welcome ... enjoy yourself

Showing posts with label seasons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label seasons. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

m is for magnolia

Growing up, I never noticed the magnolia trees much.  Maybe it was the seasonal allergies that hit me every spring and prevented me from breathing and seeing much of anything. Over the years my allergies have gotten better, and my love of magnolia trees has grown. They're currently in bloom all over St. Louis and luckily we haven't gotten any bad storms that have damaged the flowers (so far). These photos were taken during my latest trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden aka heaven. 

Bonus: some white magnolias! The bulb garden is below and is just as beautiful, but that post will be for another day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

snow at the missouri botanical garden (in iphone photos)

St. Louis weather is largely unpredictable, with a warm, sunny day followed immediately by a freak snow storm.  There's a saying here that goes something like "if you don't like the weather, just wait a day and it'll probably change."  Except for summer weather.  Heat and humidity are the name of the game of summer in St. Louis.

During one of my many visits to the Missouri Botanical Garden's orchid show in February, I noticed a "what's in season" sign.  It was the middle of winter, so I didn't expect any flowers or trees to be showing.  Instead, the sign read: 

"Seiwa-en: Garden of Pure, Clear Harmony and Peace.  Snow is considered to be a flower in the Japanese Garden.  In the winter, shapes and contrasts become the visual pleasures of this garden, and many elements are meant to be appreciated when the snow delineates their graceful forms."

Beautiful right?  It inspired me to venture outside to take a few pictures during the next snow.  Predictably, the snow only stayed around for about a day, so I'm glad I went when I did. 

I stood by this waterfall for a few minutes before walking out of the Japanese garden.  Have you ever noticed how being still for a few minutes in normal life seems like hours?  Well, it was a beautiful place to spend a few moments or a few hours. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

goodbye summer, hello fall

Each year I seem to have different feelings about this time of year.  Some years I can't wait for the arrival of fall so I can snuggle with a cozy blanket and warm cup of tea.  Other years I feel so sad saying goodbye to summer, and I'm not ready for the warmth and sunshine to end.  And other years (like last year), I'm pregnant and nauseous, and all I care about is feeling better. 

This year is one of mourning the end of summer.  I've been associating sickness with autumn because of my intense morning sickness last year, so I really haven't felt super joyful about the change in season.  Day by day it gets a little less intense, so hopefully by November I may finally be feeling pumpkin spice everything. 

One objectively awesome thing this time of year is the lighting.  The sunshine seems to come in at the perfect angle, especially in early morning and late afternoon.  I captured some of these photos during a walk around the neighborhood with Theo last week.  Even if I don't feel great about fall right now, I feel pretty great about these pictures.  

Happy early fall! 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

late spring (part 2)

I love how spring can feel like a well choreographed dance.  Just as the snow is starting to melt, I know I'll be able to find daffodil and tulip leaves poking out of the ground.  Soon after that the first hosta leaves emerge.  The daffodils bloom, the tulips bloom, and soon after that the lilacs take center stage and the alliums and iris follow.  There's a bunch of other flowering plants that I haven't learned the names of yet that I appreciate watching too.  I try to learn to recognize a few new plants every year.  It's a fun game to play while walking the dogs.  

Next up will be the peonies.  Arguably the big spring show stopper.  Unless you're my mom. Then day lilies take the prize, hands down, every year. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

welcome to spring!!!

Last week Paul and I travelled to Portland for a quick visit.  Spring was in full bloom, and the warm weather (60s) was such a welcome change from the weather we had been having in Wisconsin (20s-30s).  If you've ever experienced a winter up north, you probably know the de-thawing feeling that comes with spring.  After spending all winter bracing yourself against the cold, you can suddenly let your body relax.  You can be outside without wearing multiple parkas.  You finally feel the warm sunshine on your skin instead of biting winds.  The return of spring feels like a little miracle every year.  

I'm so glad I had a few days of daffodils, tulips, and cherry blossoms, because we returned to Wisconsin to more clouds and cold.  As I'm writing this, we're getting a fresh sprinkling of snow.  I'm crossing my fingers and toes that it's the last of the season!  

Eight winters up north (one in Syracuse, two in Chicago, five in Milwaukee), and I've yet to master surviving winter happily.  I worked on thriving last year - and I'm glad I did - because without that intention I think I could have slunk into a very unhappy place.  This year the cold and snow hit later than usual, and it doesn't seem to want up to let up just yet.  It really feels like a marathon of cold, and I always hit my wall right around mid February - just when I still have at least another six weeks of cold weather ahead of me.  

But all of that aside, it's officially spring!  There's tulip leaves popping out of the snow, the biggest snow piles have melted, and the ground at my community garden plot has thawed!   We'll have color and life here before too long, and I'll finally feel like myself again.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

winter is here (proof in instagrams)

Last week I lead my first seven day retreat for a group of college students.  It was a huge accomplishment in my eyes, and I was really proud of how things went.  Those seven days happened to coincide with the full blown start of winter in Wisconsin -- and lead me to take yet another mini break from blogging.  

When the retreat ended Saturday morning, I drove to one of my favorite spots by the lake to take some photos and to just take a deep breath.  Lake Michigan is beautiful at any time of year, but there's something special about it in winter.  I love the colors, the steam that rises off the water, the way it feels even bigger and more expansive than usual.  

The view of the shoreline is always nice too.  So much snow and ice.  And hardly anyone in sight. 

One of my new year's resolutions was to exercise daily.  I'm counting walking as exercise, as long as I reach at least three miles in a day.  As a result, I've been more diligent about walking the dogs, and I've been taking more pictures than usual to make the walks more interesting.  (I'm sharing photos on Instagram with the hashtag #walkitout2015.)

I've never experienced winters like I've experienced in Wisconsin.  The cold just chills you to the bones - and sometimes even freezes the inside of your nose.  And it seems to last for-ev-er.  But so far this winter I've been finding lots of beautiful things to enjoy and have managed to stay occupied enough that I haven't had any stir crazy or spring fever feelings... yet.  (Updates on that to come.) 

Friday, October 17, 2014

enjoying the season

I'm a big fan of making lists.  It helps me be productive and prioritize what I'd like to do.  Being out of school for a few years now, having goals and check lists helps me feel like I'm accomplishing something and growing.

But sometimes, I need to put aside the to do lists.  I've been reminded of that this fall when I've been pretty worn out most nights when I get home and just can't seem to check off all the things I want to do.

I've been trying to shift my focus from quantity to quality, and I received some inspiration from Peach and Humble's Autumn on Purpose at just the right time.  This week's newsletter included this: 

For the last several years, I have been creating seasonal bucket lists packed with things I wanted to do before the season ended.  They were always fun things like "bake an apple pie" or "go the pumpkin patch" but they were a checklist of tasks, nonetheless.  More things-to-do stacked on top of my already long list of things-to-do.  And even though I wanted to do all of these bucket list items, I noticed I was starting to check off fewer and fewer tasks as the years went on.  Then, without fail, I would feel guilty and as though we had somehow missed the season because we didn't finish our list.

I read that and had an immediate "aha" moment.  I do the same thing every season and inevitably feel the same mixture of guilt and disappointment as each new season approached.  The solution?? Focus on a few simple traditions that you absolutely love to keep around as your seasonal rituals.  

I love taking the focus away from trying to accomplish every single thing you associate with a holiday or time of year and shifting it instead to a few simple traditions that bring you a lot of joy.

I started making a mental list of my favorite fall traditions, and I almost immediately had about ten things.  And I thought -- no -- that's the opposite of what I'm supposed to be doing with this exercise! Remember  -- less is more!!

After some deliberation, I narrowed my special fall traditions list to the following:

- Watch the Great Pumpkin (preferably while snuggling with beagles)
- Bake something delicious
- Enjoy the changing colors (snap pictures as desired) 
- Go apple/pumpkin picking

Everything else is icing on the cake.

In summary, goals and check lists have their place, but if I really want to enjoy a season, I need to allow myself to be fully present in it.  And that means not having a list of goals and expectations.  Wish me luck as I try this out the rest of autumn.

P.S. It's not too late to check out Peach and Humble's Autumn on Purpose series.  Sign up to receive a weekly inspirational newsletter in your inbox. 

What are your favorite fall traditions?  

Monday, October 13, 2014

devils lake

It has been a long time since I went on anything that could be considered an actual hike.  I forget how much I enjoy it - being in nature, getting exercise, having a chance to get away from regular city life.  This weekend, Paul and I went to Devil's Lake in Baraboo, Wisconsin with some friends. The trees were at their color peak, and the weather was absolutely perfect for hiking four miles around Devil's Lake.

We started off by hiking about a half mile up a winding path of large rocks - a path that's been in place since the 1930s.  It was more strenuous than I had expected, but the view at the top was totally worth the sweat I built up on the way up. 

The view from the top!  The rope/strings are from groups of climbers that were taking advantage of a large flat cliff face.  Some other folks took advantage of the great photo opportunity and posed on the edge of the bluff.  I stayed a very safe distance from the edge. 

This was as close as I got to the edge.  Even this had my palms sweating!!

A few dare devils at the top of Devil's Doorway.  Don't worry, no one from our group was foolish enough to climb up there. 

I am really excited to report that a portion of the Ice Age trail winds around Devil's Lake, so I officially crossed another goal off my 30 before 30 list!

The views were so beautiful.  I felt recharged just seeing so much color and so much natural beauty. 

The path gradually wound back down to water level, and my handy walking stick helped me make it all the way down without slipping once.  That's pretty good for this accident prone girl. 

I can't wait to go back again!  Next time I might combine another favorite love of mine with the hike -- a delicious picnic.  Mmmm....

What have you been finding joy in this autumn?