As the seasons change…

The world is a very interesting place, and we’ve always been fascinated by the weather. Having family around the world, we hear about the temperature and precipitation patterns experienced in various countries on a regular basis. It’s intriguing and kind of funny to keep up with the activities and involvements of different ones – depending on where they are residing at the moment. (I say “at the moment,” because it seems that some of us are increasingly mobile – which adds to the intrigue!)

We run into this issue fairly frequently, as we are hosting artists, musicians, and poets from around the world. Just with our last art exhibit – BEACHES – we had participants from the US, Spain, Australia, Italy, Greenland, and Puerto Rico! All of these locations have a different weather temperament and seasonal flavour. From the frozen north to the balmy tropics, there is astounding variability – not to mention the vast seasonal differences between the northern and southern hemispheres. Our Australian friends are warming up to spring, just as we are looking ahead to cool autumnal beauty.

Of course, we are thinking of terrible storms and forest fires of recent days…and some that are brewing in various locations. In the US alone, wide swaths of forest fires in the Pacific northwest are raging as I write this, and many people have been evacuated from their homes for safety’s sake; sadly, some will return to devastation and need to rebuild or move. Others will be affected by the economic impact on the area and by smoky skies that can be harmful to health and well-being. We send our best to all of those affected and to the brave and caring firefighters and first responders who are doing incredible work to save lives and property. We keep watch and hope for a manageable outcome for all involved. Some will discover rich reserves of strength from deep within themselves…and we hope all will find the gift of kindness surrounding them.

When it comes to storms, the US and other countries bordering the Atlantic basin have seen their share of weather damage and threat in recent times; even the Labor Day holiday was not a respite. Hurricanes and tornadoes have wreaked havoc in many areas – both coastal and inland. Of course, Hurricane Harvey, the epic storm that has left the gulf coast of Texas under water is fresh in our minds. The storm itself lasted days…but the damage and recovery will take months and months – even years. The broader impact will be measurable for a long time to come as we all do what we can to assist. Donations to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other reputable charities are sorely needed, and we thank all who have given of their time as well as their money or goods toward the compassionate efforts to help the people who have been in many cases completely uprooted. They have our thoughts and prayers…and anything we can do to be of practical assistance.

And just when we turned our thoughts to recovery for those along the gulf coast, another series of tropical storms have started forming. One or more of these threaten the Caribbean nations as well as the southeasternmost part of the US: Florida seems to be in the bullseye of Hurricane Irma, which is presently predicted to be one of the largest storms on record. Although at this writing the storm is many miles out to sea, the forecasted potential for damage is astounding all along the possible plotted paths the storm could take. We gather our courage once more as citizens prepare for what could be yet another epic storm. As we watch and wait, our compassion rises; let us all be prepared to continue doing all we can to help – remembering that every little bit makes a difference. Whenever we lament that we can only send a few dollars or have only a few blankets or pieces of clothing to share, we must remember that each bit touches someone with genuine care and real help.

As we return to focusing on activities in our virtual world, our hearts and minds are focused on these incredible events taking place in the physical world. Let us be reminded that there are many, many concerning happenings going on around the globe at any given time. Natural events and those perpetrated by individuals can leave us shaken, but we must remember that love is what matters most. Our virtual lives can be both a respite from the stresses of that “other life” we are all living concomitantly…and a way for us to come together to share caring and support with those who join us here. Kindness is a treasure – no matter where we find it. May we all make it a focus of our being…in all the worlds there are.

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