Getting Snug at Home

This is the time of the year when everything feels more transitional than usual.
November days alternate between blue skies and sunshine,
rain, wind and low stratus clouds making everything look dull.

I cut the last two flowers on my Gaillardia plant
and brought some colour inside.

This is the month when colour becomes incredibly important to me
I seek it out in everything I do
especially when I'm in the kitchen.

Preparing vegetables for lunch
Colour is so important in preparing a meal.

Many of the trees are already bare,
but a visit to the park on a sunny day
showed me these lovely beech leaves still glowing in a golden light.

Fallen leaves remind me to be accepting of the season.
They never fight the reality of what is happening to them and all around them.
The path to contentment is being willing to be in the moment,
just as it is,
for now.

The evenings are longer
and I love them to be able to create seasonal things 
like these crocheted snowflakes.

I have hung some up against the windows in my living-room.
No real snowflakes falling from the sky as yet,
but that could all change this weekend it seems.

I brought this cyclamen flower inside from my balcony
I love the simplicity of a single bloom in the tiny vase.

We have been having some beautiful sunsets.
I saw this one in my neighbourhood as soon as I got of the bus around 5 pm.
Look at the tiny crescent moon in the blue of the sky.

Pastel shades are a great favourite of mine too.
I stayed in this spot until the colours faded.

It will soon be December
and there will be fairy lights and music 
and candles too.
But for today, just enjoying this transitional period
shows me that everything is just as it should be. 

I hope you are enjoying the changing season too.



Leaf Philosophy

"Shall we let go?"
said the leaf on the left
"Not yet"
said the leaf on the right.
"Rain is on the way" said their fallen sisters, already lying on the ground.
"You will join us soon enough. It is our destiny."
"So be it", said the two leaves still hanging onto the branch.
"We will accept the wind and rain which will take us onto the next part of our life's journey."

A hedgehog scuttled by in the early morning, muttering to himself,
still looking for the perfect spot to hibernate!

A black car in the street
 wishing it had been sprayed another colour
Wish granted!

The golden Ginkgo leaves released themselves from the tree, their mother,
like excited children leaving the nest with a flourish of anticipation.
A friendly crevice in the stone steps gave them shelter
until they decided what to do next!

The beech trees in the park yesterday
were releasing their leaves like zigzagging butterflies doing their love dances in the spring.

All the elements of nature
so closely connected
creating the cycle of life.
The earth in which a young sapling grows into a sturdy tree
tiny buds form on branches and then leaves fall in autumn
and create compost which nourishes the roots of the tree.

The days are much shorter and the longer evenings give us more time
 to be creative
to reflect
to read
to be at one with the season.


Deck Fourteen - Scene & Story - October 2017

Deck Fourteen

In October, I took a cruise for the very first time.
We started off in Venice and went down the Adriatic coastline
in Italy, Greece and then up to Dubrovnik in Croatia.
I very much enjoyed most of the stopovers 
and the fascinating history behind the places we visited.

Of the actual time we spent on the ship, 
my favourite space was Deck Fourteen which was the very best place,
and the quietest, to look at the scenery, to walk and to enjoy the view
or take in a sunset leaning against the railings.
The deck went all around the ship and was known as the
Power Walking Track.
I only ever saw one other person doing power walking
and very few people seemed to come here.
The most I ever saw were four others at the same time.
I could tell they were enjoying the peace, just like me and my travelling companion.

For those who love the hustle and bustle of life on a cruise ship,
there were plenty of occupations:
sunbathing on lounge chairs, the swimming pools and the jacuzzis
dancing classes, variety shows and sitting in the bars drinking cocktails
with live (very loud) music.
Because of the music, people had to shout to make themselves heard
and that increased the volume of everything very much indeed!
Maybe you will understand if I mention that we were around
3.223 guests on board and that there are 1.039 crew members!

Deck Fourteen was a haven of peace where we could forget just how many people
were on board.
There was no seating and no lounge chairs and that discouraged
most folk from staying here.
Perfect silence with just the faint sound of water as we glided forward.

Was going on a cruise everything I had imagined it to be?
In some ways, yes.
The overall ambiance makes me think of the first lines of a poem:

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence."

'Disiderata'
by Max Ehrmann

****



Poetic Moments


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words,
and never stops at all.

And sweetest is the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson, 
1830 - 1866


***

After being away on holiday,
I felt like coming back to simplicity today
with a short blog entry 
and two black and white images
which both speak to me on this quiet Sunday morning.

The lovely poem is by one of my favourite American poets:




Colour Me Autumn!

Let's start with the Tulip Tree against a clear October sky

and zoom in on the top of the tree to get the full golden glow

Or an early evening walk past an orchard in shades of spring
yet the leaves in the foreground tell us otherwise

So gorgeous when the golden leaves take on a burnished hue

Maple leaves showing us their transition of the season

Many leaves are falling and we can see next spring's buds against the sky

Three little berries that the birds will soon find

and a Ginkgo biloba turning gold in front of the local school

A glorious show of red Maple leaves

like flames against the blue of the sky

A close-up of some beautiful colours in the park.
Persian Ironwood turn the most marvellous colurs in the autûmn.

Standing on tiptoe to capture these leaves at the top of a bush in the evening sun.
Persian Ironwood again (Parrotia persica)

As soon as I see the start of a sunset, I grab my camera to try and catch
the rapidly changing colours.

The sunsets have been exceptional

and I have often rushed out right after supper to capture them  in nearby streets
where there are less obstacles of buildings.
I have to move fast before they fade away! 

Coming home through the park, I was suddenly dazzled
by this wonderful sun-flare through a gap in the tree trunk.

We have been having an exceptional month of October with temperatures
varying between 18-22C.

I've been collecting seeds from the plants on my balcony garden.
These remind me of little parachutes and are so pretty!

Returning from my early evening walk, I caught the first signs of the pastel sunset¨
in these reflections on a wall behind a young Ginkgo tree.

Pink anemone against a backdrop of autumnal bokeh

Here's my little owl mascot holding up an autumn leaf!


I hope you're all enjoying the wonderful colours of the season wherever you live.

I shall be taking a short blog break as I'm going on holiday at the end of the week.
See you again at the end of this month!

Till then, enjoy the wonderful season!

***
Note:
All photographs have been taken in my immediate neighbourhood.
Who would have thought that there was such beauty on the upper part of town?