September 2018 Newsletter

Every so often when it comes time to write my newsletter, I have nothing to say. Let me rephrase that: I have a lot to say, but it is all a jumble and not at all clear how to create a cohesive piece that has meaning. There is so much going on, so many thoughts, that I just don’t know where to go with it all.

I’ve been in this phase for a few months now. In fact, I never did get anything out last month. But since school has once again gone into session, I feel compelled to keep up with those great kids and write something even if it is an essay on “What I Did This Summer”!!!!!

So, “What I Did This Summer”…….

I worked. I gardened. I swam. I entertained. I cooked fresh, healthy, locally sourced meals. I napped….almost every day. I read. I listened to books on Audible. I laughed a lot. I sat and did nothing. I watched the sun go down and the stars come out. I spent endless hours talking with my husband and sharing our thoughts and plans. I searched for the Northern Lights and have yet to see them even though I know they have been around. I met lots of new people. I reconnected with old friends. I spent a lot of time just being. I enjoyed the visits with family and friends. I spent a lot of time out in nature just absorbing its beauty, its power, its unsolvable mysteries.

All in all, nothing huge to report other than I feel so refreshed and so filled. There is something about the Great Lakes that fills me in a way that no other place can. It’s a place that I recognize and know in a deep recess of my soul. There are so many places that take my breath away, but the Great Lakes is where I am most in sync with myself. This is something I never would have recognized in myself years ago. I grew up near Lake Erie, spent all of my adult years near Lake Michigan, and most of those years I yearned to live somewhere else, not realizing I was already in my “happy spot”. And once we left the Great Lakes for “Warmer Climes”, which by the way I have really loved too, there was a part of me that still yearned for the smell of the earth here, the feel of the breezes off the big lakes on my cheeks, the sight of the deer drinking from the lakes, or the eerie sound of loons calling to each other. And the hardwoods and the wildflowers here…..all heaven to me.

 

I could write about this all day. I would love to share with you all my thoughts about the Great Lakes and how different they are from one another. Or the wonder of crossing the Mighty Mac from the lower peninsula of Michigan to the Upper Peninsula and seeing that huge huge huge expanse of water from Lake Michigan, through the Straits of Mackinaw and down into Lake Huron. And no skyscrapers. Just nature and a few signs of dwellings and boats. And then after driving another 4 hours or so to see the huge expanse and wildness of Lake Superior which holds 10% of the world’s fresh water. Breathtaking.

We met a kayaker this summer who was kayaking all alone from Duluth, MN. (a good 6 hour car drive from here to the West), to Grand Marais, about another 3 hour drive to the east of here. Can you imagine? Kayaking all that distance alone, camping alone at night, only to do it all again the next day? We met him when he stayed across the street at the Inn, a night of luxury, of running hot water, hot meals, much needed conversation, and a day off from the rigorous paddling along the shores. This is a guy who wanted to know this area intimately, and did it. I loved his spirit and his ability to put his love of this area into achievable action.

The summer is a good time to do this as Lake Superior’s waters can be quite calm in the summer. But come fall, November especially, the storms are wild and fierce. Most people have heard the poignant melody as Gordon Lightfoot sings the ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald that went down with all aboard off the shores of the UP on a stormy night in November. On a beautiful, calm summer day you just can’t believe it can be so nasty, but the waves on this big expanse of water can reach 30 feet in a storm.

So what did I do this summer? I just took as much of this in as I could. It was like trying to take as deep a breath as I could so that I can keep it with me as long as possible. I love this part of the world and I so hope that you too are in a spot that speaks to your soul as deeply as this place does for me. Our house is very funky, quite small, and rather inconvenient in some ways but none of that matters to me. I am so filled here, so happy here in a very quiet, profound and deep way.

From this place, then, I send you Peace. And Wholeness; Contentment, and the Joy of napping whenever you feel like it, or the thrill of a hike or bike ride along the trails whenever you would rather be out in nature. I want each of you to have what I found this summer: a place of my own where I truly belong.

God’s blessings to you…….

Fall Colors

Fall Colors

“How beautiful leaves grow old,

How full of light and color are their last days.”

John Burroughs

Even though we are now full time Floridians, there is still anticipation in my heart for fall, my favorite season. I have so many wonderful memories of fall and fall colors while growing up and then while raising our family. I always loved the return of cooler temperatures, the chance to wear a sweater again, the bright cheerful fall leaves, the crunch of walking through fallen leaves.

One of the best things is, of course, the colors of the leaves as they change from green to both vibrant and subdued colors. These color changes inspire people to travel to northern climes to take “color tours”. When we lived in Northern Michigan we saw scores of tour buses meandering the area taking in the colors, stopping to purchase apples of all colors and bright orange pumpkins, and sipping cider to wash down delicious warm apple doughnuts fresh from the kitchens of the roadside stands.

Some of the most vibrant colors of fall are in the red-orange-yellow part of the spectrum. The Evergreens provide a beautiful backdrop for these vivid colors and the brown of the oaks and other trees provide a lovely counterpoint to the vividness of their more showy neighbors.

The explosion of color in fall, this effusive display of color, comes just before winter, when things are quieter, the colors muted into whites, grays, dark browns and blacks. But most people greet fall with an excitement inspired by this array of warm colors that appeals to the eye and the soul as well.

Have you ever thought about why this is? The colors themselves, being in this warmer end of the spectrum, are indeed imbued with the ability to excite our nervous system. Our bodies literally react to these bright colors with an increase in heart rate, and a rise in our body temperature. The warm colors speed up our systems and elevate our spirits. It is no wonder that many people say fall is their favorite season. For the most part we feel more alive thanks to the effect warm colors have on our bodies.

 

FALL COLOR FAMILIES:

As you yourself experience fall, think about what each color family in this warm spectrum means:

Reds: This color connects us to the earth, helps us to ground, assists us in manifesting, inspires passion, and excites our systems more than any other hue. There are many shades of red in fall colors from deep reds even into purples and into the bright, bright reds of sugar maples.

Orange: This color against a cobalt blue fall sky is one of my favorite sights. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of photos I have taken over the years of orange leaves against a clear, deep blue sky. Perhaps that is because over the years I have learned to love orange, the color of community, creativity, connection as well as the color we use to heal trauma and overcome challenges. It is a juicy color that just makes me happy, and rightly so as it is the color of bliss, very Joseph Campbell like.

Yellow: This hue is associated with fall in my mind as the color of school buses and goldenrod. As a child I hated to see goldenrod bloom because it meant those carefree summer days were coming to an end and we would soon be back in school. I liked school, but I loved summer. Yellows make us happy too and they help us assimilate things from foods to knowledge. Adding yellow to a student’s environment will help them remember what they are studying.

Green is not strictly a fall color, but it is present in the fall as the backdrop for the bright colors. Green is the bridge from the warm to the cool colors and in our chakra system it is also the color of the heart, the center of our energy centers. As such, I decided to include it here as I find it a great part of the Divine plan that in the background of all the fall’s feverish colors, green provides the base, the grounding if you will, for all this energy. Green provides the heart beat of the season, the steadying influence. In spite of all the frivolity of fall colors, green is still there, still steady, still the frame for the scenes in front of our eyes.

We may as well speak to Brown as well for fall colors do contain this earth color. They may not take center stage but brown is even earthier and more grounding. It doesn’t scream for attention but rather goes about its job as being the anchor and the more serious influence doing its job well but quietly. It is friendly and doesn’t care if the colors around it create a fiesta, for it knows well enough that those colors need their quiet backdrop in order to shine more brightly. Just as a star or a politician needs a quieter partner, someone to steady them, someone to keep them grounded and anchored, so, too, do browns provide this for their showier sisters and brothers. After all, if everything were a bright vibrant hue, with no contrast, we could not appreciate the liveliness in those colors. And if everyone were a star or politician, there would be no one to watch or hear him or her. Our friend brown provides this contrast brilliantly.

With this in mind, then, I hope you enjoy your fall and seeing the colors as you move through each day.

© Diantha Harris

October 2016