Sparrow Lake

Serenity is time spent, lakeside. These images are from last summer. This year, unfortunately, health has intervened with any forays north. Still hoping.

For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Seascapes and/or lakeshores.

Oh, To Dream

Imagination floats, full sail
into a dreamy mist,
reality out of focus
delightful course

Beauty wraps my heart
in dream-filled ecstasy
paints my hope
with shades of love

As night falls, the sun
serenades my soul
a symphony of hues
coaxing dream-like slumber.

(For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: dreamy.)

Preening Season

Beauty of the feathered kind
brings me the upmost joy

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

The males don their brightest colours
while the females remain shyly coy.

Common Merganser

Nice to be a spectator, when Spring arrives,
the bright display of breeding birds – oh boy!

(For Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: Beauty)

Black and White: CFFC

Springtime, and daffodils –
in variations of yellow –
memories now, colours
faded to black and white.

Yet, beauty lingers – the soft
edges of a perched dove,
her mourning song still echoes
a lulling, welcoming coo.

And white retains brilliance
against a backdrop of darkness,
in stillness magnifies, beauty’s
exuberance refusing to lay dormant.

(For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Black and White. Also linking up to my weekly challenge: stillness. )

CFFC: Pastels

Softness of coral, paired with misty green
creates tranquility,  pleasing garden scene.

A sleeping dove captured by surprise,
reveals tender blue lidding the eyes.

snoozing dove

The sweetest of pastels, pink light at day’s end –
water and sky, pre-slumber, gracefully blend.

Pinksky

(Photos from private collection, submitted here for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: pastel colours.)

Cathedral Grove

Cathedraltrees.pngHighway 4 cuts across the interior of Vancouver Island, twisting through the mountains.  It’s been twenty years since I’ve passed this way and yet, when the endless rows of trees open to reveal the stillness of Cameron Lake, with mountains in her backdrop, my reaction is the same:  the sheer beauty brings tears to my eyes.

Of course, I did not have my camera ready, but we park at the entrance to Cathedral Grove and enter the enchanted rainforest, armed and ready to capture the glory.  Determined to get to the lake, I follow the trail to the left, only stopping briefly to ogle the trees whose presence lends their name to this place.

treefaceThe reverence of the grove has not altered, although there are now trails clearly marked, and fenced walkways to keep visitors on the path.  My memory, from so long ago, is of women, on a spiritual quest, wandering freely amongst the giants, finding quiet corners in which to meditate.

I slip off the path and stand at the water’s edge and contemplate another time, another woman, whose life would be forever changed upon return from this sacred place – a marriage of seventeen years about to end.

 

CameronLakeThis lake is still the same, although her edges are more cluttered than I’d recalled – fallen trees and weeds blocking the approach.   I forgive her this, recognizing that I too have changed, my edges marred by storms’ debris.  She, however; remains steadfastly at peace, her essence immutable.

Immersed in the green majesty, I understand now the magic of the grove: how fantastical imaginings seep from the crevices beneath mossy covered roots, and how a woman, with heart open, might have experienced magic here once. I wonder if I’ve lost that capacity: to be inspired by the unknown, the invisible, or if the need for the supernatural has passed me by.

growthfromdeathEverywhere I look there are symbols of death and rebirth – life finding roots in what has ceased to be.

Nature has so much to teach us, her lessons timeless and irreproachable.

Cathedral Grove continues to be a mystical place.

Dried Fruit

Days confined to bed have been brightened by the feathered visitors who appear at our bird feeders just outside my window. While I lack the artistry to capture their beauty, I have discovered “nature has no boss”, where I find exquisite photos of many of my beloved birds.

nature has no boss

dried_fruits_1

When the fresh fruit runs out it’s a good thing the pantry is stocked with dried.

An American Robin picking over a patch of dried berries on a December afternoon. Denver, CO.

View original post

Let Me Introduce…..

Every so often I come across a writer that consistently inspires, and yet, I notice that their followers numbers are not what might be expected.
I’ve decided to give these fellow bloggers a boost, so let me introduce you to Aenne of “Free Write”:

these days….

Free Write

There will be days
you stay clothed in sweatshirts and blankets;
when after sunrise
you’re unaware of noise from light in damp streets
and fog from midnight clouds,
clearing slowly by dark
branches and vintage golds
broadly pummeling those pale oak leave
who seemingly do not rise.

On these days
you’ll try hiding in apathy for the sun,
curling your knees in tighter
to a cold chest.

Release your joints.
I promise it is warm enough
to face the sun.

See, the ground is thawing.

View original post

On The Subject Of Beauty

From the time I was preteen, I was obsessed with drawing the same cartoon over and over;
the first illustration showed the shapely backside of a long-haired temptress, and the next frame revealed the fact that the things are not as they appear – a woman with a monstrously ugly face.  It was a self-portrait, and I remember that when I drew it, I was feeling the impossibility of ever finding love with a mug like mine.th-2

That was the 1960’s, when the first coloured TV set appeared in our household,  and apart from the odd magazine that floated through, there were limited visual standards for what beauty entailed.  In my case, I was comparing myself to my older sisters, whose dark-haired, fine-featured beauty was unmistakeable – they turned a lot of heads.

I knew that my overbite and receding chin disqualified me from physical beauty, and I remember distinctly believing that this gave me no hope.  Furthermore, I was academically inclined and a diehard tomboy.  “Who will ever love you?” floated off the tip of my mother’s tongue repeatedly.

Self-esteem, it seems, has always been a fragile thing.  I cannot imagine how difficult it is in today’s world where images of ‘beautiful’ women bombard us, and selfies populate the social media screen.  th-1

Raise your hand, ladies, if you have ever felt like you don’t measure up.  Well, that’s about everyone.  How tragic is this. (If this didn’t include you, please leave your secret in the comments.)

Things could have been different for me, if my mother had valued my intelligence, or spirit, or recognized any gift in me other than focusing so much on the physical.  But she didn’t.  In fact, beauty was the measure of a woman’s worth in our family, and my second eldest sister, who became a fashion model, set the bar.

What saved me, I believe, is that I also grew up in the time of Women’s Lib when women were encouraged to address and fight for equality.  It was a cause I could throw myself into – a battle for human rights.

What cause engages the hearts of young women today, I wonder.

What prompted this post was the appearance of a young woman on the reality show:  The Bachelor, and then subsequently on Bachelor In Paradise.  (Don’t yell at me, it’s a mindless indulgence that both my husband and I watch.)  Initially, the young woman is attractive, and appears to be a contender for the coveted male attention.  She receives a lot of flack for speaking up about another girl to the contestant, Ben, and then lying when confronted with her act.  (Raise your hand if you’ve never done that.  I thought so.)

When she appears again, this time in Mexico, she is unrecognizable as the wholesome, attractive blonde that we first met.   She has transformed herself – fuller lips, more pronounced makeup, a new bad girl attitude.  I understand that she is setting her sights on stardom, but it saddens me that this is the standard that some young woman aspire to.th

As an educator, I have participated in the widespread effort to raise children’s self-esteem.  We missed the mark by a long shot.  What we now recognize is that esteem derived from intrinsic values is more important than external praise.  We have turned our focus to developing character, and resilience.  The media still lags behind, and understandably so – they have an agenda to sell a product, and making the audience feel bad about themselves  fits their needs.

If I could go back and talk to that young artist whose deflated sense of self obsessively drew a mutated self portrait, or offer a kind word to the young, aspiring actress that appeared on reality TV, I would say:  “You are perfect the way you are, and your reason for being on this earth has nothing to do with your physical appearance, and everything to do with discovering who you are on the inside and what you can do to contribute to making the world a better place.”th-3

As I watch my granddaughters grow and develop, I pray that they will come to appreciate themselves for so much more than just looks.