As summer’s long, bright days reach their end and autumn’s cool winds take their place, we may want to spend time indoors with a book, or perhaps a journal, and a cup of hot tea or coffee. Or we may feel more inclined to take long, solitary walks through fallen leaves in misty woods. Autumn is about change, about letting go; but it is also about finding, in that it gives us a nudge to become better acquainted with ourselves.

Like the earth, settling in for months of quiet slumber while life goes on under the surface, we’re making ready for new growth.

Word-art that says "Find your soul."

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.

September 17, 2020 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

For the past few weeks I’ve been saying an “infinite possibilities” mantra while working out on my rowing machine with video of a river or lake quietly going by. Also, I usually display peaceful landscapes on the digital art display in my dining room, like this image from Hausjärvi, Finland.

Lake in Finland

(Photo credit: Tero Laakso)

But I might have overdone it, just a bit, with all those possibilities. I dreamed that I had three boyfriends, all at the same time! Because this was a dream, they all knew about each other, had no problem with it, and treated me wonderfully.

In real life, figuring out how to deal with one husband always has been quite sufficient. I can say with assurance that I definitely have no secret longing for extra guys! So I’m interpreting the dream as a creative exercise by my subconscious in pushing the boundaries of possibility. The message (to the extent there is one) probably has to do with the world being full of abundance.

I’m writing this post while on my midday break, after a conversation with my manager about career development. The company started using the Workday human resources system last year; it has a structured development process in which employees assess their skills and goals, then meet with their manager periodically to discuss them.

She mentioned that although these conversations take up a lot of time, she doesn’t mind because they are more fun than some other tasks. I said it’s good that people are feeling less unsettled than they were earlier this year, which got us talking about how everyone still wishes they could just hibernate until 2020 is over. Even so, I would say we’re slowly learning how to find peace.

Word-art that says "Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of these things and still be calm in your heart."

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.

September 9, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Over the long weekend, my husband and I got out rowing every day. The weather was nice and sunny, though definitely on the windy side. We rowed a double on Saturday and Monday, which doesn’t get blown around as much as a single because it is larger and more stable. On Sunday it seemed mostly calm in the early afternoon, and we went out in singles, but the wind started picking up toward the end of our row.

I got an email at work last week asking for photos of Labor Day activities to share with the group, so I asked my husband to take a photo of me rowing the single. He brought his phone in a waterproof bag, and although the sun made it hard to see, he managed to get a pretty good landscape view.


On Monday we went out early too, which turned out to be a good thing because some ferocious thunderstorms developed later in the day. Now the river is full of debris and too high to row. Of course, we’re back to work anyway, so I am not complaining. The rain was for the best, as it has been so dry around here.

My online rowing session this afternoon came from a new destination—the instructor was on a river in Burlington, Vermont. The surrounding landscape was a beautiful emerald green. The video occasionally switched to a drone view during the workout and showed the river from above, in addition to the usual cameras on the instructor’s boat and on the safety launch following it. I particularly enjoyed that view after the dry, hot summer here in Ohio, which left the trees and lawns in my neighborhood looking parched.

Afterward, my husband mentioned that someone on Facebook had complained that the drone view was a distraction from the workout. I said that I didn’t look at it that way. It was good to have something different for a change. Besides, it was just for fun, and it made the workout feel more playful—like the dolphins that sometimes leap out of the water during the winter rowing sessions in Miami Beach. Life wouldn’t have much zest without curiosity and appreciation for new views.

Word-art with a dolphin and words like "Playful" and "Curious."

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.

To read Part 8, click here. All parts of this story are consolidated on one page here.

Dry leaves on the forest floor, dappled in late-afternoon sunlight, crackled underfoot on the dusty path. Ina barely noticed them because the crickets trilled so loudly, announcing the change of seasons. Sunlight glinted, also, from the silver clasp that Luz always wore in her glossy dark hair.

Soon the path took a right turn beside the river, winding ever upward. Water tumbled over moss-bright rocks in the shade of a narrow ravine. Thick ferns jutted out of the banks, with trees clinging to the slopes above.

Photo of a river tumbling over dark, mossy rocks.

They had passed Daphne some time ago, standing as still on the riverbank as if she had been a tree herself. Her eyes were closed and her face blissfully serene.

“She is becoming one with the moss as it grows,” Luz had murmured, in a voice so quiet that it almost could not be heard over the constant background sounds of the crickets and rushing water.

Climbing higher, they had passed Phoenix as well, gazing out from a ridge toward the half-moon on the horizon. Luz had given a brief explanation for that, as well. “She is listening to the moon’s song.”

The path narrowed, taking another turn through a dense stand of laurels before coming out on a stony rise. Only one tree grew here, a majestic oak with a wide-spreading crown that overshadowed the low bushes and grass around it.

“Five hundred years old, at least,” Luz said, following Ina’s gaze toward the tree. “We’ve come far enough; now you must begin your task, which is to feel the storm in the air.”

The sky ahead was clear to the horizon. The cool, crisp air held no hint of rain, and Ina felt only the lightest breeze at her back. She turned her head to glance from one side to the other, perplexed.

“But there isn’t a storm.”

Luz only smiled.

Turning all the way around to look back down the hill they had just climbed, Ina saw a distant line of pale gray clouds. That didn’t look much like a storm to her, but it seemed to be the closest thing she was going to find. The breeze coming from that direction grew stronger as Ina focused her attention on it. Her long sleeves flapped in a sudden gust. Yes, now that was starting to feel more like a storm. The clouds were darker than they had been a minute ago, and definitely closer. The air had gotten thicker and heavier. It was unsettled and full of potential…

Ina felt the lightning strike an instant before she saw it. Although the sky overhead still looked perfectly clear, a huge bolt crackled through the air, striking the old oak tree and splitting it down the middle. The halves, both burning, fell into the dry underbrush. Flames leapt hungrily into the grass and shrubs nearby.

“Oh! I didn’t mean to do that—oh, the forest will burn, everything is so dry.” Ina stood helplessly wringing her hands in dismay as the fire went on spreading, driven by gusty winds that continued to grow stronger.

“You must put out the fire, Ina, now.” Luz cut through her confusion and fear with a brisk command. “Remember all the days you practiced in the library this summer, putting out candles with only your thoughts. Bringing a forest fire under control is within your power, also.”

The roaring flames swept farther into the dry forest, not in the least resembling the tame little candles on the desks in the library. Ina tentatively reached her awareness toward it, feeling its greedy delight as it consumed brush and trees, casting sparks high into the air. The fire felt her presence, resented her interference; it wanted her gone. It snarled in her thoughts, angry as a bear interrupted while gnawing on a fresh kill—and it turned to attack her.

Sensing the change in the storm before it happened, Ina already had leaped backward by pure reflex before a powerful gust lifted a blazing branch from the ground and flung it viciously in her direction. She shrieked, unable to help herself, overcome by terror; but Luz, who looked as calm as ever, made a small hand gesture that sent the branch falling harmlessly into the charred grass.

Ina took a breath of the smoky air and tried to compose herself. The air still felt thick and heavy, and the sky overhead was getting darker—not just with smoke, most of which was still blowing in the other direction. Was it night already? But no, those were thunderclouds above her; she had felt them earlier, just as Luz had instructed, and she had brought them here.

The clouds were so high above the ground that the fire’s intense heat could not reach them. Instead, the swirling wind carried with it the heaviness of the clouds cooling as nightfall approached. Ina searched her thoughts for the word that described this process: condensation. Small droplets coming together, growing larger and heavier until the clouds could no longer bear their weight.

She felt a raindrop on her face, and then another. All at once it was pouring, the rain coming down so heavily that Ina wouldn’t have been able to see Luz, only a few paces away, if the woman’s faint silhouette hadn’t been backlit by the orange glow of the flames. But that glow soon faded; and the rain stopped, just as abruptly as it had begun, leaving a gorgeous orange sunset and a forest that was mostly intact but for a small, soggy blackened area.

“I’m s-sorry,” Ina said through chattering teeth, folding her wet arms across her soaked clothes. She felt that whatever she might say was nowhere near adequate. “I didn’t want to kill that beautiful old tree.”

“It is nature’s way. Everything that lives must die.” Luz turned away from the tree’s charred remains, taking a step toward the path that led back down the hill. “We care for the forest and the world as best we can, but nothing endures forever.”

When I sat down to write a Nurturing Thursday post, drinking a cup of decaffeinated coffee because it already was too late in the day for caffeine, all that came to mind was random thoughts. The coffee was random too. We have an assortment of flavors delivered every month. Usually it’s about the same, but the company reserves the right to make substitutions, and it looked like there were some major supply issues this time because we got all kinds of flavors that we hadn’t seen before.

That was okay, though, because some of the new flavors turned out to be pretty good. Pumpkin caramel spice, yum, just right for the end of summer. And chocolate marshmallow. And, when you think about it, how amazing is it that when we’re just sitting around the house, we can share our random thoughts with other people anywhere in the world? All of which reminded me of why I decided to participate in Nurturing Thursday in the first place.

Word-art that says "Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing," -Dr. Seuss

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 26, 2020 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I had a dream on Tuesday that I found somewhat disturbing, so I decided to write it down and try to make some sense of it. In this dream, my husband and I were wealthy, and we lived on an estate with a lovely view and many large, majestic evergreen trees.

Tall conifers overlooking a valley.

Some of the trees had grown so large that they were starting to encroach on a concrete parking area for visitors. I said something to my husband about needing to get that taken care of, and then I left for the day. When I returned, two trees nearest the parking area had been totally cut to the ground. There was nothing left of them but logs waiting to be hauled away. I was furious that my husband had decided to have the trees cut down, without even discussing it with me, when I only wanted to hire someone to trim a few branches. Then I woke up, still feeling angry.

In real life, we don’t have any large trees in our yard, and my husband doesn’t do much landscaping beyond mowing the lawn. He hasn’t gotten rid of anything around the house that I wanted to keep, either. So I am interpreting the trees not as referring to actual trees or things, but more generally as symbols of stability, being grounded, having strong roots, and so forth.

Apparently, there are some worries lurking in my subconscious mind that if I am not constantly on my guard, I’ll be undercut, and whatever I rely on to be grounded and rooted in my life might suddenly be taken away. The villain of the story wouldn’t necessarily be my husband or anyone in particular; I’m guessing that this dream was mainly a reaction to all the instability in the world this year. Perhaps being wealthy in the dream was a reminder that we still have many reasons to be thankful.

I woke up early this morning, just as it was getting light. My first thought, before I was fully awake, was that something about the light was beautiful. Perhaps a more accurate word, rather than “thought,” would be “impression,” because I wasn’t yet lucid enough to have a clear thought. However it might best be described, it got my day off to a happy start, reminding me that the world is full of beauty. To find it, all we need to do is wake up and open our eyes!

Word-art that says "Give every day the chance to become the most beautiful of your life." -Mark Twain

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 19, 2020 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I’ve mentioned in a few posts that my husband and I bought a Hydrow rowing machine last fall. We enjoy the online sessions, which they call “Live Outdoor Reality” because the instructors row on the river during most of the workouts (there are also a few indoor videos, for those who prefer a studio setting). The company is in Boston, so they’re usually on the Charles River, except when they travel to Miami Beach in the winter and to other destinations on occasion for more variety.

Both of us have been working out regularly and getting more fit. Also, we got a nice perk recently when Hydrow offered us a free coaching session (via Zoom) from an instructor. Our coach was James Dietz, who gave us both some helpful tips. We had met his father, who is also a coach, a few years ago at a rowing camp hosted by our club. Small world! This picture, which I received in an email afterward, shows me sitting sideways on the rowing machine during part of that conversation, with the instructor’s image on the right. #myhydrowcoach

Meg with the rowing machine

The rowing machine is in a basement room that was overflowing with random junk five years ago, as shown in this decluttering post. It’s all cleaned up now, and though it still could use a bit of decorating, it is certainly much improved. Good to have some fresh new energy in the house!