Observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest!

Symmetry in Nature 1

Nature. What compels us to seek her wonders? She calls us forth when we least expect it, inspires us beyond words and changes her moods more often than any woman! Captivating is her charm, fiery is her anger, breathtaking is her beauty! She is the epitome of poetry, the effervescence of life!

Have you ever thought about what happens when left meets right in nature? Is the left wing of a butterfly different from the right? Did you know a snowflake is completely symmetrical within itself, while not matching any other snowflake? What about something as simple as leaf symmetry? Some leaves are flat and wide; others are spiky and thin but if you fold one in half, is one side larger, smaller, fatter, thinner than the other?

Such questions go on…and on…and on… Nature is Fascinating. Luxurious. Amazing. Miraculous. Extraordinary. Splendorous. It flames within a natural framework often making the ordinary extraordinary. Do you agree? Not sure? Within the poetry and photographs below are only a few of nature’s finest! Thanks again to Barb Beacham, Life in the Foothills, for sharing some of her ‘flaming’ photography!


Symmetry in Nature


Sand dollars, seashells, and crabs
Spiny starfish under the sea
Two parts reflect along an axis
A concept known as symmetry

bth_dividersUnder the sea

Honey bees, insects and leaves
One side the mirror image of the other
Beauty to behold as left matches right
Especially in butterflies one after another

bth_dividersSwallowtail butterfly

Reflections along the water’s edge
Create amazing mirror imagery
Shimmering, shining in crystal splendor
The very dawn of existence’s mystery


Regal tiger, graceful deer, majestic elephant
Even the grunting, voracious agouty
One half the same shape and size as the other
Perfectly balanced, evocation of beauty

bth_dividersThe elephant

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Proportions of Man’
Balances the human form in equilibrium
Life emulates the mirrors of the world
Especially reflections in an emporium

©2013 catnipoflife©2013 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

If that is not enough, visit 10 Beautiful Examples of Symmetry in Nature

Where have you seen symmetry in nature recently?



Bob Mielke is an awesome photographer! He visits the Portland, Oregon zoo regularly. In fact, many of the animals have become so accustomed to his camera they actually pose. Right, Bob?


lion cubThis site is great fun. When you get to the alphabetical list check out lions, elephants, caracal and otters to see Portland’s newborns.

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Flora ’n’ Fauna

catnipoflife is honored to feature more of Barb Beacham’s photography from Life in the Foothills. Barb has been recognized as one of catnip’s featured photographers on You have but one life, LIVE it! and Twilight.

Thank you, Barb, for sharing your awesome photography!


Flora ’n’ Fauna


Splendiferous, copious forests
Mark territorial landscapes
Where impressive oaks and lofty pines
Show off their stout and woody shapes


Desert plants and wildflowers
Adapt to extreme heat and aridity
Fierce, wild, red-to-orange and white
Emerge the cactus and desert chicory


The ubiquitous howling coyote
Announces its presence at night
Truly a song out of the fierce Wild West
Instead of a cause for sheer fright


Deciduous trees and shrubs
Common to most habitats
Shed their dry leaves in autumn
Forming nature’s welcome mats


Crackling sticks, dry leaves underfoot
Announce squirrels, rabbits and such
Deep in the woods silence is broken
As gunshot startles a strong buck


The nervous pristine white-tailed deer
Tan in the summer, brown in winter
Once statuesque at early dawn
Now suddenly becomes a sprinter


Stopping to rub antlers on a tree
The deer looks warily ahead
Time for a rest by a babbling brook
For a few shrubs and nature’s bed

Sharla Lee Shults

As a matter of fact, an ordinary desert supports a much greater variety of plants than does either a forest or a prairie.

—Ellsworth Huntington (Yale University professor, 1876–1947)


Beauty to Behold

Other than writing, being outdoors is my passion, whether mowing the grass or working in the garden. Today actually featured both and through the clearing away of accumulated growth came the uncovering of much beauty to behold beginning with the rising sun.

The brightness of day
Flaunts its glory
Be thankful
Look up


Awakenings: Timeless B&W Photography

See on Scoop.itAwakenings: America & Beyond


A continuous range of spectral colors engulfs the Earth, sometimes pastel, oftentimes bright and bold, but such is not true for the beginning of photography. Yet, the images captured are nothing short of spectacular – delicate, pure and detailed – and that is simply the black and white (B&W) of it!

During the 1890s, black and white photographs became commonplace in seed and nursery catalogs shortly after Kodak introduced the first handheld camera in 1888.

Sharla Shults‘s insight:

Visit Awakenings for the video The Photography of Timothy H. O’Sullivan: After his start capturing the horrors of the Civil War for Mathew Brady’s studio, 19th century photographer Timothy H. O’Sullivan uncovered the beauty of the great expanses of the American west.

Guest Photographer: Marilyn Armstrong @Serendipity



Barb Beacham from Life in the Foothills has graciously provided some awesome photographs to accompany the catnipoflife poetry Twilight. Barb was one of catnip’s featured photographers last month. If you missed her great photographic match to You have but one life, LIVE it! then, I encourage you to check it out. NOW! Yes, right now…just click HERE!

Thank you, Barb! You truly outdid yourself on this one!


bth_dividersBetween dawn and sunrise
Where time seems to stand still
The sun not yet visible
Ascends in slow motion until…


Sunlight scatters along the horizon
Where clouds catch the first rays of dawn
Erupting into a blaze of color
Only heaven could possibly spawn


Standing on the edge of silence
A sense of calm penetrates the soul
Hovering between darkness and light
Sheer magnificence to behold


Between sunset and dusk
Day’s last light seems to stand still
The sun barely visible
Descends in slow motion until…


Intense color splashes across the horizon
Where the sky catches the sun’s last rays
Illuminating a thin veil of haziness
Below the clouds that are now ablaze


A silhouetted figure lost and alone
Against the pending backdrop of night
Grasps the last red-orange rays of the sun
Fervently kissing the day’s twilight


With radiant images now past
The world becomes shrouded in grey
While the twinkling of night’s first stars
Engulfs the glories of the day

©2013 catnipoflife

©2013 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

AND as an added plus to help you relax at the close of day. . .

Then, to top it off, introduction to a brand new blogger:


“Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.”
—Lucy Maud Montgomery (Canadian author, 1874–1942)


Who walks who?

Within the catnipoflife are animals of all kinds, shapes and sizes. Not all animals are good pets but those that find themselves at the top of the popularity list are dogs and cats. Then, of course, there are dog people and there are cat people, a topic of discussion all iMarilynts own.

Today, I am going to introduce you to a dog person. Her name is Marilyn and you can visit her @ Serendipity. Marilyn will not only enlighten you with her prolific writing but also her great photography. Her topics are very diverse and she will often take you on a journey back in time that makes you feel you were there. Here is a little tidbit about Marilyn in her own words: 

A friend told me she never knows what I’m going to write about, so it’s always a surprise. That makes at least two of us. Until my little lightbulb goes off, I don’t know what I’m going to say either. I have a lot of varied interests: history, photography, philosophy, religion, politics, ecology, technology. I’m a bit of a geek and I do enjoy my toys. Serendipity is appropriate, I guess. Grab bag would work too. Read MORE about Marilyn @The Me Page!

All I know is she is a terrific asset to the blogosphere and has become a wonderful friend!

Walking My Dog

Strolling in the sunshine
Or even in the rain
Time to walk together
Grows to be life’s champagne

Great Griff 12-26-02_edited
Early morning strolls
Through dew-dappled grass
Surpass therapy
Any doctor suggests

Breaths of clean, crisp air
Refreshed by a mild breeze
Energize critters
Scampering through the trees

Sight of a cat
Perhaps a squirrel or two
With lightning speed
He’s off into the blue

Stopping to sniff flowers
Scratching in Mother Earth
Running, barking, howling
Signal moments of mirth

Walking at his own speed
Happy as can be
I’m not walking him
He’s walking me!

©2013 catnipoflife©2013 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

“I took my dog for a walk… all the way from New York to Florida… I said to him “There now you’re done.”
—Steven Wright (American comedian, actor and writer, b. 1955)


More Than “Just Photographs”

A step back. . . recall, reflect, remember:

In March, Megan @ Make Something Mondays blessed her visitors and followers with some photographs that are more than “just photographs.” Megan always enlightens her readers with posts representing the most unusual to the most inspiring! She features a blog about art and design, tutorials and creativity. I encourage you to pay her a visit and enjoy her uniqueness!

Below is a slideshow of the photographs from Megan. Each is special in its own way carrying its own unique message:

A message of love.
A message of hope.
A message of challenge.
A message of surprise.
A message of remembering.
A message of loneliness.
A message of laughter.
A message of comfort.
A message of joy.
A message of awesomeness

and the list goes on.

These are photographs that you do not simply glance and move on to the next. Ponder each one with thoughts of what it represents and how lives are touched within each snapshot! If you must, pause the slideshow and continue at will. Capture the feeling behind each photograph: smile, laugh, shed a tear for the emotion is there within each and every one…

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Life is filled with messages
Cued with the rising of the sun
Veiled in the shadows of twilight
Waiting for just the right moment
To be captured and remembered
Rather than lost within the blink of an eye

©2013 catnipoflife© 2013 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults


Empty Nest

Each of us at some point in time has hoped for that perfect (well, almost perfect) Kodak moment: the moment when the extraordinary appears right before our eyes. To have that happen to the novice of novice photographers is indeed PRICELESS!

I have seen pictures and watched videos of tiny baby hatchlings but NEVER experienced such a sight up close and personal. I spotted the bird nest as I was in the midst of completing yard work, specifically edging around one of the Crepe Myrtles in our front yard. My camera broke some months back and I was told it could not be repaired. So, I quickly ran into the house and grabbed my SmartPhone. (Don’t you just love the name of these newfangled phones!)

Needless to say, I knew the bird nest wasn’t going anywhere since it had already endured days upon days of wind and rain thus enough time to get Mr. SmartieSnap. Of course, I thought I was only getting a picture of a nest.

Here are the results:

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

Occasionally in the outdoors
One discovers a bird nest
Fascinating in its craftsmanship
Where speckled eggs gently rest

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

 Collected mud, sticks or dried grass
Are readied for the begotten
Woven against a soft lining
Of fur, feathers, hair and cotton

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

Intricacy of design
Built by two feet and a beak
Becomes nature’s protector
From that which predators seek

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

Cradling of such a small nest
Rests in the crook of a branch
Simple but awe-inspiring
Like dawn at a Western ranch


© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

Tiny little hatchlings
Eager to fly on their own
Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp
Letting their presence be known

Baby birds flop out of the nest
Landing abruptly on the ground
Mother bird stands close by watching
In case danger might be around


© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults


© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

Once grown, flying on their own
Mother knows she did her best
Does SHE now somberly mourn
Facing life with an empty nest?


© 2013, Sharla Lee Shults

©2013 catnipoflife

Sharla Lee Shults

“Empty is a negative word. Replace it with peaceful, calm or relaxed.” —Joi Sigers (Author, b. 1978)

A little something extra from one much more professional than I. . .live and learn!


You have but one life: LIVE IT!

Today, inspiration steers me toward sharing with you some of my catnipoflife poetry along with featuring awesome photography so graciously provided by Barbara Beacham @Life in the Foothills. If you have not visited Barbara’s blog, I encourage you to mosey on over right now! You will not be disappointed. In fact, you will probably leave as a new follower. As just a little insight into the awe of Life in the Foothills, the Best Moment Award was bestowed upon Barbara by catnipoflife just recently. Here is what I had (and still have) to say about Barbara Beacham:

Can you imagine Life in the Foothills? I can! after visiting Barb’s blog and her exceptional photography. With just one look, you will be hooked! She will draw you into the lowest valley one minute only to take you to the highest mountaintop the next. She will enlighten you with the wild side of the countryside!

Okay, Barb, you had just better get ready for a visitor one day! I want to experience what life is like living in the foothills! With life being so short and the fact that we only have ONE life to live, it is most befitting to simply LIVE IT! From the inner voice of catnip, “observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest!”


Follow Life’s Echo



Is it true a mountain echo
Resonates the cry of man
Swallowing up the lonely sound
Just to bring it back again?


Reflective in its harmony
Does the echo solemnly rest
On the ears of the crier
Who put it first to its test?


Mirrored in the background
Of this shrill, lonely sound
Incredible beauty exists
Sometimes lost, sometimes found


Each sunrise and every sunset
Capture life’s true mystery
Echoes of their glory and beauty
Intensify life’s living history


Take a long, panoramic look
Marvel as wonders abound
For the echoes of life
Stand stalwartly all around


Beautiful rainbows, exquisite stars
Embellish a magnificent sky
Revealing fragileness of life
Gone in the mere blink of an eye


Visit the awe-inspiring mountain
Remember to follow the echo
You have but one life: LIVE IT!
Applaud in the blaze of life’s glow

Sharla Lee Shults

“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”

                                                                  —Joan of Arc (National heroine of France, 1412-1431)


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