Nature’s Artwork

I am imperfect. Everyone is. Yet every day I see commercials advertising beauty products and fitness programs to help men and women achieve perfection. Chasing dreams is one thing, striving for the impossible is ridiculous.

I have a great appreciation for nature. Nature is beautiful without even trying. The blazing sunrise, the changing leaves, the churning clouds, the glow of sunset. Beautiful without trying to be perfect. Nature just is what it is and if you don’t stop to see that, you’re missing out.

This past Monday morning started out beautiful with a pink cast to the clouds as the sun made its journey to rise over the hills. The sun shone ever so briefly before the dark clouds of the rapidly approaching cold front blocked it out. That contrast of darkness and light was stunning to behold. Nature wasn’t trying to impress me by puffing up its chest or slathering on makeup for a perfect complexion. Nature was just doing what it does.

I managed to take Jazzmin on a short walk as the front blew in and dropped the mild morning temperatures down 10 degrees. We walked into a field and to the top of the hill to get a better view of the dark clouds. I snapped a picture of Jazz with the turbulent sky as the backdrop and to my amazement, my camera phone captured the colors perfectly.

Jazzmin and the sky

Jazzmin and the sky

Later that evening after the rain had come and gone, I went out into the yard with my daughters to enjoy the last of the day. While we were outside I saw a monarch fly by and was surprised when he landed in one of my back pine trees. I’ve never seen a monarch do that before. He stayed on one branch for a long time and Jordan was nice enough to fetch my camera for me. I took several pictures of him and he stayed still until the very last one when I turned the flash on. He opened his wings just as the picture snapped and then flew higher into the tree and out of sight.

Monarch up in my pine tree

Monarch up in my pine tree

As I write this the sky is ablaze with orange, red, pink and blue. Another breathtaking autumn sunset in what has been a true season to treasure. There is just a sliver of the moon in the sky and brush strokes of clouds. Nothing compares to nature’s artwork and she always pulls it off effortlessly.

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After the Storm

It rained most of the day today but shortly before the sun set I saw its glow lighting my front trees. Curious to see how the sky looked after all the rain, I took Jazz outside and saw a full rainbow stretching across the eastern sky. It was still raining as I looked at it but I didn’t really mind.

I chased a rainbow once and it led me where I wanted to be but perhaps not at the right time. That journey served a purpose though and proved to me that there is always light after the storm. Sometimes rainbows shine in that light. Sometimes the storm clouds don’t part until the night and then its up to the moon and stars to shine. And sometimes the storm doesn’t pass until the next day and the light is the rising sun. But the light always returns, you just need to know when and where to look.

Sunday in the Grass

While most of my neighbors were out busily mowing their grass today, I was out laying in it with my daughters. It was a nice sunny afternoon and with the cooler temperature there’s less bugs. Jordan helped me spread out the big, old comforter I always have in the back of my car and we all stretched out on it in the sun. As Mama Nature loves to mess with me the sun soon disappeared behind a large mass of clouds. It was still a nice day though so we stayed outside.

There was sun when we came out...

There was sun when we came out…

Jordan eventually wandered off in search of sticks and grass to weave into some sort of project. Jaycie rolled up half of the blanket like a little pea pod and I laid on my back looking up at the sky of clouds. The clouds were a dense blanket and there weren’t any discernible bunny, dog or flower shapes to pick out but it was still lovely. The roar of the neighbors’ mowers eventually subsided and the only sounds were the birds and bugs. Jazz was tied out nearby and she flopped down in the grass to enjoy the fresh air.

Jaycie the peapod

Jaycie the pea pod

Peaking out Jaycie

Peaking out Jaycie

There were lots of small butterflies fluttering around enjoying the sunshine and sipping on clover nectar. Honey bees and bumblebees were buzzing around the goldenrod gathering pollen on their back legs until they could barely move. They’re rather lucky they’re not allergic to goldenrod because my girls and I certainly are. Some days my eyes, throat and ears itch so bad I want to scream but instead I just sneeze, blow my nose and vow to remember my allergy pill at night. Even so, I’ll take this nice fall weather over the unspeakable season that comes after it.

Jordan trying to uncover Jaycie

Jordan trying to uncover Jaycie

Jordan trying to roll her sister up like a burritto

Jordan trying to roll her sister up like a burritto

I could have mowed today or trimmed my front bushes but I just wasn’t in the mood. Sunday doesn’t feel like a day that should be spent sweating and swearing doing yard work. I’ll tackle those chores later this week, they’ll still be waiting. Sundays are for sleeping in, making the girls pancakes from scratch for breakfast, hanging out in pajamas for too long, mixing up delicious apple cinnamon muffins for snacks and laying in the grass enjoying the autumn breeze. I did all that and I don’t feel like I’ve wasted the day. The slower moments count just as much as the busy ones.

The Lore of Thunderstorms

I enjoy thunderstorms. I’m not exactly thrilled when they knock out my power, but I enjoy watching them roll in across the sky. I was afraid of thunderstorms when I was a child. My parents would comfort me during them by saying the thunder and lightning were spirits bowling up in the clouds. That seemed reasonable to me and it made listening to storms more fun as I waited for the sounds of strikes and gutter balls. ┬áNowadays I like to imagine my father bowling up among the clouds and the loudest booms resemble the jaw-dropping force of his strikes. I tell my daughters the bowling analogy and Jordan has a way of adding on to that by talking about the rain being the leaking water bottles of the athletes. I prefer that idea over the rain being their sweat…

I am fascinated by the sight of lightning flashing among dark clouds in the distance. Watching the visible line of hard rain approach has mesmerized me to the point of forgetting I need to go inside before I become drenched. I have even washed my hair in an overflowing downspout. It wasn’t as alluring as those shampoo commercials but it was very refreshing!

I have been told that I am less than sane to go running out into the openness of my back yard to watch a thunderstorm approach. But there is something so empowering and energizing about the force of wind and billowing darkness of the clouds. Feeling the earth tremble beneath my bare feet as thunder rolls is a vivid reminder of the unbridled strength of Mother Nature.

Being awakened from a peaceful slumber by the loud booming of thunderstorms makes my heart race but I’m not afraid of it any longer. I open my curtains to watch the lightning flash or remain laying in bed as the light strobes through the fabric and illuminates my room. Mother Nature is unpredictable and uncontrollable and she and I don’t always see eye to eye. But I will give her credit where credit is due and continue to appreciate the humbling strength and beauty of thunderstorms.

thunderstorm1

Enjoying the Journey

When I set out on my walk last night with Jazzmin down that access road I’d never traveled before, I didn’t know where it led. But I went anyway. I don’t know if that’s brave or stupid or both, but it’s part of what makes me the person I am. I don’t shy away from the unknown anymore, I explore it until it’s known and understood by me. Life is full of endless journeys and even when you think you know the destination, you really don’t.

During the return walk on the farmer’s access road, I opened my eyes to more of what was around me. I discovered a plethora of mayapples blooming beneath the numerous trees and I saw several flowering bushes that were unfamiliar to me.

A single may apple blossom

A single may apple blossom

The whole hill was covered with blooming may apples!

The whole hill was covered with blooming may apples!

Most of these bushes had white flowers but this one had pink flowers.

Most of these bushes had white flowers but this one had pink flowers.

There are several areas along the road where the view through the trees is breathtaking in its expanse. As I crested the hill once more and walked down it toward home I could just make out my house in the distance. It helped put things in perspective as to where exactly I was.

My house is that yellow speck in the distance.

My house is that yellow speck in the distance.

My yellow house and my white Matrix.

My yellow house and my white Matrix.

It was an amazingly nice night and quite peaceful since no one was mowing their lawns or weed whacking or leaf blowing. The birds were happily flying among the trees and I was relaxed because I knew we wouldn’t encounter any dogs on this road. Jazzmin enjoyed sniffing all the new scents and there were tons of deer track imprints in dry dirt that had recently been mud.

Jazzmin taking in all the new scents.

Jazzmin taking in all the new scents.

The walk helped reinforce to me that it’s like that saying, life is more about the journey than the destination. I do have a destination in mind for my life, in many respects I know exactly what I want. I have however learned that what I want has a way of transforming into something unexpected. I’m working hard toward achieving my goals and dreams but I know better than to focus solely on the destination without taking in every step of the journey. I am hopeful that I have many new and interesting journeys ahead and I am confident that no matter the destination, I will never take one moment of this life for granted.

amazing view

The view through an opening in the trees.