Wednesday, August 29, 2012

G is for Grand Canyon

Though I have been lucky enough to visit several times, I am simply unable to come up with words that adequately describe Arizona's Grand Canyon.  

'Stunning' is a good place to start...'majestic' is also a true and undeniable description...yet neither of these begin to describe the visceral impact one feels upon registering its amazing beauty. 

For me, 'breathtaking' is as close as I can come to explain the sense of reverence I felt gazing into the Canyon's  cavernous depths. My breath, indeed my whole being stilled with awe the first time I saw this natural wonder, with its contours so intricately sculpted over millennia by the erosive forces of wind and water.

My eyes were all that moved, greedily taking in the vibrant colours, the statigraphic layers...the sheer magic of this place that is so unlike anywhere else on earth.

Before I ever saw the Grand Canyon from the ground, I saw it from the air, a large gash on the earth's surface that is shocking in its size.

 Of course, my camera and I were happiest to be right there peering over the edge of rocky ledges in an effort to gauge the full scope of its depth.

I was both amazed and delighted with the ever-changing mood and mystery of the Canyon as the day's light changed it from minute to minute. Layers that had been sharp and bright early in the day were later washed golden and hazy in the late afternoon sun.
 If I stood patiently enough, I could see the light change from minute to minute in its inexorable sweep across the Canyon, an elemental journey that has taken place in this spot for more years than we can begin to comprehend.

It is easy to be at peace here, where nature proceeds unhindered and all we humans are required to do is observe the process and accept with grace the fact that we're a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

I am linking up to ABC stop by to visit many more takes on the letter 'G'!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

F is for Fear

 I think everyone needs a healthy dose of fear. 

Fear helps keep us safe...fear is what warns us something              ahead will be difficult, even dangerous.

 It prepares us to weigh the risks and decide if we will choose to continue on our path in spite of lingering doubts.

I've begun to think I should invite a greater level of caution into my life

Bose Farm, Surrey, B.C.

 Physical fears are common...a fear of heights and snakes, for instance. Such things are relatively easy to deal with if you shun high places and areas where snakes might slither out to you. 

That said, I saunter into those situations without giving it a thought.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Northern Ireland 
( Me enjoying sister, Nikki, not so much!)

 Another rule of thumb might be to respect No Entry and Danger signs, such as those found on the ramshackle ruins of dilapidated buildings. Any of my regular readers know that such signs inexorably suck my husband and I in to find out what is worth warning us about.

The one fear I truly respect is my fear of confinement.

I simply could not bear to be locked up. 

I'm sure it's that which keeps me honest, more than any ethical or moral standard!

The prison in Lincoln Castle, England

In view of my age and maturity, I've decided to develop a more measured approach to life...make a conscious effort to avoid danger in situations that promise it.

 Northern Utah

Of course, that would mean no more trespassing on abandoned ranches,  or getting as close to the edge of cliffs as I'm able to.

 Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Hmmm...I'll believe I'll have to discuss this plan with my partner-in-crime and get back to you on that!

Please stop by ABC Wednesday to read more fun takes on the letter 'F'!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

E is for Enjoyment

In the overall scheme of things, our human lives are brief...mere blips in a universe that has existed for more millennia than we can even conceive. 

By dint of this brevity, I believe we owe it to ourselves, and our world, to enjoy life to the fullest and give back to it the very best of us.

Of course, we know life is also hard. Pain and misfortune befall us all and enjoyment is sometimes far removed from the picture. I have had my share of those times this year...

 But think...even in the midst of tribulation, have you not appreciated a steady arm around you when you needed it most...a quick nod of empathy from someone who cares, and the sweetness of encouraging words from a friend?

Embrace fully that depth of sharing, should you be blessed to have it offered.

Enjoyment is not limited to the grand things we dream of and plan for. 

I have marvelled at a hot-air balloon ride
over the Serengeti...

gazed with wonder at the majestic temples of Egypt...

and watched breathlessly as waves crashed wildly against the Giant's Causeway on Ireland's northern coast.

Undeniable pleasures, yes, but enjoyment is abundant in the everyday. 

The sight of a squirrel lolling comfortably on my porch railing.....

my sweet cat whiling away the afternoon in a tree,

and the camera that's never far away from my hands.

Small pleasures abound. I have bubbles to blow, a garden to tend,


and the continuing support of a blogging community that offers me encouragement and inspiration.

On the bluest of days, I can still count my blessings and take comfort in knowing the bad times will pass.

Let's celebrate our lives as the treasures they truly are.

Let's make our time here special, remembering to reach out and share that enjoyment with those we love...:)

I'm linking this post to ABC Wednesdays, a fun même you should check out if you haven't yet done so...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

D is for Dog

Dogs have always been a part of my life. In my six and a half decades, I can count in months the times I have been without one.

This is the story of our girl Meeghan...

We  went into the pet shop to look...just look. 

Our beloved Yorkshire Terrier had died just three weeks previously, and a  large piece  of my heart had died along with Angel. I knew I could not bear to go through that pain again...I was done with dogs.


The shop was bursting with puppies that day – chubby, fluffy  wee dogs that did their bouncing best to get our attention. I barely glanced at them. Lost in thoughts of Angel, I was numb to the possibility of beginning again.

Turning to leave, we spied a scruffy black bundle cowered silently against the window while a much larger pup bounded on and around her. I caught her timid glance and felt something stir in me despite myself.  Michael asked them to bring her out, and once the shaky wee soul was in my arms, I was lost. The shopkeeper explained that this little one had been rescued from a puppy mill. As the ragged body pushed into me fearfully, he described the first three months of her life spent caged, unloved and filthy from lying in her own dirt. She was severely underfed, weighing only four pounds. I could feel every rib, every notch on her backbone...

There was no  considered decision to say yes or no; of course we could not leave her there. It was clear that she needed us. Even clearer to me, was the truth that we needed her.

Because it was St. Patrick's Day, we named our new girl Meeghan. Matted, dull-eyed and underfed, she was traumatized and fearful of everything.

As it turned out, I did not have to wait long for the pain I'd been trying to avoid. On the complimentary vet check provided, Meeghan was quickly diagnosed with a heart murmur...she had congenital heart disease that would prove fatal. The vet calmly suggested that we return her for a refund as she would almost certainly die  in a matter of months, if not weeks. It went without saying that since she couldn't be sold again, she would be euthanized, but not to worry, he went on...there were lots of cute and healthy dogs to choose from.

Meeghan had been mine for two days and  it was all the time we needed to bond. I was the first person to hold her. She trusted me from the start and I cherished her in return. There was no way I would give up on this little dog who'd never had a real chance at life. 
We immediately took her to our own vet, hoping for a miracle. He confirmed the diagnosis of Patent Ductus Arteriosus or PDA.

In humans and animals, a miniscule blood vessel that supplies oxygen to the lungs in utero should close at birth when the lungs fill with air. When it does not, the result is PDA, a condition that overworks the heart, fills the lungs with fluid and leads to congestive heart failure.

With Meeghan, her weakness and shortness of breath were all too obvious. She curled up beside my head on the pillow for safety and I lay every night with the sound of her speeding heart thrumming in my ear.

Our gentle vet offered two options: we could shower Meeghan with  love and attention...make her life joyous for the short time left before her heart gave out on her. Alternately, he could do open-heart surgery to try to close an incredibly small valve in a risky operation he'd done only twice before. The surgery would cost several thousand dollars and the chances were good she would not survive.

Neither my husband nor I hesitated for a moment. We had no idea how we could come up with the money, but we could either watch Meeghan suffer through a painful illness and die before she'd really lived...or put our faith in a doctor whose skill and compassion has been well proven. We simply had to give her a chance. 

The details aren't important, 
though it must be mentioned
that this wonderful
 veterinarian ended up 
charging us only a 
nominal fee for this 
complicated surgery. 

What matters most is that
 she survived the
 risky procedure and
 ultimately flourished.

 Four years later, she is a bouncy, 
spirited dog who loves her life 
and wrings joy out 
of every day!

She remains a scruffy girl in 
spite of constant grooming. 
As the runt of a Schnoodle  litter, 
she can enter no conformation 
shows.  Nor can we try 
for obedience or agility trials...our 
lackluster training skills being 
more to blame for a lack in
 that area than her obvious,
innate cleverness. 

No matter...we need
no certificate 
to know she's beautiful 
inside and out.

Meeghan is still hand-shy  
-she was clearly mistreated- timid with strangers and rarely leaves my side. Her eyes search my face often in a day as if to reassure herself I'm still there. While she loves the rest of the family, there is no question she is my girl...we adore each other unreservedly.

Yes, my heart may be broken again one day, but I will always cherish this small saviour  who helped lift me from the depths of despair  when it seemed an impossibility...a precious companion who enriches my life immeasurably each day by her sweet and simple presence.

I am linking up to the wonderful ABC Wednesday. For a real treat, stop by to see more stories and pics from around the world...

I will be away the week this is posted, but will get back to everyone as soon as I can...