Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Refreshing Evening

I am so thankful for rain. It helps the sugar snap peas, spinach, onions, beans, okra, tomatoes, potatoes, yams, bell peppers, popcorn, sweet corn, and smattering of other delectables in our garden grow a good yield from summertime labor. A nightfall rain helps us, lulled by the droplets on a tin roof, sleep peacefully. And, a thunderstorm on a hot day not only clears out the scalding temperatures, but also brings fabulous porch entertainment. But, on an evening - not too hot, not too cold - after a long spell of rain, it's just as refreshing for it not to be raining.

Instead, the air is full of drones and piping while Russell plays the shuttle pipes, gleeful words as Ezra reads a simple book, and tap-tap-tapping while Joey creates chains of pipes on an iPad game. Cricket and bird songs sift in through the opened window-screen, while a tractor hums in the distance. It feels like such a cozy ending to the day.

Friend, do you find your day ending in coziness or do the pressures leave you so winded and tired, you let this part of the day with family or friends slip through your fingers. Do you dance a jig or play a game or read books together or savor the delights of a summer garden as hummingbirds sip nectar from delphinium trumpets or sweet scents waft by from fragrant roses or honeysuckle? What ends your day well? A cup of mandarin orange tea? A splash of paint on canvas? A poignant journal entry?

I remember living in Athens and taking strolls through the streets in late day - before the sun descended, but feeling the comfortable closeness of night's purplish hue. Healthy jasmine, whose soft white blossoms seemed steeped in lovely scents, grew in The Athens Centre, where I studied with my classmates. Just passing the building would bring an aroma that simmered a smile to your face, no matter what mood you carried. And, in the plateia where I lived in The Met, a little shop always carried my favorite ice creams: tiramisu and mocha, too. A kind smile and an extra ice cream treat always welcomed my visits. Days that held these sorts of joys were always refreshing. I looked forward to the evenings as much as the days - and I hope this is the same for your life, too, friend.

May this evening refresh you. May memories delight you. And, may the road ahead look more hopeful, too.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Life-filled delights

Ezra enjoying honeysuckle nectar. senk 2013
June's vibrant blossoms bring delightful smells and a feast of colors to savor. On a recent walk, the boys' tastebuds were awakened to the slight, but sweet, flavor of our non-indigenous honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica). We picked buttery buds from their vining masses, nicked the tips, and pulled out long stems. 

Joey and Ezra delighted in slipping drops of the honeyed water on their tongues. Soon, they were foraging honeysuckle themselves, having learned the simple craft of gleaning nectar from the trumpeting flowers.

Joey clutching clover and sipping honeysuckle. senk 2013
Friend, when was the last time you took a moment to enjoy the littlest of splendors found in the outdoors? Do you sit on the porch or by an open window to enjoy the cascade of rainfall on a cozy day? Perhaps you drove or walked to the perfect sunset-watching spot where you live and saw the splendid splash of color that lit the sky at the sun's descent? Or maybe, you walked through a canopy of trees dropping silken flowers or drizzling their autumn leaves?

Take a moment today to enjoy something simple that's all too easy for you to take for granted. And share that joy with a friend or two - especially if they're new to the delight! And feel a deep sigh lighten your spirit, too.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The soul's healing

Ezra observing tree rings. senk 2013
An English proverb states, "The soul is healed by being with children." Honesty and innocence are just two such child-nurtured qualities that promote healing in the soul. My heartiest moments derive from being around children: whether as a parent, a tutor, or a friend.

There is such beauty and wonder surrounding children. Of course, this does not mean that it's always easy to be around children. Parenting and teaching are difficult! The very act of raising children - whether it is your own or someone else's - molds you as much as it molds the child. But, even amidst the chaos, the exhaustion, the lessons in patience and kindness and selflessness, etc, are little gems that prove the impact children have on our souls.

This morning, Ezra put all his energy into a dramatic and full hug and kiss for me. He was so focused in showering me with his affection that his arms shook from effort. In showing such love, he bumped his knee. "Ow! My oval!" he said holding his offended patella. Later, his arm grazed the skillet as we were cooking some pancakes. He grabbed his arm tightly and said, "Ow! Please don't do that skillet!" Both times, he sought his mother's kiss on the sore spots for them to feel better.

But, do we seek out opportunities to allow the light-hearted healing of a child to enter our day? Do we focus on their misbehavior, their unkind words, their attitudes, the mayhem and mess they create? Or, do we deem more important when they cause our smiles to radiate inwards, impressing something glorious upon our souls? 

Friend, how do you view children? And, how do you view others? Are you often timid and untrusting, like I am? Do you fear the negative outcomes of relationship so much that it deters you from having those child-like qualities that can bring healing to your soul? Dare to look at your day in a more light-hearted way and encourage your radiating smile to flicker across the faces of those you meet, too.