Spring’s Persistence Pays Off

Today is May Day, and the blustery winds off Lake Superior are doing their best to prevent Spring from fully showing herself.  Patience must be a virtue when waiting for Spring in northern Minnesota.  We are well into April before the first colorful signs appear.

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A world in miniature comes alive as the longer days of (at least periodic) sunshine warm the ground.

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Delicate blossoms unfold themselves on the drab floor of last year’s greenery.

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Scilla, crocus, snowdrops … the welcome first signs of renewal after the never-ending cold, gray months of winter.

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April is a promise that May is bound to keep. ~ Hal Borland

Ciao! ~ Kat

Do Not Hurry the Journey (Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light)

Remembering to enjoy the journey, rather than missing the joys along the way because of a focus on the destination, is a constant struggle.  C.P. Cavafy’s poem “Ithaka” reminds us in the most lyrical way that what fills our spirits during our  lives are all those journeys connected together, making up the memories we treasure.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

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And there is no better companion for reminding me to be mindful on my voyage than a dog.  Actually, for those you have been with me these past few years, you know I am specifically referring to a certain dog …. Corbin, my 100 pounds of black lab love. While this photo I share is not one of my best from a photographic quality perspective, it was one that captured the essence of the poetry and the half-light, as the sun set on one of our many hikes through Minnesota’s Northwoods.

Corbin turned 10 earlier this year, and he is slowing, but still in remarkable health for his size and age. It is hard to imagine life without him, although I know I will have to, sooner than I care to think about.  We have had many dogs over the years — some joined us later in their lives than others, all “rescues” adopted from the local animal humane society or shelter.  From the beginning, when we brought the 7-month old 70-pound pup into our home, Corbin and I have had a special bond.

I intend to enjoy this leg of the journey to Ithaka, however long it may last, for as long as my friend is by my side.

The full text of Cavafy’s poem, “Ithaka” (also translated as “Ithaca”):

As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

A wonderful reading of the poem by Sean Connery with music by Vangelis can be found on YouTube:

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Half-Light” 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: Half-Light.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dance

The stars dance in the sky as the lights of the aurora reach toward them, undulating and softly glowing along the horizon in a dance of their own, while the pine trees gently sway.

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Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Dance” 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: Dance.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

Is there anything more vibrant than New York City’s iconic Times Square at night?!  It must be what the Merriam-Webster dictionary had in mind when it defined “vibrant” to mean: having or showing great life, activity, and energy.

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Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Vibrant” 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: Vibrant.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Optimistic

I found myself filled with a sense of optimism as the intense pink-orange glow of the sun broke over the horizon of Lake Superior on Saturday morning.  A few minutes later, the large group of multi-layered runners headed out to the running path that follows the shoreline, and the first official long run of the 2016 Grandma’s Marathon training group was underway.

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It has been 5 years since I ran a half-marathon, and life has been full in the meantime, resulting in a pretty irregular running routine.  But, as our hometown marathon announced its 40th anniversary, and the commemorative lift bridge medal design and celebratory starter jackets were revealed, I decided if I was going to knock that full marathon off the bucket list, it needed to be Grandma’s Marathon.  I knew from my half marathon experiences that Duluth knows how to put on a race and support every runner from the first to the last.  I was not alone in this thought — after opening for registration on October 1, Grandma’s Marathon filled its 8,500 runner field by December 31.

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Over 100 area runners are signed up for a local running store’s training group, some running the half marathon, and some running the full, including many first-time marathoners like myself.  Three group runs are scheduled each week leading up to the June races.  We Duluthians are hardy folks, as we headed out Tuesday evening for the first group run in single-digit temps on the snow-covered path.

You may be asking yourself, why!?  Whether you are a runner or not, just watch the short video that the Grandma’s Marathon organization put together as registration opened, you get a glimpse of the beauty and great community support for Duluth’s marathon weekend:

Like I said, I am optimistic about this adventure.  My goal is to finish, and enjoy the journey.  Look for an update or two along the way.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Optimistic” 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: Optimistic.