seasons

End of Summer

I love a bit of poetry ... I think I've said that before!

END OF SUMMER - STANLEY KUNITZSo today I just want to share a seasonal poem with you!

This is from the pen of the award winning American poet Stanley Kunitz, who twice in his lifetime held the post of  Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.

It's at times like this, when the weather is turning, when there's a definite sense of change in the air, that I wish I could write poetry like this.

That idea that the weather and the world around me is able to change my mood is something that I KNOW but ... can I write it like this? 

... and I knew that part of my life was over ....

What a sentiment!

It's something I think we've all experienced, that moment in time when we knew we were at the parting of the ways! 

But oh to be able to express it like this!

Maybe I should read more poetry like this to inspire me.

Maybe I should practice my poetry a bit more, but I promise ... unless I feel that it's worth sharing with the world, it will remain just mine own.

Instead, I'll just keep writing prose  ...  I think I can do that, anyway!

As summer disappears over the horizon and autumn creeps up on me, I am determined to continue to look around, breathe in the air of change and of life and nature, and be inspired to create words which mean something to me, if not to anyone else.

Have a great day everyone!


Welcome September

It's September! The start of a new month!

Time is flying by ... the summer is almost done and autumn is on the horizon.

I'm still hoping and praying for a few more weeks of good weather but then we know the chilly nights and frosts will reappear, and that can  be a bit depressing. especially if, like me, you prefer the warmer days of the year.

But we know that autumn - or Fall - also brings the harvest and beautiful colours, like nature is having a last glorious celebration before the dark and colder days of winter.

I think the dawn of every new month is always exciting. It's a new chapter, a new page in our book of life! New opportunities! And the first of any month is a reminder that time passes quickly, and we need to grasp life, enjoy it and make the most of each moment that is given to us.

So here's a thought to inspire us, to make us smile and encourage us to make the most of this new month!

Have a great day everyone!

And have a FABULOUS September

 

First day of September

 


New Dreams

On this final day of August, I guess it's a time to be a bit reflective.

Although I'm hoping that there are still a few weeks of summer weather left, it is a time when the seasons are changing. 

Schools will go back soon here in Jersey, changes are in the air, lots of us are thinking about the months ahead and how we might spend our time.

Some of us might be contemplating a change. Maybe time to start thinking about moving, or changing our jobs.  Although we know that the New Year can often be the catalyst for transformation of some kind, I believe that actually autumn time is when some of the thinking might begin. It feels like change is in the air, and that can affect our psyche and maybe make us a bit restless, and yearn for the 'different'. Maybe it's a time to reassess what we may want in life and to set new goals for ourselves. That could be not just to progress our careers and ADD to our workload but it could mean to think again about HOW we are spending the precious time we are given.

With that in mind, today I just want to share this inspiring thought from one of my favourite authors.

New dreamCS Lewis is best known for the Narnia Chronicles series of stories and books for children... that's how I first got to know him.

But CS Lewis was also a Christian and wrote loads of books about faith... including another of my favourite books, The Screwtape Letters, which is the fictional correspondence between the Devil and an apostle or minor devil. It's a very clever and weirdly sideways look at Christian faith. It's challenging and thought provoking but also quite fun actually. 

By the way, you may not know this, but CS Lewis was good friends with JRR Tolkien, author of  The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series of books. The  Screwtape Letters is dedicated to Tolkien, who was also a Christian, a Roman Catholic actually whose faith apparently was a significant factor in Lewis's conversion from atheism to Christianity,

CS Lewis wasn't afraid of change, or to dream  of a better life. You only have to read the Narnia Books to see a glimpse of that... so I'm very happy to take a bit of advice from him when it comes to my own 'dreams'. 

Life for me in the past six months or so has a bit changeful and I'm still waiting really to see what might lie ahead. It's easy to think as you get older that it may not be possible to change one's life, set new goals and go after our dreams... but these wise words from Lewis really encourage me to think out of that box.

As you step into these final few months of 2021, if you have unfulfilled dreams maybe now is an opportunity to really contemplate what the future may look like!

Be inspired!

Keep Dreaming!

 


Breathe in The Extra Day

Today is a public holiday here in Jersey in the Channel Islands - a 'bank holiday'.

It's also an extra holiday day in England, Wales and Northern Ireland but not in Scotland. I'll tell you why in a few moments time.

But why do we have the 'August Bank Holiday' on the last Monday of the month?

Those of you who are old enough may remember when it wasn't always on that day... following a trial period which began in 1965, the last Monday of August was fixed as a public holiday in 1971. Not so long ago really.

In Scotland - here comes that fact I promised - today is NOT a bank holiday because they have their late summer holiday weekend earlier in the month. This year the Scottish had their bank holiday on Monday August 2nd because THEIRS always falls on the FIRST Monday of the month.

The chosen dates sort of also fit in well with the school year in the various nations. Scottish schools go back to class in August, whereas schools in the rest of the UK and in the British islands like Jersey don't return to school until early September. The long bank holiday weekend is supposed to be a way of helping us all enjoy the last moments of summer.

In fact, the August bank holiday was first introduced as a way to give us ALL a chance to make the most of the summer and ... interesting point here ... all four nations used to enjoy August bank holiday on the same date, actually on that first Monday of the month. However, in the early 1970s it was moved in most of the British nations, because apparently it clashed with the 'traditional' two week shut down that many companies went through in the summer... no point having an extra day off if people were already on holidays!

We need to go further back in history to discover where all this began. It was in 1871 that the Bank Holidays Act was passed by the British parliament and that formalised days like this. But if we wind the clock back even more, we discover that up until 1834 apparently there were 33 public holidays in the UK consisting of saint’s days and religious festivals. 

Now THAT'S nice!

Then some party pooper thought people were having too much time off and the public holidays were reduced to just four!

Actually the clue as to why these public holidays eventually became known as 'Bank' holidays is that the law was introduced into parliament and promoted by the Liberal Politician Sir John Lubbock, who was a banker as well as a parliamentarian. He was also apparently cricket-mad, and rumours abounded that Sir John actually chose his bank holiday dates to fit in with cricket matches in his home county!

It was his Bank Holidays Act of 1871 that made the four public holidays official. In fact, people were so grateful that for a while after that law was passed public holidays were called “St Lubbock's Days”.  That didn't stick, obviously! 

These days we in the British Isles and the UK have eight public or bank holidays in total - New Year, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, late May bank holiday (originally to coincide with the Christian festival of Whitsun ... it's the Monday after Pentecost)  ... August Bank holiday, of course ... and then Christmas Day and Boxing Day!

These are days to enjoy and celebrate with the family, days to rest and relax during busy periods of the year, and in the case of today - the August Bank Holiday - a day hopefully to enjoy one final glorious day of summer before we all tuck ourselves back into the routine of life come September.

Bank Holiday mondayActually, some might say that we're a little hard done by because other countries do have more public holidays, Apparently India enjoys 21 public holidays and only Mexico has fewer than us here in the UK / Great Britain, with just seven.

I know, I know, lots of people especially those who employ others and run businesses feel a bit hard done by because they have to pay people for eight days they don't work on, as well as their statutory annual leave! And if people DO have to work the Bank Holiday they are entitled to a day off in lieu. But ... life is not all about profit ... is it?

Today ...  let's put all that aside and enjoy today. It's the last Bank Holiday here for months and months... next stop Christmas!

So ... time to just relax and give thanks.

Let's be grateful for those who have gone before,  who pioneered the extra days we now enjoy. Back in the day many people got NO holidays at all so those four original public holidays must have been very welcomed as a day to rest.

If we are in work, maybe it's time to give thanks for that employment - not everyone is gainfully employed and many can't find the work they would love to do. Let's give thanks for our employers and the work we do have.

And let's just take a deep breath, enjoy the space were are afforded, and....

Have a wonderful Monday!! 

 

Oh - by the way, if you want to find out more about all this stuff you could start, as I did, with this  website link - Nine things you might not know about bank holidays!


Beautiful Day

Just a quick thought for this Tuesday!

Here in Jersey. this lovely island in the Channel Islands, it's the height of summer and it's glorious. 

I have a busy day ahead but that's good too. 

But I will have time, I hope, to give thanks for what I have and just enjoy every minute. To take in the beauty of the world around me - the sun and the sea, and the landscapes - and to appreciate the people in my life.

As it says here ... Have a Beautiful Day everyone!

Have a Beautiful Day


Peace Presence & Perspective

It's the final day of July.

So today I'm taking a little time to look back at the month which is about to close and to give thanks for all the experiences I've had in the past 30 days and the lessons I've learned.

And I'm looking ahead in faith to August. I'm excited!

I found this prayer online and I think it's appropriate for today.

Whatever it is you are needing guidance for right now, I trust you will receive it.

Whatever it is you pray for, I pray you will feel God's presence and assurance that you are not alone.

If you need Peace and Perspective in life, I trust you will find it.

And that you will see and feel God in all you do.

Be Blessed!

MONTH-END-PRAYER


Dance in the Rain!

The summer in Jersey so far has been a bit disappointing, to say the least.

We had some days of warmth and sunshine, but the past few weeks have, to be honest, been very 'un-summerlike'.

For someone who loves long weeks of beach, and swimming, and warm nights and enjoying the feel of the sun on her skin, this summer hasn't really come good.

Not yet, anyway.

Glass half full - it's still only early July and we could still enjoy weeks and months of lovely weather well into the autumn, if we're fortunate.

We can hope, anyway.

When I saw this quote on a big wooden canvas in a local charity shop recently (yes, I did take a picture of it - it was too large to bring home) it reminded me, however, that if I wait for the 'perfect conditions' in life, I risk missing out on so much!

If I wait for the sunshine to come out, so to speak, I might not experience wonderful things while the rain is falling.

And, of course, I'm not just talking about the weather.

So - metaphorically and literally speaking - maybe I need to start dancing in the rain!

 

Dance in the rain

 


First of the Month

'Pinch Punch ... first of the month!'

Ever heard that saying?

When I was at school we used to say that to each other on the first day of the month ... and today of course is July 1st ... so appropriate to share this greeting with you I think?

But where does it come from?

Well, some stories say that it has its origins with George Washington, one of the founding fathers and the first president of the United States of America.

Apparently, during his time as president, on the first day of each month Washington would meet with Indian tribes and supply fruit punch with an added pinch of salt.

This became known as ‘pinch punch on the first of the month’.

How this developed to the childish tradition of actually punching and pinching someone while chanting that little ditty is beyond me ... but hey... it's interesting. Well I think it is.

And appropriate to share it this month in particular because in a couple of days - July 4th - the USA will celebrate Independence Day, after which Washington took up his presidency.

SO ... a new month lies ahead ... and here's something inspiring to set us on our way!

Have a great July everyone!

 

First day of July

 


Summer Prayer

About this time of the year in the northern hemisphere of our planet, it's the longest day of the year.

Between about June 20 and 22nd there is more daylight than darkness, more days of sunshine hopefully because it's the moment when the path of the sun is farthest north. For those of us north of equator, it's the beginning of what is called 'astronomical summer'! Otherwise known as 'Summer Solstice'.

And this year the beginning of that season ... midsummer ... is today -  June 21 - when give or take the UK will enjoy around 16 hours and 38 minutes of daylight, with the sun rising before 5am and setting around 9.30pm.

Summer Solstice (and actually Winter Solstice which here falls on or around December 21st) has always had cultural,  spiritual and even religious significance for humankind. Many cultures assign importance to the elements and the seasons and so this is a time for celebration, holidays, festivals and rituals. In many countries and regions this is associated with religion and even fertility as the Summer Solstice marks the time when crops are growing, nature is thriving and people are enjoying the goodness of life and are optimistic for the future. 

At places like Stonehenge - the circle of prehistoric Standing Stones on Salisbury Plain in the county of Wiltshire in England - ceremonies to mark the rising of the sun on this day have been held for thousands of years, as people recognised the religious significance of the mysticism of creation.

The Summer Solstice was and still is a marker for the year and the rolling out of the seasons. Neolithic humans may initially have started to observe the summer solstice as a way to figure out when to plant and harvest crops. We know that in Ancient Egypt, the summer solstice corresponded with the rise of the Nile River so it helped people to predict the annual flooding, and that was obviously related to the viability of their crops along the banks of the river, and the potential harvests later in the year. If you fancy reading more about this time of year there is loads online, including a great website hosted by the History Channel.

But the significance of days like today transcends nature. Before humans understood how the earth interacts with our sun and why the days of light and darkness differ according to the seasons, this period of long days of daylight would have been connected with mysticism and powerful messages about the universe. The word Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (Sun) and sistere (to stand still) ... this day it would have felt as if the sun was motionless in the heavens and so it would have had some spiritual significance and traditions and behaviours developed around the day.

According to pagan folklore, evil spirits would appear on the Summer Solstice so in order to ward these off, people would wear protective garlands of herbs and flowers. Some midsummer traditions involve dancing around the 'maypole'. Bonfires were lit, also to help banish those demons and evil spirits. Ancient 'magic' was thought to be strongest at this time of year and those bonfires were also thought to lead girls to their future husbands - again linked to that sign of fertility. 

The Summer Solstice is often associated with the ancient religions which pre-date Christianity and were closely aligned to nature and the seasons. And regardless of whether we are people of 'faith' or not, the Summer Solstice is a time when we can appreciate the warmth of the sun and the potential in our world, and be inspired for the future.

I could have given you all kinds of quotes about Summer Solstice today ... there are masses online ... but I found this prayer which, as a person of faith, says it all for me.

Enjoy this long day everyone!

And if you're in the southern hemisphere ... be assured that as you are now halfway through your 'winter', summer is on its way!

Summer Prayer

 

 

 

 


Ouaisné Waves

It feels like summer is here in Jersey - at last.

The sun has managed to stay out for a while, temperatures are rising, the sea is gradually warming up a little and I've been swimming a few times already and loving it!

Ouaisne Jersey June 2021
Recently I headed down to the beach at Ouaisné Bay on the west coast - at the far end of the popular St Brelade's Bay - for a late afternoon 'dip'. It was glorious!! A little bit chilly for a moment or two but once I was in, so relaxing. 

Being near the sea and listening to the sounds of the ocean, as well as immersing myself in the water, is really helpful to my mental health and wellbeing.

I'm still perfecting my movie making so please bear with me ... but after my swim I recorded some of the sounds of the waves, the wind and the distant sounds of people including those enjoying the ocean, playing in the sand nearby. 

What a wonderful world we live in! 

Have a great day everyone!