A Special Season.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Getting Seasonal”

 

Christmas is a time when our mind and hearts are surrounded by the beauty. There is a delightful feeling which captivates our imagination.Christmas is a state of mind.

Many times people become overwhelmed by the season, this is one of the season that I look forward to each year. It is a unique holiday and each year it brings special memories. I love the whole month of December it is like a quilt with snow, my birthday, time of the fullest and fresh flow of thoughts , bright ideas and then the wonderful spirit of Christmas.

I make  a nice cup of ginger tea and walk to the back porch with the book ‘ The Art of  Waiting’. The white fluffy clouds glide across the pale blue sky, the sun has awakened but lazily emerging from the sky. The pure and fresh air brushes across my face like a veil, sweet ans delightful. I move my eyes from the book and  look around to see the beautiful dance of  Daisy, Lily and carnation on the porch. The two Poinsettia in the flower pots make a big statement with gorgeous red leaves.The pines lying on the grass looks like a scene from a Christmas card. The blue sky turns a little grey. The breeze comes through the branches of the trees, turning up the silver undersides of the young leaves, and brings goosebumps as it go around me. Then I adjust my glass, look up  and around to see a sudden change. The white, silvery snow floats down from  a light  cloud filled sky soundless setting on the roofs, tree branches, ground.  Joy flash into my heart and light it up. O’ really I  love the snow. I want to express  all  the wonderful reasons of my love for this season.

Imagine the soft fall of snow with real cold breeze and a chill in the air as if the earth is preparing for a new life. During the month of  December  everywhere one can hear  the beautiful Christmas music-in  the radio, in the store, in the television. My favorite list is ‘Let it snow’, ‘Silver Bells’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘ Jingle Bell’. I love the beautiful, colorful decorations – the classy makeover of the house and the front yards like a winter wonderland. I enjoy burning the Bayberry candle in my kitchen and study rooms. The beautiful aroma of cinnamon sticks  infused with pine cones in bags or the wonderful flavor of cinnamon sticks in mulled cider, or the steamy mug of peppermint tea! The Christmas dinner with friends and  family displaying the bond,the care, the love for each other.Mostly it makes worthy when I dedicate some of  my time in the local women’s shelter, in the soup kitchen and sending care boxes for the overseas soldiers.

The spirit of Christmas brings within us  the virtuous elements of humanity, kindness, caring, compassion and giving. Culture and tradition often hold special meaning for us because such events trigger memories and a sense of belonging within a certain society.

‘ Blend equal parts of Faith and Hope, mix well with Charity

Stir in Good will and sweet contents, precious memories, kindness, joy and gratitude.

Then drop love’s sweet essence, add spices rare as Laughter, Smile and Fun.‘ – By Easter Lloyd Dauber.

 

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Transformation

Masks Off
Writing Prompt: We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like?

This is a magical time when everybody is poised between excitement and anticipation.  Annabel closes her book, stretches her arms above her head. She adjusts her glass and looks outside through the window of her living room. The overcast morning has settled into a beautiful evening. The front yards of the houses are decorated with pumpkins, silly witches, skeletons, goblins.  Then she turns her head to look at the excited parents and their children discussing on costumes. The word ‘Costume’ is always mysterious. It brings a sudden transformation on a person.

Annabel looks at the Halloween party invitations lying on the coffee table. Then she leans her elbow on the table and thinks that if it is really worth spending money on a costume which is not to her taste. Annabel works in the oil industry, involves herself in lots of charity organizations, donates money and always attends different charity functions.  Her drawback is her quiet and shy nature, and her voice is not strong enough to bring a distinct change. But now in this Halloween she wants something different, something unique. She wants to bring out her own self.

She wants to be just like Florence Kelly, be strong, brave, out spoken and a social reformer- will bring justice to the underage poor children around the world. She wants to stop the child labor. Now there are 215 million children are at work today, more than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labor such as work in hazardous environment, slavery, forced labor as well as prostitution, involvement in armed conflict. Even under age children works in sweat shops, textile industries, in cotton plants. Annabel wants to give the children a chance to live, to breath , to enjoy the beautiful earth, by  providing  the children proper education, clothes, food and shelter.

On this Halloween, she will be her own self. She will be a real fighter, and will fight for justice. She walks into her closet and looks around for a dress or a cloth to make her own costume.  Then she smiles and pulls out an Orange stripe cloth to make a long dress and a small blue jacket to go on the top. Annabel stands in front of the mirror on the closet door, and stares at her own reflection. She blinks her eye and notices a strong, a brave super woman. Her eyes start to sparkle and a beautiful glow shows on her face. Annabel can feel the real excitement in the air, the thrill and the power.

A Golden Spell

The emotions are ramping up inside Amber. A feeling of anticipation grows stronger. She tries to stand still and listen to the footsteps. Then she turns the door knob gently and peeks outside. She feels the crisp cool air and the sight before her overwhelms her with its mysterious, fiery, and brilliant beauty. She blinks her eyes and looks again. The gorgeous golden light of the sun spills through the bright white clouds with glittering jewel tones.  The vibrant and rich multi-colored leaves, shades of gold, yellow, and orange, form a dazzling seamless quilt on the ground. As if a carnival clown is holding a giant bunch of colored balloons.  The different colored leaves are everywhere on the deck, the patio, the front porch, and the mail box. The lush scent of the leaves mingles with the musk of damp earth that fills the air. The air feels softer- gentle, calm, and enriched with the sharp smell of dry pine needles. Now she appreciates more Paul Laurence Dunbar’s lines in Merry Autumn “And nature, all from earth to sky is bubbling o’er with laughter” and Albert Camus’ “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is flower.”

Amber’s favorite season is Autumn. Chaucer first used the word “autumn” in the late 14th century. The word is derived from the Latin “autumnus”. Autumn marks the transition from Summer into Winter which starts with the September equinox and ends with the Winter Solstice. As Amber pulls the rustic wing-backed swing garden chair closer to sit, her eyes sparkle joyfully to see both her dogs come bouncing to join her. The yellow tabby crawls out from under the bush and salutes her with a querulous meow. Her husband has taken great care in maintaining the back yard with different fruit trees, flower plants, vines, and today it seems like the garden is under a spell of an enchanter. She looks at the sugar maple tree in one corner of the yard which makes a big statement, offering most of the gorgeous red, the orange and yellow leaves mixed with the dogwood’s purple and gold, and hickory trees’ gleaming bronze leaves. The apple tree that she planted two years back now has brilliant orange-red foliage.  In one corner of the garden she notices the beautiful red, pink and white blooms of Chelone, Aster and Toad lily, pink -purple mums, and Pansies. She loves the blue and silvery foliage of the Russian sage, her daughter’s favorite, whose blooms have a beautiful scent that spills perfume into the air. Amber is overwhelmed with the beauty, realm of silence, tranquility and also by the abundance harvest, the magnificent display of the nature. Adam leans lazily against the kitchen window, reads the newspaper and then from the corner of his eye watches Amber. He can read his wife’s mood forecast very easily and today the forecast is just priceless. He knows how his wife is madly in love with Autumn. He makes two cups of pumpkin spice Brulee oolong tea and carries them on a tray to join his wife.

He hands the tea cups to Amber and says,’ Good morning! You are up early! Is it because of the beautiful weather?’

 ‘Yes, good morning and thanks says Amber, and admires the rich scent of the tea.

They sit a little closer as if they are newly in love and sip the tea slowly.  They are awed to see how the leaves dance and twirl in the air, then fall softly on the ground.  Adam breaks the silence and says, ‘Look at the squirrel how she is carrying four nuts in her mouth’! They both look at the funny sight. Then Adam leans over and says, ‘Today will be perfect to fill up the bird feeder, and this time I will mix both the sunflower seed and millet. Like last time may be this year we will get a visit from the chirpy,  chattery long tailed Tits, Gold finch, Northern flicker, and white throated sparrows’. Amber smiles and gets up to help Adam and says ‘Yes I agree. Mostly I love the Gold finch and the white throated sparrows’. Then she turns around asks Adam about their evening plan about the football game and Halloween decoration, ‘So are you planning to watch the game from home or we will go out? Also if we get time then we can decorate for the Halloween’. Adam replies with excitement ‘Yes I have invited few friends to watch at home and in the afternoon we will start the decoration’. But today Amber does not care much about the game, the Halloween, or the new TV series. This dreamy weather has stimulated her to write with her beautiful imagination of Autumn.

She walks into her study room to finds how the enticing titles of ‘Jane Austin’s Persuasion’, Rebecca, The legend of Sleepy hallow and John Keats’ poetry are growing precariously tall on the table. She sits on her favorite chair, held her chin between the finger and thumb, wiggles her pen, then opens the crimson color notebook to write her own thought of Autumn.

 Autumn is a season of transition. It symbolizes the evolution from youth to a more mature part of life as the new life in spring, the flowers, the green leaves, the summer and then the changing color of leaves and their fall. The nature’s cycle are mirrored in our life.  It reminds the fleeting nature of all things and feeling of a deeper awareness and appreciation. We should always appreciate and be grateful for the things that come across our in our life, appreciate the beauties that surround us, and to surrender our masks and become true to our self. She closes her notebook softly and then peeks outside through the white curtain.  Amber notices the spectacular big bright full moon that graces the autumn sky with the other beautiful winking stars. William Cullen Bryant’s line from Indian Summer as “Autumn…..the year’s last, loveliest smile” lingers in her mind.

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Valentines

Loren likes to paint her Life with beautiful colors , and to splash that to others.She looked through the big glass window , and somehow it seemed that the roads are more crowded than the other day must be  the Friday crowd. Driving back to home on Friday is a little more relaxing ,but at the same time  so many things piles up in the  to-do-list as trip to the library, working out, grocery, etc etc Close to her house Loren slowed down to buy the  weekend paper from the old man as  a token of help,  who always stands there  either it is rain ,cold or hot weather.  Slowly  Loren rolled down the window and called him,’how are you? can I have a paper please ?” “sure,” then he came swiftly to  deliver with a big smile on his face. The paper  was quite  heavy, must be the ads .She looked around to see if anything special is going on ,there it is on the big flashing sign, “Surprise your love ones  today…..”Hmm  it must be the Valentines Day coming soon. She tried to remember the days,  there was not much of gift exchange, but mostly of spending  time together or eating or going to movie. and to do what others  enjoy to do.  For Loren the word Love is very special,it is like a gentle flow of feeling  but not the material aspects linked to it, without any attachment, a very pure, sublime  form .  The shrill sound of the text  pulled her back from her thought . She looked at her text, “please   bring milk  on your way back ‘ so she turned around at the nearest grocery store. There are people standing in long line with flowers, beautifully decorated candy boxes,  heart- shaped cakes , cards full of  flowery  lines of love. Standing in that long  line  with the valentine’s day shoppers ,  she was trying to figure out a different  meaning  for  the special day.  As soon  as Loren entered  the  house,  both the dogs  came running wagging  their tails to welcome her. You can feel their love without any expectation.    Loren decided to do something different this year.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning. Loren walked in  to her garden to pick  some pretty roses to make couple bouquet ,with  hand crafted paper, baked delicious  heart- shaped  cookies , and wrapped them nicely.  On her list the first one was the  homeless lady who stands at a  intersection  with a board for food and waves to all the passerby with a smile.. To make a special day  for the lady, Loren drove there.  As Loren wished her  and   give her blanket with  a beautiful Red rose &   wrapped cookies ,  trying to wipe her tear the lady  came  a little more closer to hold Loren’s hand and thanked her then she said,” do you know miss this is the best Valentines gift I got after my husband passed away,” .It felt like the little things for others sometimes occupy the biggest part of their hearts . Then Loren decided to visit the  senior citizen home.  She handed our  the roses and home made cookies to them. One after another they  started giving her hugs, wishing her “Happy Valentine’s Day”. It was very  overwhelming and a long  day , but there was a felling of coziness, peace, and  satisfaction.  As the day ended, she sat down to write her daily diary and the first sentence flowed on to her page was ” Love is not about material  possession, it is more about appreciation, giving and sharing” .