This holiday season we find ourselves once again needing and finding our joy in the comfort, healing powers and simple delights of, and in, nature.
It continues to be a time for caution and tempered, modest celebration and limited social engagement with friends and family for a second year, sadly.
We are working hard (and creatively) to counter weariness with the continued (never ending?) pandemic and its impact on daily living. At the same time, we are mindful that no matter how difficult and protracted it all seems, we are ever so grateful for the privilege of being able to ‘shelter in place’ among fellow citizens in this wonderful Canada we both are proud to call home.
Our goal for today’s blog is to offer a bit of cheer and serenity, if possible, in hopes of helping to lift spirits in these unsettled times.
Seeing a light dusting of new fallen snow on the trees and rooftops outside, and being greeted with the fresh evergreen scent of the indoor Christmas tree offer us both a fresh, happy start to a new day of possibilities, with a reminder of the wonders and simple pleasures that beckon from nature, if only we take a moment’s pause and lift our gaze up from our screens and racing thoughts, to notice.
We share a few local ideas and moments of joy we have experienced as we adapt how we celebrate this holiday season in Edmonton and in Toronto, in the hopes it may fuel our Readers’ creative and festive muse to spread and share a bit of joy and delight with others…. If all else fails, we share opportunities to wonder and marvel at nature from the treasure trove of Lucia’s magical photo collection. Please enjoy!
Catherine’s start to the week began with a delightful new tradition and opportunity to share in the special community spirit that makes her local neighbourhood such a treasure. At the invitation of her friend and consummate ambassador of community spirit building, Nora, she joined the outdoor “Holly Jolly Time” in neighbouring ‘Triangle Park’ for a tree trimming, festive cheer sharing, neighbourly event to mix and mingle safely, while also serving as a chance to donate to the local annual toy drive for children in need in nearby communities. The twist in this year’s second annual Holly Jolly Time donations event, aided by technology, is the opportunity to support the toy drive while at the same time supporting participating local retailers. Shopping local via the specially created toy drive website automatically generates donations to the toy drive, donations which then generously are being matched by participating local car dealerships. Win-win-win for all!
Lucia has started volunteering this year with her local bird rescue organization –The Beaverhill Bird Sanctuary – a special opportunity and joy to be outside in nature regularly, meeting new people and working together for a great cause that is personally meaningful to her as an avid birder. Here she is, learning the ropes while banding a Dark Eyed Junco.
Catherine is ‘spicing things up’ every day this holiday month– literally – enjoying supporting local retailer The Spice Trader while at the same time enjoying together with Tony a daily ‘surprise box’ of new aromas, flavours and inspiring recipe ideas via The Spice Trader Advent calendar (https://thespicetrader.ca/ ). So far, we have enjoyed being transported to France via creating a delicious mushroom stew medley seasoned with Herbs de Provence and can’t wait to “travel” to new exotic worlds when next we learn to cook for the first time with Iranian Loomi (black limes), sweet Aleppo pepper chili, South East Asian Kala Namak (Bir Noon or rock salt), EVOO and more. Yum!
These are just a few of the new ways and added reasons to celebrate the gift of our “one wild and precious life” (in the words of poet Mary Oliver) that we are exploring. (from Poem 133: The Summer Day. View at: https://bit.ly/3oABYOM and/or hear Mary Oliver herself reading the poem in this Youtube video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16CL6bKVbJQ )
We would love to learn about and be inspired by your new holiday adventures in and with nature!
Butchart Gardens Christmas Lights near Victoria