This unique phenomenon occurred this evening at sunset…but on the opposite horizon! There is a lot of information available on what causes these rays to appear, so if you enjoy reading multi-syllabic, technical jargon, feel free to Google it. On the other hand, if you simply want to enjoy yet another of God’s wonders, click on the image for a larger view!
This time of year, if you happen upon a forgotten, rural graveyard along the northern plains in the evening with a little moonlight, a quick glance may reveal what appear to be ghosts standing guard. Very likely these ghosts are bright blooms of the native Yucca plants that make themselves at home in the arid plains. Nick-named Ghosts in the Graveyard, in Montana our most common species is the Small Soapweed Yucca (Yucca glauca). Climatic conditions this year must have been perfect for these hardy plants, as their explosion of blossoms is unlike any other year in recent history. The short-lived blooms give the landscape a truly unique look, and they also bring beauty to a plant that is oft derided because of the lance-tipped leaves than can inflict tremendous pain to the unwary pedestrian.
A Ghost Tale
A great many years ago, there were twelve men rowing a boat across a stormy, raging sea. The men were frantic, and certain of their impending demise, when they saw what appeared to be a ghost coming towards them across the sea. Their worries about the sea became minor compared to the terror of this approaching apparition, but their fears were soon allayed, when what they thought was a ghost said, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Mark 6:50). Speaking these words, Jesus Christ arrived to provide unexpected help and encouragement at a time of desperate need. He continues to offer us that help today, because Christ, not evil spirits, is the ruler of heaven and earth. No matter what is challenging us, health concerns, financial troubles, problems at work or home, or sinful addictions, put your faith in Jesus Christ and allow Him to calm the stormy seas of your life.
I took a late evening trip towards Mt. Baker last month, arriving at Nooksack Falls at the same time as twilight. Nearly a one second exposure helped add some light to an otherwise dreary scene and turned the water into a silky flow.
Last week I was traveling through rural, north-central Montana, and came across a Burrowing Owl perched on a fence post. Having never seen this species before, I was pretty excited about shooting some pictures of him. He flew down to the grass, but remained visible enough to get a few pictures. It wasn’t until a few days later when I downloaded the images that I discovered another pair of eyes in the grass next to him. After they both flew away several minutes later, I walked over to where they had been, and found a burrow that I would normally have thought to be a badger den. (If you can’t see the female in the grass, click on the image to enlarge the view.)
The light was getting tough as I traveled over Rabbit Ears Pass, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, just in time to capture a few images of this handsome fellow. I don’t get the chance to see Moose very often in my travels, so it is always exciting when I am blessed with the opportunity. I think it has been about a year and a half since my last moose post, Moose Portraiture.
Last Thursday we were visited by yet another weather system, bringing us between one and two inches of precious moisture. As I was coming home, and before the rain began to fall, I was taken by the strange cloud formations above. Lightning quickly followed, then we were drenched by two separate barrages of rain over the next 6 hours. Our drought-striken area has gained a reprieve, for which we are surely thankful.
Over the course of a day, over 150 million gallons of water gush from Giant Springs. Located northeast of Great Falls, Montana, the largest flowing spring in the state was first described by Captain Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805 as, “the largest fountain or Spring I ever Saw.” He added that the water, “boils up from under the rocks near the edge of the river.” The source of the water has been traced to the Little Belt Mountains, some 75 miles distant. Studies indicate that it may take as many as 50 years for water to seep into the ground in the Little Belts, travel through the Madison aquifer, and then surface in this spring along the bank of the Missouri River. The temperature of the water emanating from the spring remains at a consistent 54 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. (Click on any of the images to view them in larger size.)
As the water flows out of the spring’s pool, some flows directly into the Missouri River, while the remainder exits through the North Fork Roe River. The Roe River holds the distinction of being the shortest river in the world, with a total flowing distance of 201 feet. The Roe ends at its confluence with the Missouri River, the longest traveling river in Montana, flowing 1029 miles from Three Forks to the North Dakota border.
God’s grace is like the water flowing from Giant Springs. He offers it freely, and we often receive more than we deserve. And, like the temperature of the water coming from the spring, His promises to believers are constant and unwavering.