Category Archives: Just for Fun

Christmas in July: Unexpected gifts

On a trail, an ordinary trail . . .

wooded path

. . .through the National Capital Commission Greenbelt near my home, we encountered an unexpected surprise.

Christmas!

Evergreen tree decorated with coloured Christmas balls in the summer.

The trail is popular with cross-country skiers in the winter,  so I imagine the trees got decorated by someone in the festive spirit last December. Theirs was the gift that keeps on giving, because I enjoyed the happy surprise in July.

Close up of a red Christmas ball against summer greenery.

After I had soaked up the gift and carried on, I took about two steps before I was brought up short by the next “gift” on my path: a garter snake. I was too busy going into a full-body shudder to take a picture, but if I had, it would have looked something like this.

That’s what a full-body shudder looks like.

I like snakes—far away from me. I know they are good for my garden and nature and all that, and that’s wonderful—far away from me.

While I was shuddering and peering into the undergrowth to make sure the snake was well and truly gone, a jogger happened along. To explain why I was standing still and looking creeped out, I used one word.

“Snake.”

The jogger broke into a big smile. “Sometimes you just get lucky like that,” he said, and carried on.

I had to laugh. I hadn’t considered myself lucky to have seen a snake before he changed my perspective. He made me think. I remembered that snakes represent transformation and creative life force. I remembered that they are part of the medical symbol, a symbol of healing. For me personally, they are a symbol of unnecessary fear. That is, fear of something that is NO BIG DEAL, and how I conquer that fear simply by recognizing it.

Come to think of it, those ideas are tied into what Christmas is all about too.

I like these Christmas gifts. They didn’t cost a penny, I didn’t have to wrap them, and there was no baking involved.

If only the real Christmas were a little more like that. 

 

 

 

Three simple gifts of wings

I spent the weekend at a friend’s cottage. On Saturday morning as I read my book in the sun, an object helicoptered out of the sky and landed on my page.

A maple key wing

I took time to examine it closely. The maple key looked like a feathered wing.

After lunch I sat with our friends to enjoy a drink. A dark dragonfly landed on my arm and stood out in contrast to the white shirt I was wearing. I appreciated its presence and examined the wings closely until it flew away. I didn’t expect the visit, so I didn’t have a camera handy, but this photograph by Kirsten Pauli will give you the idea.

dragonfly © Kirsten Pauli 2008

The sky on Sunday morning looked like this.

Wing clouds

I took some time to appreciate three simple gifts of wings from nature. I felt rich.

The glass that had held my drink on Saturday afternoon read, “To be rich is no longer a sin; it’s a miracle.” I dislike the word sin and I don’t really believe in it, but I might be convinced to believe in the miracle of the gift of wings.

A miracle Negroni

The love in a name

The newel knob of our banister is a catch-all for items of clothing, headphones and strappy purses. Yesterday, those items coincidentally fell into place so it looked like we had a new family member.

I posted the picture on my Facebook feed and immediately received suggestions to give our creation a name. All of us picked up a “he” vibe even though the scarf and hat belong to my daughter. Stumpy, Lanister, and Billy Bannister were some ideas. A clever friend suggested Roger to pay homage to the runner.

Cows with names make more milk, so there must be something to the idea that to be named is to be worthy of love. We name or pets, cars, boats, and stuffed animals. When we name them we make them part of our family, and we love them.

If we number things things—or people—on the other hand, it deems them unworthy of love, dehumanizes them. The Nazis knew this. 

When we bestow a name, when we take time to ponder possibilities, filter through meanings, and find just the right feeling, it is an act of love.

For some reason, I found the name Philip hilarious. Welcome to our family Philip Banister. I can tell you’re the kind of guy who has never relied on looks to get by so you developed a killer sense of humour. I expect we’ll have lots of laughs together.

I’d love to hear about the named things you love.

 

 

 

 

A ski trip to fill the well

This is where I am this week.

Mont Sainte Anne, QC, Canada

This is what I’m doing this week.

Riding the chair lift

This is what my family is doing this week. Not me, I don’t like maple syrup. Yuck.

Maple Taffy in the snow at Mont-Sainte-Anne, QC.

This is what I will eat this week. I don’t like maple syrup, but I do love St. Hubert chicken.

A ski trip—and some St. Hubert chicken—to refill the well.

 

Obstreperous: Something I learned

Today’s topic brought to you by: 300 Writing Prompts.

My son and his girlfriend teamed up and their brainstorming led to this book as one of my Christmas gifts. It contains three hundred ideas to set me (and you) thinking. I flipped through it this morning.

I passed by “What color do you feel like today?” (Blue, but in the good way. Not much more to say about that.)

I turned the page quickly from “How clean is your house now?” Not going there.

I landed on “What is something you learned in the past few days?”

I thought back to the scrap of paper left lying about on one of the desks at one of the places where I work. (I have too many jobs, really.) Someone had written the word OBSTREPEROUS in well-spaced capital letters. I picked the paper up. “What’s this about?” I asked.

A co-worker, whose first language is not English, said, “What does it mean?”

I thought about this. I had heard the word before and I could take a stab at a definition, but when it came right down to it I had to confess that I wasn’t sure. “I think it means grumpy,” I said. “I’ll look it up.”

I searched Oxford Dictionaries and came up with: Noisy and difficult to control.” 

“Ah,” I said. “I understand how I was confused. People who are obstreperous make other people grumpy.”

Why was OBSTREPEROUS lying around on the work station? I would tell you, but thinking about it makes me a little grumpy.

What have you learned in the past few days? 

 

Loved, just the way you are

The message above is from the Wall of Encouragement at my church, a place for people to place or take messages of encouragement.

Today, the Wall of Encouragement “encouraged” me to let you know that you are loved the way you are.

Just ’cause.

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