Monday, November 21, 2011

The Simple Life

I have been truly enjoying our extended fall this year.  From the lovely colors that always grace with our Midwestern Autumn to what I consider the actual beauty of the season which of course is the vivid blue skies and the emerging bones of all the trees that are hidden throughout the summer months in my neighborhood.

I am truly amazed that so many people do not see the simple beauty in the many shapes that each tree's limbs and branches take as the leaves disappear every fall.  Some of the trees look like gnarled limbs, and branches that seem like old friends, and some seem instead to reach to the sky on tip-toes stretching up.

So many people I know can't seem to look beyond the dark in winter tree bark.  I see so many shades and colors of deep reds, browns, and even some purples that can be found in a winter forest.  With the snows that invariably paint a very different scene from the autumn colors, the trees take on an almost fairy tale world for me.

I find any tree a friend through all seasons, but especially in the cold months when it is totally bare and really exposes to the world its heart stripped totally of all the youthful spring dresses that hide the well rounded soul that is more truly its inner self - that is the reality of a tree.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where the Asphalt Meets the Water

Sunday, I went to the beach at Lake Michigan and watched the waves roll because of the strong winds we had.  I spent an hour totally entranced gazing as three para surfers who seemed to fly with the wind, and then land almost like like a gymnast might on any given wave.  They went from what seems like a delicate jump in the air and then skate effortlessly over the waves on the North side of the channel.   It was so amazing to watch these para-surfers just do it so seamlessly and with such ease.

I sat almost holding my breath for 45 minutes watching these guys (and they're really all ages, (some even looked to be 50 or older.) doing such amazing wave jumping and ridding.

As I sat there I noticed that there were at least 20 cars including mine along the edge where the asphalt met the beach watching in awe as this show or competition unfolded all afternoon.

What was almost as much fun to watch were the two young boys with their grandfather in the car next to mine. They  were mesmerized and responded with such awe to what was happening on the water and the waves just across the beach from us.

All I can say is it was totally magical, and I really wish I had brought my camera with me!

(If you aren't sure what I'm talking about check out this link on YouTube!)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Traveling a Different Road

I just finished listening to a new book by David McCullough.  The Greater Journey tells the stories of people, some known and some unknown who came to Paris between 1830 and 1900 to study medicine, to paint, to sculpt, and many simply ended up staying and loving the city and its people beyond anything they'd experienced before in their lives.  Many remained deeply American, but were changed in so many ways - sometimes severely, and unequivocally.

Travel outside of a home country can be a life changing experience in itself, but from all accounts these sojourns to Paris the, "City of Light," significantly changed the lives and paths of those who went there.

This spring I was given a chance to travel to Ireland and England.  I've always wanted to travel and Ireland has been a travel wish of mine for a long time.  It was a place of family for me with a history that is both terrible, and beautiful.  Its held many names throughout the history of the emerald isle, but today it is simply called Ireland.

For those who left it because of the Potato Famine from 1845 to 1900 to find a new life, it was always called with great reverence the auld sod.  When I arrived there on a rainy April 1st, 2011 it was so like coming home.  I wish I could describe it better, but the feel was not like a strange and historical place when I landed.  It was like I had returned home after traveling a long long time.

I've traveled quite a few places in my life on the North American continent - many places in Canada as well as states within my own country, and it was always fun to go there, but always great to head home after the holiday was over.

In Ireland it was like I was rediscovering a home I left in the past.  The beauty of the places, cities, and harbors I visited were like places I knew well before my visit.

Would I go back right now if I could?  In a heartbeat!  Would I put down roots and stay there?  Yes, even if I left family here, I think I would.  It wasn't the people, though they were really lovely, nor was it the music or the rough beauty of the landscape and history that called to me.  It was a intangible sense of home that made me feel I belonged there, and knew each street, city and town by heart.  For me it felt like the auld sod, my own, "old home."