“A Portrait in Yellow.” Sunflowers and Tulips. All photos ©Erika Burkhalter.

Photography, Travel, Gardening

A week in photos

Every week, I buy a little treat for myself — fresh flowers from my CSA (community-supported agriculture group). I’ve always loved the art of arranging flowers, and I grow so many flowers in my yard that there is always something to make a bouquet from. But, the CSA has such a lovely assortment of stems — flowers that don’t grow in my garden — that I look forward with great anticipation each week to my little brown-paper wrapped bundles of buds. I though that the yellow-on-yellow of the tulips and sunflowers was rather pretty and a bit unusual.


“Rising.” Detail of an amalgamation from “Starry Night Over the Rhone.” All photos ©Erika Burkhalter from the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit.

Photography, Art

A sneak peek

Although we all know his name and think of him as one of the most important of the post-impressionist painters, would you be surprised to know that Vincent Van Gogh only ever sold one painting during his lifetime?

He would probably be utterly amazed to find that entire museums dedicated to his work exist today. And I think that he would have loved the new Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit which is traveling around the world right now.

The creators of this innovative way to experience Van Gogh’s works have set his paintings into motion across huge walls and reflective floors…


Poetry, Nature

Sultress of the Sea

“Salty Mother,” Bandon Beach, Oregon. Photo ©Erika Burkhalter.

She heaves and spits, like a grumpy old lady,
then, in the next moment, dances,
taught-skinned once again,
into her own reflection.

The ocean, she breathes to her own rhythm.

Salty mother, sultress of the sea,
in your exhale I taste infinity
tickling the back of my throat and
beginning to slide down into
the gastric fires of time.

You remind me that this moment
connects to the next,
but that this moment,
and the one to come,
will never “be” again,

except in our memories
which twine through reality
like the foamy rings of soma
you leave in your wake
when your seas…


Miss Uma Zooma Angelwings. All photos ©Erika Burkhalter.

Photography, Life

My “week in photos”

Miss Uma Zooma Angelwings has declared her happiness that the weather is changing. Decked out in all that fur, she can get a little over-heated in the summer and tends to spend her days lounging in a patch of sunshine cascading through the french doors into the air-conditioned dining room. But now that the first tinge of fall is in the air, Uma is back out in the garden, doing her belly-up rolls with joy.

The highlight of my week was an encounter with a very curious bobcat while out mountain biking in the hills. I ride these trails almost…


“Communion with a Bobcat.” Photo ©Erika Burkhalter.

Nature, Photography

A rare sighting while mountain biking

To see a bobcat is like seeing a ghost, who only lets you catch a glimpse of it if it decides it wants to show itself. So, while I was pedaling through the tall summer-dry grasses on Horseshoe Loop Trail, behind Irvine Regional Park, and what looked like a large house cat ran across the trail six or so feet in front of me, my mind at first refused to believe what my eyes were telling it.

I hit the brakes hard and came to a stop.

“A cat!” was my first reaction. But why would a house cat be…


Poetry, Photography, Life

Fluid viscosity, inner luminosity, where does life begin and end?

“Fluid.” Photo ©Erika Burkhalter.

Fluid viscosity, inner luminosity,
where does life begin and end?

Pulsing undercurrents fan the tides,
ride the sunbeams, ascend the spiral.

Is the boundary between saline and air
the same as that between flesh and spirit?

As soon as they land on the rocky shore,
the jellyfish begin to die,
and I think,

that it is the same for us.

Birthed from fluid, we gasp for breath,
our lungs bereft of the warmth
of amniotic waters, and we become
sons and daughters of the earth.

We forget what it was like
in the before.

Swimming in circles, boundaries intact,
the lack…


“The Vault of Heaven.” Shot on my Nikon Z7II with a 20mm 1.8 fixed lens, ƒ18, ISO 6400, 15 second exposure. Photo ©Erika Burkhalter.

Photography, Photography Tips, Travel, Poetry

My first attempt at astrophotography

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the milky way,
they stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay…

— William Wordsworth (I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud)

To peer into the heavens is to launch oneself into a journey both outward and inward. I’ve never felt simultaneously so small and yet a part of something so vast as when I’ve been able to gaze upon the Milky Way pouring herself across the heavens.

Many years ago, my husband and I lived in Sedona, Arizona for a “sabbatical” year. We sold our house, most of what…


Bandon Beach, Oregon. Photo ©Erika Burkhalter.

Photography, Travel

My week in photos

After returning from Mount Ranier National Park last week, where my sister and I partook in an astrophotography workshop, we picked up my best friend, Rebecca, at the Portland airport and headed out for a “girls’ road trip” to Bandon Beach, Oregon.

Loaded up with enough hot chocolate, Baileys, wine, Oregon blackberries and other goodies to last for far longer than we planned to be away, we piled all of our camera gear, puffy coats (it’s cold on the coast) and clothes into my sister’s Subaru and pointed the car towards the southern Oregon coast.

We stopped along the way…


Death, Near Death Experience, Spirituality

My atheistic philosophy professor father found a way to communicate with me after death

Me, my dad and my sister in Sedona, Arizona, when I was eleven. Author’s photo.

I had four bars of cell service. The navigation apps on my car and on my iPhone should both have been working. Yet, here I was, driving south from Sedona, Arizona, across the desiccated Cottonwood Valley, headed towards the mountainside town of Jerome, and then home, to Southern California, and both of my nav systems were on the fritz.

It was no coincidence to me that today was the anniversary of my father’s death.

My father, a professor of philosophy, specializing in artificial intelligence, spoke the language of math. He was the smartest person I’ve ever met — that guy…


The Seastacks of Face Rock Beach. Photo ©Erika Burkhalter.

Photography, Travel, Space and Time

Bandon, Oregon

To spend three days on Bandon Beach, Oregon is to see several different seasons in one month. Within minutes, the sky will fill with mist, completely obscuring the glint of azure blue. And then, a little pocket of sunlight on the horizon will suddenly open back up and clouds will billow forth from that navel of brightness.

As you amble along the beach, you’ll find yourself surrounded, both on and offshore, by “seastacks,” sedimentary columns of stone eroded by time, water and wind. The main rock (the triangular one in the photo above) is named for Ewauna, a Native American…

Erika Burkhalter

Photographer, yogi, cat-mom, lover of travel and nature, spreading amazement for Mother Earth, one photo, poem or story at a time. (MA Yoga, MS Neuropsychology)

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