Apres le deluge – Images #308-310

Most people are aware of the horrific rains that we have endured here in the Carolinas.  I am in Western North Carolina at about 2,ooo feet elevation so most of what falls here heads downhill…towards South Carolina.  Poor South Carolina.  Anyone who has watched the news in recent days knows the heartache that is being endured in the Palmetto State after a flood of Biblical proportions.  But here in North Carolina things are drying out and the sun has shown for two days. It has been wonderful.


Little Helmets

The return of the sun has encouraged my mushroom friends to emerge.  The first were these helmet-style little guys who popped up at the base of my hickory maple.

I couldn’t believe it when I looked at the photos and saw another little one emerging under the bark.




Later in the day I climbed the ridge behind the house and found this soldier pushing its way up through the pine straw and perfectly lit in the setting light of the day. Things are drying out, life goes on. ❧


At the end of a sunny day.


Get the buckets!

Weather map

One of my favorite weather pages is Mike’s Weather Page.  I stumbled on it several years ago when I was trying to find information on the “hurricane spaghetti models.”   Those are what they call the different projections that agencies put together when a hurricane develops.  They can be wildly divergent and often do look like spaghetti.

But Mike has a lot more than hurricane tracks.  He has an amazing number of weather maps posted from various agencies, like the one above which is from NOAA.  This is the “Next Five Day Rain Forecast” map and I have only included the east coast of the U.S.  Look closely and you’ll see a bright yellow section in the western hills of North Carolina with the notation 17.3.  Well, that’s 17.3 inches and is right over my house!!!  Well, not exactly, of course, but close enough.

I’m on high ground and not worried but there are many people in the Carolinas that could face some real hardships in the next few days.  And who knows where Joaquin will actually end up because the Spaghetti Models are still, pardon the expression, all over the map. ❦Spaghetti models


Image #307 – Blue Velvet Fungi

Blue Velvet Fungi

Blue Velvet Fungi

Still in the Carolina mountains but the days are slipping away. Summer officially ends tomorrow. The leaves are starting to change color and litter my yard.  Soon I will join the birds in heading south.

My pictures this season, like my posts, have been sketchy at best. Today’s offering is a photo that was taken a month ago and sat in the camera, patiently waiting. It is Blue Velvet Fungi that I unearthed while moving some branches. It was in full bloom, an absolutely delicious shade of blue that this photo barely captures.  The next shot gives you a close-up.

Blue Velvet Fungi - Closeup

Blue Velvet Fungi – Closeup

Amazing nature…it doesn’t care about pictures, blog posts, newsletters, speeches or meetings.  It simply does what it does best…astound. ❧

Image #306 – Color of the Day – Banana Caterpillar


A Banana Caterpillar

My friend Joe Bruneau likes to post “Today’s Color” on his Facebook account.  Today’s color is banana and I thought that was interesting since I found this almost banana-colored caterpillar on my deck rail this morning.  I think this is his face but for all I know he could be mooning all of us.  😀    ❦

In The Deep

Natalia Molchanova begins a deep dive.

Natalia Molchanova begins a deep dive.

Natalia Molchanova is dead. You can be forgiven if you have not heard of her. In this world of seven billion inhabitants there are people who accomplish great things that we never hear of or give witness to…until they are gone.

Ms. Molchanova was widely regarded as the world’s greatest free diver, perhaps in the history of the sport (at the time of her death on August 2nd she held 41 world records).

Free diving is a basic, no frills sport. All you need is a body of water and a diver. You hold your breath and dive as deeply as you possibly can. In Ms. Molchanova’s case it was very deep indeed. She was the first woman to ever pass the 100 meter depth. That is a little over the length of a football field, down into the sea and, of course, back to the surface again. Ms. Molchanova held the world record for holding her breath longer than anyone else – 9 minutes and 2 seconds!

These records are remarkable enough but are even more so when placed into the context of Ms. Molchanova’s life. She was originally a competitive swimmer but “retired” after giving birth to her son (who is also a free diver). She returned to training, and took up free diving, at the age of 40 and carved a spectacular career in the span of 13 years. At an age when most people begin to think about true retirement this remarkable woman found an outlet that not only satisfied her desire to compete but also, it seemed, gave her great spiritual reward.

“Free diving is not only sport, it’s a way to understand who we are,” Ms. Molchanova said in an interview last year. “When we go down, if we don’t think, we understand we are whole. We are one with world. When we think, we are separate. On surface, it is natural to think and we have many information inside. We need to reset sometimes. Free diving helps do that.”

In a world where we are constantly barraged by stimulus that forces an almost non-stop thinking, the prospect of “not thinking” is almost, well, unthinkable. And yet it seems to hold some key to finding an inner peace, ask any Zen master or Buddhist monk.  Or, perhaps, any child in the womb, waiting to be born, floating in their own sea, experiencing the oneness.

For Ms. Molchanova her moment of becoming one with the world is now eternal. Her body has not been found and her son has accepted that. “It seems she’ll stay in the sea,” he said. “I think she would like that.”  ❦