Monday, December 26, 2011

Week Before Christmas

There are many days in my life when I feel too busy, too tired, too something to go for a walk outside.  As I have said over and over again, I am always happy that I make it out once I am there.  It was a gray day, and I asked to be shown something amazing.  Being that it was a gray day, I doubted the scenery would be the "wow" that I was gifted that morning.  As I approached the frozen lake, I was drawn to the dusting of snow lightly covering the ice.  The way that the light was playing on the snow, it looked deep and 3 dimensional.  I realized that it looked like clouds look from an airplane window once you have risen above them.  The snow on the ice seemed to have movement even though the air was still.  I kept watching and the "clouds" kept moving and rolling.  This was some kind of wow!  
I thought immediately of this scene when I read my aunt Joann Cierniak's book "Where you Go Now Mon?" about her experience as a Peace Corps worker in Antigua in the early 1960's.  My favorite line from her book is  "...offering the ultimate physical and psychological comfort to anyone open, at least for a few hours, to living in the glory of Nature's Now."
"The glory of Nature's Now."  What a beautiful way to capture the idea that everything that nature offers is a one-time thing.  No two sunsets are alike, and nothing that you see will ever be duplicated in quite the same way.  Each moment is a gift meant to be enjoyed.  Pause, breathe, and take it in.  Savor "the glory of Nature's Now."  Enjoy this wonderful  cloud slide show from the National Geographic website.

Another Dear Friend

I have another dear friend who has become special to me for many reasons.  She is delightful, loves to smile and laugh, and shares a name with my beautiful grandmother.  "Mabel" loves the outdoors, birds, fresh air, and all that nature has to offer.  Presently she is cooped up in a double room not side by side as we would all hope, but split down the middle by a privacy curtain that is constantly drawn.  She cannot see outside unless she goes into the dining room, and she cannot manage that herself.  As I visit nursing homes, I am often scratching my head wondering who in the world designed them!  
Mabel and I have delightful visits.  She loves to laugh and tell me about growing up as part of a large  farm family.  She told me the other day that she and I are going to "do some big things together".   She would love to take a few road trips, but for now, I would love to find her some bird recordings and a way to play them in her room.  It would be so much more pleasant than the sound of blaring daytime tv that is her constant white noise.  
There are people in our lives that make us want to be great people and do great things.  Mabel is one of those people for me.  If I can't help her, she has fanned a flame in me that will not be extinguished until I can successfully help others like her.  To Mabel and me, being able to see what beauty mother nature creates every day should be seen and treasuredTo be able to crack a window in any weather and fill your lungs with fresh outside air, should be a basic right.  To watch birds at a feeder, or squirrels scrounge for food, would provide hours of enjoyment that tv never can.  
Once again, I remember touring Judy Berry's Lakeview Ranch .... I recently got a phone call from my nephew who had visited Lakeview, and he told me that he and his companion were moved to tears more than once.  Judy is working magic, and freely and lovingly shares all that she knows to whomever will listen.  She wants her concept of treating the elderly with dignity and love to expand and multiply exponentially!  I do too.   Last week I dedicated one of my morning walks to my friend Mabel and had a running dialog in my head about the beauty that was all around me and how alive I felt, so that I could remember to tell her everything.
I dedicate the photo of the rose-breasted grosbeak, Mabel's favorite bird, to her as well. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011


The lake has completely frozen over now, and it's covered with snow.  It is certainly beautiful.  The geese left early this week for open water somewhere.  I have been thrilled to find that the lake path was plowed after the snowfalls.  It makes walking so much easier.  I spent the first day after a new snowfall walking with my head down.  I love to look at the animal tracks in the snow.  It amazes me to know what normally travels down the same path in the months that there is no evidence left behind.  When I did raise my head to look around, it was stunning.  There was snow stuck to every branch of every tree in sight.  Pure beauty!  This week it has been pretty bitter cold and I'm back to walking with just my eyeballs exposed.  I'm sure that I may frighten people, but I do stay toasty warm.  I looked in my "eagle tree" this week, and knew that with the lake frozen over the chances of seeing her there were remote.  Twice in the last 3 days, I have seen another bird there.  I knew right away that it was smaller than the eagle, and it is much more timid.  An amazing red-tailed hawk has taken off as soon as I get near.  It's belly is such a creamy yellowish white, and it is so silently graceful.  I realized that when I saw the birds in the summer, I thought that their bellies were white, but against the snow, they turn such a warm buttery white. 
I feel so blessed to be able to get outside and experience nature, fresh air, and whatever else the weather brings each day. 
Enjoy your day wherever you are and whatever you are doing.  Decide to be joyful and spread the happiness to everyone you see.