A lovely photo from a trip to southern Switzerland and beautiful Lake Maggiore in 2007. It is the second largest lake in Italy and the largest in southern Switzerland. Lake Maggiore and its shoreline are divided between the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy and the Swiss canton of Ticino. The lake travels 41 miles and gets more beautiful with each twist and turn through the mountains. One of my favorite places on earth!
Return to Cape May
Summer would not be complete without my annual trip to Cape May. Actually, I usually travel there the last week of spring to avoid some of the craziness of the crowds that later flock to the Cape May area. My favorite part of Cape May is Cape May Point which is a mile or so outside of the quaint Victorian town. This is the area where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Delaware Bay. It is primarily a residential community with only one store/restaurant, a post office and many churches.
Last week, my daughter and I stayed at a cottage on Lake Lily, a thirteen-acre, fresh water lake with a colorful history. Apparently it was a special watering hole for the Kechemeche Indians. Rumors of British soldiers and Captain Kidd are intertwined in its history. Recent efforts by the Friends of Lake Lily have kept it a peaceful, healthy retreat for both humans and wildlife. I spent many relaxing moments sitting on this bench. I have to say that as much as I love sitting by the ocean, I found it more peaceful here.
Here are some of my photos at the point including the remnants of the S.S. Atlantus, the concrete ship that sunk off the coast in 1926. For some reason, I feel compelled to take one of the wreckage each year even though it doesn’t change very much.
This area has a few excellent wineries which are fun to visit when the weather is not ideal. We spent an hour or so relaxing at nearby Willow Creek Winery.
Recently, I discovered that my great-great grandparents retired to Cape May Point back in the 1870s after a life on the farm in Burlington County. Unfortunately, the 1880 census does not give the street address. One of the fun things we did was to eat in a French New Orleans restaurant at 410 Bank Street in the town of Cape May, a house where their grandson, and my first cousin 2x removed, lived in 1920. Maybe this family connection partially explains why I’m drawn here again and again.
So how about you? Do you have any fun summer plans?
It’s the Little Things
Do you ever take the time to notice and reflect upon an unexpected flash of nature? A couple of months ago I looked out of my back window and was amazed to see petunias bursting through a crack in my pavers. How pretty they looked among the hard, gray stones that encased them. I don’t grow any petunias in my yard so that made this sight even more fascinating. It seemed like it was reminding me that beauty can be found anywhere.
Recently, I came face to face with a hummingbird that paused in mid-air and looked directly at me for about ten seconds while I was sitting on my front porch. This amazing creature was only about twenty inches from me. That glimpse into each other’s eyes felt meaningful, like a reminder that all of God’s creatures are one.
While sitting on the same porch two weeks ago, I turned around and saw a huge, green praying mantis crawling along the sill of my front window. I stood up as he came close to my shoulder. Even though we are “all one,” I wasn’t sure that I wanted him crawling along the back of my neck. I went to get my camera and returned to find him climbing up the shutter. I hadn’t seen a praying mantis in a few years, let alone one this large. It is said to be a symbol of stillness and peacefulness. Maybe he was encouraging me to continue in the meditation practice that I’ve been struggling to make a habit.
Could it be that signs like these jump out at us when we get so caught up in our busy lives that we don’t take the time to feel or reflect?
An unexpected smile or reassuring touch from a stranger can brighten our day if we take the time to notice and appreciate it. A quick hug or kiss form a loved-one can do the same especially if we are not expecting it. Do we take the time to feel and appreciate the love in these actions?
The sky is filled with never ending hues of color and unique cloud formations. How often do we look at it or take the time to notice the gentleness of a breeze blowing across our face?
The world is full of love and beauty; we have only to take the time to notice it. Although focusing on it will not remove the bad and ugly that exists, it goes a long way in enhancing our quality and enjoyment of life, as well as bringing more of these lovely experiences into our existence.