Halloween’s Other Side of Life

Intricate spider web in black and orange Halloween colors

Looking out my window during morning Qigong practice, I glanced up to see this intricate spider web. Amazing to view its work up close…a meditation in itself.

Intricate gossamer spider web hanging between branches with insect bitten burgundy leaves of a Ornamental Plum tree
Seeing beyond the spider web…

With Halloween approaching, I dug deeper into the curiosities of this scary holiday. I never understood Halloween‘s color combination of orange and black but now it makes more sense. Orange represents autumn, and black signifies death (of summer). I realize, as in how I choose to view life’s transition to death, that this holiday does not have to evoke fear as popularly promulgated. 

And those spiders serving as long time mascots for Halloween? There’s a pleasant tale indicating they are the spirit of a loved one watching over you. How befitting in my summer of bereavement, and a more pleasant thought than frightful ghosts and goblins.

Who knew a simple spider web would give new meaning to Halloween for me? It’s become a holiday for recognizing life’s natural transition rather than scaring me to death.

 

 

 

 

Seeing through Obscurity

 

Scotland June 8 2019 598C

Photos of Scotland appear like subdued, opalescent paintings to me. Yet, when viewing these strikingly beautiful landscapes in person, they are just as dream-like.

Scotland June 9 2019 Portree 657C

Visiting Scotland a few weeks ago felt just as surreal in that I was finally fulfilling a lifelong dream…but learned early on that my beloved Ceilidh’s Bess passed. As I explored the western coast to the Isle of Skye then through the northwest Geopark, Scotland’s sweeping misty lens rendered surprising transparency into my own life.

Pay attention to how you feel in any given place. The words came back to me. Is the energy uplifting or downcast? Spirit-filled or draining? Am I feeling joy? Fear?††

Scotland June 8 2019 536C

Wrapped among impassioned layers of enchanted forests and glens, glacier sculpted landscapes, pristine waters, and steep majestic mountains that hold thousands of years of stories untold, my spirit felt at home in the Highlands. Similarly, but on a wee scale, my northeastern American residence is sheltered in a mountainside of woodland lushness and sparking streams. I know now that north is true for me.

Scotland June 12 2019 Strathnaver Museum 1446C
Strathnaver Museum, Farr Bay, Scotland UK

Learning about the Scottish Clearances and feeling the feelings of my long ago homeland illuminated my ken. I knew truth stood before me.

Scotland June 12 2019 Strathnaver Museum Burning House 1415C
photo of burning house from an exhibit in Strathnaver Museum

In the Clearances, inhabitants were ordered off their land then watched as their houses were burned.

from an exhibit in the Strathnaver Museum
Scotland's opalescent landscape of storm clouds through blue skies overlooking lush hillsides en route from Ullapool to Farr Bay via northwest Geopark June 2019

 

 

Fighting the natural gas pipeline is my personal, modern day experience of the Clearances. I understand powerlessness when forced against one’s will. I know the heartbreak of loss.

Scotland June 12, 2019 Strathnaver Museum Clearances-Ceilidhs 1427

 

Spring Sets My Heart Afire

It’s been a relatively long winter.  Of course, I always feel that way after half a year of Northeast cold and grey.  And although Spring appeared on the calendar a month ago, it waits until about now to dazzle me with her show.  Each day the bleeding hearts rise taller and taller, and more garlic greens dart through the earth, the scintillation sets my soul ablaze.

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Kindling the grey winter landscape aglow in green, Spring wondrously ignites death with life.  Saucer magnolias spark purple blooms, smoky lavender clouds flicker above eastern red buds, and delicate pink weeping cherry blossoms shimmer in the wind while the glowing white flowering pear explodes in the sky.  Like yellow-suited firefighters, showy forsythias arrive first on the scene.  Dwarf blue iris, orange-eyed daffodils and red tulips are next responders.  

Intoxicated with Spring’s opulent beauty of textures, shapes and hues, I am mesmerized by the magic appearing before my eyes.  And so grateful I have eyes to see.

Nature Teacher: Change

Look at the movement of the clouds

and understand

life is change.

Don’t waste your time

lamenting

things are not as they were

and will never remain so.

That is not the truth of reality.

Forever cannot be.

Look at the clouds

long stratus

puffy cumulus

and feel their struggle and joy.

Clear skies,

when things are going smoothly, no issues to deal with so to speak,

are also transitory.

Go with the flow,” others say.

The clouds already do.

 

Good Morning Mother Nature

One of my favorite morning activities is walking through the garden discovering what’s bloomed then cutting a basket full of flowers to become a bouquet.  Focusing solely on colors, textures and scents quiets my mind while the warming sun and cooling breeze brushing my skin soothes my HSP spirit.

Mother Nature offers this gentle good morning to anyone taking time to appreciate her splendid gifts.  Try meditating while creating a morning bouquet and see how you feel.  Refreshed?  Focused?  Rewarded?  At peace?  Grateful?

 

A bit overly ambitious this morning, I now have three bouquets to grace my kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.   How I love this time of year!

 

 

Aspergrass Cheese Tart is a Keeper!

If you’re wondering about aspergrass see my recent post “Did you say Aspergrass?”  Since my asparagus is still producing and I’ve wanted to try some new recipes, the Asparagus and Cheese Tart starred brunch today.  After making some slight adjustments to suit my taste (noted below) this recipe is a fave:

  • I grilled some of the asparagus (as depicted in the photo) then blanched the 7-1-18 asparagus tart 005rest according to the recipe.  I also:
  • Increased the lemon zest from 1/2 tsp. to 3/4-1 tsp.
  • Increased the shallot from 1 tbl to 1 whole shallot
  • Used 3/4 cup each of shredded fontina and gruyere cheeses
  • Reduced the extra-virgin olive oil to 1 tsp.
  • For an interesting dimension, put 1 drop of carmelized balsamic on a bite at eating time.

If you love asparagus, try this recipe and let me know if it’s made it’s way to your favorites too!

Brunch consisted of herbal ice tea, the asparagus tart, fresh greens from the garden with lemon olive oil and kosher salt, (homegrown tomatoes are not ready yet), and uncured bacon.  Yes, I am still a carnivore.

7-1-18 asparagus tart 004

 

Loving Your Mothers Days

Actually every day is a mother’s day.   This lifetime commitment isn’t always easy, celebrated, or what you thought it would be.  I’ve been lucky enough to be Bess’ Mom for 13 years but she’s the one teaching me.  Bess is my beloved Border Collie who romps around the garden and shows me how to love all days:

 

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Wishing all mothers happy days!

 

Nature Teacher: Getting Along with Others

You’ve probably been in a situation where you can’t wait to get away from someone’s toxicity.  Maybe it’s a stranger.  Maybe it’s family.  Maybe it’s your employer who you see day after day after day.  You’re not alone.  Nature deals with this too.
daffodilsDaffodils (aka narcissus or jonquils) are often the showy greeters in springtime, yet, like the attractive stranger or successful relative, we often don’t readily see their toxicity.  Daffodils contain toxic lycorine and calcium oxalate crystals and when freshly cut, they emit a virtually invisible but poisonous, gooey sap — similar to insidious commentary from passive-aggressives.  No wonder they usually appear solo in a vase.  But, you can help them get along with others!

daffodils separatedTo create a diverse but happy springtime bouquet, give daffodils a time out before introducing others to the vase.  Cut their stems at an angle and leave them by themselves in a vase of cool water overnight.

The next morning, after most of the sap has seeped out, change the water and safely add other flowers.  Then change the water every few days to maintain the harmony of this mixed bouquet.

blue tulip daffs 011