Tuesday, July 29, 2008

As the Sky Cries, I Smile

I feel all childlike inside today. Memories of my younger days are swirling around me like the steam from a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy day. It's raining out today, and you know how I feel about the rain.

Climbing the mountain in the rain, and walking through the dense forest takes me back to early days...camping in the woods, hearing the soft tapping of the heavy drops on the top of the tent singing me a lullaby as I fall into sleep, squirming towards the middle to avoid the damp sides of the tent...opening the zipper door in the morning and awakening to the fresh scent of the fragrant cedar trees. Camping just wouldn't be as adventurous without a nighttime shower.

I miss thunderstorms. Terribly.
I grew up in an area where the storms could be fierce. I loved to watch the deep purple clouds crawl in over the distant mountains on the far side of the lake. All would be calm, sunny even, but the anticipation of what was to come was so exciting. You could hear the distant echoes of the thunder, and catch a flash or two if you happen to be looking in the right direction at the exact perfect time. I didn't want to blink and miss it. And then, it would be over you. A torrent of rain and wind and light and sound. At night, sometimes the lightning would be so intense, it looked like broad daylight for several seconds. And then, just as fast as it came, it would be over...and once again, you could hear the faint grumbling of the restless clouds drift farther and farther away...brewing...stewing...preparing to release its fury once again in another far off place.

Today isn't one of those kinds of days. But it is equally wonderful. It's a soup and crackers kind of day. Reminds me of rainy days when I was a child, when my mom would bake something in the kitchen that would engulf the whole house with comforting scents, while we played hide and seek...puzzles and games strewn across the floor.

It's all about comfort. I love to feel warm and dry, wrapped in a blanket, a cup of tea in one hand, a rich novel in the other. And a window to watch the sky cry.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Building a Kindergarten with 1 Painting

As some of you know, my brother just came back from a three month trip through Africa. It wasn't just a vacation for him...he wanted to create change and he wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people he met there. I don't think he realised at the time how large his heart would grow and how important his dreams would become to him.

So, I'm putting this little nugget of goodness out into the universe (via my blog), not just because he is my brother, but because I think he is doing something wonderful...something that has the potential to change lives.

Shayne and his beautiful wife Carly are trying to help build a school in Bulungula, South Africa. While other private groups are funding other parts of the school, they have taken full responsibility for the funding of the kindergarten building, which will cost approximately $10,000 Canadian to build. 100% of the money they raise is going straight into the building of this school.

My brother is a very gifted artist. He graduated in Fine Arts at the top of his class, and has won awards and a dignified place in the arts community. In order to raise the funds needed to build this school, he is raffling off a painting. While Shayne was visiting this area, he got to know many of the the beautiful children who will be housed in this school on a deep personal level. He laughed with them, played with them, and was even given some djembe lessons from a talented 8 year old! He spent a week taking photos of these kids and created this painting from the images he gathered.

If you would like to know more about the raffle, or if you would like to donate to this cause (every tiny bit counts!) please don't hesitate to email me, and I can give you more details. If you would like to know more about the entire project, go here.

My brother has always lived his life large. He continues to astound me, and when I see how this trip has changed him, and how he wants to make life better for these children, it makes me want to do absolutely everything I can to help him. Only good things can come from it... for us, and for the beautiful people of South Africa.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Star Experiment

Try this:

On a warm and clear summer night, find a large open space where you can lie down and look up at the twinkling sky. Find a dark place, void of light, aside from the glowing objects above. A mountain top, a hill top, an open field....a place where there is nothing obstructing your view of the open sky.

Lie on your back and let yourself feel how small you are. A tiny dot, stuck to a tiny planet underneath the infinitely expansive universe above you. Forget that the stars are massive explosive globes of fire. Right now, they are peaceful shimmering lights, playfully winking at you as you settle into the ground.

Now slowly concentrate... begin to imagine that the stars are no longer above you.... but below you.
Feel gravity pulling you upwards toward the earth as you look down upon the deep abyss below. What if gravity momentarily lost its hold on you? You would fall, endlessly into the vast openness of space forever, watching streaks of starlight whiz past you.
This time, you are the falling star.

A slight shift in perspective can turn your whole universe upside down.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.

~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Heart List

I received a wonderful little award from the ever beautiful Debi this week, which left me feeling very grateful... so much so, that I wanted to make a list of some of the things that leave my heart overflowing with love...

~I explored a beautiful wetland at dusk this week with a new friend. This place is so green. So peaceful late in the day when the sun is low in the sky, casting a soft warm glow over the water and all of its inhabitants. We heard popping sounds coming from under the algae on the surface of the water and later discovered that it might have been from giant bullfrog tadpoles! I wish I could have looked under the surface at one of these mammoth tadpoles. I've only seen little ones.

~ I have been reading Calvin and Hobbes, given to me by this wonderful woman. She sent it to me at such a perfect time...right during the stressful part of June, and gave me much needed comic relief and comfort as I drifted off to sleep at night. It really is the simplest things that offer the most comfort.

~ Joan, you beautiful beautiful soul...you are back! You are so radiant. So full of love. I can't tell you how big my smile was when I discovered, through a gorgeous little butterfly, that you had come home to us. Welcome back, my dear friend. I missed you so much.

~ If you are a lover of photography (or elephants!), I urge you to take some time to visit this incredible website. Thank you Maddie for inviting me into this exquisite world, and Carol, for bringing it back to me once again. I have never seen such beautiful photography.......ever. It brought me to tears.

~ I went back to the grocery store yesterday, and saw the woman in the red car...AGAIN! What are the chances? Are we cosmically linked? Is the universe reinforcing something here? Trying to get my attention? By the way, I did wear a cute little red top the day after I saw her and felt so alive!

~ I saw a batch of baby spiders hatching from a potted plant. I am not a spider lover, but I will admit, they are pretty cute when they are this little. One plant over, I noticed that one of these tiny babies had already set up shop! A perfect miniature web, just his size. How do they know how to do this all on their own? I'd hate to think what would happen though, if a fly ran into this little piece of perfection. I think this web was only big enough to handle fruit flies.

~ Dear Robin, I am thinking of you this week as I prepare to look after a sweet little dog (her name is Suzie) for the next three weeks. You might be hearing from me, asking for some motherly advice. I wonder if she likes brooms as much as little Zippy does? So sweet. I just love your blog, your adorable little puppy and your beautiful garden. You provide us with such a friendly and inviting space.

~ Sweet Leonie...thank you so much for sending me Louise Hay's movie, You Can Heal Your Life. It couldn't have come at a better time. What a precious gift.

~ Much love and gratitude goes to all of you wonderful souls that come to visit and leave such beautiful footprints behind in your comments. I adore you all so much, and feel as though my life has been so enriched with your beauty and creativity and your heartfelt posts. You inspire me each and every day.

~ And to the one who has my heart. This list would not be complete without you. You are a ray of sunshine, casting so much love and light and warmth into my heart. You amaze me in every conceivable way.

Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

~Marcel Proust

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Lady in Red

I was so excited when I saw this poppy because I wanted to do a series of shots of it. One of it being born, one of it in full bloom, and one of it as it was dying away. But we had a cold spring, and this flower never got to bloom in its radiant entirety, so I only took one picture out of three. But it did remind me of something I saw today, which was absolutely in full bloom...

I went to the grocery store, and as I was putting everything into the back of my car, I could hear opera music... a woman singing. I looked to the car to my right, and it was a brand new red convertible VW bug. I glanced inside and noticed that the little vase on the dashboard was spilling over with big bright red silk poppies. And the woman driving looked like a voluptuous flower herself... a heavier set woman wearing bold colours, listening to this beautiful opera, soaking up every wonderful bit of her life.

Her window was open and I felt compelled to say something to her... and she looked at me with a smile and a glint in her eye and replied, "I'm just lovin it!"

How wonderful!!!

It was as though she was taking her life by the horns and living it completely on her terms, and because of it, she was radiating from the inside, out.
To say I was inspired by this beautiful woman would be an understatement.

Maybe I need to wear more red.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Misty Days and Starry Nights

Did I tell you how how much I love starfish?
Always looking for them.


I feel as though my shoulders have dropped about a foot and my breathing has become deeper and more mindful. I am now in turtle mode.

My time on the beach was just as I had hoped it would be. Although the sun didn't come out as much as we would have liked, it did burn its way through the clouds enough that it warmed the gentle breeze as well as the sand beneath our toes. Fast paced mists came and went and so did the waves. Although there was never a silent break from the soothing droning roar, I don't think I have ever seen such gentle surf here...it matched my mood so perfectly.

The days were long and full of nothingness. There are no real stories to tell. There was no need to *do* anything or go anywhere beyond the reaches of the beach. I would walk and walk, finding interesting things along the way...

A sand mermaid lay on the beach...so glorious in her beauty. She had a curvy voluptuous tail, and long reddish seaweed tendrils for hair. She even had white sea flowers in her hair and was adorned with shells. Her time on the beach was fleeting as the rolling incoming surf licked at her fins, enticing her to come back to her watery home.

Sand pipers scurried across the sand at a frantic pace. They are the sweetest little birds. Tiny twig-like legs with no knees moving lightning fast as they dug their long pointed beaks into the sand, looking for something to nibble on. Then they would take flight together, all at once, moving in the same direction, turning this way and that so all you could see were quick flashes of silver, then white. How do they all know which way to turn so suddenly like that?

Bald eagles were circling right overhead. They would carry branches over to one of the closer islands as they prepared to nest and raise their young. I saw the same pair last year on the same rocky island. They sit out there for hours and hours...all day and night. Such fiercely dedicated parents they are. As they flew right over my head, I was in awe. Their massive wing span has to be seen to be believed. So beautiful.

The nights were no less wondrous. We started a fire on the beach one night and started drumming. Along came a man who had been wandering the beach... he asked us if he could join us. We welcomed him into our circle, and to our wonderful surprise, he opened his case and pulled out a didjeridu. A magical time was had by all under the stars this one and only clear night.

Although I am back home now, my spirit is still there, soaring with the eagles, running along the sand with the sandpipers, moving to the deep rhythms of the drums, drinking in the waves and the mists.

Until next time....