Snow Gypsies

Quarry in the snow panoramic by Addison

 

Last Friday night we got a late start in leaving town. I hoped the roads weren’t icy where we were headed. They weren’t, and we made good time along the journey. We entered enchanted landscape driving the country roads. Luna was dressed in her full gown with her celestial bridesmaids in tow…their golden auras gleamed upon a pristine vista of snow. The velvet night was as light as day. We became silent witnesses to this sacred night. Sorry, no photos of the night. Here are a few my son had taken earlier in the day of our destination…home; the place I grew up.

Snowy Old Home Place Panoramic by Addison

Big Mama Horse in the snow by Addison

 

This little old snow gypsy had shown her face about a year ago. She returned this winter and has claimed this land as home for now. She is fed several times a day and roams as she pleases, so I think she’s happy. I’m sure she’s ready for spring. As beautiful as this snow was, I’m ready for spring as well.

The Search For Happiness

“Happiness is like a cat. If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing against your legs and jumping into your lap.” — William Bennett

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Happiness isn’t sitting in a gift wrapped box waiting to be opened. It isn’t a link on a chain of events that one gets to after marking other things off the list. It isn’t the destination of a storybook life or the reward of a successful career.

Happiness can’t be caught as it flies by on the tail of the wind. It is a way of life. Choosing to be happy is a decision you, me, or anyone, can make. Happiness stems from the positive attitude in any given situation.

The happiest people have times of sadness and anger.  It’s how they handle those times that determine their happiness. By not focusing on the negative aspects of life, becoming resentful, or refusing forgiveness, one opens the door to happiness and allows peace to dwell.

The search for happiness is an inner journey. It is the result of knowing and liking yourself and sharing your love with others. Happiness is the agreement between your heart and your way of life.

What do you feel is the secret to happiness?

Beneath Voice

Life is always flowing on like a river, sometimes with murmurs, sometimes without bending this way or that, we do not exactly see why; now in beautiful picturesque places, now through barren and uninteresting scenes, but always flowing with a look of treachery about it; it is so swift, so voiceless, yet so continuous. — (Faber)

Life is always flowing on like a river, sometimes with murmurs, sometimes without bending this way or that, we do not exactly see why; now in beautiful picturesque places, now through barren and uninteresting scenes, but always flowing with a look of treachery about it; it is so swift, so voiceless, yet so continuous. — (Faber)

Cold seeped into my soul this past week as Mother Nature blew in like a gypsy dancing and shaking her tambourines. Her fingernails tapped against the window panes and her voice shrilled though the air. She ranted and raved while this old house simply moaned arthritically to the tantrum outside. While I was not excited with yet two more snow falls, I bundled up and enjoyed the wonderland left by the icy nomad. Knowing what I needed to do, I decided I would enjoy the task. Yes, even shoveling snow can be pleasant when approached with the right frame of mind.

What good does it do to complain? Venting eases the tension within, but it doesn’t change the weather or the remaining circumstances, snowy and icy sidewalks. Regardless of whether we are vocal, we do what needs to be done because that is the way we are wired.

When approached with the mundane tasks of daily living we simply put one foot in front of the other. We’re not always thrilled with where we are, what we’re doing, or even where we’re going. We wear our masks or smiles and keep on moving. We trudge along not really understanding why we feel this way, but somehow we know we will get where we are supposed to be…so then the question is if we are uncomfortable where we are does that mean we are in the wrong place? I tend to be a believer that we are exactly where we are supposed to be at all times. Is it really important to understand the significance of our placement all the time?

Are we silent or do we speak up? When we are vocal, others offer us assurance and direction. I’ve found when I remain silent and allow the stirrings within nudge me the steps I take are natural to my soul. What is it beneath the still voice that drives us forward? It is heart or spirit? We often quickly adapt to change and don’t realize we are evolving. We are drops in the stream, a pulse of constant flow…over sticks, under rocks, a merging current rounding the bend. We are the beating hearts of the river, a song of spirit finding her way home.

The Magic Is Back!

The appearance of things change according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves. ~Kahlil Gibran

2015 Snow

 

As a child and later as a parent and from the mountains to the sea, snow days held uncontainable delight, energy, and possibility. The anticipation was as magical as the first flakes that melted upon our hot outstretched tongues.

Snow was in the forecast Monday, but I headed out into the bitter wind to meet a friend for lunch. When I left the restaurant I found myself in an extremely long drive through line at Starbucks…and then the magic began. First a few huge flakes drifted by then several small ones splattered across the windshield. When I got home, I grabbed my cups and walked to a neighbor/friend’s house to share some hot chocolate and spend some time together. By the time I left the ground had begun to shift from a dull winter green to a bright blanket of hope.

Most of the night I watched the white softness transform our street. Early the next morning I listened to the tings of ice hitting the tree branches and admired the tall pines glistening beneath a sun whose rays didn’t seem to touch us with warmth. While I’d dreamed of the productivity of an extra day off, I admit I did none of those things. Nor did I go play in the snow or even help with the shoveling. I curled up under a fuzzy blanket for most of the day. I removed myself long enough to make a pot of homemade vegetable beef soup and later to make some awesome homemade hot chocolate. I didn’t read. I didn’t write. I didn’t clean house. I didn’t work on taxes. I did absolutely nothing, and it was wonderful. In fact, it was magical to me because I seldom do absolutely nothing without tagging a bit of guilt upon myself.

We ended up getting about five inches of snow covered with a thick layer of ice. This city is not prepared for snow so it all but shut down. Others might have ventured out, but not us. We had power and food, so we were good.

Last night we watched a movie we missed when it came out several years ago, “Hachi”. I found myself with a knot in my throat and tears pouring down my face. I was a snotty mess. There’s something about dogs (animals, babies, or old people) that hit a deep level in me. This was a beautiful and emotional tale. At any rate, needed or not, I got a good cry.

Did you get a snow day where you live? If you did, what did you do?

Wylie 2015 Snow

Heart Vision

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

flower field and lake

I used to think I was a peace keeper, and perhaps I am in some ways. However, I find myself wanting to be a fixer. Instead of accepting people and situations as is, I tend to want to repair with words, hugs, whatever is necessary. I introduce new perspectives and possibilities. Sometimes it works out for the best and other times I realize I should have left well enough alone. I’m not talking about big drama, just gentle nudges when I really could have walked away. I think my problem is as an observer I see opportunities of growth I don’t think should be wasted. Is it better to remain a silent observer and allow others to discover things in their own way and time? Or is a catalyst needed to promote needed changes?

I’ve found myself slipping in exercise routines and healthy eating habits. It didn’t just happen overnight. It’s been in the working for the past few years. DirtMan and I have spent many weekends traveling in and out of town tending to family business. We haven’t made time to hike, bike, or canoe like we used to. In doing so we didn’t take up alternate exercise regimes, and we grabbed food on the go at times.

It seems my word “focus” has not been used on what I intended, but has shifted me to personal health; physical, emotional, and spiritual. The one thing I need in my life is balance.

I’ve found by cutting bread from my diet, my fibromyalgia symptoms have disappeared…yay, me! I’m thinking I had gluten intolerance and didn’t know it. I was prompted to do this due to stomach issues, but has helped in other ways such as weight loss. I’m eating many more fresh fruits and vegetables and stopped using most prepackaged foods. I’m making time for exercise. I took a bible study with a friend. I don’t pressure myself to produce but follow my creative urges wherever they lead. Letting go of the stress I put on myself was a great relief.  I feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Oh wow, could it be I’m finding balance?

I think we each intuitively know what we need even if we refuse to acknowledge it. When we act on it, however small, it fills us with personal power and purpose…and we all know peace is all about balance. Invisible as it may appear to us at times, I think the heart’s goal is really joy. And yes, love…always love…

“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.” ~Barbara de Angelis

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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We appear cold, stuck up, or non-caring when it couldn’t be further from the truth. Social interaction is difficult for introverts. We are often processing the commotion (and that is how it feels to us) surrounding us or spaced out in a memory or daydream. Not to say we don’t enjoy being engaged in conversations or included in activities but after said event we are spent, physically and emotionally exhausted.

Though I am timid and quiet in large gatherings among strangers, I am guilty of thinking others cold rather than taking to heart they might feel the same social awkwardness I do. I try to keep this in mind and force myself to initiate exchanges.

I take refuge in my home with book and outside along nature trails. I like solitude. I revel in silence. It takes effort to get me into the mainstream, but I seldom regret it. I depend on my trusted small social network to keep me connected. I am fully aware of how easy it would be for me to slip beneath the ice and forget the warmth of the sun. Last year I focused on connecting. I’ve discovered more meaningful contacts and surprisingly a stronger sense of self. As with all things in life it comes down to balance for me to remain socially and personally healthy.

How about you? Does socializing come naturally? Would you rather be among lots of people or alone? Do you have difficulty maintaining balance?

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Filling The Gaps

“Because there is that sort of feeling that people don’t know what to do with gaps in their lives. It’s a scary notion, but actually, if you can stand in space just for a little while, a new door will open, or you’ll be able to see in the dark after a while. You’ll adjust.” ~Jane Cam

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Have you ever been the grout between the tiles, the one thing holding others together?

Do you have a companion who is the voice of reason when you need it most?

Ever had a friend who makes you want to be a better person, one who exemplifies goodness and all that is right with the world?

Sometimes I feel as if there is a space within myself like I am lost in this world or even in my own thoughts. It is different than housing a void. While I can’t pinpoint a problem I simply know I’m off my game, kind of like the lethargy and fuzziness I feel right before I’m consumed with illness. Then someone performs a kind gesture or offers words of inspiration or affirmation, and voila I’m back to reality. Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective.

Other times there is a space between you and me. While I’m lost in my world maybe you’re busy with your life.  Chances are our worlds no longer intersect. Or is it because we’ve grown apart and no longer care enough to fill the gaps?

The problem is I am accustomed to and comfortable with my own gaps…at least, most of the time. I am a truth-seeker and often take myself way too seriously. I appreciate the people who save me from myself and lighten my load with laughter.

I tend to forget how easy it is to fill the gaps by simply being humble. One must be as able to receive as graciously as they give. The most important offerings are free…love and compassion.

Subtle

 

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson
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Not all changes are drastic. Small changes can build into habits or even a way of life. You don’t even notice until you think back on your past.

Just as each season morphs into each new one, our lives alter with each new acquaintance and experience.

Within the realms of solitude and silence the soul soars.

The scope broadens.

The path lengthens.

Perhaps we find ourselves further away than we originally meant to wander. There’s an ephemeral quality of the quiet beauty in this discovery.

Do you wish to stay here? Do you want to go back?

I choose to continue walking.

The days may pass in subtle degrees, but every breath is a beautiful possibility.

Now You Sedum, Now You Don’t

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”  ― Albert Einstein

Macro shot of dried flowers of a sedum plant

Macro shot of dried flowers of a sedum plant

We had planned to go out of town for the weekend. On Thursday night, Wylie started limping. We took her to the vet to find she had a nailbed infection in one of her dew claws. We figured the trip would be too much on her so we opted to stay home.

DirtMan had recently bought me some extension tubes for macro photography, and we were itching to experiment. Since we couldn’t go out, I decided to bring the outside in to us. I roamed the yard and found a few specimens and then grabbed a few things around the house.

Macro photography shows us details the naked eye doesn’t see. It’s sort of a glimpse into a new world, or at least a different perspective of our everyday world.

This is my favorite macro shot of the day. Can you guess what it is? A section of a pinecone!

This is my favorite macro shot of the day. Can you guess what it is? A section of a pinecone!

The dead head of a coneflower (Echinacea)

The dead head of a coneflower (Echinacea)

For perspective, here is a close up (but not macro) of a geranium.

For perspective, here is a close up (but not macro) of a geranium.

Macro of geranium bloom, stamen, and pistil

Macro of geranium bloom, stamen, and pistil

Macro of geranium leaf

Macro of geranium leaf

See, I did “focus” on something this weekend!

We took lots of other photos, but I’ll save those for another day.

In case you’re wondering, Wylie is recovering nicely. She’s much happier now that we’ve removed the cone (to prevent her from chewing on her foot) from around her neck.

Good bye, Procrastination. Hello, Focus!

"The sun's energy warms the world. But when you focus it through a magnifying glass it can start a fire. Focus is so powerful!" Alan Pariser

“The sun’s energy warms the world. But when you focus it through a magnifying glass it can start a fire. Focus is so powerful!” Alan Pariser

As everyone else was declaring their word of 2015, I was tossing them around terms like a salad. Attentiveness was the best I’ve chosen in the past, but it wouldn’t be right to use it again. I knew I needed discipline to stay with the many tasks I start. I knew that required organization, determination, and intention. If I could only focus I could make a decision. I needed clarity. As I was thinking this over, I came across Christine Kane’s blog. A friend has introduced me to her music a few years back, but I didn’t know she had changed her career direction. It hadn’t dawned on me until I did this exercise that every word I had chosen required focus. Later I came across this great quote by Cheryl Richardson (Life Makeovers), “To focus means to bring your attention to the center, to concentrate on one thing intently in order to gain clarity.” Bingo!

So here’s a year to prolific writing, photography, and many creative endeavors!

Good bye, Procrastination. Hello, Focus!

Word of the Year