Autumn’s Last Breath — And a Peek of Winter (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 2)

The mums are still blooming, and the later-turning trees continue their attempts to embrace the palette of Fall, even while Winter tries to push in several weeks early with its monochromatic color scheme!

Cluster of Red and Gold

Blanketing the Mums

Clinging to Fall

 

Grateful that Mother Nature finds a way to make it pretty, even as we curse winter’s early arrival — the change of seasons bring new wonders! Plus, the early “peek” of winter always “piques” our interest in winter activities …. cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, anyone?!

~ Kat

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

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.

Corbin-SHT-20160328-1.jpg

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: 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.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

The seasons of descent are upon us … tree branches almost bare after recent winds forced the descent of the last of the multi-colored leaves, while the hint of winter is in the air, with snow flurries descending upon us even before trick-or-treaters graced our doorsteps.  I am not quite ready to let go of my favorite season, but I do enjoy the unique beauty that each season brings.  Walking the grassy trails with the dogs recently, I noticed this single maple leaf, an isolated beauty nestled among parched aspen leaves past their golden prime.

Hawk Ridge October 20141008 2

Ciao! ~ Kat

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

The Joy is in the Journey, Not the Destination

As fall colors start to fade, get out for a walk or a run.  Appreciate the crunch of fallen leaves under your feet, the light filtered through sparser canopies of orange and gold, and crisp chill of the air.

Joy of an Autumn Run

Ciao! ~ Kat