Mountain Beauty: San Pellegrino

San Pellegrino in Alpe is a mountain town in the Apennines, in Tuscany, Italy. It is beautiful and serene with amazing views everywhere you look. The fresh mountain air is soothing and invigorating; I could have stayed much longer than we did, just breathing it all in and enjoying the peaceful sounds of nature. I also happened to eat the best (homemade, of course) ravioli ever in the most charming restaurant/inn. If anyone plans to venture out in that direction, let me know and I’ll give you the information – you won’t regret it. You’ll fall in love with both the delectable meal and the breathtaking views. As with the gelato, however, I have no photos of the ravioli. Yes, I was too busy eating and enjoying. But I have many photos of the views, mountains and forest walks…I’ll let them convince you.

This is definitely one of my favorites – I think it almost looks like a painting!

April Showers

The drops fall from the sky,

Welcomed by the dry, cracking ground.

The soil lets out a deep sigh of relief,

While the trees dance in pleasure,

And the flowers laugh with joy.

 

The rain was long awaited,

As nature sought to quench its thirst.

The drops bounce on the leaves,

Glide on the flower petals,

And quiver on the branches.

 

Although the dark clouds are dreary,

The flowers glow after their cleansing shower.

The bushes and trees are alight with color,

The grass is lush and soft,

And the soil is richly filled to the brim.

 

The rain has finally arrived,

And all of nature seems most grateful.

It needed a change from the dry heat,

It needed to be refreshed and replenished,

But sun, please don’t stay away too long.

Butterfly Blossoms

This is one of my favorite trees in the spring. I find the pink shade of these particular flowers to be very unique and the tree is spectacular. I also think the flowers look like butterflies, especially from certain angles.

This is most likely the first of several posts with photos of spring’s beautiful trees. I have a hard time putting down the camera when every day brings new colors, new blossoms, new artwork of nature to capture.

I hope you enjoy this set of photos and the ones to come!

A Moving Painting

Our living room is my favorite room. Our soft and comfortable couch sits beside a huge window. A view to the breathtaking art show of nature. I could sit here for hours, just looking outside, admiring the ever changing beauty of the sky, the clouds, the colors – it is a show like no other. Let me try to depict the wondrous scene I had the joy of seeing one fine evening…

The sunlight streams through the clouds in glowing golden rays. The camera would not capture the beauty; it would be unable to do it justice. The clouds are in varying tones of light gray and white, with holes of blue pecking through. Some of them glow with a golden hue, where the last evening rays pierce through or simply glow behind the clouds. It is like a moving painting. The clouds slowly, but surely drift, change shape, the sun continues to descend. The bare trees are outlined perfectly against the clouds. Nature certainly knows how to paint a pretty picture. I am thrilled to be lucky enough to see it and admire it. It is such a fleeting moment. But I have captured it. Not with my camera, perhaps not even with my words…I saw it; that was enough.

Moments later the sky has begun to clear. There is more blue and although the sun seems to have set, the cotton candy clouds glow with a pinkish, golden color. A group of ducks flies past, in perfect V formation. It is as if nature plans it all, with impeccable timing.

The sky is even clearer now and most of the clouds have lost their golden glow. Another fleeting moment gone by. I can’t wait for the next one…

I have it within minutes of writing that last line. I thought nature had finished giving me a spectacle for today, but how can something eternal ever finish? Moments after the clouds seemed to lose their final golden hue, they suddenly came alive with a fiery pink glow. The camera most definitely did not capture the richness of the color or the breathtaking beauty of the sky.

The sun has fully set now and the sky seems mostly clear. Still some clouds drift across the blue expanse and the branches dance against the darkening sky.

The moving painting continues. Forever changing, forever beautiful.

The Whispering Brook

The leaves crunch underfoot as the half-frozen brook gurgles nearby.

The squirrels continue their acrobatics above, jumping from branch to branch.

Apart from the rustle of the leaves where they scrounge for fallen nuts, it is silent.

The silence of a fresh start, the silence of a new year.

A beautiful silence.

 

The stillness is interrupted by the lively chatter of the brook.

The water rushing between the frozen banks is music to my ears.

I love the sound of running water in the wild.

The sound of a stream, a river, a brook, gives me a deep sense of peace and tranquillity.

The water dashing over rocks, tripping over fallen branches, running towards an unseen finish line.

Is it sprinting towards a lake, an ocean, a pond, a waterfall…?

Does it matter?

 

No matter the destination, it is always moving forward, never backward.

So like the water I love so much, which brings serenity to my soul,

I too will look ahead; I too will move forward.

I will dash and I will trip,

And although the finish line is unseen (and hopefully still very far away),

I will continue to go towards it, enjoying every step along the way.

 

It is a new year.

 

It is a new adventure.

 

I wonder where the current will lead me…

Photo taken in January 2011 (Copyright - Raya Fayad)

Happy New Year – may 2012 be filled with love, laughter, happiness, hope, and calm waters.

The Autumn Battle

The raindrops fall from the sky, running down the roof tiles and hanging on the bare branches. The gentle pitter-patter is a steady, soothing rythm.

Most of the trees are naked now, but autumn has not yet exhaled its final breath. Flashes of gold and red still stand out against the gray, the last valiant warriors in a losing battle.

The air is getting colder, and night creeps upon us on earlier and earlier, but I am not upset at winter’s stealthy approach.

Every season fills me with a different kind of a joy, with a newfound excitement for what that season brings.

So for now I’ll enjoy those last autumn battles, those final flames sputtering under the cold rain, fighting to stay alight.

But when winter comes to call and the trees are shivering in their bare branches, waiting for their sparkling white blanket, I will welcome and embrace it.

Dancing with the Trees

A lazy cloud floats in the vastness of the blue sky.

The wind whispers secrets, causing the trees to shake with laughter, sending their fiery leaves dancing to the ground.

The sun plays hide and seek with the clouds, alternating the warmth on my face with sudden dashes of cold shadows.

The wind suddenly hushes, the trees are still, waiting, listening…

Then with a sudden gust, they are all chattering and jabbering, some gossip unknown to us has them all bustling.

A single leaf floats through the air, an acrobat carried by the wind, astonishing its audience with twists and flips.

It is joined suddenly by a partner. Together they complete their gravity-defying performance, and then land lightly on the ground, taking a bow and a well-deserved rest.

The wind seems to have a lot to say today, and the trees are a captive audience.

Oh, if only we could know what was being said! But perhaps then it would lose its charm.

Now the birds have joined the conversation, quietly but steadily they are sharing their thoughts.

The wind and the trees are very polite listeners and have stopped their chit-chat to hear what their companions have to say.

As the sun warms my face, I watch the trees dance with their own shadows.

The voice of a child floats up to the sky as he looks at those dancing, laughing trees. Perhaps he understands them and the chattering wind. Does he know the secret they’re not telling me?

And even if he does, that’s alright. I don’t mind the mystery, as long as I can keep listening to their secrets and continue laughing and dancing with the trees.

A Walk in the Park

Today it’s a VERY gray and EXTREMELY rainy day – I had to put that capital emphasis, because it seems the skies just decided to open up and dump rain by the truckloads, not even bucketloads. On a positive note, the rain seems to really bring out the colors of the trees and I’m lucky I get to enjoy all that beauty from my windows. So, in order to brighten things up and share the beauty with others, I thought I would post some pictures I took on another gray and rainy day not so long ago!

A few days ago I went out for a walk after the rain. I find that the rain seems to cleanse everything so colors are brighter and more stunning after a rain shower. The gray clouds also somehow manage to enhance all the brilliant autumn colors and make for amazing spectacles of nature. I hadn’t planned on walking in this park, but as I passed by, the colors of the trees caught my eye and dazzled me. Those magnificent colors beckoned me, and the further I followed the park trail, the more amazing the scene became. I was rather grateful I just happened to choose that direction for my walk, because it would have been a real shame to miss out on all that beauty.

Oh, and as a little side note: I know there are a lot of pictures of that one bench, but I just fell in love with how beautiful and romantic it looked, nestled between the trees and with all those leaves on and around it.

I hope you enjoy seeing these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Shadows of Love

Isn't life nicer when it's spent hand in hand with someone you love?
Some time alone can be alright...
...But everything is always better when it's shared.
My shadow and I can get a little lonely without some company...
...We're always happier when we're joined by our best friend and his shadow.
And we're oh so lucky that our best friend is also our true love.