Goose in a Flower Pot

I am sitting at my desk writing when I hear a loud thud. Startled I look up and discover two Canada Geese have landed on our deck railing and are climbing into one of the flower pots.

Are they thinking of using one of them as a nest, I wonder? I use them for herbs during the summer and while I had cleared them out last fall, there are lots of fallen leaves and debris still in the dirt.

Earlier, when I’d stepped outside with Beaumont the Sheepadoodle the view was limited. Misty air encompassed the world around me, rising off the river like a ghost slipping through the hallway of a haunted house leaving ethereal wisps of memory of its life gone by in its passing.

Beaumont the Sheepadoodle, oblivious to the mystical nature of the morning, padded along the grass looking for just the right spot to make his presence known.

I stood in awe.

I love foggy mornings.

Especially when they include two Canada Geese landing on our upper deck railing and taking up temporary (I think) residence. At this point, as I type, they have been standing and sitting and navigating the limited space of the pots for about an hour and a half. Which means, it has taken me that long to write this post as I have been intermittently typing and watching and taking photos and waiting and hoping to catch them lifting off.

At one point, I opened the deck door to try to get a better photo. One of them hissed at me so I quickly retreated.

Geese, I have concluded, are masters of mindfulness. They can sit and stand in stillness for long periods of time. They out-wait me.

I’m good with that. Add them to the robins who are busily building multiple nests in the beams above our lower deck and I feel surrounded by an aviary of wild things.

Mystical, magical nature unfolding its wings.

And through it all, Beau ignores the geese and instead, lays at my feet looking out the window directly towards the river. He is keeping watch over the the bird feeder along our back fence. To no avail. The squirrel has once again completed a successful raid of its seed.

The chickadees hop on the ground pecking at the droppings.

The fog has lifted.

The day has begun.

And the geese still out-wait me.

Until finally….. I wake C.C. up to come and help me get the goose to fly away — He took the string of bells hanging from the front doorknob and started ringing them. The goose was undeterred until C.C. stepped out onto the deck…

Fact is, while I think it’s lovely they came to visit, we would like to use our deck this spring and summer. Plus… I really do want to plant my herbs! I know… it’s all about me. 🙂

Update…. The goose came back… I think she likes it here!

David Kanigan! This one’s for you! To read a beautiful, poignant story about a goose and its eggs, visit – Walking. It Ain’t Disney on the Sabbath.

To live and let live.

Learning to Fly art journal 2 page spread – mixed media

It is back. This need to check the data every day. To scan news headlines for what’s happening now in a world that seems hellbent on conflict and destruction.

It was gone for awhile, this need. I wanted it to stay away. Yet here it is again. Unbidden. Uninvited. Unwanted.

So I shift my approach to dealing with its presence. Instead of searching for data and world events, I read articles on post-pandemic life. I seek advice on how to step out into the world, without being riddled with anxiety and guilt, once critical mass on vaccinations is reached and restrictions can be safely lifted.

And then, I dip into one of my social media feeds and feel discouragement rising like the third-wave surge of sickness and death. How will we ever arrive at a post-pandemic world when there are those who believe wearing a mask is a sign of weakness? That following restrictions is sheep-like behaviour destined to transform one into a lemming falling over a cliff?

I turn off my social media feeds. I step back from the edge of the abyss where I feel myself getting pulled into the undertow of a debate that feeds my anxiety and drives me deeper into the data as if somehow, somewhere, some number will help make sense of it all and send this virus packing and stop this ‘us versus them’ debate.

One of my aunts, who lives in southern India, has only been out of her apartment once in over a year. She is tired. Anxious. Frustrated. Worried. When she phones, I can feel her loneliness ringing in my ears with every word she rattles off in her rapid-fire French about how limited her life has become through these months and months of Covid. “But what can I do?” she asks without waiting for an answer from me. “To stay alive I must stay at home but I am so lonely.”

Her two remaining siblings live in France as do the majority of her nieces and nephews. She cannot travel to visit any of us nor can we travel to visit her. “I have a dream to come and visit you one more time in Canada before I go,” she tells me. I tell her I want her dream to come true.

And so, together, we wait for the world to right itself. For vaccination counts to surpass the 75% mark. For sickness and death counts to plummet.

Three weeks ago my youngest daughter and her partner became statistics in the Covid case count. They are two of the over 146.8 million of the reported cases as of yesterday’s count. Fortunately, while they said they’d never felt so sick, they did not succumb to the virus as my cousin Linda did in Paris last spring. They have recovered and stayed on the life side of the ledger. Linda is one of the over 3.1 million who did not.

And here’s the thing. They are not ‘cases’ or a number on an ever-increasing count. They are my loved ones. Just as the other 146.6 million reported cases were someone else’s loved ones.

Which is why I will do whatever it takes to keep my loved ones safe. I will get vaccinated. I will wear a mask. Keep my distance. Stay sequestered with my beloved whose lungs, should he become infected, might not be able to withstand the viruses onslaught. We have only received the first vaccination and while the risk and severity are lowered, they still exist. .

And sure, there are those who would call me a sheep. Who would rally against my precautions in the name of their rights.

I get it.

Masks can be annoying. Keeping away from human contact challenging and depressing. There are still many unknowns. Still too much uncertainty and question marks and confusion over so many unknowns. And the unknown and uncertainty breeds anxiety. It feeds fear.

But certain things remain known. Masks work. Keeping safe physical distance works. Being vaccinated is a better safeguard than not being vaccinated.

The virus will not go away on its own. But if it can’t find enough hosts to keep replicating itself, it will eventually lose its grip and fade out. (I know that’s not a scientific explanation but it makes sense to me.)

Just as doing the right thing, whether I like it or not, makes sense to me too. It’s for the sake of myself, my loved ones and for all of us.

And in my world, doing the right thing is never the wrong thing to do.

Which means, I must do the right thing for myself today. I must lovingly wean myself away from diving deep into statistics, into watching news feeds for world catastrophes and natural and manmade disasters, from scrolling social media feeds urging me to cherish my rights over the right to life of all humanity.

I cherish my right to life. I cherish the right to life of all human beings on this planet.

And so, I breathe and say a prayer for all humanity.

May we find a way to survive this latest surge without tearing our humanity apart.

May we find a way to honour one another, to show tolerance and grace in the face of adversity and differing views.

May we all remember we do not have a guidebook on how to behave during a pandemic. That we are all struggling with the knowns and unknowns. We all feel the fear and anxiety. We all feel the constraints.

And may we all remember, we all want to live in our own way.

May we all live to tell the story of our survival.

Namaste.

_________________________

This post was inspired by an article in the New York Times shared by David Kanigan at Live and Learn. Thanks David!

Lost In Nature

I wrote this poem as part of National Poetry Month as well as in response to this week’s prompt at Eugi’s Causerie to “Go where the prompt leads you and publish a post on your own blog that responds to the prompt. It can be any variation of the prompt and/or image. Please keep it family friendly. Prompts close 7 days from the close of my post.”

To inspire you, I’ve included the prompt “Dance” along with the photo, Eugi’s beautiful haiku and a quote from Maya Angelou below –

dance with harmony
and let cosmos rid chaos
stars sway in moonlight

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” – Maya Angelou

Prompts such as this are a fun way to stretch your creative muscles and to discover other bloggers.

I do hope you check out the offerings that are linked over at Eugi’s Causerie — and maybe… just maybe… you’ll be inspired to dance with words and images too! I hope so!

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Accidents Happen

On Monday, the wind blew fierce through the trees where Beaumont the Sheepadoodle and I walk.

It was scary.

As we walked, my body bent forward into the wind, I wondered… on days like today, does the wind blow so fierce because the trees want to dance with wild abandon?

Do they plead with the wind as it blows through their branches telling the stories it has gathered on its travels around the world?… “We’re tired of being rooted to the ground,” the trees wail. “Tired of just holding your stories in our branches. We want to live them. Feel them. Dance with them. Come, blow fierce and mighty through our branches. Let us bend and bow, swirl and sway as we devour every drop of wonder you carry in your mighty breath.”

And does the wind, heeding the calling of the trees’ desire to dance wild and free, rise up and howl in delight, as the trees throw all caution to the wind and dance with abandon in the ecstasy of the wind’s breath?

I decided not to throw caution to the wind and shortened our walk. The threat of being hit by a falling tree limb separating itself from the canopy of naked limbs dancing above was high. Prudence was the name of the game.

The next morning, as I got ready for our walk and closed the door of my bedroom closet, it hit me.

Literally. The door hit me in the forehead. It was propelled by our dresser mirror which, since moving into this house three years ago, had not been mounted to the two wooden bars that should/could/would have kept it in place.

We’d known the movers hadn’t reattached it. Didn’t seem like a big deal. It was relatively stable resting on the dresser. Until it wasn’t.

It’s a big mirror. The force of it hitting the door knocked me to the floor. It also resulted in a gash and lump on my forehead as well as a black eye.

Fortunately, I broke its fall. I’m sure my mother would have said (she was extremely superstitious) that breaking a mirror that size would have required more prayers than even she could have managed!

After two days of doing little, I feel a little more normal this morning – though I won’t be driving to Vancouver as planned to help my daughter and family.

This accident could have been easily prevented had the mirror been properly attached.

But then, many accidents can be prevented.

It’s just, sometimes, we don’t take care of the small things which, left to their own devices, can become big things.

Like a mirror falling on my head and giving me a black eye and a scar to remember it by.

Time to refocus, reassess, restore balance.

Time for a time out…. Perhaps, now that the wind has stopped, I’ll go lie in the winter dry grasses under the canopy of filigreed branches that stretch up towards the sky seeking the sun’s warmth.

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I haven’t had the capacity to focus on writing the past couple of days.

However, as April is “National Poetry Month” and this month’s theme is ‘resilience’ I wanted to start the month off right with a poem – my intent is to write a poem a day for the month – I am not committing myself to it. I am allowing myself to simply be present within the intention – body, mind and spirit – allowing it to happen, or not.

I did however, want to honour the wind and trees and their dance…

Wild, the wind blows fierce
Naked limbs dance in delight
Birds seek safe harbor.

And…. this post is also a response to the weekly prompt posted at Eugi’s Causerie.

The prompt is to use the word ‘canopy’ in any of its forms, in a post.

To read more, and to participate — please do check out the blog — it is full of delightfully delicious words and images and ideas to set your mind a wandering and your spirits soaring.

Where The Wild Things Fly

From the 2 page spread for No. 7 & 8 of 20 Attitudes and Actions to Help You Live the Life of Your Dreams.

7.       Let courage draw you to the edge and passion lift you up
8.       Close your eyes, imagine the feeling of flight – repeat often

Mother Nature is the most amazing partner. When we invite her to be our mentor, our guide, our co-creator of possibilities, miracles and magic happen all around.

Thanks to Mother Nature and a Bald Eagle yesterday, I played in the field of possibilities of my Learning to Fly list of Attitudes and Actions – and was rewarded with miracles, magic and a whole lot of laughter!

In my studio, I spent much of the afternoon into the evening working on the spread for No. 7 & 8 of my 20 Attitudes and Actions.

  1. Let courage draw you to the edge and passion lift you up
  2. Close your eyes, imagine the feeling of flight – repeat often

Just before taking Beaumont the Sheepadoodle for his late afternoon walk, I made a spaghetti sauce so dinner would be easy. C.C. is engrossed in the hockey season as the teams near making it to the Playoffs. Or not, as the case seems to be he tells me for the Flames, our hometown team.

I was engrossed in creativity. Both, working on items on my list as well as creating in my art journal.

Win/win when dinner is easy and relatively ‘mess-less’. I tell you all that because, it all plays into the miracles and magic of the evening. As we sat at the island eating and chatting, C.C. looked out the window and said, “There’s a Bald Eagle sitting in one of the trees.”

I was so excited, I immediately jumped up from the table, grabbed my phone and raced out onto the deck.

The eagle from our deck.

He was quite a ways away, and there were lots of branches blocking my view.

But I soooo wanted to catch him in his moment of taking flight.

So I waited. And waited. But he seemed quite content sitting on his branch. Have you ever tried to outwait a Bald Eagle? It ain’t easy.

Over dinner, I kept darting out onto the deck to see if I could capture him. After we’d tidied up, I went downstairs to my studio and decided, ‘what the heck’. If the eagle’s still there, I am going to outwait him.

Without bothering to put shoes or coat on, I dashed out the French doors of my studio, onto the back lawn and raced along the fence-line until I was relatively close to the eagle’s perch.

Did I mention we’ve had snow the last couple of days? While most of it is gone the backyard is either covered in snow or wet and soggy. I was wearing Birkenstocks. At least I had socks on! (I know. Such an elegant look. Right?)

Anyways. I waited. And waited some more. And then…. it happened….

You’ll have to watch the short (40sec) video of what happened to find out! It’s at the bottom of this post.

I know. Such a tease.

But I am so very grateful for Mother Nature’s gift of flight.

Absolutely divine!

Oh. And btw… The laughter part of the miracles and magic, that’s at the end of the video. you’ll see. 🙂 C.C. howled when I showed it to him. I hope you do too!

Flight of the Bald Eagle.

The Only Mask I Need

I am meditating on the question, “What has this time of Covid and its slivers and shivers of fear running through every thought, action, moment have to teach me?”

My facile mind wants to answer, “I don’t know.”

The wise woman within asks, “If you did know what would you know?”

I know that at the beginning of Covid’s restrictions, when people said, “Be safe” I’d wonder, what on earth does safety have to do with these times? Be well. Be healthy. Take care. Those make sense to me. But safety?

I wear my arrogance like a mask as if donning it will keep me safe from feeling afraid.

Over the past year of sequestered solitude, of spending time exploring grief and loss, silence and solitude, I’ve learned that safety isn’t about just the physicality of my life. It’s the whole shebanga. It’s feeling safe in my heart, my body, my mind, my spirit. It’s all of me and trusting that ‘all of me’ to be enough to keep me safe from self-harm as well as external danger.

At the beginning, I thought saying, ‘be safe’ was just instilling fear into everyone’s minds. I thought wearing a mask would make me look foolish.

Yet there I was, wearing masks of my own hubris, separating me from feeling the fear that would allow me to recognize the truth.

I needed fear to ensure I did the right things during this time. I needed that fear to compel me and inspire me to take actions to safeguard my health as well as my beloved’s and the health and well-being of those I love and care for. My family, friends, community.

Fear, in the time of Covid, is a great motivator. It doesn’t immobilize me. It mobilizes me to take right actions.

I am freefall writing and smiling as I write.

The gift of freefall writing is its capacity to allow the words to flow out my fingertips without engaging my mind in their creation.

It is a process rife with uncertainty.

Uncertainty is good for my soul. My hubris. It brings me back to the centre of who I am when I let go of wearing the masks of attitudes that do not serve me.

I used arrogance as my protection. It did not serve me well.

Arrogance is not a great dance partner. It assumes it knows better, can do better and create better than those who are doing the hard work of doing and creating better.

I want to stop and go back and edit. I know that’s just fear talking.

Will I be revealing too much if I let this post stand as written? Will I look… foolish?

Ah yes. The fear of looking foolish.

Such an inhibitor. Such a waste of energy, time, life.

Looking foolish is good for me. It keeps me playing in the field of possibility. It keeps me testing boundaries, pushing myself outside my comfort zone, moving beyond the edges of what I tell myself I know, into the bottomless mystery of all I don’t know about myself, the world around me, life itself.

I am freefall writing and letting my words stand as what has appeared in this moment.

I am awakening uncertainty to claim my right to be, Me.

And I am letting go of the masks I wear that I tell myself will keep me safe.

The only mask I need to feel safe and be safe in this world today is the one that protects me and the world around me from Covid’s sinister reach.

Namaste.

Every morning I walk the same path.

Every morning I walk the same path from our home, to the river, to the park and back.

Every morning, I turn left at the end of our driveway, take the next three quick rights and then follow the path as it curves down to the left passing under the bridge to meander along the river’s edge to the park.

Every morning I walk the same path. Every morning is never the same.

Some mornings, the remains of an overnight snow cover the path.

Other mornings, yesterday’s melt has frozen overnight. I must watch out for icy patches as I walk.

Sometimes, the difference is in the sky. Some mornings, it is clear blue or dotted with a few fluffy white tendrils of vapour. Other mornings sheets of grey cover its expanse.

Some mornings, a squirrel will cross my path and Beaumont the Sheepadoodle will tug at the leash, eager to play chase.

Other mornings, a jogger will run past. And then another. One will nod their head and throw out a cheerful “Good morning” as they jog past.  Another will keep running by, eyes lowered or focused on some distant spot straight ahead.

Some mornings, like this morning, the Angel in a Canary Yellow Coat and I will cross paths. She will always greet me with some fact, like this morning’s where she told me she walks up and down the hill 15 times every morning. “It’s my 15,600 steps a day,” she said. “It’s what you have to do once you pass 65. 15,600 steps. You’ll see.” I do not tell her I am familiar with passing 65. Nor that the number is 10,000. I do not want to disrupt her stride.

Same path. Always different.

Unless I walk it with all my senses, all my body closed-off to the beauty and wonder all around me. On those mornings, the path is dull, my journey a monotony of numbered steps passing through my head as Beaumont tugs at the leash hurrying me along.

On those mornings, I miss the beauty of the trees standing in silent communion with the sky. I miss the geese floating on the river. The waves constantly coercing the ice that clings tightly to the shoreline to come flow with it, home, to the distant sea. The sunlight dancing on the water reminding me of the stories of the Fairy Dancers I used to make up for my daughters when they were young.

On those mornings, I cannot hear the quiet steady beating of my heart. The silken touch of the air caressing my cheeks. The way my body feels light and lithe as I walk.

Every morning I walk the same path.

Always, I have a choice in how I travel this path.

With mind and body closed off to the sights and sounds of morning awakening beneath Nature’s tender touch. Or, heart and body awakened to the beauty of the day, the rising of the sun, the caress of the wind, the breath of nature unfolding in the world around me connecting me within all of nature.

Every morning I walk the same path. Every morning is never the same.

____________________________

Yesterday, David Kanigan at Live & Learn shared a post and a poem that moved me. Earlier, when I’d been walking along the river, I’d been thinking of how I always take the same path and still it’s always different.

And then I read David’s post about walking the same route every morning and taking photographs for the past 291 days. His photos are beautiful. His words exquisite and the whisper of my path, my walk kept rippling out.

Thanks David for the inspiration to keep exploring the idea that the path is always the same but what I experience is always an invitation to step into the wonder and beauty and find my way home to my heart.

Musings on a Cold Winter’s Morning

I had my hopes up. I was excited.

And then I checked the weather before taking Beaumont for his early morning walk. Still cold. -30C with windchill (-22F)

Dang. The weather folk said it would be warmer today. Now I’ve got to wait another day?

Nothing to do but do what I always do when it’s this cold. Bundle up. Go outside. Savour the beauty of the morning.

And that’s the thing. No matter how cold it is outside, dressing for the weather means I can enjoy the fresh morning air. I can enjoy the sound my boots make crunching on the snow and how the crisp air wakens all my senses. And, when Beau has done his business and we have crossed the bridge to get to the garbage can on the other side and turned around for the homeward journey, we return to a warm toasty home.

Inside, I give Beau a treat, make myself a latte and sit down at my desk in front of the big window over looking the river. The furnace hums. Beau stretches out on the chaise beside me and C.C. sleeps in our bedroom on the other side of the house. All is well with my world.

Outside, the sky is getting lighter. The trees stand in silent majesty along the riverbank separating our yard from the river’s wide expanse. Between the two shores and the huge ice island that has formed in the centre of the river, water flows. In the streak of light cast from the streetlight at the farside of the bridge Beaumont and I walked across earlier, the water shimmers and dances.

I breathe. Deeply. I allow my conscious mind to sink deep, deep into my belly where every breath in and out is an invitation to release myself to this present moment. Embodied in its wonder I sink deeper into the knowing of all that is and all that connects me to the mysterious beauty of life unfolding all around and within me.

Eyes still closed, I raise my fingertips to my keyboard and begin to type. I feel…

 I feel…
 my heart beat
 slowing
 my mind
 emptying
 my thoughts
 drifting away

 I feel…
 this moment
 teeming with life
 ever expanding
 out, out, out into the universe around me

 I feel…
 peace
 calm
 joy
 settle deep within me

 I feel
 at one
 connected
 present
 alive
 in this moment
 right now

I feel
complete 

Try it.

All you need is your laptop open in front of you, or a notepad and pen at the ready.

Let yourself sink deep into the quiet. Take a deep breath in, out. Close your eyes. Keep breathing. Keep sinking. Deeper. Deeper. Keep breathing. Imagine your conscious mind sinking, deeper, deeper into your body until it comes to settle in the well of your pelvic bowl. That deep mysterious, magical place full of your creative essence.

Now, eyes still closed… pick up your pen or raise your fingertips to your computer keyboard. Don’t worry about spelling. punctuation. sentence structure. just type/write. Don’t think. Just be present to whatever your belly mind wants to express.

Let go of judgement. Thinking about what to write. Just let the words flow.

Write until you’re empty. Complete.

And when you’re done, open your eyes. Take a deep breath and read whatever you’ve written.

Don’t judge. Don’t criticize. Don’t let your body go all tight and embarassed. Expand it. Loosen your shoulders. Relax.

And savour what spilled out onto the page.

And then, turn the page.

Life continues.

_____________________________________

I wrote a love poem yesterday. It’s for you and me and everyone.

If you’d like to read/see it, I’ve put it on my poetry blog – A Poetry Affair. It’s a gift from my heart to yours. Click HERE