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Clouds, sun, and a word or two

Sky colors.
Sky colors.

Let me peer out at the world
through your lens. (Maybe I’ll shudder,
or gasp, or tilt my head in a question.)
Let me see how your blue
is my turquoise and my orange
is your gold. Suddenly binary
stars, we have startling
gravity. Let’s compare
scintillation – let’s share
starlight.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets under 25

Where the light pours through.
Where the light pours through.

It has been cloudy for the past few days here on the Eastern Shore.  Maybe more than a few days.  I’m not sure because I haven’t been keeping a record of it.  Yesterday I mentioned to M that it has been cloudy here for so long that it was like living in The Bogs (NE Ohio) again where the clouds move in sometime in late October and hang around until March or April.  Sunshine was always greatly appreciated there during the winter months.  As I noted in a comment on Trail Walker’s blog, I think we were like winter flowers, going out to turn our faces up to the light whenever the sun would bless us with its presence after days and days of cloudiness.

Light and dark come together at sunset.
Light and dark come together at sunset.

It is not the same here, no matter how much it felt like it for the past week or two.  Even on our cloudiest days, the sun puts in an appearance.  It might be for just a few moments here and there when there’s a slight break in the cloud cover, or it might be at sunset.  Late autumn and winter sunsets can be glorious, and they also require a bit of faith.  You never know if or when the clouds will part enough to provide light and color.  All you can do is show up and enjoy whatever Mother Nature and Father Sky have to offer.  Today the sky is offering blue and clarity and sunshine.  I think it’s supposed to stay that way for a few days.  If the weather predictors are correct, the run of cloudy days has ended for now.

Radiance in the grasses.
Radiance in the grasses.

So here we are, at the end of another season, and the end of another year if, like me, you think the year should begin on the Winter Solstice (which is tomorrow).  It is time for me to reflect on the words I picked (or the words that picked me) for this year.  Those words are curiosity and reverence.  Usually it’s one word or theme for the year, but this year wanted two words, and I think those two words complimented each other quite well.  There is a kind of humbleness to each of them, and a willingness to be open to whatever comes along.  It is hard to say much more about them because the experiences that came with them are the type of experiences that are beyond words.

When the clouds open up to the light of the sun.
When the clouds open up to the light of the sun.

Every year I think I will be “retiring” the words, but that is never true.  The words ride along with me into the next year.  I think that’s because the lessons I learned from them are still being discovered and integrated.  It is a continuous process.  Along with faith and playful, gratitude and many other words from over the years, curiosity and reverence will be with me long after I’ve moved on to a new word or theme for the year.

Letting in a little more light.
Letting in a little more light.

I thought about skipping the word or theme ritual this year, but the words have presented themselves and there’s nothing to do but go with them.  Once again, there are two words.  Love came first, then kindness.  The two can be –and have been– put together to form the word “lovingkindness” also known as metta.

Brilliance and color behind the dark clouds.
Brilliance and color behind the dark clouds.

Kindness is a force that breaks open your heart even as it heals — and in that healing sets you free.  Perhaps one of the Buddha’s most radical teachings, metta or “lovingkindness” is much more than common niceness or charity.  It is a real-world practice to awaken your empathy with all beings and then radiate the fire of that compassion into the world.

~ From the back of the book jacket of Sharon Salzberg’s “The Force of Kindness”

Winter sky.
Almost-winter sky.

I read “The Force of Kindness” a few years ago.  I will probably read it again as this year moves through the days, the weeks, the months, and the seasons.  I pulled the book from my bookshelf after the words kept repeating themselves to me in various ways over the last week or two.

Goodnight, sun.
Goodnight, sun.

Many of us long for an underlying sense of meaning, something we can still believe in no matter what happens to us, a navigational force to pull all the disparate pieces of our lives together into some kind of whole.  Perhaps we find ourselves feeling helpless when even a little too much of the unexpected occurs, defenseless when we find we don’t have control over a situation and can’t fathom what might happen next…

To explore kindness as that thread of meaning requires finding out if we can be strong and still be kind, be smart and still be kind, whether we can be profoundly kind to ourselves and at the same time strongly dedicated to kindness for those around us.  We have to find the power in kindness, the confidence in kindness, the release in kindness; the type of kindness that transcends belief systems, allegiances, ideologies, cliques, and tribes.

~ Sharon Salzberg, “The Force of Kindness”

Sunset light around the pond.
Sunset light around the pond.

“Lovingkindness” is a lot to explore, a lot to live up to.  I think small steps are in order here, starting with the curiosity and reverence of the past year and moving on to kindness in everyday encounters.

A small doe came by this morning.
A small doe came by this morning.

In other news… The wildlife around here has been quite active.  Deer come to visit at dawn and dusk, and sometimes even in the middle of the morning.  I think deer hunting season ended last week, but don’t quote me on that because I’m not sure.  I’ve seen a rabbit or two, but they have been mostly staying out of sight since the hawks returned for the winter.  The bald eagles have been circling around, chatting and whistling and on the hunt.  Two Great Blue Herons are warring over fishing rights in the pond.

The current winner.
The current winner.

Thank you for visiting with me today, and joining me on a Tuesday version of my Monday meander.  I’m going to head out to the Point for sunset this evening.  Join me, if you like.  It’s cold (in the 30’s) and somewhat windy so you’ll want to bundle up.  I dang near froze my face and hands off the last time I went to the Point.  Sunset is at 4:46 PM.  I’ll be there early.  I’m hoping the eagles will be there, or maybe a flock of blackbirds.  You never know who or what you might see at the Point.  That’s part of the fun of going there.

A foggy morning in the marsh.
A foggy morning in the marsh.

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

When it's cold and windy at the Point at sunset.
When it’s cold and windy at the Point at sunset.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  76)  A day filled with sunshine and a deep blue sky after a week or so of cloudiness.  77)  Watching the antics of the herons throughout the day.  78)  Butternut squash soup to warm the body from the inside out.  79)  Letting go of that last shred of hope.  It leaves me free to let go and move on.  80)  Beauty, everywhere.  You just have to look.

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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.

24 thoughts on “Clouds, sun, and a word or two

    1. Thank you, Lisa. 🙂 It’s something I’ve worked at since I got my first digital camera. I think I’m often more fascinated with the light (and shadow) than I am with a lot of the subjects I capture (but not by much!).

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m so glad I came by today Robin. For the past three months my mantra has been ‘Create Beauty; Cultivate Kindness, Practise Love’ Lovingkindness being the nub of all my wordiness 🙂 I am deeply immersed, studying the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh – I might have to live forever to learn anything!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Pauline. 🙂 I had to laugh at the last part of your comment because I feel the same way. There is so much to learn, and sometimes it takes a long time for what I learn to actually sink in!

      Like

  2. Such a beautiful post, Robin. Curiosity and reverence do go together, and they make me think of “awe.” I heard part of a report on NPR a few days ago about some scientists studying awe, and now I will have to go back and try to find it.
    Lovingkindness is beautiful. The world can certainly use it.
    Your photos inspire awe, and your posts inspire love and kindness–so I think you have it all covered. 🙂
    I can’t decide which is my favorite photo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwww. Thank you so much, Merril. 🙂 I think “awe” goes well with curiosity and reverence. They make a great trio. Did you ever find that NPR report? I think I’ll go have a look. It sounds interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glorious sky shots, Robin. You capture the beauty of nature so well.
    I love how you incorporate words into your life learning. Intuitive nudges from the universe – perfect!
    Have a great time with your holiday guests! Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Eliza. 🙂 I like how you described the words as intuitive nudges from the universe. Maybe that’s why I haven’t yet given up the tradition. When the universe talks, it’s a good idea to listen. Otherwise, it starts nagging in ways I’d prefer not to experience. lol!

      Like

    1. Thank you, Frank. 🙂 Now that I look at it again, the doe does look a little like a small kangaroo, especially in the way that she is standing. It would be quite puzzling, though, to find a small kangaroo hopping about the ranch. lol!

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  4. I thought my favorite photo would be ‘Radiance in the Grass” but it turns out to be “Foggy Morning.” Though of course I liked them all. Enjoy your holiday, may it be peaceful and fun and just plain good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Smiles! Lovely.
    Waiting for sunset on Christmas Eve is like standing toes-over-the-edge on a high diving board.
    Every year we’d cruise casually by the window to keep an eye on the sun’s progress until it was officially evening.
    Then the shout “Christmas Eve Gift!” would ring out.
    You see, the traditions says that the first person to voice that phrase on Christmas Eve to another would be graced with good fortune and joy all the next year.
    (And of course, whomever was first won. Everything was a contest…)
    It’s more difficult to be first now with caller ID.
    As all those who have become my friends in blogland are spread widely across time zones, I’d like to wish you all “Christmas Eve Gift” now.
    And as I already feel so fortunate to have such wonderful readers and writers in this neighborhood, I wish to share any phrase acquired good fortune and joy with you in thanks.
    No matter where you are or what you are guided by, hope you have a very merry Christmas and a new year full of adventure and joy.
    Peace on earth and goodwill towards all creatures great and small.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, and thank you so much, PhilosopherMouse. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that 2017 is smiling on you the same way you came by to leave smiles in the comments of my blog. 🙂

        Like

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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