A Weeping Soul

A weeping soul is often a wandering soul, for it is restless.

It seldom sits still. 

It doesn’t stay around long enough to become attached.

It has found love hurts too much.

Rather than take a chance, it runs.

The weeping soul must learn to trust, itself and others.

When the weeping soul discovers courage, it can forgive itself.

When it opens the door to forgiveness, it will find love and happiness are right around the corner.

When the weeping soul learns to share its tears and laughter with the world, it will truly be free.

When the weeping soul lets go of the past, it will live again.

All That’s Left

This was once a grand poplar; tall and broad, it graced the side yard of my childhood home. I remember my sister and I could clasp our hands together and stretch the expanse of the tree to find our hands could not meet on the other side. The lowest limbs were too tall for us to climb onto from the ground. Our brothers nailed pegs on one side of the tree so we could climb it. We could sit on the lower branches, just below the song of the birds and playful antics of the squirrels, and overlook the houses below our bluff. We peered into the blueness of the sky and fluff of cloud between bits of branches, leaves, and blossoms. We often stared upon the ground, a worn path around the tree surrounded by patches of grass and wild onion, scattered acorn and tufts of hay, and dared whether we were to jump or make our way backward down those pegs. It was our tree and we shared it with all the neighborhood kids. The other trees must have been jealous of all the attention the poplar received. We felt like little queens of the tree.

Forty years have weathered it away. It stopped blooming and the leaves dropped. The limbs grew brittle and one by one snapped to the ground. The bark whittled away and the trunk hollowed. It is a mere shell of what it once was…oh, but the beautiful memories it holds of childhood laughter and years gone by.

Time weathers us all. We are all mere shells of what we once were. We can whither away. Or we can remember the blossoms of youth and spread the fragrance of our experiences. Old or young, whole or broken; we are beautiful in our own way. If you can shake with the wind, do it. If you no longer can, smile and remember when you did.

Norfolk Botanical Gardens

A few weeks ago, Dirt Man and I took a few days off. We spent our time exploring a few places we hadn’t been in a while. We could not have gotten more cooperative weather. The days were sunny and warm with just a light breeze. Lucky for us, all of the colors of the Autumn season were in full thrust. We took the opportunity to play around with my new camera. I didn’t take many shots. I had good intentions, but Dirt Man convinced me to allow him to take most of the photographs. I must admit he is very good at approaching subjects from the angles I suggest and taking shots of somewhat obsure items. We had a lot of fun, and our pictures turned out great. It’s difficult choosing only a few to showcase. Without further ado, here are some photographs taken at Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

Guest Post By Connor

I am delighted to have my friend, Connor guest post today. If Connor is not one of your regular reads, you must check him out. He will make you laugh. He will both inform and entertain you with his travels and his antics. And his photography is top notch.

Hey folks, I am absolutely thrilled to be able to guest post here on SuziCate’s blog. I thought I’d talk about a common interest, and while we don’t occupy many of the same demographics, we both love to romp around taking pictures. She’s quite a good photographer and I am, well, enthusiastic. So I decided my guest post would be about photography. Sort of.

There’s a story I know.

Supposedly it’s true, a friend-of-a-friend type thing, you know. There was a man in relatively recent history, but far enough back that the empty spaces were much emptier and the endless jungles more endless, who was big game hunter. This is a story about him and a tiger–and an unfortunate goat, I suppose–and just not any tiger, but a tiger the government of India had targeted to be put down, due to its new-found taste for farmers. It was, according to locals, a very clever tiger. A shadow that came with the darkness and faded to nothing in the light, taking the young and the old from their homes like a hungry ghost.

The hunter, who was a man of some skill, had never killed a tiger, and considered the hunt to be his greatest challenge, so he volunteered his services. A clever man, he bought a goat, and ventured out into the jungle, tracking down the path the tiger had taken the night before, and building a blind in a tree along the narrow path. Secure in his cleverness, he tied the goat to roots of the tree just a few feet below, and waited.

All that night the hunter perched in the lower branches of the tree, but the tiger never came. Somehow, it had passed right by him, twice: Once, on the way to the village, and, again, with a full belly, back into the jungle. Dismayed, the hunter moved to a different tree, and once more tied the goat up. This went on for a week, until a moonless and cloudy night plunged the jungle into inky blackness. The hunter could not see, but he listened, and he never slept. He just settled in for the long night and waited.

*           *           *

I can only imagine that the pull is like that of tiger to the hunter, back in the days when the jungle was still dark and full of danger; the illusive perfect photo. Of course, the hunter was after darkness and we chase the light, and light rarely eats us. So the story and the message don’t mesh exactly.

We track down the perfect places for the shot, pick our times, try to take all the little factors into account. Still, though, we never know if it’s going to show. The moment still chooses itself. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen something fleeting and beautiful and been unable to figure out how to trap the light–or, even worse, when there is no time constraint, and I tried over and over to get the shot and it was never quite right. Light is an illusive and tricky thing.

I’ve seen it over and over, my friends needing a better camera, a big fancy SLR with a .raw setting, a score of 8GB flash cards, this lens, that lens, telephoto, wide-angle, fish-eye, a tilt shift apparatus, a light diffuser. . . just one more fancy gadget and finally they’ll catch it. That next impossible shot that’s been eluding them.

But we’re all still at the mercy of the moment. When the subject’s good, the light is bad, when the light is good, the subject is bad, and when they’re both good, well, that’s when a rabid moose stampedes through the shot. It’s just the way of the world.

*           *           *

When the first light crept through the canopy, the hunter was alone. The goat was dead. Not eaten, but the tiger had killed it, all in absolute silence. The hunter was stunned; it had happened so close to him that he could have reached out and touched the tiger! The implication of reciprocity was not lost on him.

It seemed impossible that the tiger had not known the hunter was there, so the hunter was left to wondering if the tiger had simply been content to kill the goat, or if, maybe, it had wanted to show the other hunter who was the cleverer of the two after all? Had the tiger regarded him in the same manner, as challenge to be met?

He found no good answers. One thing he was certain of, however, was that he no longer felt the need to hunt the tiger. So the hunter climbed down from his hideaway, walked to village and told them they could find someone else to kill their tiger.

When the villagers asked him why, he told them, “Sometimes your prey gets lucky, but I’m not sure I’ll get lucky twice.”

He could live without hunting a tiger, so long as he knew the reverse was also true. Of course, the tiger was still out there, and sometimes what we don’t catch is more deadly than what we do. In his later years, the hunter expressed regret, wishing the hunt had ended one way or another, because somewhere inside him, the hunt would go on forever.

Connor Rickett is a young writer in the early stages of fortune and fame, namely debt and infamy. He just finished his first draft of his first book, and sometimes people pay him to write stuff, but you can read all sorts of things for free over at hisblog!

Live A Life Of Grace And Gratitude

Sometimes we take life for granted.

We forget how blessed we are. We think about what we don’t have or wish for things we don’t necessarily need rather than enjoy what we have here right now.

While all parts of the rose are essential, we tend to focus on two parts, the thorns and the blossom. We scorn the thorns for the pain they cause and delight in the beauty and the fragrance of the blossom.

We tend to treat life in the same manner. We reject the aspects that discomfort or embarrass us and take pride in that which we feel is worthy.

Sometimes we don’t even see the beauty of the petals because we are too focused on the thorns. Those are the times we have to strip away all that stands in the way so we may see the beauty of our lives.

And as beautiful as the flower of life is, it is so because of it’s thorns, leaves, stem, and all the part that make the flower bloom. Our lives work the same way. Every aspect  of our lives up to this point in time has shaped us into who we are today.

Don’t take life for granted. Take this time to be grateful for all your blessings.

Thank God for your life. Thank your family and friends for love

Live and love. Be happy.

I am grateful to each of you. I wish you each a Happy Thanksgiving, a day filled with blessings and love.

Merchants Millpond, The Other Side

Do you remember a while back I shared a story with you about the evil thing from the swamp that chased me and tried to eat me? I swore I was done with the swamp! I vowed I’d never canoe there and that if I ever returned the ground would have to be frozen. Well, Dirt Man talked me into going back and checking out the other side of the swamp. No snakes. alligators, or evil lurking in the darkness. It was a pleasant sunny day filled with beautiful Autumn foliage.

I’ve been sick for a few days, and I’m exhausted…so today’s contribution is a photo essay.

A bridge stretches across a low portion of the swamp…listen to the leaves as you step on the wooden planks.

The afternoon sun brightens the path and and blends into the warmth of the golden leaves.

Tree shadows and colorful leaf reflections shimmer in and out of the abundant duckweed.

Color accent using scarlet.

Color accent using gold.

What a beautiful array of Fall colors! Photo Credit (for all photos)  goes to Dirt Man…he took over my camera!

The Passageway

At times the passageway is uncertain.

We enter blindly and travel the dark corridor alone.

Often we have no glimpse of the light on the other side.

We grope our way through, wondering if the tunnel will ever end.

Enveloped by the heat of our own energy, we grasp for breath.

We long for fresh air and sunshine.

We slosh through water and trudge through muck.

We stumble over stones and fear we will not make it out alive.

We listen to the voices in our heads echo off the walls of our lives.

The pungency of freedom drifts just out of reach, drawing us forward.

One step at a time, we continue the journey.

Our heart beats faster at the first glint of light.

We have assurance the worst is behind us.

We feel the strength as we take a step into the light.

We take a deep breath and smile in gratitude.

We have made it.

Free Yourself

“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.“ ~Mark Twain

Let go of anger. Chew it up and spit it out.

Let go of resentment. Grind it and toss it to the wind.

These things hold you back. Let them go.

Blame places life in a chokehold.

Let accusations rest. Take those pointing fingers and hold someone‘s hand.

Forgive whoever you think has wronged you. Release them from your bondage.

Absolve yourself. Move on.

Allow yourself to live without regret.

“Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.” ~Oprah Winfrey

The Secret Rooms Of Our Lives

“I looked around at the rooms that I did not see as rooms but more as a landscape for my emotions, a biography of memory.” ~Anne Spollen, The Shape of Water

We all have secret rooms within us.

These are the rooms that hold our dreams and fears.

We allow access to only those we trust.

Sharing our fears makes us vulnerable.

Voicing our dreams can make us feel like we’re setting ourselves up for failure in the eyes of others if we never attain our goals.

We seek solitude to restore a balance others are unable to provide us.

We need our private rooms to sort out our pain, contemplate life, and make choices.

We don’t like people barging in without invitation, therefore we need to remember not to intrude the space of others.

It’s permissible to knock on the door, but don’t enter unless the room unless the homeowner requests your presence.

Respect for boundaries is vital in relationships.

Visit your own secret room. Curl up and drift off in a dream. Rise and open the curtains to let the sunshine bounce against the walls. Dance across the floor. Feel the coolness of the hardwood floor beneath your bare feet. Sing and let your voice rise to the ceiling. Smell the wild honeysuckle as it winds its way along your path. Taste the salt of your tears and know what gives your life meaning.

Enjoy your room. Know it is yours, whether you wish to share it or not.