Take a staycation….

The architecture of this nest is intricately and wonderfully beautiful. It was located high up on my lights out in front of my house. The owner of this nest had good intentions to be sure. It was carefully sheltered underneath the highest peak of the roof, away from rain, snow, and too much wind, or hot sunshine. The only problem is that it was on the apex of two lights. Nestled there in between, it would be secure. However, it would also be a potential fire risk. It has been empty, and no birds decided to claim it, so it was removed because of the potential for it to catch fire. It was handled with extreme care, and was relocated to an area that was safer for everybody.. including the birds.

I was struck by the intricate detail of the construction of this bird home. It had larger sticks on the outside, and the inside had gradually smaller sticks, so it could form a cozy round circle. It was a sturdy structure. It will be interesting to see if another bird will decide upon it for a second home.. stay tuned.. I’ll be observing with my trusty binoculars for the relocation project from a safe distance of 6 feet..probably farther truth be told .

The exquisite simple cheerful sounds of the morning birds in the Spring. My Mum always enjoyed hearing them through her open window. She was, and is very often “ up before the birds.” She would put out fresh oranges, and orange liquid jello, and these glorious marigold shaded orioles would come light outside her window. They were a breathtaking shade of coral.

It’s the little things, the planting of tiny seeds, and the hope that leaps forth as the precious seed is covered by heavy dark dirt, and then the waiting… will there be resurrection and new life ?.. I feel like a little kid expectantly awaiting Christmas, and the opening of gifts, as I wait in hope for the seedlings 🌱 to push upwards towards the sun.

I don’t know about any of you guys, but I feel Spring Fever.. the need to plant, and rake up old leaves.. well maybe not the raking, and bagging part, but the making a pile and burning part would be fun, except I probably won’t burn them. I have a feeling that could get out of hand, since there are many trees, and much dry brush.. too much potential for a disaster. I take a walk up the road, I smell a wood burning fire somewhere along the way.. That heavy, smoky scent, always warms me as I walk by, and I sniff big the intoxicating and comforting waft of air like it’s my last dying breath.

The river is calm, and serene, and this is such a relief compared to last Spring. I’m wondering if I wouldn’t have appreciated this calm river so much, had I not encountered the raging and rising river of last Spring. Is it possible you appreciate the calm much more, because you encountered the storm?

This being at home for the last bunch of weeks has helped me appreciate all the reasons why I miss the community of others.. My own asking and answering of all of my questions has reminded me of how much richness friends, family, and business associates bring into my life. I am tired of my own voice, and look forward to communing with others in the future face to face.

My kids live far away, and this self isolation has made it feel like they may as well live on the surface of the moon. They live in another country, and I can’t get to them right now. It feels completely odd, and wrong.

My son Logan has been going through family movies, and enjoying the process. I decided to go through my two bins of photos, and search for treasures to send to him.

I was not prepared for the onslaught of emotions as I peered at memories, and vacations that had been taken. As I stood on the cool cement floor of my basement, with the fluorescent lights illuminating my project, many emotions welled up, and tears were not far behind.

I was so grateful to still have intact these bins of photos, as many had been destroyed by the flood that came last Spring. These ones had been saved….thank you God.

What really struck me though was the many scenery shots that I had taken, of trips to Italy, France, Germany, Albania, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, England, Scotland, the Family cottage in Muskoka, Bahamas, Barbados, many states in the USA, and multiple other destinations were not nearly as precious as those with the people inhabiting the frames.

Even though the memories came rushing back of these exciting and tantalizing countries.. what remained the most significant was people… the connection.. the experiences.. the wonder of first discoveries, and the laughter, the pure joy of sharing a dark hot chocolate in Belgium that was so thick and rich, my taste buds still dance with delight at the memory. The faces of loved ones were cherished. People that I had forgotten that I had travelled with while in college on architectural trips abroad. That’s what consumed me. I discarded many of the empty just scenery shots. If there wasn’t a human in them, they were just not that interesting any longer.

It took me on a “ staycation” there in my basement. I constructed piles of keeps, and ones that would be sent to other family members, and then a discard pile. Tons of photos were placed atop my washer and dryer, as I sought to lessen the quantity.

I let my mind wander from place to place, from person to person, and I revered each detail lovingly, and with great Thanksgiving for the opportunities I had been given to travel, and experience these many places. So many blessings.

These photos reminded me of the joy of having these people in my life, and the sorrow too, of the ones that are no more in my world. I cried to see my Dad huddled over in his late Parkinson’s state, and wept at his suffering, being reduced to a huddling and collapsed man bytes dreaded disease. It was heartbreaking to see a photo of him in the front seat of his much loved “ model A Ford”, hardly able to sit up straight. His camel wool cap put on top of his head, and a vehicle that once brought a huge smile to his face, no longer held any satisfaction to him. Sorry.. I cannot share that photo… it’s just too much…

But then, I would find the redeeming photo of him, standing tall, and handsome, and even though the disease was true and real, so was this man who has been my father. The younger and stronger version.. Both had to exist, because both happened.

It’s interesting to me how your brain softens some of your memories, especially the harsh ones. I guess it’s a good thing, because some scenes we encounter, and experiences are better left as dust on the shelf. It’s kinder to ourselves. I know some friends who dare not look at photos, for the pain of them.. I get it.. maybe some day.. all in the right time.. and then again.. maybe never..

A photo vacation in my house happened, and a reminder of my friend Heather who told me one day, she was coming over to shoot photos of Bianca, and I. She was three years old at the time. Bianca was, not Heather. She was a full grown woman.. ha.. These photos were not destroyed.. they were intact.. and as I looked on them, I remembered with such clarity that day, and that these moments are frozen in the time vault of my head.. ever poignant and so precious…. Thank you Heather for these irreplaceable images that comfort me now, and will for the rest of my time in this earth.

There is something so satisfying about holding the hard copy in your hands, and reaching out to touch through the photo, and reminisce about the softness of their skin, the scent of their neck, and get lost in the memory of what was like to be with them..

Find your photos… and take a staycation.. there will be smiles…tears.. maybe anger…this is your life…

6 thoughts on “Take a staycation….

  1. I just love this so much….I think I will invite the fam over for a “photo look through 👀”. Last night some of our fam came over for communion, and it was nice. (Although Derryn was skeptical thinking that the hymns we were gonna sing would cause him PTSD from the meetin’.) thankfully he approved the hymns!

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Haha… to Derryn’s comments.. too funny.. Yes.. taking that trip through our memories in photos evokes lots of emotions.. but what better time than now. Logan is going though tons of family movies, and seeking ways to store them securely. I just sent more stuff I found while cleaning through bins. I’m sure your kids, their wives, and kids will be blessed. I sent Lorin some too.. To me.. photos are priceless memorabilia that showcases our lives like nothing else can. Sending love to you and your family ❤️


  3. Oh Jill, your words are so powerful, so honest and life giving. What a joy it was to be part of that one moment behind the lens, capturing the sweetness of a mother and daughter. You love deeply and your writing helps inspire us to also!


    1. Thank you Heather for taking the time, and making it a priority to capture these unique and sacred moments. I cherish these photos , and at times, I can scarcely believe I had the incredible honor to be Bianca’s Mum. I’m honored to be Zach and Logan’s too… except they now live too far away.. which makes my heart ache yearning to be with them.


  4. It’s funny because I have been going through that same process. Not all the old paper photos, but the more recent 2005 and beyond digital photos. We had 19,000 on the computer and I have discarded enough to bring it down to about 10,000. So many pictures in our digital world! I can’t tell you how many I deleted because they were pictures of scenery or buildings without people to anchor them. So boring! I too cherish so many wonderful memories and happily discard the painful. You’re so right, we can’t appreciate the calm without experiencing the storm, but I see no reason to keep reliving that damn storm either. Miss you always. You are in many of those pictures, BTW! Love you, friend.


    1. Hi Val:
      Thank you for your comments, and also acknowledging that my Mum has certainly been carried along by prayers for quite some time now.. it’s of course not easy to not get to visit, but we are living in precarious and odd times.

      I feel really good going through the photos, but it was an emotional experience to be sure… I treasure so many memories…. and yes to calmer waters.. suitable for kayaking or paddle boarding.and no thanks to big and terrifying tidal waves that threaten to break your vessel asunder.

      Love you and miss you too Val ❤️


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