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Summer is about moments, the minutes and hours that add up to a season.  The moments that add up to a life.

It’s long, lazy lunches with a good book and a glass—or two—of wine.

Buvette Lunch

It’s the freshest ingredients at their peak with flavors as intense as the colors of vegetable flesh.

Tomato Salad

It’s the sweetness of fruits, bursting with the intensity of juicy sensuousness.

Figs

It’s the vibrancy of flowers, so abundant everywhere, just daring you not to feel happy.

Sunflower

Summer is sunsets that descend later in the evening in a fiery blaze, giving way to cooler night breezes.

Sunset on the Hudson

May this week be filled with the beautiful moments of summer.

xo, with goodness and grace.

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When I think back on this week, I remember the small, ordinary yet beautiful moments.

If you think about it, isn’t that what makes up a life?  It’s simply a series of small, ordinary moments intertwined with occasional flashes of beauty.  You turn a corner and something memorable happens.

Love showed itself on a red wall in the West Village.  I kept staring at the graffiti, without not knowing why.   It took a full minute for me to realize that it spelled love.

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Signs of love are everywhere.

Walking through Central Park, I saw dandelions had bloomed everywhere.  As I mentioned last week, they were a favorite of mine when I was a child.  These—the lone floral presence in a patch of cool, soft grass—were particularly captivating to me.

Close your eyes and make a wish.

Make a Wish

Because it’s rained so much in the last few weeks, my social media feeds have been full of rainbows my friends see around the city.  I always have a pang of jealousy because nothing is more magical to me than a rainbow.  But, they have been elusive.

When I made another stop to the Conservatory Garden, I wandered around and took in the beauty around me.  (I even witnessed a very sweet wedding!)  As I came upon the fountain, there it was.  A picture does not do its luminescence justice, but I felt those bands of color in the very depth of my soul.

Water Rainbow

Grace may come in an unexpected form, but its goodness is not diminished.

May your week be filled with the spirit of love, wishes and rainbows.

xo, with goodness and grace.

I started a post when I was escaping from the city to the beach this week.  It was about what the beach teaches me.

I’d gone to the beach because I desperately needed a day away from my regular routine so I could hear myself think.  Sometimes when the world gets noisy, I wonder I’m missing out on anything, if any bites of intuition have gone unheard because my life is so full.  The beach brings me back to myself.

As I sat on the bus on my way out east, there was more traffic than is normal this time of year because of construction in a long stretch of the road.  I was comforted by the patches of weeds outside my window whenever we stopped, the very ones that had dotted my childhood landscape.  Back then people told me they were weeds, but to me, they were beautiful, magical flowers.  As an adult, dandelions and “wishing flowers” still evoke sunshine and happiness.

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I arrived at the hotel, an hour and change after we were supposed to arrive.  I walked out and looked at the ocean.  It was cloudy and overcast, but I didn’t care. The sound of the waves lulled me into that place they always do.  That calmness, the sense of home—we drove nearly four hours and there it was.

I spent the next there, walking in the quiet of my thoughts that had finally calmed down.  It was chilly, but I was over prepared as usual, walking all bundled up with my jacket and scarf and gloves.  Even though it was cold, I walked barefoot so my feet could feel the spring of the sand which always feels so good against my leg muscles.

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I ate lunch and I read.  Every now and then I looked up at the waves just to acknowledge them, as if to let them know that I was still there.  I felt calm and content.

And then I felt an overwhelming need to go home, to sleep in my own bed and spend the morning lazily going about my Sunday routine.

So I did.

I came home to my city, stepping off the bus to warm spring air.  I walked in my front door.  I felt relieved.

I’m sitting in the park in my neighborhood admiring the tulips that have bloomed since I was last here. There’s an abundance of them, and they are beautiful.  I’m resisting the urge to photograph them.  What I realized when I was at the beach is that I so often try to hold on to special moments—especially with pictures—sometimes forgetting to actually be in the moment. I took pictures of the fog ahead of me on the beach, so beautiful and theatrical. Sometimes I was more concerned with getting the right angle so the picture could look its best.  Nevertheless, I felt the peace I’d been seeking.

Now I’m sitting here feeling the warmth of today, captivated by the cool breezes that move between the trees.  It is perfect. People keep coming in and out of the park, taking photos of the tulips in all their glory with their camera phones. I wonder if they can really see the beauty, if they can take in the lush fullness of their heads, so open and lusty, and their leaves, such a verdant reminder of spring. I wonder if they really see them, if they’ll remember them when the garden settles down into a normal state.

I’m resisting taking a photo, just so I can experience them fully, so I can say that I was part of this day, that I felt the glory of it.

Because life is full of moments and we are meant to be in them, to embody their goodness, to allow them to transport us where we need to go.  Even if where we need to go is right in our own backyard.  Sometimes we need to get away from where we are to know that home is where we needed to be all along.  Sometimes where we are is exactly right.

It’s all about being present.

xo, with goodness and grace.

 

I missed the love.

On my walk after my early morning cycling class, I pass a parking garage where a poster of one of those love sculptures hangs, the famous one with the word “love” written in a square.  It’s been on stamps and postcards and just about everything you can imagine.  Every time I walk by the garage, I acknowledge the poster, and it feels almost as if we nod to each other in conversation.

“Oh yes, there it is.  There is the love,” I say.

“You thought you forgot, but it’s right here,” it says to me.

This morning it was cold and I was wearing my funky hat that isn’t tightly knit, so when it’s cold and breezy like it was today, it feels like gaping air pockets are funneling the icy cold into my brain.  As I was walking, I was very much in my head, beating myself up about how I wore the wrong hat and why did decide to clean out my handbag—which is always overflowing with just-in-case things—and take the other hat out just before I left the apartment?

And then I heard someone say, “Good morning”, right next to where the sign was, but I was so in my head that I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or not.  As I walked by, fully immersed in the world in my head, and heard this person murmur kind words to me, I started to wonder if I was rude because I didn’t acknowledge the kind stranger or if I was justified because he was a creepy stranger and I was just being rude in that way that you sometimes have to be when you live in New York City.

Either way, I unintentionally ignored his wish for a good morning.  It occurred to me that his wish was a nudge to remember the poster ritual.

And in a flash I was out of the world of worry about the cold and my hat and beating myself up and into a more present one.  As I walked by I felt disappointed and thought, I missed it.

I missed the love.

I do this sometimes, miss those small moments of love that I don’t recognize while I’m in the moment. I get so focused on living in my head, wondering if my hair looks crazy or if I said something dumb or if I laughed too loudly.  Only later do I remember the look in someone’s eye as I spoke to them or the hand over their heart that I didn’t acknowledge or some sweet sentiment that I talked over.

When I was in class this morning, our stupendous instructor Emily walked around the room, speaking her inspirational words as she does, spreading her infectiously beautiful energy.  The bikes are placed close together, so she typically only walks around the front of the class.  This morning, she got off her bike and did her usual jaunt, but this time she made her way to the back row, where I always select my bike.  She stood next to me and cheered me on, “You’re doing great – you look good!”  I smiled at her as I did my choreography on the bike, more of a dance than a spin.

“It feels good to feel good, doesn’t it?” She placed her hand on top of mine, a kind, warm loving touch at 6:30 in the morning.

As I continued on my walk lamenting the missed moment of love, I thought of these moments with instructor Emily at the crack of dawn.  It made me smile.

Happy to have been present for that grace, I then looked up, and saw that I was being welcomed by the morning with the most luminous sunrise.

Moments of grace are just waiting for us to be present to them.

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