I started this blog to share some of the thoughts I have along the journey of life. I love to travel and spend time with my family and friends. A good meal, breaking bread with those I love, gives my life meaning. So does travel. I adore dreaming of sites to visit, not just to check them off on a list. Rather, I consider myself a student of life, traveling as an explorer, to open my mind to all the possibilities the world holds in store for me and for others. I love to travel to discover how different the world is in terms of climate, cultures, politics, terrain, economy, etc. but also to discover how SIMILAR the people are. Despite language barriers, much can be communicated with a smile or gestures. Language is simply a means to communicate, yet there are so very many other ways to communicate. Once when I was in French-speaking Canada, I realized that my 7th grade French class didn’t teach me the word for “straw”. However, when I thought about it, I was able to communicate to the very French-speaking waiter in a very French-speaking restaurant about my need for a “cylinder through which to drink” in my limited French vocabulary. Travel challenges the mind and soul, stretching us to problem solve and form conclusions about all that we experience. THAT is the type of travel I enjoy best. “All’s well that ends well”, as they say………….”Life is Good” as well.
Every now and then something crosses my desk that causes me to pause a moment. Today I am sharing something that did just that when my friend in Belgium shared it with me.
“Barely the day started and… it’s already six o’clock in the evening. Barely arrived on Monday and it’s already Friday. … and the month is already over. … and the year is almost over. … and already 40, 50 or 60 years of our lives have passed. … and we realize we lost our parents, friends. and we realize it’s too late to go back… So… Let’s try to make the most of the time we have left… Let’s keep looking for activities that we like… Let’s put color in our grey… Let’s smile at the little things in life that put balm in our hearts. And despite everything, we must continue to enjoy with serenity this time we have left. Let’s try to eliminate the afters… I’ll do it after… I’ll say after… I’ll think about it after… We leave everything for later as if ′′ after ′′ is ours. Because what we don’t understand is that: Afterwards, the coffee gets colder… Afterwards, priorities change… afterwards, the charm is broken… afterwards, health passes… after, kids grow up… after, parents get old… Afterwards, promises are forgotten… after, the day becomes the night… after, life ends… And then it’s often too late…. So… Let’s leave nothing for later… Because in the meantime we can lose the best moments, the best experiences, best friends, the best family… The day is today… The moment is now…”
Somehow the lyrics to a pop song flashed in my head as I looked at the end table in my family room the other day:
“Am I out of my head? Am I out of my mind?….
…Don’t think that I can explain it What can I say, it’s complicated….”
-“Bad Things” by Camilla Cabello and Machine Gun Kelly
What started out as a simple way to pass the time during the “shelter at home” pandemic lock-down has turned crazy. Simply CRAZY! I looked at my daughter, “Teen Traveler,” while we were out on one of our day trips the other day and said with a laugh, “We are in WAY over our heads!” We traveled to a garden center an hour away to purchase some organic parsley to feed our caterpillars and laughed when we heard that they were fresh out of parsley because some woman bought TWENTY parsley plants shortly before our arrival. We laughed together the whole ride back to our house wondering WHO would buy TWENTY parsley plants.
Fast forward to us taking inventory while feeding our caterpillars later in the day, and we decided that soon WE will need twenty parley plants for our black swallowtail butterflies that are currently in the caterpillar stage. We didn’t PLAN for that many caterpillars. Honestly. It seems that whenever we went for a walk, we took a cup with a lid “just in CASE” we found any butterfly eggs or caterpillars. Then, it didn’t help that when we went to the garden center we saw some caterpillars on some of the plants, and we asked if we could take one (or two or three…)home to raise. It didn’t help that when we purchased parsley from the garden center, most times we found a few eggs or a few tiny caterpillars on the plant AFTER we got home, either.
I am on the clean and tidy side, so if you EVER told me I would have many, I mean MANY, caterpillars in my house I would have said no. Then again, when I was pregnant many years ago if you told me I would have everything I could possibly need, including the proverbial kitchen sink, in my diaper bag, I would have thought you were crazy, too! I have decided having the caterpillar eggs and tiny caterpillars inside my house is the best place to keep them, though. I tell myself that it’s okay (while I inhale and exhale deeply, I might add) because they are in a cup with a napkin over the top, secured with an elastic. There is a lid to the cup over that which has tiny air holes poked on it for air circulation. I am so good with the idea of a double barrier. Nothing goes into or out of that cup without my knowledge. The eggs, caterpillars, and plants don’t smell bad I tell myself as I inhale and exhale deeply. Has to be done, as keeping the caterpillars and eggs in a cup outside in this Florida heat is much like a sauna, and they would die. I read on-line that some crazy butterfly person lets the butterfly caterpillars roam freely inside her house and often finds the chrysalises attached to her drapes! I laughed when I told my daughter and husband at least I am NOT that person. At least not yet and hoping not ever!
Once the caterpillars get a little larger (after the first and second “instar” or stage, maybe after a week) my daughter and I move them outside in butterfly cages. At least that WAS the plan until we realized we needed more cages than we thought. It was an exercise in creativity, as we had to come up with something quickly that would help, as we likely won’t have as many caterpillars growing at one time in the future. We came up with using some clear plastic plant saucers we found at Walmart with a lingerie bag (with TINY holes), which we supported upright with a host plant (MORE parsley) and dowels. This seems to be working well for the time being.
The caterpillars don’t always excite me, as they can be a little creepy to be honest. Okay, sometimes they can be VERY creepy, but watching a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis to release into our yard is magical. The black swallowtail butterfly caterpillar, however, is beautiful in my opinion.
Last week, I found a sulphur caterpillar on my walk around the neighborhood right next to my foot. I took him home, put him in a cage, and just this week he hatched into a beautiful sulphur butterfly. Amazing. Amazing AND humbling. Last night I saw another caterpillar on my walk but left it where it was instead of taking it home this time, thinking we have a lot going on right now. A LOT going on! I’ll be on the look out for another gulf frittilary caterpillar next time I go walking, though. Make no mistake; this is a bit of an obsession I think….at least for the time being…but I like to think of it as a “diversion” from the pandemic right now though.
It’s funny how everyone is different. Someone in the family suggested that we keep a notebook of our findings. Another person in the family suggested we simply keep a list of all the butterflies we raise but acknowledged that some people just like the whimsy of it all instead. I am sort of in the middle. I keep a note on the cup of caterpillars with the date the egg hatched, the date the caterpillar went into the chrysalis, and the date it emerged from the chrysalis simply so I can plan ahead for parsley……more and more parsley. In the meantime, though, I have decided that this Easter Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (the only one we have) might do well with a floral water tube in a mini habitat with a cutting of the wild black cherry we have growing in the yard. That also keeps him from climbing around at the bottom of his tray with his frass (excrement) between cage cleanings, too. This way, I don’t need to put the whole host plant into the habitat until he gets larger, and the food will last longer because the plant needs full sun but the caterpillars do better out of the sun but in a bright spot. Plants can get “leggy” under these conditions.
Life is good. Find something that excites you every day. Find a reason to get out of the house to go for a walk (with a little scavenger hunt to find butterfly eggs and caterpillars, maybe?). Seems as though we never leave the house without a little cup and a lid these days.
Now that the state of Florida is opening up little by little after the pandemic, my daughter, “Teen Traveler”, and I decided we were well overdue for a road trip. Living in Florida has its benefits, even though this time of year it is hot. VERY hot. We have some of the most beautiful springs with crystal clear blue water that I’ve ever seen, and we decided it would be well worth the two and a half hour ride to see them.
This time, we decided to travel to Dunnellon, Florida to see Rainbow Springs State Park. This park was originally a privately owned theme park destination in the 1930s , complete with a zoo, a rodeo, gardens everywhere, a boat ride, and a ride with leaf-shaped gondolas suspended from up high above the ground. After the theme parks in Orlando opened in the early 1970s, Rainbow Springs closed. Sometime thereafter (in the 1990s) , the state of Florida acquired this land and made it into a beautiful park, preserving the original three man-made waterfalls. At the time of our visit, two of the waterfalls were inoperable due to a maintenance issue, but the one that was still in operation was beautiful.
A cement and brick walkway circles most of the main areas in the park, but there are several wooded trails to walk as well.
We traveled mostly on the cement and brick walkways as well as the boardwalk paths, but we walked a little way on one of the wooded paths behind the overgrown butterfly garden, which is scheduled for refurbishment in the near future.
“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” -Henry David Thoreau
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway on the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. ” – Henry David Thoreau
While walking on trail in the woods, however, we encountered a park sign alerting us about the presence of bears in the park, along with instructions about what to do if we encountered any bears. We decided to turn back toward the more populated areas. At this park, you can rent canoes and kayaks and can swim in the crystal blue water as well, although a sign alerts you of the possibility of alligators in the water. We decided to skip this fresh water swimming experience for the time being, as I felt it was a bit unsafe to swim in fresh water with others during the present corona pandemic.
We saw many beautiful flowers while walking about the park and were forunate enough to see a butterfly egg on the back of a leaf when we turned it over. Fascinating find.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
“In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he expects.” – John Muir
“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” – Henry David Thoreau
We came to this park mainly see the beautiful blue spring waters and the waterfalls but were delighted to see the beautiful plants and a glimpse of an unexpected butterfly or two. They say it is the “little things that matter,” and the unexpected “little things” in sum added up to a wonderful experience.
We exited the park, full of wonder and joy at all that we had seen, heard, smelled, and touched at this beautiful site when we passed by a little pond with the most beautiful green algae floating on top of it, which beckoned us to stop for a moment.
There was something special about this little pond that “Teen Traveler” and I felt simultaneously the moment we stopped. We looked at each other and both said that it was a place at which we could literally spend hours. It was so serene and peaceful. We decided to sit upon a rock at the edge of the pond, watching with the sense that something great was before our eyes. While sitting silently and experiencing this magic moment together, my daughter noticed a frog on the shore of the pond.
It was one of those magic moments where the world works in perfect synchronicity for a time, where everything works together as it should. It amazed us that this frog was so perfectly suited for the pond, and the pond was perfectly suited for the frog. The camouflage before our eyes was amazing. The frog’s head was exactly the color of the algae, and the frog’s lower body was exactly the same color as the rocky sand beneath him. We watched the frog, and the frog watched us. None of us moved for a moment or two. While we were experiencing one of those things that just took our breath away, my daughter slowly and quietly pointed to the pond. At first pass, I thought I was looking at several leaves floating beautifully in the water before us.
“Could a greater miracle take place for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?” – Henry David Thoreau
At second glance, I realize most of what I was looking at were NOT leaves. My daughter pointed out to me that we were looking at frogs, and the frogs were looking at us.
Counting quickly, we saw at least nineteen sets of eyes gazing upon us as we gazed upon them. There were frogs EVERYWHERE. It felt surreal, almost like we were in a film, maybe some perfect version of the world in a Disney film perhaps. I had never given frogs a second thought in my entire life, yet this was one of the most beautiful and amazing sites I have seen right before me that moment. As I sat quietly on that rock, watching the world unfold before me and enjoying life through my lens, I realized what we came for didn’t quite work out the way we planned, as two of the waterfalls were broken and the butterfly garden was overgrown and in need of refurbishment, yet the beauty and experience that surrounded us was one of the best Florida day trips we had experienced in a long time. Sometimes if we are flexible enough to open our eyes to what is thrown our way, we discover that life is beautiful, if we allow ourselves to see all the possibilities before us.
We ordered 1500 live ladybugs to release in our yard recently, as we wanted to find a natural control to the aphids that were eating our plants. They arrived in a small mesh bag, and we released them at dusk one night, as they normally fly during the day. Releasing them at dusk allows them some time to find food and settle in for the night. We sprayed them with a little sugar water as we released them, as this makes their wings a bit sticky for a few days to encourage them to stick around and find food before they can fly away.
We transferred the ladybugs one by one to our plants in the yard and were fascinated by them in the meantime. Who knew watching a ladybug would be such a delight! Some ladybugs don’t have any spots.
“A multitude of small delights constitute happiness.”
Life is good; look for the little things that provide you with a new sense of wonder.
Lanterns have been used throughout the ages for many things. First and foremost they have been used to light up a dark area. They are the inspiration for many festivals around the world, especially in Asia. They remind us that the light they yield can bring us out of darkness, if we follow the light, both literally and figuratively. Finally, lanterns symbolize joy, celebration, good fortune, longevity, and protection (from evil.) Lanterns have also been associated most recently with knowledge, finding one’s way or helping another find his or her way, light over darkness (or good over evil), intelligence, and even truth.
It’s uncanny to me that “Teen Traveler”, my daughter, and I discovered by chance recently that we both had seen lanterns made out of cans independently and both wanted to make them some day. Someday is today, whenever I can make it so. To that end, we have been washing out cans from the vegetables we stocked up on for the pandemic. Seems as though we’ve been eating our fair share of canned green beans. Probably even more green beans then we ever wanted to eat. Probably even more green beans than we ever will eat again. That being said, we put some water in the washed cans and froze them overnight. This makes punching holes in the cans easier (and safer), as the can is less likely to roll when working on it.
After we decided on our designs, we put the can on a towel to prevent it from rolling while we were working on it and to catch the water as the ice melted. The internet is full of can lantern patterns, so we looked on the net for inspiration. Some people spray paint their cans afterwards, too.
With a hammer and a nail, we punched a hole through the pattern we taped onto the can. This project takes just a few minutes and yields a lot of fun when doing it together with someone. “Teen Traveler” makes me laugh so much that tears flow from my eyes, and this project was no exception. Ice from inside the can broke like an iceberg off a continent while we were hammering the nail, and the ice slid (and sometimes flew) out of the can. The pattern from the can became wet and disintegrated after a while. The project looked so easy to those that had gone before us to do this very same project. The more the project didn’t work out according to our plan, the more we laughed. Life isn’t perfect, as they say, and neither is this seemingly easy project. I am reminded of something Alan Alda, and American actor, once said he wished he had told his younger self years ago. That is, the need to “adapt, adjust, and revise.” We adapted the pattern we wanted to use. We adjusted the pattern we had chosen, as it was far more complicated than we originally imagined to accomplish. Finally, we revised our plan to fill the yard with a barrage of lanterns we would make and hang from the tree. Maybe just two is plenty, afterall….
I wanted to think of some clever poem or song about lanterns to provide us with some inspiration, but then decided that simply being together with my teen daughter doing something fun was inspiration enough for me. It doesn’t get any better than that. It is what it is, and what it is was beautiful.
Life is good; find a way to make something wonderful with someone you love today. Create beauty and recognize the beauty of the moment.
Today after seeing the partially assembled pergola in my back yard, I sat under it right after a rain shower and noticed a beautiful rainbow right above my eyes. I am so grateful to see such beauty developing right before me.
As I continued to sit under the half-constructed pergola, I couldn’t help but feel the world of possibilities developing before my eyes in my mind. How exciting it is to envision a big project such as this. I am thinking of all the ways to transform the pergola into an oasis of peace and tranquility. I’m picturing lights hanging from the pergola, maybe a candle chandelier, along with some hanging pots of orchids or new guinea impatiens. I want the pergola to evoke a sensory experience with something scented, colorful, and something I can hear. Perhaps a new set of wind chimes, too. Should I have a counter-height bistro set or a low comfortable L-shaped sectional. Should I have a few chaise lounges? There are so many possibilities to consider.
As I sit here, I remember getting excited like this when we bought our first home about a few millions of years ago. It has been quite a long time since we’ve done a project like this in our own backyard, and it feels nostalgic quite honestly.
I continue to sit, watching the darkness crawl in before my eyes while I remember a poem that describes the fog crawling in similarly on little cat feet (“The Fog” by Carl Sandburg). Sitting in front of the pond behind our house, I notice all kinds of noises and sights I don’t normally see when I sit in the screen deck by the pool. I see gnats swirling around en mass in a frenzy within some sort of twirling and twisting cloud. I see various birds taking off from the water, barely disturbing the surface as they glide gracefully into flight. I hear splashes in the water as some long-necked birds swim underwater, but it is growing too dark to tell what type of birds they are. I’m thinking they are likely either cormorants or anhingas. Both birds swim in the water, but cormorants are usually found in salt water, and anhingas are usually found in fresh water. Both have long snake-like necks, but the tell-tale sign is the beaks, which would help me identify them if it were not quite so dark. Cormorants have roundish hook-like beaks at the end, but anhingas have straight beaks, although both hunt and eat fish.
I consider myself lucky to have this little sliver of time of solitude and peace while the world is in turmoil from the pandemic around me. It helps me to find a little slice of “normal” within each day, and that means finding a little smattering of beauty before my eyes.
Life is good; life fully and completely, and find a reason to be grateful today. Try to see the beauty in something today and enjoy the moment.
Life is good; carpe diem, friends………………
Feel free to comment below with any suggestions, pictures, or ideas about how I can transform my pergola into an oasis of peace and beauty.
(Note to self: ask the landscaper trim the shrubs AGAIN)
Happy Mother’s Day y’all. Today I wanted to get out of the house to do something different. Several years back, we had traveled throughout Tuscany looking for sunflowers. I never realized they were right in our own state in such numbers. “There’s no place like home,” it’s been said. Traveling to Sledd’s u-Pick Farm in Mims reminded me of that saying. Although the sky was cloudy, the bright yellow sunflowers provided a beautiful contrast against the otherwise dreary day. It took my breath away when we pulled up to the farm and saw sunflowers in such number.
Sledd’s is a pick-your-own farm in Mims, Florida, offering a large field of sunflowers that you can pick yourself, as well as a sunflower maze this time of year. While many of the sunflowers have already been picked and some are past their prime, more sunflowers will be available to pick again in June.
Sledd’s charges five dollars per person for entry into the field and then charges for the sunflowers you pick. Prices are two dollars for the first sunflower stem, three dollars for two sunflower stems, and five dollars for three sunflower stems. Remember to bring your own scissors, as none are provided for you. Also, come prepared with cash, as this is the only form of payment they accept. Plan ahead by checking their Facebook page, as hours change greatly due to weather and unforeseen circumstances as well. Keep in mind, also, that there are only port-a-johns on site and only a little structure under which to make payment. This is a small family farm without any kind of gift shop or visitor center that offers other pick your own crops at different times of year, such as tomatoes, berries, and vegetables as well.
“Like a single sunbeam on a warm summer day, there is an exuberance and a brilliance of a sunflower.” -Author unknown
When we arrived, we were amazed at the numbers of people that were standing in line (without six feet between them) to pay for entry into the field. No attempt was made to remind the visitors of the need for social distancing, and we saw only two other families with masks. We were glad we brought along my husband’s N-97 mask from his workshop, which we took turns sharing and went into the field one at a time. Once we got into the field, however, we could stay apart from others to keep our social distancing.
I’m thinking that this place might be less crowded on a week-day or any other week end than Mother’s Day. Seems as though lots of people came with their mothers for this charming pick your own activity. Social Distancing might be easier at another time.
I couldn’t help but notice my daughter “Teen Traveler’s” tee shirt, which suggested the need to “Bloom With Grace” when she was walking around the field. That’s my girl; such attention to detail. Such sage advice. My daughter, the old soul.
Sunflowers are symbolic in China for longevity and long life, and I am reminded of the pandemic which began in China while walking about the field, hoping for long life for the citizens there and everywhere. My mind wanders also to Vincent Van Gogh, who said he found “comfort in contemplating the sunflowers.” I also found comfort among the sunflowers after being essentially cooped up inside for weeks during our “safer at home” pandemic orders here in Florida. It felt so good to be among such a bright backdrop of living, thriving beautiful plants today. There were lots of bees on the flowers, and watching them on the sticky sunflower heads was fascinating. There was such peace for that moment in time, and it felt wonderful to be a part of it. It felt like life goes on, despite all that is going on around the world at the same moment.
“…You’re making it feel that everything is alright You’re my sunflower, you’re my sunflower In a world that’s crumbling, all around us everyday You are, all the inspiration that I need to find my way…
You’re, making it feel that everything is alright You’re my sunflower, you’re my sunflower You’re, making it feel that everything is alright You’re my sunflower, you’re my sunflower….”
-“Sunflower” by Lenny Kravitz
Helen Keller, an inspirational writer who was born both deaf and blind once wrote
“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” ~ Helen Keller
I contemplate this as I think about the days ahead with the pandemic. Helen Keller’s advice, along with the old Maori proverb that says to “Turn your face to the sun, and the shadows fall behind you.” I look forward to brighter days ahead when we can return to some semblance of normal after the Covid pandemic is behind us. In the meantime I remember that life is still good, even now.
Carpe diem, friends……..and turn your face to the sunshine today while you get out to live fully again. May the shadows fall behind you, or may you at least not SEE the shadows today.
Today I got up early to see the sunrise. I am more of a sunset kind of gal, a night owl, who always thought one gets as much bang for the buck with a sunset as one gets with a sunrise. However, today I decided to get up early to shake things up and to step out of my comfort zone and my routine. When I got up this morning, I didn’t realize it was raining until I got into my car at 5:15 AM. When I saw the light rain once I was in my car, I decided to continue along with my plans. ” Life”, as the old saying by John Lennon goes, “is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
I traveled to the beach to see the long-awaited, much revered sunrise and couldn’t believe it when the rains began to come down more steadily, accompanied with thunder and lightening as well. When I finally arrived at the beach and found a creative access to the beach with all the beach parking lots closed here in my county in Florida because of the Covid pandemic, the rain stopped just as I was getting out of my car. I walked to the beach and couldn’t help but think about how lucky I was and how lucky I am.
The sky began to show some signs of light at 6:15 AM, and the sunrise happened at 6:41 AM, but it was hard for me to see the sunrise because of the cloud cover. I was initially disappointed that I couldn’t see the sun actually rise above the Eastern horizon, but I enjoyed the moments nonetheless. I saw a woman with silver hair, much older than me, doing yoga on the beach.
I saw birds flying peacefully above the waves at the shore. I saw several people running along the edge of the beach, and I saw two surfers greeting the morning from inside the water. I decided I would wait and watch the morning gradually unfold before my eyes before leaving the beach. I am glad I did, as I literally saw the poetic silver lining in the clouds above me. What a way to start my day. There is a silver living to this pandemic afterall, it seems. I often tell my daughter that the sun will still rise and set on any given day, despite what happens during the day. The moon will rise, too. No matter how bad something gets, we can always count on that, and life still goes on.
“Birds flying high You know how I feel Sun in the sky You know how I feel Breeze driftin’ on by You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn It’s a new day It’s a new life For me And I’m feeling good I’m feeling good…”
-“Feeling Good” by Michael Buble
Once the sun fully illuminated the beach, I saw all kinds of surprises that I didn’t notice in the dark. Dune sunflowers dotted the landscape, and there were so many beautiful shells beneath my feet.
“Here comes the sun Here comes the sun And I say, it’s all right
Little darling It’s been a long cold lonely winter Little darling It seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun Here comes the sun And I say, it’s all right
Little darling The smiles returning to the faces Little darling It seems like years since it’s been here…”
-“Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles, written by George Harrison
I have decided that there is something special about sunrise, watching the day unfold with endless possibilities and life anew…….
Life is good. Try to see the silver linings anywhere you look today. Enjoy today as a brand new start. Enjoy every day as a brand new start. Today is the day full of endless possibilities if you look for them after the sun rises.
Today is a rainy day here in Florida, which is something we don’t get for sustained periods of time, except during the fall during hurricane season. I just love the rain. There is something almost magical about the sound of the rain knocking at the window on days like these, beckoning us toward a moment in time other than our our usual. The sound of rain against any skylight is enough to give me as much joy as watching a flock of birds flying in perfect synchronicity.
I always wondered about people who complain about the rain as if some little silly external event would ruin their day in some way. So very many people equate the rain with “awful weather” and that always surprises me.
The rain makes the grass grow; it cleans the air. Flowers get what they need when it rains, too. Rain fills up ponds, streams and lakes. It makes great puddles for children to splash in with their boots and raincoats. Rainy days bring worms out from the dirt, and I have always been fascinated by these creatures that we don’t often get to see. And who can deny the beauty of a rainbow, a promise that all will be well, after the rain clears. My dear aunt reminds me how beautiful the rain smells, especially in cooler climates in the Northeast.
We tend to put on comfortable clothes when we are inside on rainy days like today. We tend to experience a moment of solitude when the rain falls and might even enjoy being in “the moment” if we watch the almost hypnotizing and mesmerizing drops of rain as they fall softly and gently, then loudly and strongly. against the walkways and streets.
One thing is certain, however, the rain can force us to change the plans we had for the day. If we had planned an outing to the beach, the rain puts a damper on that. Similarly, if we had planned to go for a bike ride, the rain can also put a damper on that, too. I guess that’s part of the beauty and charm of the rain for me, however. The rain FORCES us to flex a little and to change our expectations a little. It might even push us out of our comfort zone if we need to drive in the rain. In some way, the rainfall is parallel to the world in which we live at any given time, especially during this pandemic. What IS happening at the moment is sometimes different than what we WANT to happen. We are forced to change our focus to something else, like working at home, learning from home, shopping solely from home, etc..when we would rather be in and around our extended family, co-workers, and friends along with our own immediate family.
I love the rain because it also makes me think of my Nana, who always told me that “The rain is God’s way of saying ‘slow down.’ ” My Nana told me a rainy day is a good day to crawl up on the couch with a soft blanket to read a good book. A rainy day is a good day to have a sauce or soup simmering on the stove.
A rainy day is a good day to pause and enjoy the gift of having the luxury of that extra special sliver in time that we didn’t expect to ourselves. A rainy day is an unexpected gift if we think of it in that way.
A friend of mine years ago used to keep cookie dough frozen in her freezer for rainy days, when she would take out just a few frozen balls of cookie dough to celebrate the day in all it’s glory. Such a wonderful idea that I have taken to doing as well. Tonight, we’ll have our cookie dessert BEFORE our dinner as a way to celebrate this beautiful day. In this house, we find a way to celebrate EVERYTHING.
Rain also brings about fond memories of my father, who once had the patience to sit near a window when I was little during a thunder storm. He was an amateur photographer back in the day when cameras actually had film. Photography was as much a science as an art in those days, as one needed to understand depth of field and how to create it, as well as what camera aperture setting is necessary to capture the image we desired to capture. He wanted to capture that exciting split second when lightening raced across the sky and waited….. and waited…. and waited all day to do so. He was so very happy when he developed his film in his “dark room” in our basement when he discovered that he was able to do what he set out to do. The man taught me lessons over and over again about the value of patience and the need for beauty in watchful waiting that stay with me to this day.
Rain also brings me back to long ago when my daughter, “Teen Traveler,” loved to stomp around into the deepest puddles she could find when it rained. Her”devil-may-care” laugh and impish smile across her face always made me smile. Such happy memories make me smile today and fill my soul to inspire an attitude of gratitude for me on days like this.
It has been said that “It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” (Vivian Greene). It’s about finding something that gives us joy, even though we are faced with a change in our plans or what was expected. It’s about finding joy when we stop to look and listen to what’s going on around us, beyond us. It’s about remembering my Dad, a beautiful and patient man with a beautiful heart and Nana, a pillar of strength, a kind- hearted soul who would feed anyone who needed a place to come on any given holiday.
“Well I love a rainy night; I love a rainy night. I love to hear the thunder; watch the lightning when it lights up the sky. You know it makes me feel good.
Well, I love a rainy night; it’s such a beautiful sight. I love to feel the rain on my face; taste the rain on my lips, in the moonlight shadows…”
-“I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt
Life is good, even when it rains. Carpe diem, friends……