Sunday walks and spiderwebs

DSCN1167.1 Sundays always go too quickly–The fellowship, the family time, the blessed enjoyment of the outdoors. We live in such a fast-paced culture, but I’ve been discovering a peace that comes with a quieter life. Sometimes life gets busy and schedules get hectic, but coming home to a quiet life at the end of the day is unbelievably restful and calming. Regrettably, the last week sped by with hardly enough time to breathe deep of the clear, piney air or to ponder flowers in shady corners of the Hills. I tried to make up for it today.

DSCN1155.1A quiet, solitary walk to scout some good photography locations was restorative, even with temperatures in the 90s. I explored a beautiful little ravine branching off our jeep trail to Hole-in-the-Wall, and enjoyed the sight of birch trees glinting in the 5:00 sunlight. Deadfall and rocks, mossy soil and sandy creekbed–The ravine was like something straight out of a western novel. I love not being able to see what is around the corner–Where might it go? What is just out of sight, waiting to be discovered?

Another ravine, the grass bent from flooding, was scattered with ancient, sun-bleached bones. Some of them were mossy and green, all of them porous with time. Life is so short, so transient. Like the “flower of the grass”, the Bible says, life comes and life fades, just like that. Human life, animal life, plant life. But unlike the flower of the grass, we have a soul that will not die! And God is good to His children. So good.

DSCN1159.1On the way back through the corrals to get home, which are built with the bare rock as the fourth wall, I nearly walked right through this beauty’s web. I watched as she snagged herself a grasshopper, then scurried back to the center to watch and wait. Ants are examples of industry. Spiders are examples of vigilance.

DSCN1189.1We were graced with a little thundershower this afternoon, just enough to wet the deck and scare the Dog. She’s a bit of a coward. The clouds rolled up so gradually, they looked like smoke and haze, but soon took command of the whole horizon and the sky above. A little thunder, a little rain, a little wind in the whispering pines. The moisture was pleasant.

Tomorrow is the start of a new day, a new week, and a new job! Off to new adventures.

Laura Elizabeth


Big kitty

DSCN1092.1We’ve got lions down on Battle Creek! This is nothing new–We’ve known it for awhile, guessed it for even longer than that. There are reasons we’ve got a place we call the Mountain Lion Cave. But I finally collected photographic proof of their prowling down near the Cave.

Because of all the rain we got, Battle Creek flowed through this canyon all summer, finally going underground about 100 yards upstream from this place sometime in the last week or so. There’s a pool of stagnant water into which the creek is pouring, but the water stops there.

DSCN1082.1But downstream, near the ravine where our Mountain Lion Cave is, there is a cliff face and a little pool beneath left in the muddy creekbed. There in the black mud, all around this pool and intermixed with coon prints, were dozens of cat prints. There would appear to be multiple cats, maybe a baby, since there appeared to be a few different sizes of prints.

DSCN1080.1Likely, the cats are living in one of the many caves and holes that pock the entire canyon. Wouldn’t it be exciting to see one!

Laura Elizabeth


Botanical | Curlycup gumweed

Hardy little thing.

Grindelia squarrosa - Curlycup gumweed

Grindelia squarrosa – Curlycup gumweed

Botanical | Hairy goldaster

This little beauty can grow in the harshest of climates, in the sandy, dry gumbo of the high plains and foothills.

Chrysopsis villosa - Hairy goldaster

Chrysopsis villosa – Hairy goldaster

County fair times

The Custer County Fair came and went a few weeks ago, and I was thrilled to find that six of my seven entered photographs placed, and two of them got 1sts…And “The Clunker”got Best of Show! Just wanted to re-share those two photos, which happen to be favorites of mine…

Scratched paint and sunlight

The clunker

The more photography I do, the more I enjoy the challenge of creating art from life. There is a unique challenge in taking something as it is and finding the intricate, the beautiful, the fascinating. It helps me to be more conscious of the beauty around me, of God’s little gifts.

Laura Elizabeth

The first whisper of fall

DSCN1007.1 After a week playing with cows, it is time to settle back into a routine…A routine that will be pretty short lived, since some reasonably big changes are coming down the pike. More on that coming soon!

It feels good to sleep in my own bed again, to not be choking on dust daily, and to have my forehead not itching from my hat brim. The little things. The simple, little things.

DSCN1014.1Smoke from fires further west has turned the air here smoky. Haze hangs heavy over the Hills. In the picture of the road, on a normal day Harney Peak would be visible as a second layer of hills behind the first layer of horizon. As I was watering trees yesterday, the haze seemed to grow thicker while the afternoon wore on, and the farther peaks became completely obscured in the smoke. The wind picked up overnight, bringing more smoke, and cooler weather.

DSCN1003.1This is my favorite time of year–In Illinois, it came later, towards the end of September, and it will probably hold off a little longer here, but today the first whisper of fall had arrived. In the fall, the air feels sweeter, stronger, richer, the sunlight seems purer, glassier, and there is something mysterious in the slant of the shadows beneath the trees, and how the sun warms your back, your face, your arms. The wind seems to be more than a stirring of the air, but a herald, a message bearer. Nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. The summer is fading away. Winter is yet to come.

Laura Elizabeth