Category Archives: Adventures

Christmas treat

old pines

A beautiful morning unfolded and the forecast was for the temperature to be in the 60’s F. Unseasonable and guaranteed to be a short phenomenon.  With my foot injury,our usual holiday plans have been set aside, so we choose an adventure with limited walking for me.

gull   container ship   Key Bridge                                                                sky   sweet gum

An afternoon drive took us to Fort Smallwood, an old county park near the bay. I would like to return someday and walk the trails, maybe fish from the long fishing pier, picnic on the grounds. But for today, it was gift to sit and listen to the water lapping the rocks, watch a few gulls, watch all the folks walking dogs and enjoy the sky changes.

We found the best parking spot near the pier for me to watch the sky drama unfold at sunset.

 sunset   sunset   sunset

Wondrous.

 

Longings

Tim Willard in Longing for More, week 17, reflected on the mystery of beauty – it’s draw on our souls, the need to stop and see. I have found many writers who train my eyes, speak to my soul. My friend, Marta, challenges me the same way. Will I be still, will I allow myself to see, to rest in the seeing?

Twice in April, we were able to get away to the park. While the area we go to has a beach, it is the woodland that we enjoy. Each table really has a different view, almost a different plant environment.

park in AprilNot many people this Sunday, so the park is quiet with only occasional boat sounds from the river, bike tires whizzing by or the small birds that flit and do the original twitter. Bees buzz in blooms so small, I must bend low to look into the beauty. We are refreshed.

At the park week 2A week passes – we choose a different table. Fresh leaves shine green on some trees this clear day. On others, there are still buds of promise. Not so many wildflowers at this site. Here we have mosses and flowering trees and shrubs.  Mini suns – and a moon – explode from the ground nearby. dandylions

We picnic with hot soup and sandwiches then sit enjoying the last of our time here. I lean back to look up at the shining green against the clear blue. Sweet gum leaves like stars. Sweet GumThen looking beyond the canopy, I see them. Bald Eagles riding the currents, sky surfing!

bald eagle

This place is like a soul spa. A soaking, cleansing, refreshing place. A place displaying the beauty, mystery and wonder of Creator God.

Tim ended Week 17 with this prayer,  “Lord Jesus, I love how you unfold your truth in the mystery of your glory. Thank you for thinking of me enough to delight my sense with all that you are. ”             Amen!

 

 

 

Fragile beauty

I had my lengthy to-do list. It snowed in the night and I decided to keep to my plan. Then I looked outside and saw the woodpecker pecking at snow to find the small bit of suet left in the feeder. I picked up my camera as I went out to feed him. Beauty.

snow

woodpecker  I’m sure I heard my grateful little friend say, “Come out and play!       And  so I did. To-do list forgotten. But not the fresh coffee!   travel cup

lamp post  Join me on my journey – not to Narnia, but still, into cold winter beauty. The roads are clear!

Roadtrees

  IMG_7475

trees

trees

woods

lake

sycamore

lake

lake

It was a lovely morning adventure and unusually quiet at the reservoir with little traffic which made it rather perfect.

And then the sun came out and melted it all into memory. I’m so glad for digital cameras!

A click on a photo will enlarge the image for you.

Epiphany

January 6, 12th Day of Christmas, Epiphany

It makes me sad to see Christmas trees on the roadside December 26. It seems that folks are missing the best part of Christmastide. Resting in the beauty of Christmas and the lights and decorations. Yes, our tree is still up and at least for tonight, the lights will continue to brighten the long evening of rest and enjoyment.

2016-01-06The journey of the Magi through the nights and days seems to take a lot of conferencing and convincing – at least that is my imagination story – because it would probably have been my story had I been privileged to see the star and make the journey.

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In fact, I probably would have wanted to bring along a whole menagerie and everyone I knew so no one would miss out, all the while the time would grow later and later for the journey. Distractions.

Epiphany – revealing – my life is a constant revelation of God to me. I would like to see that revelation, the directions, written in the sky. I think it would keep me from distractions. But skywriting looks like this …

20160106_073420 or this  20160106_080221 or even 20160106_082815

All mystery, and like the books and scrolls that appear in my dreams, unreadable…

After my last post on Father Time, I set some time apart to again consider last year and to ponder whether or not to engage with the One Word concept this year. This time I thought about “well” as a thing – a hole dug in the ground to access water. I’ve read of wells that dried up and became trash bins full of broken things, garbage and such. Wells in which weapons or treasures were hidden. Abandoned wells, unmarked and a serious hazard to those who might stumble into them.

I remembered the story in Genesis in which Isaac had to re-dig the wells of his father so that he would have water for his flocks. They had been stopped up with earth by their enemies. I began to see that my cleaning out had been a process that could be like a cleaning out of my own wells clogged with earth stuff so that fresh water can now flow. I found a lightness to my spirit as I thought about this.

Bonnie Gray has been an online friend and mentor for quite some time now. Her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace, was really a guide to clearing my wells even though I may not have been conscious of it as I went about my season of de-stashing. Bonnie is hosting a new feature this year and would love for you to join her and the others who will link their hearts and words of encouragement at #OneWordCoffee on Wednesdays on her web site, FB or Instagram. OneWordCoffee_Badge2Her word, her theme, is “beloved”. I’ve been hearing that this is my word for 2016. Since the well of my life is being restored, I’m ready to believe.

Do you choose a word for the year?

 

Adventuring

We didn’t go to the river park as much as we had hoped this fall. When the weather turned spring-like, we knew we must go right then. So we did! We stopped for sandwiches on the way for our lunch.

Our favorite table was out of the question with Mr. Wind raining leaves and acorns with great abandon. So we chose a lone table under a maple tree still holding on to a few leaves. After lunch and a bit of reading, the tree caught my interest. maple  I realized what a sheltering presence it is, hosting a sapling deeply rooted between the two trunks.  IMG_7028  Further up there were deep folds that might shelter a small bird in wind or rain or cold. Then even higher, a hole, probably made by a woodpecker which will surely be used by a squirrel or birds as a winter night bedroom. IMG_7031   Then, down at the ground, almost hidden by the leaves, I saw an entrance to a space… perhaps used by small creatures or perhaps by fairies…  IMG_7034   We lingered through the afternoon finally leaving to enjoy the setting sun coloring the tree tops on our drive home.

A Pondering: Did you ever hear songbirds at night in the fall? I learned that most song birds that migrate, do so at night. Amazing! Navigation by sun and stars to places the newly fledged birds have never seen – and they go without a guide or map. Amazing!

October’s passing

IMG_7000 Morning fog and the plaintive cry of the lone goat down by the pond – he’s the white spot down there. I think he mourns loneliness these days. I haven’t seen his buddy for about a year.

IMG_6998We have leaf lawns like old brown/gold shag carpets in every view.

IMG_7003 The deer are almost invisible now except for white tails as they bound across the yard. This one paused for quite a while before slowly going over the hill and down through the sluggish morning traffic.

IMG_7007  And then, all is glorious!

I found another poem by George Copper that speaks of the season. Here are the first two verses:

“Come, little leaves,”

Said the wind one day,

“Come over the meadows

With me, and play;

Put on your dresses

Of red and gold;

Summer is gone,

And the days grow cold.”

Soon as the leaves

Heard the wind’s loud call,

Down they came fluttering,

One and all;

Over the meadows

They danced and flew,

Singing the soft

Little songs they knew.

Since I first encountered Barbara Mahany’s lyrical writing in Slowing Time , I’ve been a visitor to her table. Her current post on the coming darkness of the long nights of winter ends with this thought: to “… wrap ourselves in the whole of the long night’s offering, the invitation to burrow deep inside our souls. and bring on the night candles, the flame, and the blankets.”  She writes of the long winter cozy that I do love with more candles, more soup and stew, more blankets and comforters, more reading and yes, more time outside. In the dark.

I’m moving a jacket up to the kitchen so I’m more agreeable to respond to the drawing to step outside to watch the dawn create silhouettes of my tree friends. Stars and planets visible without the canopy of leaves.

You’re invited out into the wonder! IMG_6993

October’s annual party

farm

Many mornings seem to burst through foggy hours, other days, it is a slow revealing. This nearby farm is always a lovely sight. No horses visible in this frame, but they are usually wandering the fields adding to the rural beauty. The other amazing thing not seen is the morning traffic. It was there, of course, which gave me the opportunity to focus on the view with my camera.

dogwood

The winds are invisible as well, but they seem ever present, blowing away the dust and heat and bugs of summer. The trees yield to the wind and shake off their leaves – their past – sometimes blighted, sometimes chewed, always worn out as they prepare to settle into a time of rest and rejuvenation. And too, I love the change of light in autumn. I’ve gone to the reservoir two evenings this past week to revel in the sunsets.

sunset 1

It was great pleasure to have picnic dinners roadside to such beauty while the wind rustled a symphony from leaves and branches. Geese were the trumpeting chorus!

sunset 2

I do hope you have a special place or at least a view of the wonder of all that is autumn.

A day for musing

A quiet day, much of it spent almost nose to the ground picking up wood shaken from the trees in wind and rain. I’m mindful that this is minor damage and very grateful that our saturated ground was spared the hurricane hit. But it is a tiring chore.

So I’m sharing a brief September trip to Ithaca, home of a dear family member. As I have noted a number of times, I’m smitten with the bird cams sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology located on the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

During a leisurely breakfast, we watched the live-streaming of the historic inauguration of Cornell’s new President, Elizabeth Garrett, the prelude to Homecoming Weekend. Although there were many events planned on campus, we managed to evade them all and see the things really important to Elaine :) The field light post where the hawklets were born and fledged was the first stop…

lamp post

It was lovely to stand and look around at the sights we watch on the bird cam. Then it was off to Sapsucker Woods to see the cams at the feeders and on the pond. feeders    sapsucker woods pond

It was a brilliant late afternoon and a luxury to sit on the well placed bench with family and enjoy this peaceful place.  Later we were off to the fabulous Zaza’s to celebrate my upcoming birthday. There, after a wonderful meal,  I met my new dessert love – Affogato al Caffè – “Freshly brewed espresso poured over creamy vanilla gelato”, and, available as de-caf! Such a satisfying day!

sapsucker woods pond

Mid-August Adventures Outside

Our phone/internet was down for four days. A gift of quieting the house. I did, however, have adventuring to do. One event even got a sidetrack to the neighborhood where I grew up.

Everything changes, of course. I’m always interested in the revitalization of the old communities of the city.  My parents moved the family to the home I remember about 1950. That street is about at the horizon point in this photo – 2 long blocks. Times beyond counting, I walked down this street, to school, to church, to shop, to catch the streetcar and then the bus. (New water lines and paving in process)

IMG_6407 The tall hedge ends the block in a funny point and a Catalpa tree grows there – it always has. No doubt age and weather have taken their toll but the tree, while severely pruned, still flourishes. Those are countless seed pods hanging down among the heart shaped leaves.

IMG_6404 We would cross the street and continue the walk   down 4 more long blocks before crossing the main street and then uphill one short block to my favorite place. IMG_6409 No, it doesn’t look like much today in its reconstruction, but then, it was a place of wonders. The Public Library. I read that this branch opened in 1920, a gift from Andrew Carnegie, and by 1950 was already too small for the community it served. But, for me, it opened doors to worlds. It was the place where I met so many new friends! The Five Chinese Brothers, Beany Malone, Cherry Ames and so many other characters and their communities of friends.

Oh what a joy when the new library was located just across the street from the Catalpa tree! Only two blocks away and an easy stop on the way home from most anywhere! Don’t let the ugly façade fool you, even more wonders were waiting inside!

In those long ago days, libraries were closed on Sundays and when nothing else was planned, and all the books were read, we could sometimes persuade Dad to take a Sunday afternoon drive. Frequently, it would be in the country side I now call home, but sometimes, it would be through Loch Raven, which you may recognize as one of my very special places.

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The Drive is closed to motorists on weekends these days and there are not many places to stop. One can no longer walk out on the overlook at the edge of the dam and feed the carp who live in the lake, but, it still is my weekday peaceful adventuring place. I am grateful for the blessing of long connection.

I’m ever mindful of the privilege of living in the country and being able to reflect back on nature’s changes on this piece of land we call home as well as being able to roam the back roads of this beautiful state.

These reflect the last few days of adventuring near and farther:

2015-08-11

 

August outside

Last month, Gretchen Rubin wrote on one of her Secrets of Adulthood: “Remember to go Outside”.

Nature is a restorative for me. This month, I have determined to go outside every day, there to linger, observe and enjoy and then to store up the beauty or experience in a photograph or two or 10!

From the first five days of the month:2015-08-05

As always, a click on the photo will enlarge it.