Sprinkling petals atop snow

Dawn shadows on snow, deer tracks

Dawn shadows on snow, deer tracks

On some January mornings the sun rises and casts lemon shadows against the blue-shadowed snow.

In the night deer nibble spruce branches and bed beneath them during this dark phase of the moon.

Dried Christmas cactus flowers as offering

Dried Christmas cactus flowers as offering

I love the blossoming of our Christmas cactus plant.  For years it sulked dormant on top of the refrigerator, refusing to display its pink blooms.  Then we moved it next to the sliding glass door, facing south, and it burst forth with its delight.

This year dozens upon dozens of flowers turn petaled tips toward the mid-winter luminosity before gently falling upon our green carpeting.

I gather them reverentially, placing them in crooks and crannies around the plant pots for further admiration and drying.

Pink flowers

Pink flowers

And then one fine day, when the spirit strikes, I gather them up together, tug on winter boots, snow pants, coat, scarf, hat and gloves, open the door and walk outside.  The thermometer reads a brisk 10 degrees (-12 C).

Because no wind blows through bare branches, it feels almost warm while simultaneously invigorating.

Chickadees sing their winter morning song, “Food for me, me, me?” and I beg them wait for seeds while maneuvering camera and dried cactus petals.  Fortunately, the snow does not require snowshoes for navigation.



I face the rising sun with the pink flowers.  Here, dear sacred earth and heaven, thank you, take of this small offering today.  Even though there are moments during the day when our hearts feel like breaking from the weight of the world’s constrictions and sorrows, still I want to utter words of gratitude–thank you, thank you again–for the multitude of gifts which surround us.  Thank you for the snow and Christmas cactus flowers and the sunlight and the way the Universe keeps giving even as it takes away.

Let there be light

Let there be light

It feels good to have taken this conscious moment for gratitude.  How easy to vacuum away, to not pause.

Pausing with you readers, thinking of you fondly as this new year unfolds.  What rituals calm you, make you feel more connected with the larger world around us?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in January 2015 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Sprinkling petals atop snow

  1. Happy New Year, Kathy — so good to hear your blogging voice again! Lovely, reflective words.

  2. Kathy, last night I was struggling, trying to put together a piece on winter for a friend’s blog. I’m going to refer her to this blog, as whatever I might write is not going to come close to what you’ve written. Beautifully done!

    • Kathy says:

      Esther, I would like to read what you write about winter on your friend’s blog. Am glad you liked this piece but I love to read what the Universe has to say through others, too, about this wise old man Winter.

  3. Carol says:

    Your photos of winter sun and tired blossoms on the snow convey a serenity, a sense of peace, that is always welcome – particularly in this time in this world when peace and serenity seem to be missing in life. Your words add to that sense.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I appreciate you saying this. I was feeling that sense of peace when taking the pictures. Feeling how perhaps it’s possible to add rituals which can call forth that serenity into the world. The world itself often feels so troublesome and jaded; perhaps we can call forth blossoms through our intent. Perhaps…or maybe it just can make us feel better.

  4. sybil says:

    In Canada we think the Chickadees say: “Pure sweet, Canada, Canada” … see if you can hear them saying it.

    Love the Cactus blooms in the snow and the “lemon light on blue snow” … I am looking at the wind moving the branches of the towering evergreen trees across the street. Large white and grey clouds drift in front of the blue sky snatching away the sunlight.

    Breathing with you and remembering to be grateful.

    Hugs, Sybil

    • Kathy says:

      Oh how your chickadees must love Canada, Sybil! To think they sing that song while in your beautiful land and here in the U.S. they’re just hungry. Ha ha ha! Anyway I kinda made up the “Food for me, me, me” song when writing this the other day. You know, an impromptu song! By the way, your comment sounded like poetry. Thinking about how gratitude can temper the world’s challenges. Hugs back, Kathy

  5. Thank you for sharing such a joyous moment!

    • Kathy says:

      Gretchen, thank you for commenting. I’ve done this maybe two or three years now. There’s something about those pink flowers. They are so very beautiful.

  6. Just this sort of thing, Kathy. Filling the bird feeder. Making a small offering bowl out on the terrace where I can see it as I go about my day…filled with whatever has captured my eye with a stone heart around it. The petals on the snow are right up my alley. I wrote about this in a blog on LLD about the Thai tradition of canang suri, which is a daily gratitude offering of something bountiful and beautiful. So good to hear your words here. xoxooxS

    • Kathy says:

      Suzi, I can almost see your small offering bowl–it is probably made of something colorful or beautiful–with its gift within. Something which catches the eye. I learn so much from you! Can you share the blog link about canang suri that you wrote? Can’t wait to read and feel it…

  7. sonali says:

    Wow! Thank you earth and universe for dear Kathy shared a wonderful post. I love the pictures of the glittering snow. So magnificent. The pink ones are lucky too. Sun is shining wonderfully today. Life seems more cheerful!

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, I am so glad that you enjoyed the post! I had no idea I would write one the other day. No idea whatsoever. But then the Universe insisted the camera go outside. (Because I love the pink blossoms so much.) And then suddenly a blog was writing itself! Who knew this would happen? Life is certainly amazing.

  8. Fountainpen says:

    I watched Snatch and Snag two of my
    Identified squirrels eat from my bird feeder on my porch and I rested just watching. It has been a difficult beginning of the year but I am gaining strength again and I smiled happily as I
    Recognized the email!!!

    Thank you

    • Kathy says:

      Fountainpen, I am so sorry to hear you’ve had a rough start to 2015. Do hope you’re on the mend. Do so very hope you are up and about soon. Thank goodness for Snatch and Snag. I am smiling to think you’ve named them. Glad you enjoyed this. I was quite shocked that the Spirit picked up the camera and went outside and then decided to share this!

  9. Brenda says:

    Dear Kathy,
    Thank you so much for this beautiful and peaceful post. Your pictures are lovely and calmed my spirit as I spent time envisioning being in your snowy woods. Your words about the Christmas cactus brought to mind my Mom’s Christmas cactus which never bloomed anytime during Christmas. Hers bloomed at Easter time. So, we renamed it the Easter cactus 🙂
    There was a time when I would go outside for my “meditation” time. But now I feel rather lost without that ability. I am trying new ways to create that sense of deep peace but it has been elusive without the immersion in nature. So, that is why I am so grateful for your stories, thoughts and pictures. You give me that immersion into nature that brings me to a place of peace. Thank you dear friend ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I am so glad this post filled you with a sense of northwoods peace and beauty. That you might meditate into it and find the deep peace which surrounds us at all times, when we see beneath the waves of thought & emotion. How wonderful that your mom’s Christmas cactus bloomed at Easter. For her, perhaps it was more about resurrection than birth? Love, Kathy

  10. Heather says:

    Thank you for sharing your gratitude. Sometimes nature is supremely simple, and that alone is a gift. My camera connects me to nature in ways that I miss when I don’t have it. I don’t make images of all the little details, but I do pay more attention to them, noting their beauty because of the possibilities having the camera long brings. Today I stood on an ice shelf simply listening to the ice chatter, grateful for the stillness. Blessings, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Heather, you take such amazing beautiful pictures–your attention to nature is a gift that shines forth through your camera. I think sometimes I love the “supreme” simplicity the most. How fortunate we are to be able to listen to ice chatter! To be aware that ice chatters and speaks its own unique language. Blessings back to you, Heather.

  11. john k says:

    Thank you! I needed that message this morning, it is a blessing. I need to be more demonstrable in my gratitude to the world.

    • Kathy says:

      John, I think all of us–me included–need to remind one another that one small offering of gratitude to a sometimes sad & cruel world can make a big difference. If nothing else, it is a balm for the spirit.

  12. Thank you for these lovely pictures, Kathy! We’re not getting much snow this year so it was refreshing to see your woods blanketed with the white stuff.

    Watching “Nature” on PBS on Wednesday nights is one ritual I have that makes me feel connected to the natural world in far off places, and sometimes closer to home. Feeding the local birds and observing them centers and calms me. Dreaming of a snowy landscape like yours…

  13. Susan D says:

    So beautiful … you, the pictures, and your words. Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Hey, there, Ms. Susan, I was so surprised when this blog was born. What a surprise! Wondering if you’re ever surprised when a blog is born when you’re least expecting one…

  14. msmcword says:

    Welcome back to both you and your wonderful photos. I have returned to blogging also.
    What makes me feel connected to the larger world is the time that I spend with God, both in prayer and in silence, as well as reading his words.

    • Kathy says:

      Nancy, how interesting that we’ve both found ourselves blogging again! I can see that your love of God would make you feel connected to the larger world. I felt peaceful while reading your description of that.

  15. lisaspiral says:

    How lovely to hear from you! Blessed New Year to you and your family. I love the idea for dried Christmas cactus flowers. I bought one this year for the first time in forever and have every intention of keeping it thriving. It never occurred to me to use the blossoms as an offering, of gratitude, beauty and delight.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, let me know if you do decide to use the blossoms as offerings. I do so love them–it seems important to pass that love onto the world. Hoping you’ll see yours blossom this year. (It’s good to have blogged this week. I am so enjoying seeing my blogging friends.)

  16. You are so beautifully poetic–and I love the Christmas cactus flowers in the snow–so glad to hear from you and your beautiful writing that reveals your beautiful soul

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, LouAnn, nice to see you! I am hoping to spend some time reading blogs this weekend, and want to see what you’ve been up to. As for that poetic nature, it just seems to want to come forth at times! Glad you enjoyed this.

  17. lucindalines says:

    So poetic and so beautiful.

  18. This is lovely, Kathy….both the writing and the message behind the words. Thank you!

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Ms. Cindy and thank you for pausing to comment. Hoping it’s a gloriously sunny day on Beaver Island today. We have to drink up this Vitamin D while we have a chance. 🙂

  19. It’s good to read your inspirational and reflective words that ring of someone who knows about life and nature. The photos are so very nice. Quiet beauty filled with the serenity of a new day.

    I’m so glad that you are back. Now have you heard the chickadee say, “pure sweet, Canada, Canada?”

    • Kathy says:

      Hello, Yvonne, how nice to see you again. Glad you liked the serenity of the pictures, words and ritual. As for hearing that chickadee sing about Canada, no. I am convinced that the chickadees only sing about Canada when they get that far north. *grin*

      • I was kidding of course. You are too funny. My husband used to call all the little birds chee-chee birds. One time I asked why he called all the itty bitty birds chee-chees and and he said, “because they all sing chee-chee.

        Furthermore If I can’t identify them chee-chee is as good a name an any.”

        As an aside he knew the ducks, gesse. and cranes like no one else. He knew all the calls and flight patterns, etc. But then he was a waterfowl huinter which was alwyas a pebble in my craw. 🙂


        • Kathy says:

          It felt like you painted such an interesting picture of your husband, Yvonne. I could almost picture him in my mind. And the “pebble in my craw” added depth and interest to your short paragraph. It felt like reading a mini-book. Maybe you should write one.

  20. Kathy — Reading your post today was like being part of a congregation united in Nature’s bounty. Thank you for sharing your gift of gratitude.

  21. Bonnie says:

    What an absolutely beautiful post Kathy. My Christmas Cactus has blessed me with many blossoms during late fall through Christmas. It seems to flower when I least expect it. I like that. The surprise. Bless you Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Bonnie, you’ve got me wondering. Will a Christmas cactus bloom because someone needs it to bloom at certain times of the year? Quantum physicists say that a person and an object operate together, unlike the way we often think of it. Oh, wow, am getting really metaphysical right now! Thank you for commenting and sharing your thoughts!

  22. susanblake says:

    Hi My Sweet Northern Friend!
    How wonderful to see your photos and read the thoughts you share about nature and gratitude! I have a whole new scenario for my nature moments now. Much warmer for one thing!!! I live on a golf course which is like a bird sanctuary – I have no clue what all these critters are yet but I plan to learn! Then there’s the beach! How I love to watch the waves come in – and watch the numerous sea birds, scan the waters for dolphins (which I see almost always). It’s all so magical to me. I don’t think I have ever in my life felt this close to heaven!

    This is the FIRST year that my Christmas cactus actually bloomed on Christmas – it was usually Feb. or something rather “wrong” – I think that my plants like it here as much as I do! My anthirium hadn’t bloomed in 4 years – but it is NOW!
    Hugs to you!

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I can so picture what you’re saying about your new Florida nature environment. I LOVE the bird sanctuary and the dolphins and sea creatures near where my parents live during the winter at Fort Myers Beach! Love, love, love it. So your love is resonating with me today and am picturing that heavenly place. (P.S. It sounds like YOU are blooming along with your anthirium!)

  23. Lori D says:

    Lovely. Poetic. Serene.

  24. heartspoken says:

    This is absolutely marvelous, Kathy. I’m so glad my friend Esther Miller sent me the link. She knows how important it is to me to help others connect with Nature, and you’ve done an exquisite job of creating both a vivid physical picture as well as making us feel the power of gratitude for Nature’s bountiful gifts of beauty. Would you consider letting me run this as a guest blog at Heartspoken.com sometime? My email is elizabethc at heartspoken dot com.

    • Kathy says:

      Elizabeth, so nice to meet you. Of course you may run this as a guest blog at your site–I would be honored! It sounds like you are a fellow lover of the gifts of nature. Will send you an email as well. Thank you and blessings, Kathy

  25. Robin says:

    Namaste, dear Kathy, and thank you. Thank you for sharing your snow and petals and sunlight. ❤

  26. Karma says:

    I love the poetry of your words. Thanks for popping out of your winter blog-hibernation! A walk in nature, coffee with a friend, multi-generational gatherings of friendship, having that “ah-ha” moment with a student when something suddenly makes sense, reading a blog post that touches my heart; these are the things that bring me connection. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Honestly, dear Karma, the blog popped out of me–I had no idea one was about to be written! Love the description of the ways that you connect to the larger world. Beautiful, simple things. The best joys in a day… Wishing you a good day at work and an even better weekend!

  27. sonali says:

    Copied your last picture for my desktop background. I hope its ok for you.
    Thank you very much! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, of COURSE it is OK! It’s funny, I kept looking at the first and last picture and couldn’t decide which one to post on the blog. I liked the first pic because of the deer tracks in the snow. Wasn’t even going to use the last one…and then, suddenly, something said to put it in because of the long sweep of snow and the shadows. And it turns out a couple of you liked it best! Enjoy…

  28. How beautiful and peaceful….memories flood me now of the up north winter’s that I was blessed to have experienced! I copied that picture as well……breathtaking!

    • Kathy says:

      I am so glad you have had the experience of living up north, msgreenbean. Please read the reply I just typed out to Sonali (comment up above) about that picture that you liked. It almost didn’t make the blog cut. Thank you!

  29. P.j. grath says:

    This makes me laugh! You had a cactus blooming in the U.P. of Michigan, and here in southeastern Arizona there are no flowers to be had. It is winter here! No snow (except high in the mountains) but down around freezing at night. It’s okay. Sunshine every day. Different sights to see. I’m happy. Sounds like you are, too.

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, it is so good to hear from you. And, yes, quite ironic to read a blooming cactus story from the depth of winter in the U.P. when you are in Arizona. You are the third person I’ve talked to in the last week who either lives or is visiting AZ. Glad to hear you are happy–enjoy your break from the bookstore. With all that blessed sunshine!

  30. I Wilkerson says:

    Good to hear from you Kathy! I have discovered that the Fuschia plants I used to toss out every year will overwinter in the house and bloom again in the summer. As far as calm goes, the other day the power company came by to replace the connections to our house and we were without power for a half hour. I lit candles and sat in the dark–so serene!

    • Kathy says:

      Inger, it’s so nice to see you, too! Isn’t it fun when you discover a plant can overwinter? (I even like that word “overwinter”.) And there is something lovely about sitting in the dark with only a candle or two. It can bring us back to our peaceful center, can’t it?

  31. Thank YOU. For your beautiful words of wisdom, for coming back to us on your blog, for welcoming me into your life as a blogging friend, for helping us see the beauty of the world within and without, which can help us erase the frightening ugliness that weighs our world.

  32. Just beautiful. It’s a gift to be grateful when things aren’t great. Thank you so much.

  33. Stacy says:

    What an uplifting post, Kathy. So glad that I mustered the courage to venture online. XO

  34. So good to hear your “voice” again after a long silence.

    I was given my first Christmas cactus this year. She, the amaryllis and the poinsetta liven up my south windows.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Ms. Lunar! It seems I am writing about once a month lately. (In between I am always imagining that blogging is done. And then the words/photos start up again.) Did your Christmas cactus bloom this year? Hope so.

  35. pearlz says:

    So long since I have visited. I love these photographs Kathy. Especially the light through the trees and the pink flowers on the white snow, so delicate.

    • Kathy says:

      June, so nice to see you again! It has been a long time for both of us, hasn’t it? Glad you enjoyed the delicate light. I love when it looks like that.

      • pearlz says:

        Yes, I am fascinated with light – filtering through trees, creating shadows and dancing along the shorelines. Thanks as always for your beautiful posts.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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