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

 

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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.

 

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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.

Nature’s Healing Balm

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“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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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…..

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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?

 

 

 

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

 

 

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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.

Wildlife Lessons-Cedar Waxwings Play

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“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Last May, as I sat on my comfortable lounge chair recovering from surgery, I happened to hear a sound that was about the only thing that would get me up and out of that chair.  You see the surgery was for an abdominal hernia repair, and it was hard for me to get up, stand up or walk.

 

DSCN8070But when I heard the trilling and whistles, I knew what it meant.  The Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) had come back to my garden.  When I looked out to the tall trees in the center of the garden, there they were.  About 20-30 of them….they looked so excited to be here.  They had returned from their southern winter homes and were back to take up residence and find a prime nesting site.

 

It seemed they were hanging in my trees because they were all vying for time in the pond.  If you have never seen an “earful” or “museum” of Waxwings, then you have missed a treat.  Besides all the whistling going on, they are always in motion.  Moving, tussling, hopping, pushing and doing acrobatic moves as they catch insects on the fly.  And they are incredibly social birds too.

 

Whenever I see this “earful” of Waxwings, I think back to my childhood days when my DSCN8084siblings and I, along with the neighbor kids, would get together and play.  We would play these large games sometimes make-believe, sometimes with rules like Simon Says and sometimes just exploring down by the creek or digging in mounds of dirt for unusual finds like arrowheads.  And when we were together, you could hear us a mile away with our high-pitched squeals of delight.

 

I have written about the virtues of play before.  It is one of the joys in life we sometimes forget to practice when we begin to grow older.  And we sometimes think play is only for children, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  One of the best ways I know how to play is to cultivate a creative pursuit.  Dancing, singing, drawing, gardening, photography, writing….you name it.  If it is part of being creative, then it is part of the joy of play.

 

DSCN8570And you don’t even have to be good at it or worry if you are.  I never cared if my pictures looked great or if I used the right green to color in leaves.  I just had fun coloring or drawing.  Now I tend to care a bit too much, but I am releasing the arbitrary bonds I have place on my creative self.  And in that freedom, I have found my playful side again.

 

So when I see fawns frolicking or birds riding the thermals, I am reminded to play.  And it is especially easy to think of play when you I see Cedar Waxwings each spring.  Don’t they have the most beautiful coloring.  I love the browns and yellows so subtle.  And the little red tips on the ends of their wings.  But best of all, I love their masked faces.  Like a bunch of bandits riding into town to whoop and holler.  I want to get on my pretend horse, don my Lone Ranger mask and ride those bandits out of town, the hero of my yard again!

 

The Waxwings also remind me of those times, during recess, when there would be so many DSCN8064children screaming, yelling and playing.  A group of us would sneak off to the old apple trees, and gorge ourselves on dimpled, imperfect apples….much like these fruit loving birds.  Watch out because they will eat every serviceberry, winterberry, strawberry, mulberry, crabapple, and raspberry in sight… as well as the berries of juniper, dogwood and honeysuckle.

 

Cedar Waxwings are native to North and Central America, where they nest in open wooded areas (right behind my meadow) and winter in the southern half of the United States, Central America and the tip of northwest South America.  They are supposed to live year-round here in New York, but I have not seen them here in winter.  And they are supposed to breed mainly in southern Canada, but we have mating pairs here in central New York each summer.  Wherever there is running water (my pond with waterfall) and berries along with lots of insects…that’s where you will find them.  It seems my wildlife garden has become a great spot for the Waxwings to visit and dine.

 

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Here are some interesting facts about Cedar Waxwings:

  • Males and females look alike.
  • Cedar Waxwings have been known to eat fruit that is overripe and has begun to ferment, thereby becoming intoxicated.
  • When there is a supply of berries that only one bird can reach, the Waxwings will line up along the twig and pass berries with their beaks down the line so that each bird can eat.
  • Cedar Waxwings are said to be named because of its fondness for the small cones of the eastern red cedar…..AND
  • Because the name “waxwing” comes from the waxy red tips of its wings that are said to possibly attract mates.
  • The oldest known Cedar Waxwing was 8 years, 2 months old.  It is nice to know that the same birds may return to my garden each year.

 

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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.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about play.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

waxwings play

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Creating Pure Joy

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“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”  — Erich Fromm

 

 

One of the habits I have lost along the way was the ability to have fun.  I noticed it only recently when I was taking stock of myself and my habits after being retired for almost a year.  I did things that I liked to do such as gardening and photography.  And yes they were fun, but I felt something was missing in these endeavors, in my life.  And I found I did not have as many hobbies or friends to “play” with anymore.

 

Now I know I am an adult and we have to work, but there was never anything that precluded us from playing and having fun with friends as an adult.  It just seemed my life became about the job… especially since we had no children.  And there was less and less fun in the job as time went on.  Challenges had replaced pure fun, and for a while sufficed.  But soon the joy seeped out of the job and I couldn’t find it anymore.  It became, “I have to” not “I get to”.  Where was the fun in that?

 

And sadly it was as if I didn’t know how to play anymore once I retired.  I used to DSCN6752amuse myself for hours as a child bouncing and catching a ball to see how many times I could do it without missing.  I would wander and smell the flowers, look at the bugs, climb trees, swing, wade in the creek, ride my bike, and all alone if friends were busy.  When friends were around we would play make-believe games, riding our horses to the rescue (our bikes with rope tied around the handlebars).  We would roll down hills, play tag, hide and seek and even card or board games.  Nothing planned or scripted, but whatever we felt like doing in the moment that would bring us immeasurable joy.

 

I miss those simple games, those creative fun times lost for hours in the sheer joy of life.  When we were with family at Thanksgiving, my 27-year-old niece and her fiancé wanted to play a board game.  So we got out the only game my sister had, Trivial Pursuit.  You bet I was in and ready to play.  And we were lost for hours playing the game, making up new rules and having so much….you guessed it, FUN!  Yes I won, but that is beside the point.

 

One of the ways I know I can create more joy in my life is to learn to play again….to let go and be creative…find what amused me as a child and still does.  There are the obvious things like riding my bike, wandering around the garden and watching bugs.  But those will have to wait for warmer weather.  It will be challenging to see what fun things I can find this winter…I love puzzles and there are a few jigsaw puzzles with my name on them just waiting to be put together.  And perhaps a bit of play in the snow-making snow angels and  snowmen!

 

Of course once the weather warms up and spring fever hits, I will be itching to get out and DSCN7059have some fun in the garden.  I can ride my bike over to the lake and see what’s what.  Oh that sounds like fun….you know I never get over there.  I wonder why…it could be fun!!  And there is flower arranging, or maybe painting a few pictures of flowers….oh I think I am going to like that too.

 

But more than doing all these things, I will be continuing to find more and more time to create joy…the pure joy from just exploring my surrounds and enjoying life in the moment with no scripted plans.  The possibilities are endless.  All I have to do is get back into the flow of those joyful, spontaneous moments of life.  Hey if you are in the neighborhood, stop on by…no need to call….we can play.  It will be such great fun!

 

Note:   The yellow roses pictured here represent joy.

 

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I leave you with some additional thoughts on, creating joy in our lives. Feel free to download this photo and share.

yellow rose

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Creativity Continued

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Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.  ~Scott Adams

 

 

 

Well the photo challenge for August is over, but there are some more photos I want to share that I really love.  Love was the last word on the last day of August and a most appropriate word to convey how I feel about these pictures.  And I am featuring black and white photography again as I have really loved experimenting with it.  This first photo shows the dew in the garden as the first rays of morning illuminate it.

 

 

I hope you like these additional monochrome photos.  I am linking in with The Weekend of Black and White, and with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.  And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

stickley chair

This my favorite chair.  I love it, and it was a gift from my husband many years ago.  It is a Stickley Morris spindle back oak/leather chair that reclines like an antique recliner with pegs.  I used this chair a lot when I was recovering from surgery.

 

 

 

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A favorite shelf of some books I love.

 

 

 

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This intriguing picture is my cement porch which steps down to the front step and then to the brick sidewalk.  I love the lines and the progression of the patterns.

 

 

 

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The cattails in the pond are lit up by the morning sun, and are contrasted against the bright foliage.  These are a favorite sight from my window.

 

 

 

DSCN3638This is a favorite view from the French doors inside to the patio in the late afternoon.

 

 

 

DSCN3649And if you look closely at the wicker chair on the patio (from the picture above) you can see how the shadows of the plants play on it.  Here it is in closeup.  I love the contrast of the dark chair, the light and shadows.

 

 

 

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The gazebo is a favorite subject of mine to photograph.  I love how it looks in the late afternoon shade as you can see clearly through it to the fence and meadow behind it.  It is interesting how the gazebo slats line up with the fence behind it.

 

 

 

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And finally I really loved how the bee house looked in the late afternoon shadow of the ash tree it was hanging on.

 

 

 


I leave you with
 a bit of a sentiment that tells how I feel when I explore my world with a camera.  I hope you can capture your own enthusiasm in something creative.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

flower creative

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

A Kinder Place

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“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.”

― Lao Tzu

 

I have a friend who is a consummate giver.  I love watching her give by doing little acts of kindness…seeing someone struggling with a door that she gladly holds open as many others walk on.  Or giving up her space in line for an elderly gentleman, and letting into traffic that frazzled mom with a van load of kids.  No judgement here as I have walked or driven on by as well in my own little world not noticing.

 

But it is in these small, almost mindless, acts of kindness that we spread love, and I know we can all use more of that.  We never know what ripple effect our kindness can have.  But I know when someone has shown me a kindness, I feel happy, grateful and it makes me realize I need to give a little more.  No obligation just a pure, loving, wanting that permeates from within me that must be released or maybe unleashed on the world.

 

I love walking down the street and smiling at everyone.  Even those who do not look my way.  Maybe they will feel the love flowing to them.  And it is amazing how much someone can be uplifted by that smile…that little simple kindness that uses so many of my 43 facial muscles.  I usually get more smiles in return, but it is not why I do it.  I am giving straight from my heart center letting it flow out…and boy does it make me beam inside like sunshine emanating from every pore…feeling warm and luscious almost like the rich chocolate oozing from the center of  a flourless cake.

 

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I found someone’s wallet once and made a point of finding out who they were, and drove it to their house.  They wanted to give me a reward, but the reward for me was in giving them peace of mind.  And do you know that I have lost things like credit cards and keys and somehow they are brought back to me.  A bit of karma maybe riding that kindness wave.

 

 

 

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.  ~Dalai Lama

 

Kindness is an important and often missing element in our world it seems these days.  One that if practiced more, we might not have as much suffering, anger and hatred swirling about.  I’m not saying it will all just go away magically, but I know there would be less angry people in a kinder world.

 

Doing something that makes me feel good, and given with heartfelt love and no obligation or strings attached.  What a most precious genuine gift for the receiver and bliss for the giver (said with a bright, big, beaming smile of love to all)!

 

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Special Note:  The blossoms in the pictures here are elderberry blossoms.  These lovely blossoms signify kindness.  And produce a yummy berry (as seen below) I share with the birds in fall and winter.

 

 

The picture below is my gift to you this week.  Please download it and use it to spread kindness.

 

elderberries painting

 

 

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

 

 

Using Creativity

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“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” 
― Maya Angelou

 

This was an interesting week with the photo challenge.  The words were different and difficult for this photographer who usually only takes pictures of gardens and critters in nature.

 

Words and phrases like in my bag, drink, on the table, hands, blue and my guilty pleasure (organic very dark chocolate pictured above) were the creative thoughts for the week.  And as I am still not out and about much, I had to look inside the house for inspiration.

 

I am linking in with a few memes.  One is Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday Another is River@Drifting through life who hosts Sunday Selections where folks post photos they have not shown before.  And I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

 

 

I love the look of this blue glass lit up.

 

 

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And this blue stained glass miniature lamp was interesting to capture as the light changed throughout the day.

 

 

 

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Of course the blue sky is always fun to capture especially when the sun is hiding behind the clouds making some rainbows.

 

 

 

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On my table are lots of seeds as I am planting crops for fall.  And my most recent vase and a birthday gift were also there so I posed them so you could get a great view.

 

 

 

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Drink was easy as every morning I have a cup of wonderful Italian coffee and fresh brewed green tea.  Both have health benefits and I love the taste of both.  The morning sun was lighting them up as they steamed hot.

 

 

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In my purse was a bit of challenge as I was not about to empty my big purse.  Instead I thought I would look in one of my fancy vintage clutches.  I love this ivory beaded bag.  Inside it held the tag and the lucky penny you put in a new purse.  This one had the penny when I bought it.

 

 

 

Photo on 2014-08-14 at 08.32 #3

I was not sure how I would take a picture of my hands until I remembered I had Photo Booth on my Mac.  So I choose a special effect… X-ray for this picture and pushed the camera button.  I love the way it shows the knuckles and wrinkles of this gardener’s hands.

 

 

I leave you with another shot of creativity…. from my garden, on my table with a drink of my favorite tea.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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