Bird in Nest. Do Not Disturb.

The view from our bedroom window

She sits, still and enigmatic as a full moon glowing in the dark. Patiently, she waits for nature to take its course.

I watch, constantly peeking through the slats in the blinds at the kitchen window I never drew, until she arrived. Impatient for nature to take its course.

Her nest is an architectural marvel. Securely fashioned into the wire rungs of the spring wreath I hung on our front door to welcome guests.

She is the most welcome guest. As are her two blue eggs nestled into the nest she crafted of moss and leaves and twigs and forest debris.

The front door is off limits now. Guests are invited to enter through our garage door, into the laundry room, down the hall to the main room. (I really must get that basket of clean laundry put away!)

I’ve hung a sign on a rope strung from the handle of a large lantern that sits on the far corner of our front doorsteps to the planter that sits at the edge of the walkway beside the stairs leading down to the backyard deck. “Bird in Nest. Do not disturb. Thank you!”

I wonder if she realizes the sacrifices we’ve made to give her peace. I smile at my use of the word ‘sacrifice’. It is anything but. She feels like a gift from Mother Nature. As I said to my beloved last night after my final peek through the blinds to ensure she was settled in for the night, “I’m so glad she thinks our home is safe for her to nest here.”

It is the third year we’ve had a robin use our home as its nesting site. The other two were tucked into the rafters above the bottom deck. They were easy prey for the magpies and crows who frequent the neighbourhood too.

This nest is easy for me to help protect from predators. I watch incessantly for marauding crows or magpies on the hunt. The minute I see one, or hear the squawking of the robin and her mate, I race to the window, adding my voice to the cacophony.

I think the crows and magpies are terrified of this woman on the other side of the glass who flaps her arms and screams loudly, ‘Get Away!’.

I hope so.

There’s lots for them to eat in the band of forest that separates our yard from the river behind our home. They don’t need to poach eggs from our guest.

I do not know if there are more than the two eggs in her nest now. I only risked the one photo as I didn’t want to disturb her nest building. As robins lay one egg a day, it’s possible she laid a couple more eggs before she settled in to incubate her hatch.

I don’t know how much longer she will be resident at our front door. It could be three or four weeks. What I do know is that C.C. and I are agreed. The door is hers until she and her fledglings take flight.

It’s nature’s way of reminding us to slow down. Be still. Be patient. And above all, be caring of all creatures, big and small.

In the meantime, I shall do my best to not keep peeking through the slats of the blinds I’ve drawn to give her privacy and to help her feel safe.

See Mother Nature. I am learning from you how to be present in this moment right now, connected to all of your creation around me.

Namaste

The No. 1 Rule (An SWB post)

Me: So…. I suppose you think that’s pretty clever…

Beaumont: What’s that?

Me: The toy you’ve torn apart.

Beau: What toy?

Me: The one between your paws.

Beau: It wasn’t a toy Louise.

Me: It wasn’t?

Beau: No!!! It was a pesky marauding invader masquerading as a stuffed sheep. I killed it dead so it wouldn’t infest our home with its nefarious ways.

To read the rest and learn how a torn-up toy becomes a lesson in following the No. 1 Rule, click HERE.

Saturday Share

I like to begin my morning with meditation.

It’s good for my world, my body – heart. soul. mind. belly. All of it and all of me and all of the world around me.

Yet, for the past while, I have been scattered in my approach to doing that which I know is good for me. Resistant to sitting in the quiet letting the disquiet within me become seen, known, heard, visible so that in its presence I could become present to it all, and so much more.

This morning, while responding to comments on yesterday’s blog, the lovely JoAnne, of JoAnne’s Rambling blog commented that she is so blessed.

Which inspired me to share the link to the wondrous Kerry Parson‘s collaboration with singer/songwriter, Amy Wood, We Are So Blessed, which brought me back to my meditation mat.

Sitting in the quiet, listening to the soft melodious notes of Amy’s piano, Kerry’s voice, Amy’s song I felt it – my heart’s desire to find its beat amidst the chaos, to find its melody amidst the discomfort, to find its rhythm amidst the unrest.

And, because I like to share things that create beauty, wonder, joy and awe in my life with all of you, I share it here again.

I am Alive. What a Beautiful Gift.

There’s a meme going around social media sites asking readers something like, “If you remember playing outside until the street lights came on, or, If you remember running barefoot in the yard and drinking out of the garden hose, or squishing the orange dot into the margarine that came in a bag…. then you had a great childhood. (or something like that)

We baby-boomers, we like to tell our offspring, had it good. Freedom to play outside without fearing strangers. Freedom to go to the park on our own, play on death-defying carousel thingies with metal bars without fearing we’d puke (’cause that would be so cool anyway!) or chip a tooth on the wooden teeter-totter with the metal handlebar – which I did but nobody seemed phased by the blood running out of my mouth as I ran across the cement to the swings that had metal seats and rusted chains, determined I’d finally be able to pump so hard I went all the way around over the top.

Without a parent or other adult around, there was no one around to tell me to stop — and I definitely wasn’t going to listen to my five years-older-than-me-brother who’d jumped off the teeter-totter while I was midair and precipitated my hard-landing and chipped tooth.

We baby-boomers had it good.

I wonder sometimes, where were our parents? Why did they give us so much freedom?

I don’t believe it wasn’t because they didn’t care, or thought the world was a super-safe place to be. They’d just come through WW2. How could they think that? How could they believe there weren’t dangers out there?

What I’ve come to believe is that they were war-weary. Tired-out from deprivation and rationing, tired-out by fearing would they or their loved ones get through it at all. Tired-out by wondering would it ever end.

And when it did end, they wanted to believe there was nothing to fear and so… they let their offspring, we the baby-boomers, run free as if we had not a care in the world as they continued to do what they’d always done, take care of business.

Busy building families, rebuilding towns and cities, homes and lives, busy trying to bury the past beneath the memories of all they’d seen and lost, they didn’t have time to go to the park or watch our every move or schedule our every second.

They were in survival mode. Mental health, PTSD, Trauma-informed practices weren’t yet a thing. All they could do was keep surviving.

Covid has led me to this awareness.

As the world struggles to open up again and we learn to adjust to living with its presence amongst us like a memory that refuses to fade-away, I am feeling the angst of wanting to let go of caution and run like that childhood me as if I have not a care in the world.

I am feeling the desire to pretend there is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Fact is, there is a lot in this world to fear – but…

Fear. Worry. They change nothing and, have an innate ability to grow stronger the more I give into their stealthy presence.

Running barefoot in the grass, lying on my back in the prairie grasses at the top of a hill, arms and legs spread wide simply to feel the sun and earth bathe me in glorious warmth. Singing my heart out amidst the trees or standing outside the grocery store singing a made-up song into the phone to my granddaughter simply to hear her laugh and not caring who hears. Throwing and smashing eggs on the rocks beneath the bridge as a train goes rumbling overhead and screaming at the top of my lungs…. now those things do change everything.

Because, in those things I am reminded, I am alive.

And isn’t that a beautiful gift.

Ebb and Flow. Flow and Ebb.

#fromwhereIsit #morningview

The river is flowing again. Fast. Free. Fluid. Spring melt ripens slowly.

The water level rises, centimetre by centimetre. Day by day. Where yesterday, the log-jammed up against one of the buttresses beneath the bridge was fully exposed, this morning, only ridges are available. Soon, as the snowmelt begins in earnest in the Rockies to the west, the water will submerge it and wash it away downstream.

For now, morning brings higher water levels. By dusk, the water will have receded a few centimeters. The cycle will continue day after day as I watch, sometimes with trepidation, its ever-increasing flow, wondering, how high will the waters come?

It is the gift and the angst of living on the Bow.

Years ago, along with 99 Calgarians chosen for Peter von Tiesenhausen’s Passage’s exhibition celebrating the Bow River, I released a small wooden boat (slightly bigger than my hand), carved with a number and message on its side, and set it adrift into the rushing waters of the River. Each of the 100 boats contained information for whoever found it on how to share the story of the boat’s discovery online.

I do not know where my boat was found, or if it was. I know many were. Many weren’t.

Perhaps, like the log stuck against the abutment, my boat landed in the weeds upstream from where it was launched and became buried in the silt of spring flooding.

Perhaps, it became waterlogged and lies at the bottom of the river in some distant tributary.

Or perhaps, it floated and drifted, following the current all the way to Lake Winnipeg into the Nelson River and onward to the Hudson’s Bay.

I like to imagine it did. I like to imagine it sailed out of the Bay into the Arctic Ocean to become frozen in time under the Tundra of the far north.

Perhaps.

Perhaps still, the patches of ice that stubbornly cling to the gravel bar further upstream will melt and somewhere on their journey, a current will find my boat, still and silent, waiting for its release in a marshland far to the east.

Perhaps.

The river, like time, does not flow backward. My boat, like memory, fades.

The sun struggles to reach the ice clinging to the shore.

Somedays, I struggle against the flow, just as some days I struggle to release the angst of these past two years.

Somedays, I release myself to the flow, allowing worry and angst, fear and sorrow to abate into the River’s constant flow.

Ebbing and flowing. Flowing and Ebbing. Life moves on as time passes.

No matter if I struggle or release, the river is in constant motion, life abounds all around and I am carried by the flow.

Whether I struggle or release, Love is always flowing.

It is my choice to struggle or to breathe into its constant flow trusting that no matter where I go, or where I become stuck or end my journey Love will always carry me through.

Namaste.

________

This is a video of the boat launch — if you look closely you’ll see me passing by the camera… 🙂

.

And So I Do

Silently, like a fir tree shaking off falling snow, I shed winter’s cloak and open my arms to spring’s warm embrace.

Breathing deep, I rejoice in longer days and the warmth of the sun falling upon my skin.

You are welcome here I whisper to the buds beginning to burst from the outstretched limbs of the trees dancing, still naked, in the sun. Fingers soft and gentle, I caress the fragile growth opening itself up to nature’s calling and smile joyfully in the connection. Here I am, I whisper. I see you. And the buds dance in delicate response to the spring air’s urging them to grow wild.

Life blossoms with its abundance.

I dance in gratitude.

Such a beautiful gift this life. This presence. These spring buds popping. The geese flying overhead. The grasses turning green. The river running free.

All of it, a gift.

Dance, Mother Nature calls. Dance.

And so I do.

And So I Do
©2022 Louise Gallagher

I feel the spring
air fresh
against my skin
calling me
to cast off
winter’s dark soul
filled journey
into the night
and rejoice
in the sun
drawing the days
out into the light.

I feel life
calling me
to dance.

And so I do.

L’Chaim! To Life!

Last night, as my beloved and I lay in bed reading, he suddenly asked, “Do you know what day tomorrow is?”

“Monday?” I glibly replied.

“Our anniversary,” he clarified with a laugh.

Well my goodness! Seriously?

Neither of us had noted the date.

For C.C., it’s partially because of being immersed in pulling together financing on a business deal. He gets consumed.

For me… well recent events have taken up a great deal of my mindspace. I just hadn’t realized how much until C.C. reminded me of the significance of this date.

As many who read here regularly know, C.C. was in hospital with pneumonia for 10 days at the beginning of the year.

His recovery has been slowed by the presence of COPD in his lungs which makes his breathing laboured. My thoughts have been consumed with making sure COVID doesn’t impede his recovery.

And then, a month ago, while I was in Vancouver, he fell and fractured three ribs. “They’re only bruised,” he told me. “No need to come home. I’ll be fine.”

Sisters surrounded by sisters

Fortunately, my youngest daughter was able to care for Beaumont as he tried to heal and my sister Jackie kept him supplied with food while I was away! It wasn’t until two days before my return that he went for an X-ray and discovered his ribs weren’t bruised but fractured — no wonder moving was almost impossible. All of which has made his breathing even more laboured.

Colour me worried, ’cause I am.

Worried he’ll catch COVID. Worried his breathing will not improve. Worried…

Charlie’s Angels

Add the passing of my dear friend Andrew and I’m hoping you get the picture… my mind is not a calm and clear view of distant horizons and shimmering seas of peaceful waters capable of holding thoughts of health and well-being and death and living alongside dates of note.

The fact is… I have been feeling overwhelmed by it all. Not just these recent events but the whole landscape of this world where war and disease and climate events march in seemingly unending waves of turbulent thoughts engulfing my peace of mind.

It’s time to find my centre, my middle ground as Val Boyko calls it. It’s time to breathe into the chaos and worry to remind myself of that which is always present, always the answer… LOVE

Tolstoy wrote, “Love is life.  All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”

On this, our 7th Wedding Anniversary, I choose to consciously release worry and fear, sadness and sorrow, to celebrate all that makes my life so rich and vibrant, all that creates such beautiful meaning and joy in everyday.

Our love. Our commitment. Our union. Our marriage.

I can’t change the course of war or disease. I am not powerful enough to cure or heal all the woes of the world.

What I have the power to do is to ensure my own world is filled with all that creates better in this world. Beauty. Art. Joy. Compassion. LOVE.

Today, I celebrate US as I surrender all fear and fall with grace into the eternal source of it all… LOVE.

l’chaim! to LIFE!

We are all refugees

I wonder sometimes how my uncles and aunts felt when they left the land of their birth in search of a new land to call home.

India was no longer a welcoming place for them. Their passports, language, customs were French with a melange of Indian culture thrown in. Their father and his father had all been born in India, as had many centuries of their maternal line. Raised in the then French protectorate of Pondicherry, none of them had ever visited France.

When India reclaimed its independence, they had to make a choice – stay and give up their French citizenship. Or leave. Most of them left for the next closest French protectorate, Vietnam.

At first, Vietnam was a safe haven. But then, war broke out and they were forced to flee.

Like many refugees around the world who run grasping battered suitcases and broken promises, they wanted peace. Not war.

Eventually, they mostly settled in France. Even though their skin was a beautiful blend of white and brown, it was easy to ‘fit in’. French was their first language. Their schooling had followed the French curriculum and even though they blended cultures into a beautiful Euro-Asian tapestry, they were Catholic. They knew the rituals and the faith of their new ‘home’ land. Few questioned their pedagogy, though some of my relations, particularly those whose skin was darker than their neighbours, faced discrimination at times.

Some struggled. Others thrived. Others, like my mother, never let go of their love for India, her Shangri-la as she called it.

The heat, the smells, the vegetation, the food, the singsong of Hindi and Tamil voices, the raucous chattering of monkeys in the yellow neon palms and bougainvillea that surrounded their home, ran through her blood like a strand of DNA that could never be altered.

In some ways my mother lived her life as a refugee yearning always to return to the land of her birth if only to hear the sounds of the ocean lapping against the shores she loved so much.

As news of more refugees fleeing Eastern Ukraine fills my newsfeeds, I am reminded of the stories I heard of my mother’s family’s flight from Inida to France. They faced an uncertain future. They endured bombs falling and lives crumbling before finally reaching ‘home’.

And though a few have remained in India, few of those who left returned to take up residence in the land of their birth, the land where both my maternal and paternal grandparents are buried. My cousins in France all return to India for visits. They all have a deep connection to the beauty of the land. But they always return home to France.

I think of the refugees fleeing their homes, carrying their children in tired arms, fearing that each step could be their last. Fearing they might never be able to return as they race ahead of the bombs into an uncertain future.

And my heart breaks and my mind swirls with thoughts of when will we ever learn? When will this destruction of our humanity, this killing of our fellow human beings stop?

And I cannot find an answer.

There is no answer in war. Just as there is no peace. For, with every mother’s son or daughter killed we risk seeding germs of hate and anger that will grow into endless branches of conflict and unrest.

And so, to no longer be a refugee of my own heart, I return to the origin of it all. To Love. For while there is no peace in war, there is always love. Waiting… Patiently. Steadfastly. Always.

Love for our humanity is all that will save us now.

Let us all remember love is present. Love is always the answer even in war.

Namaste.

It is the Season

It is the Season
©2022 Louise Gallagher

It is the season
of budding
open

new growth 
bursting

soft 
as downy feathers
on a gosling’s breast
full 
of life

flourishing
unfolding
beneath sun-soaked days
stretched out

along the sands

of time
slipping effortlessly
away

from winter’s  grasp
erasing all memory
of long dark nights

spent
yearning
for spring 
to awaken
with its promise

of life
circling back

into itself
again and again.