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Posts Tagged ‘seasons’

maple leaf mandala

Through the ages, mandalas have been employed by Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Native people the world over to create sacred spaces and focal points for prayer and meditation.

seastone mandalaOften painted, they may also be made of stone, colored sand or stained glass, such as in the rose windows found in Gothic cathedrals. Some, like Tibetan sand mandalas, possess an impermanent quality, as their deconstruction is also part of the ritual surrounding their creation.  Mandalas might be intended as representations of the universe, the unconscious self or the relationship between the inner and outer realms. 

Mine are simple creations made with natural materials found in my yard:  leaves, flowers, twigs and tree cones.  The first mandala shown at the top of this post was made from the colorful leaves of a sugar maple and a yellow birch.  The second was created on my gravel driveway from sea smoothed stones gathered near the ocean.

peony leaf mandala

This peony leaf mandala also includes fern leaves, purple asters and two-flowered Cynthia blooms.  A curled up wooly bear caterpillar is at its centre.

fir cone mandala

Above, heal-all flowers have been arranged with balsam fir cones around a mushroom centre.  The creation of each mandala gave me an opportunity to reflect on autumn’s beautiful colours and textures.  I’m thankful to live in a place where nature’s palette is ever changing and fresh.   

My mandalas will slowly fall apart, be moved by the winds or wild creatures, decay and return to the earth.  Their ephemeral quality only serves to enhance their present beauty.

Have you ever considered using natural materials to create a mandala outdoors?

 

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autumn leaves

Autumn brings brilliant hues that brighten up the Nova Scotia landscape.  In the salt marsh, maple leaves and red apples stand in bright contrast to the evergreens and grey waters.

red apples

Bright orange rose hips replace summer’s pink blooms on the wild rose bushes. Full of vitamin C, they’ll provide a nourishing treat for birds in the cold winter months ahead. They’re often dried for use in herbal teas.

rose hips

nightshade berriesUnlike the rose hips, the elongated nightshade berries shown at left, are NOT edible. Both the fruit and leaves of this plant are extremely toxic. Consumption of fewer than five of these berries can be lethal to children. It’s best not to eat any wild berries that grow in a similar oblong (as opposed to spherical) shape.  These nightshade plants are  numerous along the edges of the salt marsh trail and can be identified by their purple flowers during the summer months.

Nightshade was used to poison the tips of arrows by early people.  It was also used to poison political rivals in Ancient Rome and employed by MacBeth to poison troops in Scotland.

This single long stemmed red rose was found wedged between two tree trunks along Rosemary’s Way, a small path that leads off to the side before the first bridge on the trail. How it arrived in this setting is a mystery.  Besides heralding the cooler days ahead, it would appear that Autumn’s colours reveal the fiery passions that still lie beneath the surface.

red rose

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sunrise

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.

~ Sheldon Harnick, Zorba

sun flower

 Seagulls seemed oblivious to the last hours of summer trickling away yesterday afternoon.  While a few people walked along  the shore at Rainbow Haven Beach, some were laid out on blankets, looking to catch the last few rays of summer sunshine.  Summer always seems too short, but this one was especially brief.  

As my grandson threw pebbles into the waves and we collected shells in the strandlines, it seemed like I had just engaged in the same activities with his father a moment ago.  Seasons change and generations pass in the blink of an eye.  The natural world carries on.

gulls on beach

The sunshine and warm breezes wait for nobody.  Sparkling waters and sand can only be enjoyed in the moment.  I doubt if anyone who had been on the beach yesterday afternoon regretted having made time in their day for just one more walk on the summer sand.

waves on beach

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around the corner

We humans are creatures of habit and the older we become, the more we appreciate that which is predictable.  We learn to work around familiar limitations and establish routines that make the most of the positive.  However, seasons change, both in the weather and in our daily lives.  Fresh green leaves turn red as the weather cools and autumn comes knocking on the door, indicators of more changes waiting just around the corner. 

JJ&G sept 09Numerous events over the past couple of weeks have prevented me from posting with the same regularity as before: the birth of a second grandson with more time spent caring for his older brother; the death of my quilting group’s mentor; a new job substituting at a preschool; and final visits with my middle son prior to his upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

Some changes are more welcome than others.  Some are anticipated, while others come as a complete surprise.  We never know what’s around the corner, only that change is imminent and part of life on the planet.   

sunflowerWhether good or bad, change usually brings stress and requires a period of adjustment before bearings can be found again. Nevertheless, new challenges and situations present opportunities for transformation once we dare to break free from our comfort zones.   As long as we’re alive, there is potential for growth.

Love is the only flower that grows and blossoms without the aid of the seasons.
~ Kahlil Gibran

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