Posts Tagged ‘peace’

Sunflowers were already Ukraine’s national flower, but they have emerged as a symbol of resistance after a widely shared video clip appeared to show a Ukrainian woman berating Russian soldiers, telling them to put sunflower seeds in their pockets so that flowers would grow after they died in battle—see this article in Business Insider India for more information on this subject.

I just listened the words of Ukrainian President Zelensky as he described the horrific Russian cruise missile strike on Freedom Square in the center of Kharkiv and the tears are still wet on my cheeks. These sunflowers photos that I have taken in recent years are a visual sign of my support for the ongoing heroic actions of the Ukrainian people. Please pray for all of those affected by Putin’s unprovoked war, especially the Ukrainians, who are paying the highest price.

sunflower for Ukraine

Sunflowers for Ukraine

Sunflower for Ukraine

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The subject of this photo, a male Mallard duck, is very common. He’s not doing anything strange or unusual. The environment, the beaver pond at my local marsh, is not particularly exotic.

Somehow, though, I feel a sense of comfort and peace in the very ordinariness of this simple composition and in its soothing color palette. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, it’s good to slow down and regain some inner peace (even if it’s necessary at other times to paddle hard beneath the surface).

In the words of a song that I heard yesterday on the radio, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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One evening this past week I was photographing lotus flowers at a local pond in a quasi-meditative state, enjoying the calm after a thunderstorm had passed.

The life cycle of the lotus, from bud to flower to seed pod

Suddenly a woman screamed out in my direction, “Snake, there’s a snake right behind you.” My first reaction was one of disbelief, because I was standing on a flat rock partially surrounded by water that was flowing rapidly between two man-made ponds. All at once I saw the submerged snake swimming strongly against the current. Then to my surprise the snake lifted his head out of the water.

My next reaction was to spring into action to take his picture. My camera was already on my tripod and I swung it around and snapped a couple of shots without having time to adjust my exposure or shutter speed. The image below is far from perfect but it gives you an idea of the cascading water and the snake poking his head above the surface.

Swimming snake lifts its head above water

After that brief photographic opportunity I returned to my peaceful pursuit of the lotus flower.

Sidewards-facing lotus (a variation of the lotus position)

It was only much later that I wondered whether I had encountered a poisonous snake. An article entitled “Snake Mistake” by Christine Ennulat in Virginia Living helps readers distinguish between the harmless brown water snake (Nerodia taxispilata) and the venomous water moccasin (Agkistrodon piscivorus). I am pretty confident the snake I saw was “only” a brown water snake.

Maybe I will react more quickly the next time someone tells me there is a snake right behind me. I might even get a better photograph!

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The world seems changed after the rain. The falling rain stripped some of the delicate petals from this lotus flower but left behind a glistening trail of water.

From the perspective of beauty it seems like an equitable trade—the transformed flower still takes my breath away.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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