Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Waves of purple, pink and white lupins splash across Nova Scotia this time of year.

Their spires decorate the wayside and abandoned fields.

Although they’re not our provincial flower (the mayflower is), their image is often found on postcards and their seeds are sold at shops catering to tourists.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
~ Iris Murdoch

Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012


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An epiphany reveals that which was formerly hidden. It’s the last piece to the puzzle that finally makes the whole complete… an ‘Aha!’ or ‘Eureka!’ moment if you will, that brings sudden clarity.  In the Christian calendar, Epiphany is a celebration of the revelation that Jesus is the son of God.  Although epiphanies are usually short-lived, they can impact our way of looking at life for days, weeks and even years to come.

In nature, the dawn is a perfect example of this sudden revelation, an uncovering of the unknown.   For me, the joy of seeing the sun rise puts a sparkle on the whole day.

Here is a slide show of past sunrises in celebration of Epiphany, the last day of the Christmas season. 

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Song of Joy
Come sing a song of joy for peace shall come, my brother
Sing, sing a song of joy for men shall love each other
That day will dawn just as sure as
Hearts that are pure are hearts set free
No man must stand alone
With outstretched hand before him
Reach out and take them in yours
With love that endures forever more
Then sing a song of joy
For love and understanding

~  Miguel Rios

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The wayside in June is full of unexpected colors. You may walk or drive past something beautiful for several days before the sun sits upon it in a manner that catches your attention.  The bright pink chives, shown above, stand out in the sunshine as they grow in the grey gravel.  How they managed to thrive on the side of a busy road is a mystery.

Lupins are not an uncommon sight along the roadsides in Nova Scotia.  Yet every June, they bring delight to drivers and walkers alike.  Whether they’re growing on the side of a ditch or next to a trail, their pink and purple hues are a welcome sight.

One doesn’t usually expect to see roses growing in eel grass along a rocky shore.  Like life, beauty manages to find a way.

Hidden in the shade, a profusion of wild violets bloom with abandon near a forest trail.  To see so many in one spot is a wonder.

The delicate lady slippers one finds while out romping in the woods don’t bring half the joy of the single one found growing unexpectedly next to a path in one’s own yard.  Lady slippers don’t take well to being transplanted, and so will only grow where they want to grow.

In the early morning light, burgundy colored brush appears to be ablaze against the cool June greens of the marsh grass.   

Often it’s the meals that we don’t cook that give us the greatest pleasure.  Similarly, it’s the plants that we don’t grow ourselves but suddenly appear on the landscape, without any expectation on our part, that bring us the greatest delight.  In both instances, the element of surprise seems to be a key ingredient to finding enjoyment in the everyday.

Our brightest blazes of gladness are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.
~ Samuel Johnson

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Never mind pleasure.  Search out joy.  Pleasure is its shadow.  But joy is real, a secret splendor running through all creation.
~ Fae Malania

For as far back as I can remember, I have always felt happiest outdoors.  Regardless of the season or the weather, being outside in the landscape has worked wonders at setting things right inside me. 

As a child, I would delay coming indoors for as long as possible… denying hunger or tiredness, or that my feet were cold in the winter. 

I didn’t do anything extraordinary, just run among the trees and explore every nook and cranny of the yard.  In summer, I’d follow ants and caterpillars in their travels and check out every new bloom in the garden.  I was always on the move, and usually running from one activity to another.  In winter, I’d spend hours on end playing with the snow, skating on outdoor rinks or sliding.   

What I remember most from those times was how very happy I was, and how easy it was for me to be in the moment, undistracted by present concerns or thoughts of the past or the future.  I still feel this way when I’m outdoors:  all of my attention is focused on my natural surroundings.  As worry is lifted,  I feel lighter and more at peace.

It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy.
~ Mother Teresa

Endorphin-releasing exercise, fresh air and natural light all contribute to creating feelings of well being while outdoors.  These have the same effect whether you’re four, fifty or ninety.  I also like the way me and my day-to-day concerns seem to shrink whenever I find myself in the vastness of the landscape.  It’s both comforting and joyful to feel small in the great outdoors.

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy. 

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pink peony

Forget pink cotton candy, bubble gum, Elvis and Mary Kay’s pink cadillacs, pink slips and the Pink Panther.  Forget the color’s association with baby girls and all things feminine…  lipstick, nail polish and party dresses.  Just… think pink.

Pink, often called rose,  is considered one of the calmest colors to look at.  Its delicate blush is attractive, non-threatening and uplifting.  To look at the world through rose colored glasses is to see everything in a positive light.

rose sky at dawn

You may already know that Picasso had a blue period of painting, characterized by sombre arrangements of melancholic, seemingly disconnected individuals.  But did you know that his blue style was superceded by a rose period?  It expressed a changed life of personal happiness for Picasso, marked by closer relationships with others.

pink clematis

In nature, flowers like peonies, clematis and wild roses paint garden and roadside scenes with joyful jots of pink and rose.  The rising and setting sun may also blush the sky and landscape with a rosy glow.  Perhaps a walk at dawn or sunset may be just the remedy for a sad disposition.  If you’re really feeling blue, it might be helpful to gaze into a pink flower for a few minutes and breathe in its color.  It certainly wouldn’t hurt.  Just keep an eye out for the bees!

Frequently the wood are pink —
Frequently are brown.
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see —
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be —
And the Earth — they tell me —
On its Axis turned!
Wonderful Rotation!
By but twelve performed!

~ Emily Dickinson

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