About Me

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Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

29 April 2012

Sometimes, even one word is too much.

Today, breathing space...........

iPhone image © Diana Shay Diehl

Saturday, April 28, 2012

28 April 2012

A simple post today. Several of my viewers requested more photos of the area in which I live. I can imagine how fascinating the desert is to those who have never experienced it personally - yet. It is fascinating to those of us who do - still.

These iPhone snapshots are of a 'mutant' joshua tree cluster on the property of a dear friend and fellow artist's home. Supposedly these are a mutant variety, maybe +/- 4% of all joshua trees are like this. There were several of these growing on his property. I found them rather M. C. Escher-esqe......

What do you think?

This cluster seems happy in this spot. At the base, you can see new 'pups' growing (or maybe those are rhizomes....my joshua tree fact booklet is at school so forgive my temporary inaccuracy. I remember a ranger long ago using both terms for the various stages of growth.)

The property owner said these are growing over the leach lines of his septic tank. Hm....perhaps that is why they are mutants....?

All photos © Diana Shay Diehl 2012  (Taken with an iPhone)

The above shot is one of more 'normal' joshua trees. The life expectancy of the average joshua tree is about 150 years.  They will often germinate under a 'nurse' plant for about 4 years for protection from predation. Then, the new plant will take over the nurse plant which is why you usually see the joshua tree growing solo - meaning more apart from the rest. There are clusters scattered around as well. I liken it to a nature family sharing space rather than a take over of the host plant.

More on joshua trees in another post. These are most fascinating plants in form and habit.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

26 April 2012

Hello dear viewers... I apologize for my absence of late. There were a lot of events happening and I just couldn't bring myself to post at the end of each busy day.

I've also been going through a bowl emptying phase. "What's that?" might you think...  I have this thing about bowls. All kinds of bowls, handmade in particular. Big. Small. Tiny. Cracked. Useful pieces of art. Bowls represent an openness to receive. A certain kind of vulnerability. The Tibetan Monks would go out each day with an empty bowl and just sit. Whatever was placed in their bowl that day should be enough. Sometimes they would get rice to eat. Sometimes money. Occasionally, someone's trash. But whatever ended up in there was what they were intended to have for that day - and they were grateful. Could we westerners be grateful for nothing or someone else's trash? In our western culture, bowls have become catch basins for the 'stuff' in our lives. Keys. Mail. Receipts. Trinkets we aren't quite sure what to do with. Then, at some point, those bowls are full to overflowing. They can't hold anymore and we need to sort it all out. What to toss? What to keep? Our lives can get like that, too. We hold on to so much. Things and memories, both pleasant and heart wrenching. Anxieties over the yet-to-happen we cannot bring ourselves to stop thinking about - all taking us away from living in the present. Then, at some point, we are full to overflowing with no room for more. We can start to feel tethered. Worn down. Hollow. Yet, we still clinging on to things that have served its purpose, too afraid to simply bless the experience, thank it, and let it go...

So, probably for these past couple of years - since turning 50 basically - I have been ardently emptying my bowls. Tossing those receipts, keys to who knows what, broken trinkets. Forgiving the heartaches. Remembering with gratitude the wonderful times before gently letting even those go, too.... How else can one receive the new blessings and experiences coming our way if there is no room?  I have lots of bowls to refill and part of the excitement is seeing what new experiences come my way. Whatever it is, I know I am meant to experience it. All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I hope these weeks have been kind to you. May all your bowls be filled with what you need most.

This is a mortero, or Native American grinding hole. Typically, you find these near a food source. Usually there are clusters of them on the rock surface. This solo hole is on a small granite slab sheltered behind several scrub oaks, pinions, and junipers. It is cool and shaded here. Can you imagine the activity of grinding acorns and berries for meals? Possibly visiting. Chatting. Reminding children to stay close? It would take a LOT of grinding to make such a hole in granite. 

All images and text © Diana Shay Diehl 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

12 April 2012

Today. Just shocks of color on an otherwise dreary spring-that-wants-to-still-be-winter day.

Orange nasturtiums on grey....

Weathered shades of blue on wood.....

Red? Magenta? Hot pink?  Gazing ball....

2007 - 2012 © Diana Shay Diehl

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

11 April 2012

This time of year is for dreaming of simpler, lazing summer days.... Must be all the hours we teacher folk are spending (cramming) in preparation for state testing this week and next (Which is nearly a month earlier than usual yet we are held accountable to the same criteria as if we actually had the full school year to teach our students. Yeah. You do the math.)

Here are soothing visions from a memorable trip last June with my daughter. I hope they smooth your ruffled feathers, too, testing or not....

©Diana Shay Diehl / Zion National Park

Monday, April 9, 2012

9 April 2012

A gazillion photo ops this past week - especially this past weekend. And do I have my camera(s) with me? Uh, well, yes actually. Three of them. And did I take them out, make them ready to capture the moments, use them? No. Not until my fellow photog and friend, Rachel Rauch Johnson (wedding photographer extraordinaire among other things...check out her link. And if you live in the Seattle, Portland, LA area - think westcoast - and need a fabulous wedding photographer...well, her online portfolio speaks for itself.) told me to just take out my camera - ANY camera and shoot. Don't think about it. Don't fuss over it. Just shoot. And shoot. And shoot.

So, I did.

2012 ©Diana Shay Diehl

The aftermath of a great dinner. We were the last to leave.

Thanks Rachel (and Eric), for your encouragement.......

And another one...

<-----Easter Sunday brunch with my boys. If you celebrate, I hope yours was filled with hope and surrounded by love as mine was.  If you don't, I hope your time was spent the same.

2012 ©Diana Shay Diehl

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

3 April 2012

Oak trees. The Celtic peoples revere oaks to be the most sacred and powerful of all trees. They believe it to hold the true alignment of balance, purpose, and strength. The Celts are my people from long ago, on my father's side. Well, not too long ago. My grandfather came here directly from Ireland as a young lad. I wish he were still alive. I'd know what kinds of questions to ask now...

The photo in this post is of the largest oak tree in the national park where I live. It's located at the Live Oak day use area. However, the actual "live oak" is a short scrub oak about 20 or so feet to the right of this giant one.  This tree, according to the ecologist who taught the class that particular weekend, is a bit of a 'mystery tree' as it's not genetically related to the other oaks in the park (if I remember the discussion correctly). Although, I'm inclined to think Live Oak refers to this quiet giant as far as park guides go.  I can't remember how old this tree is, but it's old. It stands in a deep sandy wash, flanked by granite boulders on one side, an interesting assortment of cacti, desert plants, and rock formations on another, and the parking pad slightly above. This tree has seen many floods, wind storms, temperature extremes, critter invasions, curious humans, rising moons, and setting suns. And yet, it has continued to grow tall and strong. Its roots stretching far out as if to anchor and balance itself among the boulders and neighboring vegetation while the sudden desert flash floods rage around it and the winds batter its branches, seemingly unscathed in the end. Kind of reminds me of finding solace in family, faith, self, and true friends (not always in that order) when the sneaky flash floods of human unkindness, deceit, and selfishness try to chip away at the foundation...

That boulder underneath it is a great sittin' and contemplatin' spot. Or, a just sit and watch what comes by you spot. Or, a nap against it spot. Or, rest against it while visiting with a fellow hiker spot. Or, simply sit and think of - nothing. I wish I had shot a photo with someone sitting on it. You could then see the size comparison. As it was, I had a tough time capturing all of it in the frame of my camera.  I think you get the picture.......

2012 © Diana Shay Diehl