Category Archives: Sprit of Place

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Sun + Earth Day Miracles

Earth Day Sun Crystals

Earth Day 2012 dawned bright, sunny cold – 24 F and frosty. As I got in the car, dressed in winter garb, the sun hit the windshield and I couldn’t resist marvelling at the beauty of the sun co-creating with water crystals. Once the sun hit the window fully, they vanished almost instantly, and not before I was able to catch them with 6 quick shots… Pine trees and ice crystals, lit by the sun at dawn took my breath away.
My plan was to go into the woods and to the beach, to celebrate Earth Day, to capture the beauty of the little piece of earth I dwell in – my “material” world. That goal became immaterial… and was still realized.

Later in the day, as I was returning from the beach, (where of course agates appeared at my feet, as they seem to miraculously and often) a doe and yearling approached me… from the shadows of the trees. I spoke with them awhile, coaxing them closer… The older doe stayed in the shadows, cautious, yet the yearling came out into the sun, curious, interested, long enough for one full body shot… deer on the move. I crossed paths with seven deer this day, they have returned to the north woods after wintering south. The yearlings will soon be run off by the does, when they are ready to birth new fawns.

Yearling in the Sun

Yearling in the Sun

Yes, I talk to the animals in the woods. Yes, miracles happen frequently. Deer – I saw many deer on Earth Day. They are a symbol of gentleness and fit my current life theme… being gentle, with myself, others and planet earth.
Kindness, gentleness go a long way. Part of that kindness to myself has been to live life offline less and in the material world more. Less pushing to blog, more being quiet, learning, teaching, loving. Spending time with people, new friends and old.

For me right now, less of some things is more and all is well. It is pleasing me greatly to only open e-mail every few days… to be creating, building, choosing gently, and mostly, allowing… allowing miracles, allowing clarity and joy.
Namaste ~ Star Bear

Happy Easter – New Old Eggs…

Lake Superior's Easter Eggs on Ice


In 2011, Easter and Earth Day dates fell close together. This year is different, and the snow is gone early. This is another one of my favorite photos – from the beach and the gifts it brings. If you are new to my blog, you may have missed this gem… 🙂
Happy Easter, Passover, Spring or ??? to all the Good Eggs who read this.

This is a re-post from 24 April 2011
Earth Day was Friday, so was Good Friday. I spent the afternoon hours from 12-3:00 at the Church of the Beach, following my Christian upbringing. As I walked the beach and picked up trash, Jesus’ words from the cross ran through my mind… “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…”
Everyone makes a difference – the balloons of someone’s celebration, ribbons still attached, litter the beach, along with indestructible Frito Lay Tortilla chip bags, assorted beer and pop cans, disposable diapers, toilet paper and even the cardboard tp rolls. This is a spring fling thing – as snow melts, mysteries are revealed. It is a mystery that people these days are still not responsible for their own junk. Earth is not a garbage can, it is a home we all share.

So I celebrated Earth Day by embracing the Earth and Thanking Mother Earth for the beauty I live in and cleaning up a little bit. Every day is Earth Day – for me anyway.
Luce County, where I live has no recycling available except for paper, which is collected by the girl scouts. To recycle, we have to drive our plastic, metal, cardboard, 100 miles to Sault Saint Marie, in Chippewa County. Not very Earth friendly, or pocket friendly these days. It’s kinda like living in a third world nation here, with snow.
Some of us have been trying to get recycling here for 5 years… everybody says they want it, nobody wants to pay the millage.

At the Library, where I am now working, one co-worker takes all the recycling home, then eventually gets it to the Soo. I have been saving my recycling all winter. Did you know that you could crunch up 6 one-gallon plastic milk jugs, roll them up and fit them into one plastic coffee can? Glass jars take up a lot of space, so I break them, carefully. Then put them into a plastic coffee can, put some rocks in with them, and shake the daylights out of them ~ My free version of that new exercise device. I can get a lot of glass into a coffee can that way. The newer round bottom cans are a pain. Can’t cut the bottoms off anymore. When will packagers wake up? There is room for improvement – attention to Earth friendly packaging has not been noticed by Campbell’s Soup and other big businesses yet…

Most commercial eggs come in styrofoam containers – non-recyclable. Brown eggs come in cardboard – YAY!

So, Happy Earth Day! Rest assured, this is not a complaint about where I live. Merely an observation and a call to action…
Lake Superior’s ancient Easter Bunny always gives new eggs, well chilled, stored on and under ice and snow. These eggs are billions of years old and solid evidence life goes on, recycling. My beach studio is intact and spring cleaning is underway. …and on the third day, a resurrection, peace and joy. Today I get to go for a sunrise service at the Church of Peace at the Beach and the Lake will sing it’s songs of Joy with a Hallelujah Chorus over rolling waves… It’s my version of a Holy Roller Easter… LOL!
May your Easter, Earth Day celebration be wonderful, however you clelebrate. Just hang on to your balloons and your beer cans, please. 🙂
Namaste – Star Bear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Launch ~ NoCZ 2012 ~ Baby Steps

Baby Steps

Launch. Sometimes a launch is tiny. A Baby Step. Baby Steps… putting one foot in front of another, moving forward. Is a launch always upward or can it be simply movement? Sometimes it’s a leap of faith and one foot just shoves off and we leap. How fun to be leaping with others again this year!

About this photo: On a sunrise beach walk, I found two sets of footprints heading toward the water, unclear in dry sand. One set of large footprints, one set of tiny, side by side. I imagined a small child, walking hand in hand with a parent or grand parent, then frolicking on the beach in the early morning light. There was a single tiny footprint, clear, near the edge of the water, untouched as yet by the washing waves. The child allowed to explore, then called back, perhaps, away from the water, kept safe.
The image and words were a gift to my friend Usha, in California, as we launched our dreams together and laid out our plans for the year 2012 – back in 2010. We spoke on the phone and in class, and she had the most beautiful, kind, joyous voice and laugh. We are both creating our dreams, grounded, one step at a time.

The Gift: If you are doing the NoCZ Challenge or not ~ Print it out if you wish. Carry it with you, put it on the fridge. Remember to be patient with and kind to yourself and others as we take Baby Steps or leap into new territory…. and remember to laugh at the water’s edge! Jumping in – the water feels great!

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Postcard from My Dream – Farewell Post-a-day 2011

Building ~ one stone at a time. Living my life, one step at a time...

Stepping into a New Year...Building ~ one beautiful stone at a time. Living my life, one joyous step at a time...

Some days there is not much to say… I love, I am here, I am loved, I love being me. As the year comes to a close, all is well. It’s snowing, it’s morning, a new day. I am awake, alive and deeply happy. I always have been, and sometimes I forget that. Today, I remember what happiness feels like, deeply joyously deliciously happy. Too many words… and still they cannot truly say it for me. Ahhhh… Hoping your year closes with love and joy – and that 2012 is as joyous for you as you wish. Mine is going to be fabulously wonderFULL! Namaste ~ B

Postcard from the Woods ~ Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice – the coming of the Light and Retreat of the Dark ~ in the Northern Hemisphere. The day was bright and sunny, cold, with snow still on the ground. I have been preparing for this for months – storing some of the best firewood carefully to keep it dry. Preparations – cleansing, cleaning, clearing, and moving some snow. Once again, I had a ceremony here in the woods and it was fabulous, moving, touching, sacred, cleansing, funny, shared with friends in person and others in spirit. All day the fire burned brightly in the sacred space where regrets, mistakes, the dark stuff, are written down and burned in the fire. Forgiveness, gratitude, hopes, dreams, intentions expressed in all directions to people, friends, the universe, and of course, God, for blessings (even those in disguise), miracles, love…. written down, placed in the fire and carried into the universe by gentle breezes.
I hope at some point in the yesterday of Winter Solstice, you too, were able to take time to honor and acknowledge the passage of the seasons, the year, the return of light and retreat of the dark, your growth and expansion ~ and the people in your life who teach, guide, love and share. My lists were long and if you are reading this, you were on my list – of blessings in my life. ♥

This is where the fire burned – the contrast of light and dark before the fire was built and lit…

Ring of Fire - Before


Last year’s total lunar eclipse of the full moon on Winter Solstice was amazing – see When the Universe Aligns. This year, the Universe aligned perfectly once again.
Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Entrance (2)

Entrance to Expansion

Each time I reach this place, my heart beats faster, my spirit soars. This is the entrance to my “beach studio.” When I am here, I am fully here, excited, alive, feeling the breeze, hearing the breath of the lake, smelling the freshness of life, expanding my view… and always surprised by new beauty created by nature. I feel blessed. I am home, I am free, I am safe, I am loved and I feel the love of life, God, the Universe and everything and everyone in it, surrounding me, holding me as life flows around me, through me, in me…
Welcome to the entrance of my studio. We can sing, dance, make things, discover, explore, celebrate, give thanks, pray, learn, love… kinda like in church, eh? Thank you for visiting “my” beach studio. 🙂

I wonder what beauty we’ll find today?

May your day be filled with beautiful loving surprises and expanding views…
Namaste ~ StarBear

Related Posts:
Little Entrance

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Entrance

Mysterious Entrance - Entranced

Enter the world of nature’s mystery. Free sdmission for all… The only requirement is imagination, an open heart, laughter and your own light. A marvelous journey awaits you!
May your day be filled with mystery and entrancing opportunities…
Namaste ~ StarBear

Related Posts:
Entrance to the Woods

Weekly Photo Challenge – Mountains

Smoky Mountain Range

Smoky Mountains, near Cherokee, Tennesee ~ Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It was gray, chilly, rainy and even though it was November, the color had not yet turned. It was a quick trip with a beloved friend, delivering a car to parents in Florida.

The last time I was near mountains was on a mad dash to Virginia in a blizzard… no chances to really see them or shoot them while focussing on arriving in time (and in one piece) for a Thanksgiving visit with grandchildren.
Living in the Tahquamenon Valley, near Lake Superior, I may have regressed to thinking the world is fairly flat? It may be flat here, and yet somedays the challenges feel like mountains.

Perhaps it is time to visit real mountains again! Spin the compass and see what direction to travel?

May your day be filled with natural blessings, good energy and your compass be set towards a new direction!

Namaste ~ StarBear

Weekly Photo Challenge – Mountains

Basalt Rocks

These basalt stones are common along the Lake Superior shore in Luce County and are found large and small.
While the abundance of the basalt rocks is annoying to some agate hunters who dismiss them as too abundant, I find the variety of blacks and the smooth shapes quite beautiful. They are wonderful to hold in your hand, smooth and warm. Here, they often wash up on the beach with these little holes in them and many call them “holey stones”, others call them “omers”.
What has all of this to do with mountains? We have no visible mountains nearby, and this lava rock is from a mountain exploding somewhere. I have collected mountains of these.
They are also quite useful in saunas as hot rocks, for massages as warm rocks placed on the body, and for alleviating aches and pains. They have mountains of good energy and uses. There is more, stories for another day, perhaps… There are some beautiful Native American stories about them and how they came to be.
Meanwhile, you can learn more at these links:
The geology of Basalt
Omers at Wikipedia

May your day be filled with natural blessings and good energy!

Namaste ~ StarBear

Lake Superior 3 ~ Energy

Sometimes almost literally sweeping me off my feet... and I love the storms...

Sometimes Raging...


Sometimes words are inadequate to describe energy.
Lake Superior is pure energy, given in so many ways.

Sometimes raging
Sometimes quiet
Sometimes resting
Always creating beauty.

Sometimes taking lives
Sometimes moaning
Sometimes laughing
Always joyfully giving an abundance of beauty.

Perry's Landing

Sometimes quietly starting my days...

Lake Superior Sand Drawing with Stones

Always giving ~ Simple Beauty

May your day be filled with beautiful energy!
Namaste ~ Star Bear, who is off to start another beautiful day of gratitude for this place and time.
Copyright 2011 Betsy Lewis