Going Nowhere In Particular

Sometimes when you look outside the window and you see the sky is a brilliant shade of blue for the first time in days, you feel the need to get out even though you have no idea where you want to go. So you slip on your shoes or you tie up the laces of your boots and you grab your camera and head out the door.  Saturday was just such a day … want to see where we went?

John is going on ahead as usual while I hang back to photograph a few macro shots of spring flowers. The forest is full of varying shades of green right now as the leaves are still coming out. Everything seems to be a bit late in the blooming probably due to our colder than normal winter.

Up ahead you have a choice in direction … take the left fork and go up a hill deeper into the woods or …

… if you continue on the main path you begin to see a special place for us. Can you see the sheep through the trees?

The light was perfect as we caught sight of the buttercup field.

Stepping into the meadow, we could see some bluebells to our right near the river’s edge.

As John was walking into the buttercup field, I told him I almost expected to see Thomas Hardy walking towards us with Tess trailing behind him.

I thought I we might spy Elizabeth Bennet out for a walk with her sisters just ahead, but John and I were the only two legged creatures around as we passed by the fat sheep munching in the meadow.

We discovered the reason for the lengthy ringing of the church bells earlier in the day when we saw the flowers arranged over the doorway to our parish church. Notice that someone cut the grass, but only part of it for some reason, making it look as if like they might have stopped for a break and not come back to finish the job.

The mix of flowers above the doorway was really lovely and I almost expected to see Marianne coming out on the arm of Colonel Brandon.

Inside were more flowers including a circlet around each of the pillars.

The flowers were a delightful mix of wild and cultivated providing a few photo opportunities.

I can never resist shooting from outside in even if the panes of old glass are a bit in need of a wash. I love the reflected surprises that can show up later when reviewing them.

After church, we stopped by the pub for a pint. I had my usual diet lemonade (like diet Sprite) while John sampled the special of the day.

If we didn’t live within walking distance, perhaps we might have talked the owner of this classic MG into giving us a lift home. Notice the church in the background … the white cottage in front of it is for sale if you’re interested in relocating or having a holiday home in Cornwall.

We’re having perfect weather again today and I’m off in a minute. Where am I going you may ask … nowhere in particular would have to be my reply, but it’s sure to be good wherever my feet lead me.

My New Blog Crush Is A Brazen Careerist

I hope you won’t think me fickle, but I have new crush and she’s been taking up quite a lot of my time lately. Penelope Trunk’s blog, Brazen Careerist is so popular that she has tons of readers … 52,400 subscribers at present. Most of them probably think they’re stopping by to pick up a little career advice, but there is so much more to this woman than just how to get ahead in business.

We haven’t known each other for long … well, she doesn’t know me at all, but I do have a few favorites of hers I want to share with you. This bit of advice makes total sense to me. I have known this for a while now and actually managed to work it out on my own, but I was well into my forties before came together a flash of awareness. Here is another post that might look like business advice, but it’s really like a parachute in a way. Then there is this one, I like it because it might make you think differently about the stories you’ve been told about how having or finding the right job is the path to happiness.

Part of what I’ve been impressed with is the way that most of her favorite posts are about her relationships with the people in her life who mean the most to her. Of course you will find seeds of other topics tucked neatly in the intellectual soil waiting to germinate in your consciousness. She’s good that way … she knows how to take a bit of this and that and shape it into a good story that will make you want to stop by later to see what’s happening in her world. Before you know it you be hanging out like a stage door groupie, waiting for the next post. Okay, maybe you won’t have it that bad, but I do think you might enjoy a little nose around her space if you’ve got some time in your schedule.

And this crush thing … it doesn’t mean that I don’t still love you too, because you know I do!

xo

E

Leaping Ginger Cat Takes Flight

Dexter, the leaping cat is a Ginger … well at least that’s what he would be called here in Britain. In America, we would likely refer to Dexter as an Orange Tabby. Living on my street, I’d call him just about the most playful cat I’ve ever met.

If he’s outside when I am walking past his house, what you see in these photographs gives you an idea of what’s bound to happen. He doesn’t seem to forget his playmates and once you’re his friend, he will come running up the street to see you if you call his name.

He has taken to stopping by the house now which is not something John encourages. It’s not that he dislikes Dexter or cats for that matter, but he enjoys watching the birds that come to snack on the bread crumbs he leaves on the bird table and Dexter’s tendency to leap out at the birds seems to put them off. My daughter Miranda took these photographs last Friday, two days before she flew home. We laughed and laughed as she tried to catch Dexter in mid leap.

Speaking of leaping, I did a little myself yesterday when I signed up for Kelly Rae Roberts e-course titled, FLYING LESSONS: TIPS + TRICKS TO HELP YOUR CREATIVE BUSINESS SOAR

It looks as if it’s going to be a good one and it’s filled with a talented mix of people. I know because I’ve been reading their introductions in the comment section and snooping through their websites to learn more about who they are and what they do creatively. I’ve pasted my own intro comment below if you’d care to read it. It came out quite naturally and seemed appropriate for a course titled Flying Lessons.

Elizabeth Harper said…

The best dreams are always the ones where I fly. Those of you who are night-flyers know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes my own technique varies when going airborne, but the one consistent thing that always happens in beginning of the ascent … is the leap.

The leap is required before I can feel the air under my body and take flight.

The leap is essential for flying.

This morning as I was reading a few of my favorite blogs while waiting for my coffee to brew, I clicked on Kelly’s post and noticed as I have for a while that she was talking about this e-course. I frequently make major moves on intuition and when I feel the nudge, I move so before I had my first sip of coffee or the sleep had been rubbed from my eyes, I had signed up.

The leap … remains essential.

As an American married to a Brit, it was just such a leap that lead me to find love and a new life on the Cornish coast of England.

A quick look at the comments tells me I am in the company of talented group of folks and I am so pleased to be here too.

My name is Elizabeth Harper and you can find me at https://giftsofthejourney.wordpress.com

If you feel like leaping, there’s still room in the five-week on-line course that begins May 30 … maybe I’ll see you there.

Image belongs to Kelly Rae Roberts

UPDATE : This just in … I got an email about an hour ago from my sister Margaret with a receipt for the Flying Lessons class. She was up late working on a website, read about it on my blog and decided to sign up too. This should come in handy for the creative project I mentioned here, (second item on the list) that we’re working on together.

When Grief Comes Without Warning

In May of 2008, I received a message on a Classmates reunion site from an old friend from high school. In it she said,

” Hi Cutie, Nice to see you; desperately happy; hope the same is true for you.”

I was pleased to see her message and happy that in May of 2008, I was desperately happy too. One year later, I was married to my darling husband John and she was suddenly a widow with the love of her life snatched from her without warning. Last year on a Thursday morning in May, when most people were on their way to work or already there, her husband died in a car accident when another driver lost control and came across the medium into the path of her husband’s vehicle. Both drivers died on the scene leaving the people who loved them grieving and forever changed.

Pam and I are friends on Facebook and I have been able to see her journey as she’s returned to teaching and talked openly about the difficulties of making it through her grief. Recently, as the first anniversary of her husband’s death approaches, she sent out a request to her friends asking for a little help in the form of ” beautiful statements” to help her get through the next few days.

May 14 was the day Cullen died. I can’t imagine how it feels to have your best friend and soul mate be there one minute and gone forever in the next, I don’t want to know. I do know what grief feels like from other life experiences, the kind of deep heartache that you think you will never recover from, but I have not been through what she has and as such, I feel at a loss when it comes to an appropriate message of comfort.

The best I can do is to tell her how inspiring I think her love story has been to me. The very idea of still being, “desperately happy ” as she said in her message in May 2008, especially after so many years together, is a lasting legacy to the love they shared and certainly one I would like to emulate.

If any of you have any words of support or comfort that you might offer Pam, please leave them in a comment below and I will make sure she has a chance to read them.

Airborne

Miranda went back to Atlanta yesterday flying out on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day has been a challenge for me in many ways over the years and yesterday was no exception. Waiting in a London hotel near the airport, I woke at 2:15 thinking it was 4:00 and got up to sip coffee and make notes in the dark as I tried not to wake my daughter asleep in the next bed.

Working on an idea for a Mother’s Day post which never made it to the blog, I filled several pages by hand on the largest paper space I could find, writing in the back of a book I had brought to read before bed. After checking her flight information online, I could see there was a problem when Delta had her listed as leaving one day later than she was scheduled to fly.

It turned out that the Atlanta flight had a problem the night before and had never left the US. Arriving at the airport early, she was able to get on a flight leaving six hours later out of Heathrow, and Delta shuttled her with the other passengers over by bus from Gatwick to wait for the flight.

She’s sleeping now in the US as I was when she sent a text message last night letting me know she made it back so we haven’t had a chance to discuss her journey. Because she was added to an existing flight, she had to take any available seat which meant she went from sitting on an aisle to being wedged between two people the whole way back.

After she knew she would be on the flight out of Heathrow, she emailed her dad to let him know the changes since he was picking her up in Atlanta. While she was typing, I noticed a man in desert fatigues coming into the airport with more backpacks and duffel bags than one person should try to manage on their own, even if as a soldier he was used to struggling with the weight of things.

I could see he was trying to pick up the various bags to strap them to his body so I went over quickly and asked to help. I didn’t really wait for an answer and picked up the military issued backpack while offering to take the duffel bag he had already lifted on to the front of his body forming a sort of counter to the large load strapped to his back.

He was almost one color with hair a bit like several shades of sand all mixed together matching the color of his uniform and all of his gear. Looking back now, I am surprised he let me help him as often travelers are warned about people offering help with an intention to harm. I guess my looking like a mom alleviated any concern he might have felt along with his travel fatigue.

As I helped him maneuver two floors up to the Delta check-in area, he told me that he had been traveling for two days from Afghanistan and was just trying to get to Atlanta so he could catch the next flight back to his home in Louisiana.

I found myself telling him how I had been in the army too, noting silently that it was probably years before he had been born from the look of him. After putting his bags down at the end of a long line of stressed looking people, he reached out to shake my hand and said, ” Thank you, ma’am,” just a sweetly as could be. I thought about how his mother was probably waiting for him in Louisiana or maybe he was hoping to surprise her by arriving home in secret on Mother’s Day and how wouldn’t she be pleased to see that even as weary as he looked to be, her boy still remembered his manners.

I asked Miranda to let me know if he made the flight and while I haven’t heard from her yet, I sure hope they found him a seat.

*Photograph by Miranda.

What A Day!

Jubilee Rock – Bodmin Moor – My Girl

What a day, what a day, remember that check list of places and things I wanted to share with Miranda … here are a few images from yesterday.

Helland Bridge

Lavethan Wood   (Photograph by Miranda)

We also managed to take in a bit of the Camel Trail on foot and we walked through the buttercup field which is a little low on buttercups as it’s still early for them. Lunch was fish & chips at Rick Stein’s in Padstow, a meal and a port town we’ve been trying to get to all week and after a little sightseeing and shopping, we were off to an antique store in another town that I had mentioned earlier and she’d wanted to see.

Last stop was the library because it was that time again and after a quick trip to the pub where we had hoped to catch sight of some darling puppies, we headed for home where we finished off our day with a knitting lesson for me. Whew!

The best part of it all was we had a great time even though it was such a busy day. Miranda was both interested and a good sport as we went from place to place and at some point began to say, Helland Bridge … check, Camel Trail … check, Lavethan Wood  … check, but in a cute way that made me think she was glad to have a chance to see more of the places in person that I’ve been writing and talking about over the last two years.

I’m giving her a wake-up call in a few minutes because today’s another day and we’re off to see Stonehenge! Guess who’s driving

Almost Time To Go

It can’t really be possible that it’s almost time for her to go … didn’t we just pick her up at the airport the other day? I still have a million things I want to show her and things I want to say. I know I’ll see her in July when I go back to Georgia for a few weeks, but I want to teach her how to make pasties while she’s here and have time for her to teach me how to knit again while sitting side by side in my studio space. I want to see her feeding the wild ponies too many sugar cubes on Bodmin Moor and take her picture on Jubilee Rock and Helland Bridge. I want to have enough time to ride bikes along the Camel Trail and walk with her through the buttercup field and show her how magical the bluebells look lining the hills of Lavethan Wood. I just want more time

Getting To Know You

When John and Miranda met in Virginia at the university she was still attending a little over two years ago, they really only had a few hours to get to know each other and while it was pleasant, they were still virtually strangers when he and I married a year later in February of 2009.

Over the last two years they have interacted a bit during some of my online iChat conversations with Miranda, but most of what they know about each other has been filtered through me as I have talked or written about them.

You never really know how people will get on and it’s a big leapt to think that just because they’re my favorite people to spend time with that they might enjoy each others company as well. I am pleased to say that any concerns I might have had have melted away as I have watched them laughing and chatting about different topics on their own.

We’re off again in a few hours on our whirlwind tour of Cornwall. You would not believe the photographs we are all getting. John is shooting more video than anything else, but Miranda and I have our cameras in hand and it’s been fun at night to reflect on the day and remember some of the conversations that have come from our shared experiences.

Eden waits for us today along with Lanhydrock and maybe we’ll even have a chance to give a couple of babies a squeeze at the end of the day … if we have any energy left.

These Are The Days

In the first few minutes of the day when my eyes are barely open and I am still shaking off the last bits of sleep, there’s an increasing sense of expectation as I pull myself back to a waking awareness that I can feel around the edges of my consciousness, a sort of shadowy sense memory that today is a special day and I think to myself, what’s happening today … because it feels like Christmas and birthdays all rolled into one and then I remember that someone very special is sleeping in the next room and I smile as I stretch and think about how excited I am to have another day with her.

Another beautiful blue sky day where we get to explore the world or at least our part of it and I have a chance to see her across the table from me sharing a meal and the kind of table talk you miss when you are separated by distance.

Later we’ll have moments lost in uncontrollable giggling as we look over our pictures of the day and laugh at the funny ways the wind can make our hair look when it catches it and whips it high above our heads where it is captured forever in photograph that neither of us will want to share.

She won’t because she thinks that it’s not her at her best and I won’t because the moment of laughter is so special that I will want hold on to it … keeping it private for just the two of us, a memory of the laughing sweet days we shared in Cornwall she when goes back to America .

I think to myself over morning coffee that these are the days, and how I remember hearing a song with the same title for the first time, in a car, at a traffic light, in 1992, when moments with my then four-year old daughter were everything I wanted to hold on to and remember. These are still the days …


Grown

Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that suppose to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing.

~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987

If you guessed that our first visitor from America was my daughter Miranda, you would be right. I’m thrilled to bits to have her here and introduce her to my UK life. I just have to remember she’s grown.

When she was a baby, I used to kiss her all over her face telling people who happened to catch me at what some thought was an excessive display of mother love that I was stocking up for the days to come when a mother’s kisses might not be as welcomed, knowing even then that children reach an age fairly quickly and rightly so that begins to give you limited access in some areas of their lives.

At twenty-two she’s been there for while, but I still need to remind myself sometimes. I know it’s healthy and normal and I am glad she has grown up to claim her own space in this world, but sometimes I wish just for a minute … I could have one more chance to shower her with kisses.