This Time of Year

I’m reveling in memories as I pull out recipes and decorations.  The weather adds to the mood as it’s cold and rainy.   We’ll have a fire in the fireplace tonight.  Candles are lit and music is playing.

My sons and I, and now my grandson, love the scented book The Sweet Smell of Christmas.  Grandson is coming to stay with us, so I’ve filled the house with scent: pumpkin pie, pine, candy canes, and oranges.   Grandson and his dad made gingerbread cookies today so they arrive tomorrow with the scent of ginger and spice.  Lights are twinkling around the windows and along the fireplace mantel and in my heart.

May it be so!
Special rocks on a bench in the rain

Birthing the Light

It’s the first day of the last month of the year.  I open my Advent Calendar as I listen to the wind and rain.

Yesterday I was at the Community Congregational Church in Tiburon attending the ordination ceremony for a friend becoming a Zen priest.  It was an interesting juxtaposition as the ancient ceremony was shown on Zoom so on one side of the altar was a huge screen and on the other a nativity scene.  In the middle was the ceremony with rituals handed down for centuries.  

Behind the altar is a view of the bay and through the ceremony the sky moved from light to dark, from seeing outside to seeing the reflection of what was happening within.

This is a sacred time of year no matter what our beliefs, a time to light candles and swell in trust that dark turns to light and all revolves as One.

Wind chimes at my home
View from outside the church at 4:25 in the evening looking southwest
Looking west
Above the Altar
Imagine
The Past
Brought forward
Reflecting Within

Hidden and Not-so-Hidden Treasures

What I love about where I live is that after 45 years, I can still discover something new, and that is also true everywhere.  My friend Elaine Chanscherer and I met by the bay on the East side of the Golden Gate bridge on Sunday.  We discovered a bar/restaurant with a view and thrilled to the up and down dance of a sea lion.  These are some of Elaine’s photos from our day.

Today I curl and unfold within the words of Alan Watts:

In the process of growth the oak is not better than the acorn.

Hair reflecting with the clouds
A Sea Lion Friend
Imbibe with an Amazing View
Serenity
Such a day
Capturing the sun’s slant
Stepping Up

Nature’s Gifts

It was a wonderful four days with the gifts of Nature exuberant and generous everywhere.

The tide flows into the marsh
Bee enjoying feeding in the sunshine
Sunday from Cavallo Point
Another view
A Pelican Aloft
The bay and clouds gather in grace
Alcatraz and all that surrounds
Boats at rest

Thanksgiving Eve

In the United States, it’s Thanksgiving Eve, a time to gather even as we honor historical complexity.

This is my day to cook as memories jog, and yet before beginning the mixing of flour, butter, salt, and water for pie crust, I read the news. 

Shocking, and yet there’s a video on You Tube of a dog and sea lion playing catch at a beach in Santa Cruz.

May we all give thanks for diversity, curiosity, enthusiasm, and heroism on land and sea, especially where they meet.

Waves in Morning Sky

Trees share, each a niche with space

Peace and Ease

Falling Leaves

On Saturday I was with my three year old grandson and the falling leaves from a Japanese Maple tree.  We stood under the tree as though it was snowing beautiful red leaves upon us, and then he lay down in the leaves and made a Leaf Angel.  

As more leaves fell, I raked them into a huge pile and wrapped them all around him so just his head was out in the air.  The leaves became his racecar and then it was as though he entered a peaceful place, a study in bliss, as did I.

Each of us is being sprinkled right now in the memories of this closing year as we integrate and transform, as we are integrated and transformed with what is present and past.

May we receive with ease.

A rooted rise

Embraced

Serenity

On Friday, we drove to the Merced National Wildlife Refuge to see the migrating Sandhill Cranes.  We saw many birds, but though we heard them we didn’t actually see the cranes, and yet the place is so beautiful that as we watched the sun set, it was clear that our journey was soothing, nourishing, and complete.  

On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address at Gettysburg where from July 1 to July 3, 1863, more that 150,000 soldiers fought in the Civil War.  More than 7,000 died in a town with fewer than 2500.  Imagine dealing with the dead bodies in the heat of July, and imagine the injuries both physical and psychological, the soldiers carried home to friends and families, injuries that still reverberate through us.

I’m with balance these days as my eyes continue to adjust to the change from sixty years of hard contact lenses to glasses to surgery in February.

How do I balance on serenity and integration as I meet and meld the past and present with what comes?

Honoring the magnificence of travel and flight

A Sanctuary

What gathers and guides a communion of flight

Looking Down

Peace

Settling Down

Gratitude

As we move into increasing hours of darkness and the sharpening guide of slanted light, I’m with these words of Thich Nhat Hanh:

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves.

The Morning Sky

What’s the message for today?