heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 1 of 7: The solace of animals

 

Miranda, when she was much younger, relaxing on top of Bacchus

(Photo  of Miranda and Bacchus – Copyright © Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved).
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. ”
Anatole France, French poet, journalist and novelist

It’s very late in the day for me to be posting my first “Revelation” of the New Year, but this evening, we buried our ancient cat, Miranda. She died peacefully at home on the 29th. It’s a somber day for us, as we cherish each of our cats. And now there are 7 left. One of them, Zorba, has been wailing mournfully (off and on) since Miranda died. He reacted the same way when our old dog, Bacchus, died two years ago. Cats do grieve. Zorba, we think, is very attuned to the intricacies of life and death. A sensitive soul, he is the spiritual one of our cat colony. All of the cats have been taking turns comforting my husband and I, as we grieve. Just earlier today, I was sitting in my reading chair and, suddenly I had two cats on my lap and one straddling the back of my chair.  I cannot imagine a home without animals.

And I cannot understand people who dislike animals. I am not comfortable around animal-haters. It’s a deal-breaker for me. But, to each his own.

To bring up a child with a pet dog or cat is to teach him/her tenderness, compassion and respect.

To give an elderly person a pet or exposure to animals is to provide them with joy, comfort, affection and companionship.

As for someone like me, who is somewhat halfway (okay, maybe a little more than halfway) between the two… I can say that I find true solace and serenity with my beautiful creatures. They have seen me through the best of times and the worst of times. In the hardest moments of my life, they reminded me that there is always a reason to laugh, to lighten up and relax. They give me perspective. And in return, I give them my heart, my time, my protection and, of course, some seriously good food.

MIRANDA

Sept 2, 2001 – Dec 29, 2017

R.I.P.

(Photo of Miranda – Copyright © Heather Joan Marinos. All Rights Reserved).

Farewell 2017 and Hello 2018!

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
Ellen Goodman, American Journalist

Like any other year, 2017 had its share of peaks and valleys. Personally, I will not be sorry to see 2017 go. And I am approaching the next twelve months with cautious optimism. I am very curious to see how it all pans out. 

“Each day hands me a clean sheet of paper upon which to write. Therefore, I would be wise to write without ever having the need to erase.”
Craig D. Lounsbrough

Many blessings for 2018 and may tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebration be filled with laughter, good food, plenty of bubbly libation, and the company of those you hold dear!

And, as always, a very special shout-out to my family and friends across the globe.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the first of my annual seven New Year’s Revelations (not to be confused with resolutions.. I stopped making resolutions decades ago!). 

And a new chapter begins ….

Cheers!

heatherfromthegrove

In Memoriam 2017 – music, film and television

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

“Music is the ultimate medium for expressions of love, and those expressions find a beautiful backdrop in the environment. Music is also a popular rallying point — at its central core, it’s a way for people to get in touch with the best parts of themselves and to voice the love in their hearts. And the environment is one of the great loves of our lives — when we think of the best parts of ourselves, the environment is always there, informing us, as a backdrop.”

— Gord Downie, Canadian rock singer-songwriter, musician, writer and activist

“It would be hard for me now, at this age and stage, to leave a song without a glimmer of hope… I always like to have a glimmer of hopefulness, even in collapse.”

— Gord Downie

There are angels among us

(Photo via pixabay.com)

“I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hours, to show us how to live, to teach us how to give, to guide us with a light of love.

Helen Keller

There are angels among us. Of this I am certain. They look like you, they look like me. They are the people who lift us up when we need it most (and sometimes even when we don’t realize that we need uplifting). A smiling glance, a friendly wink, some sage words of advice, a random (or not so random) act of kindness…  these have the power to make someone’s day or month or maybe even change someone’s life.

So, as long as we are able to breathe, think, and feel … there is hope.  In this, the holy season of  love and kindness, most of us experience a heightened awareness of how truly precious our family and friends are to us.  It’s not that we take them for granted throughout the rest of the year.  But, in the spirit of the season, we stop and take pause … and give thanks.

As we count our blessings this holiday season, please remember that there are millions and millions of people – around the world – who are hungry, homeless, displaced, discouraged and lonely.

In this, the season of giving, please do what you can to help a neighbor, a stranger, a family in your community. Consider donating food, clothing, blankets and toys to your local missions. If you can, help out at your local food bank. Perhaps you could share your Christmas feast with someone less fortunate. If you dine in restaurants, think of giving your leftovers (that you would normally take home and maybe throw away a day later) to the homeless man or woman huddled on the sidewalk. Don’t pass them by, averting your face. Show them compassion and grace.

Be an angel.

Kindness… pass it on.

May the true spirit of the holiday season fill your hearts and homes with many blessings.

– heatherfromthegrove xo

(Photo via pixabay.com)

 

 

The best prayer is Thank You

bird weather

“‘Thank you‘ is the best prayer that anyone could say.  I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.”
~ Alice Walker 

As we begin the week of  Thanksgiving in America, it is important to remember, respect and show compassion to all those who do not have the luxury of a warm meal, a place they call home, or the safety net of a regular income stream. It’s a time to remember to be grateful for the blessings that we have. In many instances, what we take for granted are often luxuries to the less fortunate. 

It’s a time to reflect and think about how you could make a difference, a dent in this insidious epidemic that is Hunger.

Check out the Humanitarian Efforts page of my blog if you are interested in learning more about how you can help fight hunger in your community. And see what wonderful work is being done by three well-respected hunger relief organizations in the United States, Canada and around the world.

Gratitude (a prerequisite for happiness)

I, for one, bow my head in thanks for the sweetness and light of my family, friends and my beloved “children” (my pets). 

Humility (not always palatable for many)

There are those who are, by nature, humble. Then there are others who have learned how to be humble. I fall into this latter category.

I guess we are all a ‘Work in Progress’ …  

Thank you for stopping by.

 

Image via landypf.blogspot.com.

The power of a book

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”

James Baldwin

 

 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Truth, a writer’s moral obligation

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”
Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

 

 

(Photo via pixabay.com)

Churchill said it best

“Writing a book is an adventure. 
To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement.
Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant.
The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him to the public.”

~  Winston Churchill

(Image via pixabay.com)

A guiding light

Sambro Lighthouse (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

 

“Lighthouses are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other. ”   

Virginia Woolf 

My grandfather was a lighthouse keeper… almost a century ago and on the other side of the ocean… far, far away. I wonder what he thought, all by himself – day after day –  in the middle of an endless sea.

Twelve years ago, my mother and her sister (my aunt) died within two months of each other. My mother was 79, my Aunt, 86. According to their express instructions, they wanted to be cremated and requested that I scatter their ashes in the open sea – so that they would go back home to Europe. It was an honour and a privilege to fulfill their wishes. One of the most peaceful and serene moments in my life was when I leaned across the fishing boat, said a prayer and – one-by-one – scattered each beloved woman’s ashes. I said my goodbyes and wished them a safe journey. Despite the moody sky and the very (very) rocky waves, time stood still.  I knew, in my heart, that the steady gaze of the lighthouse would guide them home.

“I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.”    

George Bernard Shaw

—– Photo Cerdit: By Dennis Jarvis from Halifax, Canada [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons