It was (and still is) a gorgeous day here in south Florida. Gorgeous! The wind has finally blown itself out, the ocean was amazingly calm this morning, and shortly after sunrise the clouds on the horizon had disappeared and the sky has been nothing but clear and blue. It’s hard to believe that, for calendar purposes, it’s winter.
The difference in colors in the sunrise shots is due to a change in the white balance setting. I took the first photo on the “open shade” setting and the second in “tungsten.”
I promised you some flowers today. Once again, I don’t know what most of them are so we’ll have to enjoy them without their labels. If I was good at that sort of thing, I’d make up my own names for them.
It’s day 165 of my commitment to get outdoors every day for a year. That leaves me only 200 more days to go. To be honest, I find it hard to believe I’ve made it this far, especially through the winter months. Summer will likely bring the next challenge as I am not a fan of hot and humid weather except for this brief visit with it during the winter when we fly away to Florida.
My outdoor time here is so much different from at home. And yet, in some ways, it is very much the same. The differences include the weather (of course), the sand, the ocean, the air (salty, humid), and the people. The similarities include water, seeing something new every time I go out even though I’m walking pretty much the same paths, and the walking itself.
The biggest difference of all right now is the amount of time I spend in the water. We were finally able to spend some quality time in Mother Ocean today. The water was wonderful. I’m not sure what the water temp is but it’s certainly as warm as (if not warmer) than the ocean temps at the Jersey shore in August (which is where I spent a few weeks every summer when I was a child, and M and I have occasionally vacationed there in late summer once or twice in the last decade or so).
We went swimming this morning during high tide, staying out for an hour or so. And then again this afternoon (for a long while) at low tide. The cool thing, during both tides, are the sand bars. I had to do a little dance while I was (way) out there just so I could say I danced on the bar.
I’ve also been in the pool once or twice and had some quality hot tub time twice today, too. I’m turning into a water baby. Or a fish.
The beach was the most crowded I’ve seen it this year or last year. Today was perfect. You couldn’t ask for a better day and if you did, you’d either be greedy or impossible to satisfy.
When we walked over to the square for lunch today we saw a flock of wild parrots. Or parrot-like birds. The only other time I’ve seen wild parrots was in San Francisco. I don’t think I managed to get any good shots of them (or they would be on the blog), but do have this post regarding the movie, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.
Well, the sun will be setting soon. That means it’s time for M and I to find some dinner. Since we had a big lunch, we’ll probably pick up some salads tonight and eat them here, on the balcony. It’s a great evening for sitting outside and listening to the ocean.
(Doorway in the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, California.)
Doors are more than wood or metal, more than hinges, pivots, fulcrums, locks. They are places that can become turning points — either you pass through them, or they block your path. You discover your own limits and thresholds.
~ Gary Thorp
I’m currently reading the book Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks by Gary Thorp. I bought the book several years ago and have started it more than a few times but for some reason I can’t fathom, I’ve never finished it. It is not a particularly long book and every time I start it I think, “What a delightful and interesting book.” It is the kind of book that changes my perspective on things, especially the everyday things (since that is what the book is primarily about).
The first chapter of the book is titled “Crossing the Threshold.” It is a short chapter about the doorways and thresholds in your house and in your life. The author suggests:
As you walk from room to room in your own home, try to really experience the transition of traveling from one place to another. Notice the differences between motion and stillness. Sense how you relate to various enclosures and open spaces. Feel the differences between entering and leaving, if there are differences. Contemplate the thoughts that become caught between places, in the doorways themselves, and think of the people who have walked these paths before you. While you’re thinking of others, the doors of your household begin to become the gates of compassion.
For as far back as I can remember, doors, gates, windows, pathways, thresholds, and other portals have always figured prominently in my photography. Even as a kid I took a lot of pictures of doorways and windows. Lately my altered journal work has included a lot of doorways, paths, gates, and windows.
Portals of various kinds show up a lot in myths, folklore, and fairy tales. Doors and thresholds can represent the passages we make in life as we go from one age to another or from one experience in life to another. Sometimes circumstances force us to move through a door, slamming it shut behind us. Sometimes we willingly walk through and close the door, leaving behind something that we no longer need. And sometimes we get stuck on the threshold, not yet ready to step through to something new.
(Somewhere in the Lake District in England.)
I wrote a little piece called Pathways over at Bountiful Healing. It briefly explores how I feel about pathways, doors, gates, and other portals. You can also find one of my favorite “doors” in a post aptly titled Doors. M and I were taking a fall hike in the woods nearby when I spotted this “door.” It reminded me a little of a hobbit door although I’m not sure anyone else sees the resemblance. That post also contains one of my favorite quotes.
One of the reasons I am reading Sweeping Changes now is because I’ve been working on my big goal for the year which is to simplify my home and my life. As part of that project I cleaned out a box that has been sitting in the corner of my bedroom ever since we moved in to this house. The box contained books. Lots of books that were written to change perspective or transform one’s life or something to that effect. There were exercise books, diet books, a variety of self-help and self-transformation type of books, and quite a few on meditation, yoga, and mindfulness.
Sweeping Changes is a good book for me to be reading now as I think it will help me see things around my home in a different light. I also think it will help me explore as I think about changes I want to make.
I took the camera along with me as I explored the doors and thresholds in my home, and a few outside of my home as well (such as the barn doors).
It was an interesting experiment. There are parts of the house I thought I wanted to change (paint, redecorate in some way) but now find I want to simply de-clutter and otherwise leave as it is. There are other parts that could certainly use a good cleaning.
The tour of the doors and thresholds also gave me some idea of how much fall cleaning I’ll be doing over the next few weeks. There is a another cold front coming tonight and that will mean fresh, cool, clean air, the kind I find perfect for throwing open the house and getting things aired out and cleaned. As much as I hate to bring up the W word, it’s time to start getting ready for colder weather and for winter.
I was surprised by the number of doors and thresholds we have in our home. The house is not that big compared to homes we’ve owned in the past (or compared to our neighbors who live in McMansions). It’s a 3-bedroom ranch-style home that was built in the 1960’s. Even when it was a wreck, I’ve always felt welcome in this house, as if I belong here. I felt the same way today as I took my journey through the doors and thresholds.
I am looking forward to continuing my way through the book and through my home, looking at it all from a Zen perspective. I might spend a day or two contemplating doors and thresholds. But no longer than that as I believe that may be the reason I haven’t finished the book in the past: I got caught up (or stuck) in the doorways and thresholds.
Every doorway, every intersection has a story.
~ Katherine Dunn