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Out into the beauty …

While we can’t deny the value of the humankind creations, such as architecture, art and photographs, the natural world has an unmatched splendor. In a word, it’s beauty.

And, there is so much beauty all around us to see, to touch and to hear…the oceans, the rivers, the mountains, the sky, the beaches, the plants and animal life. Most of which, we can likely explore without even leaving our homes or state.

So, if you are sympathetic to the idea, you might want to go outside and do some exploration. Because no matter how many times you look at something, it is always different, always beautiful.

In Italian they call it as la bellezza della natura è bella. Indeed, that is just how it is. With or whiteout our consent, nature is always beautiful, is always changing and transforming familiar landscaping into something extraordinary.

Yesterday’s ocean turbulence could harm those surfers who thought they could catch the white crests. Today, it is absolutely quiet. The waves are not crashing on the shore. The water is not splashing or rushing anywhere.

When you look at the horizon, all you can see is soothing scenery that invites your mind to rest and wander freely.

Well, I am prepared to dive-in and completely connect myself with the vastness and mystery of the natural world around me. After all, when we align ourselves with the beauty of nature, we become part of a whole. And, if it looks this good during daylight, just image how it will look in the evening!

Happy Friday G+!

Photo Credit: +Valeria Bressan

#valeriabressan
#nature
#californiatravels
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...Clouds of smoke...

Authorities are investigating; but it is still very unclear what have caused the fires through California’s wine country.

Some of the factors that have been considered by local authorities are the high winds, the timing, the heavy vegetation, the low humidity and the soil dry conditions.

At this point authorities think it is extremely unlike that the fires has been caused or started by humans.

We know the fires ignited on Sunday night driven by an impressive hurricane force winds of more than 50 mph. Some areas even reported more than 79 mph...ridiculous high!

The flames approached so quickly to the city limits destroying structures, homes, hotels, hospitals, business, vineyards, picturesque landscapes etc.

There were no warnings and many residents had no idea what was happening until officials knocked their doors.

We all know this is never good news, especially at 4:30 am. There was simply no time to get anything else than your pets, essential papers, medications and a couple of personal items. You literally had minutes to escape from the inferno.

Thousands of people evacuated, and unfortunately some no longer have a home to go back in anymore.

The devastation is significant. The smoke is toxic. The air unhealthy, and the loss of life: just heartbreaking.

So far, the fires have torched more than 191,000 acres through the state and took 29 lives. Officers are still searching for missing people, so it is just logical for me to think the number of fatalities will increase in the next few days.

Unfortunately, the situation remains unfavorable. Enough smoke has descended. The haze is very thick; there is no rain in the forecast this week, and more high winds are expected between this evening and tomorrow.

I hope the wind will change direction. Otherwise, that could mean more problems to our community and my lovely Sonoma neighborhood.

Undoubtedly the impact ~ economically, socially and mentally ~ of this disaster is already huge and will require a lot of efforts and resources. It is going to take months...years for the county, the communities and neighbors to recover from this catastrophic event.

We had fires in the past, but we are certainly witnessing one of the biggest and most serious fires ever recorded. I have never experienced something like this and confess that until this week, I’ve never really thought about what it would mean if a fire like that ever got out of control.

Now I do, and the feeling is very frightening. Once again, we are in a critical state of emergency due to the impacts of climate change. Yes, again!! Errrrr ... We are dealing with climate change. In short, a topic that has been around for a long time, but it is not necessarily helping the environment.

Let's face it. Climate scientists have been warning us over and over again from the past years about the warming world, but it seems like we keep acting as nothing is really happening.

Will these catastrophic events be enough to force many more of us to listen? What are we missing?

We have enough compelling evidences that heat and drought creates the optimal conditions for natural disasters, such as wildfires. Indeed, the conditions can conspire, but again are we doing enough to avoid or prevent the natural disasters or are we just getting so used to them?

I think that would be a huge mistake!

Those are the questions hanging in my head as I looked to the lovely nearby vineyards and hills ~ sadly now, with full of smoke and flames.

Be safe!

Photo Credit: Noah Berger

#sonomacountyfire
#sonoma
#calfire
#globalwarming
#climatechange
#moonmountain
#valleyofthemoon
#valeriabressan
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...Shadows with kindness…

As I start seeing life from a different dimension; I came to recognize that nothing has a more profound impact on my soul than nature.

Nature is timeless, simple. There are no boundaries, no beginnings, no endings…only an unpretentious sense of infinity, purity, purpose, joy and beauty...

A true (for me) to live in … One day at a time…

Sometimes it is hard for us to see, but beauty exists in imperfection.

Photo Credit +Valeria Bressan
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It's perfectly moist

California agricultural landscape is changing, but not so for the almond farms…

Simply, the nut trees will die if not watered... year round…
And, California growers can’t afford the risk to their investments. So, they are going after every available source ~ including groundwater ~ to keep their almond trees alive.

It takes up to a gallon of water to produce a single almond. That’s more than all water used by California’s entire population!

On the other hand, we can’t deny the importance of almonds to California’s economy. It is a multi-billion dollar business, and the top export crop in the nation’s agriculture state. Just in 2015, it brought about $5.33 billion to the state’s economy. So, absolutely water will continue to flow in the nearly 1 million acres in California.

But, as the drought continues to be a concern, is this the best use of our water? How much will it cost us to continue to grow these tasteful nuts? Are almond crops helping us create a better future for California? Are the almonds farms helping us to Create a Better Earth?

As crazy it may sound, the answers to the above questions may be Yes. Here is the reason why.

Apparently, the orchards have a huge potential to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. They are capturing significant amount of CO2 from the atmosphere and, most importantly, keeping the CO2 in their soil. That cuts the gas emissions significantly.

In other words, this has a potentially positive impact on air quality, soil health, and overall production efficiency. Another upside of high levels of carbon in the soil is that it helps dirt hold water. Thus, almond farming is getting a lot of attention and support from investors, almond farmers, politicians and even celebrities.

In all, the almonds farms and other orchard crops are sucking up a lot of water… but they are literally providing us more than crunchy, delicious and healthy nuts.

It is undeniable that ~ “the devil’s nut”, as many like to call almonds in California right now ~ are contributing to a greater sustainable lifestyle to all of us.

Oddly enough, a soil perfectly moist seems well worthy and an important asset. And, clearly the more we stop emitting, the better the Earth will get.

So, what else should we be learning from the California almond orchards?

Are the almonds unexpectedly becoming our rescuer to create a Better Earth?

......................................................................................................

We are a group of members of Google+ Create, a Google program for recognizing creative users of Google+. This year we are celebrating Earth Day with this small, symbolic project with the theme: Earth Day 2017 - My planet. My part.

#CreateCommunityEarthDay2017
#CreateABetterEarth

Photo Credit by Almond Board of California
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Spring is arriving early this year, and my garden is ready to welcome the blooms.

I have to say, I am super excited about this season!!!

Happy Monday, G+!
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The language of flowers…

The main purpose of a flower is the reproduction of the individual and the species, but no one really pays attention or associated them with such an important purpose.

From antiquity to the modern age, flowers have been used as a method of an “abstract” communication and in a wide range of events and functions. Because of their smell, variety and colorful appearance, they have been the number one choice and favorite element among people to beautify environments. A practice that is still alive and widely accepted in almost every culture.

What I found most interesting about this cultural aspect is that very rarely people will consider choosing flowers based on their biological function, medicinal properties, history and meaning.

There are considerable differences among many species and it is here that their “abstract” language can become quite complex.

For instance, we all know a red rose symbolizes “love and desire”, but do you know that a lavender rose means “love at first sight”?
A red tulip “perfect lover”? A white gardenia “secret love”? A blue lily of the Nile “lasting love”? A acacia blossom “concealed love”? And a lily of the valley “you make my life complete”?

The list is vast and while they are all unique and stunningly beautiful; each flower has its own meaning and represents so much more than just their beauty.

This is the essence in the language of flowers. So, whether you are planning to give – or hoping to receive - be mindful about your flowers options or arrangements.

From your garden, a florist shop, fresh market, a nursery… single, half dozen, a dozen… that it is your decision. Just be creative, keep your heart open and remember to select your flowers very carefully.

You really don't want to pass the wrong message or miss the opportunity to express your most sincere and deepest sentiment ~ especially on February 14!

I honestly can’t live a day without fresh flowers around me. They make so happy and their scent ….ahhh, that literally sparkles my soul!!! ...

Flowers create beautiful bouquets; but individuals create beautiful moments and memories!

Happy V's Day ❤️ !!!

Photo Credit by +Valeria Bressan

#CantLiveWithout

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Once a month...always with me! Always different, always unexpected, always special, always worthy... no matter what or where I am ....
Lucky me, I am finally well (here) and the sky is so clear!!!

Happy weekend everybody!

Photo Credit by +Valeria Bressan
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There is something about being in nature…

If you’re like me, no matter if it’s super hot or freezing cold, full of sunshine or even pouring rain, alone or with a friend, you will take a moment to be outdoors.

Today, I found this amazing place...
My hours, minutes and seconds were completely melted away. Everything was moving slowly and according to its natural rhythm, and quietly I started to feel and witness a great sense of balance and harmony.

What I felt was not forced or affected by any artificial means. It came very naturally as I was exploring, looking and walking around it.

The revelation of falling trees, the miracle of single flower, the infused sunlight into the water, the shadows... The beauty of nature can nurture us if we recognize and let it touch us. I think if we surrender to its beauty we may even connect with something greater than ourselves.

Go outside, look around and identify what makes you feel like a whole. Life is truly beautiful and we all have a purpose in the world. Enjoy what nature has to offer...submerse yourself and please don’t miss out something that could be pretty spectacular...

Photo Credit by +Valeria Bressan

#valeriabressan
#france


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Giving thanks… Today is the annual celebration of the fall harvest.

Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia.

In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. However this wasn’t a true influence to Native Americans.

The Thanksgiving history in North America is rooted in the religious refugees from England known as “The Pilgrims”. With the Pilgrims, Native Americans learned and held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season, and for good fortune. Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for the celebrations, but what Americans think they know about the history of Thanksgiving doesn’t always reflect the truth.

Back then, Thanksgiving holiday was a three-day celebration and also used to teach children about American freedom and how to be good citizens. In classrooms across the country, students participated in Thanksgiving pageants, sang songs, and built log cabins to represent the homes of the Pilgrims.

Today, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost its original spiritual significance; and now centers on cooking and sharing a generous meal with family and friends.

Actually, very little is known about the origin and model of the Thanksgiving that evolved into our modern-age. There is a lot of misinformation, even more so, about the Pilgrims and their interaction with Native Americans.

They came to the New World for economic reasons and to preserve their English identity, but ended up generating a lot of fear and anxiety to the Native Americans.

Oh, is that happening again? Fears were and are legitimate, but fortunately the Native Americans learned to respect the Pilgrims and vice-versa. That proved to be beneficial and helpful to our evolution... so here is the main takeaway: mutual respect must be mutual always.

It is important to remember the past and history.
Thanksgiving in North America should mean much more than traditional food, traveling, shopping…etc. A true Thanksgiving should serve to unite everyone at our table... regardless anything else.

“Wouldn’t it be nice “?

How ironic ~ I must admit ~ to be saying the exact same words our elected candidate said many times during his campaign …

“Wouldn’t it be nice "?

The best is yet to be if we continue to bring people together and embrace our diversity!! Look how the Pilgrims have influenced the American history!

But for now, let’s be grateful, appreciate the past with our hearts, and practice as an example for the future, whatever we hope for.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Photo Credit by Mike Lynch
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My unexpected Wreath

While most people would consider this beautiful fall leaves just as dirty that need to be removed from their yard, I looked at them very differently.
What can I do?!! Creativity runs in my bloodstream. I can’t deny and constantly find myself creating all kinds of things…

Well, this past weekend was not very different, but a little unexpected.

Natural resources were literally falling to my hands and feet.
My brain was instantly stimulated and I found myself unconsciously choosing leaves, delicates pepperberries, dried lotus pods, yellow flax pods, botanical elements while cleaning the yard.

By now, I have made the decision of making my own Autumn Wreath, and piece-by-piece, I have created its form and unique style.
I am pleased with the result, hang it proudly on my door, captured the moment and contemplated…

Beautiful things can happen and come to us unexpectedly…It is pretty amazing!!!

And now... my door is ready to welcome all the joy, peace, happiness and love this holiday season has to offer!!!

Have a great week everybody!

Photo Credit by +Valeria Bressan
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