Part of the silence

Baltimore Oriole

“In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.”Robert Lynd

Today’s photos are NOT mine, as much as I’d like to take credit for them.  I’m re-blogging some amazing photos by Michael of  talainsphotographyblog.  Michael is a talented and prolific photographer who gives us a closeup view of the earth’s beauty.  This is a great place to visit for nature lovers, especially those who are fond of birds.

Michael must be super-talented at becoming part of the silence, because he features all kinds of birds I have seldom seen, as well as uncommonly sharp shots of many common favorites.

If you haven’t been to Michael’s blog, here’s a small sample of what you have been missing.  I hope these lovely pictures brighten your day as much as they do mine:

Blue JayMy best of 2013 | talainsphotographyblog | Page 2.



 via Birds | talainsphotographyblog.

One year ago today:

Start again



  1. raynard

    Juila I enjoy looking at birds especially cardinals, hummingbirds. ( pigeons and seagulls are so passe) One day I might just put the bird feeder back up “and keep away those squirels”..Up early this morning baking a spice cake with a splash of vanilla an strawberry.( secret glaze on bottom cinaminon and honey). I will email you a picture as always. Be encouraged and blessed and thank you for all you do to inspire and encourage others..

    • Spice cake with vanilla and strawberry sounds wonderful! Aww, I like seagulls and pigeons – but I can see why someone who grew up in NYC might tire of them. I am finally starting to see a good many cardinals in our yard; luckily they are easy to spot with their bright red. They are the Virginia state bird and supposedly very common, but for several years I hardly ever saw any. We do have some red-headed woodpeckers that damaged some of our trim several years back. I still have my hummingbird feeder which I will hang out eventually, but I hope the athletically gifted squirrels that got my hanging tomato plant don’t figure out how to rob the feeder. Good thing squirrels are so cute or I’d get fed up with them. Thanks for being here and for your kind words!

  2. Larry

    The pictures are indeed are beautiful. They are reminders that spring is finally here! Hope Matt had a good night. Update us when you can.

    • Hi Larry, last night was rough, with Matt’s heart rhythms stubbornly out of sync. He’s giving the electrophysiologists their usual run for the money, keeping everyone on their toes. Despite this (and some heartbreakingly excruciating pain that we can recognize mostly through is expressions, as he complains little and apologizes as he’s having trouble moving around when he needs to) he seems to be doing pretty well. He’s sitting up in a chair right now, though sleeping; the efforts seems to have exhausted him. He had the NG tube removed today and could eat if he wanted to, but has no appetite. We’ll keep you posted.

      • Beverley

        Dear Julia & family, Hugs to all of you. This reminds me so much of when many years ago our family was thrown into the surreal world of ICU; my brother bleeding profusely because of leukemia. Even though I knew God was ‘there’; it was heartbreaking to see my brother unable to help himself as medical staff expertly fought to keep him alive. He survived! BUT each time I hear of experiences like yours; I am compelled to pray and wish I was there to offer you a shoulder to rest upon.

        • Beverly, thank you so much – you are offering me a “virtual shoulder” and that’s a wonderful thing! Although I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone, I think you will agree with me that such things leave us changed in a way that we would not want to undo. I am SO HAPPY your story had a victorious ending and your brother survived! The ICU is indeed a surreal world, but in some ways it feels more real than what we think of as the “real” world, because there is so much compassion, dedication and expertise here 24/7. Thanks for sharing our trials with us, through your thoughts and prayers!

      • MaryAnn

        Thank you, Julia, for the photos of Drew & Matt and this update. It feels like we can “see” what you & Matt are experiencing. Prayers abound! God loves the Denton’s!

        • Thank you Mary Ann. We really need and appreciate those prayers. I am glad you are willing and able to “see” us and connect in a closer way. We will keep you posted. ❤

  3. HarryS

    On yesterday’s post:

    A story is told about a lady who was being taken to a hidden away hunting lodge on and out of the way Lake in wilderness Canada by an old Indian guide who she had known for some time. She knew he had failing vision because of cataracts and as he was paddling along in the canoe she asked him if he needed any help in seeing things on the way.
    He replied that he could see the shore line up ahead very well for a considerable distance so what he said that he did was to paddle towards where he could see and when he got there he could see further along.

    Is that kind of the way life is?

    I can think of many monumental tasks in my life when I could honestly only see the small steps towards its completion that were presented to me at the time. This was especially true when I was pursuing a long and difficult course of study towards the attainment of what was thought to be the final step in my life education but when I got there I found out that they called it commencement. Commencement doesn’t mean the end; rather it means beginning.
    And you know what?
    I am so thankful that now on into the eighth decade of my life I have a continuing sense of trying to be better educated.
    My study has expanded from its former limits to the state of awe and wonder in every new discovery and experience.

    Speak of grace!

    This seems to be pure grace to me!

    I especially like this concept as it applies to the incremental relationship with God as I understand him.

    • Harry, I love the idea of “commencement” and had not really thought about the meaning of that word in the graduation context. Very appropriate. And yes, I agree with you that our understanding of God is something that evolves along with our incremental steps toward relationship with a divine nature so like, yet so unlike, our own. In one sense, we’ll never arrive at perfect understanding (at least not on this earth) but the journey is an interesting one, full of surprises and blessings. Thanks for being here and sharing your thoughts with us!

  4. Joyce McGirr

    Yesterday, on my way out, I just had to stop the car and pause for a few moments to look at the beautiful clouds. In between the darker clouds was a beautiful blue patch of sky peering through and I felt that it was the eye of God looking on me. The image stayed with me and comforted me throughout a long hard day. Out of the silence of the tomb comes the light of resurrection. Life.

    • Joyce, I’m so happy that you were wise enough to stop the car and tune in! Such moments are too easily brushed aside by our impatience and near-sightedness. I have always thought the vivid blue of the sky is so much more apparent when clouds are there for contrast. Thanks for sharing this little love note from God that stayed with you through a tough day. I appreciate your visit here, and your comment!

  5. Amy

    WOW!! These are beautiful. I love birds. Hope you have a bright day. My love to all. Keeping you in prayer.

    • Thank you Amy. Bird watching is something I tell myself I’ll do if we ever get to a slower “retirement” pace – although I’m starting to think that our generation will never really retire in the same sense that previous ones did. That’s a blessing and a curse, I suppose. I do want to learn the bird calls so I can know where those lovely songs are coming from. We appreciate your continued prayers!

  6. I love to watch birds in the early morning and listen to their songs…you captured these so beautifully! God bless!

    • Thank you Wendell! Be sure to visit Michael’s blog, he has some amazing shots of all sorts of nature photos, but especially birds. I do love the sound of birds singing. I’m not a morning person so I especially appreciate having those cheerful notes to start my day.

  7. perfect quote, amiga, and of course i agree totally!

    i spent last night in ‘town’ and awakened to the sounds of the neighborhood awakening.. a vegetable truck vendor turtled through the area as he shouted via the mike, ‘mandaREENas, mandaREENas, maraKOOYAH!…’  etc.. motorcyles cranked and rolled the drivers toward work…   i was wistful for my quiet awakenings on the river…

    two nights ago i worked late to assemble today’s post,  which will fire out in half an hour.. you’ll enjoy seeeing the birds and my awakenings on the river.

    it’s been great to have electricity and internet!  i’ve missed you!

    z ________________________________

    • Lisa, I just loved hearing about your noisy “town music” this morning – you captured it perfectly; I felt almost as if I was there. I don’t think I could do as good a job with all the various beeps, boops and bells of these different medical machines that tend to go off intermittently all night long in the hospital setting. A quiet river awakening sounds wonderful! Thanks for the tip about the post – I loved it and CCR brought a smile to my face too. Talk about a blast from the past! I always loved their music. I’ve missed you too! Hope you have a (relatively) reliable home connection SOON. Have a great weekend!

  8. The Seagulls shot is a great one. Will pop on over there for sure. Thanks for the introduction Julia.

    • Is that not the most amazing picture? Seagulls are hard for me to catch. Their flight often looks deceptively languid and relaxed, but somehow I can’t seem to get focused in time for the type of shot he got here. Maybe it’s partly luck, but whatever it is, it’s great!

  9. Beverley

    Thank you for the link. Wonderful photography. I’ve already forwarded it to my daughters:-) One daughter and son-in-law are quite adept at “this art”. Hmm, their day jobs get in the way of taking more:-)
    So often in our fast-paced society we don’t stop to appreciate God’s creation. A good photo causes us to stop and reflect on this. Thank you Lord for your many blessings.

    • Beverly, I agree! My son Drew used to tell me that I was too busy taking photos to see anything. I always felt that I see MORE through the camera than I do in real life. Focusing in on a scene, whether close up or distant, does tend to shut out a lot of distraction and grab a moment to meditate on again and again. I am so happy you have family members who are good at it – you will have many memories preserved to enjoy over the years. Thanks for being here!

  10. Sheila

    Julia, I love that quote and really enjoyed Michael’s beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing here, as I wasn’t familiar with it. I’m hoping and praying for day by day strengthening and recovering for Matt. He is a shining light to so many! Continuing prayers, Sheila 🙂

    • Sheila, thanks so much! I have been amazed (and humbled) by the remarkable work so many supposed “amateurs” produce and share online. Sort of puts my little snapshots into perspective. But I so enjoy looking at their work. Michael Lai’s blog, as well as Bob Mielke’s, are also fantastic places to go in search of beautiful photos, along with many others too numerous to list here. Thanks for being here with us in thought and prayer!

  11. Carolyn Miller

    I read where you had some pictures on fb. How can I look at them? Glad that Matt’s surgery went well.

    • Carolyn, if you aren’t on FB, I’m not sure you can access them, although I have them marked for pubic access. If you don’t have FB, let me know and I can email them to you. Matt is sitting up in a chair today which is a big step. About half of all the various tubes connected to him have now been disconnected. We hope he will start to eat soon. Thanks for caring!

  12. Thinking of you three and hoping it is a good day. You are always in our prayers.

    • Thank you Janice! Last night was rough, and Matt’s heart rhythms are still not where they need to be, but he seems to be tolerating everything well and is definitely doing better than he was yesterday. His color is better too. We’ll hope and trust that he’ll keep moving in a positive direction.

  13. Michael

    Somehow our hummingbirds have found greener pastures and our feeders are neglected, though I keep filling them.
    I can’t imagine what it is like dealing with heart rhythm issues. Anxiety filled to say the least. My mother in law had issues with arrhythmia and my spouse may also have to deal with same.
    Appreciated Harry’s post and wisdom of concentrating on next few steps we can see; not the dim and obscure future lights.
    I see Joyce on the Blog. Joyce and I were together last summer at St. Luke’s hospital in Manhattan as chaplain summer interns. I have lost her e-mail. Joyce if you see this drop me a note.
    The pellets never made it. The translation would be-isolated hail showers.

    • Thanks for clearing up the mystery about “pellets” – but I’m glad you didn’t have to deal with them. From the very brief experiences I’ve had with heart rhythm disturbances, I can say first hand they can be rather frightening. I agree with Harry that focusing just on the immediate next steps is crucial to survival with all these crises. It’s so easy to borrow a lot of trouble that may never show up except in our imaginations. Wow, I didn’t realize you had interned at a Manhattan hospital – must have been a real change from Seattle. Don’t you have a son living there? It seems like you did at one time. Hope you have a great weekend!

  14. Michael

    As far as retirement goes and the redefinition of the same by the “boomers,” that is an interesting concept. My dad was a public school teacher, taught for 25 years at the same school and retired at 55. In retrospect, his life seemed rather dull after that, though he did have his regular Tuesday coffee club with his cronies. Harry seems an inspiration and a model as someone who is still alive and connected, learning new things and experiencing new experiences in his 8th decade. Someone said the word, “retirement,” does not occur in the Bible. Could this be true? I like the Spanish word for retirement-” jubiliarse”- to be jubilant.

    • Michael, I too like the Spanish word for retirement! I know my father was forced to retire at 60, as all pilots were, but that rule has since been changed. I think Daddy could have flown safely for much longer. In fact, I think Captain Sully was able to do what he did because of his age and experience, true assets in that sort of emergency. I don’t know whether “retirement” is in the Bible or not, but I do know most of those we know of whose stories are told there (who were not martyred) were active well into old age. I hope to be active in some way or other until the day I die.

  15. Good morning and thank you Julia for that beautiful post. I can not thank you enough for the warmth that you share and the gifts that your spirit bring to us all. Your generosity with this post brought a good hand full of people that made note that they came from your site and acknowledged you as the facilitator of they’re journey to visit here. A few new followers as well, thank you. You definitely more poetic with words with my images than I am. I’ll have to improve on that for my self eventually.
    I hope Matt is feeling better today and that I’ve bean offering prayer in his name for a full recovery. I hope all is well beyond the surgery and with the rest of the family too. I leave you with my love and hope for happiness in days to come. Take care, gods speed, Michael 🙂

    • Michael, thanks so much for allowing me to share your wonderful photos, and especially for your kind words and prayers. I am happy to say they are being answered, perhaps more slowly than Matt’s impatient parents would prefer, but still he seems headed in the right direction today, and we feel thankful. I appreciate your visits here and your encouragement!

  16. LB

    Julia, thanks for sharing and for the introduction to Michael’s work. I came to your blog to catch an update on Matt and see from your previous comment, that he is heading in the right direction! So glad!!! Healing Thoughts!

    • Thank you LB! Matt is quite a survivor so I know that is something you share with him. I appreciate your checking in on us, and your kind thoughts and friendship. I just love Michael’s photos, they are so calming and beautiful. It never ceases to amaze me how much talent is out here in the blogosphere!

  17. Great quote, Julia.

    Michael’s photos are stunning. I love watching birds and in fact recently took a beginner’s birding class. It was great fun. It makes me appreciate these photos all the more.

    • Learning about birding is on my “someday” list too – I want to start with learning to recognize their singing so I can know which ones I’m hearing. But it’s very hard for me to catch them in photos. Michael really does a great job of it.

      • They’re in constant motion, so getting a photo is challenging.

        I’m so aware now of all the songs going on around me. I can’t identify them yet, but even the extra awareness is nice.

        • What makes it a bit hard to learn is that apparently the same birds have different calls for different situations – which would be REALLY interesting to be able to “interpret!” As the little character on Yellow Submarine used to say, “So little time – so much to know!”

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