Take Me to the Trees

Cook Forest Fall of 2014
Cook Forest Fall of 2014

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
John Muir

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a “tree hugger.” Literally no, I don’t really hug trees (although maybe I have once or twice) but I revere them, love them, and am in awe of them.

About a dozen years ago, I worked for a non profit in Pittsburgh that planted lots of trees. I learned even more about trees, which ones were endangered (ash trees for one), how beautiful a ginkgo leaf was, and how much I like a good, solid oak.

More trees
Morning Light

This weekend I was again in Cook Forest with my close friends. Our cabin was in the midst of tall trees that provided a lovely green canopy. This morning, the light was just perfect and I caught these gorgeous shots of the pine, maple and oak trees that were such a perfect part of our weekend landscape.

I think John Muir had the right idea. Being among trees can clear my mind and make me forget about anything that may be bugging me. I can walk on a tree lined path and think completely new ideas and thoughts. It is amazing what those trees can do for me.

The Tree Canopy
The Tree Canopy

I hope you have a great tree place you call your own.Thank you again, Cook Forest for your ability to inspire me!

Cook Forest Fall 2014 #4

Cook Forest Fall 2014 #5

Join me on my graceful journey.

A Day of Whimsy

Whimsy DoorIt was a beautiful fall day. The leaves on the trees were yellow gold with an occasional crimson, perfect for a ride in the country. The air was brisk, chilly and just a bit windy.

My son John and I had decided to spend the day together. He had a job to do in Harmony, Pennsylvania and I thought it was a good opportunity for some exploration. I’m hunting for a new kitchen table, since I gave my daughter ours for her new place. So my thinking was to look for a used furniture store. I ended up finding so much more.

Whimsy Road SignOn the way to the job site, I noticed a sign for antiques. Thinking of the potential for hidden treasures, I doubled back after dropping my son off. I got lost for about five minutes then turned around, unwilling to give up. Soon I was pulling into the parking lot of a quaint looking shop.

As I walked up the steps, the red entry door blew open. Now it was a windy day but the timing on that was a bit mysterious! As I entered the shop, I felt as if I stepped back in time. Beautiful furniture, jewelry and knickknacks from the past were lovingly displayed within two large rooms. For a moment I was back in my grandmother’s house among her hostess trays, serving pieces and water glasses.

Silver Set Whimsy AntiquesWhat an interesting place “Whimsy Antiques” is. Sue the owner, is a retired art teacher of thirty five years who has a special eye for unique treasures. She does shows all across the country but I was lucky enough to visit the shop while she was in town.

We chatted for a bit and then I left Sue to wander around. Soon my eye fell upon a quilt. Not just any quilt. An OLD quilt.

Quilt from WhimsyI examined the fabric. Some of the material reminded me of my grandfather’s old suits, warm and woolen. There were also beautiful dark blue corduroy and camel colored strips. The backing fabric was a soft blue, weathered with time. My thought was, back then nothing was wasted. When clothes became too tattered to wear, the best parts were saved and sewn into quilts. There were even little tufts of yarn (or wool) in a sunny color, randomly spaced. The price tag said the quilt was from the early 1900’s.

Of course I was instantly smitten and thought I am really in trouble now, because I looked at the price tag and didn’t think I could justify it. But then, November is my birthday month and it was November first. 🙂

So slowly, I began to wonder if I could acquire this wonderful quilt. Sue noticed my interest and we negotiated. Let’s just say she was very fair. In exchange for her kindness, I offered to share this story with you.

Yes, she has old KEYS too!
Yes, she has old KEYS too!

So now, when I visit Harmony, PA. I have a new friend to stop and see. I hope that if you are in the Butler County area, you will take the road less traveled to this lovely graceful place.

Oh and I showed the quilt to Jim. He absolutely LOVED it.

Did you ever find something you just had to have? Tell me about it!

Join me on my graceful journey.

The Sound of Silence

Silence is a source of great strength.  ~Lao Tzu

I realized, as I was on a social media site this week, that a couple of my normally vocal and oft-posting friends seem to be taking a break. Translation: wow, it’s kind of quiet…

My big fundraiser project is over, the meetings are over, the wrap up is over, summer is over…..yes, it’s really quiet.

Photo by Michelene Cain

It’s mid-October. It’s dark earlier now and I love to curl up in a blanket and read or relax. The peace feels really good, welcoming in fact as compared to the more hectic and packed long, summer days.

That said, it is usually not quiet at my house. There are four of us under one roof of a small, ranch style house. There is a noisy, over exuberant yellow lab thrown into the lot. People like to drop by, hang out, have a cup of coffee. Holidays are usually big, messy and loud with a ton of people and eating, eating, eating….

If it sounds like I secretly love all this, you are right. I do. However, I have also been known to sneak off somewhere in busy moments, to disappear for a few minutes, just to bring myself back to center. I have to take a break to pause, to rest, to connect with my source of inspiration.

I think solitude is necessary for our spirit. It is nourishing, revitalizing, and somewhat selfish. But it is a good selfish. The kind of selfish that’s necessary to recharge our batteries and connect with a source of inspiration and grace. It’s a fuel to keep us going.

I’m going away with some good friends this weekend in a setting of quiet woods. I’m thinking about the fun we’re going to have, the laughter and the good times. The thought of those moments of quiet solitude that I will find there too appeals to me as well. I’m looking forward to it all.

Have a quiet, lovely, joyous weekend my friend.

Photo by Terri Ruggeri
Join me on my graceful journey.