I hold a peach in my hand the sweet scent lifts my spirits with all the promise of summer blackberries growing wild sparkle like obsidian jewels in the dry summer sun plum butter rich and thick on a freshly-baked scone I close my eyes, the explosion of sensations color my spirit as I taste the gifts of Gaia catching a stray crumb with my tongue I sigh with gratitude and contentment thank you for the flavors thank you, thank you, thank you
Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where this Spoonie seeks to find the magic in a mundane world.
After returning from a short trip to visit grandkids and wrap up pre-retirement details with the home office, we had three weeks to rest, recuperate, see doctors, repack our suitcases and pack up our tiny home for storage before heading out on the “big trip of being somewhere else.” This is the first significant road trip we’ve taken in several years.
We left South Dakota on a sunny day. The weather had been mostly hot and sunny for the weeks prior to our departure and we were looking forward to some cooler temps.
Spoonie travel requires some adjustments. We discovered early on that traveling by car is no less draining than travel by air, and it TAKES LONGER! Bear in mind that neither of us travels well these days, we’re out of shape. We took the drive in easy steps traversing no more than 350 miles of state highways per day. We stopped at virtually every roadside rest and touristy place along the way (aka restrooms).
We loosely followed the Oregon Trail most of the trip and picked up fascinating tidbits about the pioneers and their perils, as well as the Eisenhower Highway Act which connected this vast country. The story goes that when Eisenhower was a young Army officer, he participated in a cross country convoy from New York to California. The trek took 62 days and Eisenhower later wrote that this was when he first envisioned a cross country highway system.
The road was long, the journey arduous although certainly not a patch on what the pioneers or post WWI travelers must have gone through. Breaks became less frequent and fatigue crushed the mind, body and soul of these two spoonies. Wyoming holds many, many hundred miles of, well, nothing. At all. I have always said though that if you LOOK for beauty, you’ll find it. Above, during a brief break at an otherwise unremarkable rest area, thistles behind a dilapidated parking lot.
Finally after three days of bone crushing travel fatigue, we stopped for a two-night R&R in the little town of Mountain Home, Idaho. While there we took in some local sites like “Penny Alley” which encompasses an alley full of murals. More on that later.
For Sunday Stills where we are celebrating “great outdoors month”
For me, like a lot of spoonies, the “great outdoors” is all about finding balance. In the Ayurvedic tradition, balance comes from being in sync with nature, and from being in balance within ourselves.
Rock cairns, large and small decorate the banks of the Virgin River near the Narrows hike. After a flood deposited thousands of rocks and stones along the riverside walk in Zion National Park, human creativity balanced with nature.
“Into the forest I must go. To lose my mind and find my soul.” ~ John Muir
Here, the end of the trail for us in Redwoods National Park. The trail went much deeper into the forest but this was as far as we got, and that’s OK. Spoonies have to balance the desire to trek off deep into the woods leaving the world and it’s noise behind, with the need for caution. Getting to the end of a trail and discovering awe inspiring fairy glens and primordial glades is wonderful. Fatigue induced exhaustion that causes you to faint, not so much.
The Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto, Japan. The cherry tree lined path that follows a small canal from Ginkaku-ji to Nanzen-ji reminds me that the great outdoors is always there, just a step away from my door. Sight-seeing can be taxing on a spoonie and the days of rugged outdoor hikes must be balanced with relaxing strolls and stargazing.
I’ll never lose my need for the great outdoors, and I treasure every moment, the exciting ones and the sedate ones. Sitting on the beach on Kauai surrounded by dark and light, sea and sand, I breathe in the tang of salt air and I am at peace.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” ~Ferris Bueller
Of course, there are also wonders to be found just off the beaten path that make my little spoonie heart soar. During a drive on South Island, NZ we saw an interesting angle of the bay and decided to stop. A short walk from the pull off we were greeted by magical sandstone cathedral spires. We never would have noticed them if we hadn’t listened to that small still voice that whispers “take a look.”
Meanwhile, half-way across the planet, more hoodoos (sandstone spires) dance in gay perfusion in Bryce National Park, Utah. I have walked so many trails in so many places, always, always looking for balance, the synchronicity of nature and balance within myself. Many of the trails have been half-way trips. When he sees my strength beginning to fade, Superhubs will gently remind me “we still have to walk back.” Ahhh yes, the walk back, more adventure. The journey, after all, is the worthier part of the trip.
“I have seen so many sunrises,” he said “each one glorious with the promise of the new day to come. Mine to shape and mold as I will. And sunsets, the sky refracting back to my meager eyes to joy of the day that has passed. I have watched the stars burst through the dark sky like a million flaming diamonds. Yet none of it prepared me for the explosion of celestial light within your eyes the first time I saw you smile.” ~Gwren
This week marked the Summer Solstice which we celebrated with a family gathering and feast on the BBQ. Surrounded by brothers, sisters, children, and grand-children. It was lovely. This shot of Stonehenge was taken in the spring but to me Stonehenge will always hold a special place in my Litha celebrations. Accordingly, I watch the sunrise over Stonehenge on youtube (I’m such a rebel).
Sunrise over the ocean on Kauai. This is one of my favorite shots for summer even though it wasn’t summer when I took the picture. The golden sky and reflection on the ocean just speaks to me of the power of the sun.
Another of those golden sunrises, I adore the flame red of the sun’s reflection on the water.
Sunset in Virgin, UT one wonderful solstice. Striking sunsets are rare in the desert, as are the clouds that create the textured feel of the picture.
Chimney Rock, Nebraska at dusk. Located at the “south edge of the North Platte River Valley, Chimney Rock is a natural geologic formation, a remnant of the erosion of the bluffs at the edge of the North Platte Valley. A slender spire rises 325 feet from a conical base. The imposing formation, composed of layers of volcanic ash and brule clay dating back to the Oligocene Age (34 million to 23 million years ago), towers 480 feet above the North Platte River Valley.” source
And finally, sunset at 30,000 ft. over Kentucky. From my seat on the plane as we approached Cincinnati on our recent trip. A wonderful way to start a trip.
That’s about it from here at Chez Spoons, have a great and safe week mes amies.
Pink is the color of romance, softness and playfulness. Toning down the passion of red with the innocence of white can create a wide range of emotion. Let’s take a trip around the world in pink.
Pale pink blossoms of a flowering plum tree in Virgin, Utah remind me of sweet summer days and the gentle scent of morning. “A perfect blossom is rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.” ~Katsumoto – The Last Samurai
A painted pink stone atop a post finial at Sterling Point, NZ. Because Pink makes everything pretty.
Variegated pink rose, Westfir, Oregon. “A rose is without explanation. She blooms because she blooms.” ~ Angelus Silesius
A pink rabbit welcomes us to Taiwan. “I’m not crazy, my reality is just different from yours.” ~Cheshire Cat
Wise words on a rainbow, Starbucks Rapid City, SD “Pink is more than a color, it’s an attitude.” ~Miley Cyrus
It’s easy to love a sunrise. The promise of a new day, bright, vibrant colors transform ordinary clouds into enchanting abstract patterns. Yes, it’s easy to love bright colors. It takes a special kind of soul though to love a lead-gray sky. I do because I see. I see the divine in a tiny bit of clear quartz among the gravel bed. I see the promise of eternity in the monochrome grayness of a cloudy day. I spend my days trying to be open to everyday epiphanies, the magical mundanities, of an ordinary life.
In nature I find gray everywhere, perhaps because it makes such a perfect backdrop. Perhaps because it’s everywhere. Perhaps because it is the middle of the road, half way between black and white, like the color of my hair, old enough to know better, but still willing to take a bash at it.
Here gray concrete paving stones provide a backdrop for a young black swallowtail with brilliant wing stripes in Jiujiang, China
A white-faced Heron stalks his shadow in New Zealand
Gray mist hangs over the pavilion at Lulin Lake on Lushan Mountain, China
Vast gray depths and composition of a cloud formation in Rapid City, SD, USA
“Tall buildings no bigger than blocks on the floor Wellington afloat on the harbour haze: You think of how most men spend their days In offices as cramped as elevators…”
Well weathered words of wisdom on faded gray planks of Wellington NZ waterfront.
If we were having coffee this week, I’d confide in hushed tones that I’ve never liked the color black for a wardrobe choice *insert shocked gasp*. Black is technically the absence of color and frankly, it washes out my already pale complexion. Then, I discovered all the infinite possibilities of gray. It has become a staple neutral of my wardrobe.
Ah well, I’m off to ponder the questions of the universe including the antics of the gray dove outside my window.
For Sunday Stills where our prompt is “water.” Oooohhh, water, I love water. I believe in another life, I was a mermaid, or a Hawaiian princess, whichever, maybe both. I have swam in every kind of water from lakes to rivers, to oceans, to really big puddles (Salton Sea). I can’t pass a puddle without stomping in it and I can’t pass up an opportunity to stick my feet in every sea, lake and river I can. I am also, partly, a water sign …. oh yeah!
Above, the great tide pool adventure in Florence, Oregon. I love the Pacific Northwest coast line, so rocky and graphic and full of adventure.
Farther south, turtles swim in Hanauma Bay on the island of Oahu, Hawaii
Still farther south, the Southern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of New Zealand. Hmmmm, these are all pacific ocean shots. What else can I come up with.
How about Stirling Castle on Loch Lomond, Scottish Highlands
or Urquhart castle on Loch Ness, why yes we did go hunting Nessie while there. 😉
There’s oceans and lakes, how about falls? … Opaeka Falls on the island of Kauai
or the Middle Fork of the Willamette River near Oakridge, Oregon
Salmon swimming “upstream” at the fish hatchery near Oakridge, Oregon. I love this shot we had so much fun at the hatchery capturing unique photo ops. These are fingerling salmon about 2 inches long already learning to fight the falls.
Welcome fellow spoonies and other sentient beings to another edition of
Spoonie Retirement. The week has gone by, as weeks tend to do. After the hub-bub of the last few weeks it’s been nice to relax a bit.
Above buttermilk skies in the morning, here at the Ranch
If we were having coffee this week, I’d wish you a happy Beltane, then I’d brag that all of our de-winterizing is done on the RV and we’re ready for Spring. Hang on just a minute … this is summer weather! We seem to have by-passed spring this year. Two weeks ago we had snow, this week we have highs in the 80’s. Summer craziness has already begun here at the RV park. Sections of the park that have been closed all winter are open once again and are fully occupied, as people come out to celebrate the good weather. Humpffff, good weather in deed, too hot for my liking.
Trees bursting with buds
As Spoonies, Superhubs and I both suffer from temperature intolerance, and it changes. In the winter I find 59-60f perfect indoor temps, in the summer I’m freezing at 68, sweating at 78. Yeah, I have a teeny tiny thermal comfort zone. So while two weeks ago I was putting on extra sweaters to keep warm, I am now stripping off layers and wandering about in shorts. Symptom management requires constant adjustment. Regrettably, I also loathe air conditioning which complicates things a bit more. Don’t misunderstand me, I still USE the A/C, I just don’t LIKE it.
Lilacs are already in leaf, blooms can’t be far behind.
Like a lot of Spoonies, a sunny day can wreak all kinds of havoc with my immune system, triggering flares from my feet to my eyes. This is the time when simple, easy meal plans involving little to no cooking become essential to our well-being. Big batch oat porridge, prebaked frittata cups and fruit with or without yogurt are breakfast basics. Lunches are salads and wraps. Dinners are mostly foil wraps, outdoor grill or “slow cooker” meals.
With heat intolerance, the main problem we face is afternoon fatigue, so we plan around it. Chores, exercise, and activities take place in the mornings. Once 3:00 pm hits, that heavy, can’t breathe, can’t move, OMG-I’d-die-but-it-would-take-too-much-energy fatigue just crushes the life out of you. A cool shower in the afternoon will revive enough spoons for a light supper, movie, and bed. On the menu tonight, greek chicken casserole. This low carb version is “baked” in the slow cooker with side salads or microwaved vegetables from our local organic coop. Hope you’re having a wonderful week, do come join us at the weekend coffee share hosted by Natalie for sips, quips, shots and talks.
Everywhere I go I seem to find the Lady’s spirit watching me Look now, can you not see the Lady’s face within the tree or the feminine forms etched in stone nature’s hidden ghosts abiding grace of form now look through her eyes and you just might see all this world was meant to be
Frank is our host at dVerse for haibuns this week. We are asked to focus on the present moment for our haibun. Life is made up of moments, precious, terrifying, beautiful moments. Once in awhile, it all comes together and for just that moment, life is perfect.
Standing on the overlook, gazing at the fairytale landscape below. Orange and yellow stones painted with the colors of the setting sun, and the azure sky. You wrap an arm around my waist, and the moment is perfect.
I watch as the shadow of a butterfly dances across the floor, refracted through the sun and glass. Blending with hospital floors and furniture, forming abstract shapes. A cloud passes over the sun. I lose the shadow dance. The doctor walks in. You are alive. My heart overflows with gratitude, and the moment is perfect.
Spring warms the flowers the wind filled with promise and blessings not yet known