15 June 2013

Green Hills - Storm Sky , Missoula, Montana

Grant Me Strength
By Esther Popel
Give me the strength
Of verdant hills
Washed clean by summer rain;

Of purple hills
At peace when weary Day
Sinks quietly to rest
In Night's cool arms;

Of rugged, wind-whipped hills
That lift their heads
Above the petty, lowland, valley things,
And shake their shoulders free
Of bonds that hold
Them close to earth;

Of snow-capped hills
Sun-kissed by day, by night
Companioned by the stars;

Of grim volcanoes
Pregnant with the fires
Of molten fury!

Grant me strength,
Great God,
Like that of hills!

14 June 2013

Serendipity Songster, Missoula, Montana

Serendipitous Thing #57 For Which I Am Thankful: Passing by a shrub bursting with the happy twittering of numerous unseen tiny birds.

Any Serendipitous Things to add to the list?

13 June 2013

Bloom to the Sky, Missoula, Montana

During the Montana winter, there's the challenging Race to the Sky.
In the spring, you can observe the somewhat less daunting 'bloom to the sky', right in your own backyard.
Peonies inspire me to live with generosity, eyes and arms wide open, hands high to the sky, reaching to invite the sunshine - or weathersome clouds, or come what may - to be, fully present.
Here are the last of these blowsy blossoms for this year - at least from me; you can always amble about your neighborhood to spy some more.

12 June 2013

Peony Blooming, Missoula, Montana

The prevailing upon my family members continues; today’s gracious commentary is courtesy of another sis, Linda Lewis.

Every spring, Baba’s huge-blossomed, rose-like fragrant peonies lined the south wall of their house in St. Paul, Alberta.

Bouquets showed up at the front of the church and on dining room tables, along with the occasional ant trying to escape across a white table cloth - unsuccessfully!
My wonderful memories of Baba include her meticulous double lot yard and garden and her love of flowers.

11 June 2013

Cupcakes As Far As Eye Can See, Missoula, Montana

The school colours of recent family graduates translated to some seriously staining cupcake frosting.

My mother didn’t bake cupcakes, that I can recall. She routinely baked muffins, which are shaped the same, but have no frosting and are delicious in a more robust fashion.
Thinking about my mum's hearty muffins, I consider how, in many ways, I had an idyllic childhood. (In other areas, therapy has been invaluable - but that’s another saga!)
On the food front, our childhood featured a tremendous jump start to health. Home baked bread, cookies, and lemon meringue pies to die for. Living farm-to-table before it was ever marketing lingo - milk from our own cow, Blackie; veggies from our massive garden; a hundred chickens and a beef in the freezer. (Thankfully, we had a chicken plucking machine to streamline a particularly tedious chore. Envision a large sanding belt, but with hundreds of rubber fingers. Good times!)
I was in middle school before I ever heard of mushrooms coming out of a tin can - on a good year, we harvested 5 gallon buckets at my grandpa’s farm. Same with wild blueberries - I spent quite a few summer mornings wondering how my Ukrainian baba wasn’t roasting in her long-sleeved sweater as we all filled endless ice cream pails with tiny wild blueberries. And all winter, the fruits of summer graced the supper table with reminders of sweet, balmy days. This was how you managed with 7 kids and plenty of acreage in rural Alberta.

10 June 2013

Daisy Dreaming, Missoula, Montana

"Over the shoulders and slopes of the dune
I saw the white daisies go down to the sea,
A host in the sunshine, an army in June,
The people God sends us to set our heart free."

- William Bliss Carman, from "Daisies"
(Thanks to my sis-in-law, C., for the fabulous blooms!)

09 June 2013

Peony Promise, Missoula, Montana

Visit to the Hermit Chui
Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers;
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.
– Qian Qi (Tang Dynasty)

Click here to read more classical Chinese peony poetry.