Whitetail Buck

IMG_2411.JPGIt should be noted that, since there is no hunting season on shooting photographs, I generally secure my photographic venison on whatever random day of the year and in whatever random location (such as my flower garden) it presents itself.

I actually took this one’s portrait back in July, when his antlers were still velvety knobs—but since it’s Hunting Season, which is as good as a national holiday in this neighborhood, it seemed like an appropriate time to join the fun and talk about the deer I “shot” this year, too.  I suppose that the fellow above would hardly be considered a trophy, but like most hunters, I also find that the bucks are elusive and capturing one, however short his antlers may be, is something worth celebrating.

He was foolish enough to pause before bounding off with a woof, so he is literally my first buck, at least so far as I can tell for sureIMG_2413See?  There he went, after that long curious look, finally deciding to flee the lady with the giant black eye.  He will, however, have to call upon more wariness than that if he doesn’t wish to be caught by his foolish hesitation and end up in small packages in someone’s deep freeze within the next couple weeks!

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 27:12)

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Chipping Sparrow

IMG_0928I almost missed him there on the ground.  Amidst the bark and leaves, the neutral shades of his feathers had blended in so well I literally almost stepped on him.  Then, when I did notice him just in time, I wondered if something was wrong with him.  Surely he would have flown away sooner otherwise?  But I think he wanted his picture taken.  I got within three inches with my camera before he finally took flight.  Lucky for me, he seemed quite unafraid of the big black lens!

Sparrows are good to think about, especially when you’re feeling down, or overwhelmed, or forgotten.  They are, as I found, the sort of creature one can almost step on if you’re not paying attention.  Small, unassuming, modestly attired.  Even in song, they attract little attention to themselves.  Which is why this verse is so significant:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father…So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. “ (Matthew 10:29, 31)

If He sees even the sparrows, you can rest assured that He sees, remembers and cares for you.  So whatever your lot may be right now, take heart, dear friend!

The Colors of Summer

IMG_4098-1.jpgWhether the calendar says so or not, the last day of August always seems like the last day of summer to me—and seeing that always makes me kind of sad.  Nothing against fall or even the coming winter, mind you.  I truly love the changing seasons.  It’s just that summer in Minnesota is somehow just a little briefer than the other seasons, and I never quite manage to get in all the swimming and fresh peaches on ice cream that I want to before it’s time to pull out the sweaters and hot cocoa again.

As sort of a solace for this, I decided to look back over my photos from the summer months to remind myself of what we did do—and in the process, I found a rainbow.  See if you can see it, too!IMG_2193.JPGIMG_3463.JPGIMG_1792.JPGRed is for ripe wild strawberries discovered along fence rows, sweet and warm with sunshine…

and roses outside of bakeries that smell of gingerbread

and poppies along the chicken coop.

IMG_4030.JPG img_2209.jpgIMG_3892Orange is for a monarch butterfly, minutes old, clinging trustingly to my wide-eyed daughter’s finger…

and the one weed in my yard that I don’t mind…

and flower arrangements in my mother-in-law’s bathroom.

IMG_1811.JPGIMG_3920.JPGimg_9624.jpgYellow is for the elegant beards of irises…

and the freckled faces of the lilies along the porch…

and the not-quite-so showy roadside weeds that nevertheless delight the avid, amateur flower-pickers in my family.IMG_2944-1IMG_2226IMG_4721.JPGGreen is for sun-dappled woodland ferns…

and black-eyed Susans not quite open…

and water droplets on nasturtium leaves.IMG_1629.JPGIMG_4065-1IMG_2420.JPGBlue is for swan families floating on riffles of water…

and plump round berries the color of the sky going plink-plunk in pails…

and bobolinks singing on telephone wires against the morning sky.IMG_4096IMG_2882IMG_2300.JPGPurple is for brilliant masses of fireweed…

and stormy skies at sunset…

and blue flags along the creek.

“You [O Lord] have established all the boundaries of the earth;  You have made summer and winter.” (Psalm 74:17)

Vacation Vignettes: Peninsula

IMG_3667.JPGWe chose a destination on the map, a place with a name hard to wrap our tongues around, that neither of us had ever been to before.  We took an entire day and took our sweet, winding, whimsical time and way to get there.  We found places we’d spotted on maps and in brochures.  We found things that no map or brochure can point you to, small and not-so-small details that delighted and surprised us. It was the perfect juxtaposition of the expected and the unexpected, a true adventure. And so, as the grand finale to this little series of vacation photographs, come have a little glimpse of the beautiful Keweenaw Peninsula with us.IMG_3680IMG_3551.JPGWe took the roads labeled “scenic” and “shoreline” as much as possible, for obvious reasons.  It’s the same great lake whose waves we’ve seen pounding the shore of our own home state, but it was no less breathtaking here!IMG_3467We peeked hopefully beneath the leaves of these thimbleberry bushes, and were mocked with loads of not-quite-ripe berries.  So we bought thimbleberry jam instead at…IMG_3474.JPG…a fairy-tale bakery that smelled of gingerbread, surrounded by magnificent fragrant rose bushes.  I never thought I’d meet a bakery that smelled as good outside as it did inside, but I was wrong.  The fact that the delicious muffins we also secured here were baked by kind bearded monks in long black robes only added to its charm.IMG_3497We climbed a red wrought iron staircase, which wound tightly to the top of…IMG_3505IMG_3528…a perfectly picturesque lighthouse with a shiny red tin roof.IMG_3651IMG_3663 IMG_3607We picked wildflowers, ate the most delicious fresh lake trout right in view of the great lake it was caught in. and explored a historic fort.   IMG_3698.JPGIMG_3709-1.jpgAnd then, as a fitting finale to the day, we drove right to the top of Brockway Mountain to see for miles in every direction, and join other happy people who were also taking time out of their busy schedules to watch the sun as it slipped like a giant copper penny into the lake spread out below us.  IMG_3714.JPGAnd then that magnificent sunset chased us all the way down the long road home.  The tired little people nodded off to sleep in the back seat, cheeks rosy with sunshine and sticky from after-dinner mints, and the great dark dusk engulfed the rugged shape of the peninsula as it rose to meet the twilight sky behind us, as the music played, softly and fittingly:

“Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:

God bless America, land that I love,
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above…” (Irving Berlin)

 

 

 

 

Vacation Vignettes: Mountain

IMG_3083It took six hours of driving to get there.

Six hours in a truck with no air conditioning on an 80+ degree day (nothing a few rolled down windows couldn’t cure).

Six hours of “I Spy” scavenger hunts with melting M&Ms doled for prizes (a distraction tactic for restless little travelers that worked marvelously).

Six hours of this question from a certain small person in the back seat:

“Is that a mountain?” 

“No, not yet,” we’d patiently reply.  “After we get there, we’ll take you to see a mountain.”

Six hours of that question, over and over again, of every slight protrusion in the landscape.  And we smiled every time, because it was far too endearing to be annoying.  By the time the day of the promised outing arrived, I think we were looking forward to it almost as much as she was!  IMG_3136.JPGThe bad news, however, is that when we arrived at the much-anticipated first scenic viewpoint, all we could see was white.

Where were the mountains?  Completely obscured by a smothering blanket of heavy fog, that’s where.  Anti-climactic would be an understatement.

So, what’s a parent to do to save such a day?  Well, you find the shortest trail to the highest point in the area, get out of the vehicle and start climbing.IMG_3152IMG_3155.JPGIMG_3165-1.jpg IMG_3228IMG_3258IMG_3192-1IMG_3087Because sometimes, you just need to go higher and then everything becomes clear.

In those days, Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God. When daylight came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated as apostles.” (Luke 6:11-13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vacation Vignettes: Waterfall

IMG_3311.JPGIMG_3397.JPGIMG_3320We had to shout to hear each other as we climbed the spray-soaked stairs and rocks.  Up among the dark leaning cedars, past graceful ferns and wild lily of the valley, holding small hands fast as we peered over rocky ledges.  At Bond Falls, it was not hard to imagine this:

“…and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.” (Ezekial 43:2)IMG_3331.JPGMeanwhile, the little girls made friends with the ducks that came begging along the quieter edges of the river for handouts…IMG_3787…and got to admire the rare wood turtle their turtle-expert papa spotted from afar.  He crawled out on a fallen tree in true Coyote Peterson form and scooped it out of the river for them to see up close.  What a fascinating and beautiful creature, so similar yet distinctly different from the common varieties we enjoy observing at home!IMG_3439-1.jpgIMG_3767So, was the highlight of this vacation day actually visiting a waterfall, as the title of this post might indicate, or was it getting up close to the animals living around it?  The answer to that might vary depending on which of us you asked, but in my humble opinion, the beauty of each served to compliment and enhance that of the other…

and so the answer is yes.

 

Vacation Vignettes: Guardhouse

IMG_3606-1I certainly didn’t expect the guardhouse to be the most inspirational spot during our tour of a circa 1840’s fort, but that’s how it turned out.  As I stood next to the row of prison doors, looking down the narrow hall to this window of light flooding in, a verse of a favorite hymn came overwhelmingly to mind:

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”-–Charles Wesley, 1738

Fort Wilkins, Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan