A Simple Little Journal

A journal dedicated to the simple little things in life.

Snow Day

Some photos from a venture out in the snow yesterday morning with Cole. Work was delayed for a couple of hours, so we took advantage of our extra time to go see the sights and feel the powdery light snow around our feet and legs as we trekked along. It's been a rather mild winter so far here in Central PA with not many snow days, so it was quite the treat to finally see our neck of the woods really blanketed in white. I'm so grateful for winter mornings like these - there's nothing quite like the peacefulness and beauty of waking up to freshly fallen snow.

Winter

Winter frosts along the branches,
The needles, the thorns, and leaves on oaks which still cling;
How quickly the new coming year advances,
And how much these last seasons did bring.
I pause to think of all the changes,
The woeful, the hopeful, and thrilling;
And for every one of them their wages
Were that of growth, and their price that of willing
To surrender to life's flowing waters,
Like the stream through the fields and woods,
Which upon its journey of dips and turns,
Rocks and dams, and droughts and floods,
Never ceases to keep on going,
Never ceases its striving to quench the land's thirst.

---

I had written that back about a week before Christmas, and while I'd like to apologize for not sharing it sooner or posting here or keeping up online/social media much at all in the last couple of months, I really shouldn't. It has been refreshing in some ways to take a break, but also my days have just been so busy and full that prioritizing my time means these things get knocked down on the list of importance, and that's just the way this season of my life is going right now. And what a beautiful season of winter this is turning out to be.

2016 had a load of some incredibly good things for me that I never would have suspected would happen back when the year began. But it all started with this mindset, with letting go, and from there life has just been so much lighter, even through facing some really big changes and challenges. And as the year started to wind down and fall changed into winter (something I typically dread), I have found myself never more grateful for life than I have been during this season. Overall, throughout 2016, it was about letting go of things from the past, letting go of stressing about the future, and finally just letting go to the flow of the present. I hope this continues for 2017, along with some more getting out of my comfort zone and adventures to experience, but also, like the last lines of that poem - Never ceases to keep on going/Never ceases its striving to quench the land's thirst - to keep on going forward with my passions and what's on my heart to strive for.

Wishing you a winter, and a 2017, of beauty, of surrender, of peace, of adventure, and overall of so many things to be grateful for. Thanks for reading and for hanging in here with me while the posts are slow!

Fall at The Park

Hello there! Hm, let's see - my last post was at the very beginning of September and here we are now mid October. Our part of the world has been transitioning into fall, and transforming from the lush greens of summer into those golden autumnal hues. The days are too quickly shortening, and the morning frosts have begun.

Just as the leaves all around have been changing, since my last post, my life has been going through some pretty significant changes. About a month ago I had a surgery for a heart condition I had (SVT, diagnosed during my procedure more specifically as AVNRT), and the experience has shed a whole new light for me on being grateful for the simple little things in life. It was incredible, and thankfully successful, and was a great reminder of how amazing it is and how fortunate I am to have doctors/nurses and healthcare like we do here in the US, and to have my family and friends showing me such immense support and kindness. And the little things now, like enjoying a cup of coffee, or running as fast as I can around the yard with my pup Cole and not giving my heart a second thought about going into SVT has been so freeing. It's not that life was terrible with SVT, in fact for all the lessons it has taught me and the healthy habits it enforced I am actually very thankful for my experience with it, but I didn't even realize the depth of the limitations it had given me, and now it is such a burden lifted. Sometimes, the simple little things we should pause and reflect on may be just as simple as having eyes that can see, lungs that can breathe, a heart that beats.

With all that going on last month, and other exciting new adventures happening this month, it has been a little bit tough for me to find time to keep up on here and on social media - I apologize for that! It feels good though to be back sharing, and these photos I'm sharing today are from Wednesday evening when Cole and I headed out the park for a little walk and scenery viewing. Like my last post somewhat eluded to, I have had trouble this year getting excited about the change of season (summer was so good, it hurts that it's done!) and getting ready for the cold weather. I will admit though, the leaves scattered on the ground mixed with a million acorns, the longer shadows, and the prospect of cozy fires and pretty snow isn't all that bad. The main thing has been the shorter hours of daylight, but I was reminded this week that winter nights have some big perks too and can be practically just as bright as day if that moon is out. I won't pretend though that I'm not already counting the months and days until I can be out planting in the garden and taking Cole for swims in the lake, or that I won't feel kind of lonesome without the sound of the crickets and catbirds when sunlight is dim, but then again this season's break of cold is what's needed for things to grow again. And who knows? It may just be that there will be some great things during the next few months that'll make me wish these colder months would stick around..maybe!

Barn Swallows

Too quickly once again summer's days have been flying by, and we've turned the calendar over onto yet another month. But even though the season's winding down, and I see all the stores zipping ahead to the fall holidays (and even Christmas!), I'm keeping in summer mode until the 22nd rolls around. And what is a summer without some barn swallows? Gosh I love these birds and watching them dip and dive over the growing fields and sitting in lines on the fences and wires in the heat of those summer mornings and evenings. I took this photo last summer at a farm where all these juvenile barn swallows had just recently fledged and would come to rest from their flying on this wire fence, occasionally flapping their wings and wobbling around when they weren't quite able to keep their balance. And I can't count the number of times this past summer I stopped and sat down with Cole on our walks just watch the swallows swoop over the wheat and barley fields for a while. It's too hard for me to pick favorite animals because I just am in love with them all, but if I had to have a list, barn swallows would definitely be near the top.

Here's a little poem I wrote back in July of 2014 I thought would be fitting to share today:
 

Summer came upon the wing
Of the swallow flying o'er the field.
Happy the tune which she did sing,
For no cloud would the sun now yield.

And underneath the shadow of
An aged barn of oak,
The little swallow built her nest
Before first light had broke.

Her young grew quickly in the fleeting weeks
Of warmth and days of light.
It wasn't long before they, too,
Above the field took flight.

And when the fields had emptied their grain,
And the swallows soared no more,
The clouds gathered once again
To shadow the sun's splendor.

The cold winds blew outside in fury;
The trees had released their leaves.
Oh swallow, do return in a hurry,
And bring back summer please!