A Nearly Perfect Sphere of Hot Plasma…

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reflected in the eye of a young hummingbird.

The sun is new each day. —Heraclitus




Whether it’s juniper trees huddled on a ledge, or a crow and its shadow sailing on an updraft, life inside Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly must be resilient to endure and flourish in the unforgiving desert environment.


What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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Most years, this nesting box is passed over; birds, we know, have their own likes and dislikes. While swallows have occasionally shown interest, it sits at the verge of the forest, near the top of our driveway, and limits their aerobatics.

But there are always surprises. A pair claimed the box several days ago, and as I walked down to get the paper this morning I met one of them, returning with breakfast. I was grateful for that instant, when the bird hesitated at the opening, the curve and symmetry of its wings highlighted by the sunlight, before it returned for seconds.

Afternoon Delights

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Male Rufous Hummingbird

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. —Robert Brault

Ibis On The Uaso Nyiro

Very little light remained in the sky on the evening this photograph appeared; the original Fujichrome transparency is drowned in shadows and garish blues. It’s nothing I’d print, and until I ran across it the other day I didn’t remember that moment at all—not surprising, since it was less than a second out of  120 rolls of film I shot during our 1999 visit to Kenya.


But after I scanned the slide and began playing with it, the mood and memories of that day in Samburu National Reserve returned (I had to look up the name of the river). This scene was close to the safari lodge where we stayed; the Uaso Nyiro was barely a creek-sized flow in many places, and opposite the lodge, no more than a hundred yards from our tourist comforts, a large (aren’t they all?) crocodile had spent most of the day…waiting. We were assured (warned) that it often hid beneath the river’s overhanging banks.

Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first. —Steve Irwin