I awoke today to a thick, soupy morning fog. We don’t often get fog here in Calgary and there is something wonderfully mysterious and beautiful about it. I happily finished my morning ablutions and comfortably settled into my home office with a mug of hot tea to begin my day. Deeply engrossed in my work, it took a while for my brain to register that there was a knock at the door.
One beautiful Valentine’s Day a few years back, I was out and about in our neighbourhood walking to a wonderful nearby neighbourhood pâtisserie. I was on my way to pick up a few heart-shaped cookies for my sweet man. It felt like spring—the sky was a clear azure blue, the sun gently warmed my face, birds chirped away in the trees and my heart sang right along with them, overflowing with affection for my sweetie. I felt expansive, head-over-heels in love with my man; indeed, in love with all of life itself.
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
~ Winnie the Pooh
This may sound strange to some, but I love winter. I love the cold; I love the dark evenings; I love snow and winter storms. I love the feeling of cocooning inside while the wind whistles and snow curls and swirls around our home, and we’re inside, warm and snug as bugs. And I especially love that it’s the time of year for one of our favorite traditions: every winter, my partner and I pick out a book or two to read aloud together. On deliciously cold, dark, winter evenings, we snuggle up together with a soft blankie and a mug of steaming hot tea and my sweetheart reads to me. We never set out to make it a tradition—it all started one winter when my sweetie suggested that I pick out a book for him to read to me. The first book I picked was A.A. Milne’s “The House at Pooh Corner”, which I’d never read as a child. We both loved the experience so much that we went on to read the rest of the Pooh books and vowed to make it a yearly winter tradition to read at least one book together.
The Danbo Brothers lead a busy and adventurous life and it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen them. I know they love the woods in fall and, as we’ve had an unusually long, warm autumn here, I believe their prolonged absence probably had to do with them taking many a long stroll in the woods to enjoy the splendour of the autumn foliage.
More often than not, if I run into them at all, it seems we most often rendezvous in the kitchen first thing in the morning—so I’m never quite sure what might await me there (which is always rather fun). And no matter how early in the morning it is, I can always count on these guys to be in a happy mood.
A couple of weeks ago, I was driving down a busy Calgary roadway—windows rolled down, sun on my shoulder, my arm exuberantly slapping the side of the car in time to a snappy tune on the radio—when I came to a stoplight. As I waited for the light to change, my eye caught a flash of something bright pink. I turned to see that the attention-getting vibrant hot pink colour belonged to the large, heavy-headed blossoms of some tall prickly thistles growing in a dense thicket amidst a mass of Yellow Sweet Clover—all flourishing in an abandoned empty lot beside the railroad tracks. The striking tangle of vegetation bestowed a spectacular and flamboyant splash of colour on an otherwise drab looking landscape.
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees
on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
~ John Lubbock
Summer Heat Wave
I have always loved a good summer heat wave, but its been so hot here lately, that even I’ve been dreaming about cooler weather. Leave it to Little Danbo, though, to figure out how best to enjoy this heat wave—he spent the whole of the afternoon cloud-watching as he dreamily floated about in his new makeshift swimming pool.
The secret to a happy life:
love wherever you are,
do only what you love
and love everything you do.
~ BJC (my partner)
Making Flapper Pie
The Danbo Brothers caught wind of my plans to make a Flapper Pie today and hung around the kitchen all morning waiting for me to start. They just love doing anything in the kitchen. In fact, as far as I can tell, the Danbo Brothers seem to enjoy everything they do. For them, there is no such thing as work—it’s all simply just play. No matter how hard they work, it’s all fun and games to them.
“One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.”
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A Time to Gather Strawberries
Strawberry Moon is the name the Algonquin North American Native tribes so aptly gave to June’s full moon because they knew it as the time to gather ripening strawberries. Although neither the wild mountain strawberries nor the plump green berries growing in my strawberry pot have yet ripened, our locally grown field-ripened strawberries are starting to flood the farmers markets. Each year, with my very first bite of that first red strawberry of the season, I am instantly transported back in space and time to a visit to my grandmother’s house as a little girl.
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly,
“one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”
~Hans Christian Anderson
Bumping into a Good Friend
Several summers ago, as I stepped out onto my balcony garden, I literally bumped into my good friend, the Clouded Sulphur Butterfly. It was a beautiful, hot summer’s day and the vertical blinds of our sliding glass doors leading out to the balcony garden were closed to keep out the heat of the late summer sun. I was working in the kitchen when I heard some commotion on the street below. Curious as to the cause of the sound, I decided to step out onto the balcony to have a look-see. But, rather than open the vertical blinds so I could step out unimpeded, I lazily threaded one arm between two of the vertical panels, parted them, and gingerly placed one foot out onto the balcony. Half out, with one foot and one arm through to the other side and my other arm and leg still inside, laced between the vertical panels of the blinds, I bumped smack into a little Clouded Sulphur Butterfly.
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it
the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
~ Napoleon Hill
The words resonated with me so much that I transcribed them into my quote journal. Some years later, when I was going through a really rough patch, I remembered that quote, dug it out of my journal and copied it onto a small piece of paper which I carried around in my pocket. For weeks, I repeated it to myself often—because, for me, just saying those words brought me inner relief.
True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done,
the zest of creating things new.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
If life gives you lemons…
I’ve been enjoying the company of the Danbo Brothers immensely since they returned from their last (rather unexpected) lengthy winter sojourn. They never fail to surprise and delight me. Last night, just before I went to bed, I found them sitting together on the couch, happily watching their favourite movie, Ratatouille, on my iPad.