I post this because I can

Sitting down at the computer to write this and share images
is like sending a letter to a good friend.  Maybe
you can imagine opening the envelope and just enjoy 
the view of my little slice of heaven out here in Missouri.
Here are a few things I have noticed…
Goldfinch on sunflower
 Those sunflowers featured in my last post are withered and gone now.
Before they faded away there was a host of birds feasting on those seeds.
BW, the black and white kitty
 This wild little kitty comes by each day for food and a little attention.
Yes, I keep feeding him.
Sun tea on the window sill
Sometimes of a morning I set a jar of tea to brew in the sunny window.
There’s nothing like the flavor of gently brewed tea.
It’s even better when I can sit on the porch to enjoy it.
Butterfly and marigolds
This little beauty appeared one day. 
The garden is mostly dried up now as we’ve had a dry spell for a few weeks.
That’s okay.  This was my year to learn just how much I do not know about gardening.
Next year will be better.
Birdhouse gourds drying in the sun
What I do know now is that gourds love lots of water.
And all that rain was good for the gourds.
They are all drying now and will someday become bird houses.
Sunrise on our street
The days are shorter.
The angle of the sun is different.
Today as the sun came over the tree tops I had to step outside
and just watch the light play on the drops of dew on the grass.
I post this because I can, because I think we need these simple things,
these little snippets of beauty to remind us of the good in this world.
You can read or hear of all the horror and heartbreak, all the wars and battles,
all the politics and hateful words on any number of devices that you may have in 
your possession.  And soon you will have your fill of all that and wonder how we 
can go on living like this.
You can step away from those screens and simply look around in your own back yard,
or watch the sun rise or set, or listen to the laughter of children playing. 
Choose your own adventure, or mantra, or meditation.
Find your way to be renewed and uplifted,
and share it with the world.

On the Katy Trail

Katy Trail State Park

Spring is here and the longing to get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air.
We took the time to get in the car and travel to Rocheport, MO, so that we could walk on the Katy Trail (more on that later in this post).
There is still a lot of brown everywhere, punctuated by splashes of spring color now.
dutchman's breeches
The weather was perfect for a nice walk, and we saw a few spring flowers along the way,
including these dutchman’s breeches. 
My hubby was excited to see several skinks, and this one actually posed for me. 
Or maybe the sun felt good on it’s back.
Or it could have been scared.
By far the most interesting thing I saw was high up on the cliff as we walked along the trail.
I happened to look up and saw all these nests clinging to the rock below an overhang.
These are the nests of cliff swallows, which you can read about here.
It’s difficult to tell from my photo, but there is a huge cliff on one side of the path, and a steep drop off to a river on the other side.  We spent most of the time looking at the cliff because of the wildlife and flowers we saw.  And then we stumbled across this logo from the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, embedded in the side of the cliff.  
“Katy Trail State Park is built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad (better known as the Katy). When the railroad decided to cease operation on its route from Machens in St. Charles County to Sedalia in Pettis County in 1986, it presented the chance to create an extraordinary recreational opportunity — a long-distance hiking and bicycling trail that would run almost 200 miles across the state.”
I feel somewhat like a tour guide writing this…but it is life as it happened here.  As difficult as it may be to adjust to a new home, one of the big pluses is all the new places to explore! 
My camera tells me she is happy and wants to know when we’ll go out again.

Owls and Other Raptors

All technical difficulties have been resolved here, and now I can share the treasure of those beautiful owls and other raptors that I recently photographed.
Not far from where I live there is a place known as a Black Swamp Raptor Rehab Center, and all the raptors shown here are from that center.  This was an awesome
experience, to be able to get that close to these amazing creatures, and
then to have them still enough that we could photograph them.  Our
photography club here in Lima made the arrangements for this event, and
donated money to their cause.
barred owl
 Barred Owl
barred owl
 Another Barred Owl
Red tail hawk
Red Tail Hawk
American Kestrel
American Kestrel (a kind of falcon)
screech owl
Screech Owl
The little pair of owls that I showed you a few days ago are each blind in one eye.  Many of these other raptors have broken wings. One of them had a bad leg.  It was sad in a way, but I’m very appreciative and grateful for the dedication and hard work that the rehab center does. 
It occurred to me that we humans are not so different.  We get broken here and there, and rely on others to help us, to keep us safe. 
 Have a great weekend!

Photo Heart Connection for May

Cat bird

Though I always try to remember to post something for Kat’s Photo Heart Connection, I sometimes miss the beat and then time slips by and…you can guess the rest of my story.  It is really a good thing to do, looking back at the images from the previous month and choosing the one that tugs at your heart, that says something to you.

This image is of a cat bird, taken at the same location as the nest of eagles that I wrote about several days ago.  Toward the end of our time at the marsh I saw this bird a few yards away just chattering at the top of her lungs.  Sometimes the light is right, I’m in the right place, and the lens does what I want.  

I love this little bird.  She’s being herself, ruffled feathers and all, telling the world what it needs to hear…her own little song.

The recent death of Dr. Maya Angelo has touched me deeply.  Oprah Winfrey has aired many of her shows on her network (OWN) that include Dr. Angelo recently, as a way to honor the memory of this wise woman.  Her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” came to mind as I looked at this image.  

How grateful I am that Dr. Angelo sang her song.  For in her song I ‘heard’ that all of our stories, all of our songs need to be sung.  No matter your age, your gender, your orientation to life in any form, your education, your beliefs…all of us need to share our stories.   And then, most importantly, we all need to listen.