To go from mortal to Buddha,

you have to put an end to karma, nurture your awareness, and accept what life brings. 

Bodhidharma, in The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma

Ursula Andress.

Dr. No (1962) directed by Terence Young.

Dogs buried in sand

Still the year of the wood horse

It’s the Chinese Year of the Horse. The horse is part of a 12-year-cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. These interact with the five elements: wood, metal, fire, water, earth. 2014 is the year of the wood horse, taking over from the year of the water snake.

The Year of the Horse starts from Jan. 31, 2014 (the Lunar New Year / Spring Festival of China) and lasts to Feb. 18, 2015.

People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.

They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers. They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own.

Summer memories

The art of losing isn't hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It’s evident
the art of losing’s not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

A Day Gecko slurps nectar from a pitcher plant. (Madagascar - BBC)

It's still Summer until Sept. 21

Why rush it.

Austin Kleon asserted that “you are the mashup of what you let into your life.”


Love changes you

"If those whom we begin to love could know us as we were before meeting them ... they could perceive what they have made of us." 

Albert Camus on happiness and love.

Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton

from Brain Pickings

The mouth is made for communication, and nothing is more articulate than a kiss.

Jarod Kintz
It Occurred to Me

All about Fireflies! (Lightning bugs) and good viewing spots for synchronous fireflies.

Fireflies emit light mostly to attract mates, although they also "talk" to each other for other reasons, such as to defend territory and warn predators away. In some firefly species, only one sex lights up. In most, however, both sexes glow; often the male will fly, while females will wait in trees, shrubs and grasses to spot an attractive male. If she finds one, she'll signal it with a flash of her own. 

(Creative Commons by Jessica Lucia via

Fireflies produce “cold light.” 

Firefly lights are the most efficient lights in the world—100% of the energy is emitted as light. Compare that to an incandescent bulb, which emits 10% of its energy as light and the rest as heat, or a fluorescent bulb, which emits 90% of its energy as light.

Adult fireflies aren't the only ones that glow. 

In some species, the larvae and even the eggs emit light. Firefly eggs have been observed to flash in response to stimulus such as gentle tapping or vibrations.

Example of a firefly larvae eggs glowing
This is an image of a firefly larvae just emerging from the egg. 
Photo © Terry Lynch

Fireflies have short lifespans. 

An adult firefly lives only long enough to mate and lay eggs—so they may not need to eat during their adult life stage. The larvae usually live for approximately one year, from mating season to mating season, before becoming adults and giving birth to the next generation.

Types of Fireflies

Scientifically, fireflies are classified under Lampyridae, a family of insects within the beetle order Coleoptera, or winged beetles. While most fireflies are characterized by their use of bioluminescence to attract mates and to communicate, not all insects within the firefly family produce light. Some communicate using pheromones, a sort of insect perfume.

There are thousands of firefly species spread across temperate and tropical zones all over the world. In New England alone, you might see twenty or thirty species.

Synchronous Fireflies - best places to see

Seeing a sparkling carpet of fireflies in your backyard can be a magical experience. But imagine seeing them all flashing at once—in a symphony of light. Synchronous species of fireflies are very special—and they exist only in a handful of places throughout the world. Here are a few places where you can find them, if you know where to look.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Photinus carolinus is the only synchronous species of firefly out of 19 species that is found in the park. Their mating display is spectacular, and usually takes place between May and June within a two-week window—depending on the temperature and moisture of the soil. The synchronized flashes of this species take place in bursts of five to eight every few seconds or so.
Great Smoky Mountains Firefies of Tennessee
Best Viewing Dates: May 17 - June 21
Peak Times: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Visit: Tours available. Contact for info.
Tickets to see the fireflies at a designated viewing area are sold in advance, and shuttle buses are provided during the display period. The tickets usually sell out fast.

Allegheny National Forest

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was once thought to be the only place where you can see synchronous fireflies in North America, and it remains the best known. But in 2012, a colony of these fireflies was found in Pennsylvania’s only national forest—one that’s being heavily logged and cleared for gas drilling. The species found here is also P. carolinus, one of approximately fifteen found in the area.
Synchronous fireflies from Allegheny
Best Viewing Dates: June 10 - June 22
Peak Times: 10:00pm
Visit: Contact Allegheny National Park for info.

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is located in South Carolina and probably one of the least known areas for synchronous fireflies in North America. Just like locations in Tennessee and Pennsylvania, Photinus carolinus is the species of firefly responsible for putting on a synchronized display here. For two weeks in late May and early June the fireflies in Congaree will blink in unison on evenings with the right weather conditions. The habitat of Congaree is also slightly more unique than others with synchronous fireflies in that it's more swampy and known as an "old growth floodplain forest".
Best Viewing Dates: May 21 - June 14
Peak Times: 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Visit: Call the park and ask a park ranger for info.

Southeast Asian mangrove forests

Synchronous fireflies in Southeast Asia are not as rare as those found in North America. In this part of the world, you’ll often find them in mangrove forests, nipa palms, and other forested areas along riverbanks, lighting up entire trees with their spectacular displays. The genus found here is Pteroptyx, of which there are numerous species.
Southeast Asian fireflies in Mangrove trees
Best Viewing Dates: All Year (January - December)
Peak Times: 7:15pm - 11:00pm
Visit: Kayak tours available. Contact Kayakasia for info and tour times.
The nightly synchronous firefly displays here can be absolutely stunning, rivaling anything you can see in the U.S. Part of the reason for this is because fireflies mate year-round here. At certain times of year, this can create overlap between the older adult fireflies with the newly winged fireflies. This creates a fantastic display, but is very hard to predict due to the long development period of these firefies.
Fireflies in the Philippines are also very sensitive to light and noise. River guides report that yellowish light, or light that flickers a lot can disturb and sometimes attract them, so when conducting tours they are trained to keep lights steady. Loud noises, smoke, and strong winds also disturb them.
Southeast Asian fireflies in Mangrove trees

Cajon Bonito Arizona

This is a different species than that found in the Alleghenies and Great Smoky Mountains—Photinus knulli. Because the population of this species in the area is so small, they do not produce the dramatic spectacles you can see in the Eastern mountains and in Southeast Asia—perhaps this is why they are not as widely known or sought-after. Firefly researchers state that the males of this species gather in groups called “leks” and flash synchronously to attract females to their area. The males in this species generally flash three times per second.
Photinus knulli fireflies
Synchronous fireflies are very rare—but their spectacles are stunning and worth the effort it takes to seek them out. For many people, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Find them wherever they dwell, and you won’t regret it.

Synchronous fireflies mating in the Smokies mountains video

More info and video via National Park Service on these fireflies:
Synchronous firefly display brings visitors to Elkmont:  video

Into the vortex


Palms at night

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance.

Bernard Williams

Ranunculus - red, yellow, white, pink, orange

Flower girl

Doing stuff

The future is always beginning now.

Mark Strand


20 year old Hunter S. Thompson's advice for finding purpose and meaning in your life

These excerpts are from Brainpickings.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles…”
And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you.

Noting that his friend had thus far lived “a vertical rather than horizontal existence,” Thompson acknowledges the challenge of this choice but admonishes that however difficult, the choice must be made or else it melts away into those default modes of society:
A man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”
And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know—is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life.