Natural History and Mindfulness (excerpt)

Full Moonrise at sunset, Chino Valley, Arizona

Full Moonrise at sunset, Chino Valley, Arizona. © Stephen J. Krieg

“Natural history and mindfulness are two surfaces of the same leaf, a seamless merging of attentiveness outward and inward, toward the interwoven realms of nature and psyche. For some people, the window is clear looking outward; for others, it’s easier to look within. But regardless of what’s being attended, the practice of mindful attention is very much the same, and the two practices are fully complementary. That Gautama, the historical Buddha, had his original moment of awakening while seated under a tree is probably not coincidental.” — Thomas Lowe Fleishner, in The Way of Natural History, © 2011 by Thomas Lowe Fleishner, published by Trinity University Press (

However, I distinguish between the words coincidental, as in co-incidental–happening simultaneously–rather than happenstance. To me, “coincidence” is more like synchronicity, or attraction, regardless of how random or accidental the incident may appear to be. Though if I dwell on words and semantics too long it distracts me from being mindfully immersed while appreciating the tree! And the moonrise, and the color gradients of the Earth’s shadow to the sunset afterglow above it.

Photo location: Chino Valley, Yavapai County, Arizona. The best place I’ve yet seen to view the Earth’s shadow at sunrise and sunset, day in and day out. A mere coincidence? Or a co-incidence? You decide, I’m going to keep photographing.

April Full Moon, Prescott, Arizona


The calendar shows tomorrow as being the Full Moon, which is deceiving from a practical standpoint. Because the moon becomes 100 % full (100 percent illuminated) just after midnight tonight. Which has it just into the wee minutes of tomorrow as far as the calendar date is concerned.

But tonight is effectively the night of the Full Moon. Here is how it looked as it rose over the Bradshaw Mountains on the southeast edge of Prescott at dusk this evening.

April Morning, Granite Lake


The snow storm had passed, the morning dawning clear and calm. I drove up to Granite Lake on the Prescott National Forest just west of town to check out the morning light.

It was perfect. Bright, clear, the deciduous trees (willows and cottonwoods) in the riparian zone along the edge of the lake leafing out. Almost nobody around. The reflection of Granite Mountain slowly undulated on the water’s surface, mesmerizing me.

Photo Location: Granite Basin Lake, Granite Basin Recreation Area, Prescott National Forest, Prescott, Yavapai County, Central Arizona Highlands.

Photo © Stephen J. Krieg |