No matter how vast and dark the world might seem, there’s always a tiny glimmer of hope. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder, that’s all. And believe in the magic you can’t quite see.
Hummingbirds lay two eggs, on average, and incubate them for about 15-18 days. Mama’s been sitting on her nest for about 20 days now. So if I’ve done the math correctly, she’s probably keeping two hatchlings warm, or will be very soon.
Two, featherless symbols of hope. You can’t see them, cradled as they are in the condo nest that’s situated in a high, dark corner of our tile roof overhang. But you trust and believe, anyway, because when the sun peeks that shadowy space, her iridescent feathers catch fire, igniting your imagination and setting your heart aglow.
It’s true, what they told us when we were little: Time passes ever more quickly as we get older. One holiday blurs into another, and before you know it, we’re turning the calendar page on another decade.
We put down our devices and look up from our screens. Where has everyone gone?
We put out the welcome mat, phone our friends, and ring the neighbor’s doorbell. Oh, there you are!
Old-school, maybe, but this restores in us a sense of community. And it reminds us of a more innocent time, when we met a stranger’s gaze with a smile, and the sound of a loved one’s voice was as magical as sleigh bells.
That’s my holiday wish. Which is why I snapped this photo of my impossibly sweet–and always gentle–rescue kitty, Nellie. It speaks to me of our cozy family and the comforts of the season. Treasures, which I never want to take for granted.
Much later, I realized that I’d also captured a liminal moment. Yes, I know: Thanksgiving’s over, and the pumpkin decor is past its prime. The clock ticked forward, as it always does, and autumn gave way to winter a few weeks ago. Yes, I see: It’s a miniature tree, and the twinkling lights don’t reach the lower branches. What can I say? Measurements aren’t my strong suit. But hey, it’s all good. Our home is made for memories, not magazine spreads. We live here, and our home is a reflection of who we are, not the latest design trends.
Speaking of which, I’ll let you in on a little secret: A quick nap (which is where Nellie seems headed) is more delicious than the fanciest hors d’oeuvres. And another thing: I’d rather buy than make the traditional holiday dishes. Except cookies. Some of my favorite memories involve decorating Christmas cookies with friends and family. Here’s my Swedish friend Emma’s first try.
Shopping, wrapping, cleaning, cooking–you’ll get to it, in your own good time, and in a way that feels right to you. But life is short, remember that. Take breaks…take deep breaths when you’re feeling rushed…give and receive the gift of friendship. In this moment–while the kitties nap and the teakettle sings–make plans for an adventure. One that gets you out of the house, where the to-do list grows longer by the day.
Time is fleeting,andthose tree ornaments can wait.
It is possible, I suppose that sometime we will learn everything there is to learn: what the world is, for example, and what it means. —Mary Oliver
I share Mary Oliver’s delight in exploring the unknown. Today, for example, I’m reveling in all there is to learn about this plump, juicy pineapple guava–an exotic fruit that I just now tasted for the very first time. Wow, is it ever good! It’s similar to a kiwi in size and texture, and it tastes like a tropical smoothie. A sweet indulgence, born of curiosity and mindfulness.
If you’re staring out to sea, you might miss the harbor seals hauling out on the island. They blend in, until your eyes adjust. They’re wary, until and unless you approach their habitat with a quiet reverence. Then, and only then, you’ll notice the harbor seal pup, propelling its bulky form across the rocks at mid-tide.
It rests for a while on a silky patch of surf grass–a nap mat that expands and contracts with the tides.
Mammal and mammal, you breathe together the salty mist, watching and learning from each other. In that moment–or maybe later, when you’ve had time to reflect–you realize just how sacred and special these encounters really are. And that’s when your stories begin to take shape.
All that to say: I’m turning the page on the book I’d originally planned to write about Freckles. I’m not yet sure how this new chapter might unfold, but I’m ready to go exploring…
If you enjoyed Susannah Conway’s #AugustBreak2019, please consider joining us for a month of show-and-tell.
#SeeYouInSeptemberis about creating new connections, and seeing the world through different lenses. It’s easy-peasy: Just translate the daily phrases into photos, and then upload them to social media with our hashtag. No need for costly equipment–a cellphone camera will do. Think of it as recess for your imagination, which always wants to play.
Skip a day or two, if you wanna, but remember to add the hashtag #SeeYouInSeptember. That’s how we’ll find each other! Reveal to us your magic tricks/apps, if you’re so inclined. And psst, don’t forget to add the daily word/phrase!
Sound good? Let’s do this! Here’s a quick example, to help get you started:
I’m reading…several books at a time. And you? #ImReading is the prompt for Day 2 of the #SeeYouInSeptember photo challenge (I snapped this with my iPhone and added a fun overlay with the Rhonna Designs Magic app.)
(Thanks, Pamela Celeste Reese, for co-creating this month’s challenges with me. Can’t wait to see where this one leads us, and to meet new friends along the way!)
It’s a siren song, social media. We post glittery images on Instagram, obsess over our likes and mentions. We chime in on trending Twitter threads, not realizing in those moments of self-righteous fury, that we are, in effect, choosing chaos over positive action.
I’m worried, dear readers…worried that we’re drifting away from the ideals that we’ve always believed in, as individuals and as citizens of the world. I’m concerned that, in focusing our energies on the here and now, we’re losing sight of the dreams that we’ve been working toward, for ourselves and the greater good. So when today’s prompt, HOPES, came into focus, I saw it as an opportunity for introspection. Maybe also, a non-confrontational, open dialogue about the things that matter most.
Beyond your hot-takes on Twitter, deeper than your filtered selfie snap…all I want to know right now is what do you believe in, and what it means to you to be alive.
50 years ago today, Iain MacMillan snapped the iconic album cover for The Beatles’ 11th studio album, Abbey Road. The VW Beetle, instantly identifiable because of its curved shape–was a coincidence, according to @GreatBritain on Twitter. The owner parked it in a serendipitous spot, not realizing it would be included in the most recognizable album cover of all time.
This first-edition 33-rpm album, also curved, is as pristine as the day it was released, back in September ’69.
The prompt for Day 8 of #AugustBreak2019, if you haven’t already guessed, is CURVED.
Piglets at the County Fair. Cute as BUTTONS, aren’t they?
The crowds are bigger at the pig pens than almost any other attraction at the fair. And no wonder: Is there anything cuter than wriggly pink piglets, kicking up sawdust as they run circles around their mama?
#AugustBreak2019, Day 4…The theme of the day is BUTTONS, in case you haven’t guessed. I was going to post a photo of my Nana’s button collection, but it’s been a rough 24-hour news cycle. Two mass shootings within 24 hours… 29 fatalities and multiple casualties. I mourn their loss and speak their names.
I feel, as you do, the gravity of this moment. But I believe we are better served by optimism than resignation. Joy in the morning, and lightness of being. So for today’s prompt, I chose silly over serious. To wit: Pink-snouted, snuffling piglets to the rescue! Think of them as a gift, aka a “happy,” with curly ribbons as tails. #JoyInTheMorning
P.S. Yesterday’s prompt was LINE. In this news photo, El Paso residents are waiting in a two-hour line to donate blood for the victims of the first of two mass shootings in a single day. (Image via CNN. I was too teary-eyed to take photos.) #AugustBreak2019, day 3