The Eagle and the Loon

Perched in a beautiful northern Minnesota cabin for a couple weeks I have had lots of time to think. The air is clean. The sun is warm and the breezes have been ideal for thinking. I freely move from one thought to another and raise questions in my mind that require exploration. Life does not always allow this experience of freedom.

That's what diggers like me do. We think. And wonder. And ask "What if.....?"

We have a resident eagle near our cottage and he is awesome. I stepped out of our dining room the other day onto the deck and heard this "whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp"....and wondered what had our dogs discovered? (Actually, it was more like "What is Ruth up to now?") In the same nano second, I saw him -the eagle - fly right above me! If I had a ladder, I could have touched his wings. It was a moment of absolute wonder and awe. And it was SO mine!

Our Loon is not so imminent. She calls and I hear her but don't really know where she is.

And then, there she is. Right in front of my eyes. Ever elusive and never, as yet, close. 

The Common Loon, as any native Minnesotan knows, is famous for her bird song vocalise. She knows how to speak her truth. At home on the water, she glides effortlessly across the top and is a powerful diver come dinner time. But her despairing attempts to navigate her way on land are awkward and clumsy. 

We have had numerous experiences like this in our time here. How I would love to always live in the company of the rhythm and wisdom of our natural world. The Eagles fly and the Loons call, as they need to.

What if all humans could...

Be free like an eagle to explore our own interests and rights?

Appreciate the freedom we have fought for and won in this country?

Learn how to recognize what is ours to do (personally and collectively) and what belongs to another?

Honor the fear of extinction and take responsibility for our own?

Respectfully speak our own truth while also learning of new ways, however awkward and clumsy we might feel in doing so?

What a wonderful world that would be!

I am awake to the the violence and intolerance in our world today and each day I try to dig deeper still to find hope, understanding and right action. I will leave this place in the woods next week with images of and lessons from my friends the Eagle and the Loon to guide me. 

"In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair." -- Howard Thurman








Safety in the Mist

I consider myself to be very fortunate. I have always felt safe. 


Well, almost always. 

Looking back, there were many challenges such as the loss of loved ones and family members for which one can never prepare.  These hard times put me on my knees.


There was also the loss of a job, broken relationships, two of my homes were robbed and I was physically assaulted once as a young girl. I was poor enough at one point where I didn’t know when I could eat again. In all of these times my footing felt unsure and insecure at best. And I was sometimes frightened and brokenhearted.


Yet, I am keenly aware that these experiences pale next to the daily torture, trauma and injustices experienced by strangers I have yet to meet in the world around me. So very many.


I think about this disparity a lot. Especially in today’s version of our world. In my heart, I can never be right with so much injustice, inequality and disrespect for the human condition. My moral compass just can’t get right with it. 


So, I pay attention to it… see what I can learn and how I might help to make things better for others. As inadequate as it might feel at times, my action always seems to be about finding beauty. Beauty in the natural world and in relationship with others. Beauty, somehow, takes me to a place of hope which is what I would wish for every soul on this planet. And if I could wrap up that hope in a box and deliver it to all, I would. Hope is our safety in the mist. It should be every human being’s inalienable right. 


One of my favorite songwriters today is a woman named Carrie Newcomer. She is a talented writer, poet and musician who’s work really speaks to me.  I thought of her when I made the image above which I named “Safe Harbor”. “Sanctuary” works also.


Carrie was inspired to write the words to this song after speaking with her friend Parker J. Palmer about what to do when one is feeling “personally or politically heartbroken.”


“Sanctuary” by Carrie Newcomer

Will you be my refuge

My haven in the storm,

Will you keep the embers warm

When my fire's all but gone?

Will you remember

And bring me sprigs of rosemary,

Be my sanctuary

'Til I can carry on

Carry on.

Carry on.



In order for me to feel hopeful, I know that I need to be finding beauty in the world around me and work to create more of it; within myself, my communities and beyond. 


I don’t know what else to do.

Alma's Listening Bench

I live in a neighborhood of Minneapolis that is, thankfully, filled with trees. Just steps from the National Scenic Byway of the Mississippi River, we are surrounded by miles and miles of tree-lined parkway with walking, running and biking trails. It’s a great place to live and to explore both my connection to and relationship with the natural world!

On our private little plot of land, we have our own trees that we tend to and care for. In fact, we have named all eight of them. The grande dame is a silver maple, named Silver Sue. She towers over our tiny sanctuary of a back yard and fills our summer mornings and evenings with a cacophony of sounds rising from squirrels who endlessly rustle through her branches along with birds of multiple varieties and musical endeavors. I enjoy listening to all their musings just as much as I enjoy trying to figure out how Sue got to be so big in such a small space!

Silver Sue may well be queen of the back yard and commander of the animal shenanigans she invites there, but the tree that holds, in a sense, the rest of our home (and us) is a Norway Maple that resides in our front yard. Her name is Alma. She appears to be hugging our house and has arms that stretch far beyond our little lot boundaries. The ground beneath her reach is covered with shade loving perennials; a small peaceful garden it would seem.

Recently, we were asked by a neighbor to put a bench under Alma so that she could listen to the piano playing that flows from our house quite often and is especially loved by neighbors when the windows are open in the summer. The plantings below Alma allowed for such a request, so we found a small curved bench that seemed to wrap itself around Alma’s girth like a scarf slung over her shoulders. I tested its placement and stability and found myself listening before I could actually see what I was hearing. 

Unlike the energetic chaos of Silver Sue’s world, spending time on Alma’s Listening Bench was quite a different experience. It was a morning in which gentle breezes moved Alma’s leaves melodically while also hosting a beautiful filtered and dappled light to accompany those breezes. Dark branches reaching up were silent, but steady and strong and in total support of the leaf dance I was listening to.  Behind me, I was only vaguely aware of a children’s playground in the distance. No chaos here. Pure music in both my listening and seeing. 

On Alma’s Listening Bench, I came to appreciate again, or perhaps more deeply, that listening is part of my photographic seeing. Like everything else worth my love and effort, it requires practice.

Do you have a “listening bench”?

First Time Ever

It's true. I have never written a blog before.

I have had a web site before this one. I have journaled for decades. But I have never combined the two. 

The internet makes blogging seem so easy. However, most of what I have to say that is worth saying I now express in my art. In my photographs. 

That wasn't always the case. 

I look forward to artistic collaboration with collectors, designers, poets, musicians, art directors, and other photographers! 

And, above all, I hope that my photographs will reach and help someone.


Prints are available for purchase. Until the e-commerce portion of my site is set up (under development now), please contact me if interested in a print.