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A billion tiny ways

Just after sunset on Thanksgiving.

There are billions of tiny acts that create suffering in the world—acts of ignorance, greed, violence. But in the same way, each act of caring—all the billion tiny ways that we offer compassion, wisdom, and joy to one another—serves as a preservative and healing agent.

~ Ram Dass, Being Ram Dass

Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing.  Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.

~ David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

I see the moon, the moon sees me/shining through the leaves of the old oak tree/Oh, let the light that shines on me/shine on the one that I love.  ~ Amy Robbins-Wilson, a lullaby.  (Thursday’s moon.)

Thanksgiving was a different holiday for us this year, as it was for many.  We Zoomed with family in the morning.  There were smiles, laughter, love, and shared gratitude.  It was, as always, lovely to see all of their beautiful faces.  We might be getting a bit burnt out on Zoom and other video chats, but I have to admit that I like the way I can really look at people’s faces and expressions.  There is nothing else to distract me from that.  I don’t know if that is everyone’s experience.  I hope so.  It in no way replaces actually being with the people I love, but it’s one of the positives about the experience.

Light, grounded.

After the Zoom family gathering, M and I worked together in the kitchen getting the turkey and stuffing ready to go into the oven.  I don’t know why I decided I wanted to cook a turkey and all the trimmings this year.  Perhaps I thought it would make it feel more holiday-like.  As we worked together, several things ran through my mind.  The first is how well we share the work.  We always have and after 44 years of marriage, we still do.  We make a good team.

Late afternoon light.

There were other lovely and loving thoughts along with feelings of gratitude as we got on with the business of putting together our meal.  Then it occurred to me that this was one of the most stress-free holidays I’ve experienced in a long, long time.  I didn’t feel any of the (often self-imposed) pressure to get everything perfect.  If the timing of the different foods came together at the right time, so be it.  If they didn’t, so be it.  Neither one of us cared what time we ate or if we’d have to wait for something to finish cooking before it all came together for the meal.

A tunnel of light and shadow.

We took a couple of walks, one before the big meal and one after.  M watched some football.  Not because he cared, he said, but because it’s a tradition.  I read, answered some emails that were long overdue to be answered, and played with the cats.  No rushing around, no politics, no old hurts or disagreements, and no relatives who may have overindulged in adult beverages.  Simply a relaxing day, once the meal was cooked, eaten, and cleaned up.  Even all of that was easier to do since we were feeding fewer people.

Sunrise clouds.

I don’t mean to say, or even imply, that I’d rather spend the holidays isolated from family.  That’s not true at all.  However, I did see things from another perspective.  For so many, the holidays are loaded with land mines and heavy baggage that we carry around with us.  When I spend time with family on vacation or visits that are not holiday visits, there is much less of that going around.  I’m not exactly sure why that is but I’d venture to guess that many of us have this perfect picture of the holidays in our heads, a Norman Rockwellian kind of thing, even if we’re not conscious of it.  High and almost impossible expectations inevitably lead to disappointment.

Interesting times.

We did have big plans for this year.  Last year, on Thanksgiving Day, I sent out invitations to pretty much the whole family (including my four siblings along with their spouses and families, my father, M’s sister, and of course our sons, their spouses and their children).  We reserved cabins at a local state park and had figured out the logistics of having everyone in our home, probably scattered about for seating purposes since there would be so many.  The main reason for the big gathering was so my father, who is 90 years old, could be with everyone in one place at one time.

Sometimes the clouds do strange things.

We cancelled the cabin reservations about a month ago.  We bought a smallish turkey (the smallest we could find was 12 lbs.).  We Zoomed or talked on the phone with some of our family.  And we were profoundly grateful to be able to do that.

A Thanksgiving sunset at the Point.

I made a long list of things I am grateful for and in doing so, clearly saw how blessed I am.  I make small gratitude lists on an almost daily basis.  The goal was to do it daily, but you know how that is.  Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.  It is better, I think, to do it when you can truly feel the gratitude in your heart.  Otherwise, the list comes without any real awareness and might not have any more meaning than a to-do list.

Getting ready to go for a ride this morning.

I’ve started thinking about my word for the year.  (People who have been visiting my blog(s) for a long time might remember that I start my new year on the Winter Solstice.)  That will mean, eventually, a wrap-up post of last year’s word.  Maybe.  It was, at times, a difficult word.  It is a word that might even sum up a good part of this year.  The word is Surrender.  (The post in which I wrote a little about it is here.)  I did not officially adopt it as my word of the year, but it did seem to adopt me, even after I tried to change it with the word Rewilding.  There might be a form of surrender in rewilding.  I think there probably is.  At any rate, it was without a doubt the perfect word for interesting times.  More on that soon.

Sunlight and waves.

Thank you so much for visiting with me today.  I know I promised more images of the wild horses, and I intend to keep that promise.  There is a story I want to tell you first, a rather sad story, which I’ll save for my Monday meander post.  In the meantime, let’s meet out at the Point for sunset.  Sunset is schedule for 4:44 PM.  It’s breezy, but not too cold.  In the 60’s today.  A light jacket will be good.  I’ll be there early.  M and I rode our bikes out to the Point this morning and people have been trashing the place so we’ll go with our gloves, our picker-uppers, and our trash can, and do some cleaning up.  And oh!  Speaking of cleaning up… An update on the cleaning and decluttering for the Holy: We went through our Christmas ornaments and decorations yesterday and today.  We had quite a few boxes of things up in the attic.  Much of it will be given away to family or donated.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.

Trying out the camera on my new (and much needed) phone.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,621)  A new phone.  My old one (old enough that I don’t remember when I got it) has been letting me know that it was time to let go and buy a new one.  The new one is nothing fancy or expensive, but the claim was that the camera was better than on the old one.  I don’t know.  I barely see a difference in the photos.  But I do see a big difference in how the phone behaves.  My old one was locking up and shutting itself down all the time.  The new one doesn’t do that.  Now all I have to do is sit down and delete a bunch of apps I don’t want, add some apps I do want, and I’ll be good to go.  1,622)  A beautiful, sunny day with interesting clouds passing through.  1,623)  Blue hair.  I colored it yesterday.  It’s more turquoise than the cobalt blue I thought it would be.  1,624)  A lovely bike ride to the Point and back.  1,625)  The memories we discovered when we sorted through the Christmas ornaments and decorations.

As the sun slips below the horizon.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, yoga teacher, sometime poet, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She shares her daily walks and meanders, a lot of quotes, some of her artwork, and a lot of her photography here on Ye Olde Blogge. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are (still!) in the midst of renovating the house and cleaning up the 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.

27 thoughts on “A billion tiny ways

  1. Beautiful post. I am grateful for the time with mt entire family via FaceTime. It was fun and lovely. I think one of the big lessons of the year will be focus…as in the focus is the people and not the perfection of what the holiday should be based on some unrealistic picture. The menu is optional. Time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, beautiful post as always. Our Thanksgiving was very much like yours, minus the turkey. 😉 Quiet, relaxed. We Zoomed with our kids. Funny how words grab hold of us. My word for this year is “fortitude.” I will be writing about this on my blog. Look forward to hearing about your thoughts about “surrender.” And, of course, seeing pictures of those wild horses. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful post. I felt much of the same on Thanksgiving. Just two of us was so stress free even when I made almost all the normal trappings of Thanksgiving (minus the big turkey, I did turkey breast in a crock post which turned out yummy). I had the same thoughts about no time constraints, no worries about it all coming together at the same time (though oddly it did). I didn’t have help in the kitchen cooking or cleaning up, but it was still so much easier than if I had even one other person. Definitely not to say I didn’t miss my family because I did, very much, but it was a simpler time and I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A calm post loaded with gratitude. Come to think about it, I would say that most of your posts are about gratitude … and to me, that’s a good thing.

    Seems you had a good Thanksgiving, especially given the abnormality of 2020. Our was very different, but we made the best of it. Hope you saw my email.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had similar thoughts about our Thanksgiving observance, when it is just the two of us, there is no ‘performance stress.’ And that was a nice silver lining in not choosing to risk exposure by sharing the day with family. I tell myself I can forego meetings until it is safe to do so, it won’t be forever. We plan on living to celebrate BIG another year. Looking forward to the hugs! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was grateful for the non-pressure of the holiday. I don’t feel it, but others around me do and that takes all the fun out! I’m happy that you’re grateful for the Zoom (me, too) even though it’s getting a little old (I agree). You have a good perspective on things as always. Beautiful pics, as always. I’m grateful you share them with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved the photos as always – felt enchanted at the tunnel! I was by myself, it was silently snowing and very beautiful outside.I was enjoying good food and books and some silliness on TV -Schitt’s Creek. I love coming here for the blogs of my new blogamigos, you certainly feel like family. What I an most grateful for this year is the closeness of my Holy Self, guilt is waning out of my being, I am getting accustomed to being peaceful

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Leelah. 🙂 I love what you wrote about getting accustomed to being peaceful. I’ve noticed something similar about myself. The drama doesn’t seem quite as important anymore. My blogging friends feel like family to me, too. 😀

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  8. Lovely post, Robin. I especially loved the leaves in the light and the day moon. Sounds like your Thanksgiving was filled with gratitude and new appreciations. It was comforting to me to know so many of my blogging friends were also celebrating at home, just with their spouses. We got a takeout turkey dinner and it was great — might do that in the future, too, so we can take walks and spend time outside with family instead of being stuck in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up all day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Barbara. 🙂 I found comfort in that, too. I like the idea of no-pressure holidays as we move forward. Spending Thanksgiving as we did made it apparent what’s important. And what’s not.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you, Robin, for reminding me that sometimes it’s okay to change things up a bit. Our Thanksgiving, too, was pretty low-key, but it was a blessing NOT to have to endure ‘performance anxiety’ for a change! I love the photo of the moon and the waves on the sand, and I’m glad you’re acclimating to your new phone. So many of my blogging friends are changing phones these days, and I know I’ll be right there with them soon, as mine keeps losing its charge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Debbie. 🙂 Maybe this will give us all the opportunity to start some new traditions. As for my new phone, it’s a challenge, but I think I’m up to it. The main thing has been figuring out how to get all the notifications turned off. I have no need to be notified of email and every other little thing on my phone. Every time I think I’ve got them all turned off, another comes in.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Our Thanksgiving was actually more involved than in the past since we moved down the street from our daughter in July. I cooked most of the sides, she did the turkey and a few other things. It was just us, them and her father-in-law. It was fun and much less stress on us not having to travel, then stay with them 24/7.

    Love your pictures as always! That bike in the middle of the two buildings was a great composition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nancy. 🙂 Although more involved, it sounds like a lovely Thanksgiving. Travel does add to the stress. We spent two months in Ohio over the summer (July and August), living next door to our youngest son and his family. It was wonderful to be able to share meals and then not have to stay with them or have them stay with us 24/7.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We hadn’t planned on moving quite yet, but with Covid and we don’t see ourselves traveling much for a while, we decided it was time to just move. Plus this house was right down the street from our daughter, so no strapping kids into car seats etc. But yeah, not being on top of each other is great!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. A lovely post, Robin. I think Frank is right about gratitude. I understand what you mean about the holiday being less stressful, and agree–not that I wouldn’t prefer having everyone here, but we didn’t have to worry about timing, as you said–or about cleaning the house for guests and moving tables and chairs, etc. I don’t eat meat, so my husband has been eating our turkey by himself!

    Beautiful photos–as always. Enjoy your blue hair! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m sorry you had to cancel your original plans, but 2020 seems to have a mind of its own. It was an easy thanksgiving this year, no stress, just quiet and peaceful. Hopefully by next year we’ll be able to spend time with friends or family on something other than Zoom!

    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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