ESCAPE

quote Escape wall blue sky

 

 To all writers, bloggers, artists and creative types:

Do you ever yearn to get away from it all? Do you have a yen for some nice quiet time to create, contemplate the universe or just be?  Do you crave simplicity; an out from the unnecessary complexities of the modern world?  Do you need more free time to explore the possibilities? Do you feel as if you are you living up to your full creative potential?

Do you feel the aching desire to just escape and never look back?

Real life sure gets in the way of being a sensitive artist…

And so here I am. It is around 7 am. I have gotten up early before work to write for an hour; just sit and let the universe dictate my hand so to speak. I quiet my mind and allow the flow to manifest. The words fill my brain and I just record them. It usually doesn’t take much and my mind and fingers are going at full speed. I am in my own little world; a very happy little world where I am content and then it happens…

…it is always something. The kind of something that go with life typical of a busy working mom living in an interesting neighborhood in one of the weirdest cities in America;  some minor “crisis, malady or goings on. I try to take this all in stride and most of the time I can keep the flow going.  I have amazing powers of concentration…haha.  It gets out of hand when Mario, my famous but pesky cat, decides to jump up and sit on the keyboard in an effort to get my attention, he does, then sneezes all over. (he’s a sneezer that one)

I gaze out the window…my imagination travels to far and distant places…ahhhh….a misty mountain forest, a beach, a villa, a tropical retreat perhaps. I am not picky on this.  A  nice atmosphere is just that; nice.  At this point I’d take a room at fairly decent hotel with excellent room service…haha, really…okay a budget hotel on the coast, a pot of strong coffee, a sandwich….and peace and quiet, maybe the roar of the sea and the gurgling of the ice machine outside the door….

Bora Bora Island, French Polynesia tropic beach

 Ohhhh how delightful…

I am an introvert although I play an extrovert on the screen and I am solitary by nature. I do like people, as a whole and individually, some more than others. I wouldn’t be able to live alone but sometimes I yearn for a little solitude.  Just gimme some peace…no distractions…just nature…

Being on the spectrum doesn’t help. I am sensitive to sounds. That above all else impairs me. Sounds seem amplified, some more than others. I have sensitive hearing and I can get distracted by noises. It is like my mind is in tune to a dozen or so radio stations at once. I can live in harmony with this. My mind is active.  I like to think. I like to create.   Real life is louder–much louder. It is difficult to explain but it becomes harder and harder to endure until it becomes too much and I get an overwhelming urge to bolt.

I have to get away. I yearn to flee but unfortunately real life doesn’t allow for that…

forest light enchanted green trees fantasy

I would love nothing more than to be holed up in a nice and comfortable cabin in the woods.

I would love to not count the seconds as I contemplate the mysteries of the universe or the colorful hues of a symphony. The cabin would be well supplied with piles of books, spiral notebooks and bars of dark chocolate. I would lock myself away for a month or a few and emerge from this cocoon anew or at least with something to show for it. I would eat healthy, honest and pure food, drink lots of good coffee, keep strange hours and write to my hearts content.

Every day I would walk in the woods and at night I would admire the blackness of the sky and the brightness of the stars. I would have the time to explore my other creative sides besides writing which there are many.

gif water flow

I would paint the trees and the stars and the essence of hope. I would lie in soft green moss and dream the dreams of the enlightened. I would run and swim in a serene lake and hike into the hills. The only sound I would hear would be nature’s music. The crickets at evening and the breeze through the leaves of the trees, the rush of the wild river and the songs of the birds in all their varied loveliness….

peaceful gif dock water lake

From all that yumminess I would emerge renewed and bursting with creative juices. Like a happy Jelly doughnut.

Alas my dream must be put on hold . The practicalities of my life do not allow for any of this getting away from it all and I must deal with real life for now….but  it is nice having a vivid imagination and this will suffice for the time being.  Perhaps I can achieve that Happy Jelly Doughnut effect with that alone. Time will tell…

  Not having all the answers  but being fine with that right now.

~NLM

dog donuts anticipation yum

Three Little Birds and One Fat Squirrel

 

 

The air is clear and slightly cold, just chill enough to notice.  A layer of glittery dew covers the grass. I stand on the back porch my eyes closed, face to the rising October sun. I feel a slight warmth on my eyelids and this makes me smile.

The birds are in riotous glory; I listen to their songs intently; trying to make out as many distinct songs as I can. I recognize the song of the chickadees accompanied by the expectant cluck of the chickens next door.   I hear the caws of the crows in the distance; calling to each other from neighboring trees. At once they all take flight, flying high into the deep blue sky circling the tall pines and calling out to each other.  I can feel their hurried energy as I do the squirrel’s. I think I hear one rustling in the large bush in the back, or at least what I presume is a squirrel. My imagination comes up with ” interesting scenarios” as to the identity of this “mysterious” creature when Jay, the Scrub Jay, bursts out of the very same bush and scares the zen-like serenity right out of me.  He lets out a distinctive SQUAWK, swoops down across the yard in perfect form and lands right on top of the roof.

 

scrub jay flying blue bird
SCRUB JAY in Flight–Credit: DianeVarner.com

 

A-ha! He then spots the peanuts “some kind human” has set out. I watch with delight as he goes from the roof down to the top of the fence. He  picks up a nut in his beak, tips his head back, the nut rolls into place and then he’s off with his prize…off to one of a half-a-dozen stash places located in the surrounding tree canopy. Every time he dives down he squawks and this sound reverberates all over.  I watch as he checks the ground for any missing nuts. He lets out one last flurry of distinctive calls then takes off somewhere beyond the neighbors Maple tree.

 

scrub jay blue bird nut

 

My listening has not ended as I try to make out as many sounds as I can; city intertwined with nature. The purr of lawn mower and the edgy beep beep of traffic noise and mixes with the sweet innocence of  birds. I hear the other neighbors goat, yes goat. A child’s laugh is drowned out by the roar of a  jet engine high in the sky, leaving a white trail behind it.

I am distracted once again, this time by a real squirrel. It has come to the fence and found the nuts gone. Again, taken by that dashing blue bandit. The squirrel scolds me; staring at me and barking. Its fluffy tail adding to the drama, twitching and and going in circular motions.   I laugh knowing it will soon be checking the bird feeder out front and gorging itself on mixed seeds.  All the while eyeing me out of the corner of its eye.

I can’t help but smile.

 

 

Jerome the squirrel, resident bird feeder raider and scolder.
Jerome the squirrel, resident bird feeder raider and scold.

 

 

 

Mario is obviously fascinated.
Mario is obviously fascinated.

This is a spectacular time of the year. The exquisiteness of the season deepens with every passing day. I feel intoxicated with the thrill of life as I live from moment to moment each changing from one to another like the seasons, deepening and becoming more and more beautiful.

Life is good!

 

 

♥  Nancy

 

The ground we walk on, the plants and creatures, the clouds above constantly dissolving into new formations – each gift of nature possessing its own radiant energy, bound together by cosmic harmony.

~Ruth Bernhard
bird gif hop

 

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BOB MARLEY THREE LITTLE BIRDS

 

All The Things You Are – Helen Forrest & Artie Shaw

I AM Catwoman

 

 

A while back in a previous post I touched briefly on my uncanny almost supernatural power over cats;  it is a part of me that I am just now officially sharing with the world. Since bringing it up in “I Speak for the Cats” I have been inundated with endless queries as to the specifics of this power. I don’t know why I’ve been reluctant about sharing the story about this “gift’ I have.  I am quite proud of it. I mean…

 

selfie2 funny cat face

 

…it IS about cats.

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Ever since I remember cats have had a thing about me and I have had a thing about them… And I’ve always had a cat, or should I say the cat had me. They’ve always been there and can I let you in on a little secret?

I’m their favorite human of all the humans–I hate to break it to you but yes, it’s me!

I know what you are thinking…

 

vintage gif woman cat
Cat Power GRRRRR!

How did I get this fantastic power and and where can you get it?

I know how you feel and I wish I knew. It seems I was born this way. Of course I am pleased by this; to be adored by such an adoring animal is one of the best feelings in the world!

It could be that I speak their language. It was difficult to learn. Did you know there are 34 different mews for the word “nap”?

I do understand them and I really like them. I am an obedient human in many ways; I keep the Friskies coming with a few treats on the side. I can give a good chin rub but beyond all that I am not anything special. Honestly, I don’t know why cats like me so much. I wish I could take credit for it but really, it is just dumb luck.

Ebony the cat and Butterfly Bush by N.L McKinley
Ebony the cat and Butterfly Bush by N.L McKinley

 

My yard, of course is the hip hangout for all the popular and “with it” cats of the neighborhood.  They like to nap in the back bushes or follow me around while I work in the garden.  It was strange at first but I enjoy the company. And my cat Mario seems okay with it all..in fact he seems quite proud.

What are you trying to tell me Spotsy?
What are you trying to tell me Spotsy?

But there is something else… I have heard the talk of late; the whispered purrs and silent meows….their ringleader…the one they call Spotsy,  often looks in my window.  I get the feeling he wants something….it’s the same look I get from MM around dinnertime but even more so…

I do want to mention despite how strange and wonderful this whole thing sounds it is not all fun and laughs and signing autographs. Some of these cats can get quite insistent and a way only cats can.  I sometimes find them inside my house, having snuck in the backdoor.  They wander around and then leave. We have gotten used to this including my son who has woken up a few times with a strange cat in his room just staring at him.

 

vintage odd cat woman funny

I often take walks through my neighborhood.  I like to walk. I like it so much that I take walks in other neighborhoods too. No matter where I am cats will come out of nowhere running to me and in most cases mewing up a storm. Some roll onto their backs, others purr…all want to be petted and I am careful not to encourage them too much lest they follow me home.

I used to think this sort of thing happened to everyone but over the years I have seen some surprised reactions.  I was once accused of  “hiding tuna in my pocket to excite cats just to freak everyone out”. 

Honestly, if I were to hide any sort of foodstuff in my pocket it would be chocolate. Anyone who knows me knows that.

And anyone with a cat who knows me  knows that their cat likes me better. This happens time and time again whenever I go over to someone’s house and meet their cat. It’s  just like that and it is embarrassing for all.  Cats can be overwhelmingly affectionate especially the ones whose owners have deemed unfriendly. It’s these sorts of cats that are the most love-starved. Whatever the case, it is known immediately that the cat prefers me and that is made clear in no uncertain terms.

cat mouse funny cute pair

 

 

I once was presented with a live mouse at a dinner party of a co-worker whose cat thought it a loving tribute.

I did too….and it was delicious.  The dinner I mean. The mouse? I don’t know what the mouse thought, the cat took off with it out the back door after it’s mistress screamed at the poor thing.

Well…I confess I made up the part about the mouse but the rest of it is true.   Ask MM. He has witnessed my power over cats many times. Whenever it happens he shakes his head and doesn’t say a word.  It’s a good thing he puts up with me and all my eccentricities.

Me and my endless ideas that don’t make a dime;  I am thinking of starting a group. A performing  acrobatic troupe comprised of…you guessed it, cats.

 

cat jump gif

We would train very hard, the cats and I. Then months from now…you will be watching a well-known cable variety program and you’ll see us and you will say “Wow!  How did she get this wonderful troupe of performing cats and where can I get one?

 

I  know what you are really thinking… This poor fool is primed to become one of those cat ladies who live with like 50 cats…the ones that you see on the news from time to time….

I want to assure you while I am Cat Woman I am not a cat lady. The cats of course will live in their own homes and I will pay them for their performances.  Whatever the going rate is for cats.  I may be nuts but I am not crazy…

And so I hope this answers some of the questions about my power of cats. Yes, it is a great responsibility but the rewards are well worth it….

I am Catwoman!
I am Catwoman!

 

Have a purrfectly wonderful day!

Nancy 

 

kitten gif cute 33

 

 

 

 

I Speak for the Cats (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

YouTube

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PURRKOUR     

 (Didga is an amazing cat!  

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China Cat Sunflower by The Grateful Dead

Al Stewart – Year of the Cat 

Life is Art

There is beauty in the mundane. It is real. It is alive and it is in your face, yet sometimes we miss it all together. It’s easy to overlook the small and the so called insignificant; those everyday things we see all the time. The big picture can be looking us right in the eye, obscuring our vision as to the seemingly unimportant details. And it is in those details; intrinsic little flourishes that sit undetected in the plain open. It is that we must endeavor to see which makes the best art. 

Optimistic Sunflower and Bee. Credit N.L McKinley
Optimistic Sunflower and Bee. Credit N.L McKinley

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This art that is life. It is all around us.

 

 

 

 

Free Spirit Sara By N.L Mckinley
Free Spirit Sara By N.L McKinley

 

 

Whatever we seek in our hearts our eyes will find. Generally the experiences we have in life live up to our expectations. Life is beautiful when we can see beauty in it. Each moment is a masterpiece unto itself. A wondrous snapshot framed by time passing from the all powerful now into into the fondness of  memory.

 

 

Sky Pictures by N.L McKinley
Sky Pictures by N.L McKinley

Art engages the senses. It interests, it entertains, it delights and at times makes us think. It teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. Art makes us feel.  Art is life and life is art. It is anywhere and everywhere one looks for it. I have seen it in a flower that dare sprout in a crack in the sidewalk  and in the way the shadows of the maple leaves dance across my bedroom wall.  Art is contained  in the laughter of a friend, the optimism of a child and the smile of a stranger.

Art  dwells in the caws of the crows on a Sunday morning in May. It is the way the light shines in through the front window and straight into my eyes in the morning and just how good a cup of black coffee smells and tastes.  It’s “Ventura Highway” blaring on my neighbors radio outside and  Mario the cat sitting in the windowsill taking it all in stride.

There he is!  Mario my famous cat in all his glory.
There he is! Mario my famous cat in all his glory.

 

 

Art is the perfect toasted cheese sandwich, a cold glass of milk with a shiny red apple. Art is saying “I Love You” for the one millionth time and meaning it all the more.

It is out there just waiting to be appreciated…to be felt…to be acknowledged and embraced…to be lived.

 

Nancy

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free spirit woman colorful paint
Credit: Public Domain

 

 “Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.”

~Oscar Wilde

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 Artistic Sounds ala YouTube

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Norah Jones – If I were a painter

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Starry Starry Night-Don Mclean
My Colorful Imagination. in Colored pencil by N.L McKinley
My Colorful Imagination. in Colored pencil by N.L McKinley

 

 

 

Fresh Quotes: LOVE RUMI

His words were simple and earthy. Words that came straight to the point, jutting out at odd angles, all the while meandering along the sandy bank, flowing along with the gentle stream.  Words that  reflected a quiet beauty; a oneness with nature conveyed in tiny jagged pieces that formed an exquisite mosaic of thought and feeling.

He wrote of love in such a simple and honest way and his words have inspired countless romantics on their quest to find their other half.

The general theme of Rumi’s thought, like that of other mystic and Sufi poets of Persian literature, is essentially that of the concept of tawhid — union with his beloved (the primal root) from which/whom he has been cut off and become aloof — and his longing and desire to restore it.

All the quotes that follow are his…

light-beings-norman-free rumi

Daylight, full of small dancing particles. Can you see them when I whisper in your ear? 

red candle

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?” 

Tranquility field

 

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there

When the soul lies down in that grass

The world is too full to talk about

soulmate love

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”

Love-eye-to-eye

“The most alive moment comes when those who love each other meet each other’s eyes and in what flows between them.”

love sun 888

In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no-one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.”

 

w-sensual-Soft-kissing-Couples-Love-kisses-heartz_large

Lovers find secret places inside this violent world where they make transactions with beauty.

Reason says nonsense.

I have walked and measured the walls here, there are no places like that.

Love says, there are.

love snails art

“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love.”

Always-Have-A-Dream-In-Your-Heart

Here’s to green fields and sunshine, blue skies ,timeless poetry and infinite LOVE ♥

Happy February

May this romantic month bring you your heart’s desire.

Strawberryindigo

mawlana_rumi

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhī , also known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī  and more popularly in the English-speaking world simply as Rumi (September 30, 1207 – December 17 1273) was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic.  Rumi’s importance is considered to transcend national and ethnic borders. His poems have been widely translated into many of the world’s languages and transposed into various formats. In 2007, he was described as the “most popular poet in America.

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  RUMI ( wikipedia.org)

Related YOU TUBE

My heart – Rumi

I Knew I Loved You ~ Savage Garden

ADELE – ‘Make You Feel My Love’

Entangled Hearts Red White Blended Background

 

Listen

 

Silence is rich. It is dark and viscous and it flows on waves of nothingness.  Silence begs to be filled and filled it must be. It is lonely and demanding and chill to the touch but it tastes smooth like the breeze. Silence is an opulent black pearl and one of the rarest gems on Earth.

There is a simple profoundness that can be found in the absence of sound. The emptiness that silence provides often gives rise to thought–the deep kind. The sort that give birth to leaps of logic and flights of the imagination. Silence is the canvas on which beautiful art can be created. It sits and waits patiently.

Silence isn’t in a hurry. It doesn’t need to explain itself or impress anyone or anything. It just is. It is the essence of cool. 

I love silence. I crave it even. It is sorely needed in this noisy world that we have created. Life passes far too quickly for proper reflection but the quiet gives our minds time to relax and reflect.

Of course there is no true silence, even in nature far away from the influence of man, there is sound. And it is these sounds in the silence that I take time out to explore.

Being a city dweller, the sounds I pick up are a mix of city hum and the song of nature. I have learned to appreciate the sounds I hear for what they are. Which I would have to say mostly traffic and birds…well let’s just say I try to focus on the birds and not the traffic so much. 

hope light in leaves
Credit: SBI

I will often go into the backyard, especially on days when I can find the smallest sliver of sunshine. I will sit in the golden light and close my eyes and listen. Listen to each and every individual sound I can possibly hear.  

This is not only relaxing, it is mind expanding. It is as if I am floating…

Each day is different. Today it is the caws of crows. They fly from treetop to treetop calling to each other. I can hear one and then another and soon a chorus rings out. The sound comes from high in the sky in all directions.  The atmosphere is alive and quick and I can feel their energy in my spirit and the warmth of the still-warm late October sun on my happy face.

Someday I will escape the city if only for a day and I will go to a random field or an empty beach or a hilltop among a grove of trees and listen and take it all in, keeping it with me always.  

For today though, the caws of crows do quite nicely.

Strawberryindigo.

crow in gray sky how times flies
Credit: SBI
“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”
― Chaim Potok
UNIQUE PICTURE: Earth as seen from the outer S...
UNIQUE PICTURE: Earth as seen from the outer Solar System (Photo credit: Icarus Kuwait)

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Morning Birds-No explosion (YouTube)

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The Sound of Solitude  (theatlantic.com)

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The Sexy Gardener

 
 
 tulips gavota-560_86731o
 
 

It is a sunny afternoon in mid October. There is a slight breeze. I can hear the sound of birds and the occasional airplane overhead. I am engaging in one of my favorite activities; Gardening, It makes me happy, especially today–today I am doing one of my most favorite of favorite activities; digging…

 

…Oh how I love to dig…

dirt hand photo(2)

 

 It is primal, it is physical. It gets my blood pumping and pulse racing.  It is natural and it penetrates my soul…it is almost akin to having sex.  It is the mindless and mindful coexisting, together as one.  It hovers on a higher plane and rewards in obvious and not so obvious ways. It is almost spiritual and definitely enlightening. I can do it for hours and become quite invigorated. In that token digging is sexy and so are the people that do it.

Yes, I’m still talking about digging. 

Being a gardener, this thing for digging is a good thing. I am drawn to nature and to the very soil itself.  I suppose that is the way with us gardeners. The soil plays such a vital role in our lives and in life in general. For there wouldn’t be life as we know it, without it.

I love the feel of the fresh good earth–it feels so alive. It is soft and luxurious, fertile as the day is long, this stuff is almost akin to magic.

Gardening is sexy–don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. All that fresh air and exercise, not to mention all the “naturalness” can really get the heart pumping. 

Gardening is good for you.  It is a unique form of exercise that allow you to do something calming, creative and fun while working various muscle groups….gardening can keep you fit.

Women in general can burn up to 300 calories with an hour of moderately strenuous gardening activities like digging, cultivating or using a spade. Men typically burn around 400 calories per hour while doing the same activities.

Being in shape can enhance sexiness…

love-passion-kiss-shadow-photo-70160

OO-la-la…

And what about dirt?  Can dirt be sexy too?

There have been studies as of late indicating how exposure to the bacteria found in healthy soil, whether it be from the food grown in it or just by working the soil can raise serotonin levels which boosts your immune system and elevates your mood.  There has been numerous studies linking the act of just being out in nature to good health. These indicate a direct correlation between our health and happiness and the exposure to the soil itself. We all know that general happiness and satisfaction with oneself is the key to sexual attractiveness.

Come on, tell me dirt is not sexy.

dirt plant hands

 

I do feel more connected with the Earth out here and I am compelled to seek this connection. There is a force inside us that needs to express this somehow. There seems to be a theme behind all this random chaos. We are intertwined with all of creation in a symbiotic dance of existence on planet Earth. We are driven to spread forth and propagate. We share this drive with all other life.  This too, is sexy…

egg and sperm

 

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, 
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” 
― Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass

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Have a great day,

Strawberryindigo.

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Soil bacteria is good for your mood (environmentalgraffiti.com)

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Flowers use scent to advertise different rewards (bbc.co.uk/)

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The therapeutic benefits of gardening and getting your hands in the soil (jtoddring.com)

 

The Behemoth

pine tree morning

Have you ever had a behemoth in your life?  Did the elephant in the room ever come sit on you? Has there ever been a big thing that plopped down on you and grabbed you and now is sucking the light out of your life or in this case your yard…

I moved into this house 13 years ago. Back then it was quite a different place, besides of being denied of my whimsical vibes and general weirdness, the house and surrounding yard lacked the appropriate plant and animal life.  The backyard lies on a double lot. In the far west back are big bushes of the still unknown variety.  A very tall pine tree stood in the center like a behemoth.  This tree was too big for the yard and it’s influence was greatly felt.  The tree rendered 90 % of the yard dark and pine needly, what little grass that grew was patchy and only grew to shaggy and straggly near the outer parameters of the yard—the only place the sun was able to shine. This was where the tallest of the strongest weeds grew. They stood like sentinels seeming to be guarding the yard from interlopers.  This yard had been neglected for some time. There was nothing; no odd wildflower sprouting up, no old forgotten rosebush in the corner overgrown with weeds. Nothing to show that someone who loved flowers was once there. I have a fondness for old neglected gardens, finding the traces and leftovers of a plants that at one time were planted there by someone and cared for and enjoyed them. To me it sort of feels like walking back through time. And I try how to image how the place once looked. To me gardens have always felt like the person who once loved them.

It has always been a fantasy of mine to move into a place with a yard like that. Where I would have the joy of discovery of  finding and resurrecting once overlooked wonderfulness. an opportunity to nurse it back to former glory with equal parts love, devotion and hard work.

Well this yard had none of that; no hidden charm or gem. Just pine needles, grass and a few weeds and an overgrown hedge.

There was nothing to save and resurrect because there was nothing there.  The tree took in all the life-giving light for itself and didn’t share. Nothing was left.

I tried to make the best of it. I have always been a gardener at heart. I have this need to be surrounded by plants. I probably got this trait from my mother who lived and breathed plants too.  My childhood was filled with memories of the outdoors; of soft green grass, and miniature roses, big green trees with arching limbs, blue skies with big puffy clouds, a chorus of birds chirping and singing away happily. To me nature has also been magical and gardens a way for us mere mortals to create a bit of our own magic.

I much as I love trees I knew that if that if that behemoth didn’t leave we would never have a decent backyard, besides it was dropping needles like crazy, probably not a good sign. We knew what had to be done. We got three bids and went with the lowest one and the behemoth was gone 3 days later.

backyard stump
We decided to save the stump. We had it shaved off at about three feet. It reminds me of the one the Lorax stood on in the Dr. Seuss classic. There it remains today.

Once the behemoth was gone, the yard was instantly transformed.  It was if summer had finally come after a long cold lonely winter. My mind starting whirling with ideas on what to do next. I picked a corner, started digging and never looked back.

I wanted this place to become an extension of me– “my little kingdom” and I spent hours and hours working…sometimes 6 or 8 hours a stretch with no break out there digging in the mud, planting, raking, pruning, mowing. digging, lots of digging…

I really enjoyed the work which surprised me. I was never good at sports or anything physical but I enjoyed this gardener’s workout.  (it’s not as easy as it may look)

Over the years, a little this and some more that. I couldn’t afford a bunch of plants at once, so I would add little bits here and there; more and more each year. I saved many seeds and learned to propagate, adding more and more plants. As time went on the yard looked better and better. I started to feel good about this and started to feel good about myself.

I didn’t much feel good about myself back then so this was a really good thing. I lacked self-confidence and wasn’t too sure of myself. I was shy ( I still am) this simple act of working hard, achieving a wonderful result that others and yourself can enjoy is absolutely wonderful. It makes a person such as myself feel all warm and toasty inside. This gave me a dose of confidence and more importantly made me realize the other behemoth in my life. The one’s who mighty shadow I was standing in and to an extent still do

This huge dominating force is not a tree, but it has taken root in me–planted there a long time ago. This behemoth is called fear. Unlike a tree I can’t just hire someone to come cut it down. But living in its shadow has rendered me a late bloomer I am afraid to say.  I am also afraid to say it still stands but it is no longer a behemoth; just a big weed now. I will probably always struggle with fear to some extent. I highly doubt that I am the only one…but, I have cut it down to size and now my own personal garden in thriving in the light and is home to thousands of bright happy things.

Strawberryindigo.

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Did you ever have a behemoth in your life? What was it and how did you overcome it? 

lemon rose cu

“People where you live,” the little prince said,grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…

“They don’t find it,I answered.

And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”

“Of course, I answered.

And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryThe Little Prince

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Confessions of a Tree Hugger

Hey handsome, where have you been all my life?
Hey handsome, where have you been all my life?

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”

 ― Sylvia Plath

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It is mid afternoon. I am in a anticipatory mood. I have come to this place with one idea in mind. It doesn’t take long to get here and soon I am upon it. I wear a look of solid intent mixed with quiet determination on my face. It is obvious. I am obvious.  I spy the object of my affection just out of the corner of my eye; tall, rugged and deeply handsome. I cannot contain myself any longer. I walk right up and just like that I wrap my arms around tight.

“This is good stuff”, I murmur.  MM looks at me, at us, like I am out of my mind. I don’t care. Nothing can spoil this moment.  I feel the energy pulsating through my body. This feels so damn good!  “You should try this” I say to MM who shoots me one of those looks he gives from time to time that says:  There she goes again.

I've decided to hug all the trees I want and not care what others think.
I’ve decided to hug all the trees I want and not care what others think.

I continue with my hugging. The tall Redwood seems to hug me back. I think it likes it. I call out to MM. I find he has wandered down the trail leaving me and the tree behind.

I am fortunate to live so close to this place, to such a specimen as this. Yes, as you probably have surmised I am tree-hugger and in the middle of a tree hugging session. I have heard the term tree hugger for most of my life.  The image of aging hippies chaining themselves to old growth timber and militant activists may comes to mind when one hears that term.

It was several years ago when I first tried it. I was alone.  I was walking in a park and then just out of the blue I got a notion, why not literally hug a tree? I thought, and then I did. It was just a quick one, I didn’t want anyone to see me and afterward I admit I felt somewhat foolish.  That sort of thing was frowned upon back then. It was the 90’s and everyone was caught up in a sort of angry angst that did not translate well into nature-loving.

I was intrigued and as I got older and discovered that I didn’t care much what others thought. It was much more fun to go with my eccentricities than just to fight them, but I didn’t speak of this tree hugging hobby much. It was a personal thing. It was between me and the trees.

“I couldn't live where there were no trees--something vital in me would starve.”  ― L.M. Montgomery
“I couldn’t live where there were no trees–something vital in me would starve.”
― L.M. Montgomery

I hear every so often tree hugger used as a derogatory term; something someone should be ashamed of.  There is nothing wrong with loving nature, it is so, well…natural.  Trees are part of the natural landscape. All this concrete and glass we surround ourselves is not.

I will proclaim right here, right now that:

I am a tree hugger and damned proud of it!

I wholeheartedly recommend this activity and if you haven’t tried it, you should. Don’t care what others think or if you get strange looks–do it anyway. Set an example. The tree will like it and you will too. I guarantee it! The more people hugging trees, the more it will become socially acceptable. We could start a movement!

So hug a tree today and don’t be surprised if it hugs you back!

view-through-my-eyes-tree-near-work.jpg

Have a lovely day!

Strawberryindigo.


Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

― John Muir

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**Related Articles**

Save The Trees (https://strawberryindigo.wordpress.com) One of my most popular posts!

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Redwood Trees May Help Battle Climate Change, Study Finds (huffingtonpost.com)

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Pictures: 11 Sacred and Iconic Trees (nationalgeographic.com)

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Chipko movement (wikipedia.org)

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Portland tree huggers attempt world record (oregonlive.com) (Way to go Portland!)

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Feeling Stressed? Hug a Tree (cronesapprentice.com)

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Hugging Trees and Gathering Inspiration (livegrownourishcreate.wordpress.com)

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Revising “CHIPKO (TREE-HUGGER) MOVEMENT” (indiagetgreenblog.com)
Français : indienne
Français : indienne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the Wings of Autumn

autumn leaves
Credit: SBI

Golden light streams through the window dappling in forgotten but familiar patterns across the wooden table.  It is morning and I am lost in quiet reflection.  An exquisitely woven spiderweb glints in the goldenness,  its proprietor has grown big and fat over the summer. It waits patiently for breakfast to land while I enjoy a hot cup of strong coffee.

The gray squirrels run crazily all over the neighborhood;  Up and down two large and arching chestnut trees, swiftly bounding through the grass looking for the perfect spots to bury their booty.

autumn squirrel on walk
Credit: SBI

The deeply blue Stellar Jays swoop down, their wings extended. I hear them calling to each other which always seems so urgent to me. The Yoshino cherry tree in the front yard sports three yellow leaves among the green ones.  It seems just yesterday that it was covered in delicate white blossoms. Although the calendar tells me that it is still summer, mother nature is speaking in whispered tones that Autumn is on its way.

 Lovely SR on walk
Credit: SBI

Later after dinner my daughter and I stroll around the neighborhood. One more time on her “last day of freedom”, she calls it.  Tomorrow is her first day of school. She will be a sophomore. She tells this to the friendly neighbor 3 blocks down while we admire the woman’s velvety red flowers.

My daughter pronounces the word sophomore is such a correct tone, her soft lilting voice emphasizing the “o” sound in the middle. The reddish highlights in her long brown hair shining and flowing in the wind.  We walk along some more, stopping to admire the antics of the busy squirrels and petting a few cats.

A glossy black crow caws at us high atop a wooden telephone pole. It’s as if it has important news it wants to share.  We laugh and move on. Our shadows walking ahead of us.  She delights in the fact that she is now taller than me and we discuss our mutual pet peeve of the misuse of the word “your“.  I marvel how much we are alike and how different the world is from when I was her age.

crow in gray sky how times flies
Credit: SBI

Oh my how time flies. On swift glossy black wings it does, always forging ahead and never looking back, unlike we silly humans who hold to the past too tightly.  It is now dusk, our walk has finished and we have returned home. I silently say goodbye to summer. “Thanks for dropping by old friend, see you next year.” I mouth to myself and slowly close the front door.

Happy September!

Strawberryindigo.

“And that is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment at a time.” 

― Libba Bray

Wake me up when September ends By Green Day (YouTube)

Autumn’s Light (By SBI 9-23-11) (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

POTENTIAL

apple-with-leaf

The untried, the new and the different….

You may wake up in the morning with one mindset and by the time you get to bed that night you are entertaining a completely different one.   I wonder how often this happens in life. I’ve noticed in my scant 43 years that change can happen suddenly; just like that. Life is full of these out-of-the-blue blindsides that help shape what we will eventually become.

Every situation we encounter in life has potential. The existence of opportunity is dependent on having eyes that see it.

For most of my life I have played it safe…probably more out of fear than according to any strategy. I would react after the fact, comfortably, out of the fray, never really trying…taking the easy way…which is easy but extracts a hefty price. 

Many times unrecognized potential lies there neglected, waiting in some dark and  dusty corner…waiting for something…some event…some epiphany or an aha moment to bring this potential into the light to be noticed and brought to fruition.

because…

Time goes by and your orbit starts to decay, it’s easy not to notice this at first…it’s dreadfully slow. Akin to the seep of the air out of a balloon..all those lost possibilities…avenues never explored…opportunities left behind…potential never realized.

Everything and everyone has potential. We humans have major potential, we as individuals and we as a cohesive and fluid group.

Life is full of twists and turns, detours and bumps in the road. It is how we react to these conditions is what makes us drivers of our own destiny.

It is easy to fall into a rut…a pattern that is maybe not as productive or happy or creative or whatever…it could be said that ruts are full of potential. Perhaps we should not see them as lows but occasions for positive change..

We are always in a state of becoming…we are changing and growing.  Every day matters and so do you. You matter and you have potential.

This very day has it, this potential for greatness and the wonderful unknown. Today. This very minute. Seize it.

This day has been successfully seized by Strawberryindigo,

Wishing you a Happy Day….

day in the life cherry blossom and blue sky

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” 

―    Muhammad Ali

Related articles

I Speak for the Cats

beautiful-cat
Credit: Public Domain

What I am about to say may come as a surprise because it is quite amazing and hard to believe but true, so without much fanfare, I will just come out with it. I have an intense almost supernatural power over cats.  Yes, you heard it correctly; cats.

I know you are thinking; “Why didn’t she tell us before?” I know this is something to brag about but I am not one for self promotion.  I am a shy and reserved person in real life. I prefer to blend into the background but I do have my moments when I become quite feisty, and this is one of those moments.

I was having a deep philosophical discussion with Mario, my famous cat, as is our habit on rare idle afternoons.  He mentioned the bad press that he and his fellow felines have been getting lately; apparently a report has surfaced calling our friends the cats massive serial killers hellbent on killing every bird and mouse in their perspective neighborhoods. Mario was, of course, upset and justifiably so.  He asked me to say a few words on the behalf of the feline-kind due to my amazing ability to understand and speak cat.

I too am outraged. I have a natural affinity for cats and being quite cat-like myself, this is not only an insult on him, my beloved friend and business associate, it is an insult on me and I have taken it upon myself to speak for the cats…

Call me the cat whisperer if you will and I have something to say and this I will not whisper…I will shout it from yards, fence posts and the tops of trees: Cats are not killers!

Credit: Public Domain
Credit: Public Domain

As sophisticated and intelligent as they are, cats are animals with all the instincts for survival. They are carnivores and being as such, they like to chew on a bit of meat once in a while. For the most part our domesticated homebound pet cats are content with the food we humans provide, as you fellow cat owners I’m sure can attest to. My cats are not killers. Mario and Sunny prefer napping to killing. They are really just big babies and I will vouch for them on that…I repeat: they are no killers. Most of the culprits in these awful incidents involving birds and mice are feral cats. The poor homeless variety of cat that live on the margins of our society.  They did not ask to be there and I’m sure they would love to be provided a nice home with food and love, but these poor unfortunates have been dealt a hard hand by fate and humankind.  They have no choice but to hunt for their subsistence.

I don’t know the stats on this and I want to remain blissfully ignorant on the subject but I have to bring up the question: how many innocent animals are killed to provide subsidence to humankind?  I am a meat eater myself and I am not trying to guilt anyone into vegetarianism although I do have a great respect for our noble vegetarian and vegan friends. I am just pointing out a bit of what I think is pertinent here.

I have an intense intolerance for hypocrites. I am a very forgiving and understanding person.  I love sinners and I love reformed sinners even more but judgemental righteousness gets my dander up.

angry cat bigger
Credit: Public Domain

Sorry you had to see this side of me but I need to express my feelings on this. We as the dominant species on this planet have a duty to protect and care for those which cannot care for themselves, our beloved pets among them. So if you are considering getting a pet please do so with all the seriousness it merits. Make sure you have the room, time and resources to devote to a tiny life that will grow to love and depend on you. If you have not already done so, spay or neuter your animal. This is a crucial step in preventing any more unwanted ones, there are already too many. Another way to help is to donate to some fine organizations out there such as The Feral Cat Coalition  that is helping to protect our furry friends. And one more thing; as a favor for me, Mario, and all the other cats out there. If you hear anyone bad mouthing our feline friends; put in a good word…cats are wonderful animals and do not deserve the reputation they have.  I know they’d stick up for you.

Thanks for listening and have a purrfectly wonderful day!

Strawberryindigo. 

cropped-cat-eyes.jpg

 

Doing the Environmental Drag

I don't want to set the world on fire...I just want to put a flame in your heart...
Credit: Public Domain

Lately I have been doing a fair amount of research for a few articles with environmental themes. And there is something that bothers me about the whole thing. As I was wading through all this technical minutiae, it struck me on how depressing the whole thing is.  There are reams upon reams of information on the environment out there; books, websites and blogs from our fellow bloggers and what has struck me like a wicked slap in the face is all this doom and gloom that permeates it all.

I am someone who cares about our world an awful lot. I know there are many of us who do.  I am quite passionate about the state of our planet and how we treat it.  I seldom can watch the news anymore. It gets me all riled up. I find myself yelling at the screen.  Environmental disasters such as oil spills and the like can set me on high simmer. So probably like many others; I have tuned out, I have admittedly buried my head in the sand. A person can only take so much bad news before they shut down.

I recently did a piece on saving the trees. It was mostly hopeful and upbeat. I included some ways on how we all can help our friends the trees. I did a lot of research on the subject and I must admit; it made me depressed.

black dog howling
Credit: Public Domain

I like to put a hopeful spin on my writing and in my life in general but at times I have to fight bouts of depression. I suppose many of us creative types do. I have borrowed a page from Winston Churchill; calling it the black dog. This dog is never welcome but from time to time it sits on my front porch and howls a bit.  This clouds up my skies with gray and I try to distract myself, writing helps, working in the garden helps…helping others and trying to spread a little cheer around really helps.

Let me tell you, reading through endless reports on the state of our environment does not help. To be fair to my fellow writers out there. I know they work very hard, probably much harder than I. They are learned individuals where I am a self-taught layperson. From what I’ve been reading it is easy to see why your average person who probably cares a lot for the planet is turned off by all this stuff.

I think some writers like to show off their vocabulary and knowledge and perhaps like to play a bit on the sensationalism factor.  It is difficult at times to be a reader soaking this up.  There are gifted writers of non-fiction out there who makes learning a pleasure; conveying information seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly but those writers are not as common as I like them to be.

I find myself wading through this information just to get to the pertinent information. Like a bowl of oatmeal; it is good for me, but it’s bland. It just sits there like a tasteless lump and it difficult to digest.

I guess that is one of the reasons that I try to write like I do. I could use bigger words. I could try to impress you with my 20 plus years of acquired knowledge but how boring is that?   This brings me back to the environmental thing. I was reading some blogs by who I’m sure are very smart well-meaning people but…and I ‘m half joking when I say this….but it made me want to jump off the nearest bridge.

 positive-attitude happy face
Credit: Public Domain

If we are going to save this planet we should know what’s going on. I realize just how important and serious it all is and I am no Pollyanna, although at times I may seem like one. I am a former pessimist turned optimistic realist, emphasis on the optimism.

I talked to MM about my troubles.  He is practical where I am not and he usually gives very sound advice.  He said: “You do it.”  “Do what’? I asked. “You should concentrate your writings on the environment, put a positive spin on it, but be real and get people to listen.” He replied calmly like it was the most simple thing in the world.

Wind turbines
Credit: public domain
newfreedompark-garden
Credit: Public Domain

I think what is needed is to face our problems head on and acknowledge them no matter how ugly and then move on to positive ways to deal with them…always looking at the bright side because there is always a bright side. We need to focus on what is good and what others are doing that is making a difference…but the key here is action.

So in the future look for more environmental pieces from me focusing on the bright side and what we as average citizens can do to help.

On the Sunny side of the street but walking with purpose,

Strawberryindigo.

day-of-1000-trees in public domain
Credit: Public Domain

 5 pieces of good news from planet Earth (motherjones.com)

Positive Environment News   (greatnewsnetwork.org)

Good Environmental News (huffingtonpost.co.uk)

Save The Trees (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Opinions on Environmental Justice Forum (frsm1000dra.wordpress.com)

Observing, Understanding and Respecting Nature is Imperative of Deep Faith (seriouslyplanning.wordpress.com)