Free Expression

 

 

                  Free Expression

DSC_2465To satirize, or not to satirize: that is the question:

Whether ’tis noblest in the mind

to proffer opinions unto vexation’s peak,

to sketch sentiments conforming to a menacing decree,

or

to splinter our pencils and sprinkle unenlightened charcoal atop unreflective, withering leaves—

Who decides?

(What would Shakespeare do?)

 

California Condor

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The bird swooped into range  as I walked across the Navajo Bridge.
 I set my camera on it and started shooting. I had no idea what it was. Just that it was huge and I was mesmerized.

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I began clicking, rapid firing, following the bird wherever it went–high above me, below the bridge to the Colorado River, around and around, close to the canyon walls. The bird soared, dipped, and circled.

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I heard my husband behind me.

“Go, Jo,” he yelled. “It’s a condor.”

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I ignored his cheerleading and focused on the bird. I’d never seen a condor and I wasn’t sure that the creature now in my sights fit that definition. I knew only that I was invigorated, that it was beautiful, and that I had to capture it.

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I don’t know how long the bird stayed with me. Seemed a long time. It vanished as suddenly as it appeared. It wasn’t until I after I researched the introduction of California condors into the Grand Canyon and checked my photos with a credible birder that I realized the rarity of this sighting.

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The California condor (Tag #LO) in these photos is a young female. Raised at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey she was released into the wild in 2012.

And three years later, we met. What a gift!

Autumn in the Southern Adirondacks

Forests aglow in orange, red, and yellow.

Rivers and lakes run deep blue.

And nature’s showcased brilliance thrills.

Prospect Mt.

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Hudson River in Lake George Forest Preserve

Hudson

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Photos 1 & 2:      Views from the top of Prospect Mountain over looking Lake George in New York

Photos 3, 4, & 5   Views along New York’s Hudson River inside the Lake George Wild ForestHudson River Forest Preserve

[All photos by Joann Pensabene.

Camera: Nikon 7100.

Lens: VR18-105mmf/3.5-5.6G lens.]

The Hiker

DSC_0344The hiker climbs a mountain and explores forests thick with unknowns.

Her senses sift through myriad notions.

She brushes against thriving sages of centuries past,

inhales their pine scent, absorbs the strength inherent in knotted bark,

and she’s encouraged.DSC_0400She moves through damp, shady inner woods,

climbs over stripped impressions, weathered limbs, and rotting leaves–

the decay atop nature’s compost long ago felled by weak ideas.

DSC_0395She scrutinizes muck for a hint of green or fibrous thread–

any viable root she can claim as her own,

She wraps an inkling in warm thoughts and sets it inside a sensitive pouch.

Her soft words soothe it. Her tenacity infuses confidence,

and she continues her trek up the high peak.

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At summit’s edge she witnesses endless possibilities

Stratified hues and layered perspectives flow to the horizon

and the wind frees her from stale, worn-out conceptions.

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The hiker shapes her parcel’s substance

and her mind’s eye spins its tale.

 

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Photos 1 & 4: Views from Equinox Mountain summit, Green Mountains, VT

Photo 2:  A view from the woods around Lake Luzerne, NY

Photo 3: A view from the woods around Tupper Lake, NY

Photo 5: View from Whteface Mountain summit, Lake Placid, NY

All photos were taken with a Nikon 7100 camera with a Nikkor VR 18-105mm/ 3.5-5.6G lens by Joann Pensabene

 

 

 

The Last Hummingbird

Taking Aim

Taking Aim

Hummingbirds guest at my home each spring and summer. Extraordinary beings. They announce themselves with a “bzzzz” produced by their flapping wings. They’re always hungry and I am a serious host: I lay them a fine table with some of their favorite foods. Hanging baskets of red, white and orange impatiens grace my front porch. Pots of purple and lavender flowering mallows stand in front of my house , and my back deck offers begonia, coleus, basil, and peppermint flowers for their pleasure.

Getting Closer

Getting Closer

The birds visit several times a day, every day. They feed from the flowers and pollenate the plants and they don’t mind sharing an outdoor presence with me and my family and friends. Indeed, we and the hummers enjoy life together. The birds offer us wonder, serenity, and pleasure and we offer the hummers safety, calm, and quiet as they feed. It’s a remarkable relationship, one I haven’t experienced with any other wildlife. The birds show no anxiety around people, though they’re anti-social among their own species and tend toward territoriality. Thus it’s a fair guess that I see the same birds here each day. And that makes the experience personal and intimate.

Feeding at the Flowers

Feeding at the Flowers

They arrive at my home, usually one at at time. They flutter around the plants and hover in midair as they devour the nectar inside each of the flowers. The birds don’t dally. As soon as they finish, they fly off in search of nourishment elsewhere, and in the case of the females, to feed their young.

Feasting on Nectar

Feasting on Nectar

The bird feeding on the coleus flowers in these pictures is a female, ruby-throated hummingbird. Her neck and underbelly are white and her back is greenish. Her male counterpart is a more colorful, showier individual with an actual ruby-colored throat.  This lady is my last visitor for this season, I think. I haven’t seen her or any other hummers for days. So I’m honored that she allowed me to get within five feet of her to take these pictures.

Leaving the Scene

Leaving the Scene

It’s migration time and as autumn closes in, plants that were nutritious and lush with leaves and flowers all summer are now spindly and withering.  The birds head to Mexico and Central America where they’ll feast at tropical  smorgasbords. They”ll be gone by the end of this month and I’ll start preparing for my own northeastern winter. As spring approaches, however, I’ll plan another floral table for the hummers return complete with all their favorites and perhaps, a few surprises.

A Thought At the End of A Busy Day

Early evening,

 a pleasant time for short walks and winding down,

Lake Luzerne Evening

for watching ripple-distorted reflections,

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for commiserating with a fallen tree,

Gully

for admiring a vegetation medley in a gully,

 for being a part of nature’s sanctuary.

and

for feeling grateful that it exists.

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[All photos taken by Joann Pensabene with a Nikon 7100, edited for contrast with Photoshop 9]

Not Guilty: Some Thoughts, A Correction

In my Friday, July 26, 2013 piece, “Not Guilty: Some Thoughts,” I stated that George Zimmerman’s gun was returned to him in the courtroom after he was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter charges.

That statement is false and I apologize for the error.

George Zimmerman’s gun, along with other evidence in the case, is in the hands of the U.S. Department of Justice which has resumed its investigation of Zimmerman into the death of Trayvon Martin.