I want to thank my friend, Kathy Marche, for allowing me to share her beautiful shots of chickadees, one of my favorite birds. Their song is so cheerful and so heartwarming. and watching them fly or hop about from limb to limb in the evergreens brings me joy. I think the thing I love most about chickadees is that they never abandon us but sing their little hearts out even in the dead of winter. I really love Kathy’s photos, I hope you enjoy them.
“The chickadee and nuthatch are more inspiring society than statesmen and philosophers, and we shall return to these last as to more vulgar companions.” – Henry David Thoreau
“We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it from its territory. But above them all ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.” – Tom Brown Jr
“But hopes are shy birds flying at a great distance seldom reached by the best of guns.”
– John James Audubon
“The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky.” – Jane Goodall
“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” ~Thomas Kempis
Many of us attempt to do the impossible on a daily basis. In an effort to prove that we have control over our lives we try to control everything in our environment including the people around us. Essentially, we are trying to control our inner life by controlling the external world. The world is seen as predominately unsafe and unstable unless we are in complete control. This view may be a reflection of the inner chaos and fear that we may be suppressing. Over time, our inner conflicts will begin to seep out and manifest itself in a number of ways.Perhaps you mask your need for control by micromanaging your spouse or in the rigidity of…
Nearly a year ago I’d been reading news stories from around the world and grieving the loss of so many lives. The images of the caravan of hearses and military vehicles pushed into service to carry the dead away was beyond heartbreaking. At least that is how I experienced it. I was talking to a friend of ours about the horrific loss of life at the time and the many suffering through Covid-19 and he remarked that it did not affect him because he didn’t know “those people”. But for me, personally, every number represents a loved one who will never come home again, or it represents somebody suffering, perhaps horridly with the illness. And it affects me. No, I do not know “those people” but does it matter? In my view all life is sacred and precious.
Reaching for something positive in such circumstances seems impossible – what good can anyone see in it? Perhaps, though, we need to recognize that humanity’s never-ending reach into places once wild in order to exploit whatever natural resources there may be has led to this virus being loosed upon humanity at large. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a lesson to be learned here about rain forests and about wild places and the environment in general.
This evening I learned that a man I’ve never met died. And I grieve. In this case it is the husband of a woman I met only twice but came to know as a funny, wise, and totally awesome person through our engagements on social media. He’d had cancer. It all happened so very quickly. They only found out a couple of months ago and now he’s gone.
Perhaps it is the past year of the constant toll of bells, the constant and rising numbers of the dead, sick, or recovered – and what do they mean by recovered, because to all intents and purposes many people do not recover but spend months recuperating from the damages to their bodies that covid leaves behind.
So, yes, I mourn. I mourn all these people I have never met and I mourn the husband of my friend, a man I also never knew except through anecdotes his wife would share. Life is precious. Life is sacred. And so, to anyone who has lost a loved one, no matter the circumstances, I want you to know this stranger is so deeply sorry for your loss and I am sending my sincere condolences.
So, my friend, Kathy Marche has generously granted her nod for me to share more of her stellar photos. Life is rather grim in most parts of the world at the moment so I hope her photos will lift a spirit or two. Unfortunately the area where I live does not offer many opportunities to capture photos of birds. Unless you like ravens, there are tons of ravens around. They especially like to gather round when the trash bins are full to overflowing – does not make for a pretty picture though. Here’ a trio of feathered friends for you to enjoy.
I particularly love the chickadees. They are a constant throughout the year and even the coldest days do not keep them from singing their cheerful tunes.
“I believe people are afraid to be still because we’re used to being stimulated.” ~Michael W. Smith
When was the last time you sat alone in silence without anything or anyone to distract you? For many of us, it is difficult to be alone without something to entertain us or to focus our attention on. In its most obvious and prevalent form, the distraction comes in the form of our mobile phones. The real question then should be when was the last time you spent a day without your mobile phone? I accept that we all depend on our mobile phones for a myriad of reasons such as work, staying in touch with friends and family and in case of an emergency. The issue that I am seeing more often in my practice is the inability to put the mobile phone down…
I love winter most when I can be inside, comfortably watching those thick white flakes drifting to earth through the window pane. But there is nothing like the sound of snow crunching beneath my boots or the sensation of crisp, cold air against my skin. A walk through winter woods is every bit as charming and delightful as that same walk on a summer’s day, that is as long as the winds do not blow and the sun causes the snow to sparkle like diamonds spread generously across the land. I mark as precious such days as these and file them carefully in my memory to pull out and cherish on hot days that have me scurrying for shade. Of course it’s difficult to really remember just how chill the air was when the weather is hot and sultry.
Winter can be deathly quiet and the winds as bitter and as cutting as the sharpest blade. Yet, I would not change it, even if it were within my power. Every season has a beauty all its own and here in this season, at this time of year, I welcome winter’s gifts. Here are a few photos of the cold scenes I have captured:
“I had been educated in the rhythms of the mountain, rhythms in which change was never fundamental, only cyclical. The same sun appeared each morning, swept over the valley, and dropped behind the peak. The snows that fell in winter always melted in the spring. – Tara Westover
“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it is the time for home!!!! – Edith Sitwell
“No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn.” – Hal Borland
“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” – Thomas Wentworth Higgins
On this 2nd of January I wish you all a Happy New Year – may it bring you blessings, growth, health, happiness, and love.
Twenty-twenty, the year was a roller coaster, unfortunately there seemed to be more downs than ups. Or were there? It was a year that I learned (once again) to take one day at a time. Do you remember the jokes about 2020 and perfect vision? I’ve been thinking of that quite a bit, because, after all, the past year did deliver just that. It made us realize that people should always come before things; that money will not solve all our problems, no matter how many dollars we throw at them. It made us want to hold our dear ones closer and made us appreciate them all the more. As the economy was shut down and more people had to work from home; as all forms of entertainment were brought to a stop; as places of worship also closed their doors; as every bit of life we had become used to became turned upside down, it forced us all to look at our values and at what we had once given priority to and it made us take a second look. Did we learn anything at all? I hope we did. I hope the lessons of the year 2020 remain with us for life.
I know for many people it has been an extremely painful year. Many people have lost loved ones and could not even say a proper good-bye. Many lost jobs or homes, some lost both. Yes, 2020 has been a year of intolerable loss, grief, and sadness. But I hope it made us all re-examine all that is truly important in life. I hope it made us realize how much we’ve taken for granted for too long. I hope it shook things up enough to cause a change of heart in us as individuals, and as a society. I hope we do not go back to the way things were pre-pandemic. I hope we change for the better in the way we treat one another, and particularly in the way we treat the most vulnerable. I hope we have increased respect for the people who work with the public in every sector from health care to grocery store cashiers; from janitorial staff to cooks and chefs; from the poorest to the richest. May we treat one another kindlier and with utmost respect. I hope 2020 has taught us that, and I hope we remember well the lessons.
May we move into 2021 with eyes that see clearer, ears that hear better, and hearts, though bruised, that love more fully and with a mind set and new resolve to do better.
I never did get to see the “Christmas star” with my own eyes. We attempted to a couple of times. I had great hopes on Christmas eve when the skies were mostly clear, but though we got to the place we’d picked out for watching the skies in plenty of time, alas and alack the clouds rolled in again just after sunset. That’s okay. The Christmas star did its part in buoying up flagging spirits and instilling a sense of wonder, and, more importantly, hope. I have seen some spectacular photos online of this wondrous event. It really is enough to know it’s there, above the cloud cover, instilling hope in many a heart.
As we drove toward the spot we’d picked out, we passed several vehicles parked along the side of the road. Some were there, like us, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the celestial wonder. Others had snow mobiles loaded onto pickup trucks for a drive into the woods. My favorite though was the young woman skating around the pond with her new baby in arms. That spoke to me in ways that I find difficult to put into words. As I watched her glide around the pond, I could not help but think of another young mother millennials ago who also held her babe in her arms. These were my Christmas people. People I did not know by name but fed my soul with hope.
This has been a very difficult year. We have all been carrying the burdens of worry and stress that covid has caused. I know that I was hope-starved (too many bad news stories, I guess). At any rate on this 26th of December I am exceedingly grateful for the gifts of hopes I have been given, not least of which is the vaccine that promises to allow family visits and socializing again in the not-so-distant future. And I am grateful for Christmas stars and Christmas people who instill hope in our hearts, not just at Christmas but throughout the year.