Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bringing In The New ...

Morning Over The River, 12/08

Just had a phone call from my daughter. We talked about her intentions for the New Year. I had to admit that I really hadn't thought much about it, but then on second thought I realized that isn't quite true. I have never been a New Years kind of person, making resolutions and coming up with a list of intentions for the next 12 months. Instead, I seem to do it as the days unfold.

I remember one November about 30 years ago, when I realized that I was smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day and that if I didn't quit, it would kill me. So I told myself I'd quit for the New Year. I set about enjoying every last inhalation of acrid smoke that then made me cough like crazy. I had quit many times before only to start again when some stressful situation made me go out and buy another pack or beg one from a friend.

But this time something different happened. An argument started in my head about why wait till January 1st. If I was really going to quit, it had to be today, right now, no excuses, just shut up and do it. It went on for 2 or 3 days and then I started one of longest, most difficult times in my life. I threw a whole carton of cigarettes in the trash and dove in, never to look back. My husband and kids will tell you to this day, that I was not a pleasant person to be around for a long time. But I did it, they were supportive and from that day forward, I haven't made resolutions for the New Year. I make resolutions when I make them and that's that. It seems to be the only way it works for me.

So my intentions for the next couple of months are to file the stacks of papers that are gathering dust all over my studio/office. I will also clean out the store room and get rid of all of the things I always thought I needed but haven't ever used. I will try to live a much more simplified life, be more frugal, not buy as many books and go to the library instead. And I will continue my herb studies as I have been. Not a bad start I guess. There is so much more to do but then these are the big items.

Hope you all have a wonderful celebration over the next day and may your intentions be abundant and successful!!

If you want to know about my herb studies go here!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice ...

The River Hidden By A Blanket Of Fog

Winter begins today and the hours of daylight will grow longer and the nights shorter as the days pass on into the New Year and the summer solstice, when it all reverses again. I feel extremely fortunate to be living where I do in Virginia. Here the weather has not been bad in the last weeks. We've had temperatures bounce up and down from warm to cold and warm again, mostly cloudy skies, some rain and a fine mist that keeps everything outdoors wet. There was the possibility of freezing rain last night but it never materialized.

Up north in New England where most of my family lives they have been through the mill with a terrible ice storm,a heavy snowfall and more heavy snow expected today. Many people are still without power from the ice storm over a week ago. I heard on the news that power company linemen trying to fix the situation are under attack from very angry customers who have no heat, running water or light ... in that climate, an unlivable situation. Most of the the northern tier of the country has been suffering through this weather and I'm sure it's making what is supposed to be a happy holiday season, one of misery.

With the money crunch we are all staying home, snug in our own little corners of the world this year. Fortunately we spent a lovely week with our grand kids in early November and then a quick trip to New Hampshire to see my brothers and families just before Thanksgiving. But we will not be at a loss. Our son and his wife who live very nearby will come for Christmas morning brunch and we will spend Christmas eve and New Years Eve with friends.

On Friday, I sent off the last of goody boxes to the rest of the family and now I'm just enjoying the peaceful quiet. I wouldn't mind a little bit of snow but I won't complain if we get none.

I wish each and every one of you Happy Holidays and a New Year filled with peace, light, warmth and justice for all!! Excluding no one, especially the creatures who live with us and around us on this beautiful planet ... the sleek red fox who passes through our yard in the morning ... Big Blue the heron who fishes off our dock ... the skunk who leaves his scent about the garden and even the stray cat who lurks in the shadows!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Running Away To The Circus ...

When you're having one of those days
there is nothing like adding a little zip to your life.
So today I headed out to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
show, Boom A Ring, for its last performance here in Charlottesville.

When I was a child my most favorite book
in the whole world was
Toby Tyler, by James Otis, about a little boy
who runs off to join the circus.

When I wasn't dreaming about being a world champion figure skater
I dreamed of being a trapeze artist
flying through the air high above a cheering crowd.
I tried to get my dad to exchange the handmade swing
he made for me for a trapeze but he never got around to it.

I tried training my dog to do wonderful tricks but that never worked out either.

As an adult I love the animal acts the best.
However, I do believe the they should use only domestic animals
like dogs, cats or horses. I adore elephants but they belong in the wild
not in the circus ring. One of these was trained to sit on the head of
one of the other elephants while it was lying down.
That didn't help my funk much! And it wasn't terribly dignified
for the elephants either.

The other day I heard a piece on NPR's, Science Friday,
discussing a study that showed that elephants
live longer in the wild than they do in zoos.
I don't doubt it.

I imagine it might be the same for white Bengal tigers such as these.

Like anything else there was good and there was bad
all mixed up together in this show. But I loved watching
all the children and was reminded of the first time
I saw the circus at Madison Square Garden in New York City some
60 odd years ago. I remembered reading Toby Tyler, and on those days
when nothing was going right, planning on running away
to join the circus.

Today for a few brief hours I did!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Winterberry ...

It's December! Where has all the time gone?
Pretty soon we'll be dating our checks with the year 2009.

Meanwhile the economic outlook grows more grim every day.
We have a Sitting President who is packing boxes, making brief comments
about all those who have lost their jobs and does nothing. We have a President-Elect who is priming the pump with a team of fine men and women who will help him to bring the country back to its feet ... we hope. His hands are tied and he cannot take any action until he takes the oath of office in January. For now the pump is not working.

I like to think that somewhere within this dark cloud we are abiding in
there is a silver lining of some kind. Perhaps we will learn to live comfortably with less.
Perhaps we will begin to look out for one another and lend a hand when it's needed.
Perhaps we'll learn to grow some vegetables to feed ourselves and a neighbor or two.
Perhaps bike lanes will become a regular part of the roadways.
Perhaps we'll start to conserve water, quit polluting the air and our water sources.

Perhaps ...

I do think it's really possible!