Spirit of Dragonflies

Guide to Awakening Your Inner Self – Begin Your Creative Journey Today


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Satisfaction – A Day in Nature!

This week, share a photo of something that brings you satisfaction. It can be monumental, minor, or something in between.

“The dragonfly spiritually embodies the stripping away of negativity that holds us back, helping us to achieve our dreams and goals. Dragonflies are the keepers of dreams, the energy within that sees all of our true potential and ability. Dragonflies inspire spirituality and creativity, they help us on the path of discovery and enlightenment. They reminder us that anything is possible.” ~ Beauty and the Green ~

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I had the pleasure of watching butterflies, dragonflies and bees enjoying a nice sunny day in the Saratoga National Historical Park. The butterflies teased with this fluttering wings coming and going too quickly to capture with my camera yet this little lady stopped to pose for my camera. Possibly she received as much satisfaction as me.

Please take your time to feel the satisfaction I felt while enjoying a long walk through the park. This is one of the places near my childhood home that still touches my heart and reminds me of wonderful times spent with family. A place to slow down, enjoy nature and all her many blessings.

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A sweet little deer was walking out of the woods as I stepped on a twig and we were both startled. A quick peek and gone not to be seen again on this walk.

“To be able to look back upon on one’s life in satisfaction, is to live twice.” ~ Khalil Gibran ~

Do you have a place that you visit that brings you satisfaction? A place that reminds you to slow down and notice your surroundings?

Hope you enjoyed my stroll through the Park. If you are ever in the area stop in and take a walk on the trails or the road. If you don’t feel like a walk take a leisurely drive and stop to see the sights along the way. You can read more about Saratoga National Historical Park here: https://www.nps.gov/sara/index.htm

If you would like to view other photos for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/satisfaction/

Love and Light!

If you would like to learn how to slow down and live mindfully, please leave a message below or email me at spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com


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WPC – Local Life

“It is not more bigness that should be our goal.  We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to…the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility…and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”        ~ Robert F. Kennedy ~

My home town is small and, when I was young, everyone knew everyone else. I no longer know many people living in the village, many family members are now deceased yet I still feel a sense of home when I visit. The buildings, stillness of the river, changing seasons, parades, smiles, local library, Saratoga National Historical Park, train bridge across the Hudson River . . . although changing over the years still comfort me.

My niece is the librarian at the local library – a dream she had as a child has come to fruition. There are events throughout the year to bring out the local people – Ladies’ Night, local parades, Fall Festival, Easter Egg Hunt, along with other events throughout the year. Love that the local community is safe enough to still allow children to dress in costumes and go door to door saying “Trick or Treat.” My sister, living in the family home, still has over 100 children knocking on her door on Halloween.

“This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~

Sometimes it is nice to participate in local events with family and friends. To visit a place that continues to be a place of mutual trust and respect. To feel safe and comforted when visiting the family home, library, or while taking a hike or cross-country skiing in the Saratoga National Historical Park.

Hope you have enjoyed a visit to my home town located on the west side of the Hudson River midway between NYC and Plattsburgh.

If you would like to view additional photos or would like to post your own photos, please click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/local/

Love and Light!


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WPC – Transitions

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/transition/”>Transition</a&gt;

There are numerous transitions to choose from so I decided to share photos of two. The first is transitions in seasons and hours of the day.

Two of my favorite places in Stillwater, NY are the National Historical Park (Saratoga Battlefield grounds of Revolutionary War) and the Stillwater Block House. The Block House was in the Saratoga Battlefield when I was a child through to my young adult years. Because it was not original they wanted it removed. The Historical Society was given land on a farm to relocate the House however access was difficult. After many years of fund-raisers the Block House found a home along the Hudson River in a newly created park. There are benches and this is now a small historical tourist attraction. If you are ever traveling through the area stop and take a look maybe even a walk in the Saratoga Battlefield.

The second set of photos is a transition from dough to decorated Christmas cookies.

My daughter and I had a wonderful time last year making sugar cookie dough, cutting out the shapes, baking and decorating the cookies. Then of course we enjoyed eating some of the dough and cookies before sharing them with friends and family. Looking forward to this year’s Christmas cookie bake. Another transition we had in our family was the birth of Cassie’s son on Sept. 14th so we will have a new little helper. Ok, he may not really be any help but it will be fun singing Christmas carols to him as we prepare the cookies. Transitions are a constant in families – babies are born, others die, and new people join through marriage or relationships. One never knows from one year to the next what life changes will occur.

We live through many transitions throughout each day of our life. Try to be open and allow because transitions are a part of life just as day turns to night, summer turns to autumn then to winter, spring and back to summer – everything is in transition. Remember to stop and pay attention to your breath once in a while – be present in the moment and live mindfully enjoying the small things – the smell of coffee or tea, fresh air, the taste of a treat, warmth of soup as it fills your belly, sitting in front of a fire on a cold day, placing your feet in the cool water or dirt on a hot summer’s day. What do you find pleasure in when weathering storms? Those are the times when we sometimes forget, yet they are the times when its beneficial to be aware.

Love and Light!


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Mindfully Walking in Nature

On Sunday I was grateful to be near the Saratoga National Historical Park. Every time I am in the area I park my car and head out in a different direction.

Saratoga National Historical Park

Neilson House – Saratoga National Historical Park

Sometimes I go to the right, down the long curving hill and take another right down the trees road to circular parking area to enjoy the view of the Hudson River and farmland. Other times, I walk down the hill and go to the left on the opposite side of the red house.

On other walks, I go to the left past the Neilson House (photo above), down the long treed roadway past the open field and cut across the dirt path through the woods to the road on the other side. When time permits, I cross the road and continue onto the Wilkinson Trail through the woods across an open field down a steep hill that leads to a brook, then back up the hill through the woods to the road. If I cross the road at this point I will walk across a short field to a small bridge to another treed path that runs along a cliff overlooking the brook. After a long walk in the woods, I cross another road and find myself at the same road in which I began.

In the fall, the trees are decorated in reds, orange, and gold. The sound of the fallen leaves crunch underfoot, geese honk, honking in the sky above, as light filters through the trees. The smell of earth and decaying leaves fills the crisp air and I lose myself in the beauty. It is on these long walks that I sometimes find myself in a meditative state walking through the woods without realizing how far I have traveled. Time seems to stand still.

Along the walk deer step out onto the road or cross in front of me along a path in the woods. They stop to check me out and then go about their business. I walk slowly through the woods as to not startle them or other critters that live in this protected area.

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I never get tired of seeing deer. When my mother, Aunt Helen, and Uncle Don were alive they would ride through the Park or the outskirts of the park to count the number of deer they spotted. Sometimes they would count upwards of 50, especially in the fall when the deer were smart enough to know as long as they stayed on this property the hunters could not shoot them.

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Sometimes the deer and I have seem to have contests to see who can stand still the longest. As in the photo above, we stood for quite a while before the two deer decided to move on. Many times I win because the wind will turn course and once they smell me off they go. On the days that I continue on this road past the deer, I pass an open field on the right and then back through a treed area before returning to the Neilson House. Sometimes I walk fast releasing my thoughts as I travel. Other times, I meander along enjoying the flowers, bees, dragonflies, butterflies, coy dogs, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks and a variety of birds.

There are always gifts of beauty along the way whether in the woods, fields or along the roadway if you can slow down to witness. Maybe pick an apple to eat along the way.

I see others walking quickly, ear buds in their ears, music blaring from their iPhones and wonder if they ever slow down long enough to really enjoy the nature around them. Do they ever stop to chat with the deer or watch the chipmunks and bluejays play? On my walk I stopped to watch a bluejay and chipmunk chasing each other around like little children. Instead of music, I listened to the leaves rustling in the wind, crunching under the weight of the deer, a plane overhead, cows mooing on a farm in the distance, geese honking overhead, and to my own heart beat and breath. I gave thanks for the beauty of nature that surrounded me and wished I could share this with others.

By the time I walked out of the park the sun was beginning its decent. If you look closely in the distance in the photo below you can see the outline of the Neilson House surrounded by trees.

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This is one of my favorite spots. Sometimes I stay in the park until sunset to hear the howl of the coyotes and watch the last slit of red in the sky. But on this night, I had to hurry home to prepare for the red moon and eclipse that would not be seen again until 2033.

On the way to my car a couple was walking into the Park. We chatted for a bit, they were heading to the Neilson House to watch the lunar eclipse and dance in the moonlight to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon. They have danced under every full moon for the last four years. It seemed so romantic. I was invited to stay – it was very tempting – but the eclipse would take a while and I live half an hour from the Park so I thanked them and went my way. While driving home, I almost turned around several times but was grateful I decided to return home to watch the rare event.

My question to you is – when you walk, do you walk fast and listen to music or do you slow down and listen to nature? Do you stop and smell the flowers, watch the bees, notice the beauty around you? Life is a wonderful experience if you can slow down long enough to enjoy it. Can you give yourself the gift of time in nature? Will you give yourself this gift? It doesn’t take a lot of time to get in tune with nature and yourself. Aren’t you worth it? Please share your experience with nature and walking, I would love to hear from you.

Love and Life!


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Challenging Ourselves One Step at a Time

 

This is the year of challenges and taking chances – one step at a time. If we don’t try we will never know what we are capable of accomplishing. Recently, while in Barnes and Noble, I picked up a copy of Digital Photo magazine and found the 2015 Landscape Photo Contest. I have submitted four photos and was surprised to discover that two of the four have 200+ and 100+ votes. All four have with 5 stars ratings with the third totaling over 90 votes and the last entry with 8.  I was excited and grateful just to have the opportunity to enter the contest. All four photos were taken prior to receiving my new Nikon camera. If you like my photos I would be very grateful if you would visit the sites I have attached below and vote for these photos.

Peaceful

Peaceful setting at Nelson House in Saratoga National Historical Park

The red house has been visited by my children and I for many years. We would take long walks in the park and stop to for a snack and drink of water. When small, my children would play on the porch and pretend that they lived in this home. As adults we stop by and take a rest on the porch. The tree is beautiful in the autumn and I have plenty of shots of this with the reds and orange leaves. In the spring there is a beautiful lilac bush in bloom and walking past the fresh scent of lilacs greats you. From this porch you can see for miles across the Hudson River to the mountains of eastern New York. It is a breathtaking site especially in autumn and when dusted in a winter snow.

http://www.dpmag.com/photo-contests/landscapes/gallery/862171-saratoga-national-park-stillwater-ny#.VeHxFayPYPk.facebook

Autumn at Adirondack Lake located in Indian Lake, NY

Autumn at Adirondack Lake located in Indian Lake, NY

Adirondack Lake is the perfect spot for kayaking in spring, summer or fall. It is a nice place for fishing and hearing loons. Last year while kayaking we met upon loons and their nest in the far off area of the lake. It is a very peaceful setting. This photo was taken on an overnight at Binder’s cabins located across the street. If you ever get the chance to visit upstate New York and travel on Route 28N stop by and take a little rest at Adirondack Lake.

http://www.dpmag.com/photo-contests/landscapes/gallery/862181-fall-adirondack-lake-in-ny

If you have a chance and would like to vote for my photos I would be very grateful for your support. If you have photos that you would like to enter you still have time to enter the contest.

When we take small steps eventually we reach our goals. What steps are you taking to reach your goals?

Love and Light!

 


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Discovering Yourself in Nature

Yesterday, the last day of February, I had the opportunity to go cross-country skiing in Saratoga National Historical Park. We refer to this location as the ‘Battlefield’ because it was a major player in the Revolutionary War. It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid-twenties. That may seem cold but the temperature has been below zero so it felt warm with the sun shining on us and the layers of clothing we were wearing.

Spending the day in Saratoga National Battlefield

Spending the day in Saratoga National Battlefield

This was the first time in around twelve years that I have been on cross-country skis. I have been snowshoeing for the last several. I think snowshoeing allows the user to be in a little more control of the pace and direction. When I placed the skis on my feet the first thing that happened was I began to slide – feet in different directions. My body reacted in a panic. It truly surprised me.

It was slow going and I felt like I was holding Bill back from enjoying the experience. He is adventurous and loves moving at a fast pace without fear. It opened my eyes to realize that I do have a fear of being out of control of my body and my body lets me know through the panic that sets in the muscles. This is a side of me that doesn’t show itself until I am in these situations. This didn’t deter me, I continued on at a slower pace. It wasn’t long before I went down.

Down I go

Down I go

After going down my first thoughts went to my sore arm, hip, and ankle. Then to how long would it take to get back to the car. Thankfully those were fleeting thoughts. While down I saw some interesting things – a hole in the snow made by a small animal, the sun shining through the trees, the sparkle of the sun on the snow. It sparkled like diamonds. I pulled out the camera and started shooting.

When down - take photos

When down – take photos

After a little bit of practice, I began to feel confident and was able to glide along the flat areas and even on small inclines. The feeling of gliding along on the snow was invigorating and I felt successful.

Success

Success

We went gliding along for quite a while, stopped to sit on the snow for a snack, and some additional photos. As we continued on we saw deer tracks, mountains, and many other beautiful scenes.

Deer trails in the snow

Deer trails in the snow

Sunshine on a winter day

Sunshine on a winter day

Looking east toward Vermont - can see for miles.

Looking east toward Vermont – can see for miles.

Bill finally felt comfortable traveling at his own pace during times that I took off my skis to trudge through the snow up the inclines.

Faster pace

As you can see he is very capable of handling the hills whether traveling down or up. I on the other hand had to figure out how to manage my own fears and anxiety. There were times traveling along that I surprised myself with my bodies resistance to the challenge.

Toward the end when I went down and couldn’t seem to untangle my feet no matter how many times I attempted to keep on the skis and stand. My legs did not want to cooperate with my mind. The more I tried to get up the more difficult and more tangled my legs and skis became which resulted in more frustration setting in.

I thought – this is me – the happy, fun-loving, content person. The lover of nature and all things outside. I laid down in the snow and allowed my body a win. I laughed at myself for a minute. Then I was able to move my right leg and removed the skis once again. It was over for me at that point. The skis had to go. The soft snow was up to my knees and I fell through several times before reaching the snowshoe path that was hard and manageable. At my own pace I was able to pull out the camera and take photo shots along the way. It allowed me to slow down to enjoy the sparkling snow, the deer trails, the fur along the trail – remains of an unfortunate rabbit.

We all have a pace we enjoy, we flow at this pace. Sometimes it can be fast in one situation and slower in others. In nature, mine is slower. When I tried to push myself into a pace I didn’t feel comfortable my body rebelled. It wasn’t a good feeling and the emotions that rose from within me surprised me but sometimes we have to be reminded. There are emotions lurking in the depth of our being. When they rise we can address them, discover where they come from and then release. No need to linger there – when down – stop and take some photos of beautiful things. Don’t try to go at someone else’s pace – let everyone move at the pace that is right for them. Somewhere in the middle we meet and that is the place to build relationships. In that middle place we can learn a lot about ourself. When we stop to take time to contemplate and find peace, we can be happy wherever we are at this point in time. It doesn’t mean we have to stay there, but we can be grateful for where we are and where we have been. Then take time to decide on where we are going and plan steps to take us on that path. Mine for today is to overcome the fear of letting go and releasing some control so I might move a little faster along my path.

A shot of the moon and bird in flight

Learn to fly!

That was the lesson I learned yesterday while lying in the snow:) Have you had any similar experiences? I would love to hear about them if you have.

Love and Light!

Sandy