~ The Second Season ~

Late Summer Sun © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014

Late Summer Sun © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014

The sky stayed a faded, pale gray-blue;
stone washed denim, dried out by the heat
of a late summer sun, whose sick, jaundiced hue
flattened thin clouds and melted the street.

That platinum, mad, metallic, bright disc
that laughed through June, by July, was hissing.
Even the wind, who fought hard to be brisk,
fell victim, and by August was noticeably missing.

The cicadas hatched under that scalding sphere.
The grass, dessicated, finally crunched into brown.
All agreed that summer was sadistic that year,
and we prayed for dusk, when the devil went down.

~ © C.L.R. 2014 ~

Posted in Ecology, Environment, Nature, Poetry, Seasons, Summer, Sun | Leave a comment

The rosebuds are gathered and my captain is gone…

Another bright light has passed from this world today. One of the most beautiful souls to ever grace the world has left this realm to travel others on wings of light and glorious laughter. Robin Williams died today. He was an incredible comedian, caring man, loving soul and gifted us all with the courage and will to face life with a smile, no matter what.

Image courtesy of  The Huffington Post.com

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.com

How is it that someone we have never met in person can have such a profound effect upon us and our lives? I write this with tears streaming and I weep for the world to have lost such an incredible person and force for the Light. I cry because for so long, Mr. Williams battled the demons of depression and addiction…and anyone who has ever fought either one of those (or both) knows exactly how hard it is to even keep your balance, much less win the war. He fought a good fight. I mourn that he who brought so much laughter and wisdom, so much compassion and gentleness to so many people could have been in so much pain that he just wanted it to stop.

Image borrowed from intentblog.com

Image borrowed from intentblog.com

I’ve loved him since Mork & Mindy, but my favorite roles of his were Professor John Keating in Dead Poets Society and Parry in The Fisher King.  I’m sure everyone has their favorites, remembers some way he touched their lives and made life better.

Please, if you or someone you know is suffering from depression or battling addiction, reach out.  This is the most important thing you can do for yourself or them. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is: 1-800-273-8255.

 *********

 Goodbye, my Captain.  May your soul find peace and keep the angels laughing. Thank you for everything you gave us.

 

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old time is still a-flying;
    And this same flower that smiles today
    Tomorrow will be dying.

    The glorious lamp of heaven the sun,
    The higher he’s a-getting,
    The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he’s to setting.

    That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
    But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

    Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And, while ye may, go marry;
    For, having lost but once your prime,
    You may forever tarry. “

~ Robert Herrick (1648), “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”

“O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead…”

~ Walt Whitman (1891), excerpt from “O Captain! My Captain!”

Posted in Death, Food For Thought, Gratitude, Grief, Inspiration, Life, Poetry, Sympathy, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Perfection and Creation

We have a saying in my family, “Nothing to it, but to do it.” It’s meant to be a motivator, a call to action, and can be applied in many different situations.  When it comes to the craft of creating, however, sometimes that motivation of knowing that “it needs to be done, so get to it”, isn’t enough.  Some of us want to wait for the perfect time or inspiration in order to begin. Others of us start, only to become frustrated with how our efforts are proceeding.

john cleese quoteIt can be hard to create (whether it’s visual arts like painting or photography, or writing poetry, or coming up with a few bars for a new song) if/when you wait for the perfect inspiration to hit you or if you keep revising something in the quest for the perfect color, the perfect frame, word or note, etc.

have-no-fear-of-perfection Salvador Dali

Perfection is an illusion, anyway. But there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to applying “perfection” to the creation of one’s art.  Some people feel that seeking perfection can lead to trying harder and ending up with something as close as you can get to perfect.Vince Lombardi perfection

Others think that it can demoralize a person to the point of giving up (or not starting at all, which is worse).

perfection quote Margaret Atwood5154-if-you-look-for-perfection-youll-never-be-content Leo TolstoyBoth approaches have their merits, and while both points of view can lead to success, I think they take very different types of people to make them work.  Some people work better under pressure than others. Some enjoy more of a challenge than others do.

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-practice-perfectionWhich camp describes you? Does the search for perfection in your craft motivate you? Do you find that striving to reach your personal best leads to success in your creative endeavors? Or do you feel that all that pressure tends to backfire and leads to being paralyzed with inaction?  Do revisions make you shudder? Do you “edit” as you go?

Regardless of which attitude toward “perfection” that you have, it’s important to realize that true “perfection” only belongs to the Divine. We may come close. In fact, finding peace and acceptance of ourselves as part of the Divine is necessary, realizing that we are perfect, exactly as we are.  Can/Will you apply that same perspective to your art?

Quotation-Michelangelo-shadow-work-perfectionIn the end, the matter of whether our creation(s) have achieved “perfection” is completely up to us. Only the artist knows and can decide when something is done, and whether or not it’s done to the satisfaction of the creator. Remember: YOU, as the artist/creator are the only one you have to satisfy. Maybe “good enough” IS “perfect”. ;)

Perfection-Quotes-Ring-the-bells-that-still-can-ring Leonard Cohen

Posted in Art, Creativity, Family, Food For Thought, Frustration, Inspiration, Life, Perfection, Poetry, Prose, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The longest word in the dictionary

It’s not “Floccinaucinihilipilification” (which is “the act or habit of estimating or describing something as worthless, or making something to be worthless by said means.” – Oxford English Dictionary).

Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com

Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com

It’s also not “Supercalifraegilisticexpialidocious“, believe it or not (sorry, Mary Poppins).

 

 

 

Nope, the longest word in the dictionary is SMILES (because there’s a mile between the S’s)…  :D Hahaha…ha?

Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com

Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com

Last month, June 15th was listed as “Smile Power Day“. But I say, why can’t it be every day? A smile is one of those things that can change all kinds of things for the better! It can:

  • Add years to your life
  • Make you a happier person
  • Make someone else a happier person
  • It’s a mood change for the giver and the receiver
  • Improves relationships
  • In business, it sends a great customer service message

There is great power in a smile. It’s contagious, too. And it’s an evolutionary trait!  Did you know that your smile can be a predictor of how long you will live? Or that every, single person is born smiling? I bet there are other things you didn’t know about smiling.

In this TED Talk video, Ron Gutman talks about “The Hidden Power of Smiling”.  Laughter may be the best medicine, but it all starts with a smile. ;)

So go out and smile today! Make a conscious effort to do it more today (and every day!). Spread the wealth and do something good for your health and those around you.  I’ll venture to say you won’t regret it. :)

 

 

Posted in Food For Thought, Friendship, Giving, Health, Inspiration, Life, Present, Smiling, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

~ Dragons’ Secret ~

© "Time to Fly" by Corina L. Ravenscraft

© “Time to Fly” by Corina L. Ravenscraft

Far beyond time’s measure and memory,    
Long before the world became as it is,       
The wondrous dawn of Dragons came to be,
And brought with their kind, sun-forged imprimis,    
The sage and noble first seed of life’s truth:  
Protect and guard the world’s balance they knew.
They nurtured this mission to fruit, in their youth,
And in their high, immortal manner, too,
Preserved the knowledge, and kept the way smooth.
They held tireless vigil o’er beasts and land.
Whether newly hatched or long in the tooth,
They instantly knew, and could understand,
Necessity of defending their world:
Ensure the delicate balance survived.
Through Light and Dark, Past and Future unfurled,
Balance made sure that the seed of truth thrived,
Through vast generations of ageless souls.
Dragons’ keen skill kept the world’s balance true.
‘Til certain beasts (men) crept out of their holes,
Watched the dragons, and in their learning grew,
In dire arrogance, thought that they knew best,
With no accord or preservative plan.
They took what they wanted, savaged the rest,
No keepers of truth, these foul beasts called Man.
They spread like disease, infecting the land,
Claiming dominion of all that they saw.
The balance shifted, under Man’s harsh hand,
With no respect for the Dragons’ first law.
The Wyrms began to ponder their choices,
Held Dragon Council and called for a vote.
“Destroy them!” cried almost all the voices.
Then one came forward, soft voice in her throat,
Spoke of another, wiser solution:
“Let us,” she said, “disguise ourselves as men.
Then teach them, ourselves, to stop pollution.
Teach them about balance, as one of them.
But, we must forsake our immortal souls.”

“But we must forsake our immortal souls.”
The words echoed grave round the gathered drakes.
All considered such a dire change to their roles,
And the consequences of Man’s mistakes.
Finally, as one, they reached agreement.
Scales shivered, wings withered, tails disappeared.
They keened a last, great song, in deep lament,
Forfeiting all, for the truth they revered.
Then they dispersed to all of Earth’s corners.
Clothed in many colors of human skin.
They started their set task as foreigners,
But adapted, and quickly learned to fit in.
You may have met one of their disguised kind.
They fight for the Earth, and all its glory.
They’re rare, but if you look hard, you might find,
That you already know the Dragons’ story.
They’ve left the ending to you and me…

They’ve left it to us. So what will it be?

© 2014 C.L.R.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Tropical Thoughts…

It’s summertime here in the South, and the weather puts one in mind of the tropics; the steamy humidity, warm summer sun combine to promise that you’ll need another shower as soon as you dare to step foot outside. Many years ago (2006), I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Big Island of Kona, Hawaii for a couple of weeks. You hear stories, of course, of the beauty, but nothing compares to the reality. It truly is a tropical paradise. The native people are very eco-conscious and generally helpful, friendly people.  They have a deep respect for the Earth and their simple ways of life were incredibly appealing to me.  It’s terribly expensive to live there, since the economy is tourist-driven, but if I ever had the money, this is where I would retire and happily spend the rest of my life.

I got to snorkel with Green Sea Turtles…

Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006

Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006

and see plenty of Yellow Tangs and Needle-nosed Knifefish (which floated right below the surface of the water in schools) — Both are types of reef fish.

Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006

Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006

 

 

Needle-nosed Knife Fish

Needle-nosed Knife Fish

I also got to see some amazing waterfalls (although it was raining like a monsoon when I went to see them) This is Akaka Falls…

Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006

Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006

 One of my favorite pictures from the trip is from Pololu Valley. You could see the mountains, the coast and the rainforest vegetation all in one shot…

Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006

Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006

There were some wonderful examples of island art, from hammered tin gates…

Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali'i Drive

Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali’i Drive

to the carved, wooden Ki’i statues in various places all over the island. These statues are usually meant as guardians to protect and watch over certain sites. This one is from “Place of Refuge”…

One of the Ki'i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge

One of the Ki’i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge

To my great delight, there were even dragons!

Between Two Dragons at the Hilton

And Buddha was there, too!

Buddha and Me

It was such an inspiring trip, I couldn’t help but write a poem to help me remember the experience. If you ever have the chance, I hope you will go! It was an enriching journey for the artistic spirit and the soul of anyone who appreciates nature. :)

~ Kona ~


 

Muted moonbeams drift through vaporous clouds,

While gecko songs mesh with the soft click of palms.

Awash in the gentle susurration of waves’ persuasion,

The island breezes encourage me to let go…relax.

No pressure here, no hustle and hurry,

No scamper and scurry,

On “island time”.

Simply hang loose and flow.

The scent of exotic, tropical orchids,

Mixed with the lush green of giant, verdant ferns.

The bright flicker of numerous birds in the brush,

Calls from long-forgotten conchs and steady drums…

All convince me that I,

Have finally found my way home,

To Eden.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2006

((Someday, I’ll get back there and once more find that kind of peace and serenity.))

Posted in Art, Environment, Inspiration, Nature, Peace, Poetry, Spirituality, Travel, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Man Who Planted Trees

If you haven’t read or heard the tale, “The Man Who Planted Trees” by French author Jean Giono, it is a wonderful story about how one person can have a tremendous impact on the world! It’s also a story of how everything in nature, including man, is connected.

"The Man Who Planted Trees" by Jean Giono.  Image borrowed from Wikipedia Commons, fair use agreement.
“The Man Who Planted Trees” by Jean Giono. Image borrowed from Wikipedia Commons, fair use agreement.

It tells about how a single, reclusive shepherd manages to successfully re-forest a barren and desolate area in the foothills of the Alps. Elzéard Bouffier, the shepherd, dedicates the latter half of his life to re-planting acorns, beech nuts and other tree seeds, one by one, patiently walking the land where nothing would grow and no water flowed, and the people who lived there were a hard, bitter folk.

When I first heard the tale, I thought that it was based on a true story.  I later discovered that it is not. However, there have been real life counterparts! There is a man in Assam, India, named Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly managed to plant a forest covering 1,360 acres.  Abdul Karim is yet another man in India who used the same method of planting trees as the shepherd in the story, and over a period of 19 years, created an entire forest from nothing. Another man, Ma Yongshun, was a forestry worker in China who planted more than 50,000 trees in his lifetime!

Tree gif from dragonkatet/photobucket.com

Tree gif from dragonkatet/photobucket.com

If you haven’t read or heard the story, may I suggest that you pick up a copy from your local library, or even better, watch the short, animated film below. It is an uplifting story full of hope and reassurance that no matter who or where you are, you CAN make a difference as only a single entity! Best of all, your actions may inspire others and create a ripple effect of good. :)

Posted in Ecology, Elements, Environment, Food For Thought, Friendship, Inspiration, Life, Nature, Stories, Trees, Uncategorized | 4 Comments