Night skies and fortunate eyes

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I am spoiled.  I live in the most beautiful part of Ontario that offers an abundance of stunning scenery, unending lakes and breathtaking landscapes.  There are moments that I’m sure I take it for granted but most of the time I remind myself how fortunate I am to be living in such a paradise.

starry night

And with all of the beauty that presents itself during the daylight hours, the sun pulls up the blanket of the horizon and the night-time emerges to share its splendor. The nocturnal winter creatures echo their cries into the vast blackness and the stars tentatively begin to dot the evening sky in their familiar patterns.

The spectral portrait of twinkling lights is awe-inspiring and, if the skies are clear, it is something we are lucky enough to see every night. I forget that city dwellers are not as blessed because their sight lines are lost in a jungle of concrete, street lamps and high rises.

Looking back a few years I was fortunate enough to be in Toronto in August of 2003 when the lights went off across the Eastern Seaboard.  Yes I said fortunate and I was in many ways.  I was staying with friends at Yonge and Sheppard and was to meet more friends for dinner at Yonge and Eglinton.  I was supposed to take the subway but was short on time and took a cab instead.  It escaped my attention through the first few intersections that the street lights were extinguished and, as we sailed through block after block, we began to assimilate to the slowing of traffic and the lack of store lights.  The city was getting dark. Had I been taking the subway I would have been trapped in a blackened metal tomb as opposed to looking in wonder at a bustling city slowing to a crawl in almost complete darkness.

The barbeque dinner was fun and certainly memorable but the most remarkable part of the night was the masses of people on the sidewalks staring up at the night sky after the sun had set.  The stars that I see on a regular basis were seen by so many eyes for what seemed like the first time.  They stood in complete reverence and the sound of silence descended on a city known for its bedlam and pandemonium.  The constellations brought peace to a city of calamity.

Strangers on the street that may have passed each other numerous times without a second glance were now sharing a small piece of the sidewalk, but not only that, they were sharing a small piece of heaven.  Those stars, no matter which province, which country or which hemisphere we are in, connect us.

That Eastern Seaboard blackout was a moment of serendipity – a fortunate accident that allowed many to gaze upon the panorama of stars that would otherwise be oblivious to them. It seemed to bring a sense of peace and fellowship to a city so bent on individuality and alienation.  I didn’t know that in that moment under the same starry sky that I sometimes take for granted that I could appreciate my life that much more. Since that fortuitous experience I make it a point to look at those stars as often as I can.

On the nights that we are fortunate to have a clear sky, I always take a moment to stand in the darkness, regardless of the temperature, and wish with childlike abandon that I will see a shooting star. Carpe noctem – seize the night, seize all of the wonder it has to offer and make sure to wish on that falling star.

What would your wish be?

 

The Miracle of Life

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Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold

as the Earth yearned to welcome Spring.

The sun’s rays massaged the ground and the trees.

A warm breeze whispered,

playfully tickling the branches on its journey.

The smell of wet soil rose to greet the morning

as the familiar songs of new life began to play

their symphony of rebirth.

For just a moment, I was an instrument in that orchestra.

The sun kissed my cheek,

as happy to see me as I was to feel its warm embrace.

I was comforted by its nurturing essence.

But Mother Nature’s heart is frozen,

her resolve, stoic.

Her icy talons hold Spring hostage in their death grip,

encasing it in a cold and lifeless womb.

The new blanket of snow

wrapped so tightly, ceasing the flow of life,

suffocating the season.

But at the core of her being, she is a mother.

Her heart will fill with a need

to birth this new life,

to nurture it and watch it grow.

She will proudly watch Spring take those first steps

and her heart will warm once again.

~~

Written for the Speakeasy at Yeah Write.  I was more inspired by this prompt this morning after waking up to 8 cm of fresh snow!!  We were SO close to it all being gone.

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hang on — there’s rules:

  • Your post must be dated April 13, 2013, or later.
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • You must include the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”
  • You must also include a reference to the media prompt.
  • The speakeasy is for submissions written specifically for the grid. Please don’t submit an entry if you intend to showcase it to another blog link-up. Such posts are deleted without notice.
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And don’t forget to come back on Tuesday and add your link to the Inlinkz grid!

The Time Had Come – 100 Word Challenge

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As the sun sparkled on the water her paddle dipped purposefully into the lake.   With the skill of an avid enthusiast, her J-stroke carried her closer to her destination.

She could see smoke billowing from the chimney atop his cottage as she pictured his frame curled up in his chair, book in one hand and glass of wine in the other.  The sun continued its descent into the horizon and the hues speckling the water deepened in their intensity.

She could no longer pretend that her feelings hadn’t changed and he needed to know she was in love with him.

~~

(image credit: cottagelife.com)

Written for the 100 Word Challenge at Julia’s Place.

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I’ve been to the seaside for the week-end. Divine! So, your prompt this week is:

… as the sun sparkled on the water…

Please make sure you only use 100 words and put a link back to this post so that others can find us! If you are not sure what all this nonsense is about, do read ‘What is 100WCGU?’

The link will close on Sunday 20th April.

 

 

 

 

 

Two Ships

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two-ships

His touch,

timid at first, playful.

His eyes held a merriment,

his laughter concealed a deeper emotion.

Fleeting moments of stolen glances,

subtle traces of a finger on bare skin.

His touch,

evolved from an innocent beginning,

holding an unspoken desire.

His eyes burned into hers.

Currents of electricity,

hearts beating,

breath short.

Lips graze, sparks fly,

accepting a shared yearning.

Moments of complete breathlessness,

hearts skipping a beat.

Sustaining warmth in memories,

torn between desire and reality.

The Gods of fate dealt the cards,

flop, turn,

river pushing against the tides.

Two ships,

pulled apart by the current,

sailing around the world,

hoping the movement of the ocean

will make them collide once again.

~~

(image credit: plainadventure.com)

How three minutes may change your view on kindness

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Facebook is an overwhelming aspect of social media.  Timeline’s are inundated with nonsense, Farmville and game requests are sent at alarming rates and too much personal information is given away like candy at Halloween.  But every so often a little gem of humanity seeps through the cracks and makes me appreciate the sharing of information.

The video below is one of those rare gems.  I watched it twice because the message really plucked some emotional strings in the orchestra of my life.  I have always been a firm believer in treating others as you wish to be treated, in paying forward a show of altruism and allowing others to benefit from your tenderness and understanding.

Every action in life creates a ripple effect.  Whether that ripple effect is as visible to the naked eye as a drop of water in a pond or is so infinitesimal that it is unseen by the human eye there is always a reaction.  A little bit can go a long way and that ripple may spread further than you could ever imagine.

waves on a shore

I hope you will take the three minutes to watch this video created by a Thai insurance company.  Its message is heart-warming, emotional and eerily accurate.  One drop of human kindness could change the tides in so many oceans.

 Unsung Hero Video

 

Me, myself and I

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“If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.”
Jean-Paul Sartre

~~~

It is a terrible thing to have to admit I still have the winter blahs in April.  The ground is still laden with mud-speckled snow, the mercury is still dipping below zero at night and, although the sun is trying to warm the earth, winter still has its death grip on spring.

Perhaps the overwhelming winter weather and extended season has been the cause for my hermit-like habits over the last five months.  Or perhaps with each calendar year that passes I am less excited about dressing in less than comfortable clothing and venturing out to brave the elements.  Regardless of the reason, the majority of my evenings are spent at home enjoying my own company.  Callaway is always there with me, but her conversation skills are still somewhat lacking.

hermit

(image credit: alpinequest.com)

I am a big fan of spending time at home.  I have no trouble passing the endless hours of those cold winter nights because I am comfortable enough in my own skin to enjoy the time alone.  My neighbors are close enough if I ever need help, but at enough of a distance that my sanctuary can still remain tranquil and remote.

In the summer, when the resort is in full swing and there are over 100 people on the property at any given time, it is comforting to know that I will find that same solace within my four walls or ensconced in my gazebo when I go home.  The many leaves that grow create a canopy of shelter so I feel even more hidden than before.  It is true bliss.

Spending that time alone helps me refuel and prepare for the barrage of stimulation I encounter when I leave the sanctity of my shelter.  Sometimes solitude, for me, can be the best companion.

How do you feel about spending time alone?

 

 

 

Flowers – 100 Word Song

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You cried,

enduring pain for me,

loving me with never having met me

and I felt blessed.

You stood,

hands on your hips,

a whimsical smile on your face

and I felt anchored.

You embraced,

you wiped my tears,

you listened and never interrupted

 and I felt understood.

You watched,

allowing me to make mistakes,

but always there to help me mend

and I felt empowered.

~

I cried

when you left me.

 In a dream I saw you,

and watched you float.

You hovered,

our eyes met, you waved,

blew me a kiss

and fell into nothing but flowers.

butterfly-bush-l

~~

Written for the 100 Word Song over at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.  Go and check it out if you haven’t yet!!  This week’s song is (Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads.  I was really missing my mom last night so this jumped into my head today.

(image credit: thebutterflysite.com)

First kisses and blushing cheeks

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Although Mother Nature has been confused of late and has been unsure what type of weather she should be serving at her luncheons, I am glad I was invited to the feast yesterday!

Mid to late March is a questionable time, at best, in terms of the weather buffet.  We have been served snow storms, ice storms, damaging winds, hail, rain and a myriad of other weather systems but yesterday was a perfect spring day.  Although the predicted temperature was only 7 degrees, the penetrating warmth of the sun was absolutely remarkable.  I have more of a tan now than I likely will in July or August.

sun

The mood of human beings is noticeably elevated on days like yesterday, especially at this time of year. Lawns to the south of us are raked (mine is still buried under several blankets and a duvet of snow), patio furniture is assembled and set out and although we know there is a chance of another random snow fall….we don’t seem to care.

I feel energized in a way I have not felt since the warmth of the sun left us last fall.  There is a vast difference between seeing the sun in winter and feeling its warm kiss on your cheek after the spring solstice has arrived.  The last two days have been radiant and my mood could be described the same way.  The sun leaned in for our first kiss of this year and I have color in my cheeks, a tan line on my shoulders and an energized consciousness that I have not felt in months.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for seeing fit to make us feel invigorated and helping us welcome a new week on such a high note. Hopefully you will remember how blessed we all felt this weekend and alter the forecast of snow and below zero temperatures predicted for later this week.  I prefer this happy mood to rocking back and forth in the fetal position!

 

Night breezes seem to whisper

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Dreams

(image credit: panktimehta.blogspot.com)

I have always been fortunate when it comes to dreaming. Not only do I have very vivid dreams splashed with a vast array of colors but I also retain most of my dreams in my waking moments.  Last night was no exception to those rules.

Last night I dreamed of my mom.  It is not the first time she has been in my dreams since she passed a couple of weeks ago but this dream was the first time that she was the main character in the night-time production of my subconscious.  During the wee hours of my REM sleep we were able to have a conversation.

In the bizarre circumstances of my dream she had already passed away but when I was the only other person in the room she would become magically reanimated and we would talk at great length.  When others entered the room she remained still, not a word escaped from her lips.  When I awoke this morning, rather than feeling perplexed I felt deeply comforted and peaceful.  I don’t recall many of the words she uttered to me in my sleep but I do feel a great sense of warmth and a feeling of relief that she is content on the other side.  She no longer carries the chains of the physical limitations she endured with her illness and, finally, she truly feels fine.

Have you ever received messages in your dreams?

 

 

Owls and butterflies and long-winded sighs

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There are signs everywhere.  I’m not talking about the three-dimensional signs that guide us to our destination or give us information, but the signs that are sent from spirits to let us know they are still with us to help us on our journey of healing.

My friend Sandra passed away in May of 2003, very suddenly and far too young.  Her knowledge of my likes and dislikes was astounding and each time she would learn a nugget of information about me it was stored in her ever-expanding cranium.  She knew when I needed comfort and when it was okay to push my buttons.  Since the day I received the horrible news of her untimely passing, every so often I hear a strain or two of a particular song, faintly at first but I know the tune and where it came from as the notes are processed in my brain.  I have been in the grocery store or at a restaurant when the unmistakable bars of “The Girl From Ipanema” hover around my head and pillage my ears.  She knew how much I loathed that song and that is her way of letting me know she is still with me.  I release a loud sigh when I hear it to let her know she got me again and I can vaguely hear the sound of her infectious laugh.

My father passed away in 2006.  He and I both loved owls.  My Grade 10 art project was oil on canvas and I chose to paint an owl for him as his Christmas present.  I now have that painting hanging in my kitchen.  Over last few years I have had a Barred Owl perch itself in the tree that hovers over my deck.  It will sit on the same branch for hours at a time and seems quite content to be there and do nothing else.  I have had some lengthy conversations with my dad while that owl holds its spot and it seems to listen to every word I say.

Last summer my mother and my sister-in-law released butterflies in my dad’s memory.  It was something my mom had always wanted to do.  Since my mom’s passing on March 7th of this year the butterfly seems to be emerging from its cocoon in many aspects of my life.  Almost every sympathy card I have received is adorned with a butterfly.  The card attached to an arrangement of flowers I received has a butterfly in the top left corner.  The song “Dog and Butterfly” by Heart came to mind today and I haven’t heard that song in decades.  And today, while typing the phrase “there are signs everywhere” into Google, one website grabbed my attention over every other one listed and I clicked on the link.  The picture below was the one featured on the site.

Butterflyinthesky1

Now,  more than ever, I know the spirits of our loved ones stay with us.  It gives me great comfort to know my mom is sending me the message that she is okay on the other side.  It doesn’t diminish the pain of losing her presence from my every day but it does help to know that she is able to talk to me in a way we both understand.  And when summer finally arrives, clawing its way to the surface through the snow and frost-laden ground, I will be waiting for those butterflies to emerge from their cocoons and remind me that life, even after a beautiful creature disappears, does morph into something just as beautiful and ethereal.