Now that the last remnants of winter finally seem to be over, I’ve been wanting to spend a day on a nice long rambling springtime hike. However, this is just another ordinary workweek and I’m not in fact taking a day off, so instead I put an image on my art display that shows the bright cheerful greenery of Kerry Way Trail, Ireland. It certainly looks like the earth springing to life, don’t you think?
 

Bright springtime green of Kerry Way Trail, Ireland 

Even though I’m not really gazing out my window at this wonderfully inviting trail, I can at least get my subconscious mind halfway believing that I could just step outside at any moment and be right there!

They’re predicting more wintry weather blowing in on Thursday, with temperatures falling all day, rain turning to snow, and howling winds. Seriously? I want summer already! Wah! But since the forecast is not cooperating, I’ve decided to go on an imaginary vacation and turn my art display into a window of a comfy beachfront cottage, where I can breathe the salty ocean air, smell the tropical flowers blooming on the balcony, and watch the waves roll in.
 

Ocean view with a corner of a wood balcony. 

Ahh… now that feels much better! If you’re also in a place where winter just won’t give up, I hope you stay warm and safe, with plenty of fun distractions to keep you cheerful.

The digital art display that hangs on my dining room wall is more than just a decoration. I’ve found that when I take a few minutes to browse through the online library and change the picture every day, it gives me insight into what’s going on in my subconscious mind, guiding me toward whatever I might need at the moment.

The image I chose for Sunday was a quiet pond with bare trees. I don’t know where it is; the caption simply said “Pond.” The idea that it could be anywhere in the world fits the mood quite well, though—silent and reflective as winter holds on, not yet ready to give way to springtime.
 

Pond with bare trees in winter 

Soon enough, there will be busy days again, exciting new adventures and explorations. But for now, all that I needed was a peaceful, meditative day of rest—and the picture on the wall gave me that message as clearly as if it had spoken.

This week’s rare February warmth made it possible to get an early start on the rowing season, so my husband and I made plans to meet at the boathouse after work. The weather didn’t turn out to be as warm or sunny as the forecast had predicted, but it was still fun to get back on the water, clouds or no clouds. Although the water is still cold and there is bridge construction going on nearby, I didn’t mind—that made it more like an adventure.
 

Double scull at the dock on a gray February afternoon. 

I must have been secretly longing for some bright sky after the cloudy winter, though, because the picture that I put on my art display today is a photo from Sri Lanka. Next best thing to a real tropical vacation.
 

Trees at the shore and golden clouds in Sri Lanka. 

Don’t the colors in that sky look yummy enough to eat?

I am not sure if this winter has been much more cloudy than usual or if the lack of sunlight is just getting to me more, but I’ve been looking to cheer myself up by putting pictures of sunlit forests and lakes on the art display on my dining room wall. Today’s photo is of Lake Valhalla in Washington, with sunlight on the hills in the distance. I’ve never been there in real life, but it looks like a beautiful place to row or hike.
 

Photo of Lake Valhalla in Washington, with forested hills. 

And yesterday’s image was a mossy waterfall with sunlight coming through the trees in the background. I love how the green and yellow shades swirl together in the reflections on the water.
 

Waterfall in a forest with sunlit trees in the background. 

After writing this post, I’m feeling more cheerful and appreciative of how modern technology can fill every day with joyful spots of beauty. Wishing my readers in the Northern Hemisphere plenty of lovely sunny images to brighten the winter days, too!

No, I didn’t really go on a cruise, but when we get into these dark wintery days it’s fun to think about traveling somewhere sunny. So, yesterday afternoon I put an ocean view on the digital art display in my dining room. The caption for the photo said it was taken in Croatia. I’ve never been to Croatia, but I figured it was as good a place as any for an imaginary cruise.
 

Seashore photo taken in Croatia as shown on a digital art display. 

Although this wasn’t a video, with the lights turned off in the room, I could almost imagine the seagull gliding higher on an updraft and hear the sound of the waves when I walked by. Just a little bit of diversion to make my day brighter and more cheerful. Hope you enjoyed it too!

Now that the weather has turned cooler and the rowing season is over, I’ve gone back to running outdoors, which is my usual exercise over the winter (unless it gets so cold that I run on the indoor track at the Rec Center instead). When I went to the park to run five miles with my husband on Sunday, the thought of having to wait till spring to get back out on the river felt kind of sad, with the long cold winter ahead. But then it occurred to me that instead of feeling gloomy and looking at my winter workouts in the same light as doing chores, I should appreciate the opportunity for quiet reflection.

While running along the park trail, I found myself thinking about pilgrimages such as the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain, which has been traveled since the Middle Ages. Even today, many people walk the Camino to put their worldly concerns in perspective and to gain spiritual growth. There are various starting points; one of the popular routes, beginning at the French border, is about 800 kilometers. ¡Buen camino! is the customary greeting for peregrinos (pilgrims), wishing them a good journey.
 

Signpost in Spain that says "Peregrino, buen camino."

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

So I decided that when I run in the park this winter, I’m going to imagine myself making progress in short segments along my own personal Camino and leaving my complaints and ungrateful attitudes behind. I know that many of us are working to improve ourselves in similar ways, as well as to promote a spirit of kindness and grateful reflection in the community; so today I’m wishing all of my fellow pilgrims, as we travel along this road, ¡Buen camino!

Considering what has been going on in politics recently, I’d say we all could use as much distraction as we can get. I’ve been changing the images on the digital art display on my dining room wall at least once a day, so that I can at least pretend to be somewhere far away from it all. At the moment, it has an image of Lake Havasu at the Grand Canyon to brighten up the room.
 

Photo of digital art display with picture of Lake Havasu 

Have you been doing anything fun for a virtual escape? If so, feel free to post about it in the comments. (And, of course, make sure to vote anyway!)

Today I felt like walking in a labyrinth to calm my mind and untangle my thoughts. The weather has been roasting hot, though, and I haven’t had much energy the past few days. So instead, I browsed through photos of labyrinths and their gardens online. Here’s one image that gave me a very peaceful feeling: it’s a garden at the Parc del Laberint d’Horta in Barcelona.
 

Romantic Garden at the Parc del Laberint d'Horta in Barcelona

(Creative Commons image via flickr)
 

I uploaded the photo to my library for the digital art display on my dining room wall, which is at window height and makes it easy to imagine that I’m traveling to beautiful, exotic places. Definitely calming! Still not quite sure how many of my thoughts got untangled, as it has been the kind of week that feels as if I’ve got a virtual kitten running around in my head playing randomly with balls of yarn. But for now, at least it feels like I’m traveling in the right direction!