Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Nature

Farewell, Scotland! | Dear Readers 2

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Edinburgh Castle, high above the city

This week D and I have been looking at photos/slides taken in 2015 during our 50th wedding anniversary trip to Scotland.  It was fabulous! We flew out of Philadelphia on September 1 and spent nearly 2 ½ weeks in Scotland. Here’s one of my Scotland posts. A tiny peek into a stunning trip. Don’t miss the panorama below, taken from Edinburgh Castle. Click to enlarge (2 times if needed). 

For the record,

  • D drove us safely over 650 miles on the ‘wrong’ side of the road without any scrapes or bruises. Every now and then he had just a bit of what he called ‘terror on the road.’ Especially on the narrow, winding back roads we enjoyed for most the trip.
  • We have over 2000 photos to help us remember this fabulous trip.
  • We left our pedometers (Fitbits) at home, which is most unfortunate since we climbed up and down the equivalent of at least one mountain each, and walked over 100 miles each in cities, towns and forests.
  • We ate breakfast most days like royalty (thanks to our Bed & Breakfast master chefs!), learned to depend on TESCO and The Cooperative Stores found all over Scotland, and enjoyed more versions of yummy carrot-red lentil soup than I knew existed in this world. Usually served with an enormous, thick slice of heavenly bread.

We spent time in Edinburgh, North Berwick, Stirling, Glasgow, Oban (Isle of Mull and Iona), Grantown-on-Spey (Cairngorms National Park), Huntly (George MacDonald’s home), and Aberdeenshire (Castle Fraser).

Most amazing and somewhat strange was being together and doing only what we chose to do on any given day. The weather was mild, sometimes chilly damp and windy, but overall stunningly beautiful.

Here are several more photos from the first day of our trip. Enjoy!

First, a panorama looking down from the Edinburgh Castle to the City. Click on the photo to get a closer look. Can you see the ferris wheel?

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Here’s a flag of Scotland whipping around in the wind above the Castle. Note the wind-worn edge.

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Now we’re down on the street, walking away from the Castle.

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This colorful window garden caught my eye–one of several in a small, quiet courtyard just off the busy street.

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This magnificent organ was in the church where John Knox once preached. No, I didn’t get to hear it being played–one reason I have to go back some day!

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Finally, here’s a little street beauty from a residential area just below the Castle.

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I hope you all had at least one or two happy adventures during the last few weeks. If not, here’s hoping you survived whatever other adventures came your way.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 September 2015, lightly edited and reposted 11 May 2022
Photo credit: DAFraser, September 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland

Gratitude and Weariness

Going nowhere fast
Drifting from one possibility
to the next
Weary with long lists of
thou shalt nots

I want to go back to bed
and listen yet again
to early bird dawn songs
full of life, energy and gratitude
for making it through another night
without marauders or being
captured by wind whipping trees,
sending shock waves through
this war-weary world

Though my body wants to move
I’m not sure where to take it
The phone is out of order and
I’m out of steam

I think I’ll go cook something up–
maybe a huge serving of music
plus madness on this sunny day
that fogs my eyesight with tears
of gratitude and weariness

How long can this world live in crisis mode? Together or apart, it doesn’t matter who I am or where you are. We’re part of a fabric woven with intent, now unraveling with shocks of truth. Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? In the meantime, I still want to go back to bed and listen to the birds’ dawn songs. Full of life, energy and gratitude.

Praying this finds you more together than apart, no matter where you live or who you voted for or against in the last election.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 29 April 2022
Photo found at countrygardener.co.uk

Distractions

The fight begins
without apology or
convincing evidence
that we are getting
anywhere fast

Yesterday’s news
becomes today’s garbage
overflowing with fresh
litter spread across
my computer screen

The urge to stay ‘up to date’ tugs at me. So does the reality of life on the ground these days. I’m starving for safe conversations. The kind that used to happen regularly, decorating my days with sometimes giddy delight.

Today I’m grateful for telephone calls and emails with photos from family members and friends. I’m also grateful for neighbors I see at a short distance as we wave, smile, and pass each other in Covid-style ‘safety.’

Yet the birds take first prize! I love seeing them storm the bird-feeder, pair off, play hard to get, or soar across the sky in noisy flocks of starlings or crows. (Granted, the lovely albatross pair above did not visit my back yard!)

Bottom line: My kitchen window, and my own neighborhood offer much more ‘up to date’ news than most of what passes for ‘news’ these days. Yes, I’m besotted with Spring.

Still, I’m not unaware of horror and sorrows heaving like waves or burning like wildfires wherever we look. I think I’m learning to become a survivor in a world going missing in action.

Praying you’ll find joy right where you are this day, despite the noise of computers, radios, TVs and your own worst fears.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 April 2022
Photo of albatross mating ritual found at audobon.com

Unrehearsed

Downstairs
the piano is being tuned
one key at a time

In my heart
one string after another
slips a bit

Who am I now?
Who am I becoming?
Silence reigns

What was
is no longer
the end

What was not
has come to life
at the end

How unscripted
and disjointed
it all feels

Yet the beginning
and the end meet,
Unrehearsed

Rarely in my adult life have I felt so out of control. So uncertain about today, tomorrow, and even yesterday. We see so much, and know or understand so little.

At the same time, though, pieces I never before understood suddenly punch me in the gut. Yes, there is a logic. But not the logic of my childhood.

Life if a gift. Often beautiful and filled with joy, though not without pain and uncertainty. Not simply because of our mega-earth crisis, but because of personal ‘stuff’ that gets in the way.

Still, I look outside my kitchen window every morning. Nothing has been rehearsed, and nothing has been promised. Yet the birds keep visiting the feeders, the trees dance in breezes or lash around in torrential storms, and the sun comes up whether I see it or not.

It’s an honor to be human. Nonetheless, sometimes I would love to trade places with a small Carolina Wren, a large Red-breasted Woodpecker, or Smudge sitting at the kitchen window watching the morning feeding frenzy.

Cheers from me to you on this chilly, windy, early April morning.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 4 April 2022
Photo taken by erf, September 2020

Aching for Spring

I ache for Spring
to break out of hiding
in miniature scenes
of brilliant beauty and
promise of new life

Winters of our discontent
weigh heavy in this world
of woe and misery
brought on by decades
of reckless bravado

Quietly nature peeks out
in whispers urging us
to interrogate ourselves
and the sad stories in which
we now find ourselves, lost

How are you today? It isn’t time for Spring everywhere. Still, the image of Spring is demanding my attention. Especially now. Bits of golden forsythia, deep purples of crocus, tiny green buds on trees, mourning doves building their nest in the tree next to our house. All precursors of beauty and new life.

How do I put this together with today’s warring madness here and abroad? I don’t know. Nonetheless, I’m grateful for every child, young person, woman or man whose life and/or death is filled with beauty and courage to do what needs to be done.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 March 2022
Photo taken by DAFraser in March 2016 at Longwood Gardens

Cooper’s Hawk | Photo

Yesterday morning I was watching the back yard while I ate breakfast. Suddenly, there she was, sitting on a large old flowerpot next to our garage. She looked like a statue, except for her head and eyes that kept turning from side to side, craftily scanning the yard for food. Maybe a lazy squirrel or a small bird for breakfast? Yummy. But…we went out to get in our car and she decided to find another hunting ground for now.

You can see and read more about Cooper’s Hawks here. We’ve also seen them in snowy mid-winter, flying through bare trees after a tasty bird.

In case you’re wondering, the yellow post in the foreground warns us if we get the car too close to the brick wall.

Cheers!
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 March 2022
Photo taken by DAFraser, 18 March 2022

The world as God’s poem

Several years ago I posted “Emily Dickinson meets Mary Oliver.” A phrase from one of Mary Oliver’s poems had captured my imagination. As she puts it, we owe our dignity to being part of “the poem that God made, and called the world.”

With so much ‘undignified’ death flooding our news media, it’s difficult to hold onto Mary Oliver’s image. I don’t easily hear or see “the poem that God made, and called the world.” It’s easier to picture what’s happening today as a rising tide of undignified and wrongful deaths that should never have happened. Which may also be true.

Here’s my response, first posted in August 2017, and reposted below in light of today’s current events.

No mortal words of poetry will ever do justice to this world, God’s poem.

Nor do we understand ourselves
unless we give up all efforts to capture in our words
the reality of what God created and invited us to inhabit as caretakers.

We can look and point;
We cannot replicate.

Furthermore, no poetic words of ours
will ever improve upon God’s great poem.
Still, as humans we’re at our best when we reflect in our lives
the grandeur of creation.

Surely the summer sky, the deer,
and all parts of God’s creation are dignified
not because of what each does, understands,
or even writes in flowing poetry.

Rather, they and we owe our dignity to being part of
“the poem that God made, and called the world.”*

*Quotation from Mary Oliver’s poem,
“More Beautiful than the Honey Locust Tree
Are the Words of the Lord.” Published in Thirst, p. 31

~~~

Praying we’ll become open to seeing each human life and each creature great or small as part of God’s poem. Which, of course, includes each of us with all our flaws and our gifts.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 February 2022
Photo found at smartpress.com

Living in dreamland

Larger than life
Incapable of death
Colors that never fade
Every leaf and blade
Rooted in the good earth
Beneath an autumn-blue sky
What more could we want?

My computer greets me daily
With dreams of yesterday
One following another
Minus the everyday pain of
Weather out of control
Pandemic out of control
War as a chess game out of control

Strength to live into tomorrow
Fades into preferred backdrops
Of a picture-perfect world
Known only in photos and dreams

No, I haven’t gone sour on beautiful landscapes. And yes, I still love Longwood Gardens!

Nonetheless, the contrast between daily world news photos, and what pops up on my computer wallpaper each day sometimes makes me cringe.

Where am I? Where do I want to be? Where am I afraid to go? Why am I mesmerized by these lovely photos of what we call ‘the good earth’? Especially now, in a world seemingly addicted to warfare and continuing violence to ourselves and others.

The pandemic isn’t just about Covid. It’s also about what’s happening to land, forests, water, soil, air, inner cities, and isolated rural communities struggling to keep going.

Today, my prayers are for every child, teenager and adult gifted with knowledge, humility, a vision for the whole (not just isolated pieces of reality), and stamina for what lies ahead.

Thanks for stopping by and doing what you can to get involved.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 February 2022
Photo found at pinterest.com

all things considered

Olympic National Park, Ozette Triangle Trail

all things considered
I’d rather be a giant
with scars and deep roots

paths through dense forests
age quickly minus upkeep
or handrails for guests

lush green and daylight
create a silent backdrop
alive with birdsong

I’m captivated regularly by photos that document the beauty (and sometimes conundrums) of nature and our way of relating to it. I also wonder what these beautiful photos represent at this real-time moment in our Climate and Pandemic Change Journey as inhabitants of Planet Earth.

I’m heartened by simple photos like the one above. Small markers and reminders of what we might still become: students of trees, mountains, rivers, oceans, and wildlife. Each trying to tell us something about ourselves and our relationships with Mother Earth, with our histories, and with each other.

Today the sun is out, and we’re promised mild temperatures this afternoon. Maybe the last remnants of snow will finally melt!

Happy Thursday and thank you for stopping by.
Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 February 2022
Photo of Olympic National Park found at pinterest.com

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