Small Things

1 09 2016

Waking up when you didn’t remember it was Saturday

The tea at just the right temperature

The first sip of coffee on a cold, tired morning

When you are alone for the first time in some time, and the room is silent

Coming home, sitting down, removing your shoes and petting the cat

Entering a house from the cold outside when a fire is in the hearth

A bee on a flower, oblivious

A butterfly wafting where you cannot

When the rain starts and the heat is broken

When the rain ends and all is new

Eating the first cherry tomato, warm from the vine

The first flower peeking through the cold ground

The cat lying in the shaft of light; a book on your lap

Taking out the finished pie

A chocolate chip cookie, still warm and melted

The first cookie of Christmas, eaten while leaning against the counter in the warm kitchen

Happening upon a brook in the forest

When you arrive at the beach and hurry out to stand before the waves

A bird landing on a low branch, inspecting you

Wildlife in the garden, unaware you are watching

Walking out of the office on the day before vacation

Christmas Eve at midnight

Christmas Day, before the house has risen

Easter morning sunlight through the church windows





Lessons from my Garden

29 06 2016

This summer began with a new development in my home garden: after the first few years of shade-gardening with native plants, a light-gap has opened in the woods from a tree falling last year, allowing me to finally pursue a dream of vegetables. My husband and I put in the small, square raised bed; I planted a modest selection of tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper plants; and we fenced it in for protection from ever-present, hungry wildlife.

The first lesson I am confronting is patience.

I believe the seemingly contradictory qualities of impatience and distraction are responsible for my long history of a black thumb. Sometimes I smother my plants with eager watering and prodding; other times, I forget my charges, and they wither from neglect. I have begun to see that vegetables are delicate; if I want any kind of yield, I have to be diligent but not clingy.

Still, as I water them daily, I purse my lips and examine the stalks (gently!) for signs of new flowers.

I also have newfound gratitude for rain. I have always loved rainy days almost more than sunny ones, but rain takes on new meaning now, a direct sign of divine providence. “No need to water today!” I think, with a sigh of contended relief. It’s work lugging the big watering can up to the light gap, far from the hose’s reach.

All this watering gives me greater respect than ever for our crops’ tremendous strain on resources. Just seeing the daily amount my four plants require easily paints a picture in my mind of that amount magnified across our groaning planet. And it occurs to me that all of us, whether omnivore or carnivore, vegetarian or vegan, should be humbled by what it takes to provide for our needs on a daily basis.

Who knew such lessons await in such humble, green places?





Pay Attention to the Sea

30 07 2011

Today I borrow from a soulful blog, From the House of Edward,  to bring you this thought. I hope it can enrich your day, whether you find yourself facing the sea in person or in your mind.

Slow down.
Notice.
Remember.
When the breeze blows in from off the sea and finds you, stop for a moment to think about the way it feels as it brushes your cheek. Remember the salty fragrance of nature’s perfume. Let your eyes gaze out over and into the blue of the water till you can see that colour behind closed eyes in your sleep.
After all, none of us can remember what we don’t notice in the first place.
*~*




Capturing Joy

12 07 2011
Raspberries

Image via Wikipedia

A favorite thinker of mine, SARK, has a knack for maximizing small moments for big effect. Her micromovement system overcomes procrastination in the blink of an eye, and she advocates taking (and making) tiny adventures everyday.

I believe in something similar: capturing the joy in mini moments.

What if your outlook on the day could be instantly improved? I am prone to think this is impossible magic, but I find, if I am open to the change, it is possible.

Here are some encapsulated joys that have made my week so far:

  • The little dip in the road on my commute home that feels like riding my bike down a certain hill from childhood.
  • Standing on the balcony on the final evening of a heat wave, anticipating the cooler air to come.
  • Tasting homemade honey right out of the jar.
  • The moment I looked out and saw the first flower I’d grown from seed since I was a kid.
  • Savoring in-season raspberries while listening to hold music during my chaotic work day.

Each of these moments have made my days better. What if we even went a step further and recorded our captured joys often, or just whenever we felt like it? Then we could live the joys all over again.

What are some of your encapsulated joys?





Summer Joys

19 06 2011

I’m back! Is anyone out there?

Well, whether you are or you aren’t, I’m here and ready to share more Greening  Tree tidbits with you. Watch the blog for continued changes!

*~*

Summer is upon us, and the solstice will soon make it official. While I’m not a fan of high temps, I do love many of the pleasures that derive their significance from this fleeting season:

  • An ice-cold drink on the patio.
  • Exultant bird song from early in the morning until long after the sun retires.
  • The lazy pace of everything – our western culture’s nod to seizing the season.
  • Farmer’s markets loaded with brilliant colors and interesting shapes.
  • The way the outdoors becomes our second home.

During the workweek, I take a moment to look out the window and smile upon the world outside. It will be ready to greet me at 5 o’clock, and I want to make sure I’m ready to greet it!

This week, why not:

  • Try a new fruit.
  • Stroll in your neighborhood.
  • Notice an insect and the way it lives.
  • Take an impromptu trip to a park – hike, play ball, picnic, and bask in this friendly season!




Autumn Pastimes

17 11 2010
Macro pinecone

Image via Wikipedia

If you grew up in a temperate region, you had leaves falling at this time of year. Do you remember jumping in the leaves? Do you remember raking up the leaves into the biggest pile you could, only for the reward of jumping headlong into their earthy mystery?

Perhaps you didn’t have leaves, but you loved collecting pine cones.  You’d bring them inside and show an adult, as proud as if you had made them yourself. Or maybe  you played football every Thanksgiving, reveling in the crisp air and muddy ground.

Harvest time, no matter where you live, has magical powers. If you don’t believe this,  you may need to spend more time remembering how it used to be. Once you’ve done that, pick an activity and help encourage a child who may not know what wonders await outside, even as the days grow shorter.

Rake the leaves, even if you know you’ll have to do it again later. Glue some leaves together into beautiful placemats. Pick up the pine cones, and proudly display them on your Thanksgiving mantle. Head out for some football and return, out of breath, with rosy cheeks.

Seasonal pastimes are as close as your memories.





Why Backpacking?

4 11 2010

Me, hiking PA's West Rim Trail

Two Sundays ago, I returned from a real-life adventure. There were glorious views and aching feet, midnight snow and evening rain, critter encounters and an injury. This adventure only took a few days and cost relatively little, but it plucked my husband and I out of our comfortable lives and immersed us more fully in our own survival. We went backpacking.

Some may ask why we would endure weather extremes, freeze-dried food, sleeping on the ground, and muscle pains. The truth is, there is a moment during every trip when even a seasoned backpacker asks themselves the same questions. However, the payoffs are legendary; just ask John Muir, hiker extraordinaire and father of the American park system. He exhorts us to “Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

Yes, it is good to “break clear away,” to work for your vistas and waterfalls, and for your comfort at day’s end. To build a fire – especially when it is hard to do. To have your breath taken away by the sight of something no person could make. To realize that all you need to survive you can haul on your back, and that all the stuff back at home is just window-dressing. And to know that you are blessed with lungs, senses, and thoughts, and that all of these things cost nothing at all.

That is why I go backpacking.








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