About Laura

I am a college student and grandmother of six. My interests range from playing piano to stargazing with a myriad in-between, around and through.

The Strength to Rise Up

The Strength to Rise Up
During the month of January 2018, we will be treated to two full moons, and both will be “supermoons.” According to earthsky.org, in the Western Hemisphere, January 1st will bring, “the largest and brightest supermoon of 2018.”
I’ve been watching the waxing gibbous moon rise in the afternoons over the desert mountains. There was a lovely US Forest Service webcam photo showing the pinks and purples of sunset a couple of days ago as well. I was drawn to the possibility of depicting the not-quite-full-moon rising as the setting sun colors the sky. Then came the quote.
I’m looking forward to celebrating the arrival of the new year with the arrival of the full moon.
May we all find the strength to rise up.

And the full quote: Mountains know the secrets we need to learn. That it might take time, it might be hard, but if you just hold on long enough, you will find the strength to rise up. – Tyler Knott Gregson




Cranes - Longevity
Repetition, rhythm, emphasis, and texture. I started out with repetition and the other three elements fell into place. There are literally 1,000 origami cranes making up the background because I was reminded recently of a story.
According to Japanese tradition, anyone with the patience and commitment to fold 1,000 paper cranes will be granted their most desired wish, because they have exhibited the cranes’ loyalty and recreated their beauty (Asian Symbolism and the Crane). The story goes that Sadako Sasaki upon developing leukemia, began folding paper cranes in her hospital bed, praying for world peace. Sasaski died at 12 years old and her friends picked up the task of folding the cranes. She was buried with the full 1,000 as a tribute to her inspirational life.
Japanese people today still fold 1,000 cranes as a symbol of health, happiness, and peace. This makes me wonder about the things we can do with our time to bring inspiration to others. There’s another story about a woman who grew pansies and took them to shut-ins. She grew so many that pansy became part of her nickname. Maybe I’ll do pansies next.
Resource: http://asianlifestyledesign.com/2012/05/asian-symbolism-crane/

November 2017 Full Moon

Beaver Moon 112017
I enjoy building designs using layers with different opacities and color enhancements to create shading and highlights. The little beaver on the mountainside is simply in honor of the traditional name for the November full moon.
Algonquin tribes called it the Beaver Moon because this was the time to set the traps before the freeze, so they would have furs to make clothes for the cold winter. The November full Moon was also called the Full Frost Moon by other Native American tribes.” – Farmer’s Almanac
My view of the full moon was partially obscured by clouds tonight. It was lovely all the same. A full moon is one of my favorite things to see.


Ravens over MSJ
I was recently struck by the fact that the “greenery” on the mountaintop looks golden in the photos the webcam captures at 7 a.m. I decided to revel in that a little bit, working with one of the photos in Photoshop to enhance the color. The result is from three layers, the original, one with a dry brush filter, and one to emphasize the gold, and varied levels of opacity to achieve the blend.
I also enjoyed watching a large black bird performing aerobatics over a field. It would rapidly flap its wings, hovering in one place, and then suddenly dive-bomb to the ground. It may have hunting. It was fun to watch. And so I added a pair of frolicking ravens to my design, with a snippet from Skybird from Neil Diamond’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack.
I thought about a couple of things while putting this together. For one thing, you don’t have to climb the mountain to find gold. But isn’t the view lovely from the top? And secondly, what joy there is in just being yourself.

Mount San Jacinto in the morning

This is only a design in the sense that I put two photos together in Photoshop. The image on the left is stamped 7 a.m. on October 15, 2016. I remember this was the first time I noticed the plant growth on the top of the mountain. Before that, it seemed all the images were barren. I thought maybe it was because the sunlight was hitting the plants just right at that time of the morning. So this morning, I found the USFS webcam image from the same time on the same date (image on the right). I am happy to see the plant life has endured through the hard hot summer, and is just as bright is this morning’s sunlight as it was a year ago.
Perhaps a message of hope as well as endurance. If these plants can survive the rigors of the seasons, we can make it through our challenges, too.
In any case, I love the view from the mountaintop.