Life in a snow globe

Leave a comment

I have come to the long-overdue conclusion that January is my least favorite month.  Although I think winter can be a stunning portrait of Arctic beauty, January seems to hold some sort of malice for those who live in colder climates.  Looking at the picturesque view of the snow clinging to the trees, with the backdrop of a clear blue sky, makes it slightly more bearable but with that beauty in the forefront the beast stealthily lurks in the background.

Skies become overcast and scattered patterns of flakes stipple the grey sky.  They fall, lightly at first and in swirling random patterns, hypnotizing those in their path with their ethereal beauty.  But the flakes are unending.  They churn in the wind, they seem to multiply before they hit the ground and, as the mercury drops, they are frozen to their place.  Individual patterns of snow and ice combine to create the tomb of winter.

img_3419

But I retain a modicum of hope.  We are one-quarter of our way through the month.  The days are becoming longer and January will soon be followed by the shortest month of the year, leading us into the beginning of the month that births Spring.  And with that turning of the season comes the promise of warmer days and easier nights.  I look forward to the days that the air doesn’t hurt my face.

 

Long stems and deep thoughts

4 Comments

fresh-flowers

(image credit)

It is not often that I buy myself fresh-cut flowers.  I sometimes peruse the selection at our local grocery store and every now and then will splurge on a pretty arrangement that catches my eye.

As I stood in front of the floral arrangements yesterday, I heard a voice over my shoulder say, “Go for the plant basket.  I never buy fresh-cut flowers, they just die.”  That one sentence didn’t engage my writer’s brain until I got home and really thought about it.  It stayed with me all night and I have been replaying that comment in my head over and over again today.

I don’t want to miss the opportunity to have a bright bouquet of flowers greet me in the morning just because I know they are going to die.  I want to be able enjoy the allure while they are still full of color and charm.  I want to give them a chance to see how long I can make them last.

Longevity is subject to limitations but there are always ways to fight the inevitable.  And who knows what opportunities you may be passing up if you only focus on the outcome instead of the journey?

 I think I will stop and buy myself some flowers on my way home tonight.

The true spirit of giving

4 Comments

This afternoon I received an email from a stranger.  It read:

“Greetings from Dwight.  We were touched by your wonderful crockpot idea to help your food bank. We have decided to make a donation on your Go Fund Me page instead of buying gifts for a few family members.  Thanks for helping Muskoka families in need.”

Over the last couple of weeks, some friends of mine who are very supportive of Dollars for Dinners have been mischievous little elves and have contacted some local media outlets to share the story of our crockpot meals for our Food Bank.  I can only guess that this lovely woman heard the story on the first radio interview and contacted the station to get my information.

After I wiped the tears from my cheeks, I smiled.  What a wonderful gift from one family that will help create meals for several other families who are struggling.  That is what the spirit of the season is about.

the-salvation-army-red-kettle-bell-ringer-11302015

(image credit)

But when the holiday season is over, when the Salvation Army bells fall silent, when the donation Kettles are gone and the spirit of giving seems to be packed away with the extra wrapping paper and bows, that is the time that we need to remember those families who need our help.

The end of the holidays does not signify the end of the hunger or the need for a helping hand.  We need to keep the true spirit of giving alive and well and keep that glow in our hearts, the glow you can only get from helping others, burning all year long.

 

 

When the past slaps you in the face

5 Comments

It is a very rare occurrence when my emotions take me by surprise.  I am usually fairly in tune with them and I can feel them bubbling gently below the surface.  But last night on my way home from work while driving past my mother’s old house, the same house I drive by every day on my way to work and again on my way home, the emotion stored within my walls hit me like a ton of bricks.   Last night I glanced at the house, as I do every time I follow that familiar road, and I burst into tears.

I don’t know where the tidal pool of emotion came from but suddenly I was flooded with images of moments that had become important memories in my life.  Christmases, birthdays, family gatherings and quiet nights spent as a family were at the forefront of my brain.  Lingering snapshots of magical kisses witnessed by only the walls upstairs slowly transformed themselves into moving pictures to replay those scenes.  That house, the building others would only see as walls and a roof, was my home.  It was the vessel that helped create and store some of the most precious moments of my life.

And I do the same with my childhood home.  Every so often I feel the pull to drive by and just look at the house that began our journey to becoming locals in this town.  It was home to my family and a welcoming second home to many of our friends.  It witnessed great happiness and great sorrow, but it was always filled with love.

house

(image credit)

Although there were many happy times in our second home, there were also moments of great sorrow.  Those walls echoed my overwhelming grief in May of 2003 as I told my parents through hysterical sobs that my best friend had passed away unexpectedly.  That roof sheltered both my parents as they battled their illness and those walls protected them for as long as they could.  That structure, that old building that is seemingly unnoticeable to passers-by, will forever have a large part of my history carved into its frame.

That architecture will always be a part of me.   And each time I drive by and take the time to trace the outlines of those walls I will always have an affinity to its design and purpose.  It is said that we need to let things go to be happier but I feel the need to embrace those things to stay connected.

 

More than rainbows….

Leave a comment

cirrus-rainbow1-110616-02

That inspired moment,

the moment that seemed to stop in time,

when there were so many things I wanted to say,  yet,

none of them would come out.

Silence stole the spotlight,

but there was a shared comfort in that quiet.

I realized,

in that muted moment,

when the silence was deafening,

that I didn’t need to say anything.

My words needed no sound.

The emotion in my reticence spoke volumes.

And in that breath of repose,

everything I wanted to tell you,

you already knew.

(image credit)

Stuart Smalley said it best

4 Comments

Most of us are hyper-critical of ourselves.  I am certainly guilty of that crime.  We are truly our own worst enemy.  We over-analyse the most minute details about ourselves and never give a second thought to the perception that others may have of us – a perception that may be the polar opposite of how we see ourselves but much closer to the truth.

We have become a society of comparison.  We gauge our success, or perceived failure, by how we think we measure up to those around us.  We judge ourselves by their opinion and not by the standards we set for ourselves.  What we fail to take into consideration is the amount of effort we put into each day by just being ourselves and how difficult that journey can be.  It takes a person with a strong moral compass and courage of conviction to follow the direction in which they feel will allow them to be the most comfortable and to genuinely be themselves.

Too often we allow our actions and our decisions to be swayed by outside forces.  We ignore that little voice inside our head and we succumb to the white noise around us that berates us for those actions.  But that initial behavior represents our true self.  Those nuances of our personality are what set us apart from every other person on this planet. Those are the things worth cherishing.  Those subtleties are the little details that friends and family will hold onto long after you have left this Earth for your next journey.

It would be easy to conform into a stereotype that you feel would be welcomed by society, to make decisions that would be accepted by the masses, but you would be doing yourself a disservice if those choices were not right for you.  Hold true to the things that make you who you are and know that the important people in your life appreciate the choices that you make.  We all need a little daily affirmation – because you are good enough, you are smart enough, and, doggone it, people like you!

stuart_smalley

(image credit)

Cry Baby

1 Comment

“There is a sacredness in tears – they are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and of unspeakable love.” ~ Washington Irving

~~

Having shed my fair share of tears in my life, this quote struck a chord deep within my emotional register.   It has always been easy for me to saturate my cheeks with salty tears and I come by it honestly.  My dad wore his heart on his sleeve and many times that same sleeve was used to wipe his tears as he watched movies, TV shows and even commercials.   When my apple fell from the family tree, it landed right at his feet, and I’m sure that made him cry as well.

My mom was very private about her crying, although she didn’t cry frequently.  She would gracefully leave the room and gently close her bedroom door.  There were never heavy sobs heard from the other side of that door but her swollen, red eyes the next morning are what Crime Scene Investigators refer to as ‘evidence’.

Sometimes being able to cry so easily is a gift, a genuine release of emotion that feels much like a cleansing.  But the burden of  not being able to control the moments that those tears appear can also be slightly detrimental and result in having my friends, family and co-workers questioning my stability and well-being.

tears

I will never regret being an empathetic person, a cry baby.  I love that I can feel so deeply that life, whether it be my life or someone else’s, can have such an intense impact on me.  And I can take solace in knowing that the people who understand this about me, the people with whom I choose to share those emotional moments, have inevitably shed the same amount of tears with me.