Posted in Aging, Change, Covid-19, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Family, Gifts, Grandparenthood, Gratitude, Heartfulness, Home, In these strange times, Life, Little Peanut, Little Wookie, Love, Maryland, Mindfulness, Nature, Ohio, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, The Bogs, Travel, Walking & Wandering, Water, Weather, Winter, Word/Theme for the Year, Writing, Yoga

Spring travels and love

Exploring the crocus.

Our bones know the way of things. Our guts understand what baffles the mind. The soul or spirit is often most clearly manifest in the sensations and language of the body. We feel called towards or driven away by people, places, and things at the gut/bone level. The head can then clarify or obscure this information, or choose to work with or against this body-knowledge.

~ Aidan Wachter, from ‘Six Ways: Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic’

I urge you to find a way to immerse yourself fully in the life you’ve been given. To stop running from whatever you’re trying to escape, and instead to stop, and turn, and face whatever it is. Then I dare you to walk toward it. In this way, the world may reveal itself to you as something magical and awe-inspiring that does not require escape. Instead, the world may become something worth paying attention to.

~ Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke

Shadow dancing.

Every year I post similar pictures of spring: the first crocuses, the budding daffodils and trees, the greening of the grasses.  How else would I show you spring other than in the outer transformations that are brought to us by earth, rain, wind, sunlight, and warming temperatures?  Spring is experienced with all of the senses, but I can only bring that to you via words and photos, and I often feel as though those words and photos are the same old thing.  They are not, of course.  Every year is different in its way.  It’s just that it’s difficult to express that in a close-up of a crocus.

Water in its liquid state.

M and I traveled west two weeks ago to visit with family.  We hadn’t seen the little ones (the Wookie and Peanut) since October.  We haven’t seen our granddaughters since last May.  Alas, we did not get to see the girls on this trip.  We weren’t there long and the girls — maybe it’s more proper to call them young women now — are involved in some activities (dance and soccer) that are very important to them so we didn’t even try to arrange it this time out.

The trip out and back was relatively uneventful.  It was not exactly a spontaneous trip, but at the same time, it was.  Weather in February is a big factor when traveling through the mountains of western Pennsylvania.  Then there are the Covid numbers to be factored in.  It eventually all came together and although we ended up leaving a day earlier than originally planned, there was some organization or planning involved.

As ice. (Wintry mix in NE Ohio in late February.)

It was lovely to spend time with the boys again.  They are growing up quickly, both of them in school now.  It was lovely to have time with their parents, too.  We’re hoping to go back in a few weeks and see everyone at that time.  Again, it depends mostly on the Covid numbers and weather.  Even in April there’s a good chance of snow and/or ice in the mountains.

We had another Happy Merry Everything party although it was smaller than the first time we did it (last spring, I think).  It was mostly a Merry Christmas kind of thing where we exchanged gifts and spent the morning playing with the gifts.

Out for a walk on a winter day.

As you might recall, every year on the Winter Solstice I pick a word or theme for the year.  I usually don’t go with a big word.  If a big word comes up (courage, for example), I try to break it down into something smaller, more manageable.  Otherwise, it’s a bit like making a big New Year’s resolution such as “I will lose weight this year” without the smaller steps of how I’m going to do that.  It’s too big, too vague.

Just before sunrise after a night of ice.

My word for this year is Love and I thought I’d do a little check-in with how it’s going.  Love is, of course, a big word.  Bigger than I imagined it to be, even though I had already imagined it to be quite large.  One of the the possibilities, suggested by my yoga teacher, was a love project, something I could pour my love into.  As it turns out, life is a love project.  I can break it down into smaller pieces — and I have, with some small projects — but it is all part of the Whole.

The blue hour.

When I decided on this word — or the word decided on me — I was thinking in terms of giving or offering love.  Perhaps meditating on love.  It didn’t occur to me that part of it would be learning to accept love.  In talking with female friends, I’ve come to realize that this is something many of us have trouble with, perhaps because it means allowing ourselves to be open and vulnerable.  It’s a surrender or yielding, of sorts.  Judging by the number of self-care articles circulating in the world, I think it might be true for many women that it’s easier for us to give than it is for us to receive.  Perhaps that is a truth for many men, too, but I didn’t survey men and the articles always seem geared towards women.

It’s so interesting to see where a simple word might lead.  Although I’ve only been with the word for almost one season, it’s already taken many different paths.  I think it might be more like a tree, branching out and branching out and branching out.

The gate was frozen shut that morning.

I know I don’t have to explain why I haven’t been posting, but I’d like to give it a try.  I’m not sure I can put it all into words.  I’ve been doing a lot of writing practice and writing for what I call “my own damn book.”  Some of the writing has been deeply personal.  Writing vulnerably has made it more difficult to write about surface level things.  Add to that world events — the pandemic, Ukraine, all the things including the stupid, stupid “freedom convoy” parked in Maryland this week (they don’t even know what they want other than attention and they’re whining because what’s going on in Ukraine has taken the attention away from them; someone ought to send them to Ukraine and let them fight for freedom there) — and it becomes even more difficult to blah-blah-blah about walks and travels or drawing and painting or whatever I happen to be up to.

Stopping the drip.

On the other hand, as I think about aging and what that means to me, I find myself wondering if growing older can be a more liberating and expansive time of life during which we feel more freedom to explore openly our vulnerabilities and what is important to us.  One of the meditations we’ve been working with in yoga class involves asking the question, “What is my role/direction in this season of my life?”  Lately I’ve felt that if all I have is this one life, then I want to spend it by being in what is mine to be in.  In other words, by living my life as fully as I can.  Honing down to what is important and what is worth my while.  I can’t solve the world’s problems or stop the world’s wars.  I’m not even sure anymore that my small and outward contributions towards the world or social justice or environmental issues make a difference (I will do them anyhow because it’s possible they might and they do).  Change is not going to happen without a bigger tipping point and it’s obvious we are not there yet.  Maybe we never will be.  Have we humans ever lived in a time when there wasn’t greed, violence, and a war machine driving things?  If we have, it’s not in the history records (which might only mean — most likely means — that those who wrote the history records ignored those who might have found a better way to live with their fellow humans).

I should note, too, that I am not discounting how important walks and travels and drawing and painting can be in terms of providing a distraction or a feeling/state of calmness.  If my photos or words do that, then they serve my intention when I do write here at Ye Olde Blogge.  We need beauty and nature in our lives, perhaps more than we know.

The ice monster tree.

There is no more liberating feeling, or better way of deciding one’s priorities in life, than to acknowledge one’s objective insignificance within the immensity of the universe. Change is the nature of nature. Things come and go: species, ideologies, regimes, geographies, planets, and galaxies. Do what you can with what you can but never lose track of the gifts available to you within the blink of conscious existence you get. You cannot save a life; you cannot save a country; you cannot save a place; and you cannot save a planet. You can make life better, more satisfying, and more meaningful for yourself and others. Take a deep breath; appreciate what you have; help those you can; and trust that on the scale of nature, things unfold as they should.

~ Guy Tal

When winter paints the landscape.

Thank you so much for visiting with me today.  Most of the photos are from our trip west.  I hope all is well with you and that you’re staying safe and well, and finding ways to dwell in beauty and love.  I’d invite you to the Point for the sunset this evening (scheduled for 6:06 PM), but it’s cloudy, chilly, and we have a gale warning in effect.  It’s probably not worth the trip unless you just want to take a short stroll on the beach.  If that’s the case, bundle up.  It’s even colder by the water.

Silencing the bell.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,976)  Spending time with family, and spending time with them again, in a way, as I sort through the photos from our trip.  1,977)  The beauty of ice and snow and winter.  1,978)  Much needed rain.  We’ve been in a drought again and it was good to have a long and soaking rain yesterday.  1,979)  The branching out of words and ideas.  1,980)  Fresh greens from the farmers market.  It’s another sign of spring, seeing locally grown baby greens for sale at the market.

Sunlight, snow, and ice.

Author:

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.

22 thoughts on “Spring travels and love

  1. So much here. Of your photos, all of which were beautiful, I thought the “as Ice” was my favorite, but I really love the boys, and the fence and the bell. So, as usual I love your photos…all of them…and they make me smile.

    Of your feelings that life is out of control, I believe you are right. It’s all crazy, and layers upon layers of crazy. Ukraine is the worst. I can’t watch too much of it because I feel so helpless and it makes me sick to my stomach. On the other hand it’s hard to watch other news because so much of it seems trivial next to Ukraine.

    So I paint. And I play music. And I write about stuff that is not so important. Just to try to make a bit of the world seem normal. Though I know, all the time, that it’s not. Yet I don’t feel I have anything to say publicly about this particular crazy. There are people much more qualified than me to do that. So I go take pictures and paint and play more music.

    I worry about how this will all end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dawn. 🙂 Same here, about doing the things that make a bit of the world seem normal and worrying about how it will end. Since whatever happens is not under my control, I’m doing what you’re doing — the things I enjoy. I take walks, lots of pictures, paint/draw, and study yoga. In between, there are the chores. Enough to keep me busy and away from too much news.

      Like

  2. While I am sad that we didn’t get to see you this time around, I’m so happy you got to see the wookies! They need your and M’s influence in their lives and so glad you could accommodate them. My U of D buds are having a 70th birthday party for us all in Delaware sometime in May. We are not sure we can make it, but if we do, we will venture further to the land of Mary and eastern shore and see how warm it really is in May.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope we get to see you two, Chris! I’m sorry we didn’t even tell you we were coming but it really was a short trip. Might be there a bit longer in April. I’ll text you with the dates as soon as we’re sure about them. 🙂

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      1. No worries if we can’t meet and sadly, they didn’t get enough people for the U of D party for now, so we’ll see what else happens. I’ll send another note soon on private email.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Such beautiful photos, Robin. I can’t choose a favorite, but the “deer face” on the bell made me smile. I’m glad you had a good trip and got to see the boys.

    I understand you mean about the writing, etc. And at the same time, yes, we do need beauty in words and image and love. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As always, beautiful photos. I know just what you mean about writing about everyday life. Somehow it seems so trite in the face of what’s going on in Ukraine. Yet everyday life is what we live, and perhaps to write about it is a way of honoring it. And I’m with Merrildsmith when she writes “we do need beauty in words and image and love. . .”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laurie. 🙂 So true. Everyday life is indeed what we live. I like, too, what you said about honoring it. It’s pretty much all we’ve got and we should do something to appreciate it in some way.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Guy Tal has it right. You have to “acknowledge one’s objective insignificance within the immensity of the universe” if you want to figure out your priorities. Your photos are lovely, as are your words. Thanks for sharing them here. I enjoyed them which is my WOTY!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Robin, your ice photos are stunning! The lighting and composition are amazing, and I can almost feel the cold. The photo of the two boys is equally wonderful, and I hope they’ll always be that close. This world seems to be spinning out of control, and I imagine it’s that feeling of powerlessness that causes us so much frustration. Standing by and watching helplessly isn’t something most of us feel good about. We try to stay busy in our own ways, but it’s going to take a Higher Power than any of us to set things right.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you got to spend time with the boys. I suppose it’s understandable that the girls were busy with their growing-up world but that must feel a bit sad anyway. Your ice photos are so beautiful, Robin. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh Thank you! Yes!
    Additionally, drawn to take images of the energy around an image, what I see, and what I remember, can potentially be flat for others, who cannot see it, nor feel it, used to bother me, and no longer does. I can say, for me, over time, that people do tend to be drawn toward those which provided me with the most energetic OOMPH!

    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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