Tag Archives: thinking

Birds of Spring

Preface:

The love for spring and birds and all things beautiful prompted me to write this – the robin started it all and the progression to put the words to page ended up including thoughts about my mom. Both of us are spring babies and the appreciation she had for nature inspired me to follow paths where the wild things live. I am not brave. I fear death. Yet in my own way, I am an explorer and an adventurous soul. I am not sad. I am merely reflecting on beautiful thoughts that still bring tears.

*****

RobinWe sat on the back deck under the umbrella and chatted. We cradled ceramic mugs adorned with images of birds. The hot tea warmed us and cool spring breezes washed over us like whispered conversation. We had grown comfortable with the sporadic comments and the pleasurable silence that punctuated our early Saturday morning visit. The sun was still to our right but would soon be to our backs as we sat in shade of the house. Bundled in large knit sweaters, we settled back in the canvas chairs, sipping green tea and warming our hands. Overhead, crisscrossing jet trails cut the wild blue yonder into slices of pie.

“Why do they have to mess up the beautiful sky?” she would ask. We always looked up watching for birds and small planes and whatever else the countryside might offer. I knew she loved the view from the deck at the back of her house. The jet trails were something we always noticed and talked about. It was something we often speculated about – was it weather related air current type stuff, or was it a conspiracy to create cloud when there was none, or was it just because it was what jets do at a high altitude. Whatever the reason, it would come to be my way of knowing she was always with me – perhaps, even her way of showing support wherever I might be and whatever I might be doing. The jet contrails and the birds of spring, both beautiful and meaningful in their own way, are a necessary part of how I was able to move forward without her.

Because of her love for nature and her little house in the country, I began to take more notice of those things around me that drew me to her. Yellow eyed daisies growing in white waves always remind me of her, because they grew wild in her yard and as the years went by there were more and more of them. I see every full moon and remember her calls to me, “Did you see the moon?” I watch for the geese and their return to the northern climes after a long migration. Then in the fall when they coo and swoop in large masses collecting their formations way up high amongst the clouds, I regret their leaving just as I regret hers.

Winter was beginning to be unbearable and the worry about her living alone is one thing that weighed as heavy as the snow on her little roof. She did not relish moving into the Park to be closer to the civilized world; it was not in her destiny to move into any kind of senior’s residence, either. The fates took care of that concern, although I would have shoveled her driveway forever and took care of her when the time came. It didn’t come, though. Her journey was not with that kind of finish.

This year I noticed the robins more and their activity around me. It seems there a few around who accompany me on my day. One makes its home in the eaves above my apartment window and you can hear it singing in the still early morning. One stopped for a picture on a post outside my cabin window while I was in Jasper and another hopped up to the truck for a picture while I sat in the parking lot at Miette Hot Springs. Yet another hopped closer and closer while I loaded the truck with books this past weekend.

Everyone deals with loss in different ways. Recognizing the little things we used to talk about and remembering the things she loved is how I am able to move forward. Writing these words helps, too – as I am able now to express them from my heart without pain tearing into them before I even have a chance to put them to the page. The test would be to read them out loud – although I am sure I could attempt it, one never knows how one’s emotions are going to interfere at any given time. The wound is deep and will never going to go away, but it is healed over, protected from outside exposure.

*****

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” ~ Langston Hughes

 

2 Comments

Filed under On Life, On Thinking, On Writing

January 2, 2015 – 30 day Photo / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge

January 30-day Photography / Blog Word / Freeing the Creative Spirit Challenge   

Day 2 >> What You Wore

It is amazing the places the mind goes…

I guess that is the purpose of a prompt – to take you places you might not have gone on your own. To inspire new insight, to remind, to force creative outlook, to spark imagination, to create consternation and wonderment… I really love the idea of the list created by someone to whom I have no connection. The randomness of the challenges will allow me to go beyond the usual and will most likely ignite a whole new perspective for 2015.

What you wore… it could mean so many things and to each person a different meaning. It also produces different effects depending upon the context of the statement. Point of view is a major concept in writing. Is the list speaking TO me? Or, am I reading it as if I am speaking of YOU, someone other than myself? It provided much food for thought over the course of the day and even though I am not going to get all uptight about “what am I going to write” … it did give me ideas as my mind ran the gamut of memories, but what could I take a picture of for the challenge? Depending on when… what I wore varied:

  • yellow knit bonnet and booties on the ride home – April 1957
  • pink leather lace up walking shoes when just a year and a half – 1958 (I still have these)
  • leg-warming leg-covering colored tights in elementary – 1963
  • orange fish net stockings and brown fake leather mini in junior high – 1969
  • white tennis dress in high school – 1972 (I still have this)
  • matchy matchy ski outfit on the mountain slopes in my 20s
  • Satin wedding dress for marriage #1 – 1984
  • Satin western outfit for marriage #2 – 1990 (I still have this… somewhere…)

So you see my dilemma. Of course, if we turn the phrase around and point it at YOU, well then the concept of YOU depends, too, on who YOU are. If I base it solely upon one aspect, again it depends on who YOU are:

  • A black leather jacket
  • A grey suit
  • A western hat and boots
  • A shirt and tie
  • A t-shirt and jeans…

Day 2 - 30 day challenge What You WoreJanuary 2nd continued on with the momentum of winter as the snow fell overnight and well into the day. Eventually the sun broke through and it looked inviting even though cool upon embrace. I ventured out to clear the snow from Sunshine and plowed out onto the Sherwood Park streets. Nothing keeps us home anymore – there is never too much snow or too little traction to keep the determined from outside action. You could tell the weather was colder with the sun’s rays reflecting “sun dogs” in the ice crystal laden air. Traffic was heavy, but it always is on a Friday afternoon. I wore my down filled jacket, warm winter boots, and ensured I had my new gloves and sunglasses with me. I was ready to make the day mine.

I recall lying in bed this morning thinking of the waning vacation days and decided coffee was in order so I didn’t sleep away my time off. My thoughts immediately go to all the things I didn’t do instead of thinking of what I did achieve and the memories I acquired over the holidays. It is just natural to think of it that way – I must get into the habit of doing otherwise.

Life is what you make it.

2 Comments

Filed under On Dreaming, On Life, On Thinking

Contrail Conspiracy

The concentrated condensation trail of jet exhaust is visible against an Alberta blue sky. Its consistency waivers slightly in the upper air currents; soon it spreads and eventually dissipates, consumed by the surrounding atmospheric abyss. Two white tails streaked across my view of the sky from my window today within seconds of one another on a north-south journey to who knows where… They appeared to be too high to consider the landing at Edmonton International Airport so I am going to assume their destination is somewhere farther, perhaps, in warmer climes beyond our borders.

contrailWhen I see those white plumes marring our beautiful blue skies, I think of my mother. I will never see another without remembering her comments as to their purpose and possibly conspiracy. As an avid reader and always learning, she would go beyond just the simple explanation of vapor condensation from warm water into cool air, like our breath on a cold winter morning. I am not sure she knew of the now debunked conspiracy theory that linked these contrails to chemical distribution, but it’s possible. It was more of “why do they have to do that…” A beautiful clear sky in Alberta is not a rarity but all too soon clouds move in on the wind, changing the brilliant blue landscape to a myriad of mottled patterns.

Ask “why” and you can always research the scientific reasoning. An article in the Scientific American discusses this very question:

 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-jets-leave-a-white

Of particular interest to me, the following: “The nature and persistence of jet contrails can be used to predict the weather. A thin, short-lived contrail indicates low-humidity air at high altitude, a sign of fair weather, whereas a thick, long-lasting contrail reflects humid air at high altitudes and can be an early indicator of a storm.”

WP_001775

This ability was always my understanding for the possible use of the contrails – weather predictors. They indicated by their reaction the direction and intensity of the air currents. I have yet to satisfy my curiosity through research as to why some jets do this and others don’t, even while appearing to travel at the same altitude. Why do they happen in the summer when the air is supposedly warmer, although I know it cools quickly the higher you go…

To my mom, it was simply a conspiracy to eradicate a beautiful blue sky and when I see one of those obvious white contrails, I smile – looking up makes me feel like she is watching me and knowing I see what she sees. This is a connection I shared with her while sitting on the deck at her house in the country enjoying a cold one – it will forever be a happy memory.   

2 Comments

Filed under On Life

Creative Dribbles

In my attempt to unblock the dam, clear the drain, purge the system, cleanse my soul, free fall my intermittent attempts to page… I am coaxing to the page a few words to reflect my sporadic feelings of late. Up and down – I don’t have to go to K-days to experience the ride!

An Ode to My Words

I feel relief when I realize my words never leave me – that alone is the inspiration upon which I draw to move forward. My words provide constant companionship to comfort me. They give me the means to express my creative outlet. Their collectivity is my treasure. But they are not things that readily prod me to write – they wait patiently, building and gaining momentum, until I call upon them. Then, they leap to attention and give it their best shot depending upon me and my direction. Otherwise, they remain, silent and formulating, until I call them forth. I will always need to write and I will always listen to my words. Having said that, some things about me and my words bother me:  1) I can’t pinpoint the exact time when writing in my journal was such a chore and I have many beautiful books awaiting entries. At one point, I was proficient and they were full of musings. I regret the lax attitude I have towards my journal because some very powerful raw wordage presented itself there to me. 2) I am overflowing with ideas (novels, kid’s books, poetry, collaborations, on so forth) yet the lid is firmly capped creating creative captives. Most often, it’s like sucking sweet nectar through a straw only to have the flow blocked by a huge berry… it’s all good, but it just doesn’t work out the same way. 3) The WIP is my most precious work yet it remains under cover awaiting edits and additions, revisions and reviving. Am I so reluctant to let it go that I cannot finish it? Or are there so many things than can change over time that the work is no longer the same one I envisioned at the start?

What does it matter? I ask myself, unable to answer coherently despite my connection to words.

Looking UP

There is hope – there is always hope. Even if beyond the present situation, the future appears uncertain and the present is unfairly regarded as unjust.  Looking up there lies a fascination with the clouds and a distraction to all else that is around me. I have always loved cloud formations; admired their colors and consistency, their magic and reality. Sure, they bring with them nature’s calamities but most of the time, they are a painter’s inspiration and a writer’s temptation. Dream beyond. Behold the beauty. The situation is looking up.

Cloud Montage 1

6 Comments

Filed under On Life, On Writing

Hello Monday – it’s Me…

Hello, Monday, it’s me… You are a day of the week as unpredictable as the weather. I remember writing this opening statement (the wordpress draft proves it) when the comparative hit me during the passing of winter into spring. I don’t know why I didn’t publish it – I guess I was as indecisive about my words as the weather was of its place within the timing of that month. May was a blur and best forgotten, and as we transgress through mid-July now it seems June is only a memory, too.

As up and down as the weather, so too have been my words. My thought processes are always going and sometimes I am inclined to just write something even though I have no idea where it is to go and where it might end up. I have even opened my notebook or a new word document, looked at it, and then closed it again… having written nothing. The inspiration bar was set high at recent conferences and just being around words and all their glory is enough to make you want to immediately put words to page. I went so far as to renew my own personal writing goals with an all out attempt (internal promises) to get my WIP completed and published this year! There have been good starts to bad weeks and bad finishes to good weeks… and if I were to be truly honest it would be to admit my blog avoidance is a result of the personal issues I’ve been dealing with… people tell me I am obviously doing things right and moving ahead but it feels like I am not in so many ways. It’s like being on autopilot – going through the motions of what has to be done to fulfill the promises already made into the direction out there somewhere. The end lies out of sight waiting ahead on an unmarked trail. Then I return to the highway of reality realizing the heap I have in front of me and, although I am doing things I love to do, I am confused by my reactions. Next thing I know, I’m on a rollercoaster of emotions >semi-happiness (albeit tame – I am not the jump up and down kind of person) and tearfully pronounced, overwhelming sadness claim my extreme up and downs. This craziness will even out, I am told, with time and healing and positive influence. I am ever thankful to those who may wade through my words whenever I do get around to posting some here. They are from my heart and they are what makes up my writing life as it happens to me right now. Although the words are scarce and it seems my creativity is blocked, I cannot imagine ever living without writing… it’s just difficult equating that to not living at all.

Postscript: as I finish writing this post and list the tag words, I contemplate if I should even publish this blog, not wanting to be one who continues with uncertainty, exposing my lost soul… my daughter comes into my room and says, “Thank you, for everything, Mom.” And the lump in my throat prevents me from speaking; my words mix with tears as I realize even in the darkest hour there is a reason and there is hope. She is mine.

2 Comments

Filed under On Life, On Writing

Free from the “Box”

“Instead of thinking outside of the box, get rid of the box.” ~ Deepak Chopra.

When I am in one of my moods and nothing seems to be easy (I know, I know …who said it was supposed to be…), I become downhearted rapidly if I am not writing my own words. During these times, I am relieved the odd quote solicits temptation in me to write – something. It may be just a personal observation or a rant or an emotionally charged boo-hoo, poor me… but it would seem that certain phrases or quotes garner an inner reaction that evolves as an external response. Perhaps, it is my recent outbreak of “illness” (so contained because I cannot peg it specifically into one malaise box or another) that has me festering and the lack of words upon the page has created within an ill will. I am comforted by this fact: my words come out in one way or another and, therefore, I give apologies to my muse for my current disregard.

Who coined the phrase: Thinking outside the box?

I read the above quote in passing during my sojourn upon the social feeds. I love to travel the different posts and comments, diverting into another writer’s world by visiting their blogs, taking in referrals to interesting and pertinent articles and stories. There is a world of talent out there to discover and a world of learning never to cease. Anyway, the “box” quote had me thinking of how trendsetting the words were in their time and how it’s been so overused we now avoid its reference. At least, that’s my opinion. I think it had its time and to spout it as a project mantra in today’s world lessens the importance of any idea brainstorm. A general search on the Internet provided some clues to its origin and its tie to a diagram used to get you thinking. The 9 dots tested you by challenging you to draw the fewest straight lines through all the dots. “Outside the box”, therein, lies the answer.

According to the site http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/think-outside-the-box.html, they state “‘think outside the box’ originated in the USA in the late 1960s/early 1970s. It has become something of a cliché, especially in the business world, where ‘thinking outside the box’ has become so hackeyed (sic – should be hackneyed) as to be rather meaningless.” They go on to write, that “the encouragement to look for solutions from outside our usual thinking patterns was championed in the UK by Edward De Bono, the psychologist and inventor, who coined the term Lateral Thinking in 1967 and went on to develop it as a method of structured creativity.”

Their mention of “blue-sky thinking” drew me to be more in line with what we espouse as artists, creating something pulled from way out there, or drawing upon the channeling of words from beyond our immediate selves. This thought process was derived way back in the 1940s although this apparently is on the overused list, too, I can relate closer to this thinking with my claim to “freeing the creative spirit.” Creativity must be given rein to run without restraints in whatever medium you work, so as Mr. Chopra suggests, throw away the box – don’t contain it into any misaligned thinking. Begin to think and create on a larger platform, one you define and, in doing so, you remain true to your own passion. Cliché but appropriate – the sky’s the limit.

3 Comments

Filed under On Life, On Thinking, On Writing

February 29th

It’s hard to find focus on anything work related today. Is it the fact that this day is ‘extra’ and there is a desire to do more than just what you’d do on any given day? I guess it doesn’t work that way and in my own time I will get back to doing what I am supposed to be doing. Right now, I’m consumed with this day and thoughts of the month ahead with its seasonal shift to warmth and growth, rejuvenation abound. And is it any wonder our minds wander given today is colder and we’ve been spoiled with this year of unseasonal winter? Today began in a foggy veil with frosty layers and cloudy breath, so really, who’s not going place their wayward thoughts on spring? It is said that if you dwell in the past and focus too hard on the future, you will miss the present. True – but when the yearning for spring encourages new thoughts and opens up opportunity, in my mind, this equates to cultivating ideas and not wasting time.

For the moment, I digress and focus on the words mulling about in my head. As I listen to my muse, the suggestion is clear that today is ripe for another blog although I am not sure in what direction I am headed. Listen with your heart, not your head, and the words will come swift and meaningful. They live and breathe inside, much like a fetus – taking nourishment from the host until filled with enough of its own substance they make their way into the world. Our newborn prose slides quietly received to the blank page in a hush even though the intent may be to scream at our readers once they hit the light of day. Or could it be the quiet reverie of inspiration forces us to take note, instead. Whatever the intent of your message, your words are planted upon the earth to grow with each reading, every exposure, and with all the encouragement and judgment afforded to them.  

Just my random thoughts on this Leap Year day…

1 Comment

Filed under On Life, On Thinking, On Writing

Interesting Interests

            

y relationship with words ranges from the very sound of them strung together with the noise that they make ringing in harmonization or orchestrated opposition; it involves the interconnected progression of words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages arranged in a manner that leads the reader from once upon a time to the end; or it simply allows me the freedom to develop a fascination with meanings – how words hit me or affect me based on what I feel about their meaning and the time in which they occur in my writing life.

                Developing this relationship with words and their meanings leads me to write word-rants on the occasion when a particular word pops into my mind with some blaring significance or emphasis based on life as it goes on around me or the events associated with that time. I welcome them as sign posts along my writing journey because it keeps me close to my passion for the written word and allows me to explore deeper meanings often connected with my heart, and even my very soul, and in any case, so much more than just the dictionary definition.      

                This is my interest – an important part of me – my life – and it is a necessity that enfolds me, contains me, amuses, bemuses, and simply provides me with fodder for interpreting, sharing, and recording my feelings. My overly emotional muse directs my ideas and I am but the vessel through which these words flow, from the creative world into a world of reality. And in the exploration of my interest come the very word and its implications, as I see it.

                The word  `interest`, to me, suggests with its variations and combinations something of greatness because it can hold our attention by creating a connection between you and something outside of you – it can range from a mere “like“ to a deep felt “passion“. Without interest, there really is nothing.

                Think of all the things you like – they interest you, they are interesting, they have a reciprocal interest in you even if it only means they draw your interest to them. People. Places. Things. Hobbies. Jobs. Without interests in one`s life, it`s like staring at a blank page with an awesome idea and no pen; or possessing a favorite novel without light to read by. And, just as limiting is a singular interest and the unthinkable – what if you are faced with a situation where you are unable to partake and pursue in the pleasure that single interest offers you. What occupies your mind, your time; what holds your interest then. Sometimes this can be enough to challenge a person`s very desire to live – and if this mindset takes hold, what hope is there to draw any interest in anything at all. An inability to indulge in your passion can pull a hope from anyone easily distracted by despair.

                My relationship with interests is full and bountiful, but I recommend the following in order to cultivate your own:

·         Narrow your interests so you aren`t stretched to just try so many things that you don`t develop a passion, or cultivate that which is innately a part of you. Discover natural talents for most certainly these are gifted passions.

·         Widen your narrowed interests. As a creative person, I eliminated all those crafty things that draw time away from what I really wanted to do. My focus within my interest was filed down to include a heavy emphasis on writing and to a lesser degree, all types of artwork. You don`t have to do everything, just because you can – unless in your youthful, energetic discovery stage you try everything, just to say you did.

·         Be interesting. Stay in the know, keep on learning, search out information useful to your area of interest and this will also provide subject matter to share.

·         Be interested. Interaction is an important part of your life and a meaningful relationship with others that enables you to share means also to receive their sharing.

It has been my experience that my triad – learn, share, create – encompasses all the aspects of my particular interest and this allows me the diversity to explore within that interest. It is wide enough to give me change but also narrow enough to let me focus on a defined structure. It is never too late to discover your passion and hone in on those interests that captivate and energize you.

The saddest thing is to be faced with the possibility of never being able to do what it is you love to do – if it`s your only interest – and in some cases, your whole life – the question soon becomes “what am I going to do“ and then how long can you survive with disinterest in everything else.            

1 Comment

Filed under On Life

Random Writing Thoughts while Humming a Tune

My mind is rather spongy right now after all the activities of the past two days. You could probably extend that to the whole week – to say it has been busy would be a slight understatement. Yes, for all of those who know me, you know what I mean. Let’s take every inch of minute and cram it full of something to do; then just to top it off, pick up more that will fill an already overloaded plate to heaping full – dripping off the sides and spilling onto the floor full. Sounds like a real buffet and I’m not sure yet which part of that is for dessert. Perhaps, the topping on the cake, so to speak,  are the words that are swirling around in my mind awaiting their jettison to paper.

That’s where the spongy comes in. Words are soaked up there like spilled milk trapped in an extra absorbent paper towel. I’d wring them out if I wasn’t so tired. So while I am aware of the growing prose that needs to be planted, random thoughts are making their way to the foreground prompting this to be a very confusing – but necessary – post, indeed.

I liken this type of thought-write-rethink process to a dog owner going to an off-leash park. Little Fido is good all week, staying within the given perimeters of a guiding leash… but by the end of the week, pent-up energy needs to be expressed, expelled and experienced in the willy-nilly run-at-will environment of the park. Free from encumbrances, little Fido can wade wanton amongst the weeds, leap lovingly through the clover, and of course, sniff the occasional doggy butt as part of the socialization ritual. Now this little metaphor goes up to that point – but nowhere near the sniffing – unless you think this post is a little bit smelly and nothing more than a dog’s breakfast.

Unleashed thoughts allow us to clear our mind of clutter and closet-hogging clumps of words that hang in there clogging up the main ink arteries. It is always a good idea to get these out of the way by just plugging away at a post, jamming them into a journal, scribbling them on scrap paper… knowing that disguised as a bemused poet there lurks a passionate prince of prose. While my writing dogs me and runs about frantic and free-falling, in the back of my mind I am composing, creating, and crafting my next Saturday Writing Prompt, my next novel edit, my web site content, a short story or two, a project, a proposal, a poem… a blog or two or three.

Instead of succumbing to the overwhelming feelings of procrastination while I teeter on tired, I chose to give in to these little tidbits of crazy, allowing myself to clean the creativity closet. Now I can see what’s there, what’s next and what can be boxed up and stored, at least for the time being.

One last little note of off-the-wall – I’ve been humming the Lotto Max tune in my head all afternoon – if this is a premonition, I should be richer come Monday as we chipped in at work for the 50 million – hey, it could happen.

What’s your dream?

p.s. I saw the movie “Prince of Persia” with friends last night – I loved it! And today, I cannot get that hunk of a Jake out of my mind, it would seem that this is contributing to the “spongy” as well. But, then again,  I’ve always had a crush on the ragged, long-haired brutes who can wield a blade. *sigh*

1 Comment

Filed under On Life, On Thinking, On Writing

The Write Blend

Just sit. Pen in hand, notebook ready to receive the blessed ink. Take a drink and let the thoughts warm around in your head while you think. This is the span of a sip – just a mouthful – savor the taste. Perhaps coffee, tea or another. Savor the flavor as it glides over your tongue – smooth going down like the words springing forth, inspired by the calming sensation of the muse of hot drink.

Don’t stop to think too long, though, as it will get cold – the mind and the drink. Your ideas will cool to the page and the ink will stop if you think too long on what it is that will be written. It is better to just understand that what will be written is there – somewhere in your soul – and it will come when least expected.

Savor the smooth sensation of the warming mouthful and when the ink has tasted the page it too will flow. Coffee over tongue. Ink over page. A combination literally the write blend.

2 Comments

Filed under On Thinking, On Writing