Carpe Diem


Although the calendar says, “January,” today’s temperature will top 60 degrees. Yesterday, it was nearly the same with warm winds whispering inspiration through limbs of bare.

Opening a door to the sunroom on the back of my house, scents of mixed seasons seeped through wire screens. Musty leaves floated across blades of wheat colored grass blanketing the ground. In contrast, a lone birch tree of peeling white stood tall and proud among trees bathed in cocoa bark.

Sweet sounds of morning songbirds greeted me as I sat to soak the rare gifts of a winter respite. Suddenly a crow dipped in black ink made his presence known. Caw…caw…caw, he cracked in the silent sky above. I’ve neglected nature’s gift of birds during the last few months. Their songs have been missed by the ear of my soul. Perhaps I was too busy to notice their feathered beauty? My ears and eyes, deaf and blinded by busyness….

Last fall, trees were planted off the patio in the back of my yard. Bradford pear, purple plum, birch and the dark jade of pine. A sweeping willow, long and weeping is waiting until spring. Feeders will dance from boughs and branches. Covered shelters, short and tall will soon house nesting families. 

Before retreating, treats of tweets beckoned me to scan stark limbs. There, a lone robin, his red breast splashing against a sky of gray, sang “Goodbye.”

I shall not miss nature’s beauty in this New Year. Being busy is no longer an excuse. The joy of living here and now is fleeting, with postcard pictures disappearing in seconds.

Seize today for tomorrow is never promised.

 

*photo of robin courtesy of Google Chrome

Taking Time for Change


Recently, I’ve gone through a period of feeling overwhelmed in life. Not depressed. No, I’d compare it to feeling like a small green pea in a big pot of vegetable stew. Small, while trying to stay afloat……

After helping my father with his wife’s memorial service in Arizona, I planned to catch a plane back to St. Louis where an estate sale was in process, selling off many of my home’s objects together with a long list of life’s memories.  Unfortunately, I was a day late getting back due to weather delays and missed connections. When time was of the essence, I ended up spending a total of 19 hours in the small airport of Grand Junction, Colorado. Finally, a day later, my plane was diverted to Denver, where I grabbed a quick nap from 3-5 am before catching a non-stop flight to my original destination.

Upon arriving, there was barely time to say “Goodbye” to the home I loved so much. Quickly, I walked through my turret office space, where blog posts were tapped on keys of black. I strolled into the periwinkle nursery where I remembered gently placing my very first grand-baby in her spindled crib, as though she was a porcelain doll. Images of magical tea parties danced in my head together with giggles, dress up play, and story book time.

Afterward, I stepped outside onto the red brick pavers of my patio where fingers traced petals of crunchy golden sunflowers. Looking around, I began to collect a few, forgotten colored clay pots leftover from my garden. Suddenly, a brown sugar doe leaped from the woods. Sighing, my heart knew it was God’s last gift to me….at least at this house, in this time.

It’s been three weeks since I’ve moved to my new house, and I’m mostly settled now. For whatever reason, my body and mind felt spent when all was said and done. In moves past, I worked until everything was completely in place, typically within a few days to a week. Not this time. I was tired. I let things go. My mind said, “No.”

I’m happy in my new home. There is lots of room for my grand-babies to stay for as long as they like. Nearby, there is a beautiful lake surrounded by woods and walking trails with lots of nature. In fact, it’s a nature preserve where I see something new each and every day. A different plant, the sound of a bird’s call or the beauty of a new sunrise.

Best of all, my overwhelming feeling is beginning to lift. I guess I didn’t drown in that pot of vegetable stew after all.

 

Let’s Get In Formation!


Such a delight to Reblog this sweet story with a lovely photograph. https://throughopenlens.com/2016/05/17/lets-get-in-formation/

Through Open Lens

Mute Swan & Babies

F/ 7.1, 1/800, ISO 200.

Mute Swan and Cygnets

A three year old walked over to a pregnant lady while waiting with his mother in the doctors office.
He inquisitively ask the lady, “Why is your stomach so big?”
She replied, “I’m having a baby.”
With big eyes, he asked, “Is the baby in your stomach?”
She said, “He sure is.”
Then the little boy, with a puzzled look, asked, “Is it a good baby?”
She said, “Oh, yes. It’s a real good baby.”
With an even more surprised and shocked look, he asked…
“Then why did you eat him?”

Interesting Fact: Hans Christian Andersen’s fairly tale The Ugly Duckling chronicles the woes and triumphs of a young, Mute Swan that hatches in a clutch of duck eggs but goes on to become a beautiful swan. Some speculate that the book was based on Andersen’s own less-than-handsome looks as a…

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In The Right Place At The Right Time


Waves of white foam lapped the edge of the sand before I noticed her. Upon her back she carried a dark greenish-brown and black shell of hard. Her back legs of two were elephant-like with paddles in front for digging, I presumed. Oblivious to the world surrounding her, Mama Turtle began to cross the width of the beach. Secrets of life-to-be were nestled within the softer inside of her.

Mama Turtle inched forward on a lengthy journey where a small crowd of MAN gathered ‘round her. When approaching too close, she stopped in damp tracks, not moving or looking back. Man retreated. Once safety was assured, Mama Turtle forged ahead.

With her hard shell of dark greenish-brown and black, Mama Turtle focused on a specific area of protected land just off the beach and over the dunes. Hills and valleys of buttery beige called to her. Grasses of wild grew and blew in the breeze. Tall with tips of emerald-green and colored in lime swayed, blowing breaths from the sea.

Watching Mama Turtle scale a small dune of sand was akin to Man climbing Mt. Everest. With every inch forward, sand flew up and above, to the right and to the left, before sprinkling back down to the ground. Mama Turtle struggled, forcing her heavy shelled body inches closer to her destination through the instinct of motherhood. Once she reached the summit, she stopped to munch on lavender wildflowers near blades of grass, low to the ground.  A few moments later, she disappeared over the first of the protected dunes. Once again, sand of dry rained from the clear of the sky, and although I could not see her, I knew that she would make it.

The gathering of Man had dispersed. I was the only one who stood on the beach during an early sunrise to witness nature’s miracle from beginning to end which spanned about 45 minutes. Earlier that morning, pictures were snapped from my balcony before I skipped out, unfortunately forgetting my camera phone. Still, the entire scene will forever play in my mind like a National Geographic Special.

In the right place at the right time….

 

 *Gopher Turtles are a dry land turtle protected by the Endangered Species Act. Often found in Florida, they can live up to 80 years. Gopher Turtles nest in burrows, laying 3-15 eggs the size of ping-pong balls. Only 5-10% survive.

http://www.defenders.org/gopher-tortoise/basic-facts

 **Sunrise and Beach pictures copyright, Kim Gosselin, 2016.  Gopher Turtle photographs copyrighted and protected by individual photographers, courtesy of Google Chrome.

 

Morning Tree


morning tree

Early shadows dancing

Near siding the color of buff

God’s gift of nature balancing

On branches….hiding

Listen closely, a chirp, a tweet

Cup your hand

Sweet songs to hear

A tiny rooftop home 

Swings side to side

Rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye

Do not stop for fear 

Feathered wings shall soar

Toward skies of azure blue

Suddenly all is clear

No longer can I resist

Hopping up to peek inside the ‘O’

Ahhh…..baited breath beholds

A tiny toasted colored nest

In the bosom of infinite rest

Speckled sparrow eggs

1-2-3-4 for me to see

Warming in my Morning Tree

DSC_0938

The Next Best Thing….


http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/

Yesterday my children and grand-babies were all out-of-town. Yes, every one of them. Knowing this, my husband tried to think of the next best thing to gift me on Mother’s Day. What would make me happy? What do I love to do? If I can’t have my family with me, what puts a smile on my face like no other?

First thing in the morning the alarm woke us up at 6:00! “Time to get up,” my husband announced with a smile. “I’ve got a full day planned for you.” Sleepy-eyed and confused, I couldn’t imagine what he was up to, particularly at such an early hour. Still, I did what he asked, slipping into some comfortable jeans after washing my face and brushing my hair.

By 7 am we were out the door, headed to a new restaurant for a delicious breakfast of poached eggs, turkey links and fresh fruit. A sweet, young waitress quickly poured steaming cups of coffee followed by fresh squeezed glasses of orange juice. In our laps sat white cloth napkins ready and waiting to catch what didn’t get into our mouths.

Within minutes, families of all sizes began spilling into the door. Young and old sat to our right and to our left. Parents with children, grandparents, babies and toddlers too. Some carried presents for Mothers and Grandma while others slobbered wet kisses on rosy cheeks. When looking about the room, scenes from various Norman Rockwell paintings seemed to be in every nook and corner. If only I had an easel and a few brushes hidden by my side. A bit of talent, of course, would have been nice too!

Such a lovely day upon leaving the restaurant. The temperature was in the 7o’s with pale blue skies above. Not a hint of rain in sight. My husband started driving North, toward downtown, although I still did not know where we were going until he finally got off on a familiar exit. To the right, on the corner was a shop forever advertising, “1904 World’s Fair Donuts.” Then I knew. My husband pulled into the next parking lot. We were at one of my favorite places in all of the world, the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I breathed in, then out before my adrenaline started kicking in. So excited I was! Grabbing my I-Phone to jump out of the car, I hugged my husband around his neck, before clasping his hand to skip to the main entrance like a child full of glee. Only it was ME!

For the next several hours I snapped pictures galore of flora and fauna to my hearts content. So excited, I never sat down! Not once, until we left the gates near mid-afternoon. On the way home, my husband discovered an old-fashioned dairy where home-made ice-cream was hand-dipped from giant cardboard tubs of paper brown. There, we stopped to sit and eat dribbling waffle cones while I looked over my masterpieces from beginning to end.

My husband knows me so well. Not celebrating with family on Mother’s Day would have saddened me, but taking pictures of natural beauty is filled with inspiration and happiness. It was the next best thing in all of the world.

*all photography copyright Kim Gosselin 2016

 

Miracles in the Merry Month of May


A short time ago a new resident moved into a little house hanging from a tree outside my office window. It is so pleasant to know that my new neighbor is near. Whenever I glance outside my turret window glass, there is a tiny gray house trimmed in blue with a “Welcome” sign for me to see.

Before pulling into my garage over the weekend, I noticed tail feathers of royal blue and black sticking outside the entrance of a bungalow. In the past, the round of the door was clear and open, allowing no feathers to be seen. Often, the beak of Mama Bird could be seen slightly sticking through an invisible screen. There I presume, she sat on a nest keeping her gorgeous blue eggs warm until it was time….

Parking my car quickly, I ran over to the tree where the little house hung for me to see. So excited at the thought of what was to be! Grasping a rough gray branch to steady myself, I climbed atop the flat surface of a limestone boulder. Swinging slightly under a canopy of freshly blooming leaves smiled the familiar Welcome sign.

Swoosh! Tail feathers abruptly flew away. My heart pounded while I held my breath…1-2-3, before I squinted to see. The whole of the house was dark and quiet to the outside world, surrounded by wall to wall warmth. All hand-made by God’s miracle of nature. One tiny beak had created an artist’s masterpiece to prepare for birth. How many days had it taken her? How many hours or minutes or seconds? How long had she labored before and afterward? https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Bluebird/lifehistory

Too dim to capture a photograph, I can only describe what my eyes did see. Three itty-bitty newborns, barely hours old, scrunched together in order to remain warm. They were wrinkly, bald and beautiful. Tufts of fluff seemed to be patched here and there. On top of their heads, near wings and underneath. Their oversized eyes remained shut while they slept like any newborns would. I was in awe!

After going back inside to work, I opened a window. Just then, Mama bird landed on a branch with a wiggly worm between her beak dangling in chestnut color. Her newborn’s first meal perhaps? Seconds later, she flew to join Father Bird who waited patiently above, before they chirped cheerfully.

Since then, I’ve seen the parents every day, working together to feed their brood. Their songs greet me morning, noon, and night in a lyrical melody that captures my heart.

Miracles in the Merry Month of May.

*three photos to the left courtesy of Google Chrome

A Room With The Perfect View


http://www.mowildlife.org/

It’s early and quiet here, barely the birds are chirping yet. No one moves about the house, not even my Doodle dog. To the east, the sun is rising in painted chalk colors of corals and pinks against the blues of aqua. A pine branch brushes against my office window pane, startling me. Ooooh, I see the faint fluttering of robin wings! Suddenly, they take a flight to the right, gathering twigs of nearby trees. I’m in a room with the perfect view!

Such a sight reminded me of a long-ago spring when my children were young. They’d go off to school before I washed dishes at a green pepper sink beneath my kitchen window. To the left was a wooden door made of eight panes of glass. It led to a lovely covered patio where given the chance, I read a chapter from a cloth-covered book, sipped crushed iced tea or snuck a nap before the kids awakened me.

Under the covered patio sat a natural rattan chair next to a potted plant of bright red geraniums. Such a contrast the two colors were, the beige of the chair next to the radiant red of blazing flowers. It looked like a picture from, Better Homes and Gardens. I used to tender the plant like another child, carefully watering it while plucking curled leaves from thriving ones, afraid they’d suck precious life away from the others.

One morning, two robins flew back and forth between the blue of the sky and my precious red geranium. They carried twigs and bits of cloth between their beaks. Building a nest, I surmised. What to do? If I did not interfere, my treasured plant might die…if I did, where would their featherless babies be born?

Motherly instincts gave in, allowing the birds to continue. Before long, I tip-toed to the nest nearly every day, discovering yet another egg of robin blue safe within its refuge of brown twigs, twine, and mud. Occasionally, I’d catch the mother sitting there, looking at me as if to say, “Who are YOU?” In the beginning, she flew away. In the end, she let me stay.

It wasn’t long before I heard the squawking of baby chicks from my window screen. Both Mother and Father robins took turns feeding their naked newborns who were barely able to lift bald heads or stretch wrinkled necks. When not pecking for worms, Mother Bird sat on top, keeping her featherless young perfectly warm.

The babies grew quickly with luck on my side! Nature hadn’t taught them to fear me. I used to visit them often, stopping by to say, “Hello,” or to tell them of my day. I even coddled soft feathers with a tip of my finger after their mother flew away. The Wildlife Rescue Center had told me it’s a “Myth” that birds can smell. I brought them no harm and was careful in every way. Soon, I found myself attached to the growing balls of feathered fluff. They were miracles to me, teaching me wonders never found in a book.

Eventually, the day came when Mother Bird taught her babies how to fly and leave their nest. I saw them from my window. Yes, I had a room with the perfect view. One by one, each feathered friend stepped on the edge of my geranium plant, using it as a perch. Flapping golden wings lit by the sun, in winds that only God can kiss, they fought to stay in the air. Some fell slightly before floating back up like miniature biscuit colored balloons. Up, up, up into the sky. Squinting, I saw patches of orange-red breasts flying toward heaven. Wistfully, I waved, “Good-bye.”

Turning to save what was left of red flowers and yellow leaves, I saw one last little bird perched, afraid to take the plunge. I couldn’t take my eyes off him, wanting him to stay, yet knowing he too, must leave the nest. In the distance, his family called to him. It was as if they cheered him on. “Come’on, you can do it, we’re here waiting for you!” With that, he flapped his wings fast and hard, jumping off into the unknown while I cried my eyes out.

The next spring I purchased another geranium plant, hoping again to have a room with the perfect view…..

 

*Photography courtesy of Google Chrome

Sweet Bunny of Brown


Bunny of brown hopping through grasses of tall and green

Darting about stopping to munch his lunch.

Children at play point fingers his way

“Look,” they say!

Bunny of brown is fearful now hiding behind bushes near.

Toes of ten stuck on little feet skip loose around each bend

Hoping to catch a closer look of fur so soft with tail of white.

“If only to touch for one second in life, feelings of soft dreamy delight!”

Bunny of brown hiding under tree of pine where needles have fallen to the ground

With eyes of coffee watching carefully while ears twitch ever so slight.

Vibrations felt, grasses bend, toddlers and tots inch far too close

Bunny of brown jumping up and down hopping closer to its home.

Free at last hiding in his mother’s nest

Taking time to finally rest.

Yes, my sweet Bunny of Brown.

 *photos courtesy of Google Chrome

God’s Messages


Earlier this week, I took a break between different passages of my work.  Bundling up to venture into the cold of what remained of winter, I walked for blocks not far from home.  My mittened hands were pocketed while breathing in piercing cold air of wonder.  Walking through woods of barren trees and trickled frozen streams, I prayed to God for guidance.  New forks in the road presented themselves.  That’s what life is all about…

There in the crunchy snow were sets of deer tracks, two by two, side by side.  I followed them.  Curious, I wasn’t sure where they would lead.  Would I catch a glimpse of awe ahead of me?  A doe with her young nestled closely by her side for warmth, or a buck guarding his family amidst the confines of his openness?  The deer tracks made me think of life, I guess.  Oddly, they came to no end, yet somewhere God’s creatures were hidden within.

Upon returning home, I stretched upon my bed with a tablet upon my lap.  There, I was able to view our little forest land from a large bay window while tapping keys and moving a mouse.  It’s important to see the outdoors to energize me.  The sun shined through window blinds, leaving patterned shadows of cabbage roses against the walls.

After a moment or two, I looked up from my laptop to glance outdoors.  Snowflakes fell full and fast down from the sunlit sky of blue.  Such a beautiful sight!  It was as if God was sifting powdered sugar over one of my grandmother’s sweetened cakes from long ago.  At that second, I couldn’t believe it, but it was true!  Not one, or two nor three or four, but even more.  A whole herd in fact gently bounded past my view.  A tall, strong buck seemed to lead the way, five points or more.  Together, they danced and pranced proudly, maneuvering through the path of woods until they were beyond my sight, past the window panes.

It’s about twenty degrees today, but I dare not complain.  The sun lights a Delft blue sky, leaving snow, the color of marshmallow cream upon the ground.  Deer tracks can be seen near my patio.  Messages from God to be thankful.  Hints of the future, of what may come to be for me.

 

*edited and reposted from 2/11/14/pictures courtesy of Google Chrome