Saturday, September 22, 2012

Welcome Autumn!

This weekend Autumn is finally here, with warm weather and bright sunshine, until an afternoon shower cooled things off. I compared last week's hiking pictures to today, and I can already see signs of the change of seasons.

This is Green Lane Reservoir from last week, which was, for me, the last hike of Summer.

Late Summer is clear skies and warm sun, but with the golden hues of Autumn slowly slipping in.

Today was a great way to celebrate the arrival of Autumn  at the Rodale Organic Apple Festival. Here is a view of the festival from the organic apple orchard.

Fall is pumpkin time!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Bethlehem VegFest 2012

Sunday was Bethlehem VegFest. I had a great day eating delicious food, engaging in uplifting conversation, and meeting some of my favorite cookbook authors! I had a Buddha bowl from Balasia and a peanut butter brownie from Vegan Treats (recently named one of America's Top Ten Bakeries by online magazine Departures). I was fortunate to meet Victoria Moran of Main Street Vegan and Allyson Kramer of Manifest Vegan.

Jamie K. of Save the Kales telling her vegan story and showing us we can all be activists.

The Cinnamon Snail line. I didn't want to wait that long in the heat, but I'm sure what they were selling was delicious! (I just read on their website that they sell "food to help you transform into a being of pure light who can serve all living creatures simultaneously and eternally". Had I known that, I would have waited in line!)

Lydia from From A to Vegan, Allyson Kramer from Manifest Vegan, Chris from From A to Vegan, me, and Jamie K. from Save the Kales.


September is the new January

Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project recently wrote that "September is the new January". September is an appropriate time for starting over and new resolutions; it's the start of the school year, the change of seasons, a time for reflection and contemplation, and also action.

It's a time of change for me as well, and I've made a few resolutions of my own. I recently started the seemingly never ending task of decluttering once again, clearing out closets and shelves. shedding old possessions and leaving room for new life, new energy, new thoughts. Today I had my windows cleaned (I will not confess how long it's been since I've had really clean windows), and I savor the light, the brightness, the clear September sky now easily visible through all the rooms of my house! I also start a new job this month full of hope, promise, and new direction.

There is a passage in the Baha'i scripture The Hidden Words which says "I loved thy creation, hence I created thee... " * I have always taken this to mean that we were loved even before our inception (much like the Psalm "you knit me together in my mother's womb" *, I always visualize a tiny little crocheted skeleton!) I recently came across a different interpretation, that what we create: our life, our actions, our contribution, is loved. I never thought of it that way before.

So in this September, this time of transformation and renewal, I begin again the task of creating a life, my life with my own hopes, dreams, interests, aspirations, values...... And as I look out my newly cleaned windows, I look forward to what the new season brings!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Hawk Mountain - The Early Fall Migrants and Vulture Appreciation Day

Today was the first day of September and a beautiful, warm, clear day for a visit to Hawk Mountain.

We arrived for Vulture Appreciation Day in time to see a fascinating talk on vultures given by a wildlife rehabilitation group. We found out that vultures are nature's sanitation mechanism, getting rid of dead wildlife, thereby keeping the environment safe from pathogens. The vulture's strong stomach acid keeps them safe and disease-free. The health of these magnificent birds was noticed by Native Americans who viewed them as a powerful source of healing.

We have learned many things from the vultures, including the aerodynamics of how they soar effortlessly on wind currents. Here our turkey vulture (appropriately named Hannibal) is showing off his beautiful wing span.

Hannibal looks proud to be a vulture today! Sadly, Hannibal was raised in captivity by someone who found him as a baby bird, and when finally released, did not have the necessary skills for survival as a vulture in the wild. He was found by a person who took him to the wildlife rehabilitation center. It is unfortunate that Hannibal cannot soar and survive in nature as he was meant to do, but, lacking that, he has played a role in our education about these helpful and necessary animals. The talk was a success, I now have a renewed appreciation for these birds and their role in a healthy environment!

Now time to head to North Lookout! Highlights included spotting broad winged hawks, merlins, even a bald eagle! (sadly, I missed the view of the eagle!). One treat was a flock of gregarious cedar waxwings, who briefly rested on a nearby small tree, then, in a flurry of wing beats, continued on their path.

Beautiful but hazy view of the River of Rocks and nearby countryside.

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