What moves you?

It’s a typical day.

Same old. Same nine-to-five routine. Same rush-hour headaches, same group of maniac drivers on the road… when… all of a sudden, my attention is gripped by the sight right in front of me—mother nature’s magnificent ink pots of ruby, magenta, russet and amber spilling to stain the deep blue of the sky—right there before my eyes, waiting patiently to be noticed. In awe, I detour away from the traffic to a quiet road, park my car, and sit in worship of such a perfect sight.


When I see something that moves me like this, I am compelled to stop and take notice… and write about it. Everything about a sunset—the amalgamation of colour, the serene sense of peace it represents, the powerful expanse, the pull of it—is all too special not to be noticed and revered.

Writers have an all-consuming need to translate what moves us into words. When we see something that stirs our feelings, we simply can’t keep quiet about it. If we see something that makes us happy, we must write about the source of our happiness. If we see something that makes us sad—oh woe is the story we’ll write. If we see something that makes us angry—well, let’s just say it’s wise not to mess with a writer because you just might find yourself the subject of a very spirited editorial in a newspaper or other venue. We don’t just see things, we feel them to the core. Which drives our need to write.
If you’ve been down with a case of writer’s block or caught in a mood rut, perhaps you need to rub your eyes and take a fresh look around. It’s all too easy to lose sight of the simple yet astonishing beauty blooming in front of our noses every day, when our sights are ever-focused instead on the hustle and bustle of daily life.

A fat black and yellow bumble bee darting into and out of a clump of blossoms; the metallic flecks that sparkle in an otherwise plain stone; a lone ripple on the calm face of a pond made by the paddling of a mallard duck and her babies; the bouncing pigtails of a little girl playing hopscotch; cream-puff clouds on a blueberry sky. So simple, so precious, so easy to miss.


How many sights do you pass by each day without taking notice—sights that have the power to move you?

Open your peepers. There are miracles everywhere.

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Here’s to the bride and groom!

41.tent on propertyWe attended a beautiful wedding last weekend, with the reception held outdoors on the bride and groom’s gorgeous country property—a couple of acres of rolling lawns bordered by a meandering stream and surrounded by forest. It was so magical.

Participating in the joy of a wedding celebration amidst so much glorious nature brought to mind how similar marriage is to the quiet strength of the trees that towered all around us.55.property

I wrote this poem a couple of years ago while thinking about my own marriage, but I’d also like to dedicate it to our newlywed friends, as well as all the brides and grooms out there who are about to begin their journey together.

The best of wishes to you all.

Tree Of Promise

Look to this tree as a symbol
of the strength of our past
and the promise of our future

with roots firmly planted
around our goals
and growth nourished
by our devotion.

Its trunk inches upward
to meet our hopes and dreams.tree pic
Though the path, at times, is rough
it perseveres in its growth
as it stretches toward the promise
of sunshine and blue skies.

Its branches may curve
in different directions,
each one unique in its design—
yet together
the single purpose they share
keeps them connected
always to the core.

See this tree
as all that we have built together
and all that is yet to come.

The plight that prompted a poem

My last post featured a tongue-in-cheek quilt made for a friend who’d been grumbling about wild creatures having the audacity to invade our areas of suburban sprawl after being driven out of their habitats by developers.

I thought I’d stay on the same topic by sharing a poem I wrote based on the plight that just seems to keep growing and growing (in my area anyway). Hope you enjoy it.jason long_unsplash.com

The Meadow

Once there was a grassy trail,
Leading to a meadow hale

With buttery-cups and black-eyed Sues,
Hot pink clover, asters blue.

squirrelWhere crickets chirped and butterflies
Spread orange wings to opal skies.

Where songbirds trilled amidst the leaves
Of mighty oaks and maple trees,

And evergreens and silver birch,
Where chipmunks chattered
And horned owls perched.flowers2

The heady scent of sun-warmed blooms
And earth and pine—a sweet perfume.

Purple thistle leaking milk,
Silver cobwebs fine as silk.

The world then was an open place
With breathing space.

Where little boys and little girls
With rosy cheeks and happy shrieks,
Ran to and fro’ with arms spread wide,
‘round and ‘round
The Meadow.

urban-sprawl-america.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale2015
The meadow rests in peace beneath
An asphalt grid of cluttered streets,
Where brick forests loom and multiply,
To keep the children locked inside.

Unmindful that their Meadow died.ryan mcguire_gratisography

(First photo courtesy of Jason Long of https://unsplash.com/ / Second photo by Donna Marrin / Third photo by Donna MarrinFifth photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire of http://www.gratisography.com/ / Fourth photo courtesy of http://www.treehugger.com/urban-design/answer-congestion-not-build-roads-and-encourage-sprawl-its-get-people-out-their-cars.html )

Come with me. Hold my hand and let’s take one step forward today.

if you are sad
if you are angry
if you are sick
if you are lost
if you are alone
if you are confused
if you are frustrated

No matter your complaint

Stop for a moment,
step away from yourself.

Then take one step forward.
Lift your chin
and appreciate the quiet expanse
of the sky above you.sky

Focus on the wondrousness
of a thing so simple,
a thing that is there
even on all the days you don’t see it.

Give thanks for the miracle of your eyes.
They allow you to see a sky
that many can only try to imagine.

Breathe deeply of the air that sustains you.
Basic. Base. There.
Such a blessingforest Path
to enjoy the simple act of breathing
without a thought, without a struggle.

Kneel to the ground
and smell the rich aroma of the earth
that supports you.
Draw up and fill your lungs
with flora, with fresh laundry,
with the scents of life
that ride on the breezes.
This gift. This blessing

Move those limbs that you can move.
Do you have legs?
Can you walk, run, jump, twirl?
Do you have arms, hands, fingers?
Can you clap them, flex them, write your name in the air?
Can you reach for the sky?
Rejoice in these simple freedoms
that so many must live without.

Who are you (you are thinking)bougainvillea
to sermonize to me
about counting my blessings?

Well
I, too, am guilty
of the human disease
called unmindful existence.
Called ingratitude-itis.

So today is the day
I will step away from myself,
take one step forward,
acknowledge how very blessed I am.

I have eyes that allow me to see
all that is right in front of me,
and awareness to clear my vision.

I can see.bird tree
I can feel.
I can breathe.
I can walk.
I can speak.
I can hear.
I can taste.
I can eat.
I can drink.
I can forgive.
I can love.
I can choose.
I can imagine.
I can make a difference.
I can hope.
For hope is always there
just waiting for you to believe.

I can walk outside
and I can look up at the infinite sky
and I can marvel at the magical synthesis
that produces such an astonishing shade of blue.

I can stand on land
that spreads in every direction
and know that it is possibleorange
to go anywhere I want to go.

I can peel an orange
and eat the flesh
and when the juice runs over my chin
I can splash cool water on my face
and feel grateful that the simplest things in life
are also some of the most magnificent.

The sadness, the anger, the frustration …
it will come, it will go, it will still be there.

But so will the simple blessings.

sunsetTake a step forward today with me.

The sea and me

Being down here in Naples, Florida gives me daily access to one of my favourite forces of nature—the sea. Is there anything more soul-cleansing than sitting in warm sand, contemplating the body of water that stretches out before you to touch the horizon? Water is life and it doesn’t matter if I’m looking out over the sea, a lake, a river, or even a pond. Any body of water is the most beautiful sight to me.

In a salute to all my past seaside adventures as well as the one I’m on right now, here’s a poem.

The Sea1.delnor-wiggins pass beach

The sea draws me
Like a breath draws air.

I travel to destinations
Contingent upon the sea
Being steps from my room.

The sea is my anesthetic.

Its indigo expanse spreads
Like a rich swath of dark velvet7.very shelly beach
Beyond the airplane porthole.
The velvet is patterned
With tufts of white,
Like pulls of thread.

And then it changes—
Crystalline zircon shallows rising up
As the plane glides downward.

The sea is life. 

It fills and conceals4.pelican friend
The earth’s nooks and crannies
For as far as the eye can see.

It curves its back at the horizon
To meet the warmth of its companion
The sun.
Its mood changes from moment to moment,
Day to day.

Our emotions are connected,
Mine and the sea’s. 3.lots of waves today

Calm today, it mirrors
The slow rise and fall of my chest
As I breathe in
Its sweet saltwater scent,
Rest in its soothing whispers.

Tomorrow, it releases its displeasure
In a churning, foaming fury
That explodes viciously35.pelicans
Against the shoreline rocks.
Once spent, it laps relentlessly,
Quietly onto the sand,
Apologizing in gentle murmurs.

Sometimes, under a grey
And tired sky,
The sea attempts to shrug itself5.little egret on fisherman's bait pail
Into a mighty swell,
But nothing comes of the effort
And the surge abates with a sigh.
For the sea loses its sparkle
When its friend—the sun—
Departs.

The sea is eternity.

It existed long before us,
And will exist long after we’re gone.

 

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