Perhaps this natural desire to decorate my home with devotion began when I lived as a child in Jakarta, Indonesia. There, for example, a large Balinese painting of a Puja ceremony graced my parents’ dining room, and from then on through various countries, it remained a fixture during mealtimes. I now display it here in Paradise (included below). Many of the other spiritual objects shown below were also seen around the house while I was growing up.
I recently did a photo essay of select installations I have put into place here, also decorating our home with devotion. Some are simple representations, and others more creative. There are 17 photos, with captions.
Please enjoy this quiet virtual gallery of living devotion, surrender, delight and empowerment, dedicated to our Supreme Reality:
The weather is dry and moderate, and I have stuff to do outside – remember that cabana that blew down about a month ago in a 70 mph wind? …still there… and now is a great time for extending the steps down the side of the canyon – with the soil damp it is much easier to dig. And those drone flights I have planned are waiting…
Anyway, there’s plenty to chew on over my last few posts, so that should cover it for a bit. 🙂
As the sun rose this morning, I took the UAV out to get some pictures at first light. The flight was brief due to high wind warnings, though quite a beautiful time of day. Please enjoy these five photos:
I noticed our blood orange tree was dropping oranges yesterday, which doesn’t happen unless they are ripe, so time for harvest today! Couldn’t tell by appearance this year, as there was so much rain just as the fruit was coming in. The blood oranges need a lot of sun during their final two months on the tree, to develop their characteristic red blush and vanilla fragrance. These look a lot more like regular navel oranges, though the juice is still red and delicious.
The crop is much larger than normal this year, as you can see in the first two pictures. Normally I will pick 400 blood oranges from the tree, and they are medium size. this year, about 650 oranges and they are large. It is only taking eight to nine oranges to make a quart/liter of juice, so it looks to be about a 20 gallon yield.
Please enjoy these four pictures of the process and result:
In late 1981 I was 27, had been doing the TM-Siddhis since 1980, and had moved from Santa Barbara to Washington, DC, to jump-start my career. I was reading the Bhagavad Gita (again), and would sometimes draw mandalas freehand with colored pencils. I saved a couple of them.
Fast forward to last year (2021), continuing to decorate the home with spiritually-oriented art, I found a wooden, laser-cut mandala for sale on-line, bought it and displayed it.
Then last week, a friend inquired whether or not I had an altar at home. One thing led to another, and I began going around the house, taking pictures of devotional objects, including the two mandalas featured in this post – one from 1981, and the one from 2021. They looked so alike, I wondered what they would look like superimposed on each other.
Oddly enough, the size of each as photographed was close to identical, so I didn’t do any resizing to merge them. I simply made the colored one 50% transparent and slid it over the wooden one, aligning their centers. Then I deleted the backgrounds, and added a new one and some line frames.
Remarkable at how similar the two are, 40 years apart. Please enjoy these two pictures – First, the mandalas side by side, followed by the two of them merged:
Close to the stroke of midnight here in California, after ringing in the New Year, I went out with my camera and took some first pictures of the New Year’s sky. The creative shot (photo #4) was a result of having the shutter set for 30 seconds, and pressing it by mistake, so I moved the camera around, trying for something acceptable.
After some sleep, I was outside to catch the sunrise, and a few more photos. It was spectacular! Please enjoy these nine first pictures of the New Year 2022!
A Blessed Year for all in 2022, of cosmic living growing more visible, infinite connectivity, and greater global peace. 🙂 ~ Jai Guru Dev ~
All the continents have now entered the New Year, so close enough! Happy New Year, 2022, to Everyone on Earth! Promises to be a real corker! 🙂
Today, I first photographed the sunrise over Paradise, and later took pictures of the Mendocino Range, 70 miles or 112 kilometers west of us, across the Sacramento Valley. Please enjoy these nine views of theday:
I changed out my camera chips in the game cam by Nance Pond this morning, and saw pictures of these two deer walking by the pond when I returned home. I had also raised the camera for a better view. Please enjoy this sequence of four pictures from the morning of December 26th:
This is a favorite time of year – reflecting on 2021, and setting sights on 2022. Another year closer to Sat Yuga, Heaven On Earth, for all of us. Congratulations, and Happy Holidays!
One of my objectives in the coming year is producing more UAV photography and video. I have five locations chosen in a 50 mile radius, all nature settings, so just a matter of good weather and finding the time.
Here in the Sierra-Nevada foothills we are at an elevation of 1,320 ft/402 m. This means that a layer of clouds at this height can drift in, engulfing us in thick fog for a few minutes before dissipating. Here are six pictures from yesterday during such an event, taken at about 2:30 PM:
We had a second mostly clear day after all the rain. I was taking pictures of a hawk circling above the house, then noticed a high cloud, looking like fog in the canyon. Please enjoy these four pictures:
Winter is on the way – We had up to 50 mph/80 km winds yesterday, and snow down to 2,500 ft/760 m. Our metal and fabric cabana, now on its second frame, and fourth cover, bit the dust after a particularly fierce gust of wind, so now it lays near the pool, looking almost like a small, crashed zeppelin. Please enjoy these seven photos from today, and tonight:
We will be experiencing an atmospheric river of rain for the next five days, including an expected ten feet of snow in the Sierra-Nevada. I went down to the pond today and took a few pictures of the wet. Please enjoy these five pictures:
Happy Sunday. I took my UAV aloft today to get some pictures from Paradise of the extraordinary sea of fog in the Sacramento Valley below us. The fog tops out at about 900 feet/275 meters. Please enjoy these four photos, moving from SSE to WNW:
There are many scenes to capture just after sunset – holiday lights across the canyon and a few jets headed south. I also managed Jupiter and her four moons, and my first of Venus’s crescent. Please enjoy these six photos:
A slight fog began forming in the canyon behind the house this morning, as the sun rose. I went out to the fence to take some pictures, and then noticed a young blacktail buck just outside the fence, to the right. Please enjoy these ten photos, taken as he made his way down our hill into the canyon. It is always a delight to see these gentle creatures! 🙂
About twenty minutes before the sun appears, the bats dart about, feeding. They also show up at evening dusk. One of my projects now is to get some clear pictures of them, easiest in the morning when they are flying against a lightening sky.
This morning I tried both taking a video and extracting screenshots, and regular photos. These are all with default shutter, about 1/60 s., and somewhat blurry. I will try 1/120 s. next. Please enjoy these four pictures of the bats:
The citrus is beginning to ripen here, and the limes are always first. An excellent crop this year. I’ve juiced a little more than a gallon so far, which I mostly freeze for making limeade.
My limeade recipe (makes one gallon): Add to a one gallon pitcher: 4 cups ice 3 cups (24 oz.) simple syrup (2 cups hot water, 2 cups sugar, blended until clear) 2 cups (16 oz.) lime juice water to fill blend well
Note: After I make the simple syrup, I add some ice to the pitcher, and pour the syrup over it. This cools the syrup before the lime juice is added. That way, all of the vitamin C and flavor is retained.
Please enjoy these four pictures of the process, beginning with the dwarf lime tree:
So much color yesterday! The sky was full of changes beginning at sunrise, and the birds were active in the cooler weather. In addition to my beloved hummingbirds, I saw a pair of starlings in the skeleton oak. Haven’t seen them around here before.
Also found another late blooming rose, and some distant wispy clouds around the ridge of the Mendocino Range west of here. Please enjoy these eight photos:
Accompanying our recent deluge, the weather has grown colder. Last Monday I heard cracks of lightning and thunder outside, so I walked out with the camera. There were a few more bolts, each one releasing a sheet of hail. It all lasted about 15 minutes, and melted away just as quickly.
I was taking pictures of the hummingbirds a couple of days ago – they always let me know they are around when I go outside. Then yesterday near the house, a jackrabbit and I nearly ran into each other. We stopped with just a few feet between us, and the jackrabbit was shaking with fear – I must have looked like a giant, and was close enough to reach down and pick it up.
So I said, ‘Hi, it is ok, I won’t hurt you, go on, I love you’, and after a moment the hare relaxed and hopped away towards some nearby trees. I went on about my business and after a minute I turned and looked and the jackrabbit was sitting, looking at me. We looked at each other for awhile. Then I went inside and got my camera and took some pictures of the bunny as it fed, and remained curious about me.
Here are six pictures of the hummingbird, and the jackrabbit. Please enjoy!
Please enjoy these seven photos of our nearest galactic neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31). It is 2.5 million light years from Earth, so this is how the galaxy appeared two and a half million years ago, with the light just now reaching us.
All of these are tripod shots with a timed shutter to minimize vibration, yet each is quite different. The colors are true:
What a blessing! We got just enough water to wet things down, and turn the air so sweet – fresh and grassy now. The clouds are spectacular. Here are seven pictures from dawn this morning. Please enjoy!
Today we began having some clouds, and a chance of rain tonight. A sunny day with many opportunities for pictures, including a late summer rose, and a brief roost by a turkey vulture in a large snag nearby. Please enjoy!
When there are clouds to the east and the sunset is brilliant, the light will reflect off the eastern clouds too. Yesterday, it grew to a brilliant pink. Here are three photos of the eastern ‘sunset’, and two of the actual end of the day, due west. Please enjoy!
From my pictures last night and this morning, here is a sequence of four photos, each reaching further into the heavens.
The first picture shows daytime clouds, streaming west to east. Next, one of a jet shooting south to north, towards the Sun. Third, a plane flies at night across the edge of our Milky Way galaxy, navigation lights blinking, and finally, Saturn and her rings are displayed, 845.7 million miles distant. Enjoy!
When I went outside last night around 9 PM the sky was already dark, and the Milky Way was very clear, and colorful.
First shown are two pictures of the Milky Way – Rising behind the redwoods, and another, straight up. Next, before dawn, I saw the crescent Moon.
At 6 AM the Sun rose, a reddish yellow ball, through smoke on the horizon. Soon after, while I was taking pictures of one of our resident hummingbirds sitting on a nearby branch, it did a quick little dance in the air, and settled back down – Made my day! Please enjoy these six photos:
The cooler weather and reduction in smoke are allowing me to get much clearer sky pictures. I took this one last night as a satellite was transiting past the Milky Way. The yellow in the atmosphere is from the Caldor Fire, near Lake Tahoe. Enjoy!
Before the Moon had fully risen, I was able to take two excellent pictures of Saturn (836M miles/1.3B km), and Jupiter, with its four main moons visible (374M miles/778M km). We are mostly clear of Dixie Fire smoke for the time being. When there are too many smoke particles in the air, the camera cannot focus on such distant, tiny objects. Nikon P950, 1/100s., f/6.5, ISO 1600.
There is a small local herd of six blacktail deer: one buck, three does, and two fawns. They are quite comfortable on our property, and except for the buck, came onto the front and side yards this morning, as I was trimming the lavender. I swear the doe in the last picture was smiling at me. Enjoy these four pictures of them:
I was sitting outside yesterday evening, and first saw a bunny, and then a grown jackrabbit, among the lavender near the house. Very unusual to see rabbits this close by, as they usually stay out in the yard.
Then one rabbit ran down by the side of the pool, and an owl swooped in for dinner, a wingspan of about four feet, and missed. The owl then retired to a snag on the hillside, where I took her picture in the dim light.
The Moon rose later, nearly full, and far less red once high in the sky.
This morning, the hummingbird was feeding in the crepe myrtle and bottle-brush, so I approached, and quietly began taking pictures.
‘Orange’ is the operative word. We are smoky again today, though the forecast for tonight and the rest of the week, is for south and southeast wind, which blows out the smoke. Our power shutoff was cancelled, though the backup generator is all set. Please enjoy these unusual pictures of our celestial neighbors:
I was walking near the pond down in the canyon today, and decided to explore a small stream that runs from the pond. This area was impassable before the fire, and now has a far lower profile of mostly berry brambles.
As I approached the stream, a family of blacktail deer emerged from a copse of trees and bushes just on the other side, a large buck, and several does and fawns. They mostly hid again, and as I got closer, one more doe got up on my side of the stream and walked away.
None of them were too concerned about my presence, and I realized this is the same herd that is frequently around the house, and knows my scent quite well, so they knew who I was. I was careful not to walk onto their resting area across the stream, or challenge their space.
It was a wonderful meeting! Here are eight pictures, including a dove and a fall red leaf as I approached the pond and stream. Enjoy!
A car hit a power pole last night, on a road just across the canyon from us, and blacked out that neighborhood in Paradise. There were generators and lights on during the repair, which was completed in a few hours. The Dixie Fire smoke gave it an eerie quality. Here are three views from our place:
Here is pretty much our entire crop of yellow cling peaches, picked just now from our dwarf tree – the first time in six years we have had fruit from this tree. Works out to half for us, and half for the critters. The sky looks tan and smoky today, but it doesn’t smell bad outside…
The smoke in the atmosphere can be useful when photographing distant planets, as it filters out the glare. Here are Saturn (800M mi/1.3B km) and Jupiter (450M mi/745M km) from last night. Jupiter has three obvious moons showing, though it looks like the outermost one may be two, orbiting close together. Enjoy!
Last night I was taking pictures of the Milky Way, and decided to zoom into the center and see what it looked like for a 30s. exposure. Of course the star trails all became quite long as their position shifted relative to the camera lens, over the 30 seconds of the exposure.
Except for a white dot in the upper left edge of my second photo below. This dot didn’t shift position during the exposure, meaning it was rotating at the exact same speed as the earth does – an object in geosynchronous orbit. The camera was aimed due south.
From Google: “A geosynchronous orbit is a high Earth orbit that allows satellites to match Earth’s rotation. Located at 22,236 miles (35,786 kilometers) above Earth’s equator, this position is a valuable spot for monitoring weather, communications and surveillance.”
The inset in the picture shows a close-up of the satellite, showing a large dish transmitter on the craft.
Please enjoy these two photos; first of the Milky Way, and the other of the satellite:
The ISS hit a peak of 80 degrees last night, almost directly overhead, and I captured a very clear shot. Then I took some good pictures of Saturn, also brightly visible last night, and made a composite of the ringed planet and the ISS for the second photo posted here.
The ISS travels at 18K mph(29K kph)/250 mi.(400 km) up, and Saturn is over 800M miles (1.3B km) away. My equipment was the handheld Nikon P-950, max optical zoom 2000mm for ISS, plus additional 2x digital zoom for Saturn. Shutter 1/1000 s.
The lightshow was magnificent this morning! The smoke clouds from the Dixie Fire have a different density than water clouds, and when they mix it is beautiful. Happy Saturday, and please enjoy these three examples of nature’s transient wonder:
The Dixie Fire effects are no longer felt here, just west of Paradise. We have had steady winds to clear any haze, and about an hour ago we had a light rain – unheard of in July! Please enjoy these six pictures, beginning with a beautiful full moon from last night:
The Dixie Fire front has moved to our north and east and is at higher elevations, so we have layers of clouds and smoke in the sky, with the sunlight producing unique effects. This looks like another planet.
Air quality at ground level is good here, with an AQI of 44 (compared to scores sometimes over 400 last year). Please enjoy these seven pictures:
There are high smoke clouds today from the Dixie Fire, though clear air on the ground, making for a cooler summer day. The clouds and sun can interact in beautiful ways. Here are four favorites of mine. Please enjoy!
My new book, BRAHMAN – Learning To Thrive In Paradise, Essays on Living Cosmic Life is available on Amazon, in Kindle and paperback. Please see a description below the link:
This book is about living Cosmic life, our human birthright, expressed as my spiritual memoir.
Although each of the 170 essays making up this book can be read as its own topic, I have organized them to form a cohesive and comprehensive picture of what Cosmic life is, emphasizing a practical perspective.
This collection of short essays is organized into seven main sections, beginning with my global childhood, spent largely in Southeast Asia. This is followed by reflections on learning and practicing meditation (which I began at 21) then, after decades of practice, establishing a relationship with one of the greatest saints of our time.
Next, I explore the awareness of what is referred to as Totality, or Brahman, full enlightenment, with perspectives on both the practical skills gained as a result of living Brahman, and the context, the consciousness of this Cosmically oriented life. This leads into a section written about Divinity and the relationships that are critical to live the fullness and glory of a Cosmic life.
Following my perspectives on the abilities, context and key relationships of Cosmic living, are collections of writings reflecting everyday Cosmic life, grouped into four areas of my reflection and experience:
1. California’s Fire Season, 2. My Cosmic Health, 3. National and Global Events, and 4. Living Cosmic Reality.
Rounding out this exposition of Cosmic living is a final group of essays on the implications for a better world as a result of living Cosmic life, and how we are all moving in this direction, without fail.
My purpose in sharing all of this is to illustrate, in a methodical and rational way, the true and vast scope of our human potential, Cosmic living. Exploring, through examples and experience, how to ensure lasting, sustainable fulfillment for ourselves, and for our world.
We received an evacuation warning this afternoon from the Butte County Sheriff, due to a 15 acre fire about a mile away, in the next canyon over to the east. It was moving fast in our direction, so they brought in an air tanker and helos to dump retardant and stop the spread. Success! All warnings and orders have been lifted for a few hours now and hand crews are mopping up.
I missed out on all the drama – took a nap and woke up after it was all over. My wife heard some stuff going on, though we are under multiple flight paths for tankers and helos during fire season, so she thought it was for the Dixie Fire.
Here are two pictures of a MD-11 VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker) over the house, headed to Firebase Chico for refueling while fighting the Dixie Fire, and one picture of the nearly full moon rising this evening.
Fortunately the Dixie Fire has grown away from us, with a steady southern breeze to ensure it. I cannot see any evidence of the fire this morning to the east, though there continues to be a thick band of smoke to the northwest.
I also can’t fly my drone for at least a month as the airspace here is now restricted because of the fire. A good idea, as it will make it harder for drones to interrupt fire fighting aircraft.
Life goes on, and I was able to see some wildlife down at the pond yesterday, including a duck and a blue dragonfly. Please enjoy these eight pictures from Tuesday, including two of the new jet tankers:
[July 19, 2021] The fire has moved far east of us tonight – no smoky air – calm, with a southern breeze here. Coyotes were howling in the canyon last night.
Tankers are flying overhead now, refueling at Firebase Chico, and then back into it. Downtown Paradise can be seen lower right of the fire column in this photo.
The Dixie Fire is at 40K acres, mostly in the Sierra-Cascades high country, a mile up in steep terrain – very difficult to set fire lines, though about 2K firefighters are on the line now. We saw a fire truck from LA in Chico yesterday. All hands on deck for this one.
Nance Pond can be clearly seen from the back fence now – All the burnt brush from the 2018 Camp Fire, including most of the snags except for the tallest ones, has been pushed down and broken up, for fire safety and erosion prevention.
As I was moving up on a jackrabbit inside the fence for a photo, I spotted several blacktail deer running down in the canyon, and managed to take three pictures of the one doe.
Coming back near the gazebo and passing a crepe myrtle tree, I noticed that all the honeybees’ legs were loaded with pollen, looking like bright yellow leg-warmers, so I added a picture of one of them too.
Please enjoy these six pictures of the pond, and nearby:
Some haze this morning and a smoke smell. The Dixie Fire continues to grow, nearly 10K acres now, but away from us, up into the high country. As the day goes on we should again have a consistent wind from the southeast to blow the smoke away.
Here are six pictures from yesterday, including an evening jackrabbit who came to peek through the fence at us, as we sat in the gazebo. Enjoy!
Cooler today and normal temps for this time – 74/23 now, rising to 96/35 later. The Dixie Fire is smudging the sky near the horizon and I may have smelled a whiff of smoke, though it is really not an issue.
Here are four pictures, showing the smoke smudge today looking west, a few of our just picked white peaches (the birds, squirrels and foxes are stuffing themselves…), a local lizard, and part of a covey of California Quail near the house. Happy summer!