Posted in Beginnings, Blogging Break, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Family, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Home, Life, Love, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Spirit, The Bogs, Travel, Walking & Wandering, Weather, Winter, Woods


Welcomed home with open arms.
Welcomed home with open arms.

Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

A star atop a tree.
A star atop a tree.

Last night I had a poem writing itself in my head.  It began with a small twist on an old saying, Pliny the Elder’s “home is where the heart is.”  The small twist was “home is where the heart lives,” but the sentiment is the same.

Highlights of the holidays.
Highlights of the holidays.

I was drifting off to sleep as the poem created itself.  There were several more lines and I briefly thought about getting up to write it all down, but I had spent the previous three nights in hotel rooms unable to sleep the good sleep, the kind that goes deep and refreshes.  I allowed myself to be lulled to sleep hoping I might remember the words, and this morning the only thing remaining of the poem is the first line.  Perhaps I’ll sit down with the first line again soon and try again, or perhaps someone else will write it.  Maybe they already have.

Highlights II.
More highlights.

The past two weeks have been full.  Full of life, full of family, full of love, full of food, and full of activities.  There have also been quiet moments, full of grace and peace.  I took an unplanned break from social media.  No blogging.  No Facebook.  The break allowed me the breathing space for those quiet moments full of grace.

Portrait of Daisy.
Portrait of Daisy.

As I look around in cyberspace, I see today is the day of beginnings.  On Facebook and blogs people are writing about resolutions and fresh starts.  I thought about trying to catch up with the things I missed during my unplanned break, but decided it is a day of starting where I am with no resolutions in hand.  Instead of resolutions, I have thoughts about doing another 15 Things list which in my head I am calling The List of 15 because it just sounds cool to me that way.  So, The List of 15 it shall be.

There was (cup)cake decorating.
There was (cup)cake baking and decorating.

I will write about it soon.  I’m still compiling it.  As with last year’s list, I want it to be a list of fun and challenge.  Not great challenges, and nothing that involves great changes be made.  Just small leaps of faith here and there, the kind that help me grow without overwhelming me.

And sewing.
There was sewing.

We had a wonderful Second Christmas celebration in Ohio with our sons, their lovely wives, and our beautiful granddaughters.  And let’s not forget the granddogs and grandcats.  It was quite a menagerie of people and pets although one pet was missing because he had to have surgery the day before we arrived, poor guy.

There were walks around the pond.
There were walks around the pond.

When we travel by car back to the Bogs of northeast Ohio, half of our trip — maybe more, maybe less, I’m not sure — is via the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  (For those inquiring minds who want to know, it is approximately 980 miles from here to there and back again.)  We have to pass through the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel, considered an engineering marvel when it was built in 1939.  (It services 11 million vehicles per year, and because of its age, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has decided to replace or bypass it.)

The traditional New Year's Day pork & sauerkraut.
The traditional New Year’s Day pork & sauerkraut.

Between the months of November and March or April, when we approach the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel, I think of it as crossing into winter.  On the other side of the tunnel, near Somerset, Pennsylvania, you enter the Laurel Highlands.  The mountains making up the Laurel Highlands are the highest in Pennsylvania, and Mount Somerset is the highest point coming in at 3,213 feet (979 meters) which, I realize, is not high compared to, say, places in the Rocky Mountains or other mountain ranges, but it is high enough to make a difference between snow and no snow.  There was no snow as we entered the eastern side of the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel.  The flurries started flying just as we came out the western side.  The forecast did call for flurries, a result of lake effect snow coming down from Lake Erie.  You’d be surprised at how far lake effect snow from Lake Erie can travel.  The so-called flurries turned out to be about three inches or so of snow that fell overnight.  I know this because we spent the night in Somerset to break up the ride, and woke up to a winter wonderland.

Beyond the tunnel. Leaving Somerset, PA, on New Year's Day morning.
Beyond the tunnel. Leaving Somerset, PA, on New Year’s Day morning.

Winter stayed with us as we made our way to the Bogs.  Not snow, but cold and wind and clouds.  We saw peeks of watery sunshine from time to time while we were visiting our old homestead, but mostly it was cloudy.  And cold.  On the drive home yesterday, we drove out of winter, and the skies began clearing as soon as we reached the eastern side of the tunnel.  By the time we crossed the Maryland state line, there were few clouds left and mostly sunny skies.  The temperature had warmed up by about 20 degrees, too.

There was an early birthday celebration so we could all sing "Happy Birthday."
There was an early birthday celebration so we could all sing “Happy Birthday.”

It is, however, January, which is Old Man Winter’s time of the year.  Winter eventually caught up with us today and we saw a few (very few) flurries here this morning.  It was lake effect snow from Lake Erie that had crossed the mountains of Pennsylvania and Maryland, and are now somewhere out over the ocean.  It’s cold and windy, and quite invigorating now that the sun has returned.

View of the house at Breezy Acres (in the Bogs) from the back of the pond.
View of the house at Breezy Acres (in the Bogs) from the back of the pond.

As we passed through the mountains of western Maryland yesterday, we drove under a pedestrian bridge with a sign informing us that it is part of the Appalachian Trail.  I didn’t realize (or I’d forgotten, which is more likely since of course it would have to pass through Maryland) that the Appalachian Trail runs through Maryland.  I was reminded that once upon a time, long ago, I wanted to walk the Appalachian Trail.  This morning I looked up the Maryland portion of the trail.  It is 41 miles long, said to be good for 3- to 4-day trips, and is considered easy by Appalachian Trail standards.  It is one of those things I might add to my List of 15 for this year.

Snow and ice in the Bogs.
Snow and ice in the Bogs.

I enjoyed being with my family and wish we could be with them more often, but I also enjoy being at home and sleeping in my own bed where I finally did get a good night’s deep and restful sleep.  Izzy and Bella (the cats) are happy to have us home, too, although they are giving me grief for leaving them.  They have their ways of exacting revenge, none of them pretty.

January 2016C 048a
Soft waves and sharp grasses at the edge of the pond.

Today I have been settling back in, and slowly reestablishing my routine of exercise, yoga, meditation, drawing, walking, chores, playing with the cats, and all the other little things I do throughout the day.  I have been contemplating my daily gratitude lists along with the List of 15.  I give thanks for so many small and large things, but the one thing I think I neglect is being thankful for life itself, for being alive and breathing and capable of experiencing life on this planet.  My life is rich with family, with love, with life, with creativity, with laughter, and with a million other things it would take too long to list.  Davidji, the man I’ve been meditating with online lately, often says the mantra aham brahmasmi which he translates as “I am the universe.”  Maybe that’s what my life truly is.  The universe in microcosm.  It’s not a new concept, of course.  The ancient Greeks saw life that way, and aham brahmasmi is a Sanskrit sentence that is a part of Hindu philosophy used to explain the unity of the microcosm and the macrocosm.

Flower and ice at the back of the pond.
Flower and ice at the back of the pond.

My life, like the universe, is filled with stars.

View from the dock this afternoon.
View from the dock this afternoon.

Thank you so much for stopping by today and joining me on a long meander to the Bogs and back.  I hope the new year has started out well for you, and I wish you all the best in 2016 and beyond.  Looks like the sunset will be pretty this evening.  If you’d like to watch it with me, sunset is scheduled for 4:56 PM this evening.  I’ll meet you on the dock about twenty minutes before that.  Bundle up.  It’s cold out there.

Standing tall with the trees.
Standing tall with the trees here in our woods.

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


Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

19 thoughts on “Home

  1. Welcome home, Robin, and may your 2016 be a happy one! I like Persian New Year much better, as it begins on spring equinox to welcome the spring, rather than the freezing cold winter! Please have a steamy cup of something warm and sweet to keep you going through this first week of real winter. WG

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, WG. Spring does make more sense for beginnings since everything is coming back to life at that time. Winter is such an inner time, although there is life there, too. I hope 2016 is happy for you, too, and that you don’t experience too much cold down your way. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Robin. Have been watching snow over the Eastern Shore yesterday and today and thinking of you. 20s here last night, our coldest yet. The garden stayed frozen today even though we’ve enjoyed bright sunshine. Yes, and inner time; perhaps that is also a good way to begin the new year…. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pauline. 🙂 I like the way you put that — to widen your world. 🙂 I picked the number fifteen randomly last year. I didn’t do them all, but that wasn’t the point. The number wasn’t nearly as important as the trying.


  2. I like “Home is where the heart lives.” Good luck with your poem. I’ve done that where I’ve thought of something that I think is wonderful while lying in bed, and then it’s all forgotten in the morning. I’m glad you had a chance to reinvigorate.

    My in-laws lived in Erie, PA for a brief time right after we were married. We did a couple of very snowy drives.

    Beautiful photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed the meander! A lovely time appears to have been had, and 2016 looks to be a good one. Funny, I’ve considered looking into the Massachusetts part of the Appalachian Trail and wondered if a hiking buddy and I could do it in a couple days!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A warm and wonderful way to start the new year, nestled in with family. Happy New Year!
    I think a gratitude journal is in the cards for me this year. Haven’t ever formally kept one on a daily basis. A good way to end each day and seed pleasant dreams.
    Love your pond photos – water is my favorite element!

    Liked by 1 person

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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