Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stop and Smell the Roses

Life here in Southern California is set at a very hectic pace. Even though I make a concerted effort at surrounding myself with as much serenity as I can, I find myself drawn into the pace and eventually become exhausted by it. It's what I've always known.

It's a beautiful place which I have come to take for granted. On my daily walk, I decided to really focus on the small beauties that surround me and photograph them outside of my Mindseye.

It was a wet, foggy morning, and I had to walk carefully down the sidewalk to avoid slipping. I felt the wet air  against my hair and cheeks and took in deep ,moist breathes as I meandered down the street.

Soon a group of cyclists, panting from their ascent up the steep hill, passed me . They were all breathing hard, which made me feel like I wasn't the only one that struggled up that hill. Many times, in the past, Vance and I had climbed the hill on our tandem after a long 60 mile bike ride down to the pier. I was younger and more energetic in those days, but I still remember the exhilaration of the ride. Now I was enjoying it once again through the experience of these young riders.

Still walking carefully down the path, I  glanced briefly to the right to observe the sun break though the fog and highlight a magnificent, perfectly formed spider web. I was so enthralled with this web that I didn't even give thought to the spider that wove it. It must have been some spider, maybe one of  Charlotte's descendants moved to the Coast. I couldn't take my eyes off of it as it glistened in the sun. 

Walking gingerly though the mist, I soon was greeted by several dog walkers and their little and  large charges. The dogs and owners greeted me with glee and galloped off to the park to play together. 

I noticed all kinds of things along the way, small signs of how life proceeds around me. The sun made its final break through the clouds to warm us for the rest of the day.  Early morning walkers, cyclists, coffee drinkers and neighbors gathered at Starbucks ,as they so most days ,to warm their bodies and join in the social circles.

I grabbed a hot macchiato breve and started the walk back, retracing my steps. New cyclists and dog walkers greeted me on journey home. The spider web was still intact and my heart filled with a new sense of gratitude for the little things around me that make life so good.

Beyond the gates of my neighborhood, it was quiet and peaceful. The trees embraced me with a canopy of green and red. Some of the Autumn leaves still stubbornly cling to the branches , not wanting to let go of Fall, even though it's winter.

 The dichotomy of Southern California weather is always interesting. The Fall leaves still cling to the Maple trees at the entrance to our home; while the pear trees by my front door are preparing for Spring, their white snowy blossoms beginning to appear. Soon  the blossoms will powder the ground ,making it California's answer to snow. 

A few Azaleas, Camellias, Hydrangeas and Fuchsias are blooming in the patio. A sure sign that spring will fill my garden with bright blossoms very soon.

This sojourn has restored my spirit and now I am ready to return to the painting that has been haunting me for the past few weeks . I will start to work, refreshed and inspired by the small beauties that surround me.


Judy Hartman said...

Julie, I feel like I have taken this walk with you!! So refreshing to think of your beautiful part of the country, and to view the sights around you through your eyes. It's funny to think of autumn leaves and new growth appearing at the same time, yet here in New England some colorful leaves still cling to trees as a frosting of snow decorates the branches! Your photography is wonderful, and I hope you're planning to share that beautiful painting with us when you are ready!!

sharon said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm quite a newbie, but feel energized by and grateful to those who take the time to send a word. Your blog entry today almost makes me envious. Imagine blossoms on the trees instead of snow. But I'm a four seasons girl, and I know our spring will come, eventually! From time to time we all need a reminder to stop and smell the roses.

Alfonso Cevola said...

I love the look of the blog, way to go, sis!