Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Bright Moon Light

This morning crawled out of my warm and cozy bed to go running. Since it had been a few days since my last run, I was anxious to get back to my normal routine, so that made getting out of bed on a dark, cold morning a little easier. As I left the house, bundled in my warm running gear, I noticed the moon. The light radiating from the full moon was stunning. It was so bright that I thought my neighbors had switched on their outdoor light. The entire western sky was lit up from the light of the bright moon. Even though it was 5:10 a.m. in late November, the sky looked very light. The air was cool and crisp, and no breeze was blowing. The humidity appeared to be very low, as there were only a few specks of frost glistening on the grass. The weather conditions were perfect, my lungs and legs cooperated, and I had the best run I'd had in a couple of weeks. Between the beautiful moon and the feel-good sensation that comes from vigorous exercise, I was ready to meet the challenges of the day!

A beautiful sunrise or sunset is mesmerizing to most people. The sun is not only essential to our lives, but the sun can be a magnificent site! And the light that shines from the sun reflects on objects and adds more beauty to nature. I rely on sunny lighting for most of the photos I take for Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk books. Bright sunshine illuminating a pretty blue sky makes a nice background and adds a crisp quality to nature photographs. Overcast and foggy days also hold beauty and may make interesting photographs, but I prefer sunny days to provide optimal contrast and lighting for the pictures I use in the books.

But the night sky has its own splendor. No matter what the current moon phase is, the moon casts an eerie glow on an otherwise dark night. The stars stand out distinctly in the night sky. Looking at the moon makes me feel very peaceful. When I am out early exercising, I enjoy the solitude of very few people on the sidewalks and not many cars on the streets. Having the moon keep me company is enough to help my mind and body awaken, and watching the moon entertains me and keeps my mind from focusing too much on how I'd really like to take a break.

A short time later, the sun started to rise, and the moon was less visible. Still, the view of the early morning moon was stuck in my head for the rest of the day and continued to give me feelings of optimism and hope.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Watching You Like a Hawk

My normal route to work includes many country roads. Since crops have long been harvested, the land is wide open, and you can see for miles. Lately, I have noticed several red-tailed hawks on my drives. Sometimes I see hawks perched on fence posts, and many times they are perched on tree branches, road signs or power poles. It doesn’t really matter where I spot these giant birds of prey, they are an awesome site, and they always seem to be keeping an eye on me.

These regal looking birds, comprised of earthy colored feathers, are easy to spot by their characteristic dark red lower tail feathers. The red is a bright contrast to the rest of this bird’s brown and white body. Even though these hawks are quite common, I always enjoy seeing them. Most days on my work commute, I drive by one farm and see the same hawk watching me. It’s nice to know that another creature is watching over me, as I speed around, trying to make it from place to place on time.

While writing this, I am signing new edition Rachel Raccoon and Sammy Skunk books at a gallery that showcases the work of many local artists. It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and there is a nice crowd of people walking around and looking at beautiful paintings, photographs, pottery, wood working, and other forms of art. The dulcimer display across the room from me is popular with the children, as the kids are allowed to play music on one of the demonstration models.

Working in the conservation field for my day job, I enjoy being around beautiful artwork when I get the chance. When I am doing book events, it’s fun to talk to people who stop by to look at my books, and I usually have interesting conversations. I may spend 10 or 15 minutes talking to people who share a common interest, or maybe we have a connection of knowing some of the same people.  

As an author of children’s books, I feel it is important to be able to converse well with people one on one or in front of larger audiences, if you wish to promote and sell books.  Luckily I enjoy talking to people, even if I’ve never met them before. Having a book event in a small community that is also a tourist destination draws an interesting mix of people. Some visitors are local, and some are tourists from other towns and states, especially during a holiday weekend.
I wrapped up a successful day of selling books and talking to interesting people. On my drive home, I encountered another beautiful red-tailed hawk, and it made me feel like someone was looking out for me and guiding me safely home.