Last weekend we fled to the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get out of the smoke in the valley. There was some smoke lingering there too, but it was a good reminder that a colorful Fall is here, the skies are still blue, and the air is breathable. The reflection on Sand Pond at Sardine Lake was still and peaceful with no mosquitos in sight.
Peaceful Sand Pond
This last week we voluntarily moved all those things we thought were important to us but had to leave one very precious thing behind. The Atlas Fire was on the ridge, not terribly far from the neighborhood we live in. I said goodbye to this item I had to leave behind and said I would be back, but it made me realize how very much I take this piece for granted and what tremendous pleasure this thing has yielded me over the course of about thirty years. I hadn’t even given this prized possession a name. So before anymore time passes, here is the name; Beauty. You see, Beauty fully fills my life with joy, peace, and a tranquility that few other things can offer. My black Knabe grand piano has given me Beauty, fully for years and never asked for anything in return except a yearly tuning. Beauty fully was too large to pack in the car. You see, everything you need, or is very important to you, can fit in a car. It was a lightbulb moment for me. If my family were still living with us, we’d pack them in first and possibly leave everything else behind. All that is important to you, fits in your car. That means we have many creature comforts that don’t hold much value in our hearts. When it comes to what’s important, family is at the very top of my list, and I think it is at the top of yours too. Don’t forget to let those family members know the depth of the Beauty they fully bring to you.
I recently went to France and stayed in Lyon as my last stop. It is a beautiful city and is the third largest city in France. I did not realize that walking about the city might lead me into neighborhoods that were not friendly to people who were not of their same religious beliefs. (I do think there should be an app for that, by the way.)
Stunning City Art
I am a firm believer in not talking about religion, politics, or weight. With that being said, I was so filled with the evil feeling that I received, I decided to write a poem about my experience. (That’s how I attempt to settle things in my mind.) I’m going to share the opening and closing stanzas with you. There are eighteen stanzas in-between as the opening and the closing stanzas are mirror images of each other.
Swans on the Rhone River
I walked the streets Of grand Lyon In a place, I, Should not have gone,
The evil that I found that day Is not a thing To wash away
This sleeping world Needs to awake, To realize What is at stake
If you would like the other eighteen stanza’s you can make a request at email@example.com and I will be happy to supply the entire poem for you. I am putting this out today because, as much as I tried to resolve what I felt that day by writing this poem, those feelings are still very much with me. I just can’t seem to shake them. So the moral to this blog is perhaps, as we age, we should try to stay on the main streets (when in a foreign place) as we are traveling through life.
I’ve been recording and watching the Rio Summer Olympics in the comfort of my living room every evening. I’ve noticed many things about the athletes, but a couple of things have begun to stand out.
Lighted Bleeding Heart
As they compete, I can see that they give their all to their sport. At the end of competing, I can quite literally see their hearts beating in their chests. They have exhausted every bit of their energy to achieve their goal. Shortly after their event has ended, they smile a big broad smile, and then they hug the people around them as if they never want to let go. It is an amazing sight and one that I don’t often view on my television. I’ve been picking and choosing the events that I will watch. I’ve been thinking that I don’t have enough time to devote to watching every event, yet it is one of the few times that I can view the world coming together with one goal in mind, excellence.
Bleeding Hearts at The Old North Church
I’ve been deleting after watching each selected event but am realizing that I do need to find the time to dedicate to this. I can feel that it does my heart good to see these people embracing each other. Our televisions are filled with hatred, lies, manipulations, violence, bullying, terror, and tears of disbelief. I’m opting to keep those recordings and watch them to their fullest, even after the games have ended. What I see there is love, honesty, unity, hard work, kindness, pride, and tears of joy. Who wouldn’t want to watch that at its finest? I won’t see that again for four long years, and that matters to my heart.
It has been raining in California. I am not complaining, I like the lakes catching water. It does make it difficult to take photographs to share on my blog. I started thinking about places I had been on clear days and this trip in 2005 came to mind. I went for a walk in The Garden of The Gods in Colorado Springs. It was a clear, crisp, morning and we had a little time to kill.
First Glimpse of The Garden of The Gods
It was the second time that I had been somepace where there were red rocks. The first was in Sedona Arizona and the rocks were covered with snow. I didn’t have my camera with me and I regret not having those images. I keep them safely tucked away in my mind, unfortunately I can’t share visual memories with other people unless I have photographed them. It was beautiful!
Storm on the Horizon
Towards the end of that day, we watched a storm grow out over the horizon. I had never seen anything like it in California. It was spectacular. It caused me to think about my family and how very fortunate I am to have them in my life. I wrote each of them a little Thank You and sent it, snail mail, to them. The final thought on the thank you was this; “Growing gracefully is a gift one gives one’s self and bestows on those who live around them.” Even though they were still young, I could see that they were growing in a manner that would be pleasing to themselves and those who came in contact with them. I am grateful for my family. They are the loveliest people to know. And yes, I am grateful for the rain and the time it yields me to reflect.
We got up with the sunrise last Saturday morning and headed off to Pete’s. We needed warm drinks to take with us to The Sacramento Valley Veterans Memorial Cemetery. I recently began volunteering for Hospice and they had asked for volunteers to lay wreaths on the veterans grave-sites. I didn’t know what to expect but we have some friend’s who have family members who rest in peace in this cemetery.
Upon Arrival at the Cemetery
We were so taken back by the response of volunteers to honor our servicemen. There were about a thousand of us. The program ran about an hour and I was moved when one person brought to our attention that, “we are one nation, under one flag.” I sat and thought about what that means in this crazy hostile world that we have come to find ourselves living in. I also thought about the price that comes with freedom. Giving up a little time to decorate the graves is a tiny sacrifice of my time. As the sun came out to warm our backs at the end of the ceremony, I realized that I will do this again, and beyond that, I would like to challenge you to volunteer. Find something that is important to you and get involved in 2016. You will meet the nicest people and find true purpose in your life. Maybe this hostile world won’t seem quite as bad when you volunteer.
It only took a few minutes to place a wreath on every grave. Now that I have more time, I can get back into volunteering. I used to volunteer for activities that my children were involved in, now it’s more about what I desire to be an active part of. 2016 is a perfect time to be a part of the volunteers that span America.
I know it may seem funny, but I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. The world seems so foreign sometimes, to what I remember it being just a short time ago. I have found myself counting my blessings in recent weeks and wondering too, about some very simple things in life.
Last Flowers of the Season
I wonder where little animals go when it is terribly stormy outside. I then feel blessed that I am safe and sound in my surroundings. There are so many people on this planet that are lost and displaced. I need to remember them and with that, feel grateful for all I have.
This is Where the Little Bugs Hide
Thanksgiving is at my house this year. I can’t wait for my young adults to spend time together and find more memories to share. Life is about these shared times. It is these simple pleasures in life that I love so very much.
We Don’t Think of Turkeys as Being Colorful but They Are
I hope all of you have a blessed Thanksgiving. It’s only a week away!
My neighbor has one of the loveliest yards that I have ever seen. Every time that I pass by it, I marvel in the colors that grace this place.
I’ve known this neighbor for years and stopped the other day to mention how lovely the poppies were that had just been pulled out and replanted with begonias.
Although the flowers were brilliant and quite a spectacle, “they needed to come out so the begonias could become established for the summer months ahead.” My neighbor is terminally ill and has a high hope to see those flowers in full bloom.
It puts things in perspective…..Shouldn’t life just be about enjoying the simple things?
It took me a couple of weeks to put this posting together. I needed the assistance of my grand-daughter. She was staying over and took Great Grandma’s childhood dolly and chair and moved it from upstairs to downstairs for a party. We ran out of time so I put the dolly (she calls her Jasmine) on the chair and moved her to the side of the living room to wait for the conclusion of the party.
I knew my grand-daughter would be back later that week and I went in search of the tea party set. Dolly was waiting when she arrived and the tea set was on the dining room table.
Preparing for Tea Time
She was delighted to see the tea set and quickly moved Dolly to the family room. She set everything up and started to play. She suddenly turned to tell me that she had forgotten something upstairs (off she ran)…….I thought I knew what it was and I was correct……
Teddy Bears Tea Party
Dolly had invited some of her best friends to have tea and play along.
I do so love watching my grand children play. It takes me back to younger, less encumbered days. I encourage you to find your own escape with a friend. One of my favorite things to do, is to leisurely spend time with people while having a picnic. I suppose it is my grownup tea party of sorts. Go out and do something fun with someone you care about. Life really is too short; we should spend as much time as possible with the people we love and cherish.
Go seize today or at least make plans for this weekend.
I’ve always thought of the sunsets as a symbol of the end of the day, and as a reminder that the new day will come with just as much unique beauty as the sunset from the prior evening.
The sunsets have been unbelievably beautiful this winter. I think this is due to the fog that has been ever-present in the mornings.
Santa Barbara’s Sinking Sun
The sunsets seem to make us stop and take notice of our pace in life and with being said….
Rancho Solano Setting Sun
I’ve a friend, twenty years my senior, who’s edging toward the sunset of their life. They want to acknowledge it and talk about it. I’m all in; you see, I’ve so much to learn from people who have experienced more of life than I have. I can be a safe place to talk about feelings, expectations, and realities. I’m not a family member, I’m a friend of this graciously glorious person.
I skipped writing the blog last week, and with good reason. My mother passed away on Oct. 27. It was her 88th birthday. She passed peacefully, right after I sang “Happy Birthday” to her, per my aunt’s request. There is more to the story, of course, but I have since been struggling with certain images that come to me while I am sleeping. I am not the only person to have these unsettling images, and I now understand that they can be with you for a very long time. The whole premiss of this blog was to help people communicate, and with that thought in mind, I will share with you my video, with the hope that my idea might help others. You’ll have to make a video of your own, or put together a collage of photos that take your mind to a better place, times with happier memories. I put the music that I wrote for my mother, and would play for her, behind the photos. I hope you enjoy the video.
So lets start talking. We are of an age, where many of us share these same hiccups in life. You needn’t hide from them, but embrace them, and talk with others about your feelings. I believe that, when we discover that we are not alone, we no longer feel isolated in those feelings. With all this said and done, and the images I’m trying to shake, I wouldn’t have done it any other way, when it came to my mother. Her last words to me were, “I love you.” Now doesn’t that just say it all? That is the very image I want to remember.