Posted by: mew | November 16, 2009

stained-glass magnolias, a new day, and coming home

simplethingsToday I’m remembering the simple things, inspired by Christina Martin over at Soul Aperture.  Most of the lovely posts I’ve seen today were written in list form, and it has been wonderful to experience all of them.  (You can find a list of the participating bloggers here, and I highly recommend exploring at least a random sampling.  It can be a very soothing and edifying journey through the blog-o-sphere.)

My simple things evolved slowly into a photographic essay about a few simple pleasures that have lately filled my heart with gratitude.

In this season of leaves dropping, I’m grateful for the magnolia leaves, some of them as long as my forearm, that will stay with us — and stay green — all winter.  I whispered as much to them when I took their portrait, and they seemed to glow even more beautifully.

Almost like stained glass; aren’t they?

magnolia leaf

I’m also in awe of those leaves whose role now is to demonstrate the trick of dying gracefully.  They do it so well, with so little fuss, that it looks simple, even easy, to do.


One of the most satisfying simple pleasures for me is a walk in the woods.  Just 10 minutes can alter my perspective 180 degrees.  Maybe it’s all that looking up…


Of course, there are plenty of reasons to watch my feet, too, as I walk.  Mostly so I don’t trip over a protruding root.  But also for what I might have otherwise missed, like the pine cone below and this still life on the forest floor.

If I’m present and awake enough, even a pine cone or a bit of lichen can fill me with wonder and gratitude.

turned over

This weekend’s sunrise in the mountains was simple — and full of divine mystery even so.  There was no place left in me for doubt or cynicism as I stood in the predawn stillness alone, shivering slightly, watching the fog in the valley blush and listening to the birds sing a welcome song to the brand new day.


Before I left on my trip, F. gave me flowers, the most beautiful, pale peach rosebuds.  I lamented that I wouldn’t be around to appreciate their beauty, and F. whispered, “They’ll be waiting for you when you get back.”

He was right.  Not only that, but they were in full and glorious bloom when I returned.


It was F. whom I’d been most longing to see, though.  And that’s my final simple pleasure:  coming home.  To sleep in my own bed, to cook in my own familiar kitchen, to walk in my beloved garden, to cuddle my darling kitties, and to be enfolded in F.’s warm embrace, these are the simple pleasures I typically take for granted, and yet they are the foundation of my life.

My joyful, delightful life.  How could I not be thankful every minute of every day?



  1. oh, my dear, that just made me happy. love it.

    and those leaves do look like stained glass – yet somehow more beautiful because they’re alive.

    • Happy is a wonderful response 🙂 I’m so glad you “got” the stained-glass leaves. Real glass wouldn’t be as lovely as living things, I agree.

  2. reading this slowed me down, to a stop. sigh~
    i love your conscious words. thank you for taking me along on this journey, dear friend.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the journey, christina, since you were the inspiration for me to make it 🙂

  3. What a sweet and heartfelt post. I love your photos and the way they show the beauty of our wonderful world. It is such a gift to be able to acknowledge the simple things!

    • Thank you, Jen, for the kind words. I am not always able — but trying 🙂

  4. Oooo those leaves and rose petals – how beautiful!

    What a great list!

    And thank you for your sweet comments – And Christina too – I love your blog!

    • Thank you, Angie 🙂 Glad you visited!

  5. Your pictures are breaktaking. A truly wonderful list.

    • Shell, thank you for your kind words. I am touched 🙂

  6. beautiful list and yes, coming home is one of the most wondrous things in the world.

    • Thank you, Charlane. It had been so long since I really left home that I think I’d forgotten how powerful it can be!

  7. Those are heaven!

  8. Your simple things brought happy tears to my eyes. So beautiful. I love your last line.

    • Oh, Gayle, that’s so sweet. Thank you for the compliments. And I’m so glad they were happy tears. 🙂

  9. Your list and your images are lovely. The natural world holds so much truth and beauty. And home is truly a gift/simple pleasure. How wonderful about the magnolia leaves staying green..beautiful! How beautiful the roses!

    Thanks for stopping by my list and thank you for sharing yours. And, yes, I did paint the sunflower you saw.

    • Happy to hear about the sunflower. You do beautiful work, Helen!

      Thank you for saying my simple pleasures are lovely. That’s such a nice compliment.

  10. i LOVE your post- I want to say list, but it is everything, the photos and oh, the words- i love what you say about F the most- so sweet. I am smiling so big as i type this- thank you!

  11. It’s so nice to get a chance to look at things close up. Thanks for reminding me of this.

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