28 September 2009

Favorite Things - September 28

Today's favorite thing is something that I can stare at and ponder for hours. Watching them float or whisk by, while looking for hidden shapes within.

Puffy clouds.

Honestly, is there anything better. Haven't you ever wasted an entire afternoon in lazy repose, pointing out to a reclining mate the images that you are able to spot within? If you haven't you have wasted far too many summer afternoons on pointless endeavours like housework, or work phone calls.

Next time you get one of those blue-skied, puffy cloud days, grab a blanket, lie back and daydream the clouds into your innermost dreams. Think of them as a less frightening version of a Rorschach test.

Now tell me, do you see anything in the image above?

26 September 2009

Slow Down, You Move too Fast

You gotta make this moment last.

Maybe I'm too Thoreau for my own good, clinging fast to a Walden-esque idealism in this ever increasing fast-paced, modern world. I seem to have a very different idea than most, of what a walk in the woods is meant to be. Grasping a paper-cupped-venti-whatever, while wearing an ipod and texting is not how a walk in the woods is meant to be enjoyed.

A walk in the woods, if you allow it will enliven all the senses, leaving one feeling both satiated and invigorated.

Slow down, leave behind all your external distractions, and open yourself up to nature.

Breathe deep the soft, gentle air. Can't you smell the season? Allow the taste of the trees about you to linger on the back of your tongue. Its there: the subtle sweetness of spruce; the sharp tartness of juniper, and; the crisp tang of cedar. Intoxicating.

Listen to the symphony of the natural world as it goes on about its business. There is the avian vocal harmony of high-octave trills, and lower throaty warbles. Here the unexpected staccato scolding of a startled squirrel. The crunch of leaves underfoot, and the snap of a twig combine with the ever-present back-beat of wind-rustled foliage.

The vibrancy of colours mingles with the dancing light, creating a kaleidoscopic wonder. Look not only at the large picture, but focus also on the details. Notice the one leaf in many that has turned its colours from vibrant green to fiery red, and is poised and ready to float softly toward the earth. Appreciate that after the rain of the last few days, a few daring fungi have poked their heads from below the autumn mulch. Wonder at the lone birch whose bark, when illuminated by the slanting sun, glows pure white against a shadowy backdrop.

Slow down. That's all. There is a world of wonders at your feet. Enjoy it, and let the feeling last.

21 September 2009

Favorite Things - September 21

Fall fairs. These annual events are easily one of my favorite things the world over.

Every year of my childhood, the first gruelling week of back to school was rewarded by the arrival of our county fair. "Just one more sleep", you would sleepily mutter as your eyelids closed that Friday night. Saturday morning, to my memory at least, always dawned sunny and warm but with just enough nip in the air to make the day seem perfectly autumnal.

Piling into the car, the excitement would build, as finally it reached fever pitch when our childish exuberance met the wild and fervid boisterousness of the crowd pushing toward the entrance gates. Just inside we could already make out the flashing strobe lights and fervent movement of the midway. The smell of warm sugar and hot frying oil, would tempt the olfactory senses. The squeals of excitement, the pulsing rhythms, the loudspeakers and the "step-right-up's" of the carnival barkers were a siren song.

Tickets in hand, we would burst through the gate and itemize all the days planned accomplishments. The merry-go-round and ferris wheel were of utmost importance. Cotton candy and caramel apples too, were top priorities. Play the midway and hope to cart home a giant stuffed bear at the end of the day.

Pet the cows, goats, sheep, and pigs in the barns, and admire the blue ribbon winners, not really understanding of course what made two seemingly identical animals more or less ribbon-worthy than the other. Watch the horses trot 'round the track and try to guess who would be the winner. Lick your lips over the prize winning pies and jams and wonder how one day you too, could be lucky enough to earn the job of judge to these decadent creations. Marvel at the enormity of the prize winning pumpkin, so big that it would take three of you to wrap your arms around it.

Mingle with neighbours, exclaim with excitement at seeing school friends.

Buy a balloon, and then cry a little at the end of the day as your little sticky hands, so tired from the day of excitement, forget to grasp tightly to the string, releasing the balloon into the air. The balloon drifts up into the night sky, as the day closes on the best day of the year.

7 September 2009

Favorite Things - September 7

Autumn. Although from a strictly astronomical standpoint, autumn is still two weeks away. Its crept upon us though and it is making its presence known. Its in the air. Summer is drawing to a close. Today is Labour Day and tomorrow, school starts again for another year. There is a crispness in the air, and the temperature has cooled. The light has become clear and bright, and the sunsets are vibrant and breathtaking. The haze of summer days has migrated, making way for the new season.

This year, summer seemed an all too brief event. For many, the cooling temperature and shorter days are cause for anguish. For myself, however, this is the time of year when I feel most alive. I don't know if this is because I am a child of autumn, and this is the season when my conscious being was first introduced to the world.

I eagerly await the tinge of orange on the maple leaves, the gathering of the geese as they prepare to migrate, the annual ritual of pulling sweaters and socks out of the back of the wardrobe and pulling them on to greet the chill of night. I love adding the extra duvet to the bed, welcoming back its comforting weight, and snuggling under to warm my nose and toes.

I love that it is the season when a hot bath begins once again to beckon... so much more welcoming than a brisk, cooling shower. As the day grows cooler, soups begin to once again simmer on the stove, lending a homey aroma to life once again.

I find that I stop to inhale more deeply. The scents of autumn are so intoxicating: the slow curling and withering of summer wildflowers, which while signalling their death, smells sweetly of a short life well spent. Hay is mown and rolled, apples are ripened, and if one passes by an open window at the opportune time, there may be the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting from a fresh pumpkin pie.

Autumn in its ascent is the perfect time of year. Lucky for me, the past week has been sunny and temperate. Blessed with a three day weekend, I have made the best use of the available time to fill my lungs and indulge my senses in this early autumn splendour.