Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Winter Walk on a Day of Peace

Winter dresses in muted blue tones on this day of peace. A crispclean chill cuts across the park, awakening January animals to perform for wandering visitors. Time stands still in in this bubble of stilled beauty. World turbulence, COVID updatings, and sounds of swiftling passing cars do not disturb the tranquil setting.  It is in this quiet place that our soul whispers and finds stillness to withstand the strife of the outside world. 

winter morning chill
cloudshifts share sky with sunshine
winter walk welcomed
©CV, 2021

peaceful pace
daystroll at McDonald Pond
sunlight sparkles
©CV, 2021

During my midday winter walk, I soak in the peaceful feeling nature presents. Watching life moving slowly, slows down the pace. Water sparkles; I watch diamond-studded shapes bounce in the water. A dog frolics, sprinting across the expansive grounds while a squirrel poses for a picture or two. The crispclean air fills the park. Conversations take on a different tone. Tranquility moves from nature to a space within the heart. 

Please listen to a song, O Day of Peace, befitting of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 

Josh Garrels's soothing song delivers a reflective close to a day honoring a man of peace.

within the stillness
we can dream of peace for all -
in God we trust
©CV, 2021


I turn my Slice of Life thoughts over to Two Writing Teachers.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

New Year Gifts

This year started with hope, my one word begin, and a collection of poetry postcards to decorate my writing desk. 

As a collector of Victorian and vintage items, I have always enjoyed the art of postcard writing.  I am grateful to Jone MacCulloch for bringing back this art with the New Year Poetry Postcards Exchange. I also extend thanks to our poetry community for bringing  good cheer to my home this January.

     Welcome to this January's Mini-Gallery of New Year 2021 Poetry Postcards    

Each poetry postcard below is a beautiful and unique gift from poetry friends. 
I shall cherish them throughout the years.

Jone MacCulloch sent greetings in Scottish Gaelic and English.
recently minted
shiny coin of here and now
ready to be spent
-Mary Lee Hahn
In 2021, Year of the Ox, my wish for you and yours:
& Peace
Plus Inspiration for
Your Creative Endeavors
-Diane Mayr
Linda Mitchell, Bookmark and Poem
                                                              Connection longing
                                                              Watching the great conjunction
                                                              Universal hope
                                                                                -Kimberly Hutmacher
-Margaret Simon
January Sprints
past New Year's
merry making-
Springtime is waiting. 
-Janice Scully
Turning the clock back to the early 1900s, I linger over W.A. Martin's postcard to a dear friend.  

Karen Eastlund states in her recent blog, Good Gifts:
Scripture tells us that "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above."
James 1:17 

I am reminded that the above poetry greetings share the essence of kindness, sweet nuggets of wisdom to fill the receiver's day. As a gesture of kindness, I send these postcards off to you to brighten your January, dear friends.


Enjoy the Year of the Ox!

I am strolling over to Margaret Simon's blog, Reflections on the Teche, where I was writing to the picture prompt she posted. Margaret is hosting Poetry Friday this week and shares her nestling poems created by her students and herself.

Picture Prompt

My Reply:

 I hear the howl of the night wind and reflect: 
winter bares its soul
in nighttime stillness
moonglow softly shines.
©CV, 2021

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Reflection on a Year Passing

At the end of last year, there were many discussions about 2020 moving on? No wonder. COVID-19 had an interesting way of bringing sadness, isolation, and stress into 2020 lives so wishing the year away would be a logical choice on New Year's Eve. While I agree, I would like to focus not on days filled with struggle and sadness but upon those with some sweet surprises. 
  • Early in January 2020, my granddaughter Aurora was born - such a joyful event.
  • In February, my husband and I purchased a new home in Virginia, only 1/2 hour away from my granddaughters.
  • In June, I designed and delivered an intensive, remote learning, 4-day Summer Graduate Institute for teachers. The small group of educators were creative thinkers and eager participants. While the work of remote learning is demanding, it is also rewarding when learners reap the benefits.
  • In December, we closed on our new build and became proud new owners. 
The poem, The Passing of the Year by Robert W. Service, brings closure to sadness and hope for a new year. The line, "Old weary year! it's time to go", offers the opportunity to create a Golden Shovel poem. (Each word in the strike line becomes the last word of each line of my new poem.) 

Pass into the night, ye old
365 days. Are you weary
from your long walk this year?
Are you wondering if it's
your time
to rest, to
surrender, and let go?
©CVarsalona, 2021

It is always best to look back and remember good times when struggles outnumber the positivesHow do you see the passing of the year? Did you choose your #oneword2021 that will guide you on a new journey? I am ready to begin anew! Join me on January 14, 2021 at Twitter for #K12ArtChat where I will guest host a chat on #oneword thanks to Matt and Laura Grundler. 

Enjoy the beginning of a new year.
Put on a smile of gratitude behind your mask each day. 
Slice of Life 2021

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Finding My #OneWord 2021

As winter settled in last year, a sense of newness brought anticipation. I entered 2020 with the commitment to search for peace, notice nature's harmony, and cease the attitude of being busy all the time. I wanted to slow down and savor evocative nature's moments. Hence, the word balance arose as a guide word at the crossroads of a new year in a new decade. A new grandbaby was born in January; balance was present. In February, we signed a contract to build a new house in Northern Virginia, a sign that a new path was opening. There was a newness evolving but then, by the end of March,  my world was jolted. A pandemic swept through the word, blindsiding everyone. My balance was knocked off-kilter. I tried to keep the balls juggling while balancing my work life with my personal life but there was a disconnect. Clearly, by the end of this year, I needed to re-evaluate and re-imagine a new pathway.  A focus word was needed to restore my balance and bring hope. 

So I pondered, mulled over numerous words, reviewed my previous #onewords: openness, listen, believe, joy, hope, embrace, and balance, and just waited for a 2021 word to appear.

New Year's Eve came and went and so did New Year's Day. One word hashtags were seen throughout social media; tweets and blogs shared. I was waiting for a word to appear, a divine sign. Then, I found a quote by Thomas Merton, 20th Century monk, author, theologian, poet, scholar, and social activist.  "We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves."  My word started to emerge. I was ready to renew my life, restore balance, and unfold into a better version of myself.


My 2021 Commitment Statement
(adapted from A.D. Posey's inspirational quote)

In faith, like a flower, I shall feel myself rise above, begin to open, and begin anew.


A New Chapter BEGINS.

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. (Lao Tzu)


And You? When will you begin that long journey into yourself? (Rumi)

As the host of Spiritual Journey Thursday this month, I invite you to share your #OneWord2021 blog post.


Leave your #oneword digital at the hastag, #WintersEmbrace 2021, on Twitter.
If interested, I will add it to the Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery that I am creating. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Wish I'd Been There

The spirit of Christmas 2020, as unusual as it was, still lingers in my heart. For the first time since I moved into my Long Island home, I did not place a Christmas tree in my living room. We closed on the house in Virginia during Christmas week so instead of an in-house tree, my small outdoor trees and the front porch were decorated for the season. In addition, we enjoyed the beauty of the magnificent Nassau County Christmas tree. But the smell of Christmas trees continued to make me pine for the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.


While pining for a whiff of an evergreen tree with its fragrant, balsamy smell, I came across the Poetry Sisters challenge for the last month of 2020. I remembered that I wanted to write a blog post on the theme, "Wish I'd Been There". Since there was no time in December, I decided to add it now after researching a special time in history. I turn back the clock to 1931 when the first New York City tree was "decorated with handmade garlands made from the tinfoil ends of blasting caps used in the excavation" of the site. 

In 1933, Rockefeller Center held the first lighting of the tree and made it an annual tradition.  


Wish I'd 
Been There
Take me 
back in time.
Smell of pine wafting
through city air. Men
huddled together. 
No social distancing,
nor masks needed.
Excavation debris,
backdrop for tree 
lacking festive lights.
Handshakes set the stage.
Holiday phenomenon born.
©CVarsalona, 2021


For decades, my family hopped in our car and drove to New York City to be inspired by the Rockefeller Center tree. With a nostalgic wish for those days to return, I bring back the memories in verse. Virtual is the only way to do so since New York City still stings from a deadly pandemic.

Marek Rygielski

decades later,
Rockefeller Center's tree 
proudly stands illuminated
in festive gold. Brilliant star topper,
accenting a glistening, holiday legend.
Voices from winged angels announce peace.
Wonders never cease, even in the most unusual of times.

🌲 Happy New Year to All!🌲

Friday, January 1, 2021

Autumn Gallery Walk Shares #oneword2021 Choices

“At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth." -Rainer Maria Rilke



Abundant Autumn Global Gallery

I invite you to:

Enjoy the simplicity of a gallery of artistic expressions that will get your hygge* on.
(*Danish term for "comfort and coziness that engenders a feeling of well-being".)

Experience a relaxing multimedia gallery walk through autumn amidst the flurry of a pandemic. 

Sit back, inhale the smell of wood-burning fires, fresh scent of the countryside, and the taste of apple cider.  

Embrace the beauty of earth with your senses. Is it not true what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in The Great Gatsby?

"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall."


Be inspired to connect with nature and find peace during an awe walk.

Pause to listen to a soulful tune by Eric Clapton here
Follow the Abundant Autumn playlist here.

Seek the artist within to create autumn as a celebration of all it brings.
I am autumn
before now I was firefly
today I'm a jack-o-lantern smile
tomorrow my name will be falling leaves
secretly I know my name wood smoke
My dream is to become Jack Frost
My name once was harvest moon
-Linda Mitchell

Autumn shimmers and shines with positivity.

Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What person can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the spaqn of his or her world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horison? -Hal Borland 

a child stretches
two hands connect with love-
nature's hope
©CVarsalona, 2019

Even in the midst of a pandemic
Then, as earth dropped its radiant veil,
simplicity appeared in the stillness of autumn.

Alan J. Wright, 2020

In gratitude for

squirrels scavenge
in search of earthly seeds
winter approaches
©CV, 2020
Terje Akke, 2020 Estonia
earth seeks renewal and peace
Offered by Steve Kelley

in a new year of possibilities.

Thank you for joining me on the final gallery walk of 

Abundant Autumn Global Gallery of Artistic Expressions
life journeys forward
crispclean leaves surrender-
autumn's delight
Collaborative image poem by Jackie Yun, @ManjuRajputMSEd, CVarsalona
Photo by #chazchaz via Al Dhalla

I extend appreciation to the photographers and poets who offered inspired contributions:

Terje Akke
Kathryn Apel
Linda Baie
Jolie Buchanan
Al Dhalla
Michelle Griffin (@math912teacher)
Devin Hartnett
Steve Kelley
Diane Mayr
Linda Mitchell
Kiesha Shepard
Carol Varsalona
Mark Weston
Alan J. Wright
Jackie Yun
Morgan (student)

For those still waiting fortheir one word 2021 to appear, perhaps this gallery walk has presented you with some fine choices (see highlighted words).


Previous editions of the Abundant Autumn Gallery:

Abundant Autumn Gallery Unveiled

Welcome to Abundant Autumn Gallery, 2nd Edition 


Today is the Poetry Friday: Happy New Year hosted by my poet-teacher friend from Haiti, Ruth Hersey. She shares more poetic goodness at her blog site. Please click here.