Weekly Photo Challenge: Trio

A trio of mushrooms in the woods – a happy family on nature’s floor.

Trio of 'Shrooms

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Trio” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Seeking Dreamers, Seeking Peace

Looking across Lake Superior as the moon rises, stars filling the sky, no sound but the wind in the trees, and deer rustling in the woods … it is difficult to imagine the world could be anything but at peace on evenings like this.

Moonrise on a Starry Night on Lake Superior

John Lennon’s song “Imagine” contains timeless words and hope for peace, which is why this video and story of the pianist playing it outside the Bataclan in Paris went viral.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…

… You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

(lyrics excerpt from “Imagine” by John Lennon)

It is difficult to imagine ways everyday people like myself can contribute toward world peace in a meaningful way.  All the supportive Facebook posts, changed profile pictures, and tweets of solidarity do little to effect change halfway around the world.  I am not so idealistic to think that a single individual can turn the ugly tide of the extremist movement.

I do believe, though, that an individual can create a ripple of change, promote a glimmer of hope and understanding that touches another individual, or perhaps a few.  And that those few, in turn, can reach out to more, spreading tolerance and a curiosity of other cultures and peoples that drives a desire for learning how we are more alike than not.

Let words and prayers for peace turn into action.  Let the dreamers come together and turn dreams into reality.  Let us not forget the people touched by the tragedies in Beirut, in Baghdad, in Paris ….

~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

Kat at travelgardeneat:

Never forget… and keep moving forward toward peace on this Veterans Day. ~ Kat

Originally posted on Travel. Garden. Eat.:

Walking the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, I yearned for the assurance that we will move forward as a nation toward peace.

Arlington National Cemetery

The wars throughout America’s history have shaped the thoughts and aspirations of generations, and touched the lives of millions around the world.

U.S. National World War II Memorial U.S. National World War II Memorial

The monuments in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., often memorialize or reflect upon war.  Their words and images ran through my mind as we walked the rolling hills of the cemetery.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial Korean War Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Vietnam Veterans Memorial

While Arlington National Cemetery also contains the graves of notable American heroes or other people of influential significance, unrelated to any military conflict, I could only think of the sorrow that war brings as I surveyed row after row of white marble markers.

Arlington National Cemetery

The old trees cradled some markers in their gnarled roots, while their broad canopies…

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A Guest House of Artistic Inspiration

I am woefully overdue in publishing this post … perhaps it is because, subconsciously, I don’t want to share this delightful retreat in Galena, Illinois, for fear its two rooms will both be occupied the next time we return to the area! Abe’s Spring Street Guest House is special lodging located just a few blocks from the historic district.  While we found Abe’s to be the perfect spot for an overnight visit, we left wishing we could stay the entire weekend.

Abe's Spring Street Guest House historic plaque
Historic plaque at Abe’s Spring Street Guest House, marking its spot as the icehouse for the city’s old brewery.

Abe's Spring Street Guest House ~ Galena, ILWe stayed in “Albert’s Glen” — the room named after the owners’ St. Bernard, whose likeness graces the spacious bathroom.

A bust of Albert, in the bathroom of one of rooms at Abe's Spring Street  Guest HouseThe unique, artistic touches throughout the large apartment-like suite create an ambience unlike any bed and breakfast we have stayed in.

Statuesque Four-Poster Bed at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

Each post of the king-sized bed in the bedroom area of Albert’s Glen provides a base for elegant sculptures made by the owner, whose studio is located next door.

Cozy gas fireplace at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

While you may think of exploring a historic city like Galena only in the warmer months of the year, the gas fireplace in Albert’s Glen would make for a cozy retreat.

Unique fireplace surround at Abe's Spring Street Guest HouseNot only are the tiles surrounding the fireplace a feast for the eyes, but as you sit next to the warmth, looking up you appreciate the hand-made metal light shades hanging from the ceiling.

Metal foliage makes light dance, at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

No detail is overlooked — from the local candies at the bedside, to the exquisite door handles and bathroom fixtures.

Doorway to the bath in Albert's Glen, Abe's Spring Street Guest House

A clawfoot soaking tub, tiled walk-in shower, and more of the owner’s imaginative accents greet you as you enter the brightly-lit bathroom.

Artistic touches throughout Abe's Spring Street Guest House The other room offered at the Guest House is just as inspired and full of creative energy.  Since we were traveling through Galena with our college-aged son, he enjoyed the other private suite — “Rudolph’s Retreat” — and then joined us for breakfast the following morning.

Breakfast at Abe's Spring Street Guest HouseWalking up the hill behind Abe’s, guests are welcomed into the owners’ kitchen where hot coffee, juice, and a gourmet breakfast is served — along with friendly conversation as the aromas of the day’s morning menu fills the room.

French toast breakfast at Abe's Spring Street Guest House

Abe’s Spring Street Guest House has all the desirable features of a bed and breakfast, with the added bonus of spacious, private accommodations (even a spa hot tub and sauna for use by guests in the building next door).  Hoping to return again soon!

For more on Galena, Illinois, revisit my post from a few year’s back, Charming Old Galena.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy Place

Hiking along the road near the cabin in the northwoods, autumn’s golden leaves crunching below our feet as our four-legged companions gallop to their heart’s content … up north is my happy place.

Hiking up north in the Fall

Up North

It’s the place people go to escape,
a place made of cabins, pine trees and lakes.
But no matter how far you drive,
there’s no sign to say “You’ve arrived.”
So just follow your heart ‘til you find,
your special place that brings peace of mind.
As you breathe in the air and unwind,
your cares are all left behind.
It’s no mystery where the northwoods start.
When you’re “up north,”
you’ll know in your heart.

– Suzanne Kindler, 1996

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  “Happy Place” is this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.