Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Is Coming!

Spring is coming! How do I know?

I have had my first robin sighting.
The cardinal in our backyard tree serenades us at dawn and dusk.
The pussy willows in the garden are budding.
I've changed from my winter boots into wellies.
The garden's snow islands have almost disappeared.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daffodils are such cheery flowers.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blossoming Spring

Just when you're tired of winter, along comes a flower show like the one at Algonquin College to lift your spirits. Such beautiful blooms.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Raising a Cup of Cheer

Happy St. Patrick's Day! But rather than a mug of green beer, how about raising a cup of tea... Irish Breakfast of course.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Relish the Moment, Anticipate the Outcome

This bourgainvillea didn't reach the top of the trellis overnight. And it will be some time before it grows enough to cover its support. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't appreciate its beauty at every stage of its growth.

We live in such a fast-paced world that even our computer taking several seconds longer to load can cause us much irritation. The red light at the intersection, the grocery-store line-up, even listening for the beep at the end of a long-winded answering machine message can seem like an endless wait. The quicker we are able to achieve things, the lower our tolerance to delay becomes.

Imagine how long it used to take to travel somewhere by horse compared to by car, or plane. How difficult it must have been to wait a year for the next taste of fresh strawberries, rather than just the time it takes to drive to the grocery store. The agonizing longing for a letter to arrive when there was no airmail, let alone instantaneous e-mail.

How much more our ancestors must have relished those things when they finally came! How much sweeter the first strawberries of the season must have been. We need to step back and relish the moment we find ourselves in, anticipating the outcome and enjoying the time in between.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Goes Around, Comes Around

If you feel like a little cross-border shopping, a trip to the Carousel Centre in Syracuse, New York offers the bonus of a ride on this restored vintage carousel.

Carousel no. 18 was made by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1909, carved and manufactured in Germantown, Pennsylvania. It has 42 horses, 38 of which move up and down. The lead horses, like those pictured here, are solid wood and weigh 225 pounds. All the colours, materials and details are faithful to the 1909 original.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blissful Silence

I went down to the river today at lunchtime. With the snow not yet melted from the paths, not too many had ventured there. Sitting for awhile in this field to take these photos I became aware of the blissful silence around me. The occasional crow's caw and squawk of a seagull were all that pierced the stillness. It felt wonderful to sit among the silence with the warmth of the sun on me, wondering at the beauty of this tree.

When you experience this type of silence, you come to realise just how much noise surrounds you during your day. Some noises are beyond our control, like the sounds of traffic; others are self-inflicted, such as the background drone of television or radio.

Some people seem to be continuously plugged into some form of sound, even as they walk, exercise or take public transit. My choice is to be in the moment, to listen to what my inner voice might have to say. It's surprising what you discover without the distractions of exteral noise.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sherbert-coloured Beauty

I loved my Valentine's roses so much that I went out and bought another bunch. It's fun to move these sherbert-coloured beauties around the house.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Put a Little Spring into Your Step

It's raining! Lots of puddles to wade through. Does this mean spring?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Soften the Edges

These stones that I brought back from a trip to Nova Scotia have been polished by the actions of water and time.

The fact that something as soft as the flow of water can soften the edges of something as hard as stone seems at first glance rather odd. These stones remind me of something I recently read from the teachings of Lao Tzu:

"Nothing wears away hard strong rocks as well as soft, weak water. From this anyone can see that softness is harder than hardness, and weakness is stronger than strength."

From: Tao by Timothy Freke. N.Y.: Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2002.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Transitory Beauty

One comes across examples of Nature's design all the time. The question is whether you are able to allow yourself the time to notice as you speed through your day. If you allow yourself the space to be in the moment then you are more attentive to your surroundings. You begin to take note of what, in fact, is right in your field of vision. Like these ice cystals that had formed on the windows of the bus shelter I was standing in. With the light streaming in, I enjoyed the moment, taking the time to appreciate their transitory beauty... for with just a few degrees warmer temperatures they would be gone from sight.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Covered with Lace

Yeterday it rained, it rained so much that I actually had to use an umbrella to walk outside. It felt wonderful to need an umbrella again... a sign of spring. When I went to bed it was still raining... so imagine my surprise this morning when I looked out to see all that newly fallen snow.

Oh dear, one step forward... two steps back. So now I am trying to see the beauty in this new snow, to look for the silver lining. For starters, the way the snow fell makes it look like my blue fence has a lace covering. And that's rather pretty.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Faded Beauty

My Valentine's Day roses were so beautiful, a scrumptious blend of pretty warm colours. They don't stop being roses once they pass their prime. They're still lovely, their colours muted and faded to a softness that speaks of a gentleness that evolves with the passing of time. It is possible to appreciate both states of being.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Every End Is a Beginning

"Every end is a beginning." Tai Gong Diao, taoist sage

"The relationship between yin and yang produces a circular evolution in which every end is a beginning." Everything is constantly in the process of becoming its opposite: day into night, young into old, life into death.

In yoga class we were reflecting on the transformation of the seasons, of winter into spring. The strength of the sun is returning. We can feel a shift in energy. This is a joyful change for most of us. But even in the more difficult changes, such as happiness into sadness, one can find acceptance because eventually that sadness will pass once again into happiness. We can accept endings because they are also beginnings. Allow life to ebb and flow.

As the month of February ends, March begins. What is ending and what is beginning in your life?