cosmic chaos

cultivating calm & creativity in my corner of the world

Archive for the category “Beauty”

Winter Weather Alert

The normally temperate Upstate South Carolina was hit with freezing rain yesterday.  Icicles grew outside of our windows.  With the dark came the icing of trees.  Roads were salted earlier in the day and remained quite drivable.  Our issue is the exposed power lines that run throughout the county.  Ice weighs down tree limbs and power lines causing breaks and outages.  We’ve been lucky.  So far our power has remained on.  That’s so important for those of us who use well water — no power means no water.

Only a week ago, the daffodils has begun to pop through the earth and bloom.  Pretty yellow flowers announcing the approach of spring.  Now they lay frozen on the ground.

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Sometime during the night, a huge Oak tree fell beside our driveway.

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The trees were encased in ice.

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As I walked outside, I heard the drip of the ice melting followed by the trickle of ice hitting ice as it fell to the ground.  Ice is heavy, weighing down the tree limbs.  Limbs bend and give at least to a certain point.  I heard the popping of wood as the weight reached the tipping point and the wood began to give.  Then there was the splitting of limb from tree as it came crashing down to to the earth with a resounding boom.

Ice is beautiful but destructive.  This little bit of frozen water can tear away limbs and even uproot the mighty Oak.  That is the balance of nature.

 

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I love where I live.  I really do.

I’m fortunate to live on several acres of land surrounded by natural woods.  I can walk out of my door and stroll leisurely though a forest.  I have a large front yard that used to be a pasture.   My house is surrounded by oak and pecan trees.  There are all manner of birds that visit and nest here.  Often when we come home during the fall, we have several deer munching on the persimmons that fall from the trees.  It can be a paradise.

But this is also where I deal with the everyday demands of life.  Cooking, cleaning, mediating family squabbles or sometimes being in the middle of a squabble.  Stressing over work, family, bills and the future.  It can drain away the creativity.

I have been longing to get away.  Last year, my family was fortunate to be able to vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for a week.  This year, a week vacation was not possible.  An overnight trip to the beach planned for June had to be cancelled.  So I was thrilled when we could combine dropping my son off for summer camp with an overnight trip to the mountains.

The drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway led up into the clouds themselves as we stopped at the highest peak along the Parkway (North Carolina).

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There was interesting flora.

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We went to Mt. Mitchell State Park and climbed to the observation tower.  At 6684 feet above sea level, it is the highest point east of the Mississippi.  However, the clouds had moved in obstructing any view.

On the way back down the Parkway, we were surprised by an amazing sight.

 

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This was the first full rainbow I had ever seen.  The colors were so bright and vibrant.  It was truly a gift.

There was also a reminder of the magic of our surroundings.

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We stayed in Hendersonville, NC where I found a mountain mermaid …

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and met a new friend.photo (8)

This special kitty has extra toes on his paws.

Our lives are full of miracles but the routine of everyday living can block our appreciation of these.  We all need a chance to stop and breathe.  Sometimes, we can do this at our homes.  But sometimes going somewhere new is just what we need to be refreshed.

 

 

Art and Worship

For the last three months, my church has partnered with another local church to have a Second Sunday worship service at the community Arts Center.  The brief service, approximately 45 minutes, is held in the gallery and features an artist and poet to enhance the service.  Each Second Sunday service has its own theme.  This month I was asked to contribute a poem on the theme of law.

I love the Arts Center.  I drop by when I get off work early or when I have extra time at lunch to stroll through the current exhibits.  I have attended many writing events at the Arts Center.  I enjoy being surrounded by the artwork.  There is a sense of inspiration and peace from being surrounded by the work of other artists.  The Arts Center is a natural fit for creativity, but I have discovered it is just as conducive to worship.

Some studies have been conducted about the positive effect of religion on the overall wellbeing of people.  Combining two areas of my personal comfort – art and worship – made the experience a joyous one.

Try combining two things that you love to spur your creativity and bring you peace.

Here is my poem:

Reflecting on Justice

This law —

passed down through your fathers

and your fathers’ fathers —

do you know it

or just recite what you’ve been told

hoping you’re doing good enough

to avoid judgment

unlike some convicted souls

whose only crime was being human?

 

Lady Justice —

strict upholder of the law

blindfolded so not to see who appears

before her scales —

does she still hear the moans

of mortals and confer

with her sister Mercy

before announcing sentence?

 

Do you wonder

how it shall flow

from you

to your daughters and sons

on to their prodigy

throughout the land

this law?

Rite of Passage — Then and Now

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Today’s post is a contribution to August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2013.
When I was growing up, I saw wearing makeup as a rite of passage. My mother didn’t use many cosmetics – just lipstick and face powder – so I wasn’t exposed to the finer points of its use.

When I was in 9th grade, I took my makeup compact to school. I knew that Mom wouldn’t let me pass by with full makeup on without comment. So I snuck it out, ducked into the girl’s bathroom as soon as I got to school and applied green eye shadow, red blush and lipstick. This was the first time I really applied makeup.

If a little is good, then a lot must be better, I thought.

I was heavy handed. I wasn’t sure if I was applying it correctly.

“Does this look all right?” I asked my friend.

She assured me it was fine. I believed her. I was happy. I succeeded in my rite. I was a teenager wearing makeup. I was beautiful.

I went through the whole day. When I got home, my mother looked at me.

“A little much, isn’t it?” she asked.

I shrugged. When I went to my room, I stood in front of my mirror. I was horrified. I looked like a clown.  I washed off the makeup. The washcloth looked like my face had sloughed off in its folds – green eyes and red cheeks left behind on the white cloth.   

 The next day I went to school sans makeup, praying no one made comment. No one did.

Later I learned how to subtlety apply foundation, eye shadow and blush — blending colors to enhance my features instead of overpower them.

Sixteen years ago, after the birth of my first child, I all but stopped wearing makeup. I figured I look how I look. People who liked me would like me without makeup; people who chose to shun me because I didn’t wear makeup would never like me any way.

Don’t get me wrong  –  I don’t always like every aspect of my appearance. Some days I am my own worst critic, magnifying the slightest flaw. It’s hard to compare yourself to the media’s version of beauty without feeling that you fall short. But I have to remind myself that those images aren’t real. Most have been digitally altered past anything nature ever created or that is remotely healthy.

Looking back, I learned a lesson that day in 9th grade that has taken me years to internalize:  Feeling beautiful is more about your perception of yourself than your actual appearance.

Look around. See the woman who has the radiant smile. The one who lights up a room. The woman who people just want to be around to share in the warmth of her spirit. I bet she learned the same lesson.

What about you?

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