Close

Mindfulness

Photographs from a visit to the grounds of the Barre Center For Buddhist Studies in Barre, Massachusetts.

At the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies in Barre, MA thoughtful landscaping and architecture are designed to encourage reflection and contemplation in or out of doors.
Stone walls, sturdy trees, benches and other wooden elements recur throughout the grounds. Circular and domed shapes enhance architectural elements.
The large domed bell with striker is hung from a aged tree. In Buddhism, the bell is sometimes said to be the sound of the Buddha’s voice.
A dome-shaped stupa (a Buddhist monument housing sacred relics associated with the Buddha) is surrounded by greenery and stone walls.
The Meditation Hall features large circular windows. Circles are associated with enlightenment in Buddhist thought.
Wooden floors and exposed beams enhance the inside of the hall.
The vegetable garden is enclosed by a handmade willow fence. Garden sections are now being planted, as the Center will welcome on-site students once again this fall.
A wooden Thai Spirit House sits at the edge of the garden.

Enchanted Architecture

The Enchanta Bridge at the Moore State Park in Paxton, MA was given its name by owners who felt the property was so beautiful, it must be enchanted. Originally a mill, the park features an enormous display of rhododendrons, stone mill foundations, a restored sawmill, and networks of wooded paths.

The recently updated Enchanta features traditional New England woodwork with Adirondack chairs for relaxing. Wooden ramps on either end of the bridge allow easy access for all, providing views of the waterfall, pond and woods. The park is free of charge and open year-round.

The Enchanta Bridge, Moore State Park, Paxton, MA
One side of the bridge overlooks a large pond.
Generous ramps blend in with the traditional architecture while making the bridge universally accessible.
Adirondack chairs invite visitors to relax.
The pond provides opportunities for fishing, canoeing and skating.
The waterfall as viewed from the bridge.

Ice World

Winter has transformed the Wildlife Pond at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon in Princeton, MA. The beaver lodge has a chunky white coating, while other areas of the pond sparkle with ice ranging from rough and jagged to windblown and smooth. The red and gold vegetation at the pond edges lends a delicate frame to this “ice world”.

Monarch Metamorphosis

I never tire of watching the transformation of the monarch butterfly. In Massachusetts, this population seems to be on the rise after several years of dwindling numbers. What a pleasure to marvel at monarchs in my own yard once again!

IMG_6526IMG_7636

Snack Time

My point-and-shoot camera makes it easy to capture spur of the moment bird photos while enjoying a Fall walk.

IMG_7318IMG_7315nuthatch

The Open Skies Lie Ahead

This juvenile red-tailed hawk frequented the Wachusett Meadow Audubon for several days last week during hawk migration time. It perched quietly in trees near the main buildings, watching the comings and goings of nature enthusiasts. I can’t help but wonder if it was gathering strength for the long journey ahead.

Version 2Version 2

Red Fox Kit

I was startled and delighted to spot this red fox kit in my backyard. It didn’t run away until called sharply by its mother, so I had ample time to enjoy its large black twitching ears and black legs, as well as its white-tipped tail, which is a key differentiation between a gray and a red fox.

In mythology, foxes are often described as sly and cunning. This kit, like most young animals, didn’t bring those characterizations to mind. It was completely charming in all its innocence, curiosity and playfulness.

IMG_0094IMG_0097IMG_0112IMG_0098IMG_0109IMG_0102IMG_9907IMG_9913IMG_0065IMG_0095

Nike Up Close

A few days ago, I highlighted a beautiful Canada goose I named Nike in honor of its incredible wings. Yesterday, I was able to consider in more depth features of this prevalent New England bird.

Canada geese arrive at this pond at the Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in early Spring and raise families before leaving in the Fall. Likeable and easy-going, they are comfortable co-existing with human visitors. I was able to easily photograph their famed “goose necks”, intricate layers of feathers, startling dark eyes, and bills that are perfectly attuned to their habitat. Because of my intimate visits with them, I no longer consider these engaging and attractive birds “just ordinary geese”!

IMG_9138IMG_9116IMG_9097IMG_9120Version 2IMG_9106IMG_9095IMG_9112IMG_9111IMG_9108IMG_9125IMG_9140IMG_8094

Make Way For Mallards

Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way For Ducklings” (1941) is a classic children’s story of a mallard couple who raise a family in a park in Boston, Massachusetts. When I was a primary school teacher, I read this imaginative book dozens of times to my students.

It was wonderful to pass a peaceful hour observing a real mallard couple at the Audubon. Their vibrant colors, patterns and serene presence were delightful. It was easy to understand why McCloskey chose to feature these creatures in his story.

IMG_8724mallard 2mallard 3IMG_8737Version 2

Nike: Winged Victory

Recently I was thrilled to witness a Canada Goose displaying its wings in a gorgeous and dramatic fashion. It reminded me of Nike, the goddess of Victory, the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). She was most often portrayed with wings and was known as a divine charioteer who flew over the battlefield bestowing laurels upon the victors. She was one of the most frequently portrayed symbols on Greek coins.

IMG_7720IMG_7721IMG_7722IMG_7723

Ground Level

During a brief hiatus between snow squalls, there was time for food and companionship.

IMG_7462IMG_7414IMG_7410IMG_7426

%d bloggers like this: