Cherish is my favorite word, and I cherish the ability of turning the routine into a beautiful moment.
Nature creates in me, a spiritual and meditative time to bring peace, harmony and balance, into an otherwise ordinary day~
Mary Howell Cromer

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Where There is Beauty, Nature Also Can Bring Tragedy~

This will be the second entry following our recent 6,344 mile journey to the Pacific Northwest and back.  
It has taken too much of my time to edit, and then decide which of the over 2,000 images to use.  
Yesterday I posted 14 drafts and if I only post one a week, we will still be looking at my journey images 3 months from now.  
I have decided to post 2 drafts every week and maybe even 3, and I will also be connecting each of them to Mosaic Monday and Wild Bird Wednesday and it is my hope that you will come and join me on this ride. 
There is a warning at the bottom of this page as when we were traveling, we met with a sight that I hated to share, yet it was part of the story.  
I only share a single mosaic, but also give meaning to it, as best that I can!

*Please take a few extra minutes to visit both posts published and shared on the following memes, as I would love to share this whole journey with you, and I have packed a whole lot in to each post.  
Thank you very much~

Remember to double click on the image, to view a larger slide show of the images shared

I am linking up with Mary for:
"Mosaic Monday"

I am linking up with Stewart at:

   Wild Bird Wednesday

In the field above and a few others scattered in this post, we counted 11 Swainson's Hawks, all hunting and even one bathing in a puddle. 
The area was 10 miles East of the Badlands National Park entrance at mile marker 128 in South Dakota.
There was much moisture following a very recent snow melt~
The Raptor below...I believe it to be a juvenile Western Red-Shouldered Hawk, but my ID may be off.  This was the only image that I was about to get~


While these are not very clear, the rising sun turns a Great Blue Heron bronze in the morning light~

 Spent Sunflower fields were everywhere and I enjoyed the textures they gave along the route~

I enjoy seeing these rounded bales, since we don't have them much here.  
After taking these images, I noticed, I got some Pheasants too.  
That made me happy!

While stopping for a light meal one afternoon, I heard people saying that the hunters were not having such luck on their Pheasant hunt...ah, but I know where they were and I am not telling ;)

Horses out on the ranches, always a beautiful sight~

As I have said before, most of my images shared are taken from a fast moving car.  
The Western Red-tailed Hawk below, caught my eye from the light feathering on it's front.  
I do not miss seeing many of them, but they are sure hard to capture at this kind of travel~

A Magpie flies as the sun rises and then we see them off and on all day long, always in a hurry~

A Bald Eagle hunts along a stream in South Dakota.  
I really thought the pink of sunrise left in the sky, showed it off well~

Not sure what these horses were running from, or to, but they sure were pretty~

Western R-T Hawk hunts high from a utility pole and we begin to see remnants of a 43" unseasonable snow fall, that came just days before our arrival.  
A Pronghorn Antelope taking it easy in the sunshine~

The images below show the tranquility that this land has most of the year, but then an early Winter storm can create monstrous disaster for the ranchers~




We  began witnessing such a tragedy that we had never seen before...ever.  
There were hundreds of dead cows along the Interstate.  
Some of them had crossed the fencing, the snow so deep, they stepped over without knowing.  
It was not traffic that took their lives though, it was the depth of the snow.  
We heard so many conversations, and each one was heart breaking.  
The ranchers just had no time, no way to get their herds into a safe area, before this storm came.
The only positive note was that while traveling in Montana, there was a man who came up with a plan that if those ranchers there who could, and would donate a heifer to a rancher who lost theirs in South Dakota, that would be of great help.
  25 % of the herds where this storm occurred, were lost.  
That is huge!
 The first image is of the Badlands from a distance, right about where the loss began.
I hope you can make it past the single image, to view the amazing sunrise we saw the day gives one hope for a new day~

 I have photographed this old homestead in the past, but wanted to share again.  
I took lots of images of old structures on this journey~

Many of the highways and Interstates in South Dakota and Wyoming are pinkish and look pretty with the lay of the land~

In life, where this is tragedy, there are new dawns and new hopes, and these sunrise images were seen the morning after we came past the devastation from the snow storm~


  1. i know that early, severe snowstorm took so much from those ranchers. such heartbreak. i hope the government will give proper aid - thru the farm bill or via fema funds. it will take them years to build their herds back up.

    we see almost nothing BUT round bales here. i get gleeful when i see someone baling square. :)

    1. Theresa, it was one of the saddest things I have ever witnessed. My heart poured out to those ranchers and their families. We heard that many of them, lost their entire herd. I too, hope that the government will do right by them!

  2. Blown away by all your images -- but so terribly sad about the dead cattle. We saw only once where they were picking them up and it made me want to cry. I thinkwe were probably about a week later than you -- most of the awful work had already been done when we went through. I heard on the NPR we were listening to as we drove about the website to donate cattle .

  3. Beautiful photos and collages - I felt so sorry for the cattle, and the ranchers...that was really devastating.

  4. How sad...I know it was upsetting to you as much as you love nature and animals. Love your photos and I'm glad you have lots to share. Sweet hugs my friend!

  5. Lovely photos from your trip, Mary! It is hard to pick a favorite, I love them all. I feel sorry for the cow farmers, I hope the government will help them and do it quickly. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

  6. That was so sad the devastation that freak snowstorm brought. Those poor ranchers! Those poor cows. You certainly did see a lot on your travels.

  7. I enjoyed see the countryside and wildlife from your trip. Devastating about the cattle and I do hope your government will help the farmers.

  8. Such glorious photos. The cattle deaths are just devastating ...I had read of this awhile ago on the news and it is hard to imagine the scope of it.
    I thought of YOU on Saturday morning! :) I was feeding the birds some cracked corn, and then peanuts to squirrels and bluejays and I guess there was so much action going on that we attracted a lovely red tailed hawk . I was able to get very close and got some nice shots and he was just magnificent! :)

  9. Thank you for sharing your journey. Your shots taken from the car are really amazing. So sorry to hear of the cattle dying in the snow. Nature's power can be tragic.

  10. You have make beautiful photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  11. unfortunately the sadness overwhelms all the positives of this post....

    1. Dave, I am so sorry that the one image, intended to tell a whole story, as I witnessed this entire day for us unfold, touched such a sadness in you. I tried very hard to make it as tender a blow as possible, and I cannot tell you enough how tragic it was for us to witness, but the larger image is that of loss to these ranchers and then the power behind others willing to donate cows to help get them started once again. Take care~

  12. HI Mary Thanks for sharing about your trip but that is devastating news about the cattle and farmers, I di hope they get help from the government. Love all your potographs.

  13. Great photos of a very interesting trip. Very sad that the storm caused such death and destruction.

  14. Beautiful photos! What a tragedy for the farmers to lose so many cattle.

  15. What a wonderful post! It shows so much beauty and should encourage us all to get out and embrace it. Yes, there may be tragedy to behold. It's an unfortunate part of our existence. How we handle it is what matters and, Mary, I think you handled it quite well in your reporting. Our hearts will be with those who suffered a loss.

    As you so eloquently posted, a new dawn bring new hope! Thank you!

  16. Wow, so many marvellous images. How sad about the cows!

  17. enjoyable series though sad re the cows. I would be somewhat frustrated not being able to pull up for photos every now and then

  18. I think you must be a hawk whisperer! You see and photograph them constantly. Beautiful photos and the scenery is gorgeous. I read about the cow kill from the deep snow. Ranching and farming is hard enough and I know that has to be a blow to the affected ranchers.

  19. Such a beautiful series here Mary! So many gorgeous landscapes & creatures!

  20. What a fantastic trip you had, seeing such a beautiful part of the country. I was so saddened reading about the cattle deaths caused by the sudden storm, I can't imagine how awful it was to see it firsthand.


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