Happy Birthday, Mom!

Two years ago, I did a blog project that I called “80 Years in 8 Days” which was a birthday gift for my mother, who lives half a continent away in California. Today, she is celebrating the 82nd anniversary of her natal day. She is still my favorite friend to call on the phone and talk to about all kinds of interrelated subjects, artistic, intellectual, gastronomical, familial and otherwise. We usually take no less than an hour in our visit, and at its conclusion she says, “Oh, honey! Talking to you is like a month in the country! Which country, I’m not sure….”

When a daughter and her mother get along famously, it is cause for celebration, even if they aren’t celebrities like Carrie and Debbie. I am fortunate to be in a grand relationship with a grand mother. If you care to get to know her better, take a look at the 8 days of blog posts: Day 1 – Ten Background BitsDay 2 – Ten Family Foods, Day 3 – Ten Musical Memories, Day 4 – Ten Parenting Principles, Day 5 – Ten Silly Sayings, Day 6 – Ten Administrative Aids , Day 7 – Ten Lessons Learned, and Day 8 – Ten Inspirational Instructions. If reading these gives you any renewed awareness, gratitude or appreciation for your own relationship with your mother, then then this New Year’s Birthday gift will be doubled. Thank you!

Granne Louise

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resilient

Resilient: able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

rose-snow

“Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose.” – Amanda McBroom

To all of you who hold a seed deep in your heart – a seed of peace, of love, of tolerance, of equality, of community, and of hope – I give you my warm wishes for a wonder-filled New Year. To all of you who shine love on the seed that is deep in my heart, I give you my undying gratitude for your support. 

Resilient

Weekly Photo Challenge: Path

I can totally relate to Cheri’s picture of taking a boardwalk path through a fragile eco-system. 

I can also relate to my personal path changing dramatically in 2016. I, too, moved to a new place – to be closer to my job – and then experienced an abrupt twist in the path when my boss resigned.  Paths can always lead to the unexpected, even a path you’ve traveled many times before. 

Humans have a strong tendency to try to control and predict, to make crooked paths straight, to eliminate as much random chaos as possible. And that means we can often be frustrated, disappointed, or anxious on the path we’re traveling.  But we don’t have to be. We can be delighted, wonder-filled and accepting. The path is what it is. How you travel and with what baggage is up to you. 

PG hiking
Path

Wisconsin Wonderland

If I want to see the magic of a winter wonderland, I have only to step outside my door. No need to represent it inside my home. No need for a “holiday tree” when you have a holiday ecosystem! I only wish I had a fireplace…

I’m grateful for the world as it is. It may seem harsh, but it is home. Chickadees and sparrows and cardinals and juncos are at the feeder. Deer lie under the trees at night and walk away during the day.  Somehow, they live on in the darkness, in the cold, without complaining.

I have a lot to learn.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Anticipation

One of my favorite Advent anthems I used to sing with our church choir was titled “Anticipation”. It was a jewel of tight 20th Century harmony supporting a beautiful poem whose author I cannot find. It goes something like this:

The sky is black
The dawn is but a promise

and here I wait
impatient for the light.

My dearest friend is coming back
Tomorrow.
Anticipation fills the endless night
and soon the sky will fill with golden sunlight.
The day will break with joy beyond compare, 
and I will fly…I will fly…
to meet him in the air. 

I haven’t got the music or the lyrics to cite the source, but it haunts me in these long nights of darkness waiting for my dearest friend, The Sun, who warms me and enlightens my soul. Soon we will celebrate the Solstice, the return of the Sun, and days will lengthen steadily. That is a hope and a joy to anticipate! 

mystery

foggy-sunrise

arboretum in winter

 

 

Anticipation

Armageddon and the Art of French Cooking

This article is featured in the December issue of The BeZine

“Truth is ugly. We possess art lest we perish of the truth.” – Nietzsche

Civilization kills. We are living in apocalyptic times. The Anthropocene is here; humans are dominating and destroying the Earth. Like all civilizations in history, though, ours will fall back into the dust, and Earth will absorb it in some fashion. I get angry with humans because of this. Our arrogance and hubris and stupidity is truly abhorrent. I would wash my hands from all association with my species if I could, but for two things: music and food. I am willing to forgive everything for Puccini and Marcona almonds sauteed in butter and thyme.

Thanksgiving sideboard

Perhaps it is nothing but hedonism to feel that my pleasure in a fine meal at La Reve on Tuesday might bring me back from the brink of utter despair. The “Holiday Train” event in the village late that afternoon had created horrific traffic congestion with black-clad pedestrians pushing strollers into the dark streets while some pop Christmas frenzy blared over a loudspeaker. I felt truly Scroogeish; humans are complete humbug. But then the ambiance of a Parisian bistro — chattering guests and tremulous accordion melodies — and the buttery oak in the Chardonnay spread its warmth over that cold, post-Truth fear surrounding my heart. I asked Irene, our Asian-American server, about how the chef prepared the pumpkin soup. We talked about how roasting brings out the deeper flavors of vegetables and stock bones and what items on the menu were gluten-free. By the time I had savored my way through triple-cream brie, salmon, lamb and chocolate caramel, I was ready to admit atonement of the human race was possible.

The next day, however, my thoughts turned dark again. How could I justify the expense of that meal, even though almost half of the cost to me was covered by a gift certificate? How had the animals invested in that meal been treated? How far had the ingredients traveled on fossil fuels to get to my plate? My awareness of suffering may have been dulled for a time, but it was not erased. I may have been treated quite well, but was I healed?

Healing. In Western culture, it’s about fixing pathology. In Eastern culture, it’s about making whole. Awareness is about opening up to understand the whole, the complete Oneness of the Universe. “Life is suffering” is the first noble Truth in Buddhism. Suffering is in the Oneness. Arising from the awareness of suffering are two responses (at least): Fear and Compassion.

victory

I experience my fear for the human race and my compassion for it as well, blended contrapuntally. To recognize that only as thoughts criss-crossing my brain might drive me mad. To see that reflected in a complex pairing of wine and cheese or in the first act duet of Mimi and Rudolfo in La Boheme saves me from perishing from the ugly truth. I will never comprehend the Truth, although I live it every day. Making, enjoying, or experiencing Art is as close as I may ever come to holding the Whole in my heart. I believe that those who practice Meditation seek to do the same, while sparing the harm caused in producing Art.

May we all find a way to happiness, a way not to perish from the Truth, a way to be at peace with the Whole.

arte

Text and photographs © Priscilla Galasso, 2016. All rights reserved.

Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizons

A New Day dawning…

magic-mist

…in a new place. Since the first of November, I’ve been living on land owned by the Conservation Foundation where I work. However, at the end of the month, my boss tendered his resignation. What direction will the Foundation take going forward? I’m not quite sure. As the only employee there now, I have a lot of work to do. It will be an uphill slog along an obscured path, maybe more like this photo:  horizonSo, “we’re not out of the woods yet”, but frankly, the woods is where I want to be. That is where new life is pushing up from under the decay. growth piercingAnd that’s pretty exciting! So, my resolution: keep practicing conservation of resources and doing no harm, no matter what others around you may be practicing. Live with integrity and love with generosity. 

warm-rose

Happy Horizons to all!

New Horizon