Today marks a milestone for North Star Nature–a year has passed since my first blog post! How do we measure the passing of a year? I think it depends on our stage in life and the structure of our days. We all have calendars that systematically number off the days and months of sunrises and sunsets, full moons and new moons, holidays and birthdays. I feel the passage of time when I turn my calendar to the next month, to the next beautiful picture from Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and to the next 30 days of opportunities. A year in the life of a young child can stretch out ‘forever’–perhaps because they live in the moment better than the rest of us or because they always have something to look forward to. Soon time is organized around a school year–for students and their parents–the next grade, school supplies, holidays, tests, homework, and back to Summer vacation! Then it starts all over again until, next thing you know, you are taking those school kids to college. Many people mark a year by living for the fifty-two weekends. Others by the busy blur of daily activities and places to be. Some pass time by staring out a window, listening to the clock tick, eating meals, and wondering when the family is going to visit.
This is also my 100th post! What is it about 100? Young school kids celebrate the 100th day of school with learning opportunities and fun. 100 pennies make a dollar. I’m still thrilled when I hold a $100 bill in my hand! ‘100 years ago today’ teaches us history lessons. And celebrating 100 years of age practically makes a person famous!
What both of these milestones do is give us a reason to look back on what was and to look forward to what will be. The blue-sky, snowy picture of our old oak tree started North Star Nature’s year–before I knew how to remove the date from the picture, before I learned how to put more than one picture in my post, and before I realized how much I would enjoy this nature blogging process! The Old Beauty is another year older!
My year was measured by blogging time, from last April’s frozen sap, drilled by the yellow-bellied sapsucker….
to drilling and tapping sugar maples earlier this month at St. John’s Arboretum in order to make sweet maple syrup.
Flowers show the progress of time from early May pasque flowers…
to late September monkshood and all the incredible blooms in between.
Time marked by seeds…
growing into buds…
and developing fruit…that contains the seed….
A year of blogging gave me the opportunity to photograph the remarkable eagle pair and their eaglets,
a huge flock of overwintering trumpeter swans,
and the grandly feathered wild turkeys that trooped through our yard.
I felt privileged to photograph this curious young fox,
a pair of spotted fawns,
and this hungry, flighty red squirrel.
How long does it take Mother Nature to fill a lake with lilypads?
Or to decay a fallen tree back to soil?
How long does it take for these shells to be formed by the soft-bodied creatures who inhabit them?
What’s the lifespan of a wasp?
What if your entire adult life, like a butterfly, lasted only two weeks?
Or a month or two of summer weather, as for the dragonfly?
How long has the Mississippi River flowed through the land known as Minnesota?
How long do Maple trees live?
How much time would it take to walk around Mille Lacs lake?
We rarely think about the rhythm and constancy of the moon rises and sunsets.
Every day for our whole life long, we are witnesses to miracles. Do you see them?
Nature also structures time by the seasons. We experience renewal and freshness in Spring.
Summer gives us long days of light, lush vegetation, a palette of flowers, and growth.
Fall shows us decline, brightness then brownness, harvest, and bounty.
And Winter teaches us to lift up our arms to the good things in life, to hunker down and persevere, and to explore our inner life as the outer life lays dormant and white.
It has been my intent to share Nature’s Beauty and Wisdom with you. My love and awe for Nature has grown in this past year, as I hope it has for you. I invite you to send me feedback in the comments section below or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear what you like about my blog, if you have any constructive suggestions, or if my pictures or words made a difference in your life somehow. It has been a wonderful year for me as I have shared over 900 photos and 100 posts with you, and I’m looking forward to experiencing and sharing Nature’s Beauty in the year to come! Don’t forget to like North Star Nature on Facebook and follow NSN on Twitter! Thanks for reading about and sharing our beautiful natural world!