What you encounter, recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.
When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace.
~ John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace
If we were having coffee, tea, or any of a wide array of other beverages available here at the ranch, I would be thrilled to see you again. Hugs if you’re amenable to them. Come on in! I apologize for being a day late this week, but as you will soon find out, it’s been a somewhat busy week that included travel. Let’s grab something to drink and go out to the deck where M and I have put out some chairs. You won’t need a jacket, or at least I don’t think you will. It is sunny and 70°F. We can watch the finches and the bluebirds who, just this morning, rediscovered the bird bath. I’ll bring something to nosh on, too. Do you like shoofly pie? We brought one home from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where we just spent a few days celebrating Christmas with family. We’ll also have fresh bread soon. M is baking some today and judging by the scent coming out of the kitchen, it won’t be much longer before he pulls it out of the oven, and we can break some off and slather it with butter or raspberry preserves. Or both. Or none, if you’ve had enough of the usual overindulgence that occurs this time of year.
How are you? How were your holidays (if, that is, you celebrated any holidays)? Was Santa good to you? Did you visit with family and/or friends? Travel anywhere to be with family and/or friends? Or maybe travel somewhere just to get away from all the hoopla? Have you read any good books or watched any good films?
I finished reading Doctor Sleep by Stephen King. It was a fast, entertaining read which was pretty much what I was expecting from Stephen King. I moved on to In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, a psychological thriller that made a few “best of” lists back in August. It was also a fast, entertaining read. The main characters were a little on the immature side for me (although it’s possible the immaturity might have been half the point ), and the story was somewhat predictable, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. It was a good book to read while traveling in the car, and I was able to start and finish during our trip there and back.
If we were having coffee, you might wonder where “there” is (or was, but it still “is” so “was” hardly seems appropriate). M and I went north to Lancaster County and environs, Pennsylvania, to have Christmas dinner with his family. It was practically a family reunion. The only folks missing from the immediate family were our children and grandchildren who were otherwise engaged over Christmas. We will be seeing them soon for a late Christmas gathering and an on-time New Year celebration. The trip was quick, fun, and relatively easy. No major traffic problems there or back. It was nice to spend time with everyone, especially those we haven’t seen in a while. The food and conversation and company were all good.
If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would tell you that M and I went to see the new Stars Wars film, The Force Awakens. We saw it at an IMAX theater in 3D, and it was very entertaining. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone so I won’t say too much about it other than I thought Adam Driver was a strange pick to play Kylo Ren. Not that he wasn’t good in the role, but his appearance didn’t seem to match that of his character’s parents. At any rate, it was fun and that, I think, was the whole point of going.
If we were having coffee or tea or something else, I would tell you that that M and I had a quiet and lovely gift-exchange celebration on Christmas Eve eve here at home. M gave me a beautiful piece of artwork that I had admired at a summer art fair we attended. It was a wonderful surprise. I want to hang it in the (home) office once we get the room renovated and painted. I plan to get started on the office tomorrow. I still have some art supplies that need to be sorted through and either organized or given away. Then it will be time to open the boxes that have been piled up in there since we moved in. The office has been a catch-all area for boxes of books that I wasn’t sure where to put. Some, I think, will be donated, but I have to go through them first. Once the room is organized, repaired, and painted, I will rename it the office/creativity room. Or something along those lines. Any suggestions? It’s currently the room where I write, blog, and process my photos. I hope to clear off the art desk enough that it will also be a good place to draw and work on mandalas.
As for what I gave M, it was something I made for him. I photographed one of the mandalas I drew and colored, and had it printed on glass. The finished product came out above and beyond my expectations. It’s so beautiful that I’m thinking about doing a series of them. Let’s get the office/creativity room finished first. Too many projects will mean nothing gets done.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is a joy to see the sun again. We’ve been in fog, rain, and under cloud cover for quite a while. When I went out for my morning walk today, the fog was fairly heavy and there was a constant misty rain that at times became a little heavier. I thought for sure the weather folks had gotten it wrong and that we’d have another rainy day, but by noon the fog had lifted and most of the clouds had moved out. It’s lovely outside now, and even the birds seem to be celebrating the return of the sun.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the warm weather is confusing the plants, the animals, and probably the people. We finally saw flocks of snow geese here on the Eastern Shore. They were in some farm fields we passed on our way home yesterday. In the garden, we will have more broccoli soon. After harvesting it last week, the plants sent out side shoots which are almost ready to cut off and cook. There are plenty of broccoli greens, too. I made chips from some of the greens today. Just roast them the way you would kale. Add some salt and pepper, and voila! Broccoli green chips. They are crunchy and tasty. I like them better than kale chips. I read somewhere recently that broccoli greens are the new kale so I imagine you will see them in your local grocery store soon.
Kale and onions are doing well still, too, and I will be pulling up some onions and picking kale when I go out for my afternoon stroll.
If we were having coffee or some other beverage, I would suggest we go ahead and take a walk since it is so beautiful outside right now. The clouds will be returning tomorrow, and then the rain will follow on Tuesday and Wednesday. After that, more seasonable temperatures (highs in the 40’s and lows in the 20’s and 30’s) will be hanging around for a while. We can stay on the high paths when we walk or, if you brought some good boots or wellies, make our way around the meadows and to the edge of the marsh. We got about two inches or more of rain this past week and although the ground drains fairly well and fast, it’s still squishy and puddly in spots.
If we were having coffee, I would thank you for visiting with me today. I always enjoy our coffee chats, and hope you do too. Stay for sunset if you like. It might be a good evening to go down to the Point to watch it. It’s at 4:50 PM. We can watch for the bald eagles while we’re there. I’ve seen two of them here at the ranch today, and we usually spot at least one near the water or on the Eagle Tree when we go to the Point during the winter months.
Be good, be kind, be loving, be well. Just Be. 🙂
This post is in response to Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare. Put the kettle on, start the coffee maker, open a bottle of wine, or whatever your preference is, and join us. I’d love to hear all about what you were up to this week.