After a wonderful trip to Newfoundland, I returned to my apartment with a heavy heart. Unsurprisingly, I am profoundly aware that someone is missing, and I would be lying if I pretended that I am not full of sadness over this loss. I’ve also realized, though, that a lot of people are going through challenges right now. The recession has meant that people who have worked long and hard, who have made sensible financial decisions and have attempted to mitigate risk well, are still in troubling circumstances. And tough economic times strain our relationships, too. I know I’m not the only one who is facing a difficult time and who is rethinking the future, or questioning the past. The best we can do is to accept that life is not straight-forward; there is no clear cut path to so-called success. We can do our best to work hard and make good decisions, but rarely does the future appear just as we’ve planned. This is, it seems, both a hard lesson to learn and a fact of life.
I try to stay focused on the present as best I can, and recognize the impermanence of this moment. Life is changing – it changes constantly. Things we take for granted become but memories, and angst we feel disappears into something new.
I am not trying to stop myself from feeling sadness, but rather I am seeking an opportunity to simultaneously discover abundance. Abundance means, to me, appreciating the brilliance and wonder of our surroundings. Smells, sights, textures, tastes. Kindness, innocence, forgiveness, authenticity. Diversity, opportunity, freedom, surprise. I think the quest to seek abundance in our lives is a good one to have, particularly during difficult financial times. Instead of seeking a new car, TV or wardrobe to make us feel successful, sexy, or happy, we may come to realize that we are quite capable of experiencing life’s riches without spending a dime.
My trip to Newfoundland was a perfect exploration of all these things. Newfoundland is a place where people epitomize genuineness and random acts of kindness are performed on a daily, if not hourly basis. A sense of community can be found anywhere, and is extended to outsiders throughout a willingness to share and be open. Most people treated us as though we’d long been best friends.
The land is vast, wild and free. It’s so wild and raw in some parts it borders on awe-inspiring, almost frightening, untamed wildness. And yet it produces such a strange juxtoposition of gentle beauty, its wild flowers growing with determination out of a rocky, unforgiving land. The weather is full of surprises; an early morning of rain and bone-chilling winds quickly turn into a warm and hospitable summer day. Moose, bald eagles, jelly fish and friendly whales crop up without warning, revealing too the unpredictability of nature, frequently repaying those who pay it respect with the currency of patience.
The rugged land has charged its inhabitants with years of incomprehensible sacrifice, pain and hard work - drudgery - in return for survival. The pain that its early inhabitants endured only serves to remind me that suffering has always been a part of the universal human condition; that countless people before me have invested much, much more into stakes that never came to fruition, that disappointment and loneliness have accompanied every soul that has ever lived.
And so, a few pictures to share (some of my favourites)
Wild Iris, covered in dew drops on the coast of Cape Spear
Black Horse beer, consumed in St. John’s.
Old fishing shed on the water at Trinity.
Lilacs and a white picket fence at a home in Trinity. (Can’t you just smell them?)
Baby beluga whale near Princeton. I took this picture from the side of the boat as he frolicked and played with us.
Wild flowers on Walker’s Trail in Tickle Cove.
Dock in Trinity
Basement window of a home in Trinity
Puffins, seemingly having a bit of a chat, at the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve
Lobster traps in Trinity
Buttercups against the peeling paint of a house in Trinity
I have many more favourites that will be making their appearance on flickr soon.
Enjoy whatever abundance is in your life today!