Tag Archives: Spirit of the Lake

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

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Winter x 3

More of my favorite images. Today I offer 3 – For me, they represent some of the beauty I see, share, create, notice… in Winter Water…

Sunset Reflections on Winter Water

Sunset Reflections on Winter Water

Is it Snow? Clouds? I call it "SnowClouds"

Winter Water sand and stone. I call it " Rippling Gold"

I have long known that water is important to me.
I recently realized:
Winter Water is fascinating, frozen… still, melting, rippling
Spring rain is enchanting… musical
Summer Water is refreshing… relaxing
Fall Water is cleansing… recycling, reflecting
We could rearrange the words and seasons and they may still be true…
I am fascinated by the change of seasons and water and how it affects everything in my life. I depend on water. For me, Water represents flow, change, clarity, thirst-quenching….
In Winter, I am surrounded by Winter Water in the form of snow.
In Spring the Winter Water melts and flows.
In Summer it rains and dries up and then rains once again.
Fall downpours take down the leaves from the trees and helps begin the cycle of re-cycling, keeping leaves wet to disintegrate, renew, nurture.
Then the cycle begins again.
Water keeps me connected…
Interesting how things work – congruity, synchronicity. As I was preparing to post these photos, I was checking in with mentors. Denise Linn is one and this showed up: How to Listen to Water

I love the seasons, nature, and the lessons I learn as a human bean, still growing and just simply being.
Namaste ~ Star Bear

For subscribers waiting for their Tips – Patience please. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Winter ~ No Comfort Zone

Winter Choice 1

Sensuous Snow Curve

As part of a challenge created by a fellow blogger, Marge, I have decided to post some of my very favorite photos.
The challenge is called “No Comfort Zone 2012” and you can read more here.

The challenge is to step out of our comfort zones once a week and write about it. I am not sure I really have any comfort zones, so this challenge may mean finding one to step out of. Saying this is one of my favorite phptographs is stepping out of my comfort zone. It is so simple and minimalist, uncomplicated, crisp, clean, yet sensuous. It could seem cold to some, yet the curve adds softness, warmth. I like that. It also reminds me of the hipbone of a lover and that’s okay, too.

And so is this ~ even talking about my comfort zones is uncomfortable.
I am more comfortable in Nature than with people. I am more comfortable in Nature with people than at at party or bar. I find Nature calm, beautiful, simple and in it I find Simple Beauty. Sometimes stark to others, yet the balance and rhythms of Nature suit me. Snow fascinates me. Wind fascinates me. Color shape and line entrance me. Change fascinates me. Shifting winds and weather fascinate me. People also fascinate me. Yet, in large and noisey groups of people I can be very shy. To counteract shyness, I can also become loud and obnoxious. I don’t drink alcohol much or often because I am am not fond of the person I become while drinking… more shy or more obnoxious.

Others can drink vast quanties of alcohol and not care what they say or do. My small physical size may have something to do with it… one beer or glass of wine and I can become really stupified or sleepy or flirtatious or any number of behaviors. I can also become all of those without alcohol. I prefer consciousness and conscious awareness for myself. Just my preference for me.

Stepping out of my comfort zone – going to a neighborhood New Year’s Eve Party. Some people there may may become falling-down inebriated, which also will be their choice. Others will stop by and say hello, catch up on neighborhood happenings, eat a hot dog, watch the fireworks. I have helped with this neighborhood gathering for several years, including this year. I have attended it, as well. So why is this a challenge for me?

This year I am going without judgment, as an observer and participant, to people watch perhaps, to please no one… to just be a participant in ending 2011 and welcoming in 2012 with my neighbors, some of whom I like, some of whom I love, some with whom I have had less than wonderful relationships. See what I mean about judgments? Tonight I may drink one beer and maintain balance. Tonight I may toast the New Year with champagne or sparkling grape juice. I may talk to one person or many. It won’t matter. I will be fine, just being me.

So today I will only judge my photographs – not people. It is simple and beautiful and fun. I can control the images I make. I cannot control others. I allow light to shift and dance in my images. I can allow others to shift and dance. I can just be me, shifting, growing, dancing, alive in the company of others – with no judgments and with full awareness of my choices. If this makes sense to you…great! If not, that’s great, too!

In large groups this can be very scary for me. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Happy New Year!
May your wishes and dreams come true… mine are.

Namaste – Star Bear

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

Lake Superior 2 ~ Celebration, Inspiration, Collaboration

Lake Superior always waving...

...waving hello, waving good-bye, waving hello again...

Lake Superior draws me to it. It is where I am refreshed, nurtured, safe…
It is where I go to wander, to explore, to dance, to laugh, to sing, to pray. Superior is always waving hello, or good-bye, or dancing or laughing. Off to the Lake I go, to think and be inspired and work, to be in touch with the universe and myself. Superior is never boring! I may go with friends. I may go alone. I go for time-outs, for joy, to celebrate life.

Some may ask, what does this have to do with being an artist, making art? How to explain… that. It attunes my senses. I become attuned to the world. Sometimes “it” comes in experiencing the vastness, the seemingly endless horizons, in every direction. The horizon line is seen, the vertical lines are not, and yet I know there is great depth under these waters, life unseen, unheard – the mysteries.

Spending a lot of time with the Lake is like getting to know someone intimately. There is water, there are stones, sand, wind, color, shape, contrast, texture, perspective, sounds, smells. There are tiny drops of water jumping up and laughing. These same drops of water, shape the sand and the stones. The minerals in the water color the stones. The stones are billions of years older than we. These drops of water, in collaboration with each other, push and pull the stones, tumbling them repeatedly, rolling, tossing. Listening to the stones jostle and crack against one another, I can hear them laughing… and they have stories to tell, these ancient stones. Listening to the stones… This poem, just sent by a friend, written by Charles Simic says it so well:

Stone

Go inside a stone
That would be my way.
Let somebody else become a dove
Or gnash with a tiger’s tooth.
I am happy to be a stone.

From the outside the stone is a riddle:
No one knows how to answer it.
Yet within, it must be cool and quiet
Even though a cow steps on it full weight,
Even though a child throws it in a river;
The stone sinks, slow, unperturbed
To the river bottom
Where the fishes come to knock on it
And listen.

I have seen sparks fly out
When two stones are rubbed,
So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;
Perhaps there is a moon shining
From somewhere, as though behind a hill—
Just enough light to make out
The strange writings, the star-charts
On the inner walls.
~ Charles Simic ~

Today, I teach an adult “art” class… or is that an “Art” class? It will be simple. Eyes closed, each person will choose a stone offered by the Lake. Sitting quietly, breathing, they will listen to the stone they chose. Whatever stone they choose, it will be the perfect stone for them. They will hold it in their hands and feel the shape, the weight, and the texture. They will open their eyes, then look and feel and discover. Notice color without judging, just noticing. Some will ask what is it made of, what minerals. Shhh… that is the mind wanting to name, classify, putting the stone in a hierarchy. It just wants to be a stone… and tell its ancient wisdom. Then we will travel into the stone and see, hear what it says, what story it wants to tell.

It may be a happy story, or a sad story, or a funny story. It may be a drawing or a poem or a dance or a song. It may even be scientific information.

Whatever the stone wants to share, when the student is ready the teacher appears… and the sharing will be shared without judgment. In this class, it may be shared as a drawing or a poem, or a story told to others. It may become a science lesson for some. Is there a line between science and art? What color is the line?

You can do this, too. Hold a stone, eyes closed. Feel it. Turn it over in your hand, run your finger over it. Is it rough or smooth, cold or warm? Does it have bumps or dents or cracks? Is it heavy or light? Then open your eyes and look at it.. What color is it? Is it all one color or many? Does it smell? What does it smell like? What does it sound like when you tap it with your fingernail or a stick? Does it offer music? Can you hear its music? Going inside the stone, yes, you can… holding the stone, just breathe yourself into it. You can leave anytime, you are not a prisoner of the stone. It wants you to know what it knows… where has it been? What has it seen? What does it want you to know… about its life, it’s travels, its journeys, its color, its music, is it laughing with you? It will tell you if it is old or young in spirit. All we need to do is listen, to the spirit of the stone… it only takes a minute, once you learn to listen.

Write, draw, paint, dance, sing your stone’s story. Then, if you choose, share it with a friend. They might like to hear the story of your stone! Some may want to simply draw the stone… that’s okay, too, making a portrait of a stone. The stone will love it!

Messages in stone....

Young or Old? A family holds a stone... together

Namaste ~ StarBear – who, today, is listening, learning, laughing, teaching, sharing, dancing… celebrating being alive! 🙂

Lake Superior

On a typical day... waves

Different day, Different mood, always changing, never the same, consistently.

Sunday, July 17th was Lake Superior Day and the Big Lake was quiet with fog rolling in… This week my blog posts are dedicated to Lake Superior. (A lot of it is about Lake Superior anyway, Spirit of Place ~Place of Spirit)
Maybe you’ve never heard of Lake Superior, maybe you have never been there. Have you heard the song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”? The video will show you another of Superior’s ever changing moods.

Gitcheegama, as the Ojibwe call it, is the largest fresh water lake on the planet. It contains 10% of ALL of the world’s fresh water – in this one place! Its coastline is 1,826 miles long and is shared by the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan and the Canadian Province of Ontario. It is old, very old, and the rocks and stones that line its fabulous beaches, even older.  Lake Superior is breathtakingly beautiful and because of its depth, the lake is also breathtakingly cold!
The first time I waded into Lake Superior, it literally took my breath away. Late one August, when the lake was at its warmest, following a whole summer of heating, I naively stepped into its crystal clear water,  just up to my knees. After about 1 minute, every bone in my legs ached, my teeth hurt, my body tightened, and I quickly retreated to the warmth of the sand. That was in the late 1960’s.

Today, the Lake becomes so warm in mid-summer, near the edges, at least, that one can wade fairly comfortably. In 2007, the Lake level dropped 18 inches. Shipping was greatly affected. Ships using the Great Lakes had to reduce their loads in order to make passage through much shallower channels. The cost of running the ships with smaller loads remained constant, affecting the prices paid for things you may use, wherever you are in the world.

What happens on, in and around Lake Superior affects everyone. We are all connected… water knows no boundaries. It is the rain, the rivers, the streams, in the clouds and it is always moving, even when it seems frozen.

In 2010, some friends walked the entire circumference of Lake Superior. Retired naturalists Mike Link and Kate Crowley hiked 1500+ miles around the shore. They spent four and a half months walking, camping and through the miraculous wonders of technology, documenting their adventure. You can see more of the moods and wonders of Lake Superior through their lenses here: Full Circle Superior. I was honored to walk a few miles with them on this adventure.

Sometime today, or this week, when you take that sip of refreshing water, bottled or from your tap, please make a toast to celebrate Lake Superior. You are probably drinking a drop or at least a molecule of Lake Superior water.

Namaste ~ Star Bear, who lives near the Big Lake and loves it!

To see more:
Lake Superior ~ Winter
Lake Superior Day Info
Lake Superior Stewardship
Lake Superior Wikipedia

Morning After Moon

Full moon rising
In a hazy sky
Golden orb gloradiates
Softly gilded lines

Moonlight edglings
Spread a fan of tiny backlit clouds
Doubling on the mirrorlake
Peacocks tail arrayed above and below.

Stillness, silence, peace, beauty
Ahh… Can life be better than this?
What more could one want?
Hearts desire filled…

Their call begins south
Then North Answered East… nearby
Whippoorwills sing
Call shout sing whip-poor-will

Louder closer
whip-poor-will
whip-poor-WILL
surrounded by answers of will…

then fireflies dance.

Surrounded by love
Touching God touching me touching life…
I thought of you…
Wished you here to share this moment…
and now we do.

Namaste ~ Star Bear
Copyright 20111 Betsy Lewis

Another song by Cat Stevens to enjoy – I’m being followed by a
Moonshadow

Theresa

Theresa Reflects...


Theresa – Part of the Spirit of Place

Theresa was one of my first friends when I moved to the Upper Peninsula. One of the things she loved to do was to “take” me to her favorite places. Actually, I drove and she pointed the way. We laughed a lot about that… she was no longer comfortable driving into the woods alone. (She was in her 70’s then)
It was Theresa who introduced me to the beauty of one of my favorite beaches and on one perfect fall day I was able to capture this reflective image of her – dancing along the edge of a tide pool looking for agates. She had a beautiful voice and loved to sing, so sometimes we sang on our drives and to the Lake.
I created this as a greeting card for her, and she loved writing notes in them to her old friends, telling them about our adventures. When I asked her permission to use this image for one my first Lake Superior Images she was excited and honored that I named it “Theresa Reflects”. I was honored that she gave her permission. I kept her supplied with “her” cards and often told her it was all her fault. It was her fault that I began my ongoing series of beach images and spirit art. It was because of Theresa I began collecting and working with rocks… It was an ongoing joke between us. When I saw her last summer and asked if she wanted to go to the beach, she was unable to go.
Yesterday, I learned from her daughter that she left us on Mother’s Day. Knowing Theresa, it was her choice of days. She was a devoted Mom and I loved her as one of the inspiring women in my life. We shared a love of the outdoors, agates, and Lake Superior.
Thank you Theresa, for being a bright spirit and for sharing so richly with me. You are always with me at the beach and continue to inspire my work. Thank you for your reflections of love. Thank you for your laughter and songs. Thank you for being, wherever you are, singing, dancing, laughing, and being cantankerous! LOL! Thank you for being a good friend.

Namaste ~ Betsy

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Postcard from the Woods

Driving back and forth to work is taking longer these days, with camera handy. This sharp shinned hawk is hanging out in the same place, must be good hunting.

Sharp Shinned Hawk

Sharp Shinned Hawk

It took some time to decide if it was a Sharp Shinned or Cooper’s Hawk, and after getting some shots it was a bit easier. What do you think? You can compare Sharp Shinned Hawk with a Cooper’s Hawk by clicking on the names…

The Sandhills are nesting too! This pair has been returning to this location for about three years now, and announce their presence quite vocally.

Sandhill gathering nesting materials...

Sandhill Crane

I’ve been seeing him/her everyday on the way home. Their call is a loud and distinct squwak with a loud trill. Unmistakable! You can hear it here.

The flickers are back as well ~ good medicine.
May your day be filled with hawk-eye vision and squawking if you please!

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Resources:
Bird ID
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Coopers Hawk
Sandhill Crane

Post-A-Day 2011 – Postcard from Earth Day Easter

24 April 2011

Lake Superior's Easter Eggs on Ice

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.
Waste Management? Ha! I contacted Ms. Green’s recycling to see if she would like to expand her business here… 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