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Monthly Archives: December 2011

 

On the last night of Chanukah I ventured out into the cold to snap a few photos. As I gazed up at our window, I was struck by the contrast between the snowy landscape in which I stood and the warmth and light coming from within. What a striking metaphor! Yet, that is the metaphor offered by Chanukah and the lights we kindle. When all is darkness and cold outside, the light of the spirit within each of us offers respite from the dark coldness that too often appears to envelop us. It only takes one light to illuminate that darkness, one light to illuminate the path we must follow or the place in which we dwell. But once that light is kindled, another light, and then another and another begins to ignite. May your home, your heart, your spirit be aglow with the light of Chanukah throughout the coming year. I am most grateful for light and warmth Chanukah candles emit on a cold winter night.

 

Several things went wrong during the day. I was experiencing a bad case of the doldrums and feeling rather cross. The temperature outside was cold, and I don’t care for cold weather. My husband was preoccupied with the business of paying bills, making phone calls, etc. Blech…. not the best of days for me. I tried to be cheerful and chirpy but it kept coming off as snippy and persnickety. I kept telling myself that I should be grateful for being alive, living in a warm apartment with someone who loves me, and on and on, but to no avail. I was in a rotten mood! When that happens, oftentimes I need only change the environment or activity to eradicate the “blues.” Richard, recognizing what was happening, suggested a drive out to the country. So we bundled up, I grabbed my camera and we headed out the door. We drove to Chagrin Falls, OH, parked the car and started walking. The briskly cold air, holiday bunting still strung everywhere, cheerful crowds (Chagrin Falls is somewhat of a touristy quaint village near Cleveland), and late afternoon sun still shining lifted my spirits almost immediately. Strolling through the village, along the stream and even down to the falls, helped me to realize how fortunate I am to live in this beautiful world. If one is “stuck” in a bad place, change the place to lift the mood. That is not to say one doesn’t experience life changing tragedies and losses. Just that for me, on this particular day, a simple stroll along a stream that meanders through a quaint village was enough to clear the fog in my brain and remind me of the benefits of living a grateful life. I am grateful for the ability to change my perceptions by doing something as simple as taking an afternoon stroll along a beautiful stream.

 

 

What can I say about friendship that has not already been said? I don’t even feel like trying to describe what friendship means, or the value of friends. As a relative newcomer to this “neck of the woods,” I have missed my friends and have not been here long enough to develop friendships beyond the acquaintance status yet. But being the nomads that we are, I know from experience that I will develop friendships here, some that will last a lifetime I’m sure. But the holiday season (Chanukah) without friends nearby is rather lonely. Last night however, two friends, Lori and Heather, joined us to celebrate friends and holidays (Lori traveled six hours), to laugh and chat the evening away. Best fun I’ve had in ages! This morning as I reflected on yesterday and spending time with friends, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of friendship.

If you read Inspired Vision, you know that I am not particularly fond of cold weather, or snow. The older I get the more my body feels the aches and pains brought on by cold weather. I was born in Louisiana and grew up in the deep south (USA). Enchanted by snow as a young girl, I loved playing in it on the rare occasions that we were snowed upon, but over the years I gradually came to dread it. Shoveling the stuff was difficult, and increasingly dangerous the older I get. As I age my balance is gradually diminishing as well, so walking on the slippery stuff is proving to be more challenging with each passing season. Forget driving in snow! Oy vey . . . I can hear you ask, why, if snow poses so many challenges, am I grateful for the stuff? I am grateful for it because snow is beautiful. Snowscapes are eye-candy, a barren  vista turned magical kingdom. I have a little secret: just between you and me, when I see it snow, there is a bit of childlike wonder that still stirs within me. I may not play in the white stuff anymore, but I enjoy gazing out at it. I enjoy snuggling in my favorite robe, sitting in front of my picture window, sipping a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and gazing out on the winter wonderland. Furthermore, despite all the dire grumbling, with very little prodding I jump into my boots, pull on the coat, grab the camera and head out into the treacherous stuff . . . because it is beautiful, and I want to capture some of that beauty to share with you, to keep with me, to remember the season of the year. Yes, between you and me, despite my dislike of it, I am grateful for snow! Who’d of thunk!

What better way to express my gratitude for this, my 100th post on Perpetual Gratitude: A Photographic Diary. This takes ten minutes, and what a wonderful ten minutes it is! Enjoy!

 

On rainy, windy, miserable days, I prefer to stay indoors. Redundant statement, I know. But I say that in order to say I don’t mind looking out at it. In fact I find that often there is a mesmerizing beauty to the wet landscape. Looking out at the beauty from the safety of one’s home however, is quite different than actually going out into the foreboding elements. On days like these, when clouds darken the skies and rain pelts against the windows, I am happy and content to view the scene from the comfort of my apartment with coffee in hand and where it is warm, dry and protected from nature’s watery display. My nest. I am grateful for the nests of protection, security and comfort. 🙂

 

 

 

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