Yes, I Will Be Your Valentine 2/14/17

small-valentine-2017-jpg-sigValentine’s morning is frosty and clear
So clear I  see my breath,
Hear frozen cracklings underfoot,
While watching you scrape the icy veil,
Clearing the windows for a clean view,
Allowing you to make it safely to work.

I return to warmth and furry friends
Already missing you.
I see the handmade gift you made me,
A cardboard heart with a question and words of love.

The sun shines on deep red roses
In an elegant vase bought years ago.
I imagine the vase rejoicing
As it has long sat empty and now
It is serving beauty once again.
roses-2017-jpg-sig
With your gifts and question
You spoke of loving feelings, tender intentions,
And a wish that we might put our feet on a spiritual path
That deepens loving connection.

This evening we will celebrate
With other couples dedicated
To each other and their coupleships.

We will share with each other,
Working on healthy communication, true intimacy,
And ways to deepen our bonds together,
A wonder filled opportunity.

I spoke my answer to your question
And will now write it here, Beloved Husband.
Yes, I will be your valentine.

With gratitude in my heart
I can say I have loved you from the beginning
And continue to love you in the present.

My prayers are that we take
A spiritual journey together,
Deepening our compassion, kindness, love,
And feelings of gratitude for all we have,
Including each other.

Happy Valentine’s Day
From your beloved wife, Raven!

rose-close-2017-jpg-sig
May your Valentine’s Day be filled with gratitude, compassion, love, and kindness.

Our hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!

This, Too, Shall Pass (10/6/15)

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
~ Margaret Mead
10:6:15 L hazel10 sigTuesday, October 6, 2015 – “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi – October is such a fascinating month for change where I live and today’s prompt for OcPoWriMo is life changes. Changing leaves, temperatures, weather, daylight hours, and moods demonstrate that it is obviously autumn. The higher elevations have been colorful with leaves for a while now and the leaves are transforming and even falling in my neighborhood/micro-climate.  Change is apparent in my household, since everyone is adjusting to the death of one of the cats.  Cats don’t like change.  I ran across this quote that I found to be filled with synchronicity because of yesterday’s loss and my photos today are of hazel leaves beginning to change, “Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars  on Goodreads
10:6:15 L hazel7 sigI chose today’s photos because, not only do they demonstrate the change of seasons, they look mysterious at the same time.  Change brings mystery, because we can only know it as we experience it or it wouldn’t be “change” it would be “same”.  Though really, if you are fully present in the “now” is anything ever exactly the same?  The nature of life is change, transformation, and impermanence.  Just like no two snowflakes are exactly alike, no two autumns are the same, and no two hazel leaves are identical.  Life is a mystery of change and impermanence and each moment is unique.  The mystery unfolds each minute in time as you experience it.  The important thing is to be present in the moment. This way you can fully experience the gift of your life, though this can be challenging when you are experiencing loss, grief, sadness, anger, or other uncomfortable feelings.  A good saying when times are rough is “that this, too, shall pass”.  During difficult moments, I also try and keep alive the hope that painful experiences might help guide my personal transformation towards being a more kind and compassionate person.
10:6:15 L hazel12 sig 10:6:15 L hazel6 sig“dear hazels growing
rooted deeply in the ground
your leaves are changing”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
10:6:15 L hazel13 sig 10:6:15 L hazel5 sig“moment to moment
our very cells transforming
and this too shall pass”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
10:6:15 L hazel3 sigNamaste, Bright Blessings, Namu Amida Butsu ~ Raven

Come As You Are – 3/13/15, 3/14/15, 3/15/15

3:15:15 reflections and koi 1 sig“Although my eyes, blinded by passions, do not see the brilliant light which embraces me,
the Great Compassion never tires, always casting its light upon me.”
~ Shinran Shonin

Our old cat Velvet on 3/13/14 (she crossed the Rainbow Bridge that autumn).  RIP Dear One!

Our old cat Velvet on 3/13/14 (she crossed the Rainbow Bridge that autumn of 2014). RIP Dear One!

Click here for the post of photos from March 13, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Friday, March 13, 2015 – Today is golden with sunlight and the forsythia in full bloom.
3:13:15 f sig 3:13:15 close sig 3:13:15 f 1 sig“That Buddha, in the causal stage, made the universal Vow:
When beings hear my Name and think on me, I will come to welcome each of them,
Not discriminating at all between the poor and the rich and wellborn,
Not discriminating between the inferior and the highly gifted,
Not choosing the learned and those upholding pure precepts,
Nor rejecting those who break precepts and whose evil karma is profound.
Solely making beings turn about and abundantly say the Nien-Fo,
I can make bits of rubble change into gold.”
~ Hymn by Tz’u-min, cited by Fa-chao in the Wu-hui fa-shih tsan (Shorter Pure Land Liturgy of Nien-Fo Chant in Five Stages)

3:13:15 f 4 sig 3:13:15 f 3 sig 3:13:15 close nice sig“each blossom is filled
pollen, nectar, and longing
to bee completed”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

Honeybee gathering blue pollen from Siberian squill on 3/14/15.

Honeybee gathering blue pollen from Siberian squill on 3/14/15.

Click here for the post of photos from March 14, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Saturday March 14, 2015 – Today I saw a tiny beetle that looked like a miniature lady bug with black and red spots.  I haven’t looked this one up to see if it is actually some type of ladybug.  My Oregon grape is coming into bloom and the mason bees (osmia) are out and about.  My neighbors’ violets smelled heavenly.
3:14:15 nice b sig 3:14:15 v fr sig 3:14:15 osmia cl sig“True entrusting means that you’re able to truly relate to another being. Not only human beings but with plants and animals. Even those things that cannot speak, you’re able to hear their feelings. Namu-amida-butsu.”
~ Ichitaro
3:14:15 side v n a sig 3:14:15 side o cl sig 3:14:15 v sp sig“buds swell to bursting
sweet smells and nectar laden
beckon insect friends”
~ Raven Ariana Simons

Christmas cactus re-blooming on 3/15/14.

Christmas cactus re-blooming on 3/15/14.

Click here for the post of photos from March 15, 2012, 2013, and more 2014.

Sunday, March 15, 2015 – Today was exceptionally warm and we actually had a record high of 73 degrees F. at 3:00 P.M. MDT.  This is a quote from a local newspaper, “The warm temperatures are nearly 20 degrees warmer than normal temperatures for mid-March.” This made it a lovely day for sangha in the park and listening to and sharing wise words about our mindfulness practice and compassion.  We also learned about and practiced walking meditation.  I want to express heartfelt gratitude to our wonderful Practice Leader, Mr. Christopher “Myoshin” Ross-Leibow, and his lovely wife, Linnea, for their work service and also to the rest of the members of the Sangha. where we are truly welcome to “come as we are”.
3:15:15 Amida Buddha sm sig 3:15:15 falling water sig 3:15:15 koi and reflections 1 sig 3:15:15 koi 1 sig“Among all living things
mountains and rivers,
grasses and trees,
even the sounds of blowing winds
and rising waves –
there is nothing
that is not the nembutsu”
~ Ippen
3:15:15 old tree sig 3:15:15 falling water 1 sig 3:15:15 koi 2 sig 3:15:15 Amida Buddha 1 sm sig“we walk heal to toe
massaging sweet mother earth
with our mindful feet”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
3:15:15 koi and reflections sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace of the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings, Namaste, and Namu Amida Butsu ~ Raven

Jewels in the Melting Snow and Ladies out for a Drink 2/27/15

2:27:15 dr l 1 sig“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
Click here for past February 27 photos (2012, 2013, and more 2014).

Rain on hazel twig on 2/27/14.

Rain on hazel twig on 2/27/14.

Friday, February 27, 2015 – Today was very interesting because I’ve been having conversations about a new contraption called the “flow hive” that supposedly takes the work out of beekeeping.  My personal opinion of this invention is that it takes the mindfulness, skillfulness, kindness, compassion, and joy out of being a beekeeper.  I care about my bees and keep them for themselves rather than for the honey they produce.  In fact, my intuition was to leave them all of their honey in 2014.  I’ve been actively interested in and educating people locally about native pollinators since the early 1980’s.  I love biodiversity for its own sake.

This lady implores you to look around at the world and the creatures that share it with you with kind and compassionate eyes.  Taken at the urban oasis on 2/27/15

This lady implores you to look around at the world and the creatures that share it with you with kind and compassionate eyes and take action to end ecocide.  Photo at the urban oasis on 2/27/15

Most of my friends and family on Facebook know I am a beekeeper I have had many tags and posts to my timeline about this “flow hive” because the average person thinks this is a great thing and I’d enjoy learning about it.  Perhaps I’d even like to own one for myself.  This is not the case.  In fact, I think that it is a disaster in the making for the bees (as if they didn’t have enough problems).  The Winnebago Diaries (FB friends and fellow beekeepers) articulate concerns about the “flow hive” beautifully in this post.  Their FB page is Fair Share Honey.
2:27:15 hb cute sigI wasn’t originally going to post any of the honeybee photos I took today but given the online conversations I have had, decided I’d add them in with the melting snow and little water jewels on the emerging pollinator food (clover and dandelions).  I chose my quotes because I believe that education about what is truly happening to the earth and the biodiversity that keeps it livable for all is a key factor for getting grassroots efforts going.  The only way we can “save” our fellow creatures, soil, air, earth, water, and ourselves is if we all learn about the challenges we are facing, the ecocide that is happening, and do something.  I’ll start with my favorite quote from Margaret Mead ~ “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 
2:27:15 cl d sig  2:27:15 fat drop sig2:27:15 interesting sig“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
~ Robert Frost
2:27:15 fat drop sig 2:27:15 dr l sig 2:27:15 melting snow cl 1 sig“it can start with words
or images that move us
to protect the earth”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
2:27:15 dandy sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Bright Bee Blessings and Namaste ~ Raven

Conifer Cones 1/24/15

1:24:15 O  sig“To effectively communicate we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as our guide to communications with others.”
~ Tony Robbins
Flashback – Tuesday, January 24, 2012 – When my son picked me up today for an afternoon outing for his birthday there was a noisy flock of birds hanging out in the neighbors’ trees. A hawthorn tree is full of berries and they are waiting for a treat.
January 24, 2012 sigFlashback – Thursday, January 24, 2013 – Melting icicle on my front porch.
January 24, 2013 sigFlashback – Friday, January 24, 2014Yesterday I saw the female of this pair of hooded mergansers (the one with the Woody Woodpecker hairdo) and didn’t know what it was. Today the flashy male showed up with another female and I looked them up online when I got home and found out what they are! They are cute and the male (with the fancier hairdo) bobs his head up and down. He’s already starting to display and court the girls 🙂
January 24, 2014Saturday – January 24, 2015 – In the photo of the Oquirrh Mountains at the very top you can see that there is quite a bit of air pollution in the valley today making for a mostly gray day.  My neighbor has an evergreen in their front yard and I love these lovely cones it grows.
1:24:15 c 4 sig 1:24:15 c 2 sig“Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echos are truly endless.”
~ Mother Theresa
1:24:15 c 1 sig 1:24:15 c sig“a cool little walk
with time to visit a tree
in the yard next door”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
1:24:15 c 3 sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Namaste ~ Raven

Hawthorn Berries With a Blue Sky 1/22/15

1:22:15 w hb 1 sig“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Flashback – Sunday, January 22, 2012 – I love the brilliant blue showing off the barely budded maple twigs covered in melting snow.
January 22, 2012 sigFlashback – Tuesday, January 22, 2013 – This hazel leaf is tattered but still hanging on 🙂
January 22, 2013 sigFlashback – Wednesday, January 22, 2014 – Leaves (willow?) early in the morning before the sun is up over the mountains 🙂
January 22, 2014Thursday, January 22, 2015 – Today was sunny and I decided to capture some images of the hawthorn berries before they all got eaten by birds.  The neighbors’ Buddha that I like to take photos of happens to sit underneath the hawthorn tree 🙂
1:22:15 hb sig 1:22:15 w sig 1:22:15 w hb sig“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
1:22:15 hb cl sig 1:22:15 b sig 1:22:15 w 1 sig “red berries nourish
when they ferment on the tree
drunken birds stagger”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
1:22:15 hb arc sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Namaste ~ Raven

Watercress and a Lady 1/21/15

1:21:15 hb ref 1 sig“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
~ Lao Tzu
Flashback – Saturday, January 21, 2012 – Sunflower heads in today’s snowstorm weighed down by the prayed for snow.
January 21, 2012 sigFlashback – Monday, January 21,  2013 – Here the rising sun looks a little spooky next to this cottonwood tree.
January 21, 2013 sigFlashback – Tuesday, January 21, 2014 – Today there was frost everywhere and I stopped and took some lovely thistles blessed in ice before the sun came up.
January 21, 2014Wednesday, January 21, 2015 – Today the sun came out and I saw one of the ladies come in for water.  I don’t know if she lives in my yard or a neighbor’s.  Most of the tiny urban oasis plants are sleeping, but the watercress has some new growth.  I get many visitors all through the seasons.  I’ve been blessed to be able to provide the small kindness of an unfrozen water source in winter for the neighborhood creatures for the last few years.
1:21:15 hb f sig 1:21:15 w l sig 1:21:15 hb sig 1:21:15 w sig “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
~ Lao Tzu1:21:15 w l 2 sig
1:21:15 hb ref sig 1:21:15 w little leaves sig“my visitor drinks
we are quiet together
then she goes back home”
~ Raven Ariana Simons
1:21:15 hb looking 1 sig
I hope that you find the following video as inspiring as I did.  Our hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe! Namaste ~ Raven