Unexpected Treasure

Summer arrives on its own schedule, painting the landscape a luscious green. The heat of the day keeps us tucked in a cool house, but not without restlessness. Ric offers a late afternoon drive and parks near a trail so I can wander in.

Tall oaks, beech trees, and maples create a canopy of shade. I stop to let my eyes readjust to the sudden change in light. A small creature whirs past, and I recognize the black stripes of a chipmunk.

Darn, I think. Missed it.

But the chipmunk, like me, is only seeking a cooler patch. Perched on a fallen log just beside the path, the small animal stops to enjoy a snack.

These tiny creatures never fail to delight me. An unexpected treasure making my day.

Decisive Action

Life presents challenges and I stumble to keep up. Chronic illness continues to form the backdrop of my life, so it becomes the baseline for any actions I take. Ric and I made a commitment to our health and our community this year, and that means that I have been more physically active than usual. Since my envelope – capacity for energy – has not increased, I am called to make decisions.

Taking a break over Christmas was part of that process. Still, the emails continue to pile up and the number of unread posts becomes insurmountable. I am seeking a solution that simplifies my life once again. Here is what I’ve decided:

  • Posting less. For now, I am trying to post only once per day, alternating blogs (I have two). Longterm, I would like to achieve a device-free day.
  • Selective reading. Some of you wow me with your prolific creativity, and I try to follow and encourage, but it has become too much. In order to spread my attention across the blogging community, I will limit myself to one or two posts from a single source.
  • Scheduling posts in advance. I love the prompts, as witnessed by my weekly challenge. Keeping up with them all, however, just adds to my current stress. I will participate when possible, but preference will be given to pre-scheduling posts. It’s like buying a bit of security.

This forum for connecting means so much and I want to continue to grow my relationships. Would love to hear how you juggle it all.

Thanks to all who participated this week. I missed your unique insights. Nice to be back.

Eugi’s Causerie
I Write Her
Reena Saxena
Stuff and what if…
one letter UP
Zebra’s Child
bushboys world

See you tomorrow for a new challenge!

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #51: Green

“It’s not easy being green,” Kermit the Frog sings.

I suppose not if you are green with envy.

“I have to smoke,” my father would say. “I’m too green to burn.”

I am in love with the multi shades of green that mark our Spring season here in Ontario, so I have decided to make green our focus this week.

Whether you want to apply it literally or figuratively, be creative.

Look forward to your responses.

To participate, just publish a post on your own blog and link back here or drop a link in the comments.

Paradise Pond Take II

Warmer weather encourages us to get out. We take the short ferry ride across to Port Aransas on Mustang Island. Paradise Pond is our destination.

Many others have had the same idea and gather around the opening to the boardwalk. I look for what has caught their attention and spot a bird rapidly flitting about some fallen logs.

“Acts like a nuthatch,” Ric says, but I know what this is. I saw one last year, but was unable to get its photo. A Black and White Warbler!

Isn’t his pattern outstanding! If you look closer, there is a smorgasbord of small flies that he is feasting on.

I break from the crowd and spot several groupings of turtles, amongst them many small ones. A sure sign of spring.

Two ibises float in and land within the thick tangle of fallen branches. The closest one to me is sporting his breeding colours. It’s exciting to be here at this time of year.

I also spot Blue-Winged Teals, a Pied-Billed Grebe, the local Yellow-Rumped Warbler and many grackles. Then Ric flags me over. People have gathered around him and he points to a low branch near the slimy water.

A bright yellow-orange bird lights up the area.

“What is it?” I ask raising my lens.

“A Prothonotary Warbler,” someone responds.

Definitely a first for me!

Before we leave the Whistling Ducks show up, and the Great Egret makes a show of grooming himself, flaunting his breeding allure.

What a great outing, and this is only the first stop!

If I Knew; I’d Change It

I’m struggling with myself. It isn’t the first time, and I’m certain it won’t be the last.

There is no definable reason, and yet my emotional self tries to find blame: it’s Ric’s behaviour; it’s because I’m homesick; it’s my illness.

Rationally, I recognize that my life is full of blessings right now, and this is how depression works. It is a back and forth tug-of-rope between the logical and illogical.

I try to counter every negative thought with a positive one. When my dark self complains that I am trapped and have lost my independence, the lighter side reminds me that I have choices. When the shadows plant seeds of resentment; I fight them with affirmations of gratitude.

Today, I just wanted to stay in bed – let sleep numb the angst, but then Ric suggested a drive and I pulled myself out of it.

When I’m feeling this way, it’s one moment at a time. I distract, remind myself to keep breathing, try to eat healthy.

I feel like I’m biding my time – just waiting for this funk to lift.

Why does this happen? I read once that are hundreds of reasons for depression. Almost all of them applied at the time. Can’t remember any of them right now. Does it even matter?

This too shall pass, I am sure. For now, it’s just one of those unanswerable aspects of life.

(My weekly challenge is unanswerable. When I set the challenge, I had no idea where it would lead. I guess it’s inviting me look at my shadow.)

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #39: Unanswerable

“I always start with questions that I can’t answer.

Otherwise you get bored halfway through if you already know the answers. If you’re asking what seem to be unanswerable questions, then you have to keep showing up.”

– Barbara Kingsolver
From A Talk in the Woods, by Kevin Larimer
Featured in Poets & Writers, November/ December 2018

From the moment I came across this quotation, I knew I wanted to use it in my weekly challenges, and yet, week after week, I have put it off. Not sure why, but today has been elected as the day.

Some questions in life are unanswerable. We may think we’ve found a solution, or come to some understanding, and then wham: life throws us a twist that proves us wrong, or demonstrates that our perception is limited.

I do not, at this point, have any idea how I am going to approach this challenge, other than to stay open, listen to the questions buzzing around my head, and let the muses guide me.

I look forward to your responses.

To participate is as easy as creating a post on your own blog (on the topic) and linking back to this page. Tag VJWC and be sure to read the posts of others.

What Is In a Name?

A touch of history, a personal insight, a vision – all of these form the basis for how we have chosen to name our blogs.

Reading the back stories has made this one of my favourite challenges. Each of us has put thought and care into finding names, an act that speaks of our dedication to blogging.

I have no clever poem, or words of wisdom to end this week with, other than to say read the treasures that have been posted here, if you haven’t already.

How blessed we are to have found one another.


Heart to heart

Pictures without film.

Stuff and what if…

Willow Poetry


Sweet aroma

Abandoned Amenities

Wind Rush

one letter UP


bushboys world

The Where’s George Project

Thank you all for sharing, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning with another challenge.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #38: What’s In a Name?

As I type up each week’s summary, creating links to various blogs, I am struck by how different blog names are, and compelled to ask: what’s in a name? Specifically, your blog name.

Mine, One Woman’s Quest, comes from a lifetime of searching for knowledge, understanding, and deeper connection. Left mostly to my own devices, I learned early to turn to a higher power and ask questions. I understood that God answers through signs, omens, and messengers, and that it was up to me to decode the response. I never once doubted a divine presence, and I felt compelled to find a path that aligned me with that greater will.

My quests have led me to higher education, and to study esoteric schools of thought. I have travelled many different paths, often non-traditional, and gathered a wealth of experience.

And still, I quest. A statement that no doubt will carry me to my grave.

So now you know.

What’s in your blog’s name?

(Note: even if there is no deep, hidden meaning, I challenge you to make one up – surprise us all.)

If you are new here, please join in. Just create a post in response to the challenge, and link it up to this one.

Look forward to your responses.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #12: Personification

I confess, I frequently personify objects, apologizing to walls that I bump into, asking my iPhone where it got to, and apologizing to the milk I left on the counter, as if they have the capability of feeling bumped, slighted or abandoned.

Personification is the practice of imbuing inanimate objects with humane characteristics.  It is a device often used by writers to illustrate meaning.   Consider these lines from William Wordsworth’s poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Or my favourite advertisement, employing this technique:
This week, I challenge you to consider the emotions, thoughts, or human characteristics of the inanimate.
The possibilities are limitless.
Photographers:  can you capture mood?  movement?  faces even?
Look forward to your responses.
To participate:
1.  Publish a post on your blog.
2.  Tag it with VJWC
3.  Create a link back to this post or drop the address of your post in the comments below.
4.  Come back and read other postings and start a dialogue.

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #7: Accomplishment

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

                                                            – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prior to illness, my days were a constant juggle of organizing, planning, teaching, marking, and trying to keep the household ticking along.  Up before dawn, I would start to work even before the kettle for my first tea boiled, and I wouldn’t stop till I could no longer keep my eyes open.

“You work twice as hard as me for a fifth of the reward,” my husband used to say.

I was driven to accomplish, and ten years into a teaching career (I started late in life),  that dream was coming to fruition: being invited to speak to other boards about the work I was involved in.

ME/CFS had other plans for me, though.  My body stopped working.  I went from 100 miles/hour to zero in a matter of days.  Productivity, and the possibility of accomplishment was off the table.  At least that is how it felt.

Four years later, I have regained some of the lost energy and strength, and my perspective has shifted.  Nowadays, accomplishment is that feeling of pride that comes with having done something productive:  with knowing that in some way, no matter how small, I have contributed.

Today, I wrote two blog posts, did a couple of loads of laundry, and completed a painting I had been working on.  Even though I was tired from a long outing yesterday, and I needed frequent rests, I was still able to do something creative and useful.

“It is a mistake to think that moving fast is the same as actually going somewhere.”
Steve Goodier

These week, let’s focus on accomplishment.  How do we define it, and how often do we stop to appreciate it?  Are we striving for worthy goals, or are we chasing our tails?

Write a post – poem, prose, or photography – that fits with the prompt, and either drop a link to it in the comments below or link back to this page.

I look forward to hearing from you.