Actually see

Cyclamen blooms brighten a gray January day in the Financial District of San Francisco, 2004.

Cyclamen brighten a gray January day in the Financial District of San Francisco, 2004.

“The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.”Orhan Pamuk

There’s a double blessing in opening our eyes to the world around us.  Not only are we enriched by the joy and fascination of what we discover; we are also equipped, through our experiences, with greater resilience to weather our personal cares and sorrows.  The world is full of wonders untainted by our individual misfortunes.  Knowing this gives us perspective.  As we pay attention, we store away mental treasures to enjoy when our immediate circumstances seem drab or discouraging.

Are there places you think of when you want a quick imaginary getaway?  Mental snapshots of something lovely or memorable?  Hold these gems close when winter closes in, and let them spark anticipation of what the year might bring.  Feel free to share some of your favorite images that brighten cold or weary days.

One year ago today

Color forever


  1. So beautiful. The quote is great. And you’re absolutely right. Outdoors is my go-to place. Love cyclamen. Don’t think we can grow them here but I’m sure to check that out. Lovely post. Great reminder!

    • Thank you, Alexandria. I have never had any Cyclamen, although each year I seem to tell myself to try growing some (or at least buying them and keeping them alive! 🙂

  2. P.S. Just shared this on Twitter and my Facebook Page. 🙂

    • Wow, thanks for sharing…I really appreciate it!

  3. Good morning, Julia. a beautiful photo. I enjoy the colors of flowers, they brighten our world. I’m not a cold weather person, in fact I tend to hibernated.:) Snow is beautiful as long as I don’t have be out in it.~/ I always think of warm sunny days, walking along a beach or through a colorful garden.
    Happy New Year!

    • Merry, after the past couple of weeks “hibernating” with Jeff as he recovers (that was his exact term for it!) I have decided it’s a great way to spend the winter. I enjoy looking at photos of colorful flowers to perk up my moods. Sunny walks and the beach are great too. Last January, in the wake of Jeff’s devastating diagnosis and the beginning of chemo treatment, we got away for a few days to Captiva Island, Florida, a trip we had previously scheduled that Jeff wisely refused to cancel. It was one of the most beautiful experiences ever. No such trips this year, but we can dream of them. 🙂 Thanks for being here with us this winter!

  4. MaryAnn

    My favorite place to mentally retreat is the ocean. I love the sights, sounds, sand, splashing in the water! Thanks for that quick journey to rest & joy & peace!

    • Yes, the ocean is unbelievably soothing – I find it to be one of the few places where all five senses are so vividly engaged (I can even taste the salt in the air). Going there, even just in imagination, is such a blessing. I love my “white noise” machine which includes ocean sounds, although the rain sounds are my favorite.

  5. Jack

    Watersound Beach, Destin, Florida during spring Break. Beautiful, small crowds, great time to read, nap, eat great seafood, walk, watch March Madness. Favorite trip of the year every year. I’m there now in my mind!

    • I have never been to Destin, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful. The gulf coast of Florida is my favorite part of the state. If you go every March, your trip will be here before you know it! In the meantime, enjoy your memories of it!

  6. raynard

    Julia, I was once told or hear on”This Old House about color bringing beauty to your home and garden. One reason why I became a gardner of roses.( yes I can share tips with you) and and frequent visitor of The Annual Philadelphia Flower Show.( First week of March this year. Yes to me it’s true, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what kind of beauty can they be talking about? If you are like most people I know these days, the dont travel outside of their own neighborhood and if they do “Stevie Wonder can tell them what they are missing…. Have you ever heard of Longwood Gardens in my state of Delaware founded by one of the Duponts? I visited there once and work right next to Nemours Mansion and Gardens which happens to be next to A.I Dupont Childrens hospital.( Did I just start a “bucketlist lol) It started snowing already, hope when I wake up in the morning, i’m not wanting to”make a snow angel.. be blessed

    • I’ve never been to either the Philadelphia Flower Show or Longwood Gardens, or to Nemours either, but I know we would love all of them. Yes, I think it’s a great start for a Bucket List! It’s snowing here too, but not as much as it is where you live. We drove through it for about an hour tonight coming back from York County. It was beautiful, falling thick and fast, but luckily we got in before the roads got bad. Stay warm!

  7. So pretty Julia. I actually recognized that location immediately because it was the meeting spot for Jim and I many times. I thought San Francisco’s downtown square was so great and we caught the trolley to other places from there too. The Cyclamens are gorgeous, Alys grows them in her garden and I can’t even grow them well in my house, HA.

    My mental vacation lately is what I imagine I’d build if we were able to find a lot and build a house. I have a concrete idea of my entry, kitchen and yard and I think about it a lot over the snowy days.

    • I think San Francisco is one of the most fun cities to walk around in. Each neighborhood is so different but all are wonderful. Some funky and artsy, some upscale and refined, some with gorgeous views and some with interesting sights. Plus the streetcars and Cable Cars make it even more interesting. I love Union Square and found that indoor shopping center amazing.

      I also love to daydream about building a ‘dream home’ even though I don’t want to leave the homes we have. Jeff and I have never been able to build a home (always moving and having to find a place quickly) but it’s something I’d love to be able to do someday. But even if we don’t, it’s fun to look at house plans and sometimes even tour model homes in new neighborhoods.

  8. sarvjit

    If we can control our minds through our hearts then this world would be beautiful. Simple.

    • That’s an interesting thought – for me, I have often thought I needed to control my heart through my mind instead! My emotions do not always accomplish much. Perhaps it is best when the two can work in harmony.

      • sarvjit

        Harmony is all stored in the heart. Mind is the instrument that lets the vibrations come out. Heart is the organ that gives birth to vibrations.

        • Thank you, that is a very original way of describing it!

          • sarvjit

            Thank you for questioning and your thoughts.

            • 🙂 I always have an unlimited supply of both! 🙂

  9. sarvjit

    There are a less a people like you, who are so devoted towards service and efforts that my body starts to shiver. May God grant me a chance to touch your feet.

    • That is such a kind thing to say, thank you! I assure you I must sound more devoted than I am. It’s something I aspire to, as I think most anyone who reads a blog such as this does too. Thanks for being among them!


  1. Convergence | Gardening Nirvana

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: