Posted in Autumn, Beginnings, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Endings, Exploring, Fire, Gifts, Gratitude, Home, Life, Listening, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Sky, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Wonder, Word/Theme for the Year


A not-yet-winter sky.

Tides and storms, the patterns of seasons and migrations, the quality of the soil and the air – all of these continue to influence and are influenced by us; they remind us of the intricate web from which we cannot disentangle ourselves, try as we might. Also, some of us are still lucky enough to live in places where we are awakened by birdsong in the morning, where at night we can see the Milky Way spilled across the sky. These things are part of our daily human experiences. As such, these phenomena – like anything else – can take on particular meaning, both original and universal.

Such meaning depends on authenticity, which often depends on engagement. This is the case whether we are talking about authenticity between people and people or between people and nature. We must be attentive; we must give our senses over to the other.

~ Hannah Fries, In Defense of Wonder

A vivid sunrise.

I’ve been in a semi-hibernation, peeking out every now and then to see what’s happening in the world outside of the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  I’ve been reading (including some blogs now and then), writing, taking walks, and honestly, doing a whole lot of nothing much as I recover from the virus that knocked me for a loop (and kept me sick for over four weeks).  The whole lot of nothing included naps and early-to-bed.  Early-to-bed often means early-to-rise so I’ve also witnessed and marveled at some amazing sunrises.  The sunsets, not to be outdone by the sunrises, have been putting on some good shows, too.

Late autumn reflections.

As another autumn winds down and the winter solstice approaches, I’ve taken some time to go within, to look at the year that is passing, and to think about the year that is to come.  It’s been a good year in many ways, filled with love and family and friends, with beauty and wonder, and with magic and awe.  There have been insights and epiphanies (similar but not always the same), synchronicities and coincidences, and the occasional serendipity.  Challenges have come and gone, some were abandoned or put on hold, and somehow the inner road keeps leading back to the same place.  The heart.

Morning by the creek.

Words have been auditioning for their turn at becoming my word/theme for the new year.  Surrender showed up and I shooed it away.  Too challenging, I thought, imagining where it might lead.  Perspective and perception beckoned for a while, reminding me that my favorite saying during a Difficult Time (years and year ago) was “if you change your perception, you change your reality” (a saying that went hand-in-hand with “you can’t change anyone else, but you CAN change yourself” because it was that particular kind of Difficult Time on the road of Life).  Perspective is everything sometimes, don’t you think?  So is perception.  (Yes, they are similar but not always the same.)

A soft light to start the day.

Gratitude came back around and has been a serious contender.  It doesn’t matter that gratitude has already had a turn at being my word/theme for the year.  Gratitude, I think, is always in vogue.  So are Love, Peace, Kindness, and Joy.

Curls in the sky.

Listening recently began hanging around, asking for a turn.  Then this showed up in my email, as part of a newsletter:

Healing is a listening.

~ Karin L. Carlson

I received Ms. Carlson’s recent newsletter (you can find her writings and other offerings here) after I’d been toying with Listening or rather, listening to Listening.  Think of that:  Healing is a listening.  Wow.

Gradually lighting up the world.

Listening is attractive to me right now because I realize I haven’t been listening.  I relapsed because I wasn’t listening to my body.  I resist listening to those whose politics are so drastically different from mine (re: supporters of the current resident of the White House).  I go for walks and get wrapped up in listening to my thoughts rather than to the world around me.

Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals.

~ L. J. Isham

This morning in the meadow.

I would like to learn how to listen without my mind preparing a response to what the other person is saying.  I would like to learn to listen without my mind shuffling off to Buffalo, to the past, to the future, or to some other planet.  I would like to hear what my body has to say, listen to the songs the earth and her seasons sing, and discover (re-discover?) the melodies and mantras of the wisdom of the heart.  I would like to learn to be deeply attentive, present, in the moment.

Listening is about being present, not just being quiet.

~ Krista Tippett

Nature’s lights.

Normally this post would appear as my Solstice Greetings post but I’m going to be busy this weekend.  So, an early Happy Solstice to you!  Thank you so much for visiting today and meandering with me through a few sunrises and this morning’s early walk through the future woods where the frost was twinkling and sparkling like Christmas lights.  Our sunsets have been spectacular lately.  I’ve been observing them rather than capturing them so I have nothing to show you.  If you’d like to observe with me, let’s meet at the Point.  Sunset is scheduled for 4:47 PM.  It’s a little chilly today, but not too bad and not too windy.  A fleece jacket (or something of that nature), hat, and gloves will probably suffice.

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

Rainbow light.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  976)  The sparkling lights in the meadow and future woods on frosty mornings.  977)  Frosty mornings.  978)  Deep practices (walks, yoga, meditation, listening) that bring healing.  979)  Releasing.  980)  The gifts of the past year.

The bokeh reminds me of bubbles, especially some of the orbs resting on or in the branches.

The winter solstice has always been special to me as a barren darkness that gives birth to a verdant future beyond imagination, a time of pain and withdrawal that produces something joyfully inconvceivable, like a monarch butterfly masterfully extracting itself from the confines of its cocoon, bursting forth into unexpected glory.

~ Gary Zukav

A morning walk.


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.

44 thoughts on “Semi-hibernation

  1. I wanted to touch base before I and you hurry off to surrender to our seasons. I was delighted to see your word – ‘Listening’ has been my practise for three years and this year I felt for the first time I was getting a handle on it. 🙂 I think it will be my practise for a while yet 😀 ( I tend to be a bit slow on the uptake sometimes…… ) Have the happiest of Christmases. Winter Solstices, New Years and everything else you wish to celebrate dear Robin – mostly be well, be peaceful, be thankful xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe, Carol. It depends on one’s inner thoughts. Most of mine are probably not worth listening to. My head makes up stories all the time, a lot of which aren’t even true (or at least not yet true). But maybe those are not what you mean by inner thoughts. If you mean our intuition, yes. I should have included that as part of listening to the body. Those “gut” feelings are part of the body’s inner thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good words to ponder… Practicing presence is an ongoing thing and I think part of being human is to jump between past, presence and future. We can’t help it! But awareness helps keep us from wallowing too long in past or future. 🙂
    Your sunrises are stunning and the lovely, twinkly bokeh in the fields reminds me of fairies. 🙂
    Hope you continue to recover your health and vibrancy, Robin. Have a blessed holiday season. We are once again heading back towards the sun, hurrah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty sure there are fairies living in the fields, Eliza. 🙂
      Thank you. “Practicing presence” is what I have in mind. I’ve been very distracted lately, hardly even present in my own life sometimes. Blessings back at you, Eliza. Merry, Merry, and Happy, Happy. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nothing like seeing the day begin with sunrise. Listening is key- as you said, listening to someone without thinking about a response, listening completely. We often forget people are not looking for advice, or comment, but just want or need to be heard. Happy Solstice

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lisa. 🙂 I recently read an article in Maria Shriver’s Sunday paper where she suggested asking the question, “What’s it like to be you right now?” And then really listen to the answer. I think you’re right. Sometimes we just need to be heard.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s. . .wishing you joy in listening, Robin. I hope you are feeling better soon–though snuggled in bed reading sounds like what I’d like to do now. Thank you for your beautiful photographs! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. 🙂 Almost back to normal now, although I wouldn’t have minded spending the day in bed, reading a good book. Alas, I have things to do today that won’t wait. Next week I can go back to being a sloth.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I relate so deeply to everything you’ve written here. Your emphasis on the word “listening” hits especially close to home. That’s where I’m focused at the moment, understanding how much more peaceably–and healthily–life rolls when genuine listening is involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s true, Deborah, and I think that’s part of the reason the word resonated with me the way it did. I used to be a good listener. I’m not sure when that changed or why, but I think I miss a lot by not always listening or being present.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Listening sounds like a good word for the year, Robin, although listening to the political leanings of some people is something I don’t care to do right now. Listening to these ranters makes me too angry, and upsets my peace of mind. Serenity is something I value too much and find too rarely these days! Happy holidays and may you have a wonderful 2019! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya, Cathy. 🙂 I don’t think I’m ready for the ranters at this point in my life. What I would like to do, though, is pay more attention to friends and family who lean in a much different direction than I do. Maybe find out some of the whys. I noticed that when I am capable of listening, and when that leads to conversations, those conversations have more meaning to them and we find we have things in common (even if our politics are so completely opposite).
      Happy holidays to you too! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.


      1. Well, at least you’re willing to listen, Robin. I can’t claim to be so open minded when it comes to the politics I so vehemently disagree with. But maybe I’ll become more mellow as time goes on… Who knows, anything is possible… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. In my heart of hearts, Elisa, I know you’re right (and suspect my heart of hearts not only agrees but secretly went with surrender because my heart of hearts is braver than I am). 🙂


  7. A beautiful post Robin. I just wrote yesterday about my phrase of 2018 which is a Zen Proverb: “Let go or be dragged.” Powerful. I, too have not been well since the first week of November. It has served to offer me more time to be still, rest and allow what comes to come – without resistance. My word for next year continued to appear and I knew it was calling me. Gratitude – which you’ve done before or considered – is my word. Deepening my awareness and practice will most likely take me into new places within from my experience without. Hoping you continue to feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sublime, Robin. I’m with you. I need to listen more. To my body, to my heart, to my vibrations.
    Happy Solstice to you. Keep getting better and a most Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I appreciate your thoughts on listening. You’ve given me something to consider as there are many situations I find myself in where I know my listening is perfunctory at best. Will be thinking about the connection to healing today.

    Happy Solstice to you, Robin!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “Listen” is a great word. I hope that turns into the winning word for your 2019. I think I am going to use ‘move,’ intellectually, physically, emotionally. This year my word was ‘stretch’ and I’m not sure I was actively stretching all year, but a lot of it I was. I think. Sometimes we don’t know when we stretch until sometime later. Anyway, enjoy your weekend. Yes we’ve certainly had some spectacular sunrises and sunsets lately! Yours are beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I wouldn’t be surprised. Baltimore is at 68 inches. Not sure what our local totals are (hard to find online — I’ll have to listen to our weather guy on the local news this evening).

          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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