Cactus on a Beach

Cactus on a Beach w

I will go to the beach until I can no longer go to the beach.

Wind, rain, cold – they don’t stop me.  Only when the snow covers the ground for the winter and makes climbing down to my favourite beach treacherous do I stop for the season.

On this bright, crisp, sunny day I dressed in layers and headed out.  I had checked the tide times, packed my bucket and my camera, and carried a snack in case I got hungry.  This time, I even remembered to pack tissue – if anything can send me home early, it’s that or the lack of a bathroom.

I expected to be alone on this chilly day, but when I arrived, a couple was already there.  With a bucket.  A large bucket.

My heart sank.

No doubt they were searching for sea glass.

I took a breath and went down anyway, hoping they hadn’t cleaned it out.  It took seconds to realize they were serious sea glass hunters, however.  The tracks always tell:  footprints woven up and down the shoreline showed they had covered every inch.

Sighing, I decided to make the best of it.  I had my camera, after all, and it was a beautiful day for a walk.

I didn’t find much sea glass.

What I did find was a tiny plastic cactus, swept up the beach by the tide.  I couldn’t resist a few shots of it standing on the sand, the irony of a cactus seaside not lost on me.

The cactus stands on my kitchen windowsill, now.  A reminder that sometimes things don’t go as planned, but if I keep my eyes open, I might find a fun little unexpected detail.

 

Glass Shadow

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The glass vase that holds my sea glass cast a strange shadow on the wall.

I noticed this as I sat in my living room, glancing up to admire my collection.

It is a tiny moment, a detail I might have missed had I not looked up at that instant. It is what my photography is all about: capturing those little bits of time, paying attention to the way the light plays before the moment is gone.

10 Ways My Children Help me to be in the Moment

10 Ways My Children Help me to be in the Moment

1. The moments my son and daughter were born. I didn’t know what it meant to be in the moment until then.
2. Giggles. No matter what I am doing, hearing giggling children makes me smile.
3. Hugs. Those little arms around you, the smell of their hair, that no-greater-love-on-earth feeling. How could I think of anything else when hugging my child?
4. Checking on them while they sleep. The day’s stresses simply vanish when I watch them in dreamland.
5. Tantrums. There is nothing like a wailing child to make you forget everything else!
6. Dancing. If you can call it dance. More like jumping around the room and flinging my arms in the air with my kids. But the music is on and the moment is carefree.
7. Reading books together.
8. Imaginative play. I never tire of listening to their creative dialogue and make-believe lands.
9. Playgrounds. Swinging is just plain fun.
10. Goodnight kisses.

Ten Ways to Enjoy the Little Things

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September is here. And with it, new activities, schedules, homework, packing lunches, and hectic mornings. In a small attempt to take the quiet moments of summer with me, I have compiled a list of things I have learned about appreciating the small details. With any luck, I will remember a few in the midst of rushing the kids from one commitment to the next. Here’s what I came up with:

Ten Ways to Enjoy the Little Things

1. Look for small details. There is beauty everywhere. The daisy poking through the sidewalk, the peeling paint on a door, the reflection of light in the teapot.
2. Close your eyes. Listen to every sound.
3. Pick up your pen. Write about everything, including the dust on the bookshelf and the dishes in the sink. There is a story there.
4. Go out with your camera. It helps to focus and be in the moment.
5. Be still. Stop rushing and notice the surroundings.
6. Go for a walk. Breathe deeply. Look and listen.
7. Read poetry. It celebrates the little things.
8. See the world through a child’s eyes. Everything is delightful to a toddler discovering the world.
9. Get up earlier than everyone else in the house. Listen to the quiet. Watch the sun come up. Savour the taste of coffee.
10. Turn off the computer, the tablets, the phones. What have you been missing?