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Summer Stargazing & Astrophotography in Pecan Island, LA

It was clear skies, relatively cool outside for Louisiana, and the moon was at 3% with an early setting time. A great night for stargazing. So we head out to Pecan Island, Louisiana for some night hammocking and astrophotography.

Saw a few shooting stars but failed to capture any on camera. 

This 40 minute exposure was between some giant oak trees I found in a very dark part of the road along the marshy coast. One shot is closer to the true colors, and the other is edited to bring focus on the oak tree.

 

Took some shorter exposure shots of the stars behind these giant trees. Facing the coastal marshes.

A friendly moth came to hang out.

 

Natural Culture: February finds

Had a good amount of finds in February, and also started cleaning and organizing old finds. Here’s some things about halfway through the cleaning process.

Cat vertebrae

 

 

Coyote teeth, cow teeth, & hawk talons
Coyote teeth, cow teeth, & hawk talons
Cow teeth
Cow teeth
Coyote jaws, coyote teeth, hawk talons, hawk beak shed
Coyote jaws, coyote teeth, hawk talons, hawk beak shed
hawk skull
hawk skull
hawk skull
hawk skull

Sold one of these ram sheds at the February Artwalk.

ram shed
ram shed

This one will be a nice smaller skull once it’s cleaned.

 

 

 

Raccoon(?) skull with a .22 hole in the forehead. Found it like this
Raccoon(?) skull with a .22 hole in the forehead. Found it like this

 

New find thanks to Carli who pointed it out to me. Full deer carcass.

deer carcass
deer carcass
Deer carcass. Find thanks to Carli! Had to look around to find the skull
Deer carcass. Find thanks to Carli! Had to look around to find the skull

Sold most of this at Artwalk this month.

cow jaw, coyote jaw, bones
cow jaw, coyote jaw, bones

 

 

 

me at artwalk
me at artwalk

 

Found a dog wandering on the Youngsville highway, so she joined me at the pasture until I could find someone to take care of her.

wasps nest
wasps nest

 

Happy to acquire this acrylic pour from Art by MIchelle at Artwalk.

 

art by michelle
art by michelle

 

Always running into Carli and Devon.

 

carli and devon
carli and devon
japanese magnolia in bloom
japanese magnolia in bloom
japanese magnolia in bloom
japanese magnolia in bloom

Practicing compassion and empathy is a linear path to happiness

A study from 2011 titled Practicing Compassion Increases Happiness and Self-Esteem completed an experiment showing that people who practice compassion showed an overall increase in happiness as well as a decrease in depression symptoms.

Here’s a summary excerpt of the study:

The current study examined the effect of practicing compassion towards others over a 1week period. Participants (N=719) were recruited online, and were assigned to a compassionate action condition or a control condition which involved writing about an early memory. Multilevel modeling revealed that those in the compassionate action condition showed sustained gains in happiness (SHI; Seligman et al. in Am Psychol 60:410–421, 2005) and self-esteem (RSES; Rosenberg in Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1965) over 6months, relative to those in the control condition. Furthermore, a multiple regression indicated that anxiously attached individuals (ECR; Brennan et al. 1998) in the compassionate action condition reported greater decreases in depressive symptoms following the exercise period. These results suggest that practicing compassion can provide lasting improvements in happiness and selfesteem, and may be beneficial for anxious individuals in the short run.

Mini Loving-Kindess & Compassion Exercise

Years ago I came across this vlog where vlogger Mindah-Lee Kumar suggests a mindful exercise where you practice compassion and empathy towards everyone you interact with. The way it works is simple: Every time you start an interaction with someone, silently wish them well in your mind. It helps you to care for everyone you interact with and see from their point of view. I’ve always attributed a lot of happiness and health to this exercise, and now I have the proof to show it!

checking in

this is a follow up

 

This is a follow up to a previous post where I decided to turn a new leaf and work on self-love and empathic love towards others. So if you’ve read that previous post, here’s my check-in:

It’s working. I’ve made progress.

Method

Tasks lists. Marking off tasks is the best way to gamify life. It becomes addictive to complete a goal. Mark off seven in one day! Fuck yes! Complete each task at maximum efficiency with no shortcuts. Cleaning? Every inch of the room will be reorganized and spotless. Gardening? I got fixated so hard on working Colby’s flowerbed I was trimming the bushes at night. And another thing. Have you ever seen Yes Man? Be a yes man. When you think of a fun or crazy idea like setting up an airsoft course at the property, just put it on the task list. That’ll make you compelled to do it. And you won’t regret it. Add tasks to your calendar and move them around until you have everything you’ve thought to do planned out and ready to go. Eventually life becomes fun, adventurous, risky, active, fucking euphoric. I’m more confident, I do more things standing up, I’m willing to drive further, I stand up straight. It’s the habit of doing everything, efficiently and quickly. Energetic productivity through whatever means possible. I’ve listened to Miracle by Caravan Place 137 times today according to Google Play.

Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same

Family, friends, and attitude

I feel so much more affection. Towards friends, family, pets, coworkers. We want to see each other laughing. I want to know all of them. I want to like everyone, I want a secret handshake with every one of you. I can’t help but wave at people in the hall at work. We went to McDonalds and after giving my order I nearly said “I love you” but I swiftly corrected to “bye”. So when I saw her a second later we had a good laugh.

I’m spending maybe a little less time with my family, but tremendously more quality time. I don’t go to as many of the family obligatory gatherings, but I’m spending more quality time with family. I think my new spontaneous confidence is helping me to do more meaningful things. Helping my grandpa with his yard again. Spending time to chat and visit. My dad and I went to the woods for some mountain biking this weekend. We hadn’t done anything like that together in a while.

I’m less cynical. I used to hate that the roommates locked the door while everyone was home. Meaningless when we’re all around the house, right? But now I find myself happily locking the door because I realize that’s what makes her feel safe. I don’t know why it was every an annoyance. But now it’s melted away. I see myself changing for the better.

The other stuff

There’s something astounding about these spiritual experiences I’ve been having. I’ve been mostly convinced that these are just misfirings in my brain or wishful thinking. But after seeing the benefits of these experiences, I’m convinced of their reality. The wisdom of our ancestors, memories of past lives, knowledge of the universe, is all in a stream, flowing against the back of our soul. But occasionally we catch a glimpse of it, and we see a truer form of the way things are, and get a taste of purpose. We are all one in the same. One God living different lives. So as Joe Rogan said, “Treat everyone as if they’re you living another life.” Because we really are. I’m hoping this mindset is what will be cultivated from my new leaf.

Weekend at the family pasture and woodlands

Alone time in nature has the effect of recharging emotions and grounding you to reality. You can absorb some of the calm energy that the natural world emits. A forest is a great monastery. It’s still and silent but you seem to come out of it a lot wiser.

I regularly explore the woods on the family land. I spent this weekend out there and I feel completely revitalized. Found lots of interesting flora, some salamanders, beetles, grubs, spiders, and one snake.

Also managed to total my bike. Apparently riding through uncharted woods is a good way to snap your drivetrain. Mountain bike on the wishlist.

Abstract black & white photos

This is what a crack in the sidewalk looks like a 3am

This photo was taken by my girlfriend who has a great eye for photography. I edited it to look dark and abstract.

Pleasant-looking shadows

The man who taught me chess as a child passed away last night.

We’ve had a long time family friend from Canada visit us on a yearly basis. He barely spoke any English but when I was 8 or 9 he had the patience to teach me the rules of chess and basic strategy with pointing and very broken English. Each year since then we’ve played a few games of chess when he comes to visit. We’ve never even had a real conversation without laughing at each others attempt to understand. Last time I saw him I gave him a handshake and thought about offering to play a game, but I felt lazy. I wish now I had hugged him and asked for a game. Now I’m 30 and just found out he passed away in his sleep last night.

Someone told me I could thank him by teaching another kid to play chess. Something I’ve been doing the past few years in my chess club. I realize he might have inspired me.

It isn’t until now that I realize I wish I had thanked him for teaching me chess. Merci Mr Ronald.

Father’s Day

fathers day bass fishing

For Father’s Day this year we caught some largemouth bass in my grandpas pond. Me, my dad and my brother caught and released about 5 or 6 fish, capturing photos of them jumping out of the water and their vibrant green scales. They’re a really beautiful animal.

fathers day fishing louisiana

louisiana largemouth bass

Photo by my brother, Gage Trahan

orb weaver spider

orb weaver spider found in the garden

New Leaf

This year will be the first page in a new chapter of my life. I’m dedicating myself to self improvement for my sake and the sake of my family and friends.

I will continue to cultivate empathy and introspection, and develop habits to support these emotions. I will be a better listener not only to people’s words but also their feelings.

I will give attention to positive thoughts and discount the rest. I will reflect this in my words and actions.

I will seek not only to improve my own life but also the lives of my family. I will dedicate more focus towards their interests and support them to contribute to the enrichment of their own lives. I can be a better son and a better brother. My family is my Tribe and therefore they are me.

I’m going to take better care of my health so I can enjoy more things and be the energetic person that I used to be. I will go outside of my comfort zone as a daily rule.

For years I’ve enjoyed photography and art as a hobby. This year will be the year that I finally make a name for myself as a local guy with his own style of admiring the natural world.

I’m going to get better sleep both in quality and quantity. I’m going to dream a lot as I often do and enjoy the time I spend in those dreams.

At work I will be more punctual and continue to grow in knowledge, utility, and maximization. I will empower my coworkers with knowledge and skills, and listen to them when they do the same for me. I will be more responsible with my time and finances.

Cheers.