Let’s Take a Moment…For the Earth

trees lining the road
The leaves are starting to change

Last weekend, it was International Day of Peace, the Equinox and even the moon was full – the Harvest Moon.

As summer winds down – something I’m always a little sad about – I am reminded of the cycles of nature.

Where I live, there are four distinct seasons. And yes, I’ll admit, I tolerate winter so that I can relish in the other three.

But last weekend sort of set the tone for the week. It got me thinking about cycles, about the planet, about the idea of peace in our lives, about abundance.

I thought about how I’m truly thankful for having lived another year and for seizing some opportunities that, I hope, will propel me forward and get things done that I really want to get done.

In thinking about cycles, I think about Mother Earth and her willingness to give us all food, air, water, wind, fire, shelter, and beauty.

How often do we forget or not think about those things?

The ancient rhythms that are indelibly part of our DNA call us to reflect and take a moment.

I wanted to share a poem that grew out of these thoughts this week.

Mother Earth

Mother Earth, keep me grounded in your terra so soft.

Father Sky, allow me to soar with wings aloft.

Brother Wind, embrace me in the sound of your breeze,

Sister Fire, whose warmth and light caress me from mountains to seas,

Understand my profound respect and gratitude.

There are those who see your gifts as undervalued

But by example and in united spirit

We’ll bring peace, heal the planet and find a way to edit

The wrongdoings we’ve done to each other 

And embrace each other as sister and brother.

We’ll find a way to make peace

So that we make progress and move forward without cease.

 

I felt compelled to go around my yard – again – and snap some photos that really remind me of all of these things and more. I am reminded of the fall season and the planet making another trip around the sun, as she has done for billions of years.

wild asters
Among the wild asters was a wolf spider….

It’s interesting how in the fall, you see more spiders and such. I was walking around my yard and garden and saw this HUGE wolf spider living among the wild asters. I don’t cut down the wild weeds – I work with them. And…you get to see interesting things from time to time.

(And don’t, for one second, think I would be okay with this little guy getting ANYWHERE near me. I respect them, yes. I won’t kill them. But, I cannot be held responsible for my actions if members of the arachnid family or insects, in general, crawl on me.)

acorn squash
Acorn squash from the garden

I didn’t have a whole lot of time for a big vegetable garden this year. However, we have a HUGE compost pile…and defiantly, these acorn squash plants insisted on growing there. We didn’t have the heart to kill them, so we let them grow to see how big they’d get.

Apparently, they turned into mutant plants. I don’t think we’ve EVER had such a successful harvest of acorn squash that we didn’t plant. 

In fact, we have no idea – other than last year’s variety of squash – what sorts of genes are in these squash fruits. So we’re calling them “Calhoun Variety.”

Wouldn’t you know, I halved one, took out the seeds and stuffed them with violet syrup, trail mix (dried cranberries, raisins, dried apricots, papaya, cashews and dried banana) with a pat of butter and baked them. I was in heaven.

I also took the seeds, dried them for 24 hours and baked them in the oven the next day. They say to add oil, but the seeds weren’t very dry, so I didn’t. I just added a bit of garlic salt and cracked peppercorns. Somebody should sell those things! 😉

squash seed
Acorn squash seeds fresh from the acorn squash!

These days, when we walk around the yard, we’re dodging walnuts. Yes, our black walnut tree sits right outside the front door and it’s ripe with fruits. They fall a LOOONNNGGGG way. Woe is to the person who’s standing underneath the tree when they’re falling. But, the nuts have a distinct, yet amazing taste. I, for one, love them. Though cracking the shells? It takes about an hour to crack five of them. The shells are hard as marbles and it’s easy to break tools while opening them.

It certainly requires a certain measure of patience. No wonder they’re like $9.00/lb. at the store.

black walnut tree
Our black walnut tree. See all the nuts that are all going to fall in the next week to two weeks?
Advertisements

Equinox – Ten Things of Thankful

I went out around my yard/forest the other day and snapped some photos.

Some were of flowering weeds, others were of water droplets that just looked brilliant. The day was rainy, but somehow it felt like the last day of summer.

Perhaps it was the chill in the air, perhaps it was the proximity to the Equinox, or to Peace Day or to the Harvest Moon.

Either way, I was feeling grateful.

To be sure, I make it a point to spend a few minutes each day reflecting on everything for which I am grateful.

But, this photo journey captures everything for which I was smiling that afternoon: the waning flowers of the summer, my dog and cats who love to take walks with me, the fact that my camera and I are good friends and allows me to snap images that satisfy my creative needs, for quiet times, for the rain, for the harvest, for lots of things.

There are ten images. Each one is unique but features something that I am thankful for.

purple weed flowers
Wild purple asters

 

wild purple flower
A flower in the allium family?

 

flowering tree and berries
Dogwood berries

 

black and white azalea leaves
Azalea leaves with water droplets

 

wild yellow flower
A kind of marshmallow flower?

 

pink rose
Pink Knock Out Rose with water droplets

 

 

yellow flower
Black-eyed Susan with a spider friend

 

silverleaf
Jewelweed, otherwise known as silverleaf. Can’t you imagine why?

 

black puppy dog
Vinny…with water droplets on his nose from sitting under the tree. He’s looking up at a squirrel.

 

ralphie the cat
My gray tabby Ralphie sitting in our wet boat…pretending he’s going on a ride.t,

This is part of the Ten Things of Thankful Blog hop.

Ten Things of Thankful

 

25 Things I’ve Learned

I’m a lifelong learner. I don’t claim to be that wise; I think I’d need about 997  years on the planet to become a true sage.

But, I’ve definitely done some living. I have experienced moments of utter bliss, events of tremendous loss, true love, profound emptiness. Indeed, haven’t we all?

In the past year, I’ve done a lot of writing and reflecting. I thought it might be good to make a list:

Some of those things I’ve learned –

 

  1. Life is short and you never know when it’s your time. Don’t put things off that you want to do. Write a book when the kids are grown? Do it now: little by little. Jump out of an airplane? Mark a date on your calendar and just do it.
  2. People will always gossip, and those who gossip to you surely gossip of you. It’s really none of your business what they say: go right on doing your thing because people will talk regardless.

    take time to relax
    Photo and caption by C. Calhoun
  3. Take time for silence. Meditate. It will give you clarity.
  4. Your possessions can and will possess you. Especially in our materialistic society. Learn to let them go.
  5. Learn to be happy with what you have. There are people with far less.
  6. Face your fears. When you do, you’ll be stronger and you’ll be able to live a fuller life.
  7. Everyone lives in their own reality. There’s nothing you can do about that. So make your own reality the best you possibly can.
  8. If you don’t have enough money to survive, make some changes. Get a side job, mow some lawns, whatever. Reduce your overhead expenses, get a smaller house. It’s not worth it to be stressed out over not making ends meet.
  9. Watch less TV. No one ever said they wished they watched more television. You’ll have a lot more time and you’ll feel better about yourself instead of being bombarded with shows and commercials to buy stuff you don’t need.
  10. Treat the planet with care. In turn,she’ll take care of, you, too.
  11. Be kind to others. It’s cliche, I know. But the things you do reflect back on yourself. If you are unkind, so, too, will you feel the effects of your unkindness.
  12. Remember that we all have our own journey and struggles. Just because someone “has it all together” doesn’t mean that they really “have it all together.”
  13. Take time to do things you love. You’ll love yourself more for it. It’ll also be a great reprieve from life’s daily routines.
  14. Once a year, go somewhere you haven’t gone before. It’ll give you great perspective and insights about yourself.
  15. Do your best in whatever you do. Your best will look different when you’re tired or when you’re well-rested. But if we ask ourselves to just do the best we can, then we don’t have to feel guilty that we didn’t try harder.
  16. Get outside for a little while each day. Listen to the birds, the wind, even passing cars. Just take a few moments to listen and get some fresh air.
  17. Have a conversation with a loved one with NO interruptions. Turn off the TV, the radio, cell phones – all distractions. Each person gets to talk for ten minutes without interruption and then the other person can speak.
  18. Related to the one above: be a good listener. Stop what you’re doing, put everything down, and be present.
  19. If you’re worried, it’s because you’re thinking about the future too much. If you’re depressed, you’re thinking about the past too much. If you are at peace, you’re living in the present – in the moment.

    Worry
    Photo and caption by C. Calhoun
  20. All the money in the world won’t buy an ounce of happiness. You have to be happy with yourself and your life before you can be happy with money. (Though having enough to live on is important – see above.)
  21. Never stop learning. Learn about other people, cultures, customs, religions, perspectives. It’s not a threat to your well-being; it’s a way to learn about yourself.
  22. Reach out to other people. Even if it’s out of your comfort zone. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time. Give a flower to an acquaintance. It feels good. You’ll make someone else happy, too.
  23. Don’t forget to give. Maybe you can’t always give monetarily, but maybe you can give something you made, your time, your love, or even your thoughts. Take time to think of others.
  24. You know your own truth. It lies deep inside you. You already have the answers you need, if you just know how to look within and listen.
  25. Find balance in your life. You already know what’s out of balance. Brainstorm on ways to fix it.