Smoke filled skies blanketed the neighbourhood, eroding air quality to alarming heights for some local residents. Gone were blue summer skies, puffy white clouds and the sweet aromas of floral abundance. Instead, an air of heaviness hung over the community with fog-like qualities. One could not see beyond streets’ end nor could they breathe deeply without feeling some sort of discomfort within. As a result, many people stayed indoors, waiting for the smoke to dissipate, hoping for rains to come and cleanse the heavily-polluted air.
And then one day, the rains did come and it rained for an entire day. The next day, the sky reappeared. Beautiful blue skies that had not been visible for weeks captured the attention of many. Puffy white clouds returned as well, along with small airplanes and many varieties of birds that filled the air with delightful melodies once again. Their songs felt celebratory as if to mark the return of life! People emerged from their homes to stroll through neighbourhoods. Dogs came out for walks too. Suddenly, there were sounds of life echoing throughout the community. And there were also breathtaking views of mountain ranges, waterways and ancient treetops in the distance. Further beyond, radiant sunrises and glowing sunsets dazzled horizons. All was back to normal and a deep sense of gratitude washed over the community.
Looking back amidst those smoke filled weeks, it was only the sun that emitted a sense of beauty in the environment. Its’ brilliant orange glow cut through the smokey haze as if reflecting the hundreds of wildfires raging across the lands. Similar to life’s journey, a single light source may be the only way out of a dense haze of confusion. Blinded by an inner fog, one cannot see or even perceive what lies ahead. No depth of perception is available. All one can do at times like this is refer to the source of light within.
The heart always holds clues to where clarity may lie. The heart can be likened to the blazing orange sun in smoke filled skies. It may reveal messages and important insights that require your attention. Heed your heart’s calling, release any tears that emerge and just like the rain, tears have the power to cleanse any lingering fog of confusion. Clarity, big picture perspectives, and often life-changing solutions appear when one looks to the glowing source within!
It is a beautiful warm sunny evening. A floating solarium with outboard motor awaits its guests. The new owners are treating a handful of people to experience their inaugural excursion to remote islands off the east coast of Vancouver Island. This 2 hour guided tour includes a friendly host, culinary meal and two surprising stops of interest!
The first stop is a small island once used as a dock for commercial working boats. It’s large bay sculpted by Mother Nature is perfect for mooring boats. Beautiful rock cliffs with wild vegetation rise out of the water on either sides of our vessel. Years of ocean waves washing ashore have carved an array of groovy caves, all shapes and sizes! The reflection of sunlight on the rock walls makes it a stunning masterpiece: Mother Nature’s artistry at its best!
Twenty minutes later, we find ourselves moored at another dock. This once private dock was inhabited by a woman who lived alone there for many years. Our trek to the homestead involved a delightful winding dirt path that weaved its way through a magnificent grove of trees and thriving lush greenery. Upon passing an area of ferns and wildflowers was an opening to the other side of the island. Here stood an old wooden cottage with pale grey-brown weathered shingles. Surrounding it was a well-worn deck with weathered picnic table, plant pots and numerous gardening tools splayed around the building. The view from the deck was spectacular with sounds of ocean waves crashing the shore below. Further round the bend was a tiny guest house with bunk beds and another building resembling an outhouse but the sign outside indicated otherwise. Was it a sauna? A private bathing room? Or maybe a tool shed? Only a small crescent moon shaped window on the door offered any clues, but none of which were distinguishable due to lack of lighting.
The late evening sun directed attention to the last great discovery: a large queen-sized bed perched near the edge of a hilltop leading down towards the ocean. It’s wooden frame and weathered canopy were nestled amidst mother nature’s own bed of luxurious greenery. A surprisingly pristine white cloth covered the queen bed as if to remind us of the sacredness of dream world! This dreamer’s paradise hidden on a remote island is one of the many delightful finds we may come upon when we say YES! to exploring our world! Say YES! to life and life will respond in amazing ways!.
“I really like that word” said the elderly woman pointing to ‘Bliss’ written on the whiteboard. “That word is onomatopoeic” she said. She was delighted to see that ‘Bliss’ was the title of the next program being offered at the senior’s club house. I had a vague memory of the giant 6 syllable word but needed her to refresh my mind of the meaning behind it. Very clearly and succinctly, she stated that onomatopoeic comes from the word onomatopoeia, which means the word echoes the sound. And then she rambled off a delightful list of words including hiss! plop! boom! squeak! thump! slurp! murmur! This led to a poem she created using the word murmur in French! It was all foreign to me but also music to my ears! “Murmur-eee, murmur-ayyy, murmur-ah-ah-ah-ah …” leading to gales of laughter reverberating through the room!
In moments like these, wise elders are bliss in themselves! Pure delight arises from the core of their beings. Her strong, clear voice, bright eyes, ingenious mind and playful personality mirrored a person decades younger. Had she not been standing visible before me, if she were animating a puppet with verse while hiding behind a wall, I would have been utterly shocked to see this tiny elder emerge! Here was a woman with many common physical signs of aging but none at all in her spirit. She obviously lived life fully and joyfully!
We are reminded here of two significant life lessons. One is to live life fully in the moment, and the other is to not judge a book by its cover. After all, it is what’s inside the book and what you experience in the moment the contents are revealed that really counts!
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Two days before Mother’s Day, delicate cherry blossoms and elegant dogwood and magnolia flowers decorate neighbourhood trees in full bloom. Even azalea and rhododendrum shrubs, big and small, burst forth with vibrant splashes of colors. Mother nature has brought an abundance of colors to celebrate the one special day of the year that honors all earth mothers.
This rhapsody of colours reveals a sweet song of its own. Varying intensities of deep rich tones flow rhythmically in gentle winds alongside softly muted shades of pastels. As if a great symphony were being played before our very eyes, this orchestra offers no sound but amazing grace!
This was magnificently demonstrated in the late afternoon, following a typical Spring morning of bright skies and warm temperatures. Mid-afternoon revealed dark looming clouds which had quietly rolled in, bringing thunderous roars and bursts of bright light in the skies overhead. Then an instant deluge of hail poured down, pummelling rooftops, bouncing off trees and blanketing the ground with millions of mini ice balls. And still the flowers radiated their natural beauty!
This magnificent display revealed the splendour of grace. Unfettered by storms and chilling ice pellets, the flowers held their shape and continued to radiate without effort, allowing the winds of life to blow through them. And although eventually the flowers will fall apart, although they will eventually be blown away or float to the ground, they will still maintain their beauty for a while more as single petals are discovered in perfect form on curbs and cars, in rain barrels and gutters, and even atop a mound of frozen ice!
Celebrate the beauty of grace this Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers who share love on this planet!
Spring is one of the most delightful seasons as surprises in nature emerge everywhere you look. After a long, cold, dark winter, life is once again revitalized with the arrival of tender green shoots and buds high and low. Birds return with sweet songs to celebrate the new season. Insects buzz joyfully from bloom to bloom while worms slither out of water-logged gardens to dry out upon higher ground.
April showers are abundant this year with many days of heavy wet rain soaking everything under the clouds. My gortex shoes are my best friend these days. They are light blue, like the sky and their bottom is encased with a thick black rubber soul, which keeps both my feet and heart warm! As I trod through rain-soaked terrain, mud oozes and squishes beneath every step I take. Looking downward, I see mini marshes, tiny rivulets, and ambling waterfalls on either side of the path. Skunk cabbage, wild ferns and flowers decorate the way as I meander up and down, left and right, over and around giant tree roots sprinkled throughout the inlet trail. Tide is in. Ducks, geese and other water fowl swim happily together, splashing, dipping and squawking their usual chorus of cacophony … or maybe it is really the phoney cackles of spectators young and old!
Looking upwards is another sight to behold. High above in the trees is a community of herons. There are at least 11 nests and over 18 herons perched high upon the branches. Each large nest is growing, with male herons flying to and fro, gathering more branches to add to the nest. It is an awe inspiring sight to watch them maneuver freely through the grove of trees. Their large wingspans glide effortlessly as they circle outwards and back with new branches in their beaks. Heron babies will stay in their nests for 2 months after birth. This new generation will support the continuation of the species, renewing another new cycle of life. Spring is in the air, high and low. Everything is visibly changing. Witnessing this cycle of birth and rebirth rejuvenates the human soul!
In the darkness of night, the skies thundered its power upon the earth. Deafening cracks opened the skies, sending a deluge of rain over natural and man-made creations. Like the sound of millions of hands clapping in unison, then beating soulfully on a drum, our senses are captivated. We are washed and cleansed, enlightened under brilliant flashes of light, perfectly synchronized in a performance like no other. Jagged bolts of light tear through the darkness alongside roaring cascades of sound … and then there is quiet … and then there is calm. The sky settles, the wind blows, the clouds drift across the sky in a glorious dance. Gradually, the infinite sky overhead reveals itself as the sun begins to rise. A new day is born. The birds return, chirping a chorus of sweet melodies. Trees are refreshed. Plants glisten. Dew drops sparkle in the morning light.
Each night leads to day. Each day returns the night. Darkness always leads us back to light and vice versa. This is the rhythm of life. There is beauty and abundance in darkness. Look up into the evening sky. A shining star is there to guide you! Revel in it. Appreciate it. And be ever thankful for its luminous presence!
“There they stand, the innumerable stars, shining in order like a living hymn, written in light.” – N.P. Willis
Mid-winter afternoons are beautiful. The sky is a brilliant blue. A few clouds are scattered above, mirroring patches of frozen white slushy snow on the path below. At the foot of the trail is a wooden bridge that crosses over a rapidly flowing creek. Walking over the foot bridge, one can’t help but stop to marvel at the roar of energy below.
Water rushes over giant boulders, cascading down to crash onto smaller rocks, wending and winding its merry way downstream. At the sides of the creek, pockets of calm water sit where the flow of water is a mere trickle. These little ponds are speckled with tiny white bubbles that flow ever so slowly down, like autumn leaves floating downstream. Some congregate in pools, like a frothy ice cream soda, an effervescent champagne, or mountainous whip cream extravaganza! Away from the roar of constant activity, these havens are a hidden oasis that peacefully co-exist in their own blissful way.
Where the water is most active though is where there are least obstructions. The water flows effortlessly over and through areas that nature has exquisitely designed. Areas with highest activity are where millions of bubbles dance and leap upward, as if in a joyous celebratory dance to honor the magnificence of the moment. These are the most joyous water droplets on the planet as they dance and sing to their very own tune!
The variety of water-scapes are endless and the dramas within are remarkable. The flow of water beautifully assimilates an entire lifetime. We can all relate to times of action and rest. We can also relate to times of joy and quietude. The flow of life presents surprising blocks and detours, an ebb and flow that mirrors unknowns around the corner. The creek is a wonderful metaphor as it holds one of the most valuable lessons for us to absorb: Go with the flow! Take the path of least resistance! When possible, rest in your secret oasis and enjoy the quietude! Then continue down the river of life … being natural and allowing the flow of nature to lead you to more great wonders in your wondrous life! Let go and love the flow of life!