Friday, February 2, 2018

Imbolc




Imbolc is a festival of fire and light. It falls midway between winter solstice and spring equinox, and marks the successful passing of winter and the beginning of agricultural spring.
The light continues to grow stronger and the days grow warmer.

And this morning I could feel a lightness in the air, a moist warmth with the promise of Spring. A loud, rhythmic drumming caught my attention and I knew woodpeckers were beginning their mating ritual. Chickadees usual "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" was interspersed  with "fee-bee" a sign that their mating rituals had begun as well.


Are these mouse trails in the snow? Mouse highways?


First bloom on my African violet. My mother always kept African violets on a table under an east facing window in our dining room.  "Oh, my African violets are waking up! Spring must be on its way!" 
Her smile of pure joy gave me an appreciation of the changing seasons, of looking for hope in the middle of a deep, dark winter. Yes, mounds of snow still covered the ground, cold and icy winds still tore at our clothes as we walked to school in the mornings, but with a bit more sunlight every day, we knew the worst was behind us.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Beginning to Lighten




I heard a chickadee call as the sky began to lighten this morning. We've just come out of a deep freeze here in the eastern part of Canada and this was a welcome gift from Mother Nature.

It had been so cold my garage doors were frozen shut, there was ice build-up in the corners of my north-facing windows, even though I keep my home warm. My oil furnace was working continuously, heating the house (for which I am grateful - what did natives in this country do before central heating? I can't imagine!)  drying out the air and making my hair fly-away and clothing full of static.

Stepping outside I was met with the sting of a brutal arctic wind on my face, and even with a scarf covering mouth and nose, breathing was very difficult. Some days I stayed indoors, chopping vegetables to pop into a nourishing broth. Soup making always brings on a feeling of comfort, of a warm kitchen, mothers or grandmothers in aprons, gentle hugs, steamy windows, neighbours popping in, tea and cookies, friendship and lively conversation.

But today the air is warmer, almost spring-like in contrast. As the sky lightens there is a surge of new energy, of hope that the worst is over - at least for now. Winter still has it's polar bear arms wrapped fiercely around us, but we can wiggle out and play in the snow.

I have a full day planned with a breakfast club gathering, a stop into the florist for fertilizer and potting soil (my indoor plants are looking at me pleadingly), a few other errands and then a good long afternoon walk in the sunshine.

How is it in your part of the world?


Monday, January 1, 2018

January 1, 2018 - Supermoon








The biggest Supermoon of 2018 rose at sunset today January 1st and will set at sunrise tomorrow morning - January 2nd. It will be the largest and brightest full moon of 2018.

This Wolf Moon was named by the Early Native American tribes because it was at this time of year packs of animals would howl outside their camps.

This second full moon in a Supermoon trilogy started with the Cold Moon on December 3, 2017.

The third Supermoon will be on January 31st, and since that's the second full moon in the month, it's called a Blue Moon.
Go figure.

All I know is it's freezing outside this evening, but that didn't stop me from bundling up, slipping on warm boots and heading out to gaze at that huge, golden orb hanging low in the eastern sky.  It was breathtaking!

Wish I could have taken a pic, but honestly, I don't take moon pics well (as I mentioned a couple of posts back). But that's fine.  This one from the Farmer's Almanac was perfect!

I hope you have an opportunity to step outdoors and catch a glimpse as she weaves through winter clouds, or embrace her full, clear, magnificent face as she lights up the sky and earth below in a celebration of a brand new year.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Early December




I walk the land every morning.
It's in my bones.
I rise early each day, well before sunrise.

This pattern too must be in my bones. A time of the ancestors when out of necessity, work had to be done first. Lanterns lit, water pumped, a fire started in a hearth, porridge bubbling in a cauldron or flour turned into loaves for the day's consumption.

My modern self throws on a housecoat and slips down the stairs in darkness, not wanting to face the glare of electric light. It's too harsh this early.
Entering the kitchen, I surrender and with a flick of a switch turn on the overhead pot lights. These new lights are on a dimmer, turned down to a softness -  just enough so I can see to start my coffee maker.
I pull a carton of milk out of the fridge (no milking of cows in this day and age) and splash a good amount into my cup.

Coffee in hand I step out onto my back deck. Yes, it's December here in Canada and cold, but that doesn't bother me. I'm warm from my cozy bed, warm in my plush housecoat, winter boots on my feet. Not long ago it was flip-flops. October this year was unseasonably warm and I was ecstatic to be able to slip into flip-flops and feel the strange contrast of autumn leaves crunching underfoot.

Deep breaths of fresh air - oh how I love to inhale the freshness of a new day.

This December morning Mother Moon lights up the entire back yard. She is beautiful as she shines out between the branches of Lady, a glorious beech tree standing tall and proud in the west side of my yard.

Trees are beautiful at this time of year - their bare branches reach up to the heavens, revealing that which is usually hidden by their greenery. Our trees are old in this part of the land; a forest once-upon-a-time, they remain rooted deep in the earth, watching us humans go about the business of our everyday lives.

I've lived in this home since 1996 when I moved in with my soon-to-be husband. As some of you know, I moved out for 3 years, now back again.
I look around my property and inhale the familiar, the homes and neighbours, an occasional light in the window of another early riser.

I'm not the same person as I was a few years back. Certainly not the star-struck in-love woman in my 40's back in 1996. Life changes us, as it's meant to.

My blog is still up, yet I leave it behind for long periods of time.  I miss it. I miss the energy, the good feelings blogging evokes when I visit your blogs. I miss peeking into gardens around the world, being invited to share in the lives of ordinary people. My blogging friends are generous "come sit a spell, pull up a chair and warm yourself by the fire, coffee's on, tea's hot and ready for you, I've just made a batch of gingerbread cookies!" All virtual of course, but the thoughts, the intentions give me a warm feeling, a feeling of connection no matter who or where in the world we all live.

I'm not the same person I was when I entered the world of blogging. Back then I was hurt and scared; husband was sick with an illness that would eventually take him. Blogging was a way to save my sanity, a way of reaching out to others who may be with me on this frightening journey.

It came as a surprise that people actually responded to my cries, my venting and grieving, I did not know what to expect. I drew strength and comfort from my fellow bloggers, their own struggles, their joys, and virtual hugs, their normal everyday activities.

I did not know what blogging was all about.
Was I good enough to actually post something?
Would anybody read my stories?

Along the way I met many, many kind and courageous people. People who blogged whether their writings were good or not. People whose pics were phenomenal, their writing superb, and I felt myself measuring up to those standards and coming up short.  Maybe I shouldn't post. I wasn't good enough. So many others were so much better.

And then it came to me one day that I was blogging for me. That I was making friends anyway, whether my posts were "publish-perfect" or just ordinary.  Blogging was about the normal ups and downs of everyday life.  The important part was reaching out and connecting.

Gazing into the face of Mother Moon, her benevolent glow warming my heart and cold hands, I feel a ripple of happiness, of contentment at this unexpected gift.

Wouldn't this make a nice pic? Framed by bare-naked tree branches if I stand right here. If I walk a little to the side, she's lost behind the tree trunk. Quickly I run back in the house, pop my cold coffee into the microwave and grab my phone.
Not a great pic but it works for today.

Pocketing my phone I step off the deck into the pre-dawn stillness. I drink in the quiet, the lull before the beginning of a brand-new day.
The anticipation.
I like to be up early enough to witness the soft glow in the Eastern sky as a new day is born.
It's like magic.

Night is fading. The clear strong light of Mother Moon shines on, even as she slips further towards the horizon. Stars as well are not giving up yet. They hold on to their brightness in a clear, cold sky.

With the passing of years, I've become stronger.  A little more confident in who I am. Blogging, I've learned, is an expression of who we are. Competition is not necessary, nor is it wanted (to me anyway). Some will like my blog and others won't.
As simple as that.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!



My daffodil garden. South side of the house where it receives full sunshine. When the tree leaves fill out, there will be too much shade for any sun-loving flowers to survive, so this will remain my Spring Garden.

Happy Spring!
Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Circles - Part I




I have a feeling that Life travels in circles. We set out on an journey only to find ourselves back at the beginning.

I had a hairdresser for years. She left the Salon and I found someone else. He was good, but after a while I got tired of that particular hairstyle. I asked him to change, but he wasn't very receptive.

So I looked around.  Asked my friends for referrals and found nobody. My hair grew long and even though it was rather unkempt (well, not really - just more fly-away and a bit straggly) I kind of liked having long locks once again.  It made me feel like a teenager.

Hmmm. Something wrong here. We can't go back in life. Some of my grands are teenagers and I certainly would not want to be back there, with all their issues and social pressures.

Then one day, I happened to be shopping in the neighbourhood and noticed a new Salon. Peeking in the windows it looked busy and cool!
Maybe I should just go for it!
Maybe somebody totally brand-new would give me a fantastic up-to-date stylish hairstyle.
I pulled open the door and popped inside. It was noisy!  But just beneath the drone of blowdryers I heard a bubbly giggle that sounded suspiciously like Tina - my old hairdresser.

Couldn't be, could it? Yes!
"Does Tina have time for a cut?"
The receptionist left for a few moments then beckoned me to follow her.
"Tina!" We hugged and pecked cheeks and I sank down into the Salon chair, sighing with relief. I'd come home.
Full Circle again.
It felt good to be back in her lively and fun-loving energy. We chatted away as if there hadn't been a time lapse of 5 years or so - we'd known each other for a long time. In fact, she was the one who got me into horseback riding about 15 year ago. I left a short time later - could not conquer my fear of horses.

"I want Layers! Pat doesn't give me Layers! Can we do that?"
"Of course!"

So she cut Layers, but kept the length because I wanted to feel extra-young.  It felt good!

For about a day or two.  But when I went to wash my hair and blow it dry, the Layers wouldn't do what I wanted. And they were dry from too much processing, or maybe it was age. Everything seems to dry up as we age (or at least I feel like a dried up old prune some days!).

For the next several weeks, I alternately ignored my misbehaving Layers, wrestled with them or pretended they were just fine. And bit by bit I felt silly with my long hair - it really didn't suit me and the Layers gave me a "ball" of a head while the long part was just strings against my shoulders. Yuk.

What do I do?  Should I give Tina another chance? Or throw in the towel and go back to Pat?
Now I know why he never gave me Layers, even when I asked (and I forget what reason he told me, probably because I didn't want to listen). Ha!

Tina? Or Pat?
I had to admit that I'd received more compliments on my hair when it was short and I really didn't like this Layer/Stringy hair - but maybe I could have short/Layer hair?

Round in circles in my mind, but in the end I went back to Pat. He explained once again why Layers were not for me - hair texture changes with age and the style needs to reflect that change. What's particularly important is to cut the damaged ends more often, not less. Oh and whatever else he said, I've forgotten as I just nodded and smiled and couldn't wait to see my new short hair.

"Short," I said, "just below my ears."
And that's what I got.
Full Circle - again!


I'm on the far left.  Hair was a couple of inches shorter than this.