Life Is A Journey

If life is about the journey and not the destination, then why are we in such a rush to get there?

As children we keep a sense of innocence for many years. Then, one day, we reach a point where we can’t seem to wait to grow up. Once we’re “adults,” or what’s considered to be adulthood, we can’t wait to actually be adults. Real adults – house, car, job – the whole grown-up package. What we don’t realize is that being an adult also comes with bills, responsibilities and stresses that we didn’t have as kids. What we don’t realize is that childhood is short and we can never get it back.

Once we’re a full-fledged adult the aim, the main goal, seems to be working toward retirement. This is the stage where, once again, we have free time to live and do as we please. But it’s also the last stage of our lives. Let’s face it, much as seasons change, so do we and we also wither and fall like leaves on a tree.

So if the destination, the final destination, is death, why are we in such a rush to get there?

The journey is life itself. The journey is all the little things, all the stops we make on the way. We grow and learn and become who we are. It’s all the memories we have as a child, all the laughs, all the lessons, all the family. It’s traveling, seeing new things and new places, experiencing all that we can and all the world has to offer. It’s meeting new people, making connections, making friends, learning from others. It’s feeling pain, grief, joy, sadness, love, lost and everything in-between.

Life is made up of moments, good and bad. Each moment is as precious as the last. Nothing is guaranteed and nothing should be taken for granted.

So if it’s all about the journey, then, I truly hope we all take the time and enjoy it to the fullest.

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Dear Readers

I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of my 100 followers as well as all of my supporters. I’m so happy, and a little surprised, but mostly happy at this recent milestone.

When I started blogging, I did it for the love of writing. Not only is it therapeutic, but a wonderful way of self-expression. And this blog was going to be an adventure. I wasn’t sure if it would take, if people would read it, if I could keep it going, but here it is and people are reading and following and it’s still going. This blog has some serious momentum and in many ways is still an adventure I’m glad to be part of.

But it’s not all about the followers. It’s about the writing. I write to express myself. I write to inspire. I write to show others that they’re not alone, that others experience similar situations. I write because I love writing.

In the end, I want to thank you all for following along, for the comments, the conversations and I want you all to know that I appreciate all of you as well.

I look forward to the future.

Thank you!

Maybe We’re All Little Trees

Have you ever noticed those little trees sprouting from rock hills or a cliffs? They’ve successfully managed to squeeze their way between two rocks and continued to grow. There’s no sight of soil and hardly any water, but their roots have taken hold. They’re strong and against all odds have found a way to live and grow.

But even if they find a way, I often wonder how they manage to survive. Maybe it’s determination. Maybe it perseverance. Or maybe it’s a little of both.

I can’t help but think that we can be compared to these little trees. Sometimes life doesn’t give us the best conditions to work with and, every so often, puts us in difficult situations. We might have trouble finding our so-called soil or water or even a place to plant our roots. Sometimes it may feels like the world is against us, rooting for us to fail. And even if we’ve found room to grow it’s possible we find ourselves between two rocks.

At times life is simply a struggle, but that’s life. Although, somehow, we always seem to survive. We always seem to find just enough soil, just enough water and just the right place to put our roots. Even if the elements beat us down we find a way to stand upright again. Often times we realize we’re stronger then we think and that we are capable of much more then we ever imagined.

Paying A Visit to Emily Dickinson

The HomesteadOn my recent visit to Amherst, MA, I visited Emily Dickinson’s house as well as the house of her brother and his wife. I learned that the Dickinson homes certainly have a unique charm. Although on the same property, and belonging to the same family, The Homestead and The Evergreens have a different beauty that I was excited to see.

The Homestead – the childhood home of Emily Dickinson and the place she lived until she died in 1886. It’s thought by some that she was a recluse, only writing depressing poems. (And there was a time when I thought the same, but she wrote on a variety of different topics and was interested in life.) After visiting her home and learning more about her, I believe she was happy with her life, spending it with the people she cared about most while doing what she loved. (Although, she never published a single poem during her lifetime.)

The house she lived in was simple – canary yellow with dark green shutters. There was aBirdbath in the Garden small flower garden on the side of the house with a birdbath. A few times I watched as a robin flew to the rim of the bath and drank the water before flying away. Also, further down from the house there was a larger garden which also contained flowers, among various vegetables. (Along with a rather friendly cat whose name seemed to be Oscar Wilde.)

While walking through the house I saw various rooms including the library, a large room off from the foyer and Emily’s room. It didn’t really hit me until I was standing in Emily’s room – the profound thought that this is where she not only lived, but wrote all those poems so many years ago. Her small desk with a lamp and a chair faced the window and I wondered if she wrote long into the night or whenever inspiration struck.

As any artist’s house that is turned into a museum, things were pristine and most of the furniture was authentic. Maybe it’s my active imagination, or maybe something else, but I could imagine the people who once lived in the house walking up and down the stair, through the halls, sitting and talking, entertaining. It really was like stepping into the past. But there’s a difference between stepping back in time and feeling as though time itself has stopped.

The Evergreens IIThe Evergreens – the home of Emily’s brother and his wife, a wedding present built by his father across the way from The Homestead. Structurally, this house is very different from the one Emily lived in, but what I found more breathtaking was what was on the inside.

As soon as I stepped into the dimly lit foyer, I could smell the houses age. (Some may call it a musty sent, but it wasn’t musty, it was age and history that floated through the air.) It was written in the family will that the house was to remained untouched. So everything was still in the same place. Every single piece of furniture, down to the rugs and wood floors, were authentic.

The wallpaper in the halls was peeling, the paint was chipping, there were small holes and cracks in the ceiling and long cracks that ran the length of the wall. Some of the rugs were torn after a lifetime of foot-traffic and the wood floors worn in places after years of people walking on them. Even the fireplaces appeared to have ash still in them. (Although, I could’ve imagined this.) Either way, this house felt like the family left long ago, leaving all their belongings, and was waiting for them to return.

That was the beauty of this house. In no way am I calling it unkept or ugly. All of these things add to its character. It shows this house had a life and I could imagine it in its glory days as Emily’s brother and wife entertained or simply took care of their family. I could feel it’s history pouring from the walls and thought of the stories they could tell, if only they could speak.

Both these houses had their own charm and their own personality. I loved them equally, but for different reasons. In The Homestead it was walking the same halls as Emily Dickinson once did (to name one) and in The Evergreens it was the pure authenticity of the house and the history that was ingrained into every floorboard (to name one). In the end, I’m glad I was able to explore these gorgeous houses and that they could be preserved not only for today, but also for future generations.

To see more photos please check out my site by clicking here.

A Visit to Thomas Cole

Thomas Cole's HouseVisiting historical places feels like stepping back in time. You might need to use your imagination to see the artist working or the writer writing, but often times the place you’re visiting has a personality all its own.

Recently, I visited Thomas Cole’s house. Thomas Cole was an artist, best known for his paintings, and credited with the founding of the Hudson River School. His paintings transform the landscape and captivates anyone who looks at them (at least in my opinion).

The house is simple – pale yellow with dark green shutters and an elevated porch. It used to sit on a large plot of land, orchards, but now there’s a road that goes through it and a Mountain Viewfew houses on the other side. In no way does this take away from the gorgeous view when standing on the porch. Beyond the bit of present-day construction lays the woods with its tall trees and mountains that appear to touch the sky. It’s a view that I believe must me seen to fully appreciate its beauty.

Of all the rooms in the house, I think the studio was my favorite. It’s one thing to step into the foyer of an old house, to see the different rooms, to imagine the use of each room and admire the authenticity of it all, but it’s another things entirely to enter a room that still feels as if it’s being used.

His studio is separate from the house, part of an old barn. Upon entering there’s a smell that matches that of an old barn, mixed with paint and age. Two easels site in the middle A Painter's Toolsof the room, one with a canvas balanced on it, the other empty and waiting for art to be created. A long desk is pushed against the wall and holds books, papers and some small paints. A separate, smaller desk, is positioned between the two easels where bottles of pigment (which would be transformed into his paints) sat. It was as if Thomas Cole had walked out of his studio and everything was left waiting for his return.

It’s possible the old studio sparked my imagination as the room still seemed to be alive. It felt special. And maybe that’s why these historical places feel like stepping back in time – each one is special in it’s own way.

To see more photos please check out my site my clicking here.

Aftershows Are Special

They don’t happen all the time, but it’s not their spontaneity that fully makes them special. It’s not having a rehearsed set. It’s not having all the flashy lights or disco balls or bubbles. It’s not having an electric guitar that sings through the amps and speakers into the crowd. It’s not having a bass or drums vibrate through your body and match the beating of your heart.

Don’t get me wrong, those things are all great, but when a song is played with a simple acoustic guitar it’s like stripping the song down to it’s soul.

Over the last week I’ve had the privilege of seeing two aftershows. The first was in New Hampshire. There was a group of us down on the beach – toes in the cool sand, the sound of the ocean behind us – as the melody of each song floated through the starry night.

The second one was in Boston. This time there was a group of us crowded around a pair of trashcans, a makeshift stage, as the sounds of the city echoed around us and blended with each song.

That’s the thing about aftershows. You never know where you’re going to end up or what’s going to happen. It could be anywhere from a back alley by the bus to the sidewalk to the beach. It’s spontaneous with none of the glamor of a rehearsed show.

There’s something to be said for a song played with nothing but a guitar. It may be simple, but it’s also beautiful.

The Picture of Innocence

It still amazes me that two people can create something so small and beautiful – a child. Everything about them, from their fingers to their toes to their cute button nose, is tiny. At first they can barely open their eyes, but once they do they seem to look at the world in wonder.

When I finally had the chance to hold my cousin’s baby, I was struck by how he seemed to look at the world around him. His gorgeous blue eyes were open wide, taking in everything. As I held him, watched him, I couldn’t help but smile. (It’s hard not to when you’re holding something so precious.) When he looked at me, eyes still bright with curiosity, it was my turn to fully take in his little face. And when he finally fell asleep in my arms (on more then one occasion) there was a sense of trust.

It wasn’t only while he slept, but also while I bounced him on my hip and swayed back and forth and watched the way he looked at me that I realized what I had always subconsciously believed – not only are babies depended on their parents and those around them, but they’re also completely innocent. They know no good or evil. They don’t understand right from wrong. They haven’t had to make any life decisions or choices in general. They know nothing of the world. For a short time they live in their own world and with that comes the beautiful innocence of a child.

I know it’s natural to grow up, become an adult. We live our lives based on what we believe and the choices we make. And those choices, those experiences, shape us.

But what if we clung to a small part of that childhood innocence?

If we could, at times, still see the world through the eyes of a child – what would that be like? Maybe we wouldn’t be so fast to judge. Maybe we would realize it’s okay to need the help of others? Maybe we would laugh more, smile more. Maybe, just maybe, we would not only realize, but see all the wonders the world is constantly offering us.