this one, the dark blue damask. She wore it to her piano recital. Such a beautiful piece she played. A concerto, I think. Her fingers danced across the keys. And oh, this one, the red rose brocaded pattern. It was worn for the children’s Christmas program at church. They sang the Carols of the Nativity. Like an angel choir come down from heaven, they were. And this green striped plaid, she wore for her… ninth, or tenth birthday party? She’d spilt punch on it, and we worked to get out that stain. There’s just a hint of it left here, I can see, barely. Oh, the memories that child has given me. If I am not around when she has her first…oh, what a thought. I will be there to see her face when she opens her gift. Now, I am almost done. There, the blocks are all in place.

Aligning the front of the quilt to the back, the underside done in a flowered pattern with the batting between, she stitched up the sides. With short lengths of colorful embroidery floss and buttons stitched through the thickness she finished with little bows. She then folded the quilt and laid it between sheets of white tissue paper in a large box, sealed it up, and wrapped it in paper.

Feeling the weariness come over her, she laid down to rest, and went to sleep.

A month later, the wrapped box sat on an empty chair at Darla’s shower. It had been saved for last. As she pulled away the tissue from the quilt folded inside, her tears fell like a summer rain on thirsty ground.

“Mama! It’s my old dresses, all sewn into a quilt.”

____________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Painted by the finger of God

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The sun lingers just over the rise,

a tinge of pink reflects off the peaks.

With anticipation I wait to behold

the glow spreading across the sky.

The hour in passing seems too long.

Then dusk descends slowly over the ridge,

and the heavens like a canvas arrayed in hues

of orange and yellow merge together

exploding in color and brilliant light,

an image painted by the finger of God.

___________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Footnote: I took the above photos in July of this year, getting these and many other shots during our wait for the sun to go down while parked up on the lookout ridge overlooking Longs Peak in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Whenever we go up there I come away inspired to write new pieces of poetry, adding more new photos to our ever-growing collection of Colorado mountain photos that fill our albums and digital libraries.

Living just an hour away and thirty miles from Rocky Mountain National Park is a definite advantage to being able to do this, and we never tire of the beautiful drive up highway 34 from our town of Loveland, through the narrows and granite canyons and into Estes Park situated at the foot of RMNP.  At this time of year after a very busy, bustling summer of tourists visiting RMNP we see the busy summer tourist season come to a close with the Labor Day weekend. Soon, the Aspen trees begin to turn a golden color, drop their leaves, and the elk do their popular bugling call (the beginning of their mating season), drawing more tourists for the autumn season. The air turns colder and we see our first winter snow storms, snow skiers arriving, and it is busy again. 🙂

Frozen; Alaska’s Hubbard, and Glacier Bay

 

After the first day of cruising Alaska’s coastline we came to Hubbard Glacier. It is a scenic winter wonderland of ice floes and fjords nestled up against the gulf of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

 

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The water is almost transparent, like crystal blue glass mirroring the reflections of snow and ice formed on the ridges and peaks.

 

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The dark-colored water lines show sediment formed on the melting glaciers as water levels change.

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Chunks and pieces of ice floes from the glaciers dropped off into the water while the ship was stopped. Then the ship did slow spins and turns so passengers could see the glaciers from all angles to photograph. The noise was like a loud roar heard through the straight as chunks began to slowly break away from the icebergs.

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Cruising the Inside Passage of Alaska’s gulf to see this scenic wonder was my favorite part of the cruise. The scope and size of these glaciers, their beauty, magnitude and the quiet had a calming effect, an incredible, peaceful sight.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

What can be seen from the rails

A view from the train

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Capturing a view from the train is one hurried, like the flash of a camera lens, literally. Timing and preparation while racing past the intended object is essential, but difficult to get focused and shoot quickly. Some say a real photographer, professional or otherwise does not put away their camera for even a moment, lest they lose their opportunity to get what they set out to find, like the wildlife perched from atop a cliff like in the case of the Dall sheep seen in the photo below.

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And then the lighting, reflection and rays of bright sun showing through the cars’ viewing windows reflects back distorted images, like this one below, none of which one wants in their final edited image.

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That is what happened a number of times as we tried to get quick shots of scenes in passing. So, most of these images we quickly deleted and others that showed up with what looked like smudged or clouded areas on the windows. But, we worked with the options we had in getting what we ultimately wanted to photograph on a cruising train through Alaska’s dense overgrowth, forests and mountain ranges seen on either side of the rail tracks. The image of the couple seen in the photo above sat across from us at the table assigned to us in our domed rail car, with good food and service, and gave us opportunity to socialize. A Princess cruise guide shared much about Alaska’s history on the regions we traveled through. Having always loved train rides, I found the five and a half hour trip comfortable and relaxing.

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After passing through towns, river channels, across bridges and skirting the shores of marshlands we came into view of an open water mass to the port of Whittier, Alaska where the Coral Princess waited, and our check in and embarkation process could commence with the now much greater increased security measures in place.

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In a few hours our luggage sat waiting for us in our stateroom while we immediately headed out on an open deck to watch with excitement as our ship pulled out of port and headed for the open sea at sunset.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Alaska’s Denali National Park and Mt. McKinley

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A field of Fireweed blooms abundantly all along the Alaska range below Mount McKinley. It is said to have many benefits, used for making cosmetic products, medicines and chamomile teas. Everywhere we went there were beautiful gardens and flowers of all varieties in bloom. Although Alaska can dip down to -40 below zero in the winter months its summer temperatures can reach into the 90’s in Alaska, so they can plant and grow many different kinds of flowers.

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Rafters on the Nenana River below the Alaska mountain range. The waters from this and other rivers are fed from Alaska’s many glaciers as they begin to melt.

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A view of Denali National Park’s mountain range where Mt. McKinley can be seen from the distance covered in a fresh blanket of snow. Denali National Park totals six million acres.

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The peak of Mt. McKinley is partially covered by clouds above and below. Mt. McKinley is the highest peak in the United States and North America at an elevation of 20, 320 feet above sea level, and seldom ever seen without snow or cloud coverage. It is also called, Denali, “The Great One” by the Athabascan native Alaskan people.

Exploring the Yukon via paddleboat

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Our first full day of the land tour in Fairbanks, Alaska was via the paddleboat, Discovery. About a two hour trip up and down and around the Chena River provided shoreline views of life, the way it is now, and the way it was in the early years of the gold rush exploration in the Yukon territories. Gold mining, adventuring across untouched wilderness areas, homesteading, salmon fishing, and hunting caribou and moose were just a few of the reasons that brought thousands into these upper regions giving the state of Alaska its symbolic fame and iconic name, “The Last Frontier.” The town of Fairbanks now has about 100,000 inhabitants, second in size to Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.

The instructional guided tour on this pristine river allowed us a glimpse into the culture, history and habitation of native Alaskans, the Iditarod sled dog races, the wildlife, game and environment preserved along the banks of the river and coastal waters.

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On the Chena River, as seen from the paddleboat, Discovery 1.

 

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A group of caribou in protected preserve, along the Chena River.

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An Iditarod sled dog team in training along the Chena River. The competing sled dog teams are a mix of Alaskan Husky, for their ability to withstand the extreme cold, and pull weight, and the Greyhound breed, for their speed. Bred together these dogs know two things well; to pull weight and run fast. Mushing is a word used in training and competing with these sled dog teams. Sled dog teams are not only used for the races, but also for a means of transportation to carry people in the bush country commuting to work, and also their children to school. During the dogs’ training in warmer weather they use ATVs (all terrain vehicles) to train them as is the case in this picture as they prepared the dogs to give a demonstration for us on the paddleboat during our excursion.

 

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After a workout the dog sled team is let off their tethers to go cool off in the river.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

 

 

 

Fairbanks, Alaska – What one sees beneath a wing and propellers of a turboprop plane

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Looking down over Fairbanks, Alaska, July 13, 2016, Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

Fairbanks, Alaska

What one can see beneath the wing and blades of a turboprop plane may be fleeting, a passing moment hurried by, and I did not want to miss it. This picture is out of focus, with no description or knowledge of what we were looking at, but it is the moment captured that counts. It’s as if time and motion slowed, and one sees things from a bird’s-eye view, even if a very high one. The unusual way propellers look as if slowing their speed while looking down from the plane window gave me just enough time to get this quick shot looking down onto Fairbanks, Alaska. We took this one hour flight to Fairbanks from Anchorage, Alaska on a De Havilland Dash 8-400 turboprop on July 13th.

There have not been many times when I have ridden on a turboprop plane, but this was one time when at least I had a camera to use for this picture. I had my Nikon stuffed away in a tote bag under the seat, but for some quick shots at something I wanted to capture, I used my Amazon Fire tablet camera, or my smart phone camera, both devices more handy and accessible at the time. Although there are editing options for both it is hard to focus on things when moving at high rates of speed. Of course this picture does not look like we flew at a high rate of speed when one can see what looks like the slowing of propeller blades that couldn’t keep up. It makes it look as if hardly moving at all. So, when I saw how this picture came out I thought it unique and worth sharing. It was day one of our recent trip and cruise to Alaska. I will share some of my favorite photos with descriptions and stories in the next several weeks, and my perspective on a very vast, wonderful place to visit with history that dates back to the beginning of its discovery and exploration, and its famous Denali Peak (formerly Mount McKinley, largest peak in the U.S.) the ice glaciers, caribou, Iditarod sled dog teams, gold rush, and much more, seen while on this journey.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Our Journey

 

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We were nineteen years old fifty years ago today (July 16) when we were married in Kansas City, Mo. We stood at the church altar exchanging our vows, pledging our love, and devotion to one another, feeling as if ready in some ways, yet somewhat apprehensive about what life might bring. Two weeks later, Wayne went to his appointment at his draft board to hear their decision.

It was 1966 and the draft was in effect for the Vietnam war in southeast Asia, which meant that all males, eighteen to twenty-five could be called up to serve. They all had to carry their draft cards with the status, age and identification current and listed, registered and ready. Those who refused to serve were arrested, or dodged service and ran off to Canada. Hundreds more protested in open street demonstrations and things became violent. If they were in college, or enrolled in one by the time they were drafted they were required to keep a GPA of 3.00 or better to be in an exempt status.

Our prayers, faith and an acceptance letter from the college where Wayne was enrolled that fall exempted him from serving, so it was California, “Ready or Not, Here We Come,” and we headed off to school and new jobs in Los Angeles.

Four years later in 1970 we headed back to Kansas City after our daughter’s birth and his graduation. Our second daughter was born before we moved out to Colorado, which was like coming back home for me. Though we met and married in Kansas City while living there neither of us were originally from Missouri. He was from Kentucky, and I, from Colorado.

Life during those fifty years threw us some curves; tough times that challenged our faith, and what seemed at times like ‘Mission Impossible’ assignments. But, we got through them, and grew stronger through the experience because we have a friend in Jesus, who’s always there, always forgives, and wipes away every heartache and tear. We learned to rise above difficult situations, not give up and overcome those obstacles, or mountains in our path in order to climb to this point in life, today. Whether we will make it beyond our fiftieth, God only knows, but we will be together, until death do us part, rich or poor. Our moments here on earth are temporary, fragile and unpredictable, but those with Him are eternal.

At the time of this posting Wayne and I will be in Alaska seeing some beautiful country and embarking on an Alaskan cruise enjoying this moment in our lives, celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary. And when I return I will have photos and stories to share of our journey.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Let the mountains rejoice…

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Looking out over ‘Purple Mountains Majesty’ in the Colorado Rockies. This photo was taken during the very early hours of sunrise of the majestic Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. Photo credit: T. Wayne Johnson

 

Let the mountains rejoice,

let them cry out, Glory to the One

who set us upon

the earth with all like wondrous kind.

Lift up His name, let Glory reign,

and bless all who honor Him with voice,

and with their promised inheritance gain

their eternal place, like an eternal flame

that burns forever, always bright

and with the Father, all blessings claimed.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Today is Independence Day in the U.S. If you are an American and have sung and know the words to the song, America the Beautiful, then you might remember the phrase that goes like this, “purple mountains majesties.” I have used this photo for today’s post to honor our national holiday. Happy birthday, America, and may it always be one that is the land of the free, and the brave, and above all, one that honors its creator, Father God. Happy 4th of July to all Americans, today.  JEJ

Sunset on Trail Ridge Road, RMNP

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Trail Ridge Road – Rocky Mountain National Park (June 2016)

The drive up Trail Ridge Road in RMNP is paved clear to the summit. The meandering, steep climb winds through forested thick stands of Ponderosa, Lodge Pole pine, Douglas fir, Juniper, and Spruce. Snowfalls, blizzards and drifts can make the drive treacherous any month of the year when a storm front moves in. I have been up on Trail Ridge Road in July in the middle of an unexpected snowstorm and blizzard that was not forecasted. The gates positioned at halfway and three-quarters way up are then closed to all traffic, except for snow plows.

About three thirds of the way up is the last major overlook with a paved path leading out away from the road about a quarter-mile to a viewing platform of loose rock, boulders, and tundra. The tree line is below the ridge here and one can look down and over to peaks stretching for miles beyond, into the horizon. The Alpine  Visitors’ Center is located at the top of Trail Ridge Road at an elevation of 12,000+ feet. Longs Peak at 14,000+ ft. sits in the middle of the mountain range, viewable from this vantage point.

We parked, walked the path out to the viewing platform and waited for the sun to make its slow descent over the peaks. It was dusk and the chipmunks and marmots played and scampered about on the rocks and tundra beyond the overlook viewing platform. It was another hour before we could get these pictures at about 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. During that time we watched the clouds dissipate, form again, change and move. It is an amazing sight to see the way the clouds change in the process with colder misty ones forming below the viewing point. We took a number of pictures during our wait. These are only a few of our favorites.

For more information on Trail Ridge Road and Rocky Mountain National Park, you can find it here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_Ridge_Road

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

The Father’s Way

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When we were walking the trail one day with our dog I spotted these little geese families. We watched them first trot along in the high grass, across our path to the lake with all the babies’ in tow, their little heads barely seen above the grass. and then they quickly hurried over to the water and jumped in. Between the larger geese, leading and bringing up the rear the babies swam between. By the middle of spring there is a lot of new life and babies born to birds and game of all kinds. It was a touching sight to watch them, and I was so glad I had my camera. There were also little duck families that we saw on another day when I did not have my camera, so I have begun to take it along more regularly now when we walk so I don’t miss shots like this. As you can see, I have used the same photo for my blog header image as well.

While watching the geese and ducks I thought about the way parents of any species will fiercely protect and watch over their young, lead, and direct them through their young life, so they know how to be watchful of prey, to protect themselves when grown.

It is also the way our heavenly father watches over us with a much greater sense of protectiveness and direction, hoping that we will follow after Him, his leading, and know how to live in a way that assures us a safe, trusting pathway in life.  In Proverbs 13:1 of the Old Testament bible, it says, “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction.” Male or female, we all need that kind of leading which gives us the tools and instruction to live our lives in safety and harmony with others.

I was very fortunate to have an earthly father who led by example and taught us how to apply those biblical principles to our own life. But, it is my heavenly father who gives me eternal life, and the best of everything I can ever hope for, or expect. It is the Father’s way.

If you are a father, I wish you a Happy Father’s day, and the blessings and peace that only the Heavenly Father can give.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Rocky Mountain’s High

A view of Long's Peak in the Rocky Mountains from Estes Park, Colorado

A view of Long’s Peak in the Rocky Mountains from Estes Park, Colorado, Photo credit; Joyce E. Johnson

ROCKY MOUNTAIN’S HIGH

Majestic, symbolic, touching near and far

in splendor each peak with

towering summits each speak

Of solid mass and might

commanding attention, they affect

park visitors that journey,

traveling through their portals high.

They stop to capture all its glory

focused through camera lens,

their eyes now scoping a huge black raptor,

his loud call proclaiming ownership to its prey.

It soars through void and space

shattering the solitude with ascent,

honoring the skies with its grace.

A climber grasps to reach

a pinnacle to the high

struggling through their efforts

with gasping and with sigh.

Then perched atop

what stretches far and wide

gazing over to the sights

of the Continental Divide.

Lodge Pole Pines grow thick beside

a mass of Douglass Fir and Spruce,

trees that cover the mountain’s side

stops where the tundra’s

soft moss bed lies,

rich with colors, green and blue.

Cold winds blow, the air is chilled

Aspen leaves turn a golden hue.

dropping quickly to the ground.

Layers of snow and ice soon cling

to the mountain slopes’ thick white fields.

Layers that repeat through winter months

with each snowfall, the skiers come,

leaving their tracks upon the slopes

until it warms and the sun melts all,

and the runoff begins, and the rivers flow.

All who come seeking their own experience here

will take away their memories of these

awe-inspiring peaks.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

 


Beseeching Visitor

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This is a wild Red Fox that hangs around our mountain property.

Encroaching our space

it came, light-footed, and quiet

with a molting, shaggy coat and tail,

a length of bushy, brown coarse fur

it stood uncertain on thin gangly legs.

It had a small heart-shaped face

with ears alert, as if pointed towards the sky,

and expression as if in earnest expectation

of what it hoped to find or gain.

But strangers we are not upon this land,

and intrigued to find him beseeching

at our mountain meadow in the sun.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)


Remembering our military on Memorial Day

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As we walked around the cemetery last Saturday, and saw all the tiny American flags sticking up from the ground around the graves of those who fought in past wars, I wondered about the stories of all those we’ll never know anything about. Only their surviving family members can provide details to the lives lost, and sacrificed for our freedom.

We read and hear of those whose sacrifice and heroic efforts changed the course of history for our country, but there are thousands more stories we’ll never know, or the men and women who fought bravely for our country on our shores, off the shores and outside our borders. It is often only the grave marker, or sadly for some a name on a KIA (killed in action), or MIA (missing in action) list filed on records and documents in the archives of history.

The picture above is just one I took at random of a World War II soldier’s grave while we were there to view the gravesite of my parents buried nearby. I had been trying out a new cell phone camera so did not get a very good image of this soldier’s grave, but it is not the image that I cared so much about, but what he had done and his contributing effort to the cause of freedom and democracy for our country.

If you are in the military, a veteran of the U.S. armed services, or even in the military of another country or army your service does not go unnoticed, but is forever appreciated to all those whom you fought to protect, and the country you served.

Thank you for your service, and God bless you on this Memorial Day.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

Posted May 30, 2016 by Joyce in My Photos, My Writings

Tagged with , , ,

A refuge and place called ‘home’ to the abused and neglected

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A male African lion. After taking several pictures of him from a distance we were finally rewarded with this close up shot of him walking up to the viewing platform.

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This mature grizzly kept his eyes on us the whole time we stood watching him from the walk out.

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This black bear loved his wooden post. He hugged it, rolled it, played with it, and even used it to scratch his back. All of the larger animals have big fresh water tanks, cool, comfortable ‘dens’ made with huge concrete culverts set into the ground so the bears can hibernate, or just get out of the hot sun to cool down. There are tire swings that hang from poles too, for them to play with.

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A grey wolf, common to the northern territories of Canada and the U.S. The ‘greys’ were in a separate enclosure from the Artic wolves, as seen below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Artic wolf. We wondered if this one was the ‘Alpha.’ He seemed more dominate over the pack as we watched their behavior and movements.

 

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This big grizzly was more intent on cleaning his paw. He paid no attention to his visitors.

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Now to just get the other leg in, and he’s ready for a swim in the water tank on a hot day.

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These two grizzlies find time for play, and a rough and tumble roll on the ground.

 

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Afternoon nap. There were several in this group of lions that were sleeping, all piled up, one on top of another with legs spread out in every direction. The lions and bears are more lethargic in the earlier part of the day when hot, but get more active later in the afternoon towards feeding time.

 

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My grandkids, Trevor and Alyssa at an entrance sign, “petting the tiger”.

 

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So long, from  all of us at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the animals above, and many more from other species are all rescued animals coming from abusive, neglected or abandonment situations. They are housed and kept in this beautiful 800+ acre compound preserve in Keenesburg, CO. They are fed on a regular rotating schedule, live in a protected environment, and get the best possible care with regular visits by a veterinarian. Many were rescued from circuses; abused, abandoned or neglected. Others were rescued from people who got the animals as pets when very young and could not properly care for them, so gave them up. There are ostriches, lynx, mountain lions, and even camels on the site. This was our second trip out to the preserve. It is an awesome place to visit the animals in a more natural setting with all the comforts of ‘home.’ To view pictures of them and others there, read their stories, donate to their care, or learn more about them, you can find it here.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Profusion in pink

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Profusion in pink,

and trees, their limbs full and green 

shelter birds that sing.

 ~~~

The sun is shining.

May comes, and with it new life,

expectancy, hope.

~~~

Is it the season,

or the newness of things fresh?

Spring; I savor all. 

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

Securing my own ‘nest’

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Spring brings everyone outdoors once warm weather hits like a brilliant sun on a clear blue sky. Everything seems new again; blooms with delicate petals opening like arms raised to the sky in praise. Grass and trees with new buds so small it is hard to see with the naked eye, but slowly we begin to see new growth and even the birds and small game come out to celebrate the new season.

This squirrel nest is in our neighbor’s tree which hangs its low branches over the fence and into our yard, so from our back yard swing I am able to see the trees as they turn green in the spring, or yellow gold in autumn.

I have watched and wondered about whether the nest might get knocked out by a strong chinook wind, or blowing snow storm. When I saw no activity near it I even wondered if it was abandoned. But, one recent morning I noticed a squirrel climbing out of it as it hopped down onto the branches below.

Our dog, Maggie loves to go after the squirrels in our yard who are plentiful anymore, often hurrying along on the top of the fence racing to the end before she can lunge at them, but they know she is not fast enough or large enough to gain advantage over them so they tease her, screeching, twitching and snapping their tails as if slapping at her. They seem carefree, unafraid of anything happening around them. I watch them, and think, what if we could have that same feeling of unconcern in our world and take each day without anxiety, or stress.

Life can be unpredictable, never certain. We face the realities of our times, and the circumstances in which we find ourselves in, and our world can seem in jeopardy of falling apart. It can be our home, our comfort zone, or our very life that can hang in the balance because there is no monopoly on our tomorrows, only a down payment on our todays. What we put into our ‘todays’ can affect what we leave behind. A legacy that defines us, like a footprint left in this world where we’ve walked can make a difference. Recent events, terrorist attacks, political upheaval, the election woes with its unpredictable outcome, whatever it is, catastrophic storms or events can bring down our nest, our world. A strong wind can shake us, upset our nest, but a storm we have no control over can destroy us.

There is much said about securing our borders, our transportation systems, our investments, economy.” but, it is my own ‘nest,’ my own foundation that I am more focused on building and securing. Sure, I will make my mark, vote my choice, express my voice, but all else I leave in God’s hands where I can trust His judgement, His control, not that of a campaigning candidate, or world leader.

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2016) 

 

 

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