Posted in Beginnings, Critters, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Gifts, Gratitude, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Playful, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather

15 Things

Reflections on ice.
Reflections on ice.

Sometimes we know the best thing to do, but fail to do it.  New Year’s resolutions are often like that.  We make resolutions because we know it would be better for us to lose weight, or get fit, or spend more time with our children.  The problem is that a resolution is generally easier to break than it is to keep.

~ Peter Singer

Sunlight drizzled across the trail.
Sunlight drizzled across the trail.

Most years I make some sort of New Year’s resolutions.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps I’m a glutton for punishment.  I don’t succeed at most of my resolutions.  It’s the challenges I present myself with during other parts of the year that work for me.  The challenges are easier to stick with, I think, because they evolve out of a strong need or desire, whereas my resolutions are things I think I ought to be doing.  Generally speaking, those resolutions are also things a lot of other people think they should be doing.  Get fit, lose weight, run a marathon, take better care of myself, eat healthful foods, etc.

Because some of you like the selective color version of my happy little bluebirds.
Because some of you like the selective color version of my happy little bluebirds.

This year I am not making resolutions.  I am busy with my Wellness challenge, and it is enough for now.  I exercise, I have established a regular yoga and meditation practice, I get outside for long walks, and my diet is mostly made up of Good Stuff (whole foods).  I’m following the 80% method which means sticking with the plan 80% of the time.  The other 20% is for travel and treats and other indulgences.

The Kingfisher sitting on the dock.
The Kingfisher sitting on the dock.

At the beginning of the year our local newspaper ran an article about 15 Things to Do (in the area) this year.  Most of those 15 things were events and/or festivals occurring in the area throughout the year.  Reading the article reminded me of when M and I were living in Sabbaticalville (West Chester, PA).  Because we knew we’d be there for a short period of time (nine months), we made a list of things we wanted to see or do while we were in the area.  We managed to see or do nearly everything on the list, making it a very good year of seeing, doing, participating, and learning.

The article and the reminder of our sabbatical almost-year have inspired me to make my own list of 15 things I would like to do this year.  Here they are, in no particular order, although some may be time sensitive.

Centered.
Centered.

1.  Spend a night, or at least part of a night, outdoors watching the stars.  We have an incredible, free from light pollution, view of the night sky here on the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, and I don’t take advantage of it nearly as much as I ought to.  While I’d like to resolve that I’ll get outside X times per week to look at the stars, spending one night outdoors is less resolution-like, and will allow me to get to know the nighttime here a little better.  Anything else is a bonus.

2.  Go to VegFest in Rehoboth Beach.  M and I talked about going last year, but didn’t make it.  I’m not sure why.  We might have been traveling at the time or had guests here at the ranch.

3.  Take a walk on the boardwalk in Ocean City.  We’ve only done that once or twice since moving here.  To be honest, I prefer going to Assateague Island.  It’s less crowded, less touristy, and more about the beach, the ocean, and nature.  But there is something playful and fun about boardwalks at the beach, and it’s time to get out there and explore.

Three ducks.
Three ducks.

4.  Sign up for the CSA again.  I’m still trying to use up all those orange vegetables from last year.  Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squashes were so abundant that we’ll probably be eating them until spring when it will be time to sign up.  That’s not a bad thing when you can space them out.  (By the way, this Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili is a great way to use up some sweet potatoes, and it is awesome.  I could live on this stuff, that’s how good it is.  I did alter the recipe a tad by using canned chipotles with some adobo sauce instead of the ground chipotle powder.  If you’re going to do that, be careful.  It can get pretty spicy if you add too much.  The best way to tone it down is to remove the seeds from the chipotles.)

5.  Spend a day, or half a day at least, sitting in the woods, waiting to see what comes along.

6.  Spend a day, or half a day at least, sitting on the dock, waiting to see what comes along.

My mockingbird friend.
My mockingbird friend.

7.  Listen to live music.  Go to a concert, a festival, or some other event that involves live music.

8.  Enter some photos in the Art in Nature Photo Festival again.  Last year was a chance to get my feet wet and learn a little something about the process.  Let’s make it fun this year, and enter something I like rather than something I think the judges might like.

9.  Go to D.C. while the cherry trees are in bloom.

The purple hour.
The purple hour.

10.  Watch a parade.  Live and in person, of course.  Not on television.  There are plenty of festivals throughout the year that include a parade of some sort.

11.  Go on a group bike ride.  There are short bike rides around here that would be suitable for someone at my level.  (I haven’t been on my bike since… I don’t know.  Sometime during last summer, I guess, so my level is pretty low right now.)

12.  Learn to kayak!  We have so many water trails around here to explore.  I’m missing out on a lot by not getting in the water.

Yesterday's subtle sunset.
Yesterday’s subtle sunset.

13.  Visit Trap Pond State Park in Delaware.  Not only are there bald cypress trees, I can learn to kayak there.  I’d prefer to learn in a large pond where I don’t have to worry about tides and currents.  Win-win.

14.  Reestablish a morning writing habit.  I know.  This sounds like a resolution.  Okay, it IS a resolution.  But it’s for a good cause.  I spend most of my day alone and words build up inside, and poor M has to listen to me babble for the longest time when he comes home in the evening.  When I was in the habit of writing Morning Pages, I didn’t babble so much.  Not that M seems to mind my babbling, but it would be nice to give the man a break.

15.  See at least one film at a theater.  We have our own little theater here at the ranch and a subscription to Netflix, but it’s so much more fun to see a movie at a theater.  I thought about adding “go to a film festival,” but that’s easier said than done around here.  Everything is so Far Away.

Cloud reflections on the surface of the creek.
Cloud reflections on the surface of the creek.

That should do it.  I’m setting only one requirement: have fun.  Be playful, be creative, and just enjoy.  If I do all or most of these things, great.  If I only do one or two, that’s also great.

Do you have any fun plans for the year?  If so, leave a note in the comments.  I’d love to hear all about them.

The blue hour.
The blue hour.

Thanks for visiting on this foggy, rainy Monday.  I don’t think we’ll see the sun set today, but we could go out to the front porch and watch the Great Blue Heron and the Fish Crows.  I’ve been watching them this afternoon.  There are five crows and one heron, all fishing from the lagoon as the ice melts.  The heron caught a really big fish.  It took him a while to get it down.  I think some of the fish may have been frozen in the ice, and that’s what is making the fishing so fine out there today.  Every now and then the heron chases the crows away, but they don’t stay gone for long.  Whatever they’re eating, they’re enjoying it.

Foggy day.
Warm rain + melting ice = foggy day.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Patience.
Patience.

Today’s joys:  Watching the heron and the crows; the fog rolling off the lagoon and creek; relaxing on a rainy day; spending some time writing this morning; a seagull walking around on the icy surface of the lagoon.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

40 thoughts on “15 Things

  1. I love this list – much better than the usual resolutions! I hope you sing while you do number 6. 🙂 My resolution is more traditional – to be more healthy,and I have a new Fitbit which I’m quite excited about. However, I’m going to write us a family list of activities like yours, because it’s a genius idea!

    Amazing bird pictures. We have a number of herons nearby too and as Monty received a fancy camera for Christmas and wants to enter a wildlife photography competition, I suggested we walk down to the canal where the heron likes to sit and take some pics. It’ll be interesting to see if our herons are the same as yours – robins, blackbirds and kingfishers are quite different, from what I see.

    Have a great week!
    N xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL! I’ll be sure to do that, Nickie, since it is almost sitting on the dock of the bay. 😉

      Thank you. I would love to see some of Monty’s photos. I bet they’re fab. Wishing you a great week, too!

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  2. These are nice life enhancements, which is ideally what resolutions should be, but so seldom are…I like that these are celebratory rather than punitive. And that they will provide lots of scope for your camera.

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    1. Thank you, David. 🙂 I wondered if anyone would notice the camera aspects of my list. I considered unplugging one day a week as part of the list, including disconnecting myself from the camera, but decided that sounded more like punishment than fun. (I do go out without the camera, and do take time away from the computer and phone, when I feel I need to, but if I put it on a list or make it a resolution, I won’t want to do it.)

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  3. I like that list! I think that #8 & #9 are the most time sensitive – the rest you should be able to work in throughout the year.

    I gave up on resolutions a long time ago. I list all the goals I would like to accomplish, which is far longer than what I have time for, then pick them off as the year goes. I do get a lot done. What I like about the list is I can adjust to priorities and energy, but having it written down helps me focus as to whether something should or should not be important.

    Nancy

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    1. Thank you, Nancy. 🙂 #2 has to be done at a certain time, too. I sometimes make daily or weekly lists of goals, but rarely go beyond that. I have a love-hate relationship with lists. When I’m in the mood for a good list, it keeps me organized and on track. When I’m not in the mood for it, it makes me feel like a failure. I like that you keep your list of goals to help you prioritize rather than as something you feel you MUST do, and that you adjust those goals as you go along.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just printed that chili recipe, it looks Sooo good.
    I need to make a list of things I want to do. Maybe one thing a month. Then I need to figure out how to make myself follow through.

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    1. It is amazingly good, Carol. The quinoa in it makes it look and feel (texture-wise) as if it has meat in it.
      I have trouble with follow-through too. That’s why I like having 15 things for the year. If I do some of it, I’m ahead of where I was when I started. 🙂

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  5. Love this post Robin! The fact that your 15 things are simple one shot events really makes them do-able. You have me thinking about how to write my own. I look forward to seeing the images you capture from these. (BTW – I have been trying to do #9 myself for a few years now.)

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    1. Thank you, Mike. Can’t wait to see your list. 🙂 I’m thinking #9 might take a few years to accomplish, but I thought I’d go ahead and put it on the list because ya never know.

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  6. It’s a rainy day today in my part of the world, and so much cooler temperature wise too! I love all of your bird photos, Robin. It’s great seeing birds so different to those who visit my garden, but your kingfisher is actually a relation to my kookaburra friends.

    I only found out recently that Australia has its own version of the Northern Lights, Aurora Australis, which can be seen from Tasmania. I have never visited Tasmania and have always said I wanted to go. I have a sister who has lived there for the last thirty years, so I could visit her, and explore the state. (She became a Jehovah’s Witness, moved there on the church’s say-so and all but cut ties with her birth family, but that’s a story I don’t often speak of. I love her too much and the pain of losing her never goes away.) I don’t know when will be the best time to see Aurora Australis next, so will have to see if I can coordinate a trip there with the sky show. I have seen some brilliant photos of the most recent appearance, which was only a couple of weeks ago.

    I love your list, it’s so varied! I’ll look forward to seeing you tick off the wishes as they become reality. 🙂

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  7. I miss Ocean City so much. When I was in middle school, my family bought a beach house there, right along the beach near the border of Maryland and Delaware. We rented it out in the summers, but during the school year from about 7th grade to 12th grade, I spent every other weekend there. We still have the beach house, but we got tired of having to constantly fix things that renters broke/stained/destroyed that we stopped renting it out a few summers back. Plus, it was not getting many renters anyway, probably due to the global recession and people traveling less. We still have it, but I have been there maybe once in the past 5 years because I’m living further and further away from Maryland.
    I’ve been to Trap Pond; as far as state parks go, I don’t think it’s the greatest or most scenic. However, it might be good for kayaking; I don’t know, since I don’t kayak. If I did, I’d love to launch at Harpoon Hanna’s and kayak along The Ditch. 🙂

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  8. I like your 80-20 rule, Robin, although I must admit, I am more of a 50-50 person myself. I know, I’m bad. 🙂 Good luck in keeping up with your goals this year. 😉

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  9. Stunning dreamlike photos and a voice of clear reason in between…..I love the sound of all your resoluitions, especially the photography competition and the morning pages….if it’s OK with you I might borrow these two, as I have made no resoloutions again this year 🙂 I used to write in the morning, but seem to have slipped out of this habit…..

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    1. Thank you, Seonaid. 🙂 You’re welcome to borrow any of the resolutions you fancy. I slipped out of the morning writing habit, too. It’s good to be doing it again.

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  10. The photos are stunning. I made a very short list of three:
    1. Smile more
    2. Accept more
    3. Be healthy

    And to this list I added my To Learn Things Over list:
    1. Relearn the piano
    2. Relearn ballroom dancing
    3. Relearn how to like people

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  11. A day, sitting in the woods, waiting to see what comes along… I haven’t done that since I was a teenager! What a simple but wonderful idea…

    My plan for this year is to fly across the Atlantic ocean and remain calm, cool and collected. I’ve been practicing on shorter flights to Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, but if I want to realize my life-long dream of seeing my ancestors’ homeland, Norway, I’m going to have to pull this off. We just got our tickets!

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    1. How exciting, Barbara! Norway is on my list of places I’d love to see, too. I think you are very brave, practicing with shorter flights. Sometimes the short flights bother me more than the longer ones.

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  12. I’ll want to hear about your live concert, and I hope you get to the theater to see more than one movie. I agree…that’s the best way! I went to see Wild last weekend. If you can deal with the language it’s a good movie. Book, however, is better.

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    1. I’ve been wanting to read that book, Dawn. I’ll have to move it up on my reading list. I hope I get to the theater more than once, too. I don’t know why we don’t go more often. Laziness, maybe. Cost, maybe. But it is the best way to experience a film.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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