Judgement

Disdainful hubris,

Too cowardly to ask why,

Corrupted caring.

Judging other people.  Unfortunately we have all fallen prey to this at some point in our lives.  We judge people and situations based on many factors but usually a lack of understanding of an entire situation is at the heart of the matter.  How many times have we been given one side of a story and made a judgement?  How many times have we jumped to conclusions or made an assumption and judged someone?   Making judgements make us feel better about ourselves.  We would never behave in such a fashion.  We would never do such a thing.  We are better than that.   Are we really better when we make  these judgements?  What would happen if, instead of jumping to conclusions and making our judgements, we had the courage to ask about the other side of the story?  To actually approach a person and engage in a dialogue.  “Excuse me, please help me understand why XYZ occurred”  or “I am curious as to what led you to do XYZ?”  What would happen if we were able to engage our sense of compassion and consider that there probably are circumstances that we are unaware of that led to certain actions or thoughts?  Or perhaps, most basic of all,  we need to look at a situation and realize that it really just is not any of our business.  Judging others may make a person feel better in the short-term, but in the end it leaves the soul like this old apple,  shriveled, dried out and rotten inside.  I prefer to live my life differently.

Quiet

Turn down the volume,

The distractions disappear,

Finally I hear my thoughts.

With our wonderful Spring weather I find myself spending as much time outside just soaking up the sun and the warmth.  With this time I am finding an unexpected gift, the gift of Quiet.  No cell phone, no radio, no TV…just Quiet.   I hear many things that normally I miss, but most importantly, I  hear myself.  My thoughts are like the wind-blown leaves, and it’s wonderful.  Ideas can chirp and flit like birds, and I love it.  Like the center of this crocus bloom, I feel that I can get to the center of myself  and explore what an amazing place it is.  What will you find when it is Quiet?

Taking The Time

Small and reserved

Camouflaged from easy sight,

Effort reveals allure.

This small heather does not look terribly impressive at first glance.  It is a small, green, bushy thing with these little tiny sparks of color that have a hard time drawing your attention away from their more flamboyant neighbors.   However, when you do take the time and effort to look closely at them, what a lovely reward you receive!  How many times have we looked at someone and have dismissed them immediately from our further attention?  Perhaps they do not seem impressive because they do not look like us, or they do not have the furnishings that our society deems important.  But what if we put a little effort into looking closer?  The above photo required that I get on my hands and knees in a  lumpy, uncomfortable patch of garden, should not we extend at least the same amount of effort in order to really see a fellow person?  It would not necessarily be convenient or easy, but think of the potential beauty to be seen!

Renewal

Hibernation done,

Sunlight saturates our cells,

Renewal begins.

We have been experiencing an extraordinary spring this year.  Spring has come early and the weather has been spectacular.  All the flowers and the people have been coming out of their winter hibernation to enjoy the warmth and the sun.  What a feeling that is, stepping outside into the first bright and welcoming days.  Even if the winter was not particularly harsh, such as we experienced this season, there is just something about the lack of sunlight that depletes the body and soul.  I simply adore this season when our layers begin to come off, faces turn upwards, and we no longer feel the urge to brace against the elements but instead can embrace them.  How wonderful that, each year, we are given such a chance to renew our bodies and souls.  Make the most of it!

Between Two Worlds

Accidental friend,

Unable to walk between worlds,

Be free beyond me.

This was a difficult week.  A few weeks ago, this  dog came into our lives by accident.  We certainly did not need another dog, especially a young, goofy male German Shepherdy dog.  Sometimes I think I must have a sign on my back, only readable by animals, that says “Sucker”.  We made room for him, gave him a name, and enjoyed his devoted silliness.  This past weekend he started making attempts to get out of the yard.  We made sure the fence was in good repair and did not think too  much of it.  He decided that going over the fence was really not that much of a challenge.  Then something switched, our world of domesticity,rules and obedience fell away and he found himself in a wild place.  A place where a neighbors chickens are a meal, anything that runs is prey, and humans become insignificant.  Luckily one of our other dogs was able to help him fall back into our world but it was too late, the damage had been done.  He would never again be satisfied with being a pet, if he ever really had been one.  I do not doubt that he was attached to us, but that other world would always lure him away to a dangerous place, dangerous both for him and for others.  While I hated to say goodbye to my friend, he is now free to follow his true nature.

Pathway

Blanketed in white,

A quiet tunnel beckons,

The future calling.

Typically I would be riding this particular bit of trail but was on foot this visit, enjoying one of our rare snow falls this winter.  The sheer beauty of  this snowy path against the dark trees spoke to me.  I have always loved the idea of the road or pathway unwinding in front of me, like an adventure laying itself at my feet.     With each passing year,  I seem to spend more time either worrying about the present or lamenting the past, rather than looking forward to the future.  This picture reminds me to acknowledge the promise and potential that exists with each new day.

My Layers

Weathered and flaking,

Bits of self falling away,

Character revealed.

I feel so much like how this tree looks.  Weathered, flaking, cracked and peeling but also beautiful in an interesting way.  As much as I would sometimes love to wish away the visible signs of aging, I would also want to keep the laugh lines and the scars, for those are the index of my life stories. Not a few adventures, some misadventures, more than a little laughter, too much time spent in the sun, these are what I try to focus on when I look in the mirror.  The wear and tear that formed my character, for better or worse.  I am not a lily, nor a rose, but hopefully I am as interesting as this birch tree.

Simplicity

Stripped of all clothing,

Beautiful simplicity,

Nothing more needed.

Another one of my forest preserve finds this winter.  I just found something beautiful in this homely little plant.  Completely stripped of its leaves, blooms, anything decorative…yet it stunned me with its simplistic elegance.  By removing everything else, symmetry and balance become things of beauty.  This simplicity is important to keep in mind, in our world of materialism and more, always more.  Even with all the recent focus on living the simple life, it is not always easy when constantly bombarded with a society that says we must have more…or we must do more…or we must achieve more of  whatever the current fashion dictates.  Teaching ourselves to see past the frippery to all of the beauty that is freely available to us, if only we are willing to see and appreciate it.

 

Brazen Beauty

Tiny russet beauty,

Posing on winter’s blanket,

Demanding our eye.

This spent bloom was just too pretty not to shoot.  This winter has taught me so much about enjoying everything a season brings with it.  I have spent the past few winters bemoaning the fact that we do not live in a climate that is warm and sunny all year round.   Granted this mild weather has been easier to manage than our typical winter, but I have really developed an appreciation for the beauty of the snowy and cold days, and can honestly say that I miss them.  Instead of always wishing for what I do not have, I find myself appreciating the beauty of what I do have more each day.