Creativity, Inspiration, Nature, Self Care

A Surfer’s Haiku

beach
My beach

The title’s a bit misleading. I’m neither a surfer nor did a surfer create this poem.

I am fortunate to live close to several beaches in Southern California. Most coastal Californian’s can tell you that the weather at the beach, especially in the last decade, is unpredictable.

Today, on a January afternoon, the temperature rose to 70 degrees with little wind. The sun shone hot on my patio when I stepped outside, geared up with my gloves and electrical hedger. Perspiration moistened the brim of my hat before I got started trimming. I hesitated.

Born and raised in this area, I can smell the sea air on most days. My thoughts turned to the ocean breeze a mere six miles away. I could cut the last three overgrown bushes, or I could go with the first impression of what I’d rather be doing. I followed my gut and grabbed a beach towel, my journal, and my water bottle shouting ‘back soon’ to my daughter.

Many more people had the same idea by the looks of the beach parking lot, but I found a large patch of cool sand on a knoll. The roar of the ocean waves, punctuated by kid’s delighted screams, were only outdone by equally excited dogs.

The mid-day sun glassed the ocean, making my eyes squint to watch intrepid sailboats and marvel at brave surfers.

surfers
surfing spot

Scientists say the negative ions of the ocean air calm the brain, and walking barefoot grounds us to the earth. This must be so.

Soon, creativity took over, and I thought of a haiku.

The beach beckons,

blazing blue,

oceans roar

an invitation to surf.

I’ll grant you this isn’t a ‘true’ haiku of 5/7/5 syllables per line, but it’s an example of nature inspiring creativity.

Scientists also say that getting outdoors and connecting with the earth will help your mental well-being.

I wrote a few pages in my journal, took a nap on the sand and listened. Nature nurtured me, and don’t we all need that from time to time?

Think about what nurtures you and go out and live it.

The hedges can wait.

Lazy afternoon at the beach

Inspiration, Nature

A Beautiful Garden of Monarch Butterflies

Welcome, June. I’m enjoying the longer days, slightly warmer weather, and the discoveries in my new garden.

The two milkweed plants in the backyard attracted Monarch butterflies which I enjoyed watching last month as they danced above the blossoms and ducked into the leaves.

After pulling a few weeds, I stopped to admire the Milkweed’s orange-red blossoms, and there she/he was, munching away on a leaf. A gorgeous plump caterpillar.

milkweed plant with caterpillar on leaf
Milkweed with Caterpillar-photo by M.AlvaradoFrazier

In the past few years, I’ve looked for Monarchs in the eucalyptus trees in the next city where they gather during their southern migration from Mexico but I’ve never seen the beginning of their life cycle until now.

Milkweed is the only plant a Monarch butterfly will breed and deposit eggs. Those eggs are now caterpillars and some energetic ones made their way ten feet away and began their next stage on my patio. This one is underneath a patio chair, already in the J stage where it will attach itself with a silk thread. In a couple of days, I’ll gently move the chair into an area where someone won’t sit on it.

monarch caterpillar on patio chair
Monarch caterpillar in the J stage-photo by MAlvaradoFrazier

On Memorial Day, we sat around the patio table and discovered another tiny treasure. Seems like the caterpillar journey wasn’t solitary. Another little guy/gal attached itself to a steel leg at the bottom of the table. At first, I didn’t know what this was until I remembered my friend, Dani, who said Monarch’s have beautiful chrysalis (cocoons). Well, this little jewel is jade green with dots of gold on its rim.

Monarch chrysalis on patio table
Monarch chrysalis- photo by M.AlvaradoFrazier

Dramatic changes take place inside the chrysalis. There are things we can’t see but know are happening. Just like life. Metamorphosis is occurring and with the process, I gain inspiration and hope.

In a few more days another Monarch will be born, fly over to the milkweed, get nourishment and return to Mexico.