Friday, January 27, 2017



The road curves underneath the arching arms of oak trees, naked now, reaching up, rough, asymmetrical, lacing their long grey fingers above me as I race along - a bit worried, a bit frazzled - with a lengthy to-do list glaring up at me from the passenger seat of my car.  I have driven this road so many times in my life and recall now, with a smile, a visitor from the west coast who, never having traveled down a southern road on a summer’s day, once remarked how the trees here made him claustrophobic laying as they did like a pulled green curtain over everything.  So different from his California with its uncluttered vistas punctuated only occasionally by the dandelion heads of palm trees.  

It is one of those routes so attractive to visitors, so uniquely verdant, but to me, so usual, worn practically pedestrian with so many journeys down its twists and turns, beneath its  trees, a route so ordinary that today I scarcely glance at its gracious houses whose windows reflect a weak winter sun peeking through the grey in near embarrassment as it melts the scant traces of a delightfully forecast, but never materialized, snow storm.  I sigh distractedly and grip the steering wheel a bit tighter as my mind wanders, once again, to the worrisome state of things here on my side of the divide.  It is then that I see it.  Off to the left.  A house.  

As an unrepentant house spy, I know most of the houses along this stretch of road:  which window holds the largest Christmas tree, a child’s bedroom that, since the holidays, has revealed the tip top edge of a teepee.  I am familiar with the old houses lovingly cared for and the new ones whose architects should have perhaps taken a few more classes.  I recognize the dogs that are walked along this pavement - the large poodle that strolls, the tiny terrier that pulls.  But here on a hill made visible by the now naked trees sits a house I have never seen in my whole life.  A lovely house, almost fairy tale,  it smiles serenely behind its little copse of trees, trees which, having shed their green garments, no longer provide their usual concealment of its beauty.  How is it possible that until today I have never known it was there?
It was then that, as so often happens, my interior thoughts collided head on with my eye’s observations and, coalescing magically, they revealed a truth vital to my soul.  Perhaps, just perhaps, it is precisely when the world is greyest, when the colour has faded a bit and the wind whistles coldly round corners normally festooned with the lushness of spring, perhaps is it then that beauty, normally hidden, is uncovered and made clear.  It isn’t as if this exquisite house just suddenly sprang up from the mossy earth.  No, it was always there, just invisible to my untroubled eye.  But now, in the bleak air of winter, as though a magician had whipped a green damask off its facade, I could see it quite clearly.  So perhaps there are jewels waiting to be discovered now -  a gem of wisdom, a shard of knowledge - little bits of shy beauty that, now noticed, can thread their way into our souls to make us stronger, more resilient, less fearful, with expansive hearts that reach out to share what grace we might just find.   I resolve to look for them now.  

**Sorry there has been some confusion with the email subscriptions on this post.  It went all squirrelly this week and sent out old posts while ignoring the new one.  I apologize if you've received an old post, or if your comments on this one were lost.  Scheesh.**


  1. Thank you Pamela, a sentiment we could all do well to consider at the moment where ever we are in the world. It is so easy to be consumed by all that in going on, to wake to news that freezes our hearts and colours our day. You have reminded me that wisdom, knowledge, kindness and love must be the leaders to our lives and maybe just maybe we will prevail.

  2. Yes. Beautifully written. A timely, heartening message. Thank you so much.

  3. I agree with the other writers, this is a beautifully written. However, it appears that you've not been to California. There are few places (and these, if there, would be in Southern CA) where there are "uncluttered vistas punctuated only occasionally by the dandelion heads of palm trees." Nice description but does not represent what the California landscape actually is. Variations, including in Southern California include low lying shrubs and oak trees and other deciduous trees. We live on the Central Coast (Pebble Beach) and there are no vistas that do not include pine, oak, acacia, etc. trees. Your story may sound lovely, but truly does not represent any part of the state at the present time, despite the drought (which is rescinding).

    1. Thank you for the information, Margaret. I am aware of the variety of vistas in California. However, I was writing of the particular landscape surrounding the home of my friend, not the entire state. I am sorry if you were offended by the description. Best, Pamela


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