Tag Archives: nature

Spring Grass

The grass is growing green again,
Tall and dark and spread thick across the earth,
Nature’s carpeting.

The grass is growing green again,
The brown and yellow of winter is gone;
Spring is here at last.

It comes in fits and starts,
One day hot, the next so cold,
But the sun shines more every day.
As the nights grow shorter, warmer,
The grass is growing green again.

New life is rising,
Budding,
Blooming,
Growing,
Giving color to the world,
Which was so barren for so long.

The trees are budding white and pink,
The flowers blooming in rainbows,
The grass is growing green again.

The rains balance the sun,
Feeding life and cooling earth,
Washing away the woes of winter.

The grass is growing green again,
As life begins anew, fresh and thriving,
A temporary state of being, true,
But such a pleasant one.

But a Memory

As I look over the cherry field
I feel eyes watching me, waiting.
There is something there, something left behind
in the garden that feels caught,
dragging from thorns I never thought to see.
With sweetness but a memory, the fruit is bitter in its absence.
The insects are clearer than ever
but they shrink as I take a step back.

Every step, growing smaller.

Until the cherries from years past shine like the setting sun,
their thorns unfurled
into leaves that brushed my bleeding hands
as they promised a treasure hidden just out of sight.
The further I back away, the more effort it takes
to remember that the cherries are a memory.

To not go running forward.

I tell myself that the orchard is gone,
that the gray briars are all that remain
of that cherry field—
the briars that I planted
as a child, in search of sweeter fruit.
In my hunger, I choked the cherries
that stood tall and still do,

But only in my memories.

“It’s Alive!” World’s Largest Bee Rediscovered

For over 38 years, it was thought that Wallace’s giant bee had been extinct. But come to find out, the few that were left were hiding in a termite nest in the Maluku Islands in Indonesia.

Scientists were able to find a female specimen of the world’s largest bee after multiple days of searching termite nests in the heavy heat of tropical forests in Indonesia. They were able to find a hole that was large enough for a bee the size of Wallace’s giant bee.

The bee is named after British naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace, who first described the bee in 1858. He described them as a large black wasp-like insect with the jaws of a stag beetle.

The female bees are the ones that are the largest as they measure almost 1.5 inches in length while their wingspan is over 2.5 inches. The male bees are not nearly as big as their female counterparts.

Wallace, who had encountered thousands of specimens over his many expeditions, was not very interested in the bee that would be named after him, only writing one sentence in his journal.

While this rediscovery is being celebrated by the scientific community, there is worry about the very vulnerable bee as this could cause poachers to want to find the bee and sell it. A specimen of a dead Wallace’s giant bee was sold for $9,000 in 2018 on eBay.

Other worries also include the deforestation of the area, which is facing many species native to Indonesia.

This is a huge issue that we have to face as we are causing the extinction of thousands of animals and insects due to things like deforestation and global warming. It is up to us to help insects like Wallace’s giant bee survive and live peacefully.

 

Photo from NBC News

Hand in the Fog

To run with you
The day away
I feel your hand in mine
It pulls me on
Through foggy stretch
A road without a sign

From tightened grip
The guiding hand
I feel it slipping through
And when the fog
Comes crashing down
My thoughts are only you

A light that shines
When I see none
My warmth is in the palm
That feels you there
Till your return
The inner storm becalmed

Through distance gripped
Through absence held
Through hardship to the last
I feel your hand
Held tight in mine
No matter distance past

Wanderlust

Walking, always walking,

Following the fence to wherever it may lead me.

The white lines are stark against the forest,

Which is green and brown and red with fall.

They flow forward endlessly, on and on into the distance.

So on I walk, forever moving forward.

They ask me where I’m going;

I say I don’t know,

And they decide I must be lost.

I’m not though.

I know where I am, and I know where I’ve been,

But I have no destination,

And that’s what they can’t see.

Because today I’m following the fence,

Though I don’t know where it leads,

But yesterday I followed a road,

Which would have led to the sea,

If I’d followed it a little further.

I’ve seen the sea before though,

A hundred times I’ve seen the sea,

And I’ve followed the currents across it,

As I follow the fence now.

I have no destination, only a wish.

I wish to see,

To see everything,

All across the world.

There’s so much beauty,

And it’s waiting for me.

So how could I settle for any one place,

Knowing how many others are waiting to be seen?

I am a wanderer, they say,

A drifter, a tourist, a traveler,

A vagrant, a nomad, a vagabond,

And many other things besides.

Maybe they’re right.

I call no one place home,

And I seldom return to the places I’ve been,

And I’ll admit it might be odd,

To follow an endless fence

To an unknown destination.

But I don’t mind.

I may be all of the things they call me,

But there’s one thing I am not,

And that is unhappy.

I have never been sad over my lot in life,

Nor am I ever sick of what surrounds me.

I have never spent a day feeling melancholy,

So is it really so bad,

To suffer from a simple case of wanderlust?

Autumn’s Song

Everything is gold.

The trees above my head are bright as the sunlight,

Which filters down through the gaps in the leaves.

The ground under my feet is completely covered by the fallen,

And with every step a crisp rustle-crunch rings out.

 

The winter birds are calling,

The branches whisper-creak in the breeze,

And the music of autumn flows throughout nature.

It’s a soft song,

Whispers and creaks and rustles.

Nature’s very own lullaby.

 

It’s time for sleep,

For hibernating and migrating and settling in to wait.

For curling up somewhere warm

And letting nature sing you to sleep.

Whisper rustle creak.

 

It’s cold beneath the tree tops,

But so beautiful.

The wind blows again and loose leaves fall.

Fluttering to the ground as golden rain.

Drifting and spinning and falling down to the earth.

 

Over the winter they’ll turn to dirt,

And come spring those leaves will fuel the world’s rebirth.

But for now they sit, bright and gold and crisp,

Sitting quiet for now, until someone like me comes along;

Then it’s rustle-crunch, rustle-crunch,

Marking my path with Autumn’s music.

Cloud Gazing

The dawn creeps up from beyond the trees,

Cutting sharp silhouettes out of indistinct shadows.

The horizon is a blur of pink and gold, which fades into pale blue

And then into a still dark purple.


There’s beauty in the sunrise, but magic in the clouds.

They cast dark shapes above the horizon,

Painting pictures in the early morning light.

A killer whale breaches waves of water vapor,

While a pirate ship bursts forth from fog.

A manta ray is flying across the horizon,

And a swordfish leaps into the air to strike a pose.

There’s a pelican sitting above the treeline,

And the ship’s captain is calling for a toast.

 

An ocean outlined by the dawn won’t last forever,

Or even for an hour,

But it will always be remembered.

Moonrise

The setting sun leaks colors of pink, orange, and yellow.

Diffusing through the sky, spreading into blues which fade,

First to purple, and then to black.

The moon rises in the East as the sun falls West;

Oranges and yellows blink out of sight,

Leaving a pink glow within the clouds.

Stars wink into existence

And purple overtakes the sun’s rosy glow.

Darkness sweeps over the day’s final rays,

The lights of night the only guide that remains,

As the moon reigns over the sky.

The Life of A College Dog

Iris, an Austrailian Shepherd/Catahoula Cur mix, just turned into a one-year-old pupper on January 25th, 2017. I adopted her at four weeks old. Since then, she has grown into a stunning, albeit sometimes vexing, addition to my family. Alongside her three kitten siblings, Iris is ready for anything. This is the journey of a college dog, week by week.

Iris lets me know she's ready to go.
Good morning!

Iris wakes me before the alarm, shoving her leash in my face, demanding to start the day. The screech of a whiny dog isn’t the most comforting thing to be woken up by, but it’s better than poop on the floor. Always stay positive!

Iris poses perfectly for a candid shot in front of Young Hall.
Iris poses perfectly for a shot in front of Young Hall.

Following her wait for mom, Iris goes for a walk around campus. The sun is shining, the breeze is careful, and Iris is feeling fresh. She runs around Moffett quad and then rests in front of Young Hall, which makes for a great candid shot.

Iris showing her love for pork at Due South BBQ
Iris showing her love for pork at Due South BBQ

If you don’t like barbecue, leave now. Iris doesn’t need that negativity in her life.

Iris's best friend accompanies us on our journey for quality BBQ.
Iris’s best friend accompanied us on our journey for quality BBQ.

After begging for a taste of our food, Iris and her BFF pose for a photo with a giant pig BBQ pit.

Love story between a waterfall and a pupper.
Love story between a waterfall and a pupper.

Fast forward past the disaster of having to tear her away from the smell of cooking food. We find ourselves at Falls Ridge nature preserve. I cannot stress to you the difficulties I faced while taking this photo. Picture yourself splashed by mud, almost trampled, and herded into the water to play. After running around for 20 minutes (no joke), she finally sat for a beautiful nature shot.

Falls Ridge features an 80-foot waterfall, varieties of plant and marine life, and great hammocking spots. So, you should visit. But wait, there’s more!

Iris enjoying her second hike at Ellett Valley Nature Trail in Christiansburg, VA.
Iris enjoying her second hike at Ellett Valley Nature Trail in Christiansburg, VA.

For the small price of one more minute of your day, you can see more cute pictures of my pupper!
Iris’s parents, being dumb college kids, forgot water and had to go to the gas station. We noticed Ellett Valley Nature Trail, secluded and small. Why the hell not, eh? Iris seemed to love the smells and environment.

BFF in hand, she's ready for dinner and a long nap.
BFF in hand, she’s ready for dinner and a long nap.

Perfect end to a perfect day. Let sleeping dogs lie!

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
—Josh Billings

Life-Drawing

Behind a locked door,

I can only think about

Simple compass circles,

And I am forced to steady my mind.

 

Your forest eyes follow me –

Will she? Will she really do this?

Slowly, I pull off one sleeve and then another.

You take me at my word,

Settling on a pose.

“Are you sure you can stay still?”

Are you sure? Are you sure you want this?

I nod, lounging across your pillow.

 

Every curve and crease

Drifts onto blank paper.

It’s the first you’ve worked me out

In pencil lines and ebony charcoal –

I couldn’t draw as you do.

You’d laugh at my sloppy lines

And squiggled fingers.

Artists scrutinize every motion,

But it’s better to lie here, still,

Soaking in sun through the cracks in your blinds.

IMG_20170129_154933_processed
The Burial, Photo from http://alexandra-sophie.fr/the-burial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You capture the feel of my skin,

The light that strikes my eyes,

And the thump of my heart.

I am merely lines and shadows

To a cross-hatched world in your mind.

 

Finally, work ceases.

You move to me

With shaking hands.

I grasp hold of each,

Pulling you to me,

And close my eyes to feeling.

Thunder Rising

Upon this mountain a lone figure stood

Many years waiting for the spirit to arrive

To simply see the being if he could

To be renewed in faith was what he strived

 

A blast of thunder knocked him from his feet

Flashing serpents struck out from the sky

Upon this high place at heavens seat

Bringing rain and cloud as the spirit did fly

 

Natures wrath exemplified

Gazing upon the spirit was believing personified.

 

Bioluminescent cities

In an age when society is trying to reduce energy consumption in everyday life, designers are increasing turning to nature for inspiration – called biomimicry – the method of imitation systems found in nature to solve design problems.

One Dutch designer, artist, and innovator Daan Roosegaarde is interested in lighting streets without using electricity. He is working with Alexander Krichevsky, a biotech researcher from State University of New York, and founder of BIOGLOW™, a St. Louis-based biotechnology firm that developed the first light-producing plant. Dr. Krichevsky makes the glowing plants by splicing DNA genes from luminous marine bacteria within the chloroplast genome from a common houseplant to create ‘Starlight Avatar’, which emits a light similar in type to that made by fireflies. They plan continuing their work in the United States, where it has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agrictulture for genetic engineering research.

The glow-in-the-dark plant concept has been around for a while. A University of Cambridge team modified genetic material from fireflies and the luminescent bacterium Vibrio fischerito to boost the production of light-yielding enzymes that can ultimately be inserted into genomes — they called it BioBricks.

The phenomenon of living organisms producing light or “glowing” in nature is called bioluminescense. There are over twenty independently evolved bioluminescent mechanisms found in nature as seen in deep sea fish and fireflies.

glowing plants
“Another project called Glowing Nature is designed to make ‘normal’ trees glow without using genetic modification.”

Autoluminescent plants – shrubs that produce light – are created by introducing the light-emitting pathway from marine bacteria into a plant’s chloroplasts.

Another project called Glowing Nature is designed to make ‘normal’ trees glow without using genetic modification. Using non-invasive technique, they apply a fine coating of ‘biological paint’ onto mature to make the trees glow at night. A website called Glowing Plant was successfully funded on Kickstarter, where you can pre-order your own autoluminescent plant.

Spray-on light absorbing dust would give public buildings, roads and pathways a phosphorescent shine at night, helping to improve the safety of parks and alleyways.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an independent organization, lighting–including street lights across America’s millions of miles of urban routes–accounts for more than 1/5 of all commercial energy consumption.

The spray-on dust and glowing trees would make street lighting less necessary, thus reducing the carbon footprint of urban centers, making them more environmentally friendly.

In the not so distant future, glow-in-the-dark plants and trees could light up our cities, buildings and streets.

Virginia is underrated

Many television shows and movies take place in great big cities with lots of people and towering buildings. The most common cities movies will take place in are Los Angeles and New York City, of course. These cities are beautiful in their own way, but California and New York are grossly overrated when you compare them to the state we live in.

Virginia has a wide range of diverse ecosystems. From the sandy beaches of Chincoteague to the rolling mountains of Southwest Virginia, there’s a lot to appreciate in this great state that we often take for granted. Growing up in an Air Force family, I got to move around and experience many wonderful places. As much as I hate to admit it, Virginia is probably the second most beautiful place I’ve lived in, if not the most beautiful.

Natural-Bridge-2
“These cities are beautiful in their own way, but California and New York are grossly overrated when you compare them to the state we live in.”

I was born in Florida and spent a total of 7 years of my life there. Florida will always be my home, but when I compare Florida to Virginia, I can appreciate the fact that this state is so colorful in comparison to Florida. Here, there are beautiful beaches, seemingly endless marshes, thick forests and towering hills. In Florida, there are swamps, lots of beaches and more swamps. Some areas of Florida have thick, beautiful woods but there are limited species of trees. Also, the geography is quite plain with very few hills and no mountains at all.

Even though I live very close to West Virginia, which is a beautiful state, overall it’s not as exciting to me. The mountains of West Virginia are beautiful and go on for days. That’s just the problem, though. The mountains go on throughout the whole state with no breaks as you drive through it. Although the mountains are majestic and make you feel very small, they begin to feel quite claustrophobic. The beauty of Virginia is that as you drive through it, you see varying ecosystems.

In September, my boyfriend and I traveled from Radford to Chincoteague. I had wanted to visit Chincoteague since I moved to Virginia and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to finally visit this magical area. Driving through the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is a lot to see when compared to driving through West Virginia. Along with mountains, you can see  vineyards taking over the sides of hills, hundreds of small creeks along with larger flowing watersheds. In Richmond, you see skyscrapers carefully placed overlooking the James River. In Virginia Beach, the eye can see the ocean seemingly going on forever. My favorite part, however, is Chincoteague itself. On one side, there is a calm, slow-moving bay edged with marshes, and on the other, the roaring ocean slams against the sand and the wind takes your breath away with its salty-sweetness.

Although I miss the white-as-snow beaches of Florida, and the emerald-colored bathwater Gulf of Mexico, it still doesn’t compare to the diverse beauty that can be found in our grossly underrated state. Even though we all will dream of the great cities of Los Angeles and New York City, and long to live that Hollywood fairy-tale lifestyle, we’re still lucky. We’re lucky to live in a state that, even though it was settled long ago, still remains naturally beautiful.

Return of the cicada broods

This springtime you might want to think about doubling up on the bug spray if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outdoors. Every 17 years, adult, three-inch cicadas come up from the earth and swarm all the way from Connecticut to Virginia. They’re well known for their mass numbers and the mating calls they make. Continue reading Return of the cicada broods

Best places to hike

A great way to get the most out of your free time when you’re strapped for cash is to go hiking.

Aside from the gas you have to spend to get to a trail, hiking is completely free! Virginia is well equipped with various trails you can enjoy independently or with friends. In fact, three quarters of the Appalachian Trail is located in Virginia. The following is a list of great nearby hikes you can enjoy. Continue reading Best places to hike