Over the past couple of weeks, I have been hearing a mysterious sound, and I thought it was farming machinery at a distance. It was a cross between light grinding and the engine of a plane flying very high, far. The sound seemed to be at a distance, and it stopped when we had continuous rain for almost a week. Today, the sound came back, louder and closer. It doesn’t stop. Finally, I realized that what was making this sound were tons of cicadas, which are due to come out this year in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. It is supposed to be Brood 9, which comes out every 17 years. I had seen a few funny looking creatures with black heads and big red eyes walking around, and shells of creepy crawlers over the past week or so, and while researching them, I found out what they were, but I never put the three together, mystery sound + creepy looking shell = cicada. They seem to be clumsy flyers, and today they are everywhere. I cannot use the side entrance because they have decided to park themselves near it, and even on the steps. I guess they are coming out of the ground or from a big old tree near that entrance. I have seen them fly down, and fall down from it. They walk and they just turn over, and take an eternity to flip back over again. I have seen them stretch out their wings and legs, as if coming out of a deep sleep, looking a bit messy, later to have stretched their wings. At first, I was disgusted by their appearance, by now, I am intrigued, and even caught myself talking to one that was near the side door, on top of the railing. Did I find it cute? I think I did. Today, there were more than 10 staring at me from the side steps, and it looked like an airport out there, when the sun was shining for the first time after a week of heavy rain. My husband tried to blow them away with a leaf blower, but they kept coming back. I think they like the blue color of the railing. Thank God they are staying on that side, and I can go out if needed via the front door. I am happy to have discovered what that mysterious sound was, but I cannot wait for these critters to come out and fly away, and disappear for another 17 years. I cannot decide if I like them or not, but I don’t want them near me. I was able to take a picture of one of them. Are you seeing these where you live?
As I was ready to go to bed last night, I glanced outside and saw this beautiful sight. I have been mesmerized by the moon since I was a little girl. My mom says that as a toddler, I used to point at it and call her lulu (for luna – moon in Spanish). I have looked at the moon countless of times since then, and each time I find it more beautiful. I hope we never damage it, as our species does with everything else. Here are a few pictures of the moon as I saw it last night. These were taken from inside because I was already in my PJs and ready to sleep but I could not pass the opportunity of taking just a few pictures of this beauty.
Isn’t she gorgeous?
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I love crows and ravens. I think they are underappreciated beautiful birds. These birds have been misrepresented for many years, centuries, and they have been given a negative label, used in horror movies, Halloween spooky props, and associated with evil and darkness. Poor little ones. They are nature’s creatures just as a white dove is, or a puppy, or even a regal peacock. Their song is mocked, called a screech; what is up with that? Have you ever heard a peacock sing or a fox calling?
I am happy to have many crows in my neck of the woods, and I love to see them hopping (yes, they hop like little bunnies) around. One thing that is particular about them is that I see them walking around in the light rain like there is nothing going on, while other birds tend to wait until the sun comes back out and the rain stops. I have been on a birdie binge, and I thought about including these pictures on the previous bird watching posts, but decided to give the crow its own spotlight. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I did. For the love of crows.
My favorite. Walking around after the rain, all wet. Pardon the focus, and look at that stride.
Hope you enjoyed these.
Among all the chaos during these challenging times, beauty remains untouched, nature prevails in its own way as it has always been since the beginning of time. When we are feeling sad, scared, hopeless, and searching for a silver lining, God blesses us in many ways, even when we cannot see it right away or understand it.
I have been taking pictures of birds from time to time, and many times, I have shared a few on this blog. Birds are beautiful. I took a few pictures the other day, and these were taken from the inside of my home and through window glass, so they are not perfect. However, looking at them I saw something I had not seen before. I looked at those bird’s faces and expressions, and there I saw a miracle, I saw beauty, but more than that, I saw innocence, purity, hope; I saw the love of God. Here, I share a few with you.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. (Mathew 6:26)
I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine. (Psalm 50:11)
I have a true love for things of the past, antique or vintage items that reflect the pass of time. Rustic, old things that have been through many seasons and survived, that have been in many hands. I don’t know where this love affair comes from, but it has been there always, since I can remember.
On one occasion, someone who visited me for the first time noticed that most of my possessions are old/antique, and asked me about it. I joked replying, “If it is new, I don’t want it.” This amore extends to old books; I find them hard to resist. Everything is so beautiful and enticing about old books – the scent, the natural variation in color, the cover, the typography … I have an affinity for old journals, not only the writing type, but the record keeping as well. What I love about old journals is how well made these were – beautiful covers, quality pages, carefully selected fonts, and rich colorful patterned interior covers, among other attributes. Everything about these journals was done with such careful detail and quality that these are still around today. Here’s an example. The cover seems a corduroy type moss green fabric and oxblood leather trimmed in gold. You can’t find this workmanship quality these days. The interior is beautiful as well.
Here are a few other examples; notice the small details, the lettering, the grain, the rich colors …
These were everyday items used in households and businesses, and these were gorgeous, imagine that. Old writing paraphernalia calls my name as well, especially old pens and pencils, some of which I have shared on this blog. I cannot help but melt at the sight of an old desk and chairs. My love for old rulers is obvious throughout my home. Some people believe that one should not bring antiques to one’s home because they have been imprinted with the energy of previous owners, positive or negative, or even to have ghosts attached. If that was the case, I would have an army living with me.
I find beauty and joy while looking at these old things, and have no desire for “the new” unless it happens to be a well made reproduction of an antique piece. I enjoy technology and appreciate the value of some new things, mostly utilitarian, but when new is not needed/required, for me, old is better. Sometimes, I wish I could see the past of these objects of my affection, their previous “lives” in as many settings these have been throughout the decades, and even centuries. To see their stories, to have a glimpse of the many families these have belong to, and the circumstances in which these passed through time. These are like silent characters whose stories are not told – a scuff, a broken piece restored at one point, a distinctive mark … It all speaks of the people around these objects, their lives, even their dreams, in many circumstances. Imagine all the stories these would reveal to a writer. Through the miracle of time, new things become old and new stories are written around them. These things become silent witnesses of time.
One of my favorite times of the year is that interim between winter and spring, that in-between, just now, when spring has not arrived and winter is giving way to it. It happens fast, almost invisible, but it is there. It is a time full of magic and discovery. Nature starts waking up slowly and everywhere you look (if you are looking) you will find a tiny wonder. To the wandering eye, everything seems dry and asleep, but to the keen eye ready to discover, a tiny world is just emerging. I just love it, and I wish to share a few pictures on this post so you can enjoy that emerging tiny world that will soon give way to spring, full blooms, and more defined natural surroundings. I hope you are inspired to go outside and look at your surroundings with different eyes, and discover your own tiny world.
Remnants of winter linger still.
Tiny plants slowly awaken from their sleep and dress in kelly green.
Tiny miracles of nature abound.
Wherever you look there is something going on.
Even where is less expected.
Every shape and hue awakens – the spring before the spring.
As above so below. Nature begins to display its beautiful hues, one tiny wonder at a time.
And when daylight gives way to shadows, don’t forget to look up.
December is almost here. For me, it always meant a time for reflection, introspection, rating of my performance, and goal setting or resetting. Over the years, for most of my adult life, and even younger, I followed the tradition of setting New Year goals. I enjoyed the process. Hot cocoa at hand, pen and paper, I would sit and think of the present year, review past goals, and silently rate my performance. I was good at keeping what I set to do, and I accomplished most goals. However, I was disappointed for what I didn’t do. It felt as if I came short of something. It always left me with an incomplete feeling, and even a bit of sadness. Then, I would decide if to include those unmet goals for the new year along with new ones. I would finish my cocoa, and be ready for a fresh start.
I changed all that. I don’t set goals quite like that anymore. Call it wisdom in aging, or whatever, I don’t rate my performance anymore. Instead, I’ve decided to think of the “meaningful thing” that I would like to do for the new year, whether it is only one thing or more. As far as planning for it, the only planning I will do is to make sure that everyday I try to take a step in that direction, and leave the lists, rating, and self-judging to the side. Discarded are the breaking into small manageable goals rituals, as well as written tasks, along with the self-reviews. Either I am on track to do a meaningful thing (to me) or I am not. Breaking a lifetime tradition is never easy, but it is as simple as that.
Imagine that your life is a canvas or a screen, a picture made of pixels divided into tiny squares that come together to reveal the big picture – the wholeness of it. Sometimes, life feels as a series of squares, of compartments that are not related. We keep a home life, a work life, a church life, a secret life (in some cases), and so on. We disconnect ourselves from the big picture, and end up feeling anything else but whole. We lack continuity because we have compartmentalized our existence. In the process, we have separated ourselves from the source of it all, the divine force of our existence.
Sometimes, it takes a step back or a few steps back to change our perspective from a square by square or pixelated vision to a wholesome perspective. It takes many times, more than a few steps back, to realize the connection between all the squares, all the compartments of our life, and in the end, they disappear and all we see is continuity, neither beginning, nor end, but continuity. That is more than the big picture; it is the great revelation.
Turmoil – Great confusion; extreme agitation. (American Heritage Dictionary)
Sometimes, it takes turmoil in life to be able to live as intended. It takes confusion and agitation to wake up a soul, to appreciate the little things and to understand what is meaningful in life. To slow down to the speed of now, and realize that now is all there is. To understand the fragility of everything else and its immensity, as well as its simplicity. To understand divine connection between all and between one moment and the next.
Sometimes, it takes turmoil to shake us to the core so we can center our being once more. So we can forget about purpose and become purpose, so we can indulge in being for the sake of being, and listen to the poem of life whispering its verses as we are and we become.
Sometimes it takes turmoil to realize that divinity is just a veil away, and that veil is always wrapped around us, and within us. Sometimes turmoil is all it takes.
The other day, I was looking outside at the first signs of autumn, looking for an amber or red leaf here and there, while enjoying the silence that surrounded me. I could only hear the birds outside. The cats were sleeping, so the silence embraced the home. I love the green-yellow color of the grass as it is getting ready for winter to come. Autumn is a transition for nature, just as people have their own autumn seasons in life.
As I glanced at the tiny winding dirt path going from my neighbor’s home to her next door neighbor, I realized that I missed those early childhood signs of friendship and closeness between neighbors. The paths that were created by the frequent walks to a neighbor’s home, all natural friendly foot traffic. After living in New Jersey USA, for so many years, and closer to the city, I had forgotten those tiny paths crossing lawns that were so common in my childhood.
I understood that life has changed, and that the tiny dirt roads I admire so much in paintings depicting country settings had become my reality and a symbol of simple beginnings – unpretentious, serene, simple beginnings. I found myself reminiscing, with a smile and teary eyes. Sometimes what we view as the ending is just a new beginning.