This most amazing day

A most amazingly typical day in September 1999, Banff, Alberta, Canada

A most amazingly typical day in September 1999, Banff, Alberta, Canada

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” E. E. Cummings

It’s a bit hard for me to imagine what it would be like living in a town such as Banff.  One of the bloggers who visits regularly with us here lives very near Banff, and I wonder whether she ever gets used to the beauty of the Canadian Rockies.  How does one manage to get any work done when it’s so beautiful outdoors?  I remember feeling the same way the first time I stood atop the Malibu hill where Pepperdine University overlooks the Pacific Ocean.  How on earth does anyone manage to graduate from a school where distracting magnificence lies outside every doorway?

I know how, of course.  When we lived in Hawaii, some people on the mainland seemed to think we were on a 3-year extended vacation, with nothing to do but go to the beach every day.  In reality we had to go to school, go to work, cook dinner and wash clothes, and do all the other chores of life, with relatively little time leftover to play.

Still, we tried to make as much time as possible to explore the islands and their varied landscapes that went far beyond gorgeous beaches.  Whenever I would see one of the incredible rainbows that occur so frequently there, or string a lei from the fragrant plumeria that grew in abundance all around our home, I would remind myself to stop and savor the moments that would all too soon be unavailable on a daily basis.

Living in many different regions has taught me that no place is without beautiful features or interesting sights.  But it’s easy to grow so accustomed to the familiar that we lose the wonder of it.  Today, I hope you will take Cummings’ words with you and keep eyes open to “everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”

29 Comments

  1. And heed the shouted admonition: “Enjoy your own vacation!”

    • Eric, that is one of my funniest memories from our Banff trip. Sometime I’ll have to work that story into a post here. There’s an obvious lesson there, I think. I remember the woman as yelling “Have your own vacation” but in any case, it was hilarious to me that she thought we were laughing at her. I also learned from that experience how far voices can carry over an immense lake!

  2. amen. BeLOVE Julia, you & yours are in my heart and prayers for an AWEsome day in the LORD.

    • Thank you Kate, you and your family are in my prayers also!

  3. We have moved several times during our marriage….never to places quite so overtly striking as the places you’ve mentioned. And yet, I have always loved what any of those places have had to offer. I have called myself “adaptable”, but maybe I’ve just been blessed to be able to appreciate the unique beauty of each of those places.
    Every day is truly amazing if we will just realize it. Thanks for the reminder!!

    • Thanks Carla, I think we have in common the ability to enjoy so many things. In college my friend Kathy and I used to be teased for “getting excited over nothing” but I think we enjoyed life much more than a lot of the people who thought we were crazy to take such joy in little things. And then of course, there are the BIG, BIG things such as the mountain in this photo! Thanks for being here!

      • Carolyn

        I remember moving a lot while we were in the service and you are right no matter where you are you can find some beauty. I think our best place was in Alaska. Hope you have a great day. Prayers still going up for Jeff and the family.

        • Carolyn, almost everyone we know who has lived in Alaska has said that, and many retired there (or wanted to). We will keep each other in prayer and are so happy you are doing well!

  4. Dear Carla and Julia – Do you know what commonality Butler, Alabama and Kahului, Maui, Hawaii share? (take it from me – I have been to both places several times) They are not Heaven! 1 Corinthians 2:9

    • No, but they make a good warm up act! As Ashleigh Brilliant has said, “This world is conveniently located about halfway between Heaven and Hell, with good views in both directions.” While I agree that there is no heaven on earth, I much prefer to keep my eyes focused in that direction! (See this post for more about that.)

    • Hi Eric and Julia!! I totally understand and thoroughly believe that nothing here in this world can touch what Heaven is….which makes Heaven all the more to be desired since there is such God-created beauty here on Earth. That being said, let’s enjoy the beauty surrounding us anywhere we are in this world.

      • Yes, it really is stunning to contemplate that there will be anything more beautiful than some of the most beautiful things here on earth. I guess it’s like a preview. I always think of what Dorothy said about Oz when she got back to Kansas: “I remember some of it wasn’t very nice…but most of it was BEAUTIFUL! But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was that I wanted to go home…” Perhaps that’s akin to what we will someday feel when we “go home.”

  5. Sheila

    Julia, it is different when you “live” at others dream destination. Living by the ocean is nice, for the most part. I often remark that I’m the only one in the grocery store that doesn’t smell of suntan lotion! I’ve often thought of the ocean much like life. It has it’s high tides and low tides, much like highs and lows of life. It can be very calm which makes for “smooth sailing”
    or it can have rip currents, undetectable,but to be dealt with,if you get caught up in them.
    So often my prayer time,is right here in my kitchen,where I look at the wondrous creation of this ocean,and know that in God all things are possible! Partners in prayer, Sheila

    • Sheila, here’s a beautiful post at Zeebra Designs, all about what you are describing. I agree with you that the ocean is a great metaphor for life, and perhaps that is why so many of us feel a strong connection to the seashore. I do think you are lucky to be able to gaze on it while you pray; I will remember that while we are praying for each other! Thanks so much for being here!

      • Sheila

        Julia, that is such an awesome post and beautiful photos. Bill asked about Jeff this evening and I sensed not only compassion, but a different level of truly understanding and identifying with what he is going through. Until tomorrow…..have a restful night.

        • Thanks, Sheila, I’m so glad you like the post! Thanks to Bill too, for his understanding. Jeff has received a couple of letters from longtime cancer survivors who were given very dismal prognoses, and “beat the odds” in spite of it. They really do seem to understand and identify on a much deeper level, and offer us tremendous hope! Thanks for caring, and for staying in touch as we face these challenges together!

  6. Seymour

    Your blog often brings passages from Ecclesiastes to my mind. Today it is “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Thanks for prompting me to pause and reflect on the beauty of the places I have lived and the beauty of the daily scenery that I often take for granted.

    Thanks also for your excellent trio of Easter posts this weekend. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!

    • Seymour, it always makes me very happy when my posts call to mind the inspired words of the Bible. The verse you mention here has long been one of my favorites. And when one considers how long “time” is in the case of the mountain pictured, it also reminds me of the relativity of the phrase “in its time,” a concept also found in the Bible long before Einstein described it. How fascinating to realize that, paradoxically, the greatest mysteries sometimes speak the truth most plainly. Thanks for being here.

  7. Blessed are those who could live in such lovely places. In this desert I try to find solace admiring the beauty of the neem trees – the only patches of green seen around here.
    It’s great to be alive! Thank God!
    Wish you a wonderful day, Julia!

    • Bindu, I had never heard of Neem trees, so I looked them up and found some great photos here. They are beautiful! Perhaps you have a blog or photo about them that I have not seen yet. YES, it is great to be alive and how wonderful that we can share the blessings of our individual homes in different regions of the world. I am so thankful for the gift of digital photography and the internet that makes it possible for us to “visit” other places and share the beauty! Thanks so much for being here – wishing you a wonderful day too! (Or I guess night or tomorrow, since it is much later where you are!)

      • That’s a good collection of pictures. They have a lot of medicinal values endure the desert climate very well.

        • Wow, not only beautiful, but useful in practical ways as well. Looks as if they would provide wonderful shade, too.

  8. MaryAnn

    Julia: When Paul & I rode the motorcycle to Canada, I was overwhelmed by the massive amount of waterfalls (much to my delight!)…The beauty in Banff & Jasper is breathtaking!
    You & I continue to find many things alike for which we praise our Lord!
    Love, MaryAnn

    • Mary Ann I may have to start calling you “Motorcycle Momba!” I had no idea you guys had ridden all the way to Canada. But what a great place for biking! I’m so happy you were able to go. I can imagine how exciting it was for you, knowing you get as excited as I do about everything. Thanks for being here! Matt sends his love :-).

  9. You’re right Julia, I never get tired of the Canadian Rockies. We go at least twice a year, it’s a 5 hour drive from Edmonton. Calgarians are super close. We have friends who built a retirement home in Valemount, BC which is just down the road from Jasper, Alberta. I love Jasper and actually named my dog after it. I actually feel a little guilty reading this because I know when we lived at the lake, people would walk in the house and rave about the view and I would have to stop and say…”ya we’re pretty lucky”. But it was easy to walk by when you’re busy with life and not show appreciation.

    • Isn’t it funny how we sometimes stop noticing what is so familiar? Places and people and all sorts of blessings we can get accustomed to and not take the time to be grateful and enjoy them! That is one silver lining to having a loved one with a serious illness; you really do start to notice all the millions of little ways that they bring happiness to life, and you appreciate them as never before. The same is true about beautiful places. One thing about moving around frequently is that you learn to enjoy where you are living and not see it as something that will always be there. I’ll have to visit Jasper someday! Thanks for your comment!

  10. Susan

    Thank you!

    • You’re welcome! Thanks for being here.

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