Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Tall red grass
Tall red grass

Coming in to work this morning I noticed, maybe for the first time, a planter full of tall red grass encircled by bright yellow marigolds.

The sky is now blue and the air warm, but this morning was grey and crisp and a cool wind tossed the air back and forth like a kitten with a ball. It was a brief and refreshing reminder that fall is on its way.

In the breezy early hours the tall, red, wheat-like grass danced around so elegantly it called for an audience. It’s Monday, however, and most urbanites are hurrying off to begin their work week, too busy too stop and watch the long lean leaves sway to a silent song.

 I was unusually early this morning, and in no hurry at all. So the red grass had an adoring audience of one. As I stood admiring the beauty and grace before me I felt so fortunate. I quietly thanked the plants for their loveliness, the city planner for the container, the landscaper for the combination of colors and heights, and coordinated set of circumstances that brought me to that moment in time.

 Life truly is grand.


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Starting over after the fire

Starting over after the fire

The canyon behind my friend Ginita’s house in San Diego burned in the last round of fires there.  As we walked her dog along the trail/fire road and saw a sea of blackened brush the contrast with the new growth was more than beautiful; it was inspiring.

Amidst the charred wood a tall, dried white grass and cheerfully yellow flowers grow.  For a visual person like myself, the stark distinction is breathtaking.  And then, as air refilled my lungs, I was struck by the wonderful and unalterable way nature has of beginning again.  Every death has within it the promise of new life.

I don’t know what this canyon looked like before the fire.  Somehow I believe it couldn’t have been as striking untouched as it is now, having gone through this bit of adversity.  There are people I know with this same deep beauty; exuding a complex magnificence that only reveals itself after walking through the fire and being nourished by the ash.

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When we really love something, we love it in many ways.  We love people not just for the pleasure of being around them, but also for the many different windows they open for us to peer through, for being able to see life–and ourselves–through their eyes.

Walking on the beach I look out at the ocean and see a vast universe, an incredible power, a weightless world of possibility.  Then I see this surfer, sitting, watching, thinking very different thoughts than I. 

I imagine him looking at the ocean with the admiration of a lover, trying to better understand the nature of her waves and why they move the way they do.  He is peering through a different window than I am, and I love being a witness to that.  His joy and appreciation doubles my own.  And that is one of the many wonders of being human.

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Mom and I arrived in San Diego yesterday for a girl’s weekend with long-time friend and mom’s ex-business partner Ginita.  After a leisurely lunch of chicken Caesar salad and chardonnay, we headed for the beach.

The ocean breeze ran through our hair, the fresh salt air filled our lungs, and the fine sand kissed our toes with every step.  There are few things as pleasing to feet as walking barefoot on a sandy beach. 

Add to that popping the washed-up kelp bubbles like a child jumping on plastic bubble-wrap and I felt as though I was 4, rather than 40.  A fabulous day, indeed.

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Protecting the nest and her chicks.  Photo: SOLENT

Protecting the nest and her chicks. Photo: SOLENT

If you’ve ever read Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, you know that what kept him going through years of concentration camp imprisonment was a sense of purpose.

Feeling as though there is some reason for our being allows us to overcome challenges that might otherwise seem insurmountable.  It also, when acted upon, brings us an incredible sense of joy.

Kathi Lewis of Hollis, New Hampshire, believes every newborn deserves a warm welcome. That’s why she collects and distributes used baby clothing, gently worn garments she provides to area social workers who pass them on to their clients, new moms with limited resources.

“It’s how I worship,” she said. “This is why I was put on Earth, and this is how I give back.”   Read more about Kathi’s sense of purpose.

People aren’t the only beings who thrive when they feel there’s some greater meaning to their lives.  Many animals have done amazing things out of a sense of purpose.

The photo in this post was captured by amateur wildlife photographer Dennis Bright at a house in Fareham, Hampshire. The female thrush’s body is semi-submerged in the water of a gutter as she holds back the flow, protecting the nest and her chicks. Her mate took over feeding the mother bird and their chicks in the interim.  Read more of this story.

One of my favorite things about joy is that it spreads. From woman on a mission to social worker to mother to child. From mother bird to father bird to baby chicks. From me to you and you to me.  And around and around it goes.

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I spy joy in a painted sky

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Last week I had to walk out of the house and into the middle of the street to appreciate this amazing scene. And I mean I had to.  I was compelled to watch with awe the way this most unusual mix of clouds was lit up by the setting sun.  I have never seen anything like it.  Our neighbors from across the street came out to enjoy it, too. We stood together, called out by the brilliance of mother nature, watching until the colors faded to gray.

As I looked to the sky, I was reminded of how rich my life really is.  How rich we all are, to live on this earth, in this time, surrounded by beauty.  We have so much more than we know, so much more than we realize or acknowledge.  Until a night like this one, when we are so boldly reminded of the wealth and opulence that lies before us.

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