July 15, 2018  •  3 Comments

Extremely uplifting news came out of Thailand this week when all 12 young members of a football team and their coach were extracted from a cave system after having survived 16 days.  Highly professional divers, Seal team members, and military and medical personnel, along with volunteers from countries around the world, became a well-oiled machine turning what could have been a tragedy into a successful rescue operation.  

There are stories of human survival on land and on the sea every day - those who break through the trials of a disease, immigrants trying to find safety in this world, and those, who in trying to get away from the feeling of safety, take literal wrong turns, and survive despite the odds.  

Survival exists in nature as well.  I have often wondered during this year of very little rain, how the animals are faring with sparse food and water, and how plants covering the landscape manage to survive with so little of both. Somehow, they do.  Years ago, a friend gave us an envelope filled with prairie coneflower (Ratibida columnifera) seeds.  Having just thrown them out on the land, I wasn't sure how successful they would be.  Not only were they successful, they proliferated with great vigor, despite not really being watered, just surviving on the moisture that falls upon the high mesa. Photographically, they are one of those flowers that is somewhat difficult to capture, because of their shape, and the fact that even the slightest breeze moves them.  I've been trying to get some decent shots for years.  The ones here are part of my latest effort.

prairie coneflower orange groupprairie coneflower orange group

prairie coneflower bronzeprairie coneflower bronze

prairie coneflower orange singleprairie coneflower orange single

The hairy yellow daisy (Heterotheca villosa) might be considered a weed by some, but its small, daisy-like flowers add dots of yellow to the dry landscape.

hairy golden asterhairy golden aster

Finally, both the Salvia pachyphylla and the spicebush swallowtail (Papilio troilus) are survivors this year.  One of the generally common pollinators we have here are numerous butterflies.  Few are around this year, I suspect, because the birds are eating everything they can catch.  The swallowtail had a big chunk taken out of its wing.  The Salvia seems to be happy with the relative lack of moisture.

spice bush swallowtailspice bush swallowtail

My thanks and admiration to all of those people who work to facilitate survival, and those who are able to dig deep within themselves and pull through.

until next Monday,


a passion for the [email protected]


Celebrating good news and the west. Love for that. I think those Mexican Hats lend themselves for beautiful greetings cards. I am putting in an order.
Wayne Gesterfield(non-registered)
Nice. Although we prefer natural lighting, sometimes with delicate flowers and a slight breeze, flash is the only way to go to get a decent shot.
Steve Immel(non-registered)
You did it beautifully. Couldn't have been a whisper of a breeze when you took these. Number four tells a complete story. And the implied movement and shallow depth of field in image one are perfect.

Your words were particularly apt today in our world. The Thai rescue story captivated all of us with a result that seemed impossible; a good news story just when we need it most.
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