Winter storms remind me of my beloved Beethoven.
It was autumn when we moved into our 1820s farm house in Hunters Valley in south central Pennsylvania. We had the illusion of owning half a hemisphere. We were surrounded by forests, streams, fields, and state games lands and at the time, couldn't see another house from horizon to horizon. By Christmas, a friend who owned a similar property, had convinced me that we needed a little more activity on the vacant acreage.
So on Christmas morning, I prepared two large golden packages. They were wrapped so the lids could be removed immediately for the comfort of the temporary guests inside. The backs of the boxes were completely open to prevent the tails from being crushed, and the girls positioned them so all the feathers were hidden beneath the Christmas tree. Mike’s face lit up when he opened the boxes to discover two peacocks!
It was mid-April when I heard Mike on the phone with Ruth Buck, a reporter for the local newspaper. “Well, we have at least three hundred birds,” Mike stated casually. I stopped and turned. Stunned.
I knew the collection had grown - iridescent white peacocks joined the blues, there were Bourbon Reds, Bronze and Royal Palm turkeys, Golden Pheasants, rheas, Dia Rhea and Gonna Rhea (another story- these two made NPR news!).
An Unhurried Adventure in Creative Mindfulness
The earth is abundant with Mother Nature's gifts, but some are dismissed because of labels.
When we think of weeds we may think of a plant that has no value, or even worse, as something detrimental and destructive. But if we keep an open mind and look at them from a creative perspective, we can find value in all of Mother Nature's gifts.
For example, the white dead nettle has been used as an astringent, an expectorant, gargle, and a compress for wounds and burns. Another name for White Dead Nettle, Lamium album, is White Archangel.
Labels of any kind are limiting. We may think that only negative stereotypes can limit, but we need to beware of “positive” labels as well. If you say that someone is “brainy” you may not consider that they are also athletic or artistic.
We tend to stop looking and listening once we have applied the label. When we make judgments about others, it limits our perceptions and it is a lose/lose situation for everyone."
Download my free e-book, "It's a Weed - Nature's Hidden Treasures" as a special gift!
She literally took two steps back. "They are the worst kids in the school." I left her office wondering which of us was more stunned.
The following week I asked the students how they had been chosen to be in my class. They reinforced the principal's statement. One girl seemed amused that I didn't know. She said they let me think the best of them instead of the worst. Treating them with respect and making it clear that I expected the best from them had been a winning situation for me as well as the students. There were no limits based on false expectations, and the young people continued to surprise and delight me with their talents, insights and creative potential.
It was the same in the prison. We didn't ask why the women were incarcerated. The less we knew, the better. Many had been labeled and expected to do poorly all of their lives. The women I met were intelligent, creative, kind and spiritual. Their paths often led them in the wrong direction because of a "go along to get along' attitude. They didn't have enough self esteem to refuse to participate in activities that could get them into trouble. And once incarcerated, their labels, and the labels from others, stuck, whether they were true or not. The white dead nettle, as does everything in nature, has lessons to teach.
In April of 2011, when my home was flooded, I was planning to rebuild, and in the process waiting to move some place permanently. Dear friends came to the rescue, not just for me but for Zippy, my Puggle, and Rocky, my Main Coon cat. I will be eternally grateful! Rebuilding didn't work out and I eventually moved to Baltimore and lived in an apartment for several years until I purchased a home.
During that time, it seemed that turtles were everywhere - on walks in the woods or by the river, in the park, in cards and designs, on jewelry. They reminded me that I had everything I needed and I should go slowly and not rush into anything.
Today's treasure is an exquisite turtle pottery box from my dear friend Nancy. It reminds me of my journey and helps me remember the things I really need are on my back and in my heart. It also reminds me not to rush. The universe unfolds its miracles at the perfect time, and they are always much more miraculous than I could have imagined! Thank you Nancy!
She taught me to pay attention to the phases of the moon, to honor the cycles of nature and to consider the impact of their power. I am a believer. I've seen the cycles of the moon in action. When I volunteered in the prison, we all took a deep breath and gathered our courage during the full moon. We knew it would bring different behaviors. This is not my imagination. Police departments and hospitals have long documented the increase in crime and emergency room admissions when the moon is full.
The new moon's power is more subtle and often considered less potent, but I'm not convinced. The force it holds for new beginning is a positive power to be revered. Maybe it is simply a matter of the gift of opportunity, of a new beginning.
Each day is a miracle. Today I was reminded of this, as I am almost daily, by a friend reflecting on her weekend filled with concerns about a family member's health problems, and the the death of a dear friend in his seventies. Life is fragile.
My dad died in his early 40s and from that time on, I've been aware of the value of each day. I know life can end as quickly as a star can fall from heaven. For awhile, it seemed I had a reprieve. Very few people in my life died for decades. And then the pendulum swung. The death of loved ones increased, and my appreciation for life increases simultaneously.
Today's treasure is a new moon, the autumn equinox and the arrival of Libra. The air is crisp and cool, the moon is encouraging us to begin new endeavors, thought processes and leaps of faith and Libra brings balance, reflection and celebration.
This is the first day Mabon, the harvest festival, in the northern hemisphere. It is a time to harvest and to reap what we sow. Mabon is a time of rest, reflection and assessment. This is a time to celebrate your successes, consider which projects and endeavors were beneficial, and which can be replaced and set aside. Be gentle with yourself as you review and assess. Nature is here to support and lift you up, encouraging and empowering you to be the very best you can be. There is magic in the air!
The may fly lives less than 24 hours as an adult, some for only a few minutes.
Life's short! Sparkle!
Lessons from the Mayfly
Transformation while in Motion
The Mayfly reminds us that life is fleeting and precious
and we should live it to the fullest. Embrace adventures
and new opportunities while you grow and transform!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Fashion And Fabrics
Lessons From Nature
Pay It Forward
Take The Rose Instead
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!