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A rock pile ceases being a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. – unknown
I’d hoped that 2011 would be less eventful than 2010, it was not to be. A family crises before the first week was over dashed all hopes of a peaceful start to the new year.
As I often do when stressed, I turn to nature. I’ve been enjoying the scene from our deck. The snow we wished for in December has arrived in January. I go out with the dogs while it is still dark, enjoying the moon and stars when I can, the stillness. In the dark I can only see the sparkling snow nearby. But when daylight comes, the wintry scene from the deck and from our windows takes your breath away.

Some days there is a lot of noise. There are usually mallard ducks and other water fowl on the river. sometimes the ducks seem to skate across floating ice to get from one feeding spot to another.

I discovered I wasn’t the only one watching the birds closely. An eagle has been perching close to the house and we have been treated to close up views of him. When the ducks take off loudly we know the eagle is flying close by.

Midway through the month I retreated to Mt Saviour Monastery for several days to Recharge … Renew … Reflect. It was a much needed respite with others who have similar interests, dinner on Sunday with the Brothers and plenty of time for prayer and time alone if needed. I was able to enjoy a long walk there under a full moon… beautiful!

I came home from retreat to find my 5 year old grandson waiting eagerly at the door. He was literally hopping up and down. He and Papa were watching the squirrels stealing nuts from the deck below when they saw the eagle fly by very close right at window level. He said ” Sometimes you just have to be still to see things”. Momentarily disappointed that it wasn’t see me that he was so happy about, I couldn’t help but smile at his excitement and then seriousness when giving advice about keeping still…. funny boy..

Just before the retreat I’d started a e-course titled Spirituality In Practice. It is based on the writings of Br David, a senior monk from Mt Saviour, who travels the world teaching about Gratefulness. Each day we are given a topic, poem, thought or practice. We can choose to just read or comment. I have adopted quite a few of the practices and one of my favorite is lighting a candle every morning as I sit in the darkness watching the sun rise. Often I find myself typing by candlelight and enjoy it more than switching on a harsh light. The e-course continues and I continue to grow.

I carry my phone or camera with me most of the time and so I’ve been able to take a lot of good photos lately. Once, when I let my dog Star out, I left the flood lights off so I could get a good photo of the full moon reflected in the water. I startled something near the bank.. I could hear it running through the frozen snow. It in turn startled us and Star beat me to the back door!

A granddaughter has come to live with us. At the age of 10, she is very artistic and has an eye for noticing little things. I’ve given her permission to have fun with my digital camera and she is turning into a great photographer. Half the time though, her favorite subject is herself and we tease her about it.

All the January snow means an occasional snow day. On those days I have time to go out with the dogs, sweep the deck clean of snow, enjoy the stillness. Then we enjoy a late leisurely breakfast cooked by grampa while we are still in our pjs.

During a recent snow day I found the twin hearts at the bottom of my driveway.

Today, the first day in February we have another snow day and will probably have one tomorrow.

In a dream recently last I was dancing under the cherry trees at the old house, in a shower of blossoms every time the breeze picked up. Am I ready for Spring or what? Sigh.. gonna miss those trees this spring.


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