Yesterday, I finally had the opportunity to head out to the stores and pick up some bedding plants. Very exhilarating for us Canadians who have endured one of the seemingly longest winters ever! Not exhilarating for one’s pocketbook exactly, BUT the results pay off in spades all summer long (well, hopefully, if my thumbs stay green) and are well worth it in my opinion.
I don’t know about you, but there is something soulful about waking up to and enjoying the sights of various plants/flowers in one’s yard? Simply looking at the vibrant blooms Infuses a sense of happiness similar to a person’s first bit of delectable cheesecake, spilling over with fresh strawberries and sauce–NOTHING beats that first bite, right?!
Out of curiosity, I decided to look up WHY it is that flowers seem to have such an intoxicating effect on us and I came across this link on a fellow bloggers’ site. In her easy-to-read article, Niwa alludes to accelarated healing, increased purpose and motivation, as well as increased energy and performance. In another finding, Dr. Jonathan S. Kaplan who writes about urban mindfulness for Psychology Today, cites that there are “several research studies related to the positive impact of nature on the human condition. Having plants, going for a walk in the park, or even looking at a landscape poster could produce psychological benefits, reduce stress, and improve concentration.” Dr. Kaplan mentions that owning simple houseplants has been known to lower blood pressure, increase attentiveness and improve well-being. Good reasons to become a plant-lover, if not already one.
In fact, a simple web search reveals that there are a lot of studies citing the many positive effects that our co-dependent living species provides to us, separate from the obvious O2/CO2 exchange that we first learned about in school. And, for those of us who enjoy gardening, it doesn’t take much convincing on our end to see and feel the joys of it all:-).
The decision was unbearable, the reality inconceivable. What would I do now? How would I go on? My world was/would be forever changed…
The tearful drive home was a blur. It was 5AM, three years ago to this day. I didn’t know if I was coming or going. The rain didn’t seem to either. I really just wanted to curl up and hope for a miracle such that all would be well and he would come back to me again. But, I knew better and that’s what hurt the most. He and I were finally separated after spending nearly seventeen years together–he was always “Two Steps Behind“, my buddy, my companion, my lifelong friend through it all–it just wasn’t right. It would NEVER be right again.
While I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and hide from the world forever, I dreaded the idea of opening up our garage door that led inside. Inside to what? It wouldn’t be home anymore. And, it was exactly as I had feared. After hanging up my coat, I slumped down on the stool by our front door. It was the loudest silence EVER and I hated it! No jingling sound, no panting…no Duke. The ensuing feeling of literal and figurative emptiness took me aback and suddenly the saying, “The life was sucked out of me” was all too real. The walls, the floor, the ceiling used to come alive with his energy, even for an old fella, and now everything seemed limp, barren and soooo eerily quiet. Too quiet. I’ve never known quiet like that before. I wept even harder. More than the sheets of rain outside. ‘See?’ Even the world knew that it was a day for mourning the passing of my dear shepherd cross pup lovingly named Duke.
I tried sleeping, but I couldn’t. How could I rest when he wasn’t here anymore? So, I did what I am doing now. I wrote. It was the only solace I knew. I wrote a tribute to him. He needed to know how much I loved him and how much he meant to me and how much I would miss him and still do. That story became our book. The book about how him and I grew up together. The book about the ‘bestest doggy’ ever that a blonde girl could want for. The dog with the softest ears and the biggest heart–the heart that opened me up to the notion of what unconditional love really meant. The dog that brought me to our home out in the country and to a husband who, like him, loves me unconditionally. For that, I am fur-ever grateful to him:-).
After writing all day, recounting some of our countless memories together leaving some of them off of the paper for just him and I to have and to hold, the daylong rain stopped. A Reprieve. And, sure enough…out came the sun, along with most vivid double rainbow that either my husband or I have ever witnessed. It was a sign. It had to be. We both felt it. With it, the silence softened, the emptiness lifted and the world seemed okay again. He had made his journey. He was okay. We would be okay. I would be okay, thanks to him once again:-).
“Bye, Dukie. Love you! Have a good day. See you when I get home.”
Seeds neatly planted side by side,
Little white markers there to guide,
Each tidy row holds a promise,
Especially such plants which are dicotyledonous,
Soil, water, sun, and heat,
Earthly goodnesss that is hard to beat,
One day at a time, we shall wait and see,
The fruits of our labour that will surely be:-).
Camping is spiritually, socially, emotionally and physically re-awakening for my soul! It just is. Plain and simple. As soon as we hit the road, the longing inside me to be ‘at one with nature’ is immediately soothed. The fresh, clean air, the familiar chirping sounds, the soft rustling of leaves, our roaring campfires–all of it comes back to me like a favourite, childhood blanket that is most certainly welcome after the long winter’s lull.
There is something significant about the first road trip of the season, as pictured above, when we get to officially declare that we are free from the white, snowy, cold thralls of Mother Nature to engage in her softer, greener side. Well, kinda….the truth is that there have been many a May Long Weekend here in Canada when I have camped in the snow and cold, but this past weekend was a glorious one full of warm temperatures and sparkling sunlight. It was truly a beaut! And, the best part of our camping trip was that it was, once again, shared with loved ones and friends at our family lake lot–the proverbial cherry on top, if you will, as I am silently grateful that we are all here and healthy enough to enjoy another summer together camping and fishing. While our first outing is freshly behind us, already a memory to be treasured, I eagerly await the next trip soon to be enjoyed.
The images in my rearview mirror are sharper than before and my windshield is more wide open than ever!
One of the things that we love about travelling is that you can find inspiration in the simplest of places. During our last stay in Las Vegas at the Wynn Hotel, our room had a replica print of Picasso’s ‘Head of a Woman’ and I was in awe at how simplistic, yet expressive the lines are/were. It was then that I decided that I would someday soon try emulating his genius work. Given that my drawing skills lack more than lustre, I knew that I was delving into dangerous territory, but nonetheless here is a comparison of his work and my own.
Not too shabby of an attempt if I do say so myself, but certainly some room for improvement. (Clearly, the mouth gave me the most difficulty.) The good news is that in choosing to draw a Picasso, one cannot go too far wrong given that his portraits, in particular, were well-known for having distorted features leaving amateurs like me to feel somewhat successful, even with some evident faux-pas. While this illustration likely won’t make it on our living room wall, its essence is rooted in, “Never say never!”