Monday, February 18, 2013

Rainbow on the Wall

Rainbow on the Wall

I was reading an article in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer about Winnie-the-Pooh. I remember the Pooh books. Many nights were spent with my kids tucked in and cozy as we followed Christopher Robin and the adventures of Pooh Bear, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga and little Roo.

There is actually a place in the English countryside that was the birthplace of those wonderful stories by A.A. Milne, a magical place for him and his son. They found a spot in nature that allowed them to transcend the everyday and let their imaginations fly. Milne looked at the hillside, the bog, the trees, and the woods and found possibilities for stories and exciting explorations.

Nature is a source of pleasure for the senses. It often delights me with the brilliant colors of flowers, the beauty of its myriad birds, the rustling of fall leaves. We tend to think of nature as existing only outside but it has a way of engaging us no matter where we are.

Recently, I found a rainbow inside my house. The morning sunlight had come in through the pane on our front door, bounced off the beveled glass in the hall cabinet, and projected a rainbow onto the wall at just the position where I would see it as I came down the stairs. I gasped and felt my whole spirit open up. I immediately imagined fairies giggling behind me, a story in the making.

Finding the unexpected in the usual energizes us. It challenges our brains and helps us expand in creative ways. A rainbow is always arresting but having one inside the house was certainly a perception-teaser.

The rainbow on the wall didn’t last long but it set up all that was to come in a special light. I shared the experience with friends throughout the day and found that it elicited joy in others, as well. Was it a cosmic reminder to see the grandeur in the ordinary? To see it, perhaps, in ourselves?

Take a peek at Pooh corner:

Monday, February 11, 2013



Another incredible storm has passed and it was a whopper! So much snow. Our part of South Jersey lucked out. We had just a few inches, which quickly melted as the temperature warmed. But that wasn’t the norm. Long Island was hit hard, again, with 2-3 feet of snow in many towns, not a welcome occurrence after Hurricane Sandy. Up further into Connecticut, the storm laid down even more snow, forty inches in Hamden and close to that in Milford. Many towns in Massachusetts had about two feet, though several counties had more than that.

Our daughter-in-law took this photo looking through the screen at the beginning of the snowstorm in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before the cars were completely covered and the accumulation had risen to over two-feet high. By the end of the day all that was seen were white lumps hunching up by the no longer visible curbs.

So what do we make of this Blizzard Nemo, as it is being called? Is it a freak happenstance or part of a pattern? And what about the frequency of recent tsunamis, wildfires, earthquakes, and flooding, and the increase of our global temperature by about a degree, which is no small amount?

I know there are people who call global warming a sham but the evidence is proving otherwise. It is not a subject that can be cozily determined by political preference. Photos show the glaciers are in retreat. Statistics point up the numbers of record-breaking storms that have been battering the earth in the past several years.

It seems like the right time to look at our environment in a responsible way. Let’s put aside selfish profiting and dogmatic inflexibility. We are at a point where we cannot undo much of what has happened but we needn’t continue our global disregard. We can cooperate for the benefit of all, and for respect for this magnificent planet we call home.

What does Global Warming mean?
Polar Bears are in danger – but they are not the only ones:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tree Down

Tree Down

Trees are lovely assets to any community. They provide shade in the hot weather. They offer shelter to squirrels and birds. They come in a great variety, which adds interest to the landscape, and their height graces their surroundings with dignity. Yet we hardly think about what they offer, until they fall.  

One day this past week, a tree along a busy street came down, the result of a raging, gusty wind that swept through South Jersey. The trunk reached out from the curb’s edge and stretched across the sidewalk and over the homeowner’s front lawn, spreading its branches onto the shingled roof of the house. Every driver that passed by stopped; it wasn’t something to ignore.

This was not the only tree to fall. Others landed on houses and cars, took down power lines and left families without electricity. 

What made me pay particular attention to this tree, besides the fall itself, was how it was uprooted. The curb was undisturbed. There were hardly any roots extending from the trunk and the roots that were visible on the bottom were small and shallow, seemingly incapable of holding up such a large structure. You could not tell from looking at the tree that it had no firm foundation. How could it have developed a strong, expansive root system hemmed in, as it were, by cement?

In retrospect, it was surprising that it had remained upright for as long as it did. But there is strength built into the genetic code of the tree, even if we can’t see it. And there is strength inherent in the human code, as well. Trees and people start small yet given the right environment in which to grow, they become powerful. And that strength can overcome obstacles, seen and unseen.

The tree held on as long as it possibly could, given the surrounding conditions. I admire that, as I admire and appreciate the tenacity of people surviving, and often thriving, despite difficult circumstances. Strength is not always visible on the outside but it exists in all of us, to be respected and valued and remembered when it is gone.

For more of the story, written by Carol Comegno for the Courier-Post, and more photos: