Have you ever gazed at a picturesque image, sighed wistfully and dreamed of stepping into that scene? When I see this photo taken from my home, I realize how lucky I am to be free to step into that image – or just open the window and merge with the outdoors.

On the Day of the Dead, I watched the backyard scene while taking a break. For several minutes there was an absence of sound, an absence of wind/subtle breezes – as if time had stopped; even the sunlight was absent on that near-perfect (but cloudy) day. It was as if I were staring at an image – not the real scene, and the awareness seemed surreal. I wondered what it would be like to step into an image yet get no response – as if walking behind the curtain on a life-sized stage.

Actors, take your places….

Several nights later, the full moon tipped over the ridge and cast an orange glow over the landscape.

On close inspection the subtle geometric lines on the moon look man made.

Attempts to capture that color with my camera failed; before going to sleep, I wondered if a flash might work better than the ‘no flash’ option. As if to plant self doubt about ‘is it real or is it a staged scene’ – here’s the first result:


A closer inspection…



A closer inspection…

The invisible stage hands obviously ‘adjusted’ for the unexpected flash, and the next shot was ‘normal.’

The first image was surely a trick of water vapor or – (insert shrug here) – who knows, but examining the image closely, it appeared as if there were a semi-transparent vertical wall behind the trees in the foreground.  As if Life were playing a trick on me – saying, “Ha!  Perhaps this IS one big amazing scene, and you peered behind the curtain twice this week!”

What would it be like to admire the birds but not witness their song; to see a beautiful flower but not inhale its aroma?

Coffee flowers release a beautiful aroma, especially at dusk.

The wild tomato blossom


Even the aroma of the wild tomatoes prompts me to pause, pick a few for instant enjoyment then pick more for an afternoon salad. What would it be like to walk the scene and not smell the tomatoes or sample a few? “What could compare to that?”

It’s like appreciating sheet music or lyrics to a song – the beauty is there, though the instruments bring out its soul. The instrument does not make the song; the artists do, and whether via acoustic guitar or a maestro at the piano or an entire symphony, each person contributes to bringing that tune to life. Equally endearing are the basic and earthy musical connections – from a child’s whistle to a man with his harmonica or the rhythmic tribal drums echoing Mother Earth’s heartbeat. Each adds a simplistic beauty to that particular moment in time and contributes to earth’s symphony.  Music can be pleasant but it can also be raucous and caustic to the ears. There’s a balance.

But what about that scene outside my window? After a few minutes, the audio returned and the scene came back to life. Clusters of small leaves signaled the wind’s return. Unseen currents of air prompted impatient rippling -while the larger leaves nodded slowly as if to say, “Patience!”

The Crimson-rumped Caciques resumed their nesting duet; a lone dove chimed in with a sobering ‘whoo,’ and was answered by another. The precious Pygmy Owl added its unique chords to the chorus. Wrens chattered and chickens clucked; a motorcycle throttled by, slowed to make the curve and splashed through the trickle of a stream – a stream that I cherish.

About seven kilometers away, the village surely played the favorite rhythmic beats of Latin music, merging with other communities during the holiday week. The natural and man-made sounds of the area join the province, and the province joins the country, and the country joins other others that form the continents. Woven together with forests and thickets, highways and bridges, rivers and oceans, our world also includes the skies that scrape the stars that become the universe…

Mississippi River Bridge near Greenville (MS) and Lake Village Arkansas (2014)

Kitchen blenders, air conditioning units, television, lawn mowers, weed whackers; every single sound contributes to our planet’s symphony. A chainsaw, a bulldozer, the autos and misfiring buses, the planes and jets and rocketships. The bombs; oh, heavy heart – the bombs and missiles and sounds of war. How can war be part of the same symphony as the sweet tune of a bird’s song?

If a galactic review were written about our planet’s symphony, would we get a five-star review or a harsh critique?