Tag Archive | nature

Be Happy For Earth Day

Nature is superior to our human mistakes. The vastness of her power is beyond our comprehension. One way to celebrate Earth Day, beyond enjoying time outdoors, is to focus on what is working. Certainly let’s take action with conserving energy, purchasing less and repurposing more. But let’s also help with our minds and hearts as we pay attention to what is working. Let’s focus on building the new. Together, with Nature’s awesome power and our opportunities for making a difference, we can fix this. Happy Earth Day! And let’s BE HAPPY for Earth Day. Namaste.

Glorious Greys

Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them. ~ John Ruskin

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micro snowflakesOn this half way point, this vernal equinox, the planet is poised between black and white, darkness and light, teaching the lesson of the bountiful beauty to be discovered amidst the shades of grey.

“Thank You God for this day.” My daily prayer, a mantra of sorts, is something I say a lot. Often aloud and definitely daily.

Thank You God for this day.

Today where I live it sure doesn’t look or feel like the first day of spring as the calendar indicates. The sky is filled with wet spring snow. Angled sharply with bursts of wind, it stings the face and causes treacherous driving. As I drove the lad to work this morning (the transit service to his work is awful) and the grey sky pelted at the world, all I could see was the beauty. Gorgeous shades of grey.

As you know I believe in practice. Everything gets easier with practice. We have to keep at things, and they will get easier. Because I say Thank You God often, I live mostly in a state of gratitude.

snowy branchDuring today’s commute, all I could see was my blessings. How lucky my son and I are to be travelling safe and warm in this car. I am thankful for excellent tires and the great condition my husband keeps this car in. I give a prayer of thanks for my husband. And just look at all the other good drivers, paying attention and signaling like I do. And the colour, oh the gorgeous shades of grey everywhere! The misty effect the blowing snow gives to the very air as it moves and undulates is breathtakingly beautiful. To actually see the air the way we can with falling snow is really a kind of a miracle.

So rather than view it as awful, and what ‘shouldn’t’ be happening, I feel so much better when I tune into a sense of celebration in my heart for this moment. Now. I am thankful for the beauty and blessings of this life and I feel, at times, like I see priceless, incredible gifts everywhere I look. Joy is contagious and I want you to catch it with me!

See the soft shades of grey and the undulating shapes in the wind-driven snow and sleet. Come back indoors and give thanks for the shelter. Give thanks for scarves. Get back in your car and give thanks for the security of being able to drive somewhere warm, and indeed back home as well. Make some tea and give thanks for that.

lovely shades of greyI’m not saying I don’t wish spring would arrive and get blooming. I’m suggesting that we look for and find the beauty right here, in every moment. Every day is the most beautiful day of the year, up to this point, don’t you agree? We are lucky to be here today, and this is the weather today comes with. I choose to see the beauty now (even if I would rather see blooming bulbs in my gardens).

Do not allow yourself to feel crestfallen if the first day of Spring blows in like a lion, whipping snow around and keeping bulbs and buds sleeping.

Let’s say it aloud together:

Thank You God for this day.

And thank you for the gloriously gorgeous greys.

Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE

 

Visit my Pinterest board of “Nature ~ beauty beyond words” to see this owl, and more.
http://www.pinterest.com/Ginas4PEACE/nature-%7E-beauty-beyond-words/

Both the macro flakes and snowy branch images are from this board by Trudy Tarasoff on Pinterest with images of winter and I love what she wrote: “Snow ~ I live in a part of Canada that can experience up to 7 months of snow. Some people curse the white stuff. I, however, think that it is beautiful. These photos are testimony to that beauty.” Thank you Trudy! 
http://www.pinterest.com/tlt55/snow/

In celebrating greys, one of my favourite bloggers came to mind. When I revisited, once again this incredible post reverberated through my soul. If you have seen it already, perhaps visit again. And if not I am certain you will be uplifted and mesmerized by the beauty this talented artist captures. Thank you Sriram. You bless us with your wise poetic heart and skillful eye.
http://sriramjanak.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/mind-seeing/

And lastly, if you are indeed craving a sight of spring please click link to visit my other blog’s post for today. It’s a collection of bright and cheerful photographs of spring decor to celebrate its arrival if only in our hearts. Springing For Joy 

Outgrowing

~Let’s Outgrow Our Past~

In the springtime

go out and observe

the blossoms

on the fruit trees.

 

The blossoms

vanish

of themselves

as the fruit grows.

 

So too will

the lower self, the false self, the ego,

vanish

as the Divine

grows within you.

 

As taught by Vivakenanda, and shared by Dr. Wayne Dyer on the PBS program ‘Wishes Fulfilled’

The teacher Vivakenanda was asked by his devotees, “How do you do it? How do you access your Higher Self? How do you make this your reality?” He answered with the above example to help us focus on our spiritual growth, knowing whatever is unnecessary to our highest learning will dissolve away like fruit blossoms.

It reminds me of Carl Jung: “Our most important problems cannot be solved. They must be outgrown.” This powerful concept helps retrain how I think, to pay NO attention to the things I don’t like in my life. I’m too busy being focused on where I’m headed. As Ernest Holmes taught, I choose to “Only look at that which you wish to experience.”

When I was single I noticed healthy, loving relationships around me with a smile and a glowing heart, knowing it would one day be my own joy – and now it is. When I allowed an unhealthy substance to take over my life, I prayed for and focused on what it felt like to be a light and carefree non-drinker, and that is my joyful experience of life now.

Every day I continue growing towards who I am becoming. I visualize myself feeling, behaving, and acting peacefully no matter what external events are happening. I certainly have a ways to go, but every slip up [such as yesterday when I was grumpy with my husband when I hadn't noticed how hungry I'd become] helps strengthen my resolve to focus on calmness and inner peace. To be aware of what pulls me off balance so that I can remain steady. And I fully believe we all get where we’re going by looking forward, and giving zero attention to what we no longer want. Let’s focus on what we DO want, and let the rest fall away like finished fruiting blossoms.

Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ Professions for PEACE

[Images gratefully sourced from Google.com]

Eye Heart Nature

open hearts see love everywhere

Here’s a photographic celebration of seeing loving hearts everywhere.

Each and every day is a blessing. May you enjoy these Nature Valentines! 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

[Images gratefully sourced from Google]

Loving Trees

tree_canopy smAll my life, as far back as I can remember, I have felt a connection with trees. I’ve grasped trunks and branches during youthful climbs and wondered how my hands felt to them. I felt their surface as rough, crumbly, sticky in places with sap, and I wondered if they felt me climbing them as warm, human, fleeting, soft.

One of my earliest memories regarding my family involved a tree. A very tall tree. We lived near the end of a long country road and our yard had a row of tall spruce running along the property line, separating our house and yard from the road. I loved those huge spruce trees and would often climb up to sit, swing and bounce on those sprawling lower branches. For my tiny body of six years those branches made a perfect ladder all the way to the top, and one day I just kept going.

I can still remember the sticky sap that clung to my palms as I reached up to another and then another branch-rung in this ladder to the clouds. That is until the branches were so close together that all I could do was perch on the sturdiest one and hold onto the trunk. It was exhilarating. My heart was happy and excited and I felt so intimately close to that old tree. I felt safe. Cocooned. I even noticed how the breeze made that old tree sway. In my mind it was as if I was nestled in the clouds and I loved it.

spruce_tree 300Then I looked down through the branches and saw my family in the yard: mother gardening, father working on one of his cars, and much older sister preparing to head out in her own car. I could hear them easily and they were starting to ask each other, “Have you seen Gina?” so I unveiled my hiding spot and cheerily called out to them, “Hi Mom! Hi Dad! Hi Sis!” Unfortunately (but predictably) they didn’t think my being 50 feet up in a narrow evergreen quite as enchanting as I did. My Mom went into a screaming state of panic and her fear was palatable. I suddenly gripped that trunk and felt the rush of a powerful fear.

I climbed down with a much more unhappy energy than I’d climbed up with, but I still give thanks for that memory. The trauma from my mother’s fear helped imprint that day, that moment, into my brain to be permanently stored. I loved that tree, that day, the clouds, the breeze, even the sticky and prickly branches, and my mother’s introduction of fear helped sear that day into me so that I would never forget.

Once I became a mother it was easy to forgive and understand my mom’s frantic, scolding behaviour. While I never experienced looking up a 50-foot tree to see my six-year old child near the top, I can still easily understand her behaviour (although I don’t recommend letting your child SEE your level of panic, if at all possible). Obviously I made it down safely, although the coming down was vastly worse than the going up. I was harshly scolded and forbidden from ever climbing trees again. (Not that it lasted. I discovered an ancient walnut tree as well as a prolific cherry tree at our next home. I figured moving made that ‘No Climbing Trees’ agreement void)

tree roots 350Now mid-life has snuck up on me and those memories are decades old. In my world I now have 50-foot spruce trees on my own property. While I do not feel the urge to push my much-larger body through the branches in an attempt to reach the heights, I feel their roots. I offer love to their roots.

I wonder, is this a part of aging? In my youth I longed for the tip-top branches, swaying in the breeze, and now I respect and appreciate roots where I add compost, occasional fertilizer and water during times of drought.

I myself have put deeper roots down as I cherish these years of my forties. If I may be so lucky this is the halfway point… the true mid-life stage and I intend to show up and put on a good show.

Offering my love and appreciation for the two huge spruce I share this property with is one way I celebrate life. They are old trees, older than I am, and their sprawling shallow roots reach much farther than the drip-line. Their roots might even be under me now as I type in the den facing the street, beside the nearest of the two giant trees as I watch the pattern of the wind in its branches.

If this is the case and the roots are under my feet, may it receive this prayer I offer. May this tree feel my appreciation for the birds it shelters and the shade it offers. May it know those fertilizer spikes I pound in at the drip-line during spring rains are one way I show my love as I attempt to replenish the soil nourishment our city lifestyles rob from urban trees. May it, on some unknown level, feel my loving eyes as I watch its branches from my window and attempt to capture poetic words to describe the beauty I behold. May these old trees, and all the trees in my neighbourhood and the wilderness walks I enjoy, feel my deep appreciation for them and continue to flourish and share their oxygenating, healing energy with us all.

Thank You God for all the Trees.

forest-old-growth

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.

~ Chinese Proverb

I willingly confess to so great a partiality for trees as tempts me to respect a man in exact proportion to his respect for them. 

~ James Russell Lowell

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live
than other things do.
 ~ Willa Cather

See additional quotes on TREES and more on my Quotes Page.
Related reading at my older post: A Forest Sprite

[With genuine gratitude for these randomly-sourced royalty-free photos off Google images]

Pet Smiles

You may have seen some or all of these images before but I feel it’s time for some funnies! Here are a few humorous images of dogs and cats. They make me smile and I hope they bring a smile to your face as well. Hang in there! xo Hugs, Gina

alluneedislove-and a dog

cat-Group-Hug

Funny-dog-story
funny_animal_pictures_8

funny_animal_pictures_2-9

awkward_moments_4

We-will-be-friends

IKEA cat

funny_animal_pictures_10-3

funny_animal_pictures_10

funny_animal_pictures_13

funny_animal_pictures_19

2hugyourdogorkitty

[with gratitude for these randomly sourced images off Google]

A Philosopher, a Poem, and a Song

galileo-telescopeA while ago I woke with a moonbeam shining in my eyes. My mind called out: it’s too early to be awake! It’s hardly into the third hour of the day and I’d hoped to wake when the alarm went off at 7am. But the moon had other plans, shining her beaming light across my face, through the small opening in the window covering. After turning and trying to think of sleep, I laid on my back, eyes open, and heard the lines of a poem running through my mind:

“How the heart mingles with the moonlit hour,
As if the starry heavens suffused a power.”

It’s been a while since I’ve thought of this poem and it took time to remember it all. The beginning was eluding me and, having realized sleep was not returning, I tiptoed to my home office hoping for speed on my computer, and sought out the poem. There it was! The stanza that was eluding me:

“And when, oblivious to the world, we stray,
At dead of night, along some noiseless way,”

This poem, Starry Heavens, is one of my all-time favorites. I hadn’t thought about it in a year or so, and am happy to be woken by moonbeams to help me remember it. Memorized poems need to be occasionally dusted off and recited, even if only for our selves. An audience for this hobby of memorizing old-fashioned poetry is yet to be found in my life, so I’m thankful to share it here.

More prose is wandering through my thoughts this early morning… this time by Galileo… 

“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”

lovedthestars_galileo 2

What a beautiful statement, making me think about faith even though the man himself was not known for being pious.

This I learned as I sought more information about a quote I was self-misinformed about, years ago. I was watching a PBS seminar with the always-inspirational Dr. Wayne Dyer, and he shared a quote that had me pause the VCR (like I said, years ago):

“The sun, with all it’s planets revolving around it, can ripen the smallest bunch of grapes as if it had nothing better to do.” ~ “Why then, should I doubt His power?”

I was in my early twenties (a young mom with a VCR) and I wrote down this paraphrased quote and memorized it as I heard it, not realizing I’d misunderstood the pause in Dr. Dyer’s sharing of this powerful quote and I added his own comment to the end of Galileo’s writing. So for years, decades really, I’d memorized this tidbit from Galileo with a Wayne Dyer addition on the end. It is a great quote, and my inadvertent ‘addition’ has brought me great comfort through the years. However I prefer to know the truth, and to know who really said what.

galileoLet’s hear it for research! As I sought info I realized that Galileo was in the ‘other’ camp. I personally enjoy melding science and religion within my own viewpoints and give thanks to live in a time when this is possible but Mr. Galilei did not live in such a time, and his passion for science unfortunately drove a wedge between himself and the primary organized religion of his day. To say he was ‘ahead of his time’ is a gross understatement. [Scroll to the bottom of this post for info on his life.]

Today I woke too early, with a poem about the moon and stars in my mind, and thoughts of Galileo hovering. Then, as I thought of Galileo, I easily recalled a favourite song by The Indigo Girls and have shared it here. As I wrote in a previous post: It has been suggested that insomnia is linked with creativity.”

This is my ‘share’ today, sent out to any other insomnia wanderers out there, and of course to all my cherished readers whatever time of day you happen to come upon this post. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to relish in every moment of the day that you are alive.


Thank you to YouTube user ‘elmonkey26’ for this excellent video!

Excerpt from GoodReads:
“Galileo Galilei (Feb 5, 1564 – Jan 8, 1642) was a Tuscan (Italian) physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of science”, and “the Father of Modern Science.” The motion of uniformly accelerated objects, taught in nearly all high school and introductory college physics courses, was studied by Galileo as the subject of kinematics. His contributions to observational astronomy include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter, named the Galilean moons in his honour, and the observation and analysis of sunspots. Galileo also worked in applied science and technology, improving compass design. Galileo’s championing of Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime. The geocentric view had been dominant since the time of Aristotle, and the controversy engendered by Galileo’s presentation of heliocentrism as proven fact resulted in the Catholic Church’s prohibiting its advocacy as empirically proven fact, because it was not empirically proven at the time and was contrary to the literal meaning of Scripture. Galileo was eventually forced to recant his heliocentrism and spent the last years of his life under house arrest on orders of the Roman Inquisition.”

Related articles:
http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/what-did-galileo-ever-do-to-you/
http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/09/05/starry-heavens/
http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/05/14/insomnia/
http://professionsforpeace.com/2012/06/18/on-memorizing-poetry/

[Images randomly sourced off the internet]

Inspiration from Elephants

Like so many, I am completely mesmerized by elephants. My blogging friend Sriram Janek captures their essence in his photography with breath-taking talent. I recommend clicking the link to visit his site and join me in being swept away by the power and beauty of these magnificent animals (and others) that he so artistically captures. 

Until you visit Sriram’s site for extraordinary ventures through the lens into the world of wild elephants, here’s a collection I’ve gathered from random internet photos. These warm my heart and I hope they will for you too! In marvelling over the wisdom and majesty of elephants we are all connected, no matter how near or far we live from them. 

baby elephant man laughingboy in elephants tuskselephant bathelephant petbaby elephant man kissbaby elephant in snowyoung elephant with handlereleph soccer Wildography (UK) elephant love RiversintheOceanElephriends_picFB wildforwildlifeandnature elephant MLKboy monk with elephant Harmlessness

[Images randomly sourced off the internet]

Spring Fever

spring-desktop-wallpaper

SPRING FEVER: For many, those two words conjure up the feeling of falling in love but I see these two words as a reignited passion for life! I feel the urge for longer walks, and more moments bird-watching to witness the returning or ‘passing through’ winged residents. I find myself cleaning out disorganized closets and emptying sheds. Leftover Easter ham is being cherished down to every last morsel into pasta casseroles and various soups. Curtains and blinds are fully opened and windows have been cleaned of their winter dust.

I am feeling fresh and sprite too as I’m drawn to wearing my brightest colours. My usual choices of blues, greens or browns have been replaced by tops and scarves in purple, pink, yellow and orange. Buying cut-flowers at the store feels like more of a necessity than an extravagance as my spirit longs for growing things. As if to oblige all three of my indoor Christmas Cactus are quickly becoming covered with their spectacular orchid-like blooms, and an African Violet in the front window has more purple than green as it keeps sending up more and more blooms.

Just this past weekend my heart soared with the temperatures when my hubby was able to at last remove the last of the ice-hardened snowpack heaped on a corner of our concrete patio that I’ve been looking at out the kitchen window since October! Five months of only being able to imagine exactly where the edge of the patio meets the garden area. Five months of being reminded of the long snowy winters and short, fast summers where I live. Well, that short fast summer is approaching at break-neck speed and I’m filled with energy to ‘hit the ground running’.

Colorful_spring_gardenGarden Floor Plans have been drawn and lists compiled. There are certain perennials that need to be moved, primarily away from the hot sun at the front of the yard facing south, and into the cooler, more shaded area at the back of the yard. Now mind you, the ground is still frozen and only the very toughest plants are starting to show hints of green, so pre-planning is all I can do. Well that and neatening the garden: pulling off the covering mulch and cutting back last year’s dead plant matter. The lovely ladybugs scramble as they are shaken awake. I say Hello and carefully work around them as they hurry away. I send them love and hope they won’t go too far.

When it’s time to take a break and come indoors, the delicious aroma of Lentil-Pea-Ham soup greets me from the crockpot. Yesterday’s hearty Ham & Corn Chowder is nearly already devoured by the family. Hopefully today’s soup will be as well received.

I wanted to share a glimpse into my bustling ‘spring fever’ days here in early April, when the mild winds are pushing small white clouds across a bright blue sky. The temperatures are warming through the day and even staying above freezing at night (barely but 2 Celsius is good for me!). So I say Thank You God for another spring day, and thank you to all of you cherished readers for encouraging me to pause a moment and share about my day. May your day be filled with energizing spring breezes and a deep sense of gratitude that wells up and fills your heart to overflowing. Life is Good! Namaste.

I wish these photos were from my garden! These are wallpaper images off Google.

It’s My Birthday!

hoar frostWhile every season has incredible beauty from nature, and every day is a reason to rejoice, I am delighted that on my birthday this year the weather outside is delightful! Hoar frost is a special weather event that coats things with a delicate and crystalline dusting of miniature icicles. It is breath-taking to behold! As a lover of trees, I enjoy how this form of frost highlights every branch, every needle, in perfect detail. It always has me breathing aloud “wow” in a quiet voice, so as to not disturb the sacred quiet that seems to accompany this event. There is no wind or else the delicate formations would blow away, and everything feels hushed. I feel especially close to God, and am feeling very grateful. 

Gina and NikkiEarly today my husband and I brought our dog for a walk in the off-leash park and it was wonderful. He brought the camera to capture some of the frost and a couple of our beloved canine-kid! What a nice way to begin this day.

Nikki and the ballThis is a special and festive time of year to have come into the world and I am ever so thankful to God that I am here. And as Tolkien wrote, I believe in giving out gifts on one’s birthday to all friends and family, so here are some gifts for you, my welcomed and cherished readers: a few posters and quotes to uplift and inspire. May we all be thankful for this day, for indeed every morning when we wake is like our birthday… a whole new day which we have been blessed with. ~Namaste.

before you were bornThank you to the lovely and wise author Joan Borysenko for these words shared today:

dear God thank youOf all your mother’s countless ova, of all your dad’s trillions of sperm, you are the lottery winner! Your gift is this life, this sacred adventure. If, as Rumi says, “The soul is here for its own joy,” why not celebrate your return to life this morning and every morning.

live everyday die onceI hope that your day was filled with joy and celebration of the very fact, that by indescribably small odds, you were born into this life on planet Earth. Remember to pray for me and I will pray for all of you. May you be at peace. May your heart be open. May you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May you be healed. May you be happy!

Gratitude in the Snow

Living in the Canadian prairies means that winter snows are a part of life. Half the year actually. As an optimist, my natural cheeriness can be challenged as the winter snows begin. It can be easy to feel discouraged as the sun dips below the horizon for longer and longer hours of the day. It can be easy to feel disheartened when the weather (Mother Nature?) occasionally decides ~ as happened this year ~ to skip the season of Autumn, making me miss a favourite of mine. For a gardener like myself, it can be easy to feel saddened that tasks must wait for months before I can return to joyfully communing with nature in my garden.

However, I choose to focus on the flip side. The half-full glass. I fully believe that everything in life provides us with an opportunity to choose how we will respond, or react. And if I can do it while feeling buried underneath a foot of snow, anyone can.

As a gardener I see this as a perfect time to focus extra care and attention on the indoor plants. It’s the perfect time to sit down and plan for next spring, deciding if any perennials need to be moved, looking forward to the spring bulbs coming up, and deciding on adjustments to the garden. This time of year we enjoy a reprieve from flying and crawling insects, and can leave the outside lights on to illuminate the way to the door without encouraging flocks of moths. I give thanks for the fact that many diseases which torment the temperate parts of the world cannot survive the freezing months up here where I live. The early twilight at this time of year makes it wonderful for stargazing, and after-dinner firepits in the backyard with a cup of hot chocolate are an absolute delight.

snowflake beautyThen I contemplate the beauty. There is an awesome beauty in the northern winter that is unmatched for its crystal clear serenity. Those moments I’ve been lucky enough to witness the intricate designs of snowflakes landing on my car window and showing off their designs illuminated by the street light as I wait for my car to warm, those moments will always be held precious. To actually witness – for that instant before it melts – how each is incredibly gorgeous, and definitely different. I will always find that to be profound. And the diversity of moods this season holds is fascinating! From the awesomely tender gentleness of minuscule snowflakes, silently accumulating and slowly dusting the ground, to the horrifyingly powerful blizzards bending trees over, pounding snow, and howling with gales around the eaves.

Winter is a season that demands respect. Those who fail to understand its danger risk losing toes, or worse. So my family stores blankets and extra outerwear in our vehicles, we keep candles and matches in the glovebox (not to mention gloves!) and we avoid unnecessary travel during storms. And I give heartfelt thanks every time my loved ones and I are delivered safely to our destinations, and back home again.

I give thanks for so many things: for my home and its consistent warmth, and my crockpot filled with simmering stew. For the snowplow operators busy clearing streets and helping make them passable. For transit workers driving their buses and trains, soldiering on through storms when my husband’s car is better left in the garage. And on the coldest days that dip below -25, I give thanks for our fenced backyard as a place for my dog to ‘go’ when it’s too cold to walk around the block.

And I give thanks for the coziness and quiet introspection that only this frozen season brings. In my studies of Native American Spirituality, we are all to be grateful for this time of year to go within. This is a time for crafts, games with family, and daily prayer time for remembering how much we have to be thankful for. I Thank You God for everything, even these cold months of winter snows.

A poem for breezy autumn days

As I shared in an earlier post, memorizing poetry has been an important part of my life. Especially when I was a young mom discovering how reciting rhymes could be a helpful parenting tool. This poem was a favourite of my children. Especially my youngest who asked me to recite it often, no matter the season. It is a beautifully melodious poem and can easily be imagined as a song, as I believe the writer intended. George Cooper, who lived from 1838 to 1927 was an American poet remembered primarily for his song lyrics, many set to music by Stephen Foster (1826-1864). I hope you enjoy!

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autumn leaves

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The Wind and The Leaves ~ by George Cooper

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“Come, little leaves,” said the wind one day,


“Come o’er the meadows with me and play;


Put on your dresses of red and gold,


For summer is gone and the days grow cold.”

blowing autumn leaves

Soon as the leaves heard the wind’s loud call,


Down they came fluttering, one and all;


Over the brown fields they danced and flew,


singing the glad little songs they knew.

“Cricket, goodbye, we’ve been friends so long;


Little brook, sing us your farewell song;


Say you are sorry to see us go;


Ah, you will miss us, right well we know.

“Dear little lamb, in your fleecy fold,


Mother will keep you from harm and cold;


Fondly we watched you in vale and glade;


Say, will you dream of our loving shade?”

forest floor of snow

Dancing and whirling, the little leaves went;


Winter had called them, and they were content;


Soon, fast asleep in their earthy beds,


The snow laid a coverlet over their heads.

.

I hope you have enjoyed this favourite family poem, one that I have adored for decades. Although it is about a hundred years old and the writer is long gone, I like to imagine that it would please him to know we are sharing it and enjoying it still. Poetry helps build connections across time and space.

Wishing you a breezy and beautiful day filled with the joy of dancing, whirling leaves.

Namaste.

Flying Crooked, by Robert Graves

I have enjoyed spending most of my time in the gardens today, and I had the joyful opportunity to witness the wonder and curiously chaotic flight of several butterflies. Whenever I see one, I pause and this poem that I memorized nearly twenty years ago runs through my mind. Often I will enjoy reciting it aloud. Of all my memorized poetry, this is one of my favourites for its incredibly descriptive cadence, somehow even sounding like a butterfly’s flight. I hope you enjoy!

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.white butterfly

Flying Crooked, by Robert Graves

The butterfly, a cabbage-white, 


(His honest idiocy of flight) 


Will never now, it is too late, 


Master the art of flying straight, 


Yet has – who knows so well as I? –

A just sense of how not to fly: 


He lurches here and here by guess 


And God and hope and hopelessness. 


Even the acrobatic swift 


Has not his flying-crooked gift.

.

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young poet Robert GravesRobert von Ranke Graves (Robert Graves) 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985

poet Robert Graveswas an English poet, novelist, and scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome.

During his long life he produced more than 140 works, and earned his living from writing. Graves’s poems — together with his translations and innovative analysis and interpretations of the Greek myths, his memoir of his early life including his role in the First World War, Goodbye to All That, and his pseudo-historical study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess — have never been out of print.

(Source – Wikipedia)

First Nations wisdom: balance

About fifteen years ago, I felt honored to be invited to join a small teaching circle and learn with a wise Shaman. In the tradition of the Great Sioux Nation and tribes beyond, we learned of prayer techniques and ways of honoring Self and Others. We learned of animal wisdom and lessons from trees. We learned about the wisdom and energy from each of the four seasons and each of the four directions. We learned about Mother Earth and Father Sky. We learned of the importance of balancing both male and female energies, and how the world has become imbalanced from too much male (intellect) energy and not enough female (intuition) energy.
 

He taught how all decisions used to have to go through the Grandmothers for final approval. Even if the warriors and the Chief himself were set on warring with another tribe over an injustice, as a final step before heading out they had to go through (obtain approval from) the Grandmother Lodge. If the Grandmothers said No – the warring group could not set out. They would have to wait for another time, or find another way to settle their differences. While the tribe’s Shaman would hold the energy of Father Sky, the Grandmothers held the energy of Mother Earth and they could feel the reverberating implications of decisions far beyond the fiery male-energy intellect. We students learned a basic concept that they all knew but our times have forgotten: “Nothing shall be done to harm the children”.
 
Our Shaman compared this illustration to a decision by a corporation to arbitrarily purchase tracts of ancient and vibrant wetlands to drain and plow for developments. He told how this example group of decision-makers, comprised of men and women who were stuck in their intellect and only thinking of commerce, had lost touch with their intuition. They were forgetting to ‘go through the Grandmother Lodge’ and thereby were making decisions that ultimately would hurt the children. Hurting the children refers to not only the literal, local children but also the larger picture of all of us, all of Earth’s Children. For indeed we are all being hurt by decisions motivated and pushed through by the greed encouraged by unbalanced male/intellectual energy.

This wise Shaman would frequently remind us that saying we live in a ‘male-dominated world’ is not necessarily only about the gender of men. He pointed out how some women ‘run’ male energy, predominantly living in their thought-process and actions, and not making time to listen to their intuition. And the flip side of this, of course, is that some men ‘run’ female energy, preferring listening over action, and feeling things very deeply but are unable to put it into words.
 
“Running energy” is about whether a person’s energy is predominantly going outwards, or coming inwards. Male energy runs outwards, going out into the world. An important energy, this is of intellectuals, explorers, builders, and protectors. The balance of this energy is female, a pulling-inward energy, of bringing it in. Also as important, this energy is of listeners, artists, educators, and healers. The balance between these two types is what is essential. He encouraged us to understand what is male-energy and what is female-energy, and to endeavor to have a healthy balance of both.
 
To meet me in person, it is apparent that although a bit introverted, I still ‘run’ male energy. Spending time in my thoughts comes easily but listening to my intuition requires effort. It has become easier over the years because I work on finding the balance all the time. My husband, although very masculine and strong, nevertheless ‘runs’ female energy. Both of us refer to him as being Zen-like, and that calm ‘unruffled’ demeanor in someone who takes time with decisions and really thinks things through epitomizes female-energy in the way our indigenous peoples referred to it. I, on the other hand, have a strong-willed, forward moving, quick thinking, and warrior type of energy. When I wrote earlier that I am an introvert, I am referring to the fact that I need time alone to recharge (all these examples are only suggestions for further self-awareness). I know I ‘run’ male energy. Same as my mother did. And it is not surprising to me that I married a man not far unlike my own father, who was a kind gentle soul who offered a calm balance to my mother’s energy.
 
The female-energy / intuitive / introverted types need to understand
how to speak up because the world needs your input.
The male-energy / intellectual / extroverts of the world need to listen to
and really hear the introverts and their ideas.

.

This healthy balance is true within our selves as well. We need to take time to go within and notice what our intuition (our ‘gut’) tells us about any decision, action, or step we are about to take. Let us bring our decision ‘through the Grandmother Lodge’ and feel what the female energy of Mother Earth has to say.

If our ‘gut instinct’ still feels good and clear about moving forward, then is it time to be courageous and stretch out into the world, doing what needs to be done. This is a healthy balance of our male and female energies working in harmony, remembering that nothing shall be done to harm the children.
 
  .

(Please note: The word Shaman is pronounced shaa’-men) 

Bringing the Rain

Here in North America and in parts of the UK and beyond, many of us are sweltering under heat waves. I have been preparing a post with safety tips for surviving the heat, tips for things we can cook (if we even feel interested in eating) during this hot weather, and yet that post keeps forming and waiting in the Drafts area. My intuition is calling me to share this treasure that has meant so much to me through the years, and perhaps again this is an example of how poetry helps. If this story can bring entertainment, relief, and maybe even hope to one visitor here, it is worth it! Here is a story, about a story.

When my two boys were very young, the only TV-time was either a few choice children’s movies we played over and again, and certain programs on PBS. I miss Bill Nye The Science Guy and would’ve watched his show to this day, but a main favorite for all three of us was Reading Rainbow. Hosted by LeVar Burton, it featured famous people reading wonderful children’s books and truly bringing them to life. One day the episode was so special I was glued to the TV even more than my sons, who played quietly nearby with toys. This incredible story with gorgeous imagery and hypnotic poetry was narrated by the gloriously deep and melodious voice of none other than James Earl Jones.

Back then I didn’t have a VCR and had no way to tape that episode. However it haunted me in a most wonderful way. I tried my best to memorize parts of it, and recited them over and over for the next while. I suppose it’s not surprising really, that only a couple of weeks later during a visit to a favorite second-hand bookstore, I discovered this gem in the children’s section. I promptly memorized it and it became a favorite for my boys to request hearing. I still have that treasured book, along with several other cherished children’s books, waiting to share with grandchildren in my future, if I may be so lucky.

I wish to share this treasure with you today. If you have heard of it, I hope you enjoy this reminder and trip down memory lane. If this story is new to you, I truly hope you will enjoy. The YouTube video of the story being read by Mr. Jones is nothing short of spectacular, in my humble opinion, but please view to see (and hear!) for yourself.

Also included here are the words I’ve written out and a link to a PDF version to view the full book on your computer. And, because I like to include info for everyone, here is the link to view this book on Amazon.com as well as the ISBN info. May this story bring you joy, and hope of relief from heat waves.

Bringing The Rain To Kapiti Plain

Retold by Verna Aardema with Artwork by Beatriz Vidal
Publisher: Puffin (May 20, 1992)
ISBN-10: 0140546162
ISBN-13: 978-0140546163

View it here on Amazon.com ~ View it here in a complete pdf file
View it on YouTube (Highly recommended! 6 minutes that you have to witness and experience to fully understand its power and beauty)

This is the great Kapiti Plain,
All fresh and green from the African rains ~
A sea of grass for the ground birds to nest in,
And patches of shade for wild creatures to rest in;
With acacia trees for giraffes to browse on,
And grass for the herdsmen to pasture their cows on.

But one year the rains were so very belated
That all the big wild creatures migrated.
Then Ki-apt helped to end that terrible drought ~
And this story tells how it all came about!

This is the cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.
This is the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain from the cloud overhead – The big, black cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.

These are the cows, all hungry and dry, Who mooed for the rain to fall from the sky; To green up the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain from the cloud overhead – The big, black cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.

This is Ki-pat, who watched his herd As he stood on one leg, like a big stork bird; Ki-pat whose cows were so hungry and dry, They mooed for the rain to fall from the sky; To green-up the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain from the cloud overhead – The big, black cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.

This is the eagle who dropped a feather, A feather that helped to change the weather. It fell near Ki-pat, who watched his herd As he stood on one leg, like a big stork bird; Ki-pat whose cows were so hungry and dry, They mooed for the rain to fall from the sky; To green-up the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain from the cloud overhead – The big, black cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.

This is the arrow Ki-pat put together, With a slender stick and an eagle feather; From the eagle who happened to drop a feather, A feather that helped change the weather.

It fell near Ki-pat, who watched his herd As he stood on one leg, like a big stork bird; Ki-pat whose cows were so hungry and dry, They mooed for the rain to fall from the sky; To green-up the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain from the cloud overhead – The big, black cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.

This is the bow, so long and strong, And strung with a string, a leather thong; A bow for the arrow Ki-pat put together With a slender stick and an eagle feather; From the eagle who happened to drop a feather, A feather that helped change the weather.

It fell near Ki-pat, who watched his herd As he stood on one leg, like a big stork bird; Ki-pat whose cows were so hungry and dry, They mooed for the rain to fall from the sky; To green-up the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain from the cloud overhead – The big, black cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.

This was the shot that pierced the cloud And loosed the rain with thunder LOUD! A shot from the bow so long and strong And strung with a string, a leather thong; A bow for the arrow Ki-pat put together With a slender stick and an eagle feather; From the eagle who happened to drop a feather, A feather that helped change the weather.

It fell near Ki-pat, who watched his herd As he stood on one leg, like a big stork bird; Ki-pat whose cows were so hungry and dry, They mooed for the rain to fall from the sky; To green-up the grass, all brown and dead, That needed the rain from the cloud overhead – The big, black cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.

So the grass grew green, and the cattle fat! And Ki-pat got a wife and a little Ki-pat – Who tends the cows now, and shoots down the rain, When black clouds shadow Kapiti plain.