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BS: Sunshine Thoughts

Megan L 06 Jul 16 - 02:32 AM
Andrez 05 Jul 16 - 08:48 PM
Megan L 05 Jul 16 - 01:01 PM
ranger1 05 Jul 16 - 12:35 PM
keberoxu 05 Jul 16 - 10:59 AM
Megan L 05 Jul 16 - 02:36 AM
Andrez 30 May 16 - 06:54 PM
Megan L 30 May 16 - 07:05 AM
Andrez 30 May 16 - 06:24 AM
Megan L 30 May 16 - 01:53 AM
Megan L 29 May 16 - 01:02 AM
Pete from seven stars link 28 May 16 - 06:27 PM
Megan L 28 May 16 - 02:32 AM
Megan L 08 Nov 15 - 02:20 PM
ranger1 08 Nov 15 - 11:32 AM
Megan L 15 Apr 15 - 02:35 PM
Megan L 05 Jun 14 - 02:59 AM
Andrez 04 Jun 14 - 06:28 AM
Megan L 03 Jun 14 - 10:55 AM
Andrez 02 Jun 14 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 01 Jun 14 - 06:42 PM
Megan L 01 Jun 14 - 10:44 AM
Megan L 28 May 14 - 01:50 PM
Megan L 17 May 14 - 06:39 PM
Megan L 07 May 14 - 02:41 PM
maeve 07 May 14 - 08:22 AM
Megan L 05 May 14 - 11:09 AM
ranger1 05 May 14 - 10:14 AM
ranger1 22 Apr 14 - 01:54 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 14 - 01:26 PM
ranger1 22 Apr 14 - 01:17 PM
Megan L 22 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM
ranger1 22 Apr 14 - 12:25 PM
Megan L 22 Apr 14 - 01:58 AM
ranger1 21 Apr 14 - 06:13 PM
Megan L 21 Apr 14 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 21 Apr 14 - 12:40 PM
maeve 21 Apr 14 - 09:12 AM
Megan L 21 Apr 14 - 07:32 AM
Megan L 06 Apr 14 - 09:24 AM
maeve 06 Apr 14 - 08:04 AM
JennieG 25 Nov 13 - 04:24 AM
Megan L 25 Nov 13 - 04:11 AM
JennieG 24 Nov 13 - 04:46 PM
Megan L 24 Nov 13 - 03:08 PM
Megan L 29 Oct 13 - 02:11 PM
ranger1 29 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM
Megan L 11 Oct 13 - 03:55 AM
Megan L 19 Sep 13 - 08:28 AM
Ebbie 18 Sep 13 - 03:24 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Jul 16 - 02:32 AM

Thank you Andrez mothers are a special gift and sorely missed. I had never heard that chorus from Cohen it is so true.

When I had to give up work because of ill health It played heavily on my mind for a time till I realised It gave me a chance to re evaluate my life looking back now it was just a station where I paused for a moment to change trains, hope your new train takes you to happy wonderful places.

Awra best
frae
Meg


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Andrez
Date: 05 Jul 16 - 08:48 PM

Megan ended her post above saying: "Sunshine is out there sometimes we just have to go find it." I'm finding a little hard to find it at present especially in the gloom of southern hemisphere winter, no job and recent passing of my mother.

That said when I feel like that like now, I'm reminded of the lines in the chorus from Leonard Cohen's wonderful song Anthem.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

The complete lyrics are found on this site and I'm sure it will be up on YouTube if looking for an audio version: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leonardcohen/anthem.html

Megan and Leonard are both right on the money. Hope this helps spread some sunshine too.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 05 Jul 16 - 01:01 PM

I would look forward to seeing some of his work Keberoxu.

Lass while you made it a good day for all the children you gave the two little boys something so special it will stay with them a long time perhaps the rest of their lives you gave them individual attention while respecting their space most people do not understand some folks need for breathing distance from others. well done


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 05 Jul 16 - 12:35 PM

Lovely, Meg.

Toward the middle of May, I had a group of kindergartners for a nature walk. What was supposed to be a half-hour walk about the five senses and nature turned into a full hour, as the children had so many questions and we saw so many things that they wanted to know more about. Before we started the walk, when I was talking about why we watch animals from a safe distance and we don't feed them, one child asked me if we would see any wild animals. I told them maybe, but if we wanted to watch them, we would have to be very quiet and very still. As we were walking, one little boy wanted to walk with the girls at the head of the line, but they didn't want him to. I told him he could walk with me, and we strolled along, hand in hand. As we crossed one of the bridges on the trail, my little friend and I saw a chipmunk, very engrossed in doing chipmunk things. We stopped, pointed, and all seventeen children went suddenly very still and very silent. They stayed that way until one of the adults sneezed and scared the chipmunk into its burrow. Must have been a good five minutes, though, which is a tremendous amount of time for a five or six year old.

During the course of the walk, as they were asking me about woodpecker holes and learning why woodpeckers don't get headaches, one little boy who had hung back throughout most of the walk and didn't like to be touched or crowded, sidled up next to me. I put out my hand, and he took it and he and I and my other little friend all walked together for the rest of the way. Later, the teacher, who has been bringing children to the park for nature walks for over twenty years, came up to me and told me I had the touch, that the second little boy rarely lets anyone touch him. I think maybe it was because I recognized that it wasn't that he didn't want to take part, but that he needed some space, and I made sure he got it, rather than leaving him on the fringe of the activities. Whatever it was, I'm glad all the kids had such a good time.

As a matter of fact, at least one of them had such a good time, that he pestered his mom into bringing the whole family back. I bumped into them on the trail on Saturday and he recognized me. I stopped and talked with them all for a bit, and them I asked Rowan what he liked best from his earlier trip to the park. He didn't have to think about it, he immediately blurted out "Watching the big birds!" meaning the osprey pair that nest on the island 100 yards offshore. And this is why I do what I do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Jul 16 - 10:59 AM

Coincidentally:
the holiday weekend here was all sunshiny, but last night after all the fireworks, the rainstorms moved in. The rain has now stopped but the clouds are still dominant, and the forecast says we will have sun even if it doesn't at first appear so. My corner of Massachusetts is particularly green, located as it is on the upper Charles River. There was a painter named George Inness who specialized in landscapes, who for a few years raised his young family in this region; although he moved further south, the landscape here stayed in his memory and turned up in his paintings even after he had left. I ought to see if there are online files of Inness' work: it makes Thomas Kinkade look cheap, the best of his work takes your breath away.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 05 Jul 16 - 02:36 AM

I guess we all have times when the road through life seems rockier than others. The 30th June saw the 5th anniversary of Dauvits death to be honest most years it lips past without rattling to hard on the door. This year however has been different I guess it was triggered by the death of my sister in law a few months ago.

However even in the darkness the sunshine can reach into our lives. You see the other day I had ben indoors all day but later in the afternoon I took the notion to head a couple of mils along the road to Gerri's ice cream parlour to drown my sorrows.

Alas as I approached the shop I could see way to many cars for me to stop, so I decided to go on to the next village Finstown to stop by Bakes sores and get a pokeyhat (a cone).

I was just driving past Maes Howe when I saw two young lads (weel young tae me) sticking their thumbs out at the side of the road. I was a fair few yards past when I realised it was Sunday and the busses were few and far between so I jammed on the brakes and waited for them to catch up. when they opened the door I asked where they were going and in that moment my day changed.

Ethan and Erin were two photo journalists from America, they had come over to do an article on this years Ness of Brodgar dig and had decided to spend a few days gathering other bits and pieces about the island that may be of use to them.

I drove them into town and we chatted about places of interest those little snippet that sometimes don't make it to the tourist guidebooks. As I shared my island with them the love I felt for this strange straggle of islands returned in full measure.

I am sure they were glad when I dropped them of to escape this strange babbling woman They may never know the sunshine they brought into another's life but I wish them well in all they do.

I never did get that ice cream ah well perhaps the real sun will stop playing tig with the dark clouds for a bit today and give me an excuse to head of to Gerri's again.
Sunshine is out there sometimes we just have to go find it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Andrez
Date: 30 May 16 - 06:54 PM

As are yours, thank you once again Megan.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 30 May 16 - 07:05 AM

lovely words Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Andrez
Date: 30 May 16 - 06:24 AM

Its winter here in Australia so sunshine is in somewhat of a short supply. That said all I can do is share a poem I first heard on Joan Baez's Baptism album all those years ago that touched me and has forever cast a ray of sunshine over my heart and being.

Colours.

When your face

appeared over my crumpled life

at first I understood

only the poverty of what I have.

Then its particular light

on woods, on rivers, on the sea,

became my beginning in the coloured world

in which I had not yet had my beginning.

I am so frightened, I am so frightened,

of the unexpected sunrise finishing,

of revelations

and tears and the excitement finishing.

I don't fight it, my love is this fear,

I nourish it who can nourish nothing,

love's slipshod watchman.

Fear hems me in.

I am conscious that these minutes are short

and that the colours in my eyes will vanish

when your face sets.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 30 May 16 - 01:53 AM

one joy of summer is being able to leave the window a little open it means that I hear the first sleepy call from a rather grumpy bird which was wakened to early.

As it has a little moan about being up so early the early bird begins a happy trill and I smile remembering the times I would bounce into the office with a cheery "What a lovely morning" at 0600 hrs to be met with groans and grumbles.

As I lie there in the happy space between dreams and reality the other birds begin to waken each adding its own greeting to the morning the song burgeoning in a great uprising of hope for the new day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 29 May 16 - 01:02 AM

I never heard of anyone having that but this is farming and fishing island


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Pete from seven stars link
Date: 28 May 16 - 06:27 PM

What about the bread and dripping then !


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 28 May 16 - 02:32 AM

Food for thought

Recently on a site about Orkney recipes someone asked what Orcadian's favourite foods were. Of course there is no simple answer to that since we have a population of about 20,000 people their individual tastes are going to be widely varied. Since the person asking had recently come to the islands to work in one of our Chinese restaurants I wrote this to show how our tastes have changed.

When I was young ordinary folk did not dine out much, there were a few cafes Peedie Charlies (the Pomona owned by Charlie Celli, the Central Cafe (Now Trenabies ) the Athol (where the Orcadian bookshop is) had two parts downstairs was Formica tables it opened early so folk would head there before going to work. It also had an upstairs restaurant which served Lunch. the community centre was farther down St Magnus lane than it is now. There were another two either side of the museum though I don't remember ever having been in them, the cosy cafe to the right of the arch and the St Magnus cafe to the left of the arch. From this you can see that the older generation were more folk for plain fare fry ups, mince and potatoes or stew.

The hotels had restaurants but they were mainly for visitors or for special events. Even at home many Orcadians had fairly simple tastes soups, mince, stew, boiled fish (quite often salted fish that had been soaked overnight, things like cod and ling, there was also cuithes and saithes(coal fish of different ages) saithes, fried fish usually herrings in oatmeal. There was also hen which was boiled with some vegetables, sometimes for special it would be taken out and browned in the oven while the stock it made was used for soup.

Pudding even when dining out was inclined to be simple things like ice-cream and tinned fruit cocktail, fruit pie or crumble with custard or cream(this having it with ice-cream is relatively recent). Today's Orcadian however has a far wider taste in food with the influence of foreign holidays and the opening of new restaurants from different cultures.

While our diet was restricted it was on the whole healthier than we have today with little in the way of processed food other than tinned fruit which we could not grow on the islands. The exception to the healthy lifestyle however was the Orcadian love of baking never usually anything to fancy but the Scottish Woman's Rural Institute which the men dubbed Silly Women Running Idle encouraged great competition among the women in their baking, jams and crafts.

A quick perusal of any of the small cookbooks issued by SWRI , church guilds or fundraising groups show the popularity of tray bakes and fruit loaf and small fancies(not to be confused with those fantastic confections found in French patisseries). Shortbread and various biscuits based on shortbread were also very popular as were fairy cakes which for some reason are now called cupcakes though the topping was a small spread of glace icing(made with icing / powdered sugar and warm water) if it was for "special" when visitors came you topped them with half a glace cherry otherwise you might have a few hundreds and thousands sprinkled on top, even enjoyment was not about excess in those days.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 08 Nov 15 - 02:20 PM

special memories wonderful things that sneak up on us and give us a hug. Hope things are going well with you lass


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 08 Nov 15 - 11:32 AM

It's Sunday morning and I'm drinking coffee and watching the wind blow the leaves past my window. Sunday morning was always coffee with Dad, whether we were sitting across from one another or long distance. I called my father every Sunday morning, just to chat about my week, and we'd pause every so often to refill our cups. That may be the one thing I miss most about my father, those Sunday mornings.

If I were down visiting, my brother would come over and the three of us (and sometimes my nieces, too) would do chores around the yard. One fall day, while my brother and Dad were working on the furnace, I started raking up the leaves where they were collecting outside the cellar door. They finished tinkering with the furnace and came out to see what I was up to. I had a giant pile of leaves by that point and was amusing myself by tossing sticks into the pile and watching Clancy the Wonderdog dive in after them, disappearing into the leaves before bursting back out with the stick I'd thrown. The next thing I knew, Dad was making a running jump and he disappeared into the pile of leaves. The nieces (five and seven) heard us laughing outside, and came out and joined in the fun. It didn't matter that my hard work got spread out again, because that happy memory will remain forever.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 15 Apr 15 - 02:35 PM

Small things matter and the smallest things can make a great difference.

I had a long an painful weekend of tooth and earache. on Monday I managed to drag myself down to the dental surgery, I didn't have an appointment but my dentist said if I would wait he would fit me in as soon as there was a gap.

Yesterday was spent nursing a lump on my jaw the size of an egg.
Today I was still a bit tender and sorry for myself.

The small thing was a text from Christine checking how I was. That led to me offering to take her to a shop a lot cheaper than our local. When I arrived to collect her she said "I've brought a pick".

So after getting some messages we headed up to the Broch of Birsay an island just of the mainland reached at low tide by a causeway. The weather was rather squally so the picnic was enjoyed in the comfort of the car as we watched waves from Norway crashing on the islands eastern flank as the tide crept back to reclaim the causeway. In a brief blink of sunshine Christine took her daft black poodle for a romp on the beach.

As I sit here now weary but happy I realise that like snowdrops spied amid the snow it is not the rare big things that make life joyous but having the courage to enjoy and cherish all the small pleasures.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 05 Jun 14 - 02:59 AM

That is a lovely description Andrez about 30 years ago my brother was almost killed when a drunken lorry driver struck his pushbike the physical wounds disappear from view but the affects of the head injury don't. It shows in little things a lot of people wouldn't notice like starting his packing at least three weeks before he goes on holiday "Just in case I forget something" and endless lists. He will be 79 this December and sadly no longer even trusts his lists so he phones me to tell me every appointment so I can write them down as well.

On the positive side my nieces think he is mr memory since he never forgets a birthday which I on the other hand am notorious for doing. It is amazing what that little magic book tells him :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Andrez
Date: 04 Jun 14 - 06:28 AM

For the time being, I live in an urban environment. Fortunately the block is big and we are surrounded by trees and garden that give me the illusion of space and freedom. For what I have received, I am truly grateful, looking around the world today it could always have been worse.

On that theme, a couple of years ago I did some work with people with Acquired Brain Injury. Through the agency where I worked, the folks wrote a small book sharing snippets of their stories with the rest of the abled world. The cover of the book had a painting of a rainbow on it. Turning the cover over, there was a short description of what the book title and the rainbow meant to the writers. Try and keep a picture of a rainbow over a misty lake with some green rolling hills in the background in mind.

The book was called: "Memory is Like Air: Essential and Taken for Granted" and the inscription inside says: The front cover picture highlights for us that memories are similar to…….

Butterflies: beautiful and elusive

Rainbows: the end of a rainbow is where dreams can come true
Footprints: on the sand... so easily washed away

The sun:    warm but at times becomes clouded

A boat:       the long journey

Just something to share for reflection from a different place and 'space'.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 03 Jun 14 - 10:55 AM

They sat in the morning sunlight after the rain had stopped fair drookit and woebegone. The breeze caught the lamppost for a moment as they snuggled before separating to try and wring out sodden feathers. Gulls and crows kept a wary eye in their direction, he had gotten a reputation of being one tough son of a bitch after he had seen of that Mallimack (Fulmar) the other day. Feathers preened to perfection they looked down at the window to see if the giant was moving, sometimes giant threw out a cup of seeds or some bread. Today however they were out of luck giant showed no sign of moving out of the box where it nested so with a final cooing call mr and mrs pigeon took wing for another garden with a more accommodating giant perhaps the first one would put something out later.

                                *****

I watched as they fussed around each other like a long married couple going out for the evening. She reached around him and tucked in a recalcitrant feather that insisted on standing up like an unruly flag on an otherwise calm day. He nuzzled her neck emphasising the white collar she wore like a necklace finally happy with their appearance they set of to whatever feast they were attending.

As the sky darkens for another shower I sit with the window open, the gulls are crying for rain and somewhere on the Hillside road the warbling coo-coo of the pigeons are as soothing on the ears as the lush greenness around me is on the eyes.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Andrez
Date: 02 Jun 14 - 09:27 AM

Thank you all for the privilege of spending a little time bathing in the sunshine of this thread.

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 06:42 PM

Looks a great place to stay.   Who knows. Maybe, one day.   Pete.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 01 Jun 14 - 10:44 AM

I was sitting this morning thinking of Kat and listening to the birdsong Tami and Maeve have shared.

It set me thinking of the sheer joy of friendship and the wondrous gift the world wide web has given us. People oh so far apart, people who may never meet in the real world. Yet they are people who care and share tears and joy, the sadness and laughter, the worries and times of peace. They uphold and strengthen each other, when one founders in the darkness the others let their candles shine that bit brighter to help them get back on their feet. When sorrows or even just the stresses of everyday life dulls our vision another steps forward to polish our glasses with refreshing view.

Yes the internet has its problems but like a blank sheet of paper we have the power to create it we can weave the threads that connect us into a wonderful and radiant tapestry. So lets all get weaving this is our place these are our walls to decorate then we can sit down for a cup of tea and a natter.

He he he Gnu I promise I wont paint this room full of tumbling babies and dancing pink elephants :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 28 May 14 - 01:50 PM

Now don't you lassies start laughing but since Dauvit passed away the neighbour three doors down has taken to popping in with some buns or a bar of chocolate.

Nice and romantic eh

Only one problem . He is 90 deaf and has the attention span of goldfish with amnesia. He coughs and sneezes all over the place only taking his hankie out after the sneeze. Why am I being grumpy well the other day every third statement was "Have you no caught a cauld yet" interspersed with variations on "How's yer brither daen" and wanting to know how many tablets a day I have to take.

needless to say I now have a stinker of a cold which to an asthmatic is no fun. I woke this morning feeling miserable and thoroughly sorry for myself.

So how is this a sunshine thought? Well when I finally got round to checking my emails there was a great surprise waiting. A lovely letter from a new writer friend in Colorado it made my head lift and my lips smile.

Do it today don't leave it to long
Make that call or sing that song
Just pop by for a cup of tea
Visit that friend you mean to see

Tell someone you love them
And show them you care
Go take them some flowers
Or a cake to share

Go get a move on do it today
Go make them smile do not delay
If you feel more relaxed in their happiness then
Get up in the morning and do it again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 17 May 14 - 06:39 PM

The north end of Hoy must be the wildest part of Orkney. Peat and heather covering the hills where few houses dare to lay foundation, preferring to seek the relative to cluster together on the few patches of arable land down near the shore.

At this time of year the heather is brown, the peat is brown even the water in the burn and the lochan beside Betty Corrigal's lonely grave is brown. some might say it was a bleak and depressing place but they would be wrong.

I stood by her grave a young woman condemned to lie in the peat in that no mans land between parishes by an world unforgiving of the distress of an unmarried pregnancy that caused her to take her own life.

Here it was I saw the beauty that had been gifted to her. Tiny flowers sheltering among the sturdy heather stems like the bright sparks from a disturbed peat in the hearth. wild violets peep shyly up at you as you walk by and the small orchid tries valiantly to catch your attention others sprinkle the pathside with yellow and white.

The wind is harsh as it funnels down the valley between the hills carrying the salty spray far inland. People will tell you nothing grows here but the heather but people are often wrong. Like the Orcadians themselves the plants stay low to avoid the wind they don't blaze and brag but the beauty is there for those who take the time to look for it.

There is an old Scots saying "Guid gear in sma buik" which translates as good things come in small packages.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 07 May 14 - 02:41 PM

thank you maeve I can now see them scattered like confetti from the heavens spilled across the earth.

A little smile for today. I have been teaching Christine to drive After the lesson we left town and went to a place called Woodwick house which has a really strange little chapel in the grounds it is a wonderful place with with a path winding down by the side of a burn which does freerunning noisily over miniature waterfalls. At this time of year the water is brown with the peaty run of from the hill causing it to shine like amber seeming to glow as though a lamp had been lit behind it. To your other side the ground is covered with bluebells and their pale lilac cousins.

On the way back Christine noticed we were low on petrol so another detour to Dounby of course on such a pleasant day we had to buy ice cream and drove of to the lochside viewpoint to enjoy it. I sat listening to the radio while Christine wandered over to look at the information boards. I could see her look down to read then step back frowning looking around then her head shot up and a stunned look crossed her face.

When she wandered back over I asked her what happened. "Well the boards said you could see the standing stones and I couldn't see them. Then I realised I was looking at them straight across them." sometimes that lassie canny see the nose on her face :)
the viewpoint
woodwick house


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: maeve
Date: 07 May 14 - 08:22 AM

Megan- Mayflower / Trailing Arbutus / Epigaea repens

Adding to Tami's list one of my favorites, Bloodroot / Sanguinaria canadensis


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 05 May 14 - 11:09 AM

I Hate house work :) I find it very physically demanding and either end up having to take my inhalers and or the pain killers or to exhausted to do anything else. Today it was all three which has me very stressed so I stopped for a time and to my delight found a haven of peace.

I would love to see your mayflowers in the UK which flower you are talking about seems to depend on the area you are in. Where I grew up it was the Hawthorn with its branches dressed in bridal white with a myriad of small white bouquets.

Where I am now it refers to the smiling sunshine faces of the primroses as they shyly flirt from the safety of the grass. our local beauties carpet the ground on good years varying from almost white into which but a single tear of the sun fell to bold hussies in their yellow gowns.

Thank you for bringing the peace of the valley and your wilder areas into my drab day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 05 May 14 - 10:14 AM

What a difference a little warmth and sun make! The mayflowers are in full bloom, small delicate white flowers and green leathery leaves growing close to the ground. The fragrance is heavenly, and I consider no spring to be complete without getting down on the ground to smell them. The trout lilies in the little marshy area in the woods at the park are blooming now. Beautiful yellow flowers with green and brown mottled leaves. The leaves look like the markings on our native brook trout, hence the name. On the sheltered banks near the shore, the first dandelions have bloomed. Many people think of them as weeds, but I love them. The windflowers (or wood anemones) are starting to bud, as are the dwarf ginseng, and bluebead lilies. When the windflowers bloom, there will be carpets of their white flowers, all nodding their heads at the slightest breeze. The dwarf ginseng will make perfect little balls of blossoms, hugging the edges of marsh and stream alike. Bluebead lilies create spots of yellow in the woods, not tied to wet areas like the trout lilies, the shape of their leaves reminding me of rabbit ears. Later, after the flowers are gone, they will form large blue berries that look like the pop beads I played with as a child.

The deer herd at the park is alive and well. We counted four in the woods near the car park. The coyotes may have done us a favor by removing a few over the winter. They are all still in their winter coats of dark gray, but that will change soon enough to the reddish color of their summer coats.

Both pairs of osprey on the bay side of the park are now sitting on eggs. We had the former head of the North Carolina state park system visit last Friday and the male from the island pair performed like he'd been trained. Two fish caught in the course of an hour, one of which he devoured on a tree at the edge of the island in full view of our guest. The eiders are still dotting the bay, the males easy to spot in their white and black breeding plumage. The warblers are making their way back from their wintering grounds and filling the woods with song. And the woods resound with the sound of the pileated woodpeckers banging on trees and making their distinctive calls. It's hard to mistake a pileated for anything but what it is: crow-sized and with a magnificent red crest. When they peck at a tree it sounds as though someone were going at a tree with an axe. The large, oblong holes they make are also unmistakable. Last year, we had a family of them nesting in a dying birch tree near the entrance booth, much to the delight of my co-worker John.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:54 PM

Oops! I appear to have lost the cardinal!

Northern Cardinal


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:26 PM

A cheat version of the plain soup uses a stock cube to about a gallon of soup. Not much but it does boost the soup considerably. Equally, pearl barley and - gasp - dumplings on occasion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:17 PM

Megan, for you :)

I took the photo of the deer out my window one morning last year.
White-tail

The birds are links to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. You can hear the bird calls as well as see what they look like.


Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Phoebe
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Hairy Woodpecker
Red-winged blackbird

Frogs:

Spring Peeper
Wood Frog

The plants photos are all mine.

Plants:
Mayflower
Red maple

Red osier dogwood


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:41 PM

Oh how I wish that was a recording blind people could immerse themselves in your world seeing it through your eyes. I don't know some of your wildlife but your words created a world I could relax into and enjoy you have an amazing gift.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 12:25 PM

Winter has been loathe to give up its grip here, last week we had an inch and a half of snow followed by several days of below average temperature. At first, I was very upset about the cruel trick Mother Nature had played, but when I got to work and went down to say good morning to the ospreys, I discovered where a fox had made her rounds, and back tracked her for about a mile. I love tracking foxes, they are very no-nonsense, going from point A to point B in the straightest possible line, hind feet carefully placed in the tracks left by the front feet. Whenever she deviated from her straight line, it was to inspect a squirrel cache or sniff under a log. She also went down the bank and into the salt marsh, where I wouldn't follow - she may not sink into the muck, but I surely would. There is the carcass of a dead turkey down there and she may have paused for a snack.

Park visitors are often shocked at my attitude about dead things in the park. Many of them are visiting from Portland, Maine's largest city. Although it isn't very large in the general scheme of heavily populated areas, many of the people living there are out of touch with nature.They don't stop to think about the fact that death is a part of the cycle in nature. The turkey may be dead, and to humans unsightly and smelly, but it is a boon to many of the other creatures in our park. The gulls, the fox, the raccoon whose tracks were perfectly preserved in the mud until the tide came in, even the mice, all will benefit from that smelly, unsightly dead bird.

The woods were still brown, no wildflowers had dared poke their heads up when I left the park for my days off Saturday afternoon. But the sun has been shining, and the days have warmed considerably and there is the faintest hint of red to be seen in the tops of the red maples. They are the first to flower, rolling out the red carpet for the rest of the woodland wildflowers. The twigs of the red osier dogwood on the shore are brilliant red, a splash of color against a drab background. Soon, the fragrant, tiny blossoms of the mayflowers (or trailing arbutus, depends on who you talk to) will make their appearance. One has to get close to the ground to smell them, but it is oh-so-worth it.

Here at home, I am surrounded by lovely little ponds and marshes, most of which are home to frogs of all sorts. The wood frogs, frozen solid all winter, are awake and making their clacking calls that sound almost duck-like. The spring peepers have also started calling. They're not quite in full chorus yet, when they are, I can hear them in the house with the windows closed. The marsh is also home to a pair of redwing blackbirds, another sign of spring and their distinctive "konk-a-ree" is as welcome as the peepers' chorus.

Phoebes (a species of flycatcher) have been investigating the roof over my door as a possible nest site. They like nesting under eaves and other protected nooks and crannies on buildings. Although it could get messy if they do, I would welcome them. They are fun to watch, catching their prey on the wing, scolding poor Phoebe, whomever she might be, and sitting on branches and wires flicking their tails. And they eat insects, always a plus. Other birds provide spots of color in the trees about the property. A bright red male cardinal sitting in the top of the biggest pine tree singing "cheer, cheer, cheer". Bluebirds flitting about, sometimes landing on the wires attached to the cottage right outside my windows, to my great delight. American robins with their rusty red breasts pulling worms out of the ground in the field behind the house. Occasionally a hairy woodpecker will visit one of the ancient sugar maples, looking for insects under the bark, his spot of red on the top of his head a contrast to his black-and-white body. The wee chickadees, looking similar to your coal tits, hardy little year-round residents, males now making their two-note whistle in addition to their "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call. I love all the birds, but I have a special fondness for the chickadees. Other favorites are the crow family, who come and visit the compost pile every morning, and the ravens, who call from the woods behind the field.

The deer in the park fell victim to the coyotes this past winter. It doesn't bother me, coyotes need to eat, too, and like the turkey, others have benefited from their death. However, there are still plenty near my cottage. I had to stop the car to allow five of them to cross the road only a few hundred feet from the cottage. They are graceful creatures, and beautiful to watch, with large ears, long legs, and their distinctive tails, as long as my arm from fingertips to elbow, white on the underside, used to signal the alarm. That white flag is unmistakable and is what gives them their name: white-tailed deer.

More later, when spring progresses a bit more.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 22 Apr 14 - 01:58 AM

Same here lass Aunt Netty makes great apple pie scones and pancakes the tinned food is awfly sweet for me. What is it like around your area at this time of year I love your descriptions of the things you see.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 06:13 PM

Thank you for yet another glimpse of Orkney, Meg. Feeding one's guests is important to New Englanders, too. And I understand bit about the desserts, as well. When I was little and we'd visit the great-aunties up in northern Maine, they'd serve the store-bought cookies when we came to visit. I always preferred my great-auntie Lucy's home-made molasses cookies and her filled cookies (usually dates, but sometimes raspberry jam) to the store-bought fare, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 01:10 PM

Indeed it is Pete healthier and cheaper. I was brought up on plain fare and there is little to beat it. the plain in plain soup was in no way derogatory it merely meant the everyday in my parents and grandparents time meat and chicken was saved for special occasions, apart from mince.

I remember one Sunday a minister was talking about heaven and how we would all be able to feast on the very best of foods only to be interrupted by a low but carrying voice from among the congregation. "Weel beuy we will be weel aff fur mince and tatties." the poor man stumble through the rest of his sermon totally lost that this country parish would prefer mince and potato to lobster and venison.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 12:40 PM

I suspect "plain" farm soup will be more healthy than shop bought....and probably more healthy!.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: maeve
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 09:12 AM

Hello, Megan. Thanks for sharing your visit with us. I'm glad for you.

Maeve, who just made (plain) farm soup on Good Friday.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 21 Apr 14 - 07:32 AM

What a day!

I am not very good at visiting I keep intending to but rarely have the courage even with friends. So two weeks ago my brother who I get the local paper sent to asked me if the picture was of Dauvit's uncle and aunt, I do not get the paper now so I had to go hunting for a neighbour with an old copy. Sure enough there was their picture showing them being presented with flowers for their diamond wedding.

I made a card and worked out if I had enough money to buy a small gift. Of course I had still not got round to an actual visit so when I spoke to my brother on Saturday morning I decided to take my courage in both hands and get on the phone. I might put it of till another day if I think about it but if I make a promise it will be done so by phoning and telling them I would come on Sunday I could not talk myself out of it.

The reason Roy had not initially recognised them was that they were all done up fancy and he had never seen Uncle George in anything but dungarees or old working denims, slack as you like and plenty of pockets for nails and small tools.

Any way yesterday was absolutely glorious weather so I set of for the hour long drive to the other end of Mainland (The local name for the main island of the Orkney archipelago. What a delight smiling daffodils along the roadside and lambs taking their first bold explorations of the world. The water of Scapa flow looked like it had been liberally sprinkled with glitter as it sparkled in the sunlight.

They were out the door to greet me even before I got pulled into their drive. They are what I would describe as Auld Orkney folks. Not in age (though they are in their eighties) Guests are important and must be given food and drink as soon as they are in the door so I had barely got lowered onto the couch before Netty called us through for "a bite o dinner" I had deliberately chosen 2pm to allow them to have dinner in peace (This being the main meal of the day for farm folk). I should have known better, they had deferred their meal till they could share it with me.

Plain fairin is the order of the day farm soup (I guess ye kin tak the fowk oot o the fairm but ye canny tak the fairm ooto the fowks.). There is plain soup, usually lots of whatever vegetables that grew in the farm garden, carrots, onions, swedes (Possibly rutabaga for our us cousins.)with the addition of stock and barley or dried peas and lentils. Special days soup is basically the same but has bits of the hen or beef left in. The farms animals were in the old days a valuable source of income especially hens so it had to be a fairly special occasion before one was killed. Well it must have been a special day for the hen was served up it is boiled with the vegetables to give the soup flavour then served with stuffing(Skirlie, a mix of oatmeal onions and suet cooked .) and tatties boiled in their skins. It may seem strange to modern ears but a family treat would have been something like a rhubarb pie and custard but for special guests it was ice-cream and tinned fruit. Why was that so special? Well if you think of it everything else could be provided by farm and garden but the ice-cream and tinned fruit had to be bought which would have entailed a journey probably of several miles usually on foot to the local shop.

The meal past we settled to watch a video they had been sent of their grandsons wedding. George had just undergone chemo before it and had not felt up to the long drive south so the family made sure they could share in the day. I am sure many of you will have heard the conversation from older relatives whether watching a video or looking at photographs.

G: "That's Nicholas the grooms brother."
Followed several moments later when the scene had changed by
N: "That's Nicholas the grooms brother."
G: "No it's not that's cousin (insert name)"
And so on rapidly descending into a comedy as memories are just not quite fast enough to keep up with the film.

Any way it was a lovely day with lots of memories and friendship with two very special people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 09:24 AM

ah it arrived then lass I passed it on once we were done with it yesterday.

It was a slow day I was taking some time to myself to sort out my thoughts the fog was the tick unpleasant kind that makes you want to stay indoors. About noon I had finished the bit of writing I had been doing and behold the sun shone.

I sent a text and half an hour later I was picking up Christine and the boys. I have been giving her some driving lessons so she took over the wheel and set of.

The run down through Holm with its long straight road allowed me to rejoice in views I had not had much chance to enjoy as a driver.

we stopped at the forth barrier which links Burray and South Ronaldsay. Though these days it bears little resemblance to the other barriers the sand having built up against one side.

There they settled down for a picnic while I slowly made my way down onto the beach. I had forgotten the great peace and joy to be found at the waters edge. The playful slap of the small waves on the wet sand then the low rumble as it ran away back down the beach like a little boy who had just pulled the pigtails of his favourite girl.

We had gone looking for Groatie Buckies (small Cowrie shells) but there were none to be found on that beach so after they had walked to the other end of the beach, a task beyond my abilities (I was just proud to have managed to walk down onto the soft sand) we set of back the way we came till I suggested they stop at the next barrier on the Glimps Holm side.

The beach there has steps down to it so I couldn't get down but I sat with the windows open listing to the gentle summery sounds till I noticed the gulls were starting to cry for rain. I closed the window and was thankful the others had spotted the cloud and made it back to the car before it decided to share its tears.

after they were all safely back home I decided I couldn't be bothered cooking and went down to the Peedie Chippie a small van that parks down by the shore. Once again the rain had stopped and I listened to the garden birds in the trees of the house next to the van singing like a great choir each with their own lines, melodies and harmonies.

As I watched across the bay three birds flew low in tight formation along the curve of the bay reminding me of our islands military history.

    Low they flew in tight formation
    Skimming the waters
    Below the crest of the hill
    Desperate to stay below the radar
    Sure now of their destination
    They broke cover and skimmed over the waves
    heading for the safety of home
    As the dusk shielded them from prying eyes


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: maeve
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 08:04 AM

Megan, we need you!

There is real sunshine here, all the more welcome for the encroaching clouds. I can see the brown grasses and dark trunks of the apple orchard with only a few clumps and raggedy sheets of snow. The air is cold with wind, but our pretty bantams and the rollicking robins know what season it is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: JennieG
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:24 AM

Indeed, Megan! I am noticing that the floor needs attention and I am averting my eyes. In a few days I may suggest to Himself that a broom be wielded. Meanwhile, I am not walking round barefoot......


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 25 Nov 13 - 04:11 AM

Aww Jenny I hope the shoulder improves in a timely fashion. The trouble with housework is no matter how often you do it, it is still to be done.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: JennieG
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 04:46 PM

Megan, sounds like a fun day!

At present my little ray of sunshine is the fact that housework is out of the question due to a shoulder operation last Tuesday. Unfortunately so is sewing, knitting, crocheting, playing guitar and uke, but I am still here to enjoy the sunshine and the glorious rain which has blessed our parched earth lately. The hill behind us which recently was sere and brown has sprung into green life.....such a lovely sight.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 24 Nov 13 - 03:08 PM

What happens when you cross a four year old with a fourteen year old and a forty year old :) Christine.

She has a "How many sleeps till Santa" ap on her phone and Christmas ringtones I kid you not that lassie is Christmas daft.

Yesterday morning I picked he up and headed of to Skara Brae It is a historic Scotland property and they were having a members event. we had mincemeat pies and Christine had mulled wine :( I was driving so orange juice for me. we wandered round the shop while she oohed and ahed at the Christmassy things, I got her a small tree decoration and you would have thought I had given her the crown jewels.

once I got her eased away from the decorations we went for a drive through the crisp landscape. The cows have all been taken in now the fields seem strangely quiet and still like a forgotten memory of summer.

a meander through the countryside brought us to the Merkister hotel on the Harray Loch to sit over a lovely fresh seafood lunch watching the last swans trying to make up their minds whether or not to go on holiday.

then into town to examine the small trees that have been put outside every shop they are all about three foot high and have some of the weirdest decorations ever. The dress shop had cut out and coloured miniature dresses and the chemist hung theirs with empty pill packets :. I thought I had got her tired out till we neared home then she wanted to make Christmas cards. I am not sure which is the most exhausting her or the twins .


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 02:11 PM

sounds like a wonderful place lass


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: ranger1
Date: 29 Oct 13 - 08:38 AM

Today, I am sitting at my table and reflecting on how lucky I am. I live in a beautiful place, work with wonderful people, and am surrounded by amazing friends.

The last month and a half has been a whirlwind of joy. Four of the last six weekends have focused on music. Two shanty sings at The Press Room, the Portsmouth Maritime Folk Festival, the pre-Getaway gathering at Sinsull's, and the Getaway itself. The joy that singing with others brings heals my raveled nerves and soothes my soul. And introducing someone new to that joy has been satisfying, too. Besides the music, another circle of friends has gathered me into their fellowship. An autumn party with good food, good company, excellent conversation, and adorable puppies was another reminder of my wealth of friends.

This past week was the jewel in the crown, though. It says a lot about one's work environment when one chooses to spend time with one's co-workers when off-duty. One of my fellow rangers has access to a 125 year old family camp on a private island on an inland lake. We are privileged to be his guests in that little piece of paradise once a year. There are only two ways to get there, by boat or by hiking in five miles and fording a stream to get to the island. We hike, as Bandit comes with us, and a nervous dog in a canoe is never a good idea. The hike in goes through a cedar/pine/hemlock forest that has grown up around ancient, mossy boulders left by the glacier during the last ice age, skirts the lake, and arrives at a marshy area with the stream. Some years there is a lot of water, some years it's dry. The trail crosses the stream and one arrives on the island. There is a peacefulness that is immediately noticeable: at least seven generations' worth of happy memories and good times have made this a place out of time, a realm apart from the ordinary.

There is no electricity, no cell phone service, no radios. There are shelves and shelves of books, cupboards filled with games, and a huge trestle table in a large dining room. All beckon one to interact with one's companions directly. Without all the modern conveniences, one quickly falls back into older, more natural rhythms: firewood must be cut and split by hand, water hauled from the lake, the fire tended to lest it go out. Time has little meaning there, we woke when the sun rose, ate when we were hungry, sat in front of the fire in conversation, played games by the light of the gas lights, and went to bed when we were tired. Everyone fell naturally into chores: Andy splitting wood with maul and wedges, myself doing dish duty, Michael being the host and knowing where everything was and how things worked, Jenn mastering the use of the percolator. Cooking was a communal affair, whoever emptied the water filter for drinking water immediately refilled it, the water pitcher was kept full.

When our short time came to an end, we left things clean and tidy, the wood box next to the fireplace full, and everything they way we found it. I like to think we added to the aura of happy memories and good times that envelop the island and that the next person to arrive there gets as much peace and contentment as we did.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 11 Oct 13 - 03:55 AM

For three days the wind howled around the house I am never sure when it does that if it is a cry of pain or its attempt to strike terror into the hearts of those huddled inside. The rain came not like tears but like waves of miniature daggers hurling themselves against the old walls and anyone foolish enough to venture out. Darkness descends and winter strode into town with all the vulgar brashness it could muster.

Our small town however is not quite ready to give in to the cold look winter has cast us. For a moment it is beaten back now the weather sits stunned on the horizon unsure of what it is supposed to do.

The town holds its breath till not even a blade of grass moves afraid to draw winters attention. Birds hide untrusting of this quietness with the exception of one rather stunned house sparrow who sits on the fence across the road watching the thin band of brightness on the distant horizon gently turning the darkness over the town to a lighter grey. It bravely tries to expand its territory of light but the low cloud fights with steely determination to maintain its dominion over the town today however it will lose the battle as the light quietly nibbles away at the edges of darkness.

Gradually birds emerge from their shelters today they will feast on the rowan berries. The residents of the small town follow their example and life creeps out of heated buildings onto quite streets suffused with the last vestiges of autumn warmth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Megan L
Date: 19 Sep 13 - 08:28 AM

Little things mean a lot

It was on the thread for Charlie and his wife I spoke about the little things that keep you going when someone is in hospital, it reminded me of the song sung by Kitty Kallen.


Little Things Mean A Lot

Blow me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I'm not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot
Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you're far away
Little things mean a lot
Don't have to buy me diamonds or pearls
Champagne, sables, and such
I never cared much for diamonds and pearls
'cause honestly, honey, they just cost money
Give me a hand when I've lost the way
Give me your shoulder to cry on
Whether the day is bright or gray
Give me your heart to rely on
Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven't forgot
For now and forever, that's always and ever
Honey, little things mean a lot


Sometimes it isn't words that matter it's the little touches and smiles even if they are sad ones all the little unspoken communications that tell us people care even when they don't know what to say.

Sadly when we are scattered all over the world sometimes words are all we have they are our cyber hand on the shoulder . There was one old lady I used to visit who always placed her frail hands very gently on top of mine as we spoke, her touch like a butterfly kiss yet the love and care it gave was stronger than any castle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Sunshine Thoughts
From: Ebbie
Date: 18 Sep 13 - 03:24 AM

I love "dayspring".


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