Eclipse

Sunset over  College Creek, at (Gabriel) Archer’s Hope, near Jamestown, Virginia

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Just as light and darkness maintain their own balance, and follow one another; so too do times of darkness and light follow one another in human history. Opposing forces remain in cyclical tension throughout our planet’s history.

We welcome the darkness which allows us to rest each night, and we awake hours later refreshed and reinvigorated. Our bodies heal and re-energize while we sleep.

Plants also need a period of darkness for their growth and cellular repair after many hours of photosynthesis in the sunlight each day. Many plants need a period of dormancy and rest each year, before vigorous new growth responds to the lengthening days of spring.

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Winter Solstice morning

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Northwestern Oregon, where the eclipse over the United States will begin next Monday, symbolizes the farthest point of our continental cultural expansion during the 19th Century. John Jacob Astor established Astoria, Oregon, in 1811, and his team blazed the trail which opened the Northwest to settlement. He led the economic battle to incorporate the Pacific Northwest, and its resources, into the United States. In those days, the borders between the United States and British Canada remained fluid.

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Oregon’s coast, near where the eclipse will begin sliding across North America on August 21, 2017.

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Our nation’s power and prosperity come in large part from our westward expansion to the Pacific, and the rich natural, human and energetic resources of our western states. This part of our country remains energetic, innovative and largely progressive.

Charleston, South Carolina, symbolizes the first shots fired in treasonous rebellion in our Civil War, which began in 1860-61. This terrible time in our nation’s history potentially could have destroyed our republic. But it did not; and the slow and torturous process of re-unification has played out in our courts, congress, statehouses and streets ever since.

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The James River, just a few hundred miles north of where the coming eclipse will move offshore next Monday.

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This is a critical time in our nation’s history once again. The nihilistic forces of nazism, facism, and communism which were pushed back in Europe and Asia during the 20th Century, have infiltrated our own society and American government in the 21st.

We see this with sickening clarity after the election cycle of 2016, when these forces of hatred and anarchy have been publicly emboldened both in the media, and on the ground in cities across our nation.

And only a week after the tragic and disturbing events in Charlottesville last weekend; we will experience the rare astronomical event of a full solar eclipse beginning in Oregon and ending on the coast at Charleston, South Carolina.

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Jones Millpond, where The Battle of Williamsburg raged on May 5, 1862, in the early years of our nation’s Civil War; remains a peaceful spot along the Colonial Parkway in more recent times.

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Many of us wonder what this means for our country. We are disgusted and uncertain with elements of our own government and citizenry. We are deeply troubled about what our nation’s future may hold, and wondering whether the Republic established by our Constitution in 1788 remains sufficient to order our society today.

At this time of uncertainty, we have given much thought to the meaning and potential effects of the coming eclipse. Historically, many cultures have viewed eclipses as important times of vulnerability as the sun disappeared from the sky, and dramatic changes occurred in the aftermath. There could be several interpretations of the phenomena of darkness falling across a huge swath of the United States, from coast to coast, in the middle of a summer afternoon.

We choose to interpret the coming eclipse as a time of national renewal. Beginning in the west, where our country’s economic destiny was determined with the founding of Astoria and securing our border with Canada; and sweeping eastwards across our nation to the very city where our Civil War began; the darkness of this eclipse will be followed by new light.

The emerging sun, Sol Invictus,  will shine brightly over our nation for many hours on Monday, August 21, after the moon moves on in its orbit, allowing the sun’s light to burst forth once again.

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As morning follows night, we choose to focus on the ‘second morning’ that will occur as the eclipse ends on Monday afternoon as a time of national renewal and re invigoration. Let this ‘second morning’ usher in a time when our Constitutional government will be set right once again, and these current threats of tyranny, hatred, and lawlessness ended.

Let foreign intervention in our politics be exposed and expunged. Let nazis and their ideology, influencing our political discourse, be exposed and expunged.

Let the corrupting influence of foreign and criminally laundered money holding our political leaders to nihilistic political ideologies be exposed and expunged. Let the corruption and lawlessness in our own communities be exposed and expunged.

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Let us use this energetically potent period of a summer solar eclipse to power the necessary changes which will re-claim our communities and our state and national governments for our founding principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of the good.

Let us reclaim our heritage as a land of promise and equal protection for all under fair and just laws.

Let our United States fully become a center of innovation and opportunity; tolerance and love; and a haven for the endless positive potential of humankind.

Woodland Gnome 2017

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Powhatan Creek

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WPC: Elemental

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For this week’s challenge, explore the classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire.
How do you capture something invisible like air, or the movement of water? Or, more personally, is there a place you go to feel connected to the earth?
Take a moment to explore these elements, in or out of balance, together or individually, as you pick up your camera this week.”
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The ancients teach us that originally there was only one energy, one creative force.  It was, even before the light.

And from its desire to know itself, everything else was created. Every thing we know was explosively generated from the one.

This original energy still animates everything, every element that is; even our own knowingness. 

The continual joy of creation comes from the interplay of all of the elements; every bit of fire and earth, water and air.   These essential elements structure even our own imagination.

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Try to take away even one of the elements, and what is left? Some balance will be restored ….

Our life depends on the interplay of fire, water, air, minerals, and the unique animation we call spirit.

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“I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level,
that our separateness and isolation are an illusion.
We’re all made of the same thing—
the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fires of dead stars.
I’d just never felt that knowledge in my bones until that moment,
there, with you, and it’s because of you.”
.
Blake Crouch
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Every particle and spark is important; a part of the whole. Every one of us is important:  a part of the whole; elemental.

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017
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For the Daily Post’s
Weekly Photo Challenge:  Elemental

Bringing Down The Sky

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“If I were rain,
That joins sky and earth that otherwise never touch,
Could I join two hearts as well?”
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Tite Kubo

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“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.”

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Kahlil Gibran

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2017

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“Only in a place like this do earth and sky come together

in such a way that they bridge into one,

and in such a place a person could put up her arms

and find herself in heaven.”

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Laura Pritchett

 

Gathering Dusk and A Christmas Tree

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Light fades slowly from the winter sky, blushing, as the sun eases below the horizon.

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Late afternoon found us at Colonial Williamsburg on Christmas day.  I wanted to photograph the huge Christmas tree, ablaze with lights, that we had found the evening before.

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We were out on Christmas Eve enjoying the lights in our part of town, when we spotted a blazing tree, covered in white lights, visible from Francis Street.

And I vowed to return, camera in hand, to photograph it in all its brilliance at dusk.

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And so I lingered nearby, watching colors shift in the evening sky as lights popped on against the gathering dusk.  But the Christmas tree remained unlit.

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My partner parked and eventually joined me.  And we waited together as the minutes crept past.

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We watched a silent flock of geese glide overhead.

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Clouds glowed bright, illuminated by a sun no longer visible from where we stood, moving ever further beyond the horizon.

But the Christmas tree remained dark, melting into the shadows of the coming night.

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We began walking towards our car, shivering now in the evening chill.  Slowly, hoping for a flash of sudden brightness to draw us back, we covered the blocks of the old town still filled with visitors and costumed staff.

But the only lights greeting us flickered in windows and on lamp posts.

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And though a little disappointed to have missed the photo I hoped to take, we were glad to be a part of the community in this place and on this special night.

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It was the following evening when we found the tree lit again in all its glowing glory.  We had been away all day, and drove to the tree on our way home.  It was already long past dusk when we arrived, but the Christmas tree was lit, and I hopped out while my partner circled the block.

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One feels the weight of years and lives here most at night.  Shades of those long gone from daylight still linger in the shadows near these historic places.

The elder trees, still growing, hold memories, too; as they stretch their protective branches over the land.

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But the blazing Christmas tree drew me ever closer, and I set off alone across the field.   Others were gathering around it too, basking in the warmth and comfort of its lights.

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In this season we celebrate the power of the light.  We reaffirm our deep belief in the powers of goodness and love to push back against the gathering and ever-present darkness of our  world.

We know there is an ever shifting balance between darkness and light; greed and generosity; kindness and anger;  love and ambivalence.

And all of these forces live and shift within each one of us; none of us is beyond their power.

But it is always ours to choose; to seek the light, even when we must walk through the darkness to find it.   And as we journey ever closer to the light, we find good company sharing the walk with us; so that we are never left alone in the darkness.

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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“It is neither wealth nor splendor,

but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.”
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Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday Vignettes: The Path

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“All we have to decide is what to do

with the time that is given us.”


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Gandalf

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“Courage will now be your best defense

against the storm that is at hand-

—that and such hope as I bring.”


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Gandalf

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“For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”

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Gandalf

 

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Halfway Creek

Halfway Creek

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“This is your realm,

and the heart of the greater realm that shall be.

The Third Age of the world is ended,

and the new age is begun; and it is your task

to order its beginning and to preserve

what must be preserved.

For though much has been saved,

much must now pass away;…”

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Gandalf

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Jamestown

Jamestown

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“However it may prove,

one must tread the path that need chooses!”

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Gandalf

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

 

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“He that breaks a thing to find out what it is

has left the path of wisdom.”

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all quotations from  J.R.R. Tolkien

 

 

 

The Edge of Illusion

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“Dream delivers us to dream,

and there is no end to illusion.

Life is like a train of moods

like a string of beads,

and, as we pass through them,

they prove to be many-colored lenses

which paint the world their own hue. . . . ”

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Edge

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“You’re never given a dream
without also being given the power to make it true.”
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Richard Bach
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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016

 

WPC: Look Up! (An Evening on the River)

July 8, 2016 sky 021~

“In the sky

there are always answers and explanations

for everything: every pain, every suffering,

joy and confusion.”


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Ishmael Beah

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July 8, 2016 sky 010~

“For this week’s challenge, take a moment to look up. Whether it’s the fan above your head at work, your bedroom ceiling, or the night sky, what do you see?

Is it familiar? Or does it show you a new perspective on your surroundings?” 

The Daily Post

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For the Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Look Up!

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2016
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July 8, 2016 sky 012

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These photos commemorate the spot where Edwin Alexander Tejada Delgado drowned on July 7, just before sunset, while swimming in the James River with his friends at this popular beach along the Colonial Parway near Jamestown Island. We didn’t know him, but we watch young people swimming, wading, fishing and boating from this beach nearly year round. 

We look up, to the sky here, exactly a day after his body was found.

May he rest in peace.

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July 8, 2016 sky 009

 

WPC: Weightless Over the Pacific

April 30, 2015 Oregon in April 094

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Weightless

Floating in a watercolor sky,

Lifted up, and ever higher up,

Riding warm rivers of air.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in April 675

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Sailing freely above a peaceful sea;

Seeking nothing, seeing no one,

Knowing only light and dark, heat and cool,

Fog and rain.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in April 203

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You dance, playing with golden sunlight as it falls to Earth.

Sky sculptor, peopling the troposphere

With sylphs and rainbows, giants and dragons.

Every myth begins and ends in your embrace.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in April 248

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Floating in, creeping off the waves onto the strand,

You blur every boundary.

Misty, dreamily, relentlessly you descend;

Leaving even Earthbound beings

Weightless.

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in April 021

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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April 30, 2015 Oregon in April 447~

For the Daily Posts

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weightless

Photos from the Oregon Coast April 2015

Sunday Dinner: Peacemakers

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“-We need more love, to supersede hatred,

-We need more strength,  to resist our weaknesses,
-We need more inspiration, to lighten up our innermind. …

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“-We need more learning,  to erase our ignorance,
-We need more wisdom, to live longer and happier….

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“… -We need more truths, to suppress deceptions…

… We need more peace, to stay in harmony with our brethren…

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 …-We need more humility to be lifted up,
-We need more patience and not undue eagerness …

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“… -We need more sympathy, not apathy …

… -We need more focus, to avoid distraction …
 …-We need more optimism,  not pessimism …

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“-We need more peacemakers, not revolutionaries…

with these, we create an heaven on earth.”
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Michael Bassey Johnson

from, The Infinity Sign

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Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

 

NaBloPoMo_1115_298x255_badges

WPC: Happy Place

October 6, 2015 Parkway 021

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Our National Parks give us places to go to rest, dream, rejuvenate, and appreciate the natural beauty of a place. 

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We are fortunate to live close to the scenic Colonial Parkway, which links the Jamestown Settlement along the James River with Historic Yorktown on the banks of the York River. 

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This is one of our favorite places to visit frequently enough to watch the seasons, and the sunsets, come and go. 

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We watch the eagles’ nests from when they are built early each spring until the eggs hatch and the young learn to fly in early summer.  We watch for Great Blue Herons, hawks, gulls, geese and the occasional fox. 

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There are sandy beaches along the way, ponds, open fields and beautiful trees.  Driving along the Parkway allows us to take a mini-vacation in a quiet, peaceful space protected from development and much of modern life. 

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September 30, 2015 Parkway 046

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It isn’t unusual to find friends along the way doing exactly the same thing.  I’m thinking, today, of a special friend and neighbor who loves the Parkway, too; and hasn’t gotten to enjoy his drives there for a while. 

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He’s been in hospital for a little more than a month.  I’m hoping these photos will lift his spirits a little and remind him of all the loving friends who miss him and are wishing him well. 

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And I hope he and his partner will soon be driving along the Parkway once again, enjoying this happiest of places together.

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October 6, 2015 Parkway 012

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inspired by The Daily Post’s

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

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October 8 Parkway 027~

Photos by Woodland Gnome 2015

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October 6, 2015 Parkway 009

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