Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sailing Away

This is a place I like to go when the days are warm, and the sun sparkles reflecting off the ocean practically surround me. It is a bluff, covered with long grasses and wildflowers. It sticks out quite far, so if you look down on either side, you see ocean. And when you look out, it is almost as if you are on the bow of a massive ship, headed straight toward the majestic Olympic mountains, still covered in a frosty blanket of snow. I sit on my imaginary ship, and dream to be on this beauty that sails across my line of vision. Where is it going? Where did it come from? The people on this boat must feel so free. Are they just island hopping for the day, or are they on a more worldly quest?

I can taste freedom in this moment. My work is done. The recital went so incredibly well. And now I am finally able to settle into summer mode. Two wonderful months to sink into a slower pace and come back to myself. Tomorrow, I am going back to the place that is most nurturing to my soul. I will spend 4 days soaking up the sunshine, wandering the beaches, and connecting with some very special people.

I wish you all a wonderful week. I wish you warm dreamy days where your only requirement is to put on a pair of flip flops and wander out to share a lemon gelato with someone special. May you find the time to look up at the white puffy clouds and see wondrous creatures evolving, then disappearing in front of your eyes. May you take a quiet afternoon all to yourself and escape inside a good novel as you munch on seasonal berries and spit watermelon seeds. May you jump through sprinklers and make colorful chalk drawings on the sidewalk with a beloved child. May you build towering sandcastles and watch them dissolve in the incoming tide.

Maybe you are lucky enough to go sailing away on a boat such as this. If not, you can always come aboard the bow of my giant ship, and dream away the afternoon. There is plenty of room for all.

Much love to you...see you soon!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This picture pretty much sums up what my body looks like inside right now. I'm in knots.

I live a very simple, low stress life. Until the last week of June rolls around. This coming Saturday, it's piano recital time. *cringe*

It's funny. Parents tell me all the time what they go through as they sit on the edge of their seat, watching their little ones perform. They tell me how anxious they get, worried that their child is going to miss that one note, or worse, break down completely. They watch their little fingers tremble and they almost feel their child's nervousness as though it were their own. They feel this way for the short duration of the performance, and once the piece is over, they melt back into their seat and enjoy the rest of the recital, feeling elated, proud, and RELIEVED.

I wish I had it that good.
I feel this way throughout the entire recital! I feel like an anxious parent to each and every one of these kids. I know where all of their little vulnerable spots are in their pieces. I know how hard they have worked to prepare for this day. I know how terrified they are, and how brave they are to get up there and play despite their fears. And when each one of them plays, and does well, I feel as though my heart could burst open, I am so proud of them.

I love some of these kids almost as though they were my own. I have watched many of them grow up and become gifted musicians. Some of them were 4 or 5 when they started, and are now well into their teen years. And with every passing year, I watch them come into their own.

Taylor stands out the most. He was 5 when he started. When he got up to perform for the first time, he was so small that the grand piano he was playing on looked as though it was going to swallow him whole. The odds were stacked against him. The bench was too far away from the piano, and the music had to be placed higher up than on his piano at home. So here he is, sitting on the very edge of the bench, his feet about two feet off the floor, and he's reaching as far as he can to see his music. I thought he was going to fall off the bench. He looked so small and vulnerable up there as he played.

The next year, he was a little bigger, but his music fell off the piano mid-way through his performance. He carried on as though nothing happened. Now, he is 13, going on 19. He has a quiet nature about him, but he is so confident. In all these years with him, I have never heard him say he was nervous or afraid. He just takes things in stride with an inner calmness, and a smile that would melt your heart.

I feel so fortunate to have these long lasting connections. All 51 of them... and not one bad apple in the group. Ok, there is one little firecracker, but she is just as tender underneath it all as the rest of them. *wink*
So, even though my stress levels are skyrocketing this week, I am also feeling grateful. And proud. And privileged that I get to play a small part in the becoming of these beautiful souls. They have added so much richness to my life.

It makes all of this anxiety so very worth it in the whole scheme of things.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I just wanted to wish everyone a happy summer solstice weekend! (Ok, I'm a day late, so I thought, why not extend the celebration of the coming summer for the whole weekend?)

We haven't been getting a whole lot of sunshine lately in this corner of the world, so I thought I might find it in the flowers instead.

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair.
~Kahlil Gibran

I can feel its warm approach....can you?
Did you make any wishes last night?

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Round, like a circle in a spiral like a wheel within a wheel.
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel.
Like a snowball down a mountain or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning running rings around the moon.

Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes on its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space.

Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.

~The Windmills of Your Mind

Just say these beautiful words out loud and tell me it doesn't make you want to spread your arms like wings and twirl!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Colour Wheel

I spy with my little eye, something that is....

Red ~ Alizarin Crimson...Vermillion...domed ladybug wings...sour cherry jelly trucks and train engines...candy apples and cinnamon hearts...tart and tangy pomegranate abandoned tricycle...London telephone booths...bull's eye...chili pepper...a child's wintery cheeks.

Orange ~ Tangerine Dream...Fire Dance...peach sorbet...apricot sunsets: vast stretching hopeful skies...Witch Hazel blossoms in October...toothy jack-o-lantern smiles...gerbera daisies in a sunny corner...cracked terra cotta pots...golden saffron.

Yellow ~ Cadmium Lemon...Goldenrod...sunkissed....full moons and comet tails...lemon ice...monarch chick fuzz...buttery corn on the cob...a bumble bee...rain coats and gumboots...#2 it notes and smiley faces.

Green ~ Pistachio...Ming Jade...emerald ponds...pixie moss...swirly spiral sweet pea vines...lime popsicles...bean sprouts...sea glass...undersea kelp forests...hills soft enough to roll down...a lucky charm...spring leaf.

Blue ~ Phthalo...Cobalt...Cornflower...icy moon drops...crackled robin's egg...a mood...worn in, lived in denim ...anemones... layered sea, mountain, sky... 'once in a blue moon'...iceberg...

Indigo ~ Midsummer Night...stormy seas...mysterious eggplant...ominous thunder clouds hovering over a plain of golden wheat...starfish and sea urchins...nostalgic lilacs...beta fish in a dessert glass...lavender fields...grape jelly.

Violet ~ Egyptian Violet...romance...crushed berries...the last dreamy hour before nightfall: the sky an open canvas for painting dreams...passion plums...grapes ripening on the vine...magnolia's first blush.

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love.
~ Marc Chagall

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What do you See?

Do you know what this is? I have no idea what it is. I found it on the beach and took a picture of it because I loved the colours. Maybe if I knew what it was, I wouldn't have found it so interesting.

I was teaching piano to this beautiful little boy yesterday. He opened his book and placed his hands on the keys, but he did not begin to play. Instead, he seemed to be lost in a thought. Then, as he gazed at the page, under his breath he quietly said, "It looks like Australia."
He wasn't looking at the notes on the page, but rather, the little picture above the music. Puzzled, I said to him, "What looks like Australia?" It was a watercolour illustration of a grand piano on a stage, with a spotlight shining on it. The edges of the picture did not make a solid line. There was no frame to it...just a wash of colour. He lifted his hand and ran his finger along the outer shape of the picture. He said, "The shape of it looks like the shape of Australia."

I was astonished. I have seen the insides of these music books a hundred million times, and if I were to look at them another hundred million times, I never would have seen what he saw. I love it when someone opens your eyes to a new perspective on something...especially something seemingly ordinary. Something you look at all the time and take for granted you know what it is you are looking at. I will never see that picture the same again.

This reminds me of the most enchanting post I discovered, written by Debi over at emmatree.
I was swept away by the magic of her perceptions, and felt completely inspired to look a little closer at the world. What could I begin to see that was always right there in front of me, but I never really noticed? What magical things are hidden in the ordinary...waiting to be discovered with a fresh set of eyes?

Where is my camera?

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Mysterious

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.

Mysterious and beautiful things have been happening on the mountain. A few things have happened lately but this one stands out most in my mind...

There are two different summits on this mountain. I generally gravitate to one of them, but I can see the other one from where I stand at the very top. I had reached this summit and was on my way back down when I noticed four men, dressed casually, quietly walking in a line and each of them was carrying one single yellow helium balloon. I joked to myself that this would make a great picture if each of them had tied the balloon to their wrists. I was intrigued, but they were on their way up to the other summit, and I was on my way I let it go.

I climbed the mountain again (I climb it several times each morning as it only takes about 15 minutes to get to the top) and when I could see the far summit, I saw four little heads huddled together and one arm pointing toward the sky. They were no longer holding their balloons, and because they were such a pale colour against a grey sky, I couldn't see where they had drifted to.

What was this all about?

I was hoping that maybe these men had written passionate love letters to the beautiful women in their lives and they had tied these letters to their balloons and sent them off into the fate of the winds.
But I think not.

Maybe it was a memorial of some kind. To an old cherished friend or loved one. Maybe they were setting someone's ashes free. Maybe the balloons contained the remains of someone who wished to be set afloat over land and sea and eventually become one with the ocean. You might be thinking that I am being somewhat morbid with this post, but I think otherwise. This reminds me of a story I heard once...I don't know if it was real or fiction, but it was about a man who wanted his ashes to be put inside fireworks to be set off in a flurry of sparks and streamers for his friends and family to celebrate his life after he was gone. How amazing would that be! I would love to leave this world in such a beautiful way.

So this strange and curious event will always be just that...strange and curious. But the story doesn't end there. Later the very same day, I passed by a truck waiting at a stop sign. A lone man was inside, and what should be beside him in the passenger side? Not a child, not an excited panting dog....but one single helium balloon.

I'm starting to wonder if there is some sort of *man with helium balloon* conspiracy going on here. It will forever be a mystery.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Small Gestures

People have been telling me stories today. Not in words, but in the silent language of gesture...

A man walks ahead of me with his golden lab by his side. The soft filtered morning light illuminates the side of his face as he turns his head to look at his faithful companion. He stops, pulls a treat out of his pocket and tosses it to his friend. Silently they walk on. No words needed in this sharing of love.

A man and his young child are in the middle of a game of swordplay. The child swings his long shiny sword, slicing the air into pieces... delirious with laughter. His father has his arms stretched out as he tries to swoop out of the way, left and right. Is the child pretending his father is a dragon? Who will come out of this battle alive?

A girl dressed in blue throws her red hat into the upward shooting jet stream of a water fountain. She watches in glee as it balances and dances on top of the water spout.

An elderly man slowly approaches a very tame peacock in the park and carefully reaches down to touch the long flowing sea-coloured tail feathers. He's so captivated that he remains still as he watches the bird wander away...he follows it for some time. Someone who has seen so much of the world in his long journey through life and he can still see the wonder in things.

A woman standing at a bus stop smiles at me as I drive past her. The warmest (and my favourite) of all gestures. Especially when it is shared between two strangers. It makes the world seem like a more friendly and welcoming place.

A guy walks into the bookstore swinging a butterfly net. What was he hoping to catch? Two of the employees were having a laugh over this because apparently a bird flew into the store earlier in the day and they could have used a guy with a net.

I love to people watch. It's a fascinating thing to observe the ways of others when language is not a distracting element. On my way home I passed by this interesting old door with golden poppies growing on either side of it. Even though the light was wrong, I had to stop and take a picture. As I was putting away my gear I looked up and across the street to the neighbouring house. A woman was standing on the porch and our eyes met for a seemingly long time, as I'm sure she was wondering what I was up to. It was then that I realised that I was no longer the observer.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Fish Tale

I spent some time at this beautiful little lake this weekend. We were almost at the end of the trail when I spotted this fisherman on the other side of the lake. He looked so serene. I suppose that is why many people love to fish.

When I was young, we did a lot of camping (which is probably why I love being outdoors so much) and I loved going fishing....Well, I loved the quiet peacefulness of it all, being out in the middle of an emerald green lake, the anticipation of that tug on the fishing rod, and the almost-tip-over-the-boat-grab-the-net-fast-it's-a-big-one! part of fishing. But that, for me, is where the fun ended. I just wanted to catch the fish, and then release it, no matter how big he was...that was not my dad's plan, unfortunately for me and for the fish.

The very last time I went fishing was about ten years ago. So here I was, in a little boat with my friends, trolling along the edge of a pristine little lake, my line all the way out, and I'm feeling that anticipation as I wait for that tug on my line...and a tug I felt. A little tug. My friend told me that I was probably snagging the bottom or something. He said I would *know* when there was a fish on the end of my line. Then I felt it again....and again. I pictured my hook dragging along the bottom of the lake, picking up weeds and things, and I wondered if maybe I should bring it in, just in case, but I didn't listen to that little gut instinct. We got all the way to the other end of the lake, and decided to bring the boat to the shore and start a fire. I reeled in my line, and what should be attached to my hook but a wee little fish! I dragged the poor creature from one end of the lake to the other.

I never went fishing again.