Living – Places: Faves

Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
– Alan Watts, The Way of Zen (1957)

Favorite photos – 2

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Pollen cones on a Ponderosa pine. [ 11-322 ]

An image of the desire of life to perpetuate itself

Golden Banner flower peeking up into the early morning sunshine. [ 11-326 ]

One of my favorite photographs

Green Gentian is a crazy plant. It grows for a long time, as much as 50 years as just splay of leaves close to the ground. Then one year, a now quite old Green Gentian bolts, shooting up a tall flower stalk … and then it dies. I wonder which far-away galaxy it originally came from? [ 12-346 ]

The flower stalk is full of small, complex, quite beautiful white flowers with patters of dark green dots on the ends

Oh, beautiful world! I had to stop on my drive home this evening to enjoy this. [ 12-363 ]

Backlit clouds over darkened mountains with rays of light streaming overhead from the setting sun

A mama moose and her calf crossing Bierstadt Lake. [ 13-369 ]

The mama moose and her calf walking across the shallow lake, ears alert

The butte near the entrance of Hall Ranch. [ 14-414 ]

The sandstone butte looks quite dramatic rising out of the snow-covered hills

The barn at Hall Ranch Open Space provides a splash of color. [ 14-423 ]

A bright red barn peeks out through snow-covered trees

An iconic sculpture created by the 2013 flood. [ 14-425 ]

A bright red fleece jacket is stretched up in the shape of a person amongst the debris tangled in a barb wire fence

I've never seen snow quite like what we saw on today's hike. I'm not sure what caused it; perhaps it fell more as a mist than as formed flakes, and maybe the mist was gently blowing almost horizontally towards the west. However it happened, it left the east-facing branches and needles coated with shiny but very soft and light feathers. Towards the end of our walk a very gentle breeze stirred and filled the air with millions of tiny crystals floating down out of the trees. [ 15-436 ]

The feathery crystals were formed on one side of every branch

The trees were stunning on the northeast side … and totally snowless on the other side. [ 15-438 ]

Because the pine needles are in clusters, they ended up looking a bit like flower heads

We took a brisk walk at Hall Ranch, going straight up the steep fire road so we could spend more time up at the top. We went as far as the old Nelson Ranch House, where we ran into very slippery spring snow and a very icy wind. This was the view that greeted us at the beginning of the hike. I love this butte, which is an eagle sanctuary. [ 15-447 ]

Looking up at the butte at the entrance of Hall Ranch filling the sky

Although there was still a lot of snow and a cold wind up at Wild Basin, it was warm enough for the creek to be running. [ 15-450 ]

The creek bed reflected a rich bronze color, which was accented by the white snow banks

I love the way the old root wraps protectively around this bunch of tiny yellow flowers. [ 16-469 ]

An old gray weathered root with flowers

That special shine of freshly opened leaves. [ 16-475 ]

A branch of just-opened leaves

Boulder Brook Trail [ 16-490 ]

Our first glimpse of Boulder Brook flowing through a young aspen forest

Clusters of White Yarrow flowers. [ 17-510 ]

Smallish white flowers against a deep green sea of grasses

Waxflower bush and bee. [ 17-528 ]

Small, white, star-shaped flowers with rounded points

The remnants of a long dead pine, an expression of life changing form. [ 17-535 ]

An ancient pine lies on the forest floor, tinted a beautiful green from the lichen growing on it and melting slowly into the soil

Garima spotted this caterpillar enjoying her garden this afternoon. It's pretty large, about the size of my index finger, and I've got fairly large hands. I think it's a Bedstraw Hawk moth caterpillar (Bedstraw Hawk-Moth or Galium Sphinx (Hyles gallii), a moth of the family Sphingidae), which turns into a large moth that flies like a hummingbird, though it's much quieter. [ 18-543 ]

Vivid green Bedstraw Hawk Moth caterpillar with yellow, orange, and black eyes along its body and a large orange horn at the tail end

Paintbrush flower [ 18-553 ]

A Wyoming Paintbrush, a green flower wrapped in reddish-orange bracts

View of Fern Lake from the bridge over the outlet. Actually, there is a thin belt of bushes and small pines mostly separating this shallow pond from the main lake beyond. [ 18-562 ]

View of the Fern Lake pond near the outlet

Another beautiful walk along the South St. Vrain river, including a star spangled sunflower. [ 18-574 ]

Sunflower in the early morning sun with star-shaped stigmas

Very ripe chokecherries. [ 18-576 ]

A cluster of deep red chokecherries

The trail down to Fern Lake from Odessa Lake. [ 19-614 ]

The trail cutting across a very steep, pine-covered hillside

Bierstadt Lake [ 20-621 ]

Basking in the majesty of Bierstadt Lake from a boulder jutting out from shoreline

More morning walk beauty: freshly emerged "whirlybird" seed pods with some stowaways along for the ride (zoom in on the lower-left seed pod). I love the fresh pale green-tinged luster. Ah, youth! [ 20-627 ]

Fresh maple seed pods with tiny, rust-colored insect eggs

Moments of early morning serenity at Bear Lake. [ 20-629 ]

View of forests and mountains beyond bathed in early morning sunshine and reflected in the mirror lake surface

Two Rivers Lake [ 20-633 ]

Full view of the moose standing in water looking at us

We went around to the west side of Lake Helene, and then up onto a ridge above the lake, where we enjoyed a stunning view of the valley leading down to Odessa Lake. [ 20-637 ]

Garima standing at the edge of the ridge with Odessa Lake visible far off below

A closer view of the peak of Notchtop Mountain from the ridge above Lake Helene. [ 20-639 ]

The mountain rising above a ridge, sihouetted agains the sky

Recently I shared a photo of a Bedstraw Hawk moth caterpillar in our garden, a very large and beautiful green creature. This is the result of its metamorphosis, a large, beautifully colored moth that flies like a hummingbird. [ 20-643 ]

A view of a large moth from above as it flies next to and feeds on Bee Balm flower nectar

The climb up the northern side of Wild Basin reveals some stunning views of the moraine below, especially green this summer as we've had a lot of thunderstorms. [ 20-646 ]

A view of the river meandering acoss the Wild Basin floor far below

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