This weekend, the whole east of the US is gripped in a strong cold front; the Northeast is submerged in severe winter storm and under tons of snow. Meanwhile here in Florida, temperatures have plummeted to overnight freezing and we are struggling with what we consider freezing temperatures.

I guess it is all relative. I have tried explaining how cold we are to people in tougher climes and I get no sympathy when I moan about cold hands and nose.

But when the weather hits freezing, even if it is just a day or two of the year, all talk turns to the weather. It becomes a dominant issue in conversations and it alters how we go about our day.

Yesterday morning, I decided to brave the cold and head to Circle B and wander down a trail. Being this cold (temp was somewhere in the 40s) I knew two things; firstly there would be blue skies overhead from the clear skies, and secondly there would be very few people there.

And I was right on both counts.

It was perfect for photographs with the bright blue skies and there were so many times when I was on a section of the trail without a single person anywhere in sight. It was truly idyllic.

It turned out to be a day for the birds … alligators were nowhere to be found as they sought deeper and warmer waters.

Great Blue Herons abounded and they present a good target for a camera. They move slowly and stay perfectly still while stalking their prey. And their size makes them easy to spot from a distance.

Less easy but nonetheless wonderful to try photographing were some of the small birds that flitted in and out of trees and bushes. I got some beauties and they are at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy!

As I drove away and when feeling began to return to my lower extremities, I began to think over how we elevate certain things to importance only when they change to a point of being unusual.

For example, here in Florida on a typically warm, blue sky day, nobody even mentions how glorious the weather almost always is here in the sunshine state. Drop the temperature to where we have to wear a jacket and all of a sudden it becomes a common topic of conversation.

You see, us humans have an innate ability to take good things for granted. We only give attention to something that isn’t quite right for us and ignore all the wonderful gifts in our everyday life.

For example how much consideration do you normally give to the fact that we humans are not part of the normal food chain any more? We are one of the few species that don’t have to worry about that.

Yes, we find a myriad of ways to kill and mutilate ourselves, but being eaten by a higher order predator is not normally part of our existence.

Now imagine being a fish. Every day someone is trying to catch and eat you. This elevates your daily survival right up there along with finding something to eat so that you don’t starve … which is another thing that most of us humans don’t have to worry about. Unless you are unfortunate enough to live in a famine-level area, starvation isn’t likely to top your attention span for very long.

Close observation of the natural world gives great insight into some the material aspects of what we humans take for granted and it extends into other immediate areas (like having a home and a family and friends) very quickly when you begin to look at the lives of those little creatures all around us.

But what isn’t so immediately apparent in that environment is also the number of emotional or mental aspects of life that we take for granted. Like, how can you tell if a bird is happy? And do they experience hope and anticipation? Do they experience love? The answer is likely yes to most of those questions, but without the expressive face and the ability to shed tears, laugh, or moan, their experience is invisible to us.

So when we live in a state of happiness, contentment, or even just normality, we only notice when one or more of those states alter and we have to deal with a change. Otherwise, we rarely acknowledge when things are good. Although yesterday in passing by a photographer who was heading in the opposite direction, I did comment to him how this was such a perfect “happy to be alive” moment and he acknowledged the same.

And I guess, that is my point … it is important to acknowledge when we are having a good day. To acknowledge that we have some food in our belly, a place to rest our head and even (occasionally) that we are no longer part of the food chain.

We should also acknowledge that someone loves us, that we are fortunate enough to share moments with friends, and that we are enjoying ourselves, even if just for the moment.

To not do so, not only reduces our own life experience but it belittles those that are not as fortunate as we are. And make no mistake about it … we are indeed fortunate.

… just a thought!

Back in the day

Last week, we had the chance to visit one of my favorite spots in Ireland; the stone circle at Grange and the nearby Lough Gur settlement.

For those of you unfamiliar with the area, Lough Gur was archaeologically surveyed and found to have evidence of settlement for 6,000 years. And the stone circle itself is now 4,100 years old and the entrance to it along with two other partial circles in neighboring fields forms a perfect isosceles triangle.

The circle is 50 yards in diameter and as such is the largest circle known in Europe.

So, the feeling is not just that you are standing in a pretty place but that you have entered a place in time … a place of reverence, with connection to the deities and the stars.

I have added a few images from this visit at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy.

Whenever I visit Ireland, I like to go visit. It is a very simple and uncommercialized spot and there in the natural surrounds it is very easy to let your mind drift back in time as you think of those that have been there before you and the life and times that played out there over the years.

It can be a very humbling exercise and one that makes you come to grips with your own insignificance and brevity of life.

And that is how the thought for today’s blog evolved in my head. How we can become so consumed with our own importance and self-worth, that we fail to see the bigger picture.

My lifetime, whenever it comes to an end, will be merely the smallest speck in the timeline of the world I live in. Unless I do something catastrophic that causes the earth to collide with the moon, my own existence will be completely lost as the world continues to turn.

To people that think the world revolves around them, that is a very difficult notion to accept and I pity them for their lack of understanding. No individual is important beyond a momentary spark of interest in the timeline of human existence.

And the entire human existence itself is only a speck in the timeline of this planet; barely noticeable as you examine the length of time this planet has existed. You see, humans have been on this planet for approximately 300,000 years and the planet itself has been here 4,500,000,000 years.

Yet there are some that think humanity is god’s gift to the planet and that they are god’s gift to humanity.

There is no coffee for these people to wake up and smell; there is only the stench of their pathetic selves to greet them and so they stay asleep in their miserable dream.

Humans created their gods to explain certain things their little brains could not understand and then used their own creation to inflate their own importance. They believe humans were created in gods image, so they see their deity as this elderly Caucasian with a long flowing beard living somewhere up in the clouds and smiling down on his wondrous creation.

If you want to believe in a god, then go for it. Whatever crutch you need to feel some degree of self-worth is fine with me. But when your creation allows you to justify certain behaviors based on your own highest ranking in creation … that’s where I have the problem.

You see, the notion that we humans are more important than all other creatures allows certain among us to mistreat, abuse, slaughter, and eradicate many of the other creatures that evolved on this same planet.

I have seen the callousness and those that perform it are small people; small minded, low intelligence, self-serving, scum.

Our race has a lot of wonderful people in it. People that are intelligent, humble, appreciative, aware. But there are others who think so highly of themselves that they willingly place themselves and their wants ahead of the very planet that gives them life.

Yet there was a moment, back in the day, before these books were written that humans coexisted with other creatures without grandiose ideologies that led to abuse.

Sometimes these creatures ate us and sometimes we ate them. Birds eat worms and one day worms eats birds. Such is the way of life.

The moment when we started building caskets and tombs to protect our decaying bodies after death, is the first real moment when humans decided that they were not part of the circle of life … but above it.

But like most of the things we pat ourselves on the back for; it is a false position.

We exist until we don’t. It’s a simple concept and one that scares only the feeble minded.

… just a thought.


Last week, in Ireland, we went to the Clare coast and watched as the North Atlantic boiled in a cauldron of chaos in the small bay of Kilkee.

It was a humbling experience, witnessing such power and though we have overused the word to the point of ridiculousness, it was simply awesome.

The visual of an ocean so wild that it churned brown sand up on top of its waves and moved rocks flippantly out of its way, was simply stunning. Our plans to step out on the rocks at the pollock holes or catch the view from the cliff edge at George’s Head were quickly put aside when both locations were being subjected to the wonderful power of wave after wave.

The audible was very much a solid base sound as these wave after waves pounded the ground and rocks and drowned out the hiss of the strong ocean winds. It was like someone was beating a large base drum only to a beat that I had never heard before.

I’ve assembled some images at the end of this blog and hope that I do the scene even a smitten of justice.


In the meantime, now that I am back stateside, I have reveled in the whole unspoilt aspect of the places we went to while in Ireland. I will gather some more images over the coming days once I have a chance to catch up with myself.

But the whole concept of unadulterated crept into my mind and why we have to identify such a scene as unusual in the first place.

That it is indeed remarkable that some pure unadulterated places still exist in the world, isn’t it a shame that we have to search far and wide to find one?

I have never understood the dichotomy in human behavior … most of humanity seems to marvel and stand in awe at natural beauty and yet that same humanity is responsible for the spoiling and contamination that makes most of our world adulterated.

In my mind that is the same as everyone loving and craving for sweet treats but simultaneously working to eradicate sugar fields from the planet.

It makes no sense.

Some of this is population, of course. I read once that we are already at almost twice the number of humans that the resources of this planet can sustainably support. Yet we continue to grow the population with careless abandon on a pace that is clearly running us right up to a precipice .

But even if we managed the population, we are hell bent on pollution, fossil fuel consumption, deforestation, and over commercialization on a scale that leaves every environment or planet-level decision in its wake.

I am embarrassed for humanity. We were given the smarts to do better and the knowledge of what we have been doing wrong. But neither have altered our course of self-destruction.

I know this may sound strange but I really don’t care about our self-destruction.

What I do care about is the countless little creatures and the pristine corners of the natural world, that get destroyed in the process. We are not just a blemish on the plant that we reside on, we are a virus. The planet was caught by surprise by our evolutionary progress and allowed us to propagate without any limits that restrained our destruction.

Maybe the planet was hoping that when humanity reached adulthood we would grow out of our destructive and self-serving behaviors. But unfortunately the only place the adult in us appeared, is in our adulteration of the most beautiful planet in the cosmos.

Shame on us. But we will reap what we sow.

… just a thought.


There are situations when we find ourselves in a once-in-a-lifetime moment and I was fortunate enough to get an invite on New Year’s night to one such moment. It was an art project involving a number of un-clad young forms combining with wonderfully bright acrylic paints of every color to create unique and vibrant piece of art.

The art itself was a unique and provocative piece with numerous colorful imprints on an 8′ x 8′ white sheet and it perfectly captured the artist’s original concept.

Watching the creation process and capturing it along the way was my role and while I won’t show the end product here (belongs to the artist), I have attached a few pics at the end of the blog that shows the colors being used as well as some of the fun afterwards with splashes of leftover paint.

It was an awesome experience and while I spent much of the night above the happenings, standing on a raised pallet on a forklift, I felt very much a part of the overall fun that took place below.

Check out the images at the end of the blog and while I played a little with the last one, turning the body to black and white but holding color on the paint, do be warned that it does have a small hint of nudity.


It is really the nudity thing that I wanted to talk about today and how the human form has been hijacked by the conservatives on one side and the porn business on the other. These people are either grossly offended or wildly excited by the sight of a bare butt or god forbid a nipple.

And art has often found itself the unwitting victim of these two extremes inasmuch as is had been bound by their limitations.

Nudity doesn’t need to be erotic. Pubescent boys don’t understand that, but I don’t understand why grown adults seem to think it does.

The young ladies that took part in this project correctly viewed what was being created as a work of art and so they bared all in an effort to deliver what the artist needed.

Were they pretty? yes. Did they have great bodies? yes.

But anyone who got excited by what was going on there grossly missed the point and are probably well-served by some time on the psychiatrists couch.

Similarly anyone who frowned at or was offended by these lovely forms locked in art creation also could benefit from some counseling … or least be told to stop being so fucking childish.

When we victimize art with unwarranted restrictions and boundaries, we risk creating an environment where creativity itself is stifled and the world becomes a smaller place.

All art (nude or not) is an expression of our humanity. It is something that is almost unique to humans and provides a positive differentiation between us and our other animal relatives.

Expressions that become muted are signs of oppression and conformity and we should recognize them as such. For centuries, oppressive societies around the world have sought out such expression and destroyed it, or jailed the artists, or just simply spun taste away from these “unauthorized” expressions.

For example, I recently watched a short documentary on how ancient erotic art from Pompeii which was discovered in the 1700s was deemed too sexual and was locked away for over 200 years from public view. Even now, it is only on display in a single museum for erotic art.

The morality police here are no different than those imposing the “morals” of sharia law in countries that we are so quick to scorn. Yet, we don’t see ourselves that way, do we?

Whatever offends our sensibilities is a problem within us and should never be used as a measuring stick of what to allow others to see, or ways in which they should behave. Our own standards are never the gold standard, nor should they be.

I am tired of people judging others for their “unacceptable morals” or “deviant” behaviors and particularly when it comes to an art form, we have no right to judge.

We should save our judgements for moments where people are being hurt or abused. Only then do they become valid.

We use shaming as a soft method of ensuring compliance and this too needs to stop. Though slightly more gentle than more rigorous methods, it is nonetheless a control mechanism.

Thankfully the other evening, I stood among a group of people that were not easily shamed and the artist was able to fully express their vision without encumbrance.

The end piece was magnificent but the process to arrive at it was even better. Those of us there to experience the creation enjoyed laughter, camaraderie, and achievement.

All art breathes with the breath of its artist and it is far better to supply the oxygen than smother it with restriction.

… just a thought.