Wistful Thoughts And Changing Seasons

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Last night my husband and I were discussing where we would choose to live if money was no object (a.k.a. winning the lottery). We do this from time to time, especially in the winter. Living on the Great Lake (Erie) in wintertime evokes memories of living in warmer climes and easier times. Right now Santa Fe, New Mexico is our choice location. I vacationed in New Mexico when I was a child and the memory of that state (albeit quite romanticized by now) stuck with me through the years. Even the sound of the words, “Santa Fe, New Mexico,” is romantic and evokes images of warmth and color and everything we don’t have in this corner of the world right now. I look out my window at whites and grays and dirty snow mixed with clean snow. The sub-zero temperatures outside my door is a strong deterrent to exploring my favorite parks and nature reservations. Cabin fever stifles me. Oy vey. . . what in the world is stopping us from packing our bags and moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, that warm, inviting, artsy community in the beautiful southwest USA?

I go through this wistful, thoughtful, pondering process every winter about this time. Snow is no longer pristine, pretty, and clean. Bundling up to head outside and shovel or plow our way out of the driveway poses no thoughts of adventure, just drudgery. I want Spring to arrive in the worst way . . . or to move to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The rhetorical question, “Will the snow ever end?” is also getting old. I’ve experience winter over 60 times in my life now, and I continue to ask that same question every year. What a waste. Of course the snow will end.

When winter does come to an end, Spring will burst out in color and warm days will dawn with increasing frequency. And then thoughts of running away to Santa Fe, New Mexico will fade . . . until next winter. I’ve walked this earth long enough to know that this is how it works. Wistful thoughts and changing seasons are as sure as the ground I stand on.

In truth, however, I also see the beauty of winter. Despite the forbidding cold, there are days when I take my camera and head for the woods. I may complain today but walking a forest path and hearing the crunching snow beneath my boots, seeing and hearing the abundant wildlife even in this weather, is a wonderment. In fact, the aging process has served to open my eyes, heart and soul to absolute beauty and magic in each season in whatever climate I find myself. So, we will stay put here on the shores of Lake Erie, and I will endure this cold season–and enjoy its beauty–as I wait and watch for spring.

And I still want to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

If it Weren’t for the End Result, I Would Never Become a Butterfly! Or, Sometimes it’s Best to Simply Enjoy the Beauty and Let Each Person Learn Their Own Lessons

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I have tried to write a blog about butterflies for days. DAYS. Why? Because I love this photograph and wanted to write a profound reflection about butterflies and the painful work of morphing into one of these beautiful creatures. But no matter how hard I tried profundity never happened.  Oh well . . . When I work this hard to write a blog only to repeatedly reach dead ends, it’s time to give it a rest. I am headed down the wrong path. So instead of a deep, thought-provoking post I simply share this photo with you, one I took years ago, so that you can enjoy the beauty of this delicate creature and maybe write your own stories about it.

Beginning Again

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Time to ring out the old and bring in the new! Today is the first day of 2015, and as with all new years, the first day is full of hope for a better year than the previous one. But reality tells us that while the year may be filled with joy, success, accomplishment, celebrations, milestones and the like, new years also have their fair share of grief, loss, headache, challenges and road blocks. None of us truly know what the new year will bring, just that we have hopes for more goodness than evil, more gains than losses, more celebrations than mourning.

Regardless of the lives we have lived till this moment, most people I know, myself included, enter the new year with high hopes that whatever will be will be better than what has come before. As I read these words however, something rings hollow. To speak thus insinuates that we are victims of fate as opposed to agents of change. We usher in a new year with the urgency of finding our life’s meaning as if “it” is something out there that we must find and when we do our hopes will be fulfilled. Or maybe, we view life more as a rushing river and we are little more than leaves being carried along by the current. Hopefully 2015 will carry us along on gentle currents as opposed to raging rapids. Again, something about these approaches to life is lacking, at least from my perspective.

What if instead of hoping that fate will be kinder, or that we will discover the “it” of our lives hidden somewhere “out there,” we commit to making meaning out of our experiences, thus creating the meaningful life we long for? What if  we begin trusting that as we progress, step by step, through the coming year, we can literally be intentional about building a purpose-filled life? What if instead of allowing ourselves to be crushed by the adversities that are part and parcel of existence on this earth, we commit to finding the silver linings and growing from the experiences? What if instead of being bitter and cynical that our paths have not been paved with rose petals but with thorns that prick our very souls at times, we make choices to be compassionate, to see others who have faced even more adversity, and to extend a helping hand to the next person who is hurting as well? What if we open our eyes to see all the good that we can throughout the year and not ruminate about the unkind, hurtful words that were maybe hurled our direction? What if we choose gratitude for the fulness, the variety, and the complexity of life throughout the coming year? I think that if we choose to take this route of deliberate, thoughtful, responsible living, then 2015 promises to be an extraordinary year!

Happy New Year and welcome to Inspired Living