Poetry Sunday: Kiss the Sky

Kiss the Sky

 

Undulating waves at the end of the day

Bid farewell to the sun’s last rays.

 

 

And shimmer against the gathering clouds

As they raise their voices on chords aloud.

 

 

With the moon’s rise illuminating their path

Their throngs kiss the sky as they roll on past.

 

 

I wish them well as they travel along

And hold in my heart the last strains of their song.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


In late November, while walking at dusk with the moon rising, my husband and I witnessed thousands of geese migrating over us….we lost count at 30 groups, moving higher and higher as they sang their glorious song of farewell.  This poem was created on that walk.  I will be taking a hiatus from blogging for a few weeks to devote time to enjoying the season without the rush.  I’ll see you after the New Year.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.


I leave you with a few additional words about the Kiss the Sky.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Spring’s Song

Spring’s Song

 

Light flickers at the edge of my sight

And rouses me from sleep and the dark of night.

 

 

Breaking before the warmth of a fine spring day

With fire in the sky riding the sun’s drowsy rays.

 

 

Only whispers of a cooling breeze tickling the dew

Finding open windows to gently waft through.

 

 

The birds lullaby adds to my tranquil repose

As I open my eyes and wake from this languid doze.

 

 

And sweet honey scents drift through my dreams

Waking the shadows with dancing, dappled sun beams.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


I wrote this poem as I thought about those first true warm spring days where the light, and sounds and scents all change and add such an excitement.  And I am dreaming of those spring days now and that light, and the sounds and especially the scents.  All are gone in winter….replaced by a different canopy.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.


I leave you with a few additional words about the Spring’s Song.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Flower Woman

 

Flower Woman

 

A flower woman

Keeper of the land,

Tilling fertile soil

With her gentle hands.

 

 

Architect with seeds,

Of meadows rich with dew

Preserving the territory,

Creating anew.

 

 

Student of pollywogs

And pollinators  galore,

Enlightening this steward

With tales pure as gold.

 

 

A comrade to nature

She celebrates the rebirth

When the sun rises nearer

Singing sweet songs to the earth.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

 

__________________________________________________________

The idea of this poem was originally written as a birthday tribute for a true flower woman who creates fields of flowers from seed.  I kept the idea, but changed it to reflect the birthday of another gardener/flower woman, me.  I am celebrating my birthday next week, and am pleased to have lived and loved for 61 years now.

The pictures are of native lupines.  They were seeded in my meadow by this flower woman’s hands.  They symbolize imagination.  So apt as I imagined creating this beautiful meadow, and have not been disappointed.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about the Flower Woman.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Dear Kindness

 

Dear Kindness

 

Dear Kindness:

 

You are the best part of me~of all of us.  And we desperately need to let your light shine out from our hearts and souls now more than ever.  I am feeling lost, forlorn and deeply dark within as your light is being overshadowed by hate and fear.

 

You have taught me that to know you, to be part of you, I must make a commitment.  For you are a practice~one I must exercise daily or become atrophied, rotted, forever in despair.  And only with practice can I know you better, can I become more accomplished at letting your light shine.

 

But most of all I must not forget that kindness must be given willingly to all; nature and mankind alike.  None must be forgotten, none must be left out or left behind.  Nor should I forget the most important kindness, to myself.  For without that I cannot hope to bring you to the rest of the world.

 

So as I move forward, dear kindness, I must not lose faith in you.  I must remember that I do not have to live in the dark recesses of a hopeless, anguished world.  Not as long as your light is stoked, fed and tended within….bringing out the best in me!

 

© Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

I am bringing you another epistolary poem from a letter I wrote in April of 2016.  This one has been edited quite a bit in light of the world in which we live.  A world that is desperately in need of kindness….for all.  And not easily found.

The pictures are of a spring wreath looking out into my March spring garden covered in snow.  The crystal stick is a special rainbow maker from a dear friend.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Dear Kindness.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

 All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: I Wonder…

 

I Wonder…..

 

 

I wonder what the bird sees when he sees the sun rise.

As he calls across the meadow and the forest far and wide.

Does he see what I see with my wizened hazel eyes?

Yes, I wonder what the bird sees when he sees the sun rise.

 

 

I wonder what the bird thinks as the sun burns bright in the sky.

As the colors shift to azure blue and clouds come rolling by.

Does he think what a beautiful day to go out for fun-filled fly?

Yes, I wonder what the bird thinks as the sun burns bright in the sky.

 

 

I wonder what the bird smells on a warm earth-scented day.

As the flowers open and leaves stretch out to bask in the breeze and play.

Does he smell the aromas of berries ripe and seeds on tall stalks as they sway?

Yes, I wonder what the bird smells on a warm earth-scented day.

 

 

I wonder what the bird feels while grasping the branch so tight.

As the rain pours down, and winds whip round, giving one a fright.

Does he feel the awe beneath him, is he enveloped with delight?

Yes, I wonder what the bird feels while grasping the branch so tight.

 

 

Is there color in his day, and sweet delectable bites?

Is he anxious to be winging and soaring to new unimaginable heights?

Does he feel the astonishment I do when he gazes at nature’s sights?

Yes, I wonder all this as he softly sings me to goodnight.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem’s opening line came to me one day when I was walking out on a bright lovely morning, hearing the birds singing.  And I wondered……

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about I Wonder.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth:

 

My goodness I was glad to see you!

 

To speak your name~well rant it for a good, almost, 10 minutes.

 

You shook me upside down when I heard you speak.  And rung my emotional bell until it hurt from my head to my belly.

 

But you had to come, you had to speak, Truth.  And I am so happy you did.

 

Although next time can you add a dollop of love with your words so they don’t leave me too splayed upon the ground when you are done talking.

 

Yes I am glad you came and spoke, Truth, through me, from me down to my very soul.

 

Truth can set you free they say.  It turned me inside out and landed me on my ass.  But I had that coming.  After all I kept you at bay for far too long, Dear Truth!

 

© Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

I am bringing you another epistolary poem from a letter I wrote in April of 2016.  This one was freeing to write.  It seems when I hold back from speaking up, the truth backs up until it bursts free.  I am learning to speak up more and more especially these days.  And especially to those who feel free to lie as a matter of course.

With the #enoughisenough movement, Truth is a friend to many again and speaking loudly through thousands, finally!

The pictures are of a witchball; a gift given to me by a dear friend.  Historically, witchballs were hung in windows to ward off ill fortune and bad spirits.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Dear Truth.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Born of Water

 

 

Born of Water

 

I was born of water; body

Surrounded by and made of creator’s tears,

Unwilling to enter this landlocked life.

 

 

And whenever I can, I return home-

To a vast sea, breaking against rock and shore.

Spraying me with turquoise delight

Swirling, swimming around my limbs-

These disappearing as I am reacquainted.

 

 

I long for this reconnection again,

For a homecoming.

And I will venture far on a pilgrimage,

To reunite my soul with my lost aqua world.

 

 

Each visit will have to sustain me,

Until I can come again.

Perhaps for a longer visit.

Perhaps to live closer one day,

Perched on the water’s edge

For my daily communion.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

I have long known that the ocean is my home.  I come home to the ocean and am reconnected to my creator…..my soul.  There is an exhilaration I cannot find anywhere else on this earth.  And I long to be in its environs whenever close.  So upon a recent visit to the ocean, I was reminded of this deep connection….to the creation of life in the soup of the sea.  And this poem poured forth.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Born of Water.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Dear Sky

 

Dear Sky

 

 

Dear Sky:

 

I bask under your brilliance,

I sigh as you lighten through the hours.

 

 

I relax as you color my end of day,

And I contemplate beneath your moon and stars.

 

 

Your colors emerge and delight;

They renew my soul and sing to me.

 

 

Yes, Dear Sky you are my muse,

My life giving breath, and I honor you.

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

Another epistolary poem, in the series I am writing, from a letter I wrote in April of 2016.  This poem was written on a morning of brilliance as the sun rose.  I hope to post one of these a month.  I will be taking time off for the rest of December….enjoy your holidays and I will see you around the New Year.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Dear Sky.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Dear Home

 

Dear Home

 

 

Dear Home:

 

My hearth-my center-my solace!

I come to you for peace, quiet and solitude.

I come to you for centering.

A feeling of belonging where I find shelter.

And while I surround myself with colors and precious things,

Where love is, that is all I need to be completely at HOME!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

I am bringing you another epistolary poem from a letter I wrote in April of 2016.  This one was a homage to my home and hearth….where I live and where I find solace.  Both my house and garden were the main inspiration, but it seems the poem, as it developed, is also about finding my inner core as My Home.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Dear Home.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: He Watches

 

He Watches

 

 

P e r c h e d

Ever alert

Ready to spring into action

Clever as he amuses himself

Youthful exuberance

all the way

          to the

                     tip of

                                        his long

                                                        tail.

 

 

This is who I met as he eyed me cautiously.

Sized me up with those pale green eyes, curious.

Not too affectionate, but willing to connect with a touch.

PERCY-of many breeds, with proud Latin name.

‘Effective Hunter’

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

I wrote this poem after meeting this amazing animal.  He is a rescue cat that my nieces fell in love with.  He is thought to be part Persian and has an abnormally long tail.  A kitten when they brought him home, and 6 months old when I met him.  He made quite an impression on me, wrapping his long tail around my heart.  And this poem came leaping out of me on the trip home.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Percy-He Watches.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Muddy Waters

 

Muddy Waters

 

 

Muddy waters take me in

Take me down to nourish my skin

Skin made tough

Skin made thin

Through life’s adventures

Through life’s sins.

 

 

So soak it up and banish all ills

Fill me deep, realign my will

A heart made true

A soul made joyful

A powerful voice

Now once again skillful.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

__________________________________________________________

I had not written much since last August due to a shoulder injury and due to a need to travel inward….a self-imposed time away. But on a sunny day in early April when I began my new journal habit, this poem flowed forth trying to break the ice damn that had built up.  It was how I was feeling sitting in my garden waiting for it to wake up….and hoping my creative juices would do the same.

 

The pictures above is of my early spring pond a bit muddy, and below my later spring pond full of life and water lilies.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about muddy waters.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Box Full of Darkness

DSCN3907

Box Full of Darkness

 

 

I open this box again.

Its dark demons still survive there.

The bruises, the slaps, the cuts-

Pain still runs deep in the scars.

 

 

You told someone recently you remembered me fondly.

And my snort of derision was a surprise.

Maybe a slap back.

But this ‘box full of darkness’ has risen again.

 

 

No longer all neatly wrapped and stored in the attic of my heart,

Where it had burned a hole.

White hot with searing anger,

With anguish and betrayal.

 

 

And as I gaze upon this box, I know it is never forgotten.

But it no longer defines me.

Abused, Used, Victim!

No this box I hold, shows me I am a survivor.

I have risen.  Strong of heart, shame resilient.

 

 

And while I may feel some residual pain,

And a tear may appear at the corner of my eye,

This box, oh this holy, blessed box is your gift to me.

One you never knew you gave me,

Perhaps the only one you ever gave me.

 

 

And so I keep this ‘box full of darkness’

Neatly wrapped in the attic of my heart,

Where now it holds a special place on the altar of my soul.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” ~Mary Oliver

 

I read this quote some time ago, but could not wrap my brain around it.  How could darkness be a gift?  And then when I was doing some inner work, something happened to bring the quote’s meaning home.

 

So as the ah-ha moment penetrated, I wrote this poem.  A victim of domestic abuse from decades ago, the poem is based on these painful memories.  And they have not, nor will they ever be forgotten or define me.  I have forgiven, and moved on…..and this beautiful box full of darkness is now not something that holds me down or holds me back.  No, instead it has freed me.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog, and with Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Passion makes the world go round”.  Although this is a painful and dark poem, it is dealing with subjects passionate to my heart….forgiveness, letting go, resilience and healing.  All important things happening in my life right now that I am passionate about on my journey.

box collage

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about a box full of darkness.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

box full of darkness

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lesson-As Spring Unfolds

DSCN4010

“One should pay attention to even the smallest crawling creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us.”

~Black Elk

 

 

 

As spring warms up, the birds come flocking to our garden.  Many have visited before, and return to find feeders, nesting areas or boxes, and a habitat in which to raise their young.  Chemical free with lots of plant debris.  And water….a nice pond to drink from or bathe in.  More on the pond in another Wildlife post in the months ahead.

 

 

And each critter who wakes or visits, teaches us lessons in how they live, cohabitate and survive.  So here are some of the mid to late spring visitors to our garden.

 

 

DSCN3251

Squirrels naturally assume that wherever they are, is the place to be.  We have found many black walnuts in and around the garden; some eaten, some forgotten.  The squirrels love to play around and explore every nook and cranny of the garden, high and low.  I can tell you this favorite perch on the wren house had to be vacated once the wrens were back.

 

 

 

baby bunny collage

And what a surprise to see this baby bunny just out of the nest.  In March, we saw a pregnant female near the big ash trees in the center of the garden.  I could not find the nest, but eventually, once they left, I saw the small opening.  It is not uncommon to have a nest in our garden each year, but this year they nested early because of the very warm March weather.

 

This little babe was hiding in the middle of a bunch of daffs absolutely still (see last photo at end of post).  I almost didn’t see it.  It eventually moved more to the edge of the daffs the next day, and then it was gone.  We see a small bunny around our neighbor’s shed so perhaps we will see her in our garden eating the clover that is flowering.

 

 

 

bee collage

Pollinators were cautious of the warm March weather, and were slow to emerge in April.  But once they did, they were busy making nests in the bee house we have.  I am not good at identifying bees, but these are small solitary bees.

 

 

 

frog collage

The pond also awoke cautiously in later April.  Frogs…..

 

 

 

DSCN3466

and toads.  This is a female toad laying eggs for the first time in the pond.  I’ll have their story for you this summer.  And I’ll show you the pond project that has been a roaring success for the critters.

 

 

 

DSCN3240

Pileated woodpeckers live here year round, or so it seems.  They have been busy in the garden since February, digging holes and getting the insects that have been living in trees and stumps..  This female visits often.  I plan to have a post about these majestic creatures this fall.

 

 

 

finches collage

Finches live here all year round too.  They eat the dandelion seeds, in spring, that are all over the back lawn…which is mostly dandelions and clover.  The Goldfinch looks very happy, and the House Finch looks like he got caught in the act.

 

 

 

DSCN4019

Red-wing blackbirds came early with the robins this year.  They returned to their territory and nesting areas, and many visited the suet feeders, especially this March and April as the cool weather kept their insect diet at bay.

 

 

 

DSCN3974

Other familiar year round faces are the Cardinals, here, and the Song Sparrow in the picture at the top of the post.  Cardinals sing all year round too.  It is a beautiful song.

 

 

 

DSCN4048

But as May dawns, I look for two migratory birds to return to the garden….the Baltimore Oriole….

 

 

 

DSCN4099

….and the Ruby-throated hummingbirds.  We put up feeders, for both birds, but more birds prefer the Oriole feeder, even the hummer above.  Both birds arrived a day apart in the evening, and were exhausted taking long drinks and resting on the feeder.

 

 

 

DSCN4278

Our oriole feeder holds sweetened water, and cups for grape jelly.  And as we were refilling the jelly, the Orioles couldn’t wait to partake…..you can see we didn’t even have to hang the feeder.

 

 

 

oriole feeder collage

And Orioles (left and top right) are not the only ones who love the sweetened water and jelly.  Downy Woodpeckers (center right) visit frequently, along with Catbirds (lower right), Sparrows and a newcomer to the garden…..

 

 

 

DSCN3961

…Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.  A stunning bird isn’t it.

 

 

 

wren collage

I wasn’t sure the Wrens would return.  I heard their jolly, bright song for weeks and finally they were ready to nest.  It is fascinating to watch them carefully make a nest of small sticks….turning the sticks in their beaks and handing them off to their partner in the box.

 

 

 

waxwing collage

And last but not least, the Cedar Waxwings returned in late May right around my birthday.  Always the best present!

 

 

I am struck by the spring lessons of caution and focus as I observed, looking back at our visiting and year round critters.  Pollinators and pond critters took their time not being lured out of hibernation too soon.  And I was cautious too as I observed an early spring that turned back to winter.  And those critters that came too early, weathered the storm and showed me such resilience.

 

Once the critters arrived for spring, they were focused on their chores of finding food, and procreating.  I too was very focused with garden chores this spring.  And we will see the fruit of their labors soon enough with baby frogs and baby birds being added to the garden habitat.  I hope to see the fruits of my labors as well as the garden season progresses.

 

I am sharing these lessons with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.

 

 

So there you have some of our mid to late spring visitors.  I have at least two more spring stories coming in the next two months….both about the pond.  What critters are showing up in your garden this spring?

 

 

With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons to learn from looking deep into nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

look nature

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Beyond Words: Spring At The Lake

DSCN3681

“Silence was the cure, if only temporarily, silence and geography. But of what was I being cured? I do not know, have never known. I only know the cure. Silence, and no connections except to landscape.” 

-Mary Cantwell, Manhattan, When I Was Young

 

 

I wanted to wrap up this series with another trip back to the lake across the street.  Several months ago, I started this series called, Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  I have been focusing on the lake across the street; already seen in late summer, late autumn and winter.

 

 

Now as we are full into spring here, I thought it would be interesting to see how spring unfolded in late April at the lake.  It was chilly still in April.  Some days were warm, and many nights freezing cold.  But still life moved along, and the leaves just started to show up on the trees.

 

 

So let’s see what early spring looked like, at the lake.

 

 

 

DSCN3650

This is the iconic view as you pull up to the beach.  Picnic tables and grills to the left in the trees, and the playground and bathhouse to the right.  Of course the still lake in the background is always a peaceful sight…..when there are no swimmers!

 

 

 

beach collage

The beach wasn’t much different, just a bit greener as the grass grew quickly through the sand in spring.  Soon the machines will be there to dig up the sand, sift it and get it ready when the beach opens this weekend.  For now, geese and gulls are making the beach their home.  And watch out for those cigar-sized goose droppings.

 

 

 

DSCN3662

Closer to the shore you can see all the grass and wood debris that continues to wash up on shore, all needing to be cleaned up too.

 

 

 

jetty collage

Looking left toward the jetty we can see it is just beginning to green up, and tall grasses will grow out into the lake soon.  Mallards are likely nesting along the shore.

 

 

 

woods collage

Again looking toward the little cove, we see all the tall grasses and weedy plants, along with small trees greening up too.  I love how the lake was still and calm making it a reflecting pond.

 

 

 

DSCN3666

As there were no fishermen on the lake or boats yet, I turned around toward the woods that were alive with activity.

 

 

 

tree collage

Looking up we can see visitors stopping by.  I was unsure who this was….perhaps a sparrow.  And I was checking out the woodpecker holes to see if anyone was claiming them as a home.  And you can see the maple trees were first to leaf out.

 

 

 

bench collage

I decided to walk the path to the bench.  It looked a bit lonely at the edge of the grassy beach.  Lots of bright glaring sunlight around mid-morning.

 

 

 

DSCN3682

I turned back around toward the right again, and saw clouds were beginning to roll in, almost giving the long view, out to the point, a foggy appearance.

 

 

 

DSCN3686

As I walked away, I turned back to look through the woods where the sun was still shining….this view will remain etched on my brain.  I will not be back to the lake for the rest of spring or summer, as it will be overrun with people soon….basking in the sun and splashing in the water.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these trips to the lake.  I am not sure what spot I will pick next to highlight, but I’ll let you know.  But for today, I am out celebrating as I turn a young 59!  With this post, I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State.  It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes.  There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional thoughts about celebrating life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

celebrate life

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden: On Creating a Sanctuary

IMG_0261

“Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.”

~Bernard Berenson

 

 

Many days I felt like this.  Hurried, hustled and bounced about.  Feeling time was running out, and I had accomplished little.  And even after I ticked everything off my To Do list, more was added instantaneously.  Never time for leisure, relaxation or rest.

 

 

 

IMG_6584

I always dreamed of a safe haven away from the flurry of life….where I could go to get away even for 5 minutes to regain my sanity.  And when I thought about this place I saw the ocean or a meadow….flowers or a beach.  Each of these images are healing for me, and immediately ease my pain and renew my soul.

 

 

 

IMG_5627So when I designed the bones of my garden, I imagined flowers and water there in a special spot…and with it the sound of water.  It was clear that a pond would be the perfect spot to have water and flowers.  And that pond had to have a waterfall, so I could have the healing sound of water nearby, especially since I don’t live close to the ocean.

 

 

 

IMG_2173

It was easy to decide where to place the pond….as close to the house as possible so we could have easy access, and hear the water flowing over the rocks.  Where I could sit on a large rock at its edge and look out over the garden of my soul…my sanctuary!

 

 

 

IMG_1257

And once created, this place took on a magic all its own.  I discovered that my sanctuary was also a safe haven for others who wanted to share it with me.  They didn’t talk, they just hung out with me in the moment….they were my quiet solitude companions that added their song to sing me to sweet solitude and peace.

 

 

 

IMG_2218

I am of course referring to the frogs, toads, birds and insects who also call the pond their home, and their sanctuary.  They bathe here, and give birth here.  And some have made this place their home too.  We commune and talk, but mostly we just sit in peaceful meditation marveling at how incredibly beautiful this place can be.

 

 

 

IMG_6177

I look forward to every spring when we put the pump back in, and the pond stirs to life.  To see the tadpoles and frogs awake.  And the lily pads start forming on the surface, knowing the flowers will be along soon.  To watch the reflections in the water.  This is my heaven on earth….my special haven for healing.

 

 

Have you ever created a sanctuary for yourself?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  The pictures here are of my pond in its first year of bloom.  While it is a bit overgrown these days, it is still my sanctuary, and beloved habitat for so many who share the garden with me.

 

I will be taking a week off, and will have another post next Thursday, the 26th!  It is a special day for me….

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words on creating a sanctuary.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

sanctuary

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Rejoice

 DSCN2160

Rejoice

 

 

Snow retreats,

while armfuls of green stems stretch out.

Toward skies of deep blue,

chill winds blow strong.

Yellow faces waving,

bright smiles beam toward the sun.

Rejoice-the daffodils are up!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

__________________________________________________________

One of the first flowers to pop up, in early spring, are the yellow trumpet daffodils.  I look forward to seeing their cheery faces.  This poem was born from observing them bloom.  And even though mine were buried for 4 days under snow, they have perked back up, and are smiling in the 70 degree sun!

 

The pictures here are of the daffodils that bloom in my garden in early April.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is ‘a drop of sunshine’; what gives us more sunshine than the first daffodils of spring!

daffs

I am also linking in with  Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about rejoicing in spring.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

rejoice

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Nature’s Healing Balm

IMG_0286

“What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more,
to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks
where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes,
or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that
tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness!”

~Helen Keller

 

 

When spring gets into full swing….where the flowers are coloring the landscape, and the warm breezes drift around me carrying intoxicating scents….I am calmed, I am rejuvenated, I am healed.

 

 

And it isn’t just in spring….it is anytime I am in nature really.  I have a strong need to be here where I can observe a special world that moves to its own slow rhythm and pace.  Being surrounded by the constant noise of machines and voices, the smell of exhaust from engines, the bright light of screens, and the endless push, push, push to get things done, I need a place to go where I can feel a healing balm descend on me body and soul.  Where I am reminded to breath slowly….to look and listen…to take in the world around me with every sense I can muster.

 

 

glory of snow (1)

But there are rules when I enter nature’s world….and these rules must be observed if we are to get any healing effect from it.  You must surrender to this world in silence….open up your eyes and ears.  Breath deep, and drink in every smell.  Feel the temperature, the air and light on your skin.  Be there in the moments that present themselves.  And for heaven’s sake, bring no electronics with you…well maybe a camera from time to time to capture a bit of it.  We cannot notice this special world when we are engaged in looking at a screen or talking to another person.  This is a world to enter alone.  To give ourselves to fully.

 

 

Recently, I have been keeping a digital journal of Moments of Fulfillment in my garden.  Moments I am beginning to write down in a journal and on my other blog, monthly.  The moments that bring light and lightness to my heart.  Where I feel at home, and at peace.  Let me show you a few of these moments that have been a healing balm for me this spring.

 

 

DSCN2854

When a sky, this color, presents itself, you must capture the moment in your mind as you sit and gaze on it….just by looking at its magnificence I am instantly calmed.  And the tears that well up in my eyes, at its miracle, match the raindrops still on the branches of the tree.

 

 

 

DSCN3005

Sitting on the Wall Garden, I can watch the first pollinators roll around in the crocus pollen…they are drunk and high with their first drink of spring.  And the high is catching.

 

 

 

DSCN3010

The tiniest of bulbs are now popping up all over the garden.  And because the landscape is so bare, you can’t help but notice them…..in blues…..

 

 

 

DSCN3048

And pale pinks….nestled in and among the new growth and spent debris of last year’s garden.  Hardly noticeable sometimes unless you stop and look closely.  Even getting down on hands and knees.  Sometimes I will even lay upon the earth and stare at their beauty.

 

 

 

DSCN3042

There are surprises around every corner.  A clump of dried grass is so much more upon closer inspection.  The thought of new life, or life that never came to be.  Pondering the mystery brings me solace.

 

 

 

DSCN3063

And visiting nature after a refreshing rain can bring its own special beauty.

 

 

 

DSCN2975

One of the most incredible sounds is the sweet song of the spring birds.  Calling to each other.   Whistling a tune.  They just seem so happy, that each time I hear their songs, I break into a smile that lights my heart.  For me there is no better healing balm than nature…whether in my own garden, or in a park across the street, or a nature center across town.

 

 

Where do you find solace and healing?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  The pictures here are of the recent early spring in my garden.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words the healing power of nature.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

touch of nature

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Happy Birthday to My Hero, My Dad

dad

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”  

~Clarence Budington Kelland

 

 

Reblogged, and edited from an earlier post on my other blog, Gardens Eye View.

 

 

Today my dad (Eugene J. Abel, Sr.; better known as Gene) would have been 82  87 years young.  Born as the Great Depression was starting, to a mother who wanted a girl, in the city of Philadelphia, so began my dad’s life.

 

 

He was the second son of two children.  His mom, who came from a poor Irish background, stayed at home although I think she may have worked at some point. His German father was strict and worked on the railroad.  They did not have much money, and both his parents came from large families of 13 children each.  And my grandmother revealed to me later in her life, that she married at 19 to get out of the house and away from her unhappy life.  It did not turn out to be a happy adult life for her either, as she viewed it.

 

 

Isn't he the cutest baby
Isn’t he the cutest baby

My Dad graduated high school, went to work and met my mom.  He was drafted into the Korean War towards its end, but did not see any action due to drinking foul water on maneuvers in Texas.  The war ended and he came home gladly as he always said, he hated the army.  As opposed to his older brother, my Uncle, who made a career from it.

 

 

He married my mom in 1954 after she graduated from nursing school as an RN.  He was going to night school after the war to get his accounting degree.  He could only go part-time because he had to earn a living.  They started a family in 1956, and had 4 children in 5 years.  During this time, my dad continued to work during the day, and go to school at night, while my mom stayed home and raised us kids.  She would work on weekends while my dad took care of us.  To say this was non-traditional is putting it mildly.  How many fathers in the 1950s cooked and cleaned and took care of the kids?  Not many.  And how many parents really shared everything:  work, kids, household?  Not many!

 

 

We moved to Indiana, in the fall of 1962, where my dad had a new job.  From the city to the country without batting an eyelash.  Mom stayed home at this point, and dad drove an old clunker of a car, an hour each way to work, always making sure my mom had the station wagon.

 

 

So you can see my role models were very different (at least that’s what my friends always said).  And my dad was the consummate kid.  He loved to play with us.  When we were growing up in Indiana, he came home from work, and was always playing ball with us or some other game.  He even made folding the laundry fun.  We never folded laundry without having a sock fight, and he would usually start it.  My mom used to say she had 5 kids, and she was right.  But first and foremost, he was always our father.  He disciplined us, even though I think it hurt him more than us sometimes.

 

 

1949-my dad as a young man
1949-my dad as a young man

But what I remember most was the love.  The complete unconditional, non-judgmental love and acceptance of all of us with all our faults.  He never dwelt on those faults either.  He would look at the positive.  He would talk with us.  He would let us make up our minds, and make our own mistakes.   He let us live our lives even if he didn’t approve.  And you never really knew if he didn’t approve, because again he did not pass judgement.  He was the proud dad, and he always made you know just how proud he was of all of us.

 

 

My dad was loved and admired by all who met and knew him.  I used to work summers, in the same company where he worked, when I was going to college.  You could see the admiration of his co-workers and the employees he supervised.  He had many friends, and I never remember anyone ever saying an unkind thing about him.

 

 

And his sense of humor, and story telling was legendary.  It was the Irish in him, I suspect.  That dry, slightly sarcastic way he had of saying things that was so endearing.  We loved to hear him tell the same stories over and over again, or have him sing his silly songs.  Those that know me well know I inherited his sense of humor; dry and sarcastic as well.

 

 

My dad on the left with a friend
My dad on the left with a friend

And I think the garden was his solace.  It was where you would find him puttering in peaceful happiness.  He even planted cactus, at their house, when my parents moved to Arizona.  That was when the bottom dropped out though for my dad.  He had lost his job at about the age of 50, and tried a few of his own businesses that failed.

 

 

He fell in love with the weather in Arizona when he took me to graduate school there.  So they moved there in 1985.  My mom knew something was wrong…I think we all did even though we tried to believe it was just depression.  It turned out to be early onset Alzheimer’s.  My dad suffered with this disease for almost 15 years until it took his life in 1998 soon after I was married. He was only 68.

 

 

Amazingly though he never lost his sense of humor or his love for his family.  He would continue to garden until the disease took so much of him he did not know us anymore.  He suffered in silence, never wanting his family to be hurt or affected by the disease because that was the kind of person he was.  And for his sake we never showed the pain we felt, or made him feel like he was incapable of anything he wanted to do.  It was the little triumphs, like when he could walk from the car to the house or still feed himself, that sustained us and at the same time pierced our hearts with a searing pain.

 

 

So I remember the man with the song in his heart and all the things we shared:  gardening, our love of old movies, story-telling, discussing politics and the news.  He was the listener and I was a talker.  His were the huge shoulders that I cried on, and that held me up when I needed them.  His voice, the heart of my father, was silenced long before his body gave out.  I really lost him soon after the disease started.  I was 28.  To say I miss my father can’t even begin to express the love, pain, sorrow I feel daily.  I feel his presence, though, whenever I am in the garden.  In that place of peaceful solitude that sustains my soul, that puts me in touch with him and his memory.  And maybe that is why I love it so, why I feel the compulsion, the yearning to be out there.  To be with him if not on this plane of existence then in another with his spirit.  So today I am celebrating the man, and my memories of my dad, on this his birthday.  It is the least I can do after all he has done for me….I love you daddy!!!

 

 

 

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”
~John Ruskin

 

 

 

Special Note:  

Thank you to all who have read this celebration of  my dad’s life.  It seemed fitting to bring this memoir back.  I hope my siblings read this, and hopefully find some solace.  The picture at the top of the post was taken when my dad was in the middle stages of the disease.  The disease even made it hard for his brain to tell his body how to smile, but smile he did even though he had to work at it.  He is pictured with his trusty buddy, our dog, Banditt.  They were never apart until my dad was so sick he had to live in a group home.  It broke Banditt’s heart, I think, and his health declined until he died a few years before my dad.  They are together now, and I know Banditt was there to greet him.  I wonder what my father would have thought of this blogging thing, and of his daughter’s writing.  I am sure he would be proud smiling that fabulous grin beaming ear to ear…..

 

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Crocus

DSCN1514

 

 

 

Crocus

 

 

Petals unfurl,

with shouts of joy!

A youthful gladness-

finally enjoyed.

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

__________________________________________________________

One of the first bulbs to bloom, early in my garden, are the snow crocus pictured here.  They shout spring with splashes of color all over the garden.   Wishing everyone a joyous Easter!

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog. Please visit to read some more wonderful verse.

crocus collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles 2016.

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about first spring crocus.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

crocus

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

3/5/12

Wildlife Lesson-Welcoming Mice in the Garden

DSCN0560
“The bird is powered by its own life and by its motivation.”

 ~A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

 

 

You can tell by looking at this picture, these are not the mice you were probably thinking of when you read the title of this post.  Those mice are free to roam the garden and wild areas.  We rarely see them, except when they come in the house in winter.  We did find their access and have so far put a stop to that.  Sorry, those mice have to stay outside.

 

 

But this little mouse, pictured here, is a Tufted Titmouse or Baeolophus bicolor.  These birds are common to the eastern US, and can be seen acrobatically flitting around gardens and feeders all year.  They are considered a small bird, 5 inches, but seem larger than other small birds like finches.

 

 

Since they tend to hang with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers, I was not surprised to see them in the garden in early December when these other birds were hanging from the suet feeder.

 

DSCN0781

They heralded their appearance by noisily chasing off a Downy Woodpecker who was happily feeding on suet.  The Titmice had been at my neighbor’s feeders two doors down.  But their curiosity got to them, and they had to see what was all the rage at our house….that rage would be suet as it keeps the woodpeckers and chickadees happy all day.

 

 

I usually see these cute birds in spring just before the songbirds make a reappearance from their warmer winter homes.  They come to the feeders, like in winter, and leave the feeders behind once the insects are out and plentiful.  They especially like caterpillars, beetles, ants, spiders and wasps.  Of course they won’t turn down seeds, berries and nuts.

 

 

The one other encounter I have had with Tufted Titmice was a few springs ago when one ran right into our glass French Door….which had grids in the glass.  I had heard the ruckus of two Titmice squabbling and flying around fighting.  Then suddenly that loud bang on glass….you know when you hear it, it’s a bird strike.  It was apparent this bird had not been watching where he was going as he was fighting.

 

titmouse hit collage

I jumped up and looked for the bird.  I saw it laying upright on the patio.  But as you can see from the picture, its neck was bent.  I was sure it had broken its neck as it was dazed…unmoving.  I was reluctant to go out and see if it was alive.  I didn’t want to scare it any further.  I tend to give birds some time to recover if they strike the house, and if they don’t I know the inevitable conclusion.

 

 

 

DSCN0555

He took a long time to straighten, probably a good 15- 20 minutes.  And then more time to get over the concussion he probably had.  After all he was flying full force in that bird fight.  His mate was calling to him for most of the time.  She did move on eventually as it may have appeared he was dead to her.  When he finally flew off, I wished him well and silently told him to please be more careful.

 

 

We don’t see a Titmouse nest as they use tree cavities, especially old woodpecker holes or nests (we don’t have any in our trees yet)….which explains why they hang around woodpeckers.  They can pick up a good, used home quickly.

 

 

I expect to see these cute birds out and about soon as spring starts to show itself soon.  After all we are supposed to get an early spring, aren’t we?

 

titmouse collage

Here are some interesting facts and folklore about the Tufted Titmouse:
  • The common name Titmouse comes from the Old Icelandic word ‘titr’, meaning something small, and from the Old English ‘mase’ meaning small bird.
  • Tufted Titmice seem to always choose the largest seeds they can when foraging.  In fall and winter they often hoard these seeds in bark crevices.
  • Tufted Titmouse pairs do not gather into larger flocks once breeding is done like many other birds.  Sometimes a juvenile will remain with the parents for a time even to help them raise young fledglings.
  • Tufted Titmice often line their inner nest with hair, sometimes taken right from living animals. They have found hair from raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans in their nests.
  • In Cherokee Indian legend, the Titmouse is regarded as a messenger; and has the reputation of a liar.

 

 

What wonderful critter surprises are you seeing these days?

 

With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.

 

 

 

GBBC-Promo-Posters_v1_FINAL
And don’t forget to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count coming February 12-15, 2016.  You can read how to participate here.

 

 

*****************

 

I leave you with another thought about Life and Birds like the Titmouse.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

titmouse

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.