Weekly Photo Challenge: Anticipation 

Despite it being long past when I should have been in bed on a “school night”, I grabbed some quiet reflection time after decorating the tree earlier in the evening. Glass of prosecco in hand, Christmas music streaming on my phone, and the lights of the tree blinking peacefully in the dark of the midnight hour.

People everywhere wait in anticipation …. for Christmas less than a week away, for the start of Hanukkah which coincides with Christmas Day, for time with family and friends ….

And others wait in anticipation for matters less joyful … the end of war, the opportunity to flee a besieged city ….

May all men, women, and children around the world see a holiday season of peace that carries into the new year.

Ciao! ~ Kat

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

 

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

Peaceful Coexistence

White-Tailed Deer are commonplace in northern Minnesota.  So common that my favorite running companion hardly pays them any mind when we encounter them on paths and trails.

Deer and Dog ~ Peaceful Coexistence

The sides of this path are still piled with snow (although the piles have diminished in recent weeks!), but once the snow fully melts, this is not an unusual sight.

Deer and Dog ~ Peaceful Coexistence

As the deer grazed, Corbin pondered him, and then decided to join in.

Deer and Dog ~ Peaceful Coexistence

The deer quickly realized that Corbin posed no threat, and they maintained a peaceful coexistence.

Deer and Dog ~ Peaceful Coexistence

Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if we could all be so respectful?

Ciao! ~ Kat

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Honoring Him in His Own Words

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Sometimes, less is more when it comes to blog posts.  So, on the day we honor his memory, his passion, and the dedication to justice that Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for, I will let his words do the talking, as I walk you through his memorial in Washington, D.C.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Washington, D.C.

The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice.

Audacity to believe peoples everywhere deserve equality

Love drives out hate

Make a career of humanity

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere

Fight until justice runs down like water

Develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole

Where you stand during times of challenge and controversy matter

True peace is the presence of justice

Peace on earth requires a world perspective

Unarmed truth and unconditional love

Seek a society that can live with its conscience

Opposing the war in Vietnam

Love peace and sacrifice for it

His words are truly timeless, as meaningful today as on the day they were spoken.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

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 kept watch over others.  Each marker had a story to tell — a life cut short, a life of love, a life of loss.

Arlington National Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ~ Arlington National Cemetery
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ~ Arlington National Cemetery

Some markers were left without names, a particularly poignant reminder of the stories some never lived to tell.

Arlington National Cemetery

When promising lives are cut short, so often you hear, “let them not die in vain.”  Tragic circumstances often compel people to come together and move forward in a concerted effort to create a better tomorrow.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. looked forward with hope during the darkest of days, so must we.  As we reflect upon our history, we carry hope forward, seeking wisdom from the often costly mistakes and tragic experiences of our past.

Arlington National Cemetery

Ciao! ~ Kat

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