You walk, you stroll, you love, you grow How the city effects you, you never know Meeting people and making friends A new adventure around each bend A place for old and new love too Seeing couples holding hands, its true The city of love, a city of passion Where to next, only you can fashion Sitting by a fountain, resting on the stairs With this city I am having an affair Love some parts, also hate others Its a city of artists, its a wonder! So much inspiration in one place A new day and adventure, its the way With inspiration and love in the air Each moment you will cherish and care
Written at the end of my trip to Italy, July 2012 Vacation is over, time to return to daily life I am still a mom and friend, but not a wife Daily life with all its ups and downs I find it hard to keep my feet on the ground My vacation inspired me and made me wonder Is there more to life than this daily plunder?
I wrote this during a trip to Italy in 2012 and found it written on a scrap of paper. It is true that when you have free time, you make room for creativity. The sing song Italian words I hear Motorbike sputtering, the city sounds near Behind, in front and to the side In Rome there is no quiet to find The air is warm and humid too With all the sun, you can't feel blue A moment of peace is in your heart That is where peace starts A place of calm, a place of home Where else can you be alone? A great big city with people everywhere As you stroll through winding streets without a care Sitting on the sidewalk drinking espresso How can I move from here? To get up and go? I don't want to leave but I know I must At some point, espresso runs out, what a fuss! Tourists walk by I can hear them laugh I don't feel much like them at all, too bad And so I finish my Roma cappacino At last its time to leave, here I go.
From the desert to the forest with the evergreen trees
A trip from coast to coast and I know where I’ll be
To the lake with the water splashing on the dock
The dirt road winds ’round the lake to walk
A trip so long by road, yet short by plane
Back to a place I grew up – so far, far away
Not just in miles but in years gone by
I long for the cool crisp air of night
The lake was always my second home you know
I traveled the world, always on the go
Not sure how I traveled – car, plane or boat
I am ready to return to the cabin down the road
Camp is a place in my heart and soul
It made my childhood memories like gold
I long for evenings sitting on the porch
The barbecue over and marshmallows scorched
A place still seen through my child’s eye
It looks so different as a grown-up, but why?
As I was picking myself off the floor at San Francisco airport today after a nasty fall, I wondered how I could have walked all over San Francisco this week without a wobble, yet I couldn’t walk through the airport without falling on my face. I decided I would blame it on the over-sized (a.k.a collossal) manuals I was carrying back from the training class I attended. I walked around all week with my San Francisco essentials (laptop, scarf, jacket, coffee ) and there was no falling down. Today the only difference was the extra load in my bag. It is possible that my shoes were to blame, but they are very comfortable Dansko.
Maybe I could blame an earthquake for my fall? Could the earth have moved below my foot causing me to lose my balance? I was thinking back to previous trips to the Bay area and maybe this area just makes me klutzy overall. I remember a trip from several years ago where I was walking along a sidewalk with a friend. We were talking and I must not have been paying attention then I walked right into a sign. Falling on my face, walking into signs, maybe all these are signs that it is time to go home or that this place makes me klutzy! During my walks around San Francisco this week I was reminded that it is one of the few cities in the US where you don’t need (or want) a car. Unless you want to leave the city a car isn’t needed (why would you leave, it has everything you need?).
Being in San Francisco reminded me of my trips this year to Israel and Italy. Being in a city is a completely different experience from the country or the suburbs. I like it. I felt like it is one of the few cities I could actually feel comfortable living in. Besides my falling, this trip was great! I like the cool ocean air, the energetic vibe of the city, and of course an excuse to walk through all of it! I remember as a kid my grandmother always asked, “Does anyone want to go for a walk?”. I always said, “Yes”. I am still saying, “Yes”. Whether it walking in the mountains around Phoenix, the Tuscan hillsides, the beach in Bat Yam, or the hilly streets of San Francisco I am still saying,” Yes, I want to go for a walk.” No fall on my face will keep me from walking, even if it is with a limp and a bruise on my knee. Where do you like to walk?
I recently traveled to Israel with my boyfriend and didn’t really know what to expect. I, like many Americans, used to have a skewed perception of what the country is like. Over the last few years many of these preconceived notions were debunked. I still wondered if life in Israel was at all like stories I had seen on the evening news. Would there be missiles everywhere and camels wandering the streets? Avoiding missiles and violence in Israel was not a problem. Gaining weight from all the fine food and finding a parking spot for your car were problems. I was so busy walking and eating there was no time to worry about missiles or my safety because walking around Tel Aviv was more safe than walking around New York City. Before the trip I had heard a lot about the food, the people, the beaches, the humidity, the historical sites and yes, more about the food. I spent most of my time in Tel Aviv, so maybe my extremely edible view of Israel is different than other parts of the country. The food was definitely the highlight of the trip, along with a particularly energetic wall.
In Tel Aviv there is no shortage of fresh squeezed juices (on every corner), amazing coffee, fresh melon, and delicious shawarma. If you don’t know what shawarma is, you just have to taste it to understand. And (unfortunately) I haven’t found very good shawarma in the U.S. The bread is different, the meat is different, the hummus is different and the tahini!! My mouth is watering just writing about it. To give you an idea how amazing the sandwiches were, we stopped on the way to the airport to grab one last sandwich so we could nibble on it during the 11 hour flight back to the U.S. It definitely made the trip go by faster.
After spending several days in Tel Aviv, I took a guided tour of Jerusalem. There is so much history in Jerusalem it is hard to say what was the most interesting. The tour was so fast paced I almost missed the stone where Jesus laid when they brought him down off the cross. I didn’t have time or the desire to wait in line to get a glimpse inside the tomb where Jesus was resurrected. Needless to say, Jerusalem has an aura of conflict, death and tourism. The old city at times felt more like a giant shopping mall than a historical site. There is one spot in Jerusalem that moved me more than anything else – the Western Wall or The Kotel. The tradition of the Kotel is to put your prayer notes into the wall. I carried notes from others as well as a few of my own. Getting to the wall was a challenge, placing the notes into the wall was nearly impossible. The Western Wall is divided into sections – one for women and the other for men. The section for women was very small – so there were a lot of us squished together and trying to place our notes. I was able to get up to the wall. To touch it. To place my notes. What surprised me was that I could feel an energy being emitted from the wall. I am not a religious person, but there is definitely something unique about the wall and I felt it.
My trip to Israel was too short and there are plenty of other things for me to see, do, and eat there. I am definitely looking forward to the next trip and my next shawarma!
A smile, a grin, my open eyes,
I too can learn to be happy and wise.
The day begins and my heart is soaring,
I know that today will not be boring.
A chance to find my heart’s desire,
A chance to light my inner fire.
A feeling inside for a happy discovery,
I have the strength to pursue inside me.
A new day, a new chance to improve and grow,
I can find a new level of happy you know.
If we don’t try for more we can never see,
How much more happy we can feel and be.
The sunrise makes the sky so bright
It takes away the deep dark night
All the birds singing and squawking
Should I just be sitting or walking?
The day is beginning the day is near
The buzz of activity of day is here
The water of the lake is barely moving
No ripples – just seeing it is soothing
The sky above is blue and clear
If there’s a cloud, it isn’t here
A day to live, to enjoy, to breathe
My smile is so big you can see my teeth
I am happy with this calm of morning
Tomorrow I fly home, I’ll be soaring
Returning to my home, returning to my love
I feel the warmth of the sun above
The warmth is from the inside out
I will be happy to go home, no doubt
I sit atop a high point on the National Trail above Telegraph Pass. Here I feel I am on top of the world. Strange how a little exercise and elevation gain can change your view. From up here it seems that I can only see opportunity and the possibilities of life.
Here in the middle of what looks like nowhere, orange flowers can bloom on an ocotillo cactus. Can I too flourish in the desert? Can I flourish where sometimes it seems there is endless nothing?
What you think is endless nothing, may actually be hiding the beauty of the desert. The birds, the cacti, the unusual fragments of rock shattered over time are here. In a place like this, time takes its toll, but ever so slowly. The gentle breeze at my back keeps small bugs from bothering me. A fly or a gnat is kept down by the wind. Yet, to me, the wind is my friend. Time is also my friend. Time to grow, to heal, to love and to look at life the way I look at the desert at this very moment. A chance. An opportunity.
Sometimes the best laid plans are better off thrown out the window. On Saturday I learned (or remembered) that the best things in life are unplanned. I recalled a trip from several years ago where I stumbled upon a national park in New Mexico called El Morro. It was a hidden gem in the middle of nowhere that provided amazing views and a memory for a lifetime. So what fun did I discover in my spur of the moment Saturday? Spontaneity? A feeling of freedom? Or just plain fun?
The day started with a last-minute decision to go to the Japanese Friendship Garden in downtown Phoenix. It was a place I learned of months prior. The gardens provided an oasis of peaceful energy nestled between high-rise apartments and athletic fields. I sat meditating quietly overlooking the waterfall while the sun bathed me. A foreign woman asked to take my photo. Maybe my true bliss and happiness were evident to her or maybe I just blended into the peaceful environment. I guess I was supposed to be in a stranger’s photo album that day. It was only 10 AM and there was a lot of daylight left, so where to next?
A drive to Canyon Lake was the final decision as the next stop after the White Tanks and Squaw Peak ideas were thrown out. The drive to Canyon Lake along the winding roads and single lane bridges was beautiful. After arriving at the marina and exploring the possibility of kayaking I discovered that a warmer day, warmer lake temperature, and a swimsuit were required for a fun kayaking experience. Now what? The conveniently located Boulder Canyon Trailhead at the marina enabled a journey to a very high place above the canyon and a 360 degree view of the area. It was amazing. A return trip down the trail and a discussion about going to Blue Wasabi made the trip back to the car quick and painless. Thoughts of sushi danced in my head as my feet scrambled over the rocks in the last section of the trail.
What seemed like only minutes later I arrived at Blue Wasabi. It was almost happy hour. How could I be so lucky? Numerous sushi rolls later it was evident that the activities from the day had tired me. All that was left to do was to head home for a relaxing evening on the patio as the sun set. With vodka and orange juice over ice, the sun set and my energy waned further resulting in canceled plans for salsa dancing. Did I really care? No! The unplanned activities ruled and were more rewarding than anything I could have planned.
When you go with the flow and yield to the day’s opportunities, you really feel like you are living. Instead of scurrying around to meet the schedule of the clock, you work with the moment. What better way to live? Imagine if every day could be so carefree. Next time you have the opportunity, you may want to ‘unplan’ your day and see what adventures you find. You may surprise and exhaust yourself. Living life to the fullest has a way of doing that.