August 22, 2017 · 4 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

I went rowing with my husband during the eclipse, along with a few other people in the rowing club. That made it feel more like an adventure. We brought our eclipse glasses into the boat and, as the light faded, we stopped rowing from time to time and watched the eclipse’s progress. it wasn’t total where I live, but it got dark enough to look almost like nightfall was approaching. There will be a total eclipse in this area in 2024, so we’re saving the glasses.
 

Two pairs of eclipse glasses on a wooden table. 

On the river, we had a great view of how confused the wildlife got during the eclipse. Birds flew up to trees and wires to roost, cicadas started singing, and ducks and geese climbed out of the river and started waddling off to wherever they go at night. Then the light started coming back and many of the birds just flew around in circles looking totally befuddled. Their little bird brains couldn’t deal with the fact that it had been getting dark, but all of a sudden it wasn’t anymore.

As civilized humans who spend most of our time indoors, we don’t have that sensitivity to the natural world—at least not consciously. If we hadn’t known there was an eclipse, we might easily have looked out the window and assumed the dark sky was just some clouds blowing over. Then we’d have gone back to work and thought nothing more about it.

I wonder, though, if maybe there’s a primitive part of our brains that gets just as confused as those birds about all the unnatural things in our modern environment. Maybe our inner troglodyte peeks out every now and again, muttering to itself in a very worried tone, “Hey, what are all these bright lights in the middle of the night when it’s supposed to be dark? And why are we all staring at little glowing screens instead of looking at normal stuff like trees and fields? Eek! Too freaky! I can’t cope!”

Of course, there are many other reasons why we have so much anxiety nowadays. Mainly I think it’s because the world has been changing so fast that it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on around us, whether natural or otherwise. More time spent in nature surely would do us all some good, though.

As I mentioned in a blog post recently, my work responsibilities this month include reviewing and commenting on the work of new trainees in the Philippines. It has been going well. I did feel a bit nervous, though, about attending a roundtable session via phone and computer on Sunday evening (which was Monday morning in Manila) with the trainees, their manager, my manager, and a few of my coworkers here in the United States who are also involved in the training.

In general, I am not much of a talker and do better with written language. I am very comfortable with giving written feedback, not just at work, but also in creative writers’ groups and on blogs. Question-and-answer sessions over the phone are something that I don’t have as much experience doing, however.

It all turned out okay, though. The trainees obviously were much more nervous than I was. When my manager coaxed them into coming forward with their questions, my first instinct was to go into reassuring-mom mode and tell them everyone has a tough time at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to the work, and they would all feel comfortable with it soon. I wondered at first if maybe I overdid that a little, but my manager and coworkers thought it sounded pretty good.

I decided to post this ocean word-art for Nurturing Thursday because it seemed to fit the theme:
 

Word-art that says "You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Now that the summer is winding down, my subconscious mind seems to be telling me that it’s about time for a vacation. Instead of the nature scenes I often post on my digital art display, I’ve found myself picking images like this quaint, narrow street:
 

Narrow street with cobblestones and tall old buildings. 

I don’t know where the photo was taken, but it looks like an older area of a city somewhere in Europe. The next day, I displayed an image of a ship with tall sails bravely crossing a storm-tossed sea. Then I chose a photo of a waterfront resort, and the next picture was a sunlit staircase with old-fashioned décor in Barcelona. So, adding up those clues, I would say they’re telling me it’s adventure time!

I have to confess that I didn’t feel particularly inspired or creative today. Instead, it was one of those days where it all felt like a long, repetitive, energy-draining slog, and no thoughts came to mind for a Nurturing Thursday blog post. So, after work and laundry, I spent a little time browsing through word-art images in the hope that something inspiring would turn up. What I found was this timely reminder:
 

Word-art that says "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle 

Life may have its dull moments, but because character is formed in large part by everyday habits, just going through the day and getting things done without drama is not a bad thing. Even on days that feel less than inspired, it’s good to keep in mind that in a few years, we may look back and realize that we accomplished much more than we knew at the time.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

August 9, 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags: ,

For those who enjoy dream analysis, I expect you’ll have lots of fun trying to make sense of this one! I saw time as made up of peaceful little moments that looked like tendrils or tentacles on marine animals, moving gently in the currents. The colors matched the ocean theme, in vibrant shades of blue, green, and purple. The time-creatures resembled this jellyfish image:
 

Jellyfish in shades of blue, green, and purple.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

They left me feeling that there was no need to worry about anything from the past because time was not fixed in place, but was always moving into new patterns. While I can’t say exactly where that idea might have come from, I would guess that all the blog posts I’ve written about time and imaginary conversations with my younger selves had something to do with it.

Maybe I’ve started to feel that time really is not as linear as it seems. The subconscious is always adding new context to past events and changing their meaning, even if it’s not by much, whenever they come to mind. So, in that sense, we really do wander around in time by moving past events into different arrangements, just like the sea creatures I imagined.

My employer is a multinational company, and for the next few weeks I’ll be helping to train a group of new hires in the Philippines. Because of the time difference, that works out very efficiently—they upload their completed training exercises during their workday, which is nighttime here in the United States. Their assignments can then be completely reviewed and all the comments written during U.S. business hours, before the trainees return to their office the next day.

Although writing reviewer comments on training exercises may not be the most exciting task on the planet, when a coworker sent me the little cartoon that I’ve posted below, it left me thinking about the “epic” nature of the changes going on in the modern world and how many interesting opportunities are likely to develop as time goes on.
 

Word-art with an animated sticky note writing on itself "Today be epic!" 

As Becca’s blog entry for today points out, there are useful lessons to be found everywhere. Even though our fast-paced modern world can feel disruptive and unsettling at times, often what that really means is that we’re learning at a much faster pace, and we haven’t yet gotten used to it. I expect that things will settle down after a while—it just takes time to reflect on those lessons.

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

July 31, 2017 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

This post got its title because it grew out of random thoughts, wandering from one subject to another, which started during a conversation with my husband at the river on Sunday afternoon. He was talking about modern technology and how everything changes so fast, people don’t even know what they are missing when they haven’t kept up with the changes. Meanwhile, I was looking at some wildflowers growing in the mud next to the dock and wondering what they were. My next thought was that I could post a photo on my blog and ask if anyone knows the name of these flowers.
 

Wildflowers on the riverbank. 

Then I agreed with my husband that today’s world gives us many options we never could have imagined if we hadn’t seen them. In the ancient pre-Internet world, maybe I’d have gone to the library and looked through a book about wildflowers. I probably wouldn’t have found those particular flowers, but I’d have learned a few interesting random facts. Sometimes when I was a child wandering around in a meadow looking at wildflowers, I just made up names for them because that seemed like more fun anyway.

I have to confess, it took me a while to decide what tag to use for this post. My blog does not have a “Nature” or “Wildflowers” tag because I haven’t taken many nature photos. That left me with a decision—should I create one or pick an existing tag? While looking at the list of tags from my previous posts, I noticed one called Adventures, which hadn’t gotten much use.

Although looking at flowers on the riverbank might not be all that exciting to a grown-up, I would have thought otherwise in the days when I was a child inventing names for wildflowers and fanciful stories to go with them. So I decided to use the Adventures tag and to put the word in the title as well—just to remind myself that in a good life, there should always be time for adventures.

I woke up to a gray morning and a forecast of rain most of the day, which is good for the grass (the lawn service company put down fertilizer on Tuesday) but it’s not the most inspiring view. So when I changed the image on my art display this morning, I chose a beach picture with vivid colors, titled “Colorful Sea.”
 

Green sea with orange sun and deep blue clouds. 

Whether or not it’s raining today where you are, I hope you’re finding lots of bright, happy little things to make your world more colorful!

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

July 25, 2017 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I’ve noticed more herons on the river this year and am guessing that the mild winter probably helped the younger ones to survive. Even a small difference can be enough to affect whether they flourish or struggle. Last week when my husband went to the rowing club’s boathouse, he took a photo of one:
 

Heron standing on a small log in the river. 

Unfortunately, a few days before that, some jerk dumped a dog in the parking lot and zoomed off in a pickup truck (with kids in there screaming and crying, ugh) before anyone could get the license plate number. Abandoned pets often don’t survive for long because of not knowing how to find food. We called Animal Control, who came pretty quickly, but the dog already had run off and they couldn’t locate the poor beast.

Most people would never be so cruel to either their dog or their children, of course; but I believe that we all could be kinder. Although animals and young children often don’t understand the details of what’s going on around them, usually they can tell whether or not they are being treated kindly; and those small acts of kindness can work much greater changes than we know. Just as a few more warm days made a big difference in how many young herons lived through the winter, a few kind acts can much improve the life of a pet or a child.

I’m posting this Nurturing Thursday entry on Friday because I felt somewhat distracted this week and didn’t get around to writing a post earlier, but it’s all okay. The work presentation that I mentioned in last week’s post went very smoothly; there was no need to worry.

Often that’s the way it goes—when we’re doing things that we haven’t tried before and developing our skills, it seems scary at the time. Then we find that life has settled back down into a pattern that comfortably includes something more than we used to know. That happened all the time back when we were kids, and it can be just as true when we’re adults exploring new challenges!
 

 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.