Archives For ripples

winter fogA few days ago, in my neck of the woods, we had a morning of rare thick fog. It hovered deep over rooftops and created frost linings along wires and tree branches. The sky was white, with no hint of sun through the haze, just the glow that bathed everything. It was utterly magical.

On this frigid Saturday morning at 8:00 am, I wasn’t concerned about throwing on my yoga pants and a t-shirt to go buy some groceries since I’d be mostly hidden beneath my black parka anyways. As I hopped in the car and backed out of the garage, the awe escaped me in a gasp of wonder. If you live in a northern clime and have experienced a hoar frost in the making, you know what I mean. If you live more southerly and haven’t experienced this incredible wonder of nature, it’s difficult to describe how beautiful it is. Photographs, no matter how artfully taken, fail to grasp the beauty of this natural phenomenon.

My local grocer is only a few blocks away but I kept on driving. I’m very grateful to live near a huge wild park preserve with a network of paths, some that run along the river, and picnic table areas scattered among the acres of old growth forest. It was definitely a ‘selling feature’ when we were house hunting.

As I drove past the grocery store and into the wild preserve, I was pleased with the lack of traffic. Indeed, everything seemed hushed and in slow motion. I found myself driving under the speed limit just to gape and marvel at the incredible sight of the trees frosted with white, their tall tips melting into grey fog. Luckily the speed limit is already very slow into this family-friendly park as I kept inching along. Keeping a close eye on my rear mirrors, I saw that no one was coming, or going, on this incredible morning.

Then I saw one person, with a small dog on a leash, walking out of the fog in front of me to cross the road. I happily stopped and leaned forward to look up at the exquisite splendor of the tall trees being painted with hoar frost icicles on every surface. Glancing in my mirrors I saw, again, no one behind me. I drove slowly deeper into the park, approaching the lake and the turn-around where the road ends.

The beauty of nature always feels like a painting by God to me, and the more beautiful the sight, the more deeply I am moved. This particular morning I was moved to tears. Perhaps that I was listening to Amy Grant’s ‘Better than a Hallelujah’ might have something to do with it, but mostly I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for life, and the gifts we are so freely given, every day, if we but open our eyes.

hoar frostAs I finished the drive and looped back towards the grocery store I realized, I wasn’t finished. Not yet. I wasn’t done admiring this incredibly beautiful and rare event of nature. I had to go back! Pulling a careful U-turn on that deserted road, I drove back to the one parking lot in the middle of the main cluster of picnic areas, a place I visit often in the warmer months. A place one can easily walk down to the river. I pulled in and parked not too far from the only other vehicle, a mini-van.

As I turned off the engine, wrapped my scarf around my neck a couple of times and pulled my wool hat and gloves from my bag, I saw the occupants of the van slowly heading towards the river. From their sizes I guessed one adult and three young children, all bundled in snow pants and parkas.

Seeking solitude, I headed the other way along a path following a creek that feeds into the massive river. The hush upon the forest couldn’t hide the occasional squeals and joyful shouts from the small gathering behind me, and it made me smile. I looked up at the treetops in the blanketing fog and quietly recited a poem aloud, knowing no one was around to hear and wonder about this woman speaking to herself.

There was tremendous duck and goose chatter at the river, and I was compelled to stop walking away from the commotion and instead go and see what kind of bird action was happening. As I turned around I noticed that the family hadn’t gone far, and instead were playing in a small copse of trees just beyond the parking lot. I walked past them towards the river, pausing at a small cluster of young aspen beside the path to touch the intricate frost icicles that formed along their thin branches.

As I approached the river I noticed more birds than I’d ever seen on this section of river before, and seeing as some were on this side of the river, I stopped well back since I didn’t want to disturb them. For several minutes I stood and watched this massive display of wildlife. There were Canadian geese intermingled with black Coots, and ducks of various species, and I estimated their numbers to be in the hundreds. Shuffling about for position, drifting into the swiftly flowing, deep river to glide to a new spot, these waterfowl were busily settling in for something, or conversing with relatives, re-establishing friendships… who knows for sure. But their noisy bustling was a wonderful sight and it helped swell my already happy heart up to nearly bursting with joy.

Google search forest+fogWith a smile on my face I turned to head back towards my car, since I hadn’t dressed appropriately and my legs and feet were getting quite cold. Seeing the mother and children (I’d heard her voice so now presumed the adult under the parka to be ‘mom’) slowly spreading onto the narrow footworn path I’d taken from the main path towards the river, and not wishing to interrupt them, I turned to the left to follow the main path. After several feet of walking I realized this route would take me much farther from my car before I could head back towards it, over a bridge.

I was too cold to walk the further distance so I turned around, deciding to head back through the family gathering on the pathway. They were climbing up out of the lower ground amidst the copse of trees they’d been in. I was about 20 feet away when the tallest child turned and saw me, a boy maybe 5 years old. He reached his arm out full length to point towards me and exclaim excitedly, “Look Mom! A PERSON!!”

I laughed out loud with the most joyous love overflowing from every part of my being. It was already a magical, meaningful morning for me, but NOW to be someone’s sighting! How fun is that?!

I waved as I laughed again, and said, “Yes, it’s me. A person!” and the mom smiled at me, undoubtedly having known of my whereabouts ever since I arrived in the park, just after them. The youngest one at her feet, about 2 years old, slipped and did the cutest little slide in his snow pants, down the one-foot embankment the snow-blower had left beside the paved pathway. He was smiling at me as he laid there. I said ‘whoopsie-daisy’ and his mom gently asked, ‘Are you alright buddy?’ to which his smiling face, still looking at me, replied, ‘Oh yes, that was nothing.’ My heart melted even more.

My walking had now brought me right amongst them, and I smiled at the mother and said, “This fog is really rather magical, isn’t it?” waving my hand in a sweeping motion, and she replied immediately “It IS rather magical! That’s why we’re out here.” “Yay. Good for you. Have a wonderful day!” “You too” she replied. The five year old ‘wildlife spotter’ called out, ‘There’s a great big hole to play in there!’ indicating the hollow in the wooded copse they’d spent much time in, and where I was walking past. I called back ‘Yay! What fun!’

I was someone’s sighting! I felt like Bigfoot, or better yet, Buddy the Elf in the forest when he was ‘spotted’ during his assistance of Santa’s crashed sleigh in that sweet, funny movie “ELF”. I chuckled and smiled all the way to my car… and all through the grocery store actually. That sweet child, and his enthusiasm at spotting ME coming out of the fog, made my day. How wonderful that I’d chosen to go beyond merely admiring the fog’s beauty from my car, and decided to actually walk in it, correct clothing or not. God gifted my choice with the pure sweet joy that radiates from happy children, and just remembering that moment makes me smile. And the chorus was playing in my mind, ‘We pour out our miseries… God just hears a melody… Beautiful, the mess we are… the honest cries of breaking hearts… are better than a hallelujah’

Yes I wasn’t dressed perfectly for a winter outing. Yes I felt overwhelmed with grief and sadness much of the time, but the beautiful fog captured my imagination and I forgot everything else. I went for it and was rewarded with a most joyful gift. This helps me remember to go with the flow and be open to whatever might happen. Things don’t need to be preplanned or perfect. I am not perfect and that is perfectly alright. God loves me, and all of us, just the way we are… hurting or not… right here and right now. He knows we’re working on it. We’re trying to get better, to be better, but we’re already good enough. Right now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my frosty and magical morning foray. May nature’s beauty gift you always with joy, love, and learning. And may we embrace the understanding that we are enough, just as we are.

This is what I felt like…

Bigfoot+walking

Okay… who am I kidding. You know I’m more like this!

Elf sighting

teacher who is wise leads you to your threshold Gibran

Then said a teacher, ‘Speak to us of Teaching.’
And he said:
No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.
The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
And even as each one of you stands alone in God’s knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.

 

Khalil Gibran self portrait c.1911Lebanese artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gibran‘s novel from 1923 “The Prophet” has been translated to over forty languages, has sold over 100 million copies, and has never been out of print. Click here to view it on Amazon. According to Wikipedia, Kahlil Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, only behind William Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu. [This paragraph to this point was previously shared in my post On Children]

On the right is a self-portrait he painted in 1911. Click image to visit source on Wikipedia.

My own copy of ‘The Prophet’ was given to me as a cherished gift from my brother-in-law nearly thirty years ago. It has since been read repeatedly and is wonderfully worn. I recommend it for every library so that all may read and enjoy its poetic wisdom. Namaste. Gina

[I cannot recall where I found this bright poster-image and give loving thanks to the maker of it. I will immediately add the source if/when I locate it. As always, I welcome any info in my comments.]

Ripples of Kindness

04/10/2014

To the world you may be one person,

but to one person you may be the world. ~Bill Wilson

Here is a short video that demonstrates the ripple effect that can happen when we do good deeds. Remember, there are a lot of good people in the world. Unsung heroes are everywhere. Let’s endeavor to be an unsung hero ourselves, leading the way to a kinder world, one act of compassion at a time.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a wonderful organization who I’ve celebrated before and they deserve repeating. They generate ideas for ways that anyone can share acts of kindness. I’ve provided a link in this image to the page where these kind people have shared hundreds of ideas to help spark our own. May this list give us a great start, and may our visits to their site deepen the realization that the possibilities and opportunities for sharing kindness are practically endless.
Let’s be encouraged and encouraging! Each one of us can make a difference, each and every day. 

Related reading you may enjoy from a post I did celebrating this fantastic foundation:
https://professionsforpeace.com/2012/08/15/kindness-from-kids-of-all-ages/

BE Love

04/02/2014

“Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we’re so deeply interconnected with one another.

Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.” ~Ram Dass

Raising Kindness

02/24/2013

It’s easier to build a strong child than repair a broken adult.

~Anonymous

fill a childs bucket of self esteem 450positive children need role models 450children hands heaven Beecher

[Randomly sourced images]

Imagine World Peace

01/11/2013

~ Imagine Our World At Peace ~

John Lennon ImagineJohn Lennon’s song IMAGINE is so popular because it resonates within us. It touches our soul, our psyche. The response to this song is rarely, “Oh, it’s okay I guess.”  We more commonly hear, “That’s my favourite song of all time!”

It has become an anthem of sorts. An anthem for World Peace. And we need an anthem about peace now more than ever.

We need to remember how important, how essential it is that we practice acceptance of perceived differences. We need to realize how this one step is critical to creating lasting peace in our lifetime. This year. Right now.

Let us move beyond the schoolyard manner of thinking and acting upon the outdated belief that ‘my religion is better than your religion’ or ‘my geographical location is more important than yours’ because these attitudes only keep us frozen in archaic battles.

chicago fire 'Mouch' actor christian stolteAs a fan of Dick Wolf, I’ve been enjoying his latest addition: Chicago Fire. In one episode we observe a secondary character named ‘Mouch’ express his intense hatred for Canadians when a couple of fire fighters from Toronto visit the station. He could not stand to be in the same room as they were. Towards the end we learn how he had fallen for a girl from Ontario through a website, and sent her money to come to Chicago, but she was a cruel person who scammed him and broke his heart. Through this one event, in his humiliation and heartbreak, he’d written off an entire country, dismissing with disgust anyone with that nationality.

It felt like a pretty good example of one way that exclusion, even racism, can begin to fester in a person’s heart. And everyone who allows these types of wounds to grow while refusing to forgive a larger group of people based on the actions of one or a few, are contributing the problem.

I choose to be a part of the solution. I choose to focus on peace, and the best way for me to foster a peaceful world and make a real difference towards world peace, is by ever deepening the love within my own heart. Peace within individuals grows outward to become peaceful communities, cities and nations. Peace in our hearts is the primary thing we all can do towards creating world peace.

i-dont-see-any-borders-do-youAs John Lennon invites us to imagine, what if there were no countries? No borders? I don’t feel borders. And I don’t see borders on our globe. To me, I feel like a resident of the continent of North America. And on a larger scale, as OAK at Only Abundant Knowledge wisely states in her blog, I am an Earthian and to be human is enough.

There is only one race: the Human Race. And I feel as much compassion, love and concern for my human ‘kin’ in Toronto, Aurora, and Newtown, as I do for my fellow ‘kin’ in Delhi, Sudan, and beyond. In my prayers, I feel deep compassion and love for all my fellow residents of this planet, and do my part to send my highest light towards these places where people are hurting and are filled with sadness.

I like to imagine the world at peace as John Lennon dreamt of.

I like to imagine a shift in consciousness, when enough of us on the planet pray for and believe in peace, when the angry ones suddenly wonder ‘what are we even fighting for?’, put down their weapons, and reach out with aid for others who they can now see as their ‘kin’.

And yes, that may make me a dreamer. To which I say thank God for John Lennon and his eternal anthem for peace, and for helping all of us dreamers know that we’re not the only one.

Just A Smile

04/16/2012

Simple kindness is something I genuinely enjoy offering to others, and welcome it warmly. It is more magical and healing than we often admit. Even just a smile or kind word cause ripples out into the world, helping more than we know.

I will always remember a moment that happened one morning about 12 years ago as I faced another day at a horrible job. I trudged along, head down, my smile gone. As a financially strapped single mom, all I could do was pray every morning for the strength to endure and send out resumes every evening, like messages in a bottle thrown into the sea.

Nature is always my solace, so in the concrete jungle I look for trees and birds as I walk. The sidewalk was sloping down as it headed under the railway and I looked up to see if pigeons might be roosting and quietly cooing to each other in the rafters. As I wearily raised my head I saw a woman looking at me with a smile of pure sweetness. Bright teeth flashing at me in that dark depressing morning. Instinctively a smile slowly grew on my face to return the favor but she was already gone. Passed swiftly by me, leaving a lingering moment of kindness like a ray of sunshine piercing the gray. I felt touched, noticed by another person amongst all the pedestrian traffic, trudging along. She was like an angel, to know how much I needed that smile, but didn’t even know it myself. My spirits immediately lifted and I remembered the Truth: this hardship was temporary and I would get a better job.

The generous kindness of a stranger, giving me one of her smiles when mine were all gone, changed my world that day and will be remembered forever.