Thursday, January 31, 2013

Photo Haiku - Colorado 2

aspens are turning
San Juan Mountains rise above
greet Colorado

 thriving on foothills
branch scars show short history
aspens dense and tall
layers of ridges
Rocky Mountain silhouettes
learn to love the land 
(Click on photos to enlarge) 
Photo Locations:
1. Dallas Divide   (8,970')  Ridgeway,  (Ridgeway)  Colorado
2. West Elk Mountains,  Ohio Pass  (10,033')  Crested Butte, (Crested Butte)  Colorado
3. Rocky Mountain National Park,  (RMNP)  Colorado

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ice Bells

slippery surface
flared roundness
 cold, curving contours
translucent, transparent
tapering into shapes
suspended above
quick, clear current
water rippling, splashing,
growing and ringing like ice bells.
©  2013  Richard Havenga

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Photo Location:  Bear Creek,  (Bear Creek)  Townsend Park,   (Townsend
                                Kent County,  Michigan  (Michigan)

Red-osier Dogwood - (Cornus stolonifera)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Minutes from Melting

calm and clear and cold
January blue sky day
hoarfrost on twig tips

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Photo Location:  Home Woods,  Cannonsburg,  (Cannonsburg)  Michigan  (Michigan)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fragments of Poetry 7

It is early December and ice
has formed again on the lake.
I sit and watch the twilight
fade away without notice
like a widow who has outlived
her sympathy.  - Dan Gerber

(Click on photo to enlarge) 
excerpt from poem: "Sunset on a Cloudy Day"
from collection:   A Last Bridge Home  (Bridge)  by Dan Gerber   c 1992

Photo Location:  Mc Carthy Lake,  Kent County,  Michigan

View previous "Fragments of Poetry":

May 1May 13July 19Aug. 18Nov. 13 Dec. 16

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Photo Haiku - Wildflower Series 2

red strokes on blue sky
signature flower out west
Indian Paintbrush

arching purple spurs
opening on  their own time
bees visit daily

sensitive petals
 yellow as warm as sunshine
rise from the desert


(Click on photos to enlarge)

Photo Locations:

1.  Indian (Scarlet) Paintbrush  (Castilleja miniata)  Flagstaff,  (Flagstaff)  Arizona

2.  Monkshood  (Aconitum columbianum)  Crested Butte,  (Crested Butte)  Colorado

3.  Mexican Poppy  (Eschscholzia californica)   Tucson,   (Tucson)      Arizona

See more: "Photo Haiku - Wildflower Series"  (July 12, 2012)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Built With Stone

Built with Stone

Try to imagine the days of long hours,

the weeks of long days,

the years of perseverance.





Imagine the patience of the Stone Mason

                                                                                     as he selected the right rock

                                                                                                                                                 for the right place.

He expertly applied the mortar,

carefully maneuvered it into position,

and while waiting for the cement to set,

moved on to the next boulder,

the next rock,

the next.

Imagine doing this,

                                      over and over,

                                                                 again and again,

                                                                                                   front to back,

                                                                                                                              bottom to top,

                                                                                                                                                          on all four walls.

Imagine this barn

                                                       being built with stone,

                                                                                                                     150 years ago. 

This solid structure, 
this enduring tribute, 
honors and preserves
the patience and persistence
of the Stonemason.


(Click on photos to enlarge)

Photo Location : Pine Creek,  Montana  (Montana)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Crystals of Bear Creek

Crystals of Bear Creek
I took a walk along Bear Creek this week.
Alone in Townsend Park  for a closer look.
Sunny, blue skies, calm,  fourteen degrees.
Gratefully spending this precious gift of time.
Giving the Glory to God  for His creation.
Down on my knees on the frozen ground.
Leaning over the edge of the stream bank.
Cautiously hovering over paper-thin ice.
Wading upstream in the cold, clear current.
I want to share this collection of gifts with you:

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Photo Location

Bear Creek,  (Bear Creek)  Townsend Park,   (Townsend

Cannonsburg,  (CannonsburgMichigan  (Michigan)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013



As we travel the western states over rolling hills of sagebrush plains, sandwiched between mountain ranges, I'm always on the lookout for Pronghorn.
As I'm driving, I'm scanning left and right, searching the slopes, investigating the valleys. Only a few seconds for a quick glimpse, then I need to bring my eyes back to the road.
We often see a small "Band" (as they are sometimes called) of six to ten, perhaps 15 to 20 in a larger herd, way off in the distance; 150 yards, 300 yards, maybe 500 yards and beyond. And this is only if they are standing or running. If they're lying down, forget it, a sighting is unlikely.
Once we are settled into a campsite, we'll take off in our pick-up to explore the backroads, bouncing over low boulders along a dusty two track of sand, gravel and rocks. Dipping into shallow ravines, paralleling dry stream beds, weaving around clumps of sagebrush.
If I spot a herd in the distance, we'll pull off the road. If we're lucky, there may be a grove of Cottonwood trees growing along a trickle of a stream, where we can park...
and wait...
... then gently slip out of the truck for a longer look. Binoculars. Camera. Patience.
These animals of wide open spaces are extremely wary of any changes in their surroundings. Their field of vision is nearly 360°.
The Pronghorns are instantly, intensely aware. I hurry to capture a few shots while they are still standing still.


We're looking at North America's swiftest mammal; reaching speeds of 40-53 mph (64-86 kph). They can run for miles at half this speed.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

This herd scurried and scrambled up this steep, rock-strewn slope with speed and grace; kicking up the dust with their hard hoofs.

It was a pleasure to watch them glide as a group through their landscape.  They may cover 20 feet in one leap. You can see the confidence in their ability to outrun, or outdistance most of their predators and threats. Predators would be packs of Coyotes going after the young. Threats would be humans, like this Nature Photographer.

Pronghorns mate in the fall. Bucks gather harems of females and protect them jealously, sometimes battling rivals in spectacular fights.

Eight months later, in the spring, (gestation 230-240 days) females give birth to one to three (usually two) young.

 They are born scentless, and are able to walk immediately. The grayish-brown kids are left alone for a few days, except at nursing time, then follow the mother after a few weeks.

The young can outrun a human after a few days, and outrun a dog after ten days. The mother alone defends the young.

In July, does and kids make small bands, joined in August by young bucks.

Pronghorns, often called Antelopes, mature at five years, and their average life span is 10 -12 years.

In dangerous situations, and also during courtship, it signals to other Pronghorns by raising the white hairs on its rump. The herds are kept together by bucks, or family instinct.

Within this range, their preferred habitat is grasslands, sage flats, and semi-arid prairies.

Individuals roam over an area of two to four square miles (3.2-6.4 sq. km). Here, they feed on shrubs, forbs, grasses, and cacti. It is especially fond of sagebrush. They chew their cud (partially-digested food).

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Size:  Head and body 3.25 - 5 feet (1-1.5m) tall.

Weight:  90 - 150 pounds  (41-68 kg).

Tail:  3 - 4 inches  (7.5-10 cm).

In winter they may migrate to more suitable grazing areas; traveling up to 20 miles a day. They can easily leap five-foot fences. There may be slight competition for food with cattle and sheep, but the Pronghorn feeds mostly on vegetation not eaten by domestic stock.

The fur is tan, with a white belly, rump, chest, and lower face. Two, white, crescent-shaped bands curve around the lower neck.

Both genders have horns, but the males' horns are much larger: 12 - 20" (30-50 cm).

The Pronghorn has true horns; bone cores covered with horny sheaths (keratin) made up of agglutinated hair, but is peculiar in that the sheaths are shed each year.

This mammal is adapted to temperature extremes of the open plains.  It maintains a constant body temperature by adjusting its loose, hollow-haired fur. When the hairs lie flat, cold air is kept out; when hairs are erect, air circulates near the skin and allows body heat to escape. When running, they posses an  extremely efficient circulatory and respiratory system.

We never expect to get very close to these swift and beautiful creatures, but every sighting is exciting. 

 I hope you get an opportunity to watch Pronghorns prancing over the plains, or sprinting through the sage, sweeping over the land in a graceful band, covering incredible distances in seconds. As you watch, you will stand there dazed by their beauty, amazed at their speed.

PRONGHORN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         You shall know them by their velocity.

(Click on Photos to enlarge)

Photo Locations:

Grand Teton National Park  (Tetons)  "Antelope Flats",  Wyoming (Wyoming)

Salmon River  -  Lost River Range, Challis,  Idaho (Idaho)

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area,  (Flaming Gorge) Utah (Utah)


Fieldbook of Natural History  - E. Laurence Palmer  c 1949

Peterson Field Guide to the Mammals - William Burt & Richard Grosssenheider  c 1964

Reader's Digest North American Wildlife - c 1982

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Remnants of Pickerel Lake

Remnants of Pickerel Lake

I took a walk on the new ice last week.

The early evening sun throws long shadows.

Long-dead Tamaracks give character to this shallow lake.

Years of weathering, wind, and sun enhance the wood grain.

Long, tapered branches twist and persist.
How much longer will this Tamarack stand?

(Click on photos to enlarge)

Photo Location:  Pickerel Lake Park,   (Pickerel)  Kent County,  Michigan

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Winterberry Brunch

coming back for snack
 bluebird survives cold and snow
Winterberry brunch
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Photo Location:  Home Woods,  Cannonsburg,  (Cannonsburg)  Michigan  (Michigan Outdoors)
Eastern Bluebird  (Sialia sialis)
Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Physical Cliffs

through Picasa's eyes
black and blue sky, yellow clouds
red physical cliffs

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Photo Location:   Monument Valley,   Utah  (Utah)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ageless Monuments

flat land of sagebrush
earth sculptures on horizon
ageless monuments

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Photo Location:  Monument Valley,  (Monument)  Utah  (Utah)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Master Sculptor

Master Sculptor's Gift


created then carved,
stacked, streaked, stretched and smoothed by time
Master Sculptor's gift
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Photo Location:   Kolob Canyons,  Zion National Park,  (Zion)  Utah  (Utah)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Photo-Haiku, Writing Contest 2 - Winners

On December 7, 2012, WWFN held its second "Photo-Haiku Writing Contest"

And the Winners are...

A tie for first place for the Utah photo.

ancient red rocks watch
cloud fingers reach across sky
gather in the blue
by: Sarah Havenga
       Mill Valley, CA

 high rocky hilltop
feathered cloud wisps blessing all
solitary stone
by:  Gene Mariani
        Pittsburgh, PA
 Thank you Gene. You are gracious, and a gentleman.

The Colorado photo Winner:

crescent moon of snow
feeds lush green mountain valley
life-giving water
by: Sarah Havenga
       Mill Valley, CA

I know what you are all thinking. Of course his daughter wins in both categories. But Sarah is truly a gifted Writer.  B.A. in English, from University of Michigan, and a Masters in Education at Aquinas College. She is a superb songwriter, and sings her own songs as she plays them on her guitar. She has written in her personal Journal for 30 years! As you can see, she is more talented than me.

Two Reminders:

1.  More Writing Contests to follow, throughout this year.

2.  Now, early in this new year, is an excellent time to begin YOUR JOURNAL.

See: "Keep a Journal - Preserve a Life"  July 1, 2012 (Keep a Journal)

Photo Locations:

1. Red Fleet Sate Park,  Vernal,  Utah (Utah State Parks)

2. West Elk Mountains Wilderness Area,  Colorado (Colorado Wilderness)


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nature Writers

Nature Writers

"Traveling to a strange new landscape is a kind of romance. You become intensely aware of the world where you are, but also oblivious to the rest of the world at the same time. Like love, travel makes you innocent again.

My mind will become a cyclone of intense alertness, in which details present themselves slowly, thoroughly, one at a time. I don't know how to describe what happens  to me when I'm out in 'nature' and 'working'-- it's a kind of rapture -- but it's happened often enough that I know what to expect.

But my prose now seems to locate me among a small tribe often referred to as nature writers. How curious that label is, suggesting as it does that nature is somehow separate from our doings, that nature does not contain us, that it's possible to step outside nature, ... Still, the label is a dignified one, and implies a pastoral ethic that we share, a devotion to the keenly observed detail, and a sense of sacredness. There is a way of beholding nature that is itself a form of prayer."

Excerpt from:

 The Moon By Whale Light   (The Moon By Whale Light)

 by  Diane Ackerman  c 1991