Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Quiet Times" ... Part II


Blue Waters

While attending College in Toronto, I spent two summers working in rural areas
of British Columbia.  We relocated every two weeks to a new a
village with lake nearby.  Our stay was in a cabin along the blue water.  The
quickest route to our place of  activity was along the gravel road.  On Friday
we left early to rowboat across the lake to the village where we checked for mail
and to replenish our groceries. Saturday, our day off, we enjoyed the lake water
together with the availability of  “our boat”.  If the lake was smooth, we would
take turns rowing ~ the other would jump into the cool mountain water to either
swim or grasp the end of the boat.  I did the latter (since I had not had
opportunity to learn to swim, living on a farm).  I trusted Jane implicitly. 
To float through this beautiful blue water was heavenly which elevated me
to a state of euphoria! I felt like a mermaid...and believed it to be so! 
These were unforgettable experiences.

Luray Caverns

The Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Marion, Virginia (Shenandoah Nat. Park)
extending southward into The Great Smokey Mountains National Park. 
I travelled with a couple friends (one of whom  had recent major surgery)
from Brantford en route to Florida for a 10-day healing recuperation...
and mini-holiday. Luray Caverns in Virginia are widely visited since their
discovery in 1878.  I am claustrophobic it was with trepidation I
became another curious tourist...literature told me these caverns had been
4,000,000 years in the making...had cathedral sized rooms (chambers)
and ceilings 10 storeys high.  Never having been previously in a cave,
I was astounded at the adornment rock formations:  stalagmites (rock
growing from the floor up) and stalactites (rock formations that hung down. 
There are also many mirrored pools and flowstone.  The caverns are yellow,
brown and red because of water chemicals and minerals.  The temperature
inside is a steady 54 degrees F.  My feelings were strange and eerie...yet
so easily believable that I had escaped to a foreign planet.  There was an
 uncanny silence...with the occasional droplet of water falling. 
Echoes reverberated. No aliens around to question our presence or to
sweep us away to their domiciles!

Pink Sands

As we explored the beauteous island of Bermuda, we realized the truth...the sand
on the beaches is of pinkish-hue...caused from the erosion of coral reef and broken
shells of sealife living around and below the reefs.  Even houses and mini-buses
are pastel colours of the blue-turquoise water and the flowers of ivories, yellows,
pale greens, oranges and pinks.  Riding leased mopeds, was the most relaxing and
inviting travel to view this unique British-influenced isle.  With lunch in backpacks,
we toured by lush golf courses, saw impressive boats and yachts...and stopped by
a cove-type one there...just us...our private domain!

Locking our bikes and removing our “crown helmets” like a lord and lady,
we well-imagined...this was our Camelot!  Our hotel lunches, fit for royalty,
were deliciously enjoyed... birds swooped by in the air, the ocean breeze was
refreshing,  the sound of surf as it gently washed ashore...this was our “Garden of Eden”! 
So easy, lying on towels on this fine pinkish sand, to close one's eyes...mentally and
emotionally drift into places where nowhere we'd ever been...capturing the moments
that weresurreal and almost mystical!.

Rafting on The Rio Grande

Holidays can bring much fun, pleasure and time to relax.  One place in the
Caribbean is Jamaica where I've been 3 or 4 times.  While staying at a resort
in Ocho Rios, we arranged a 3 to 4 hour rafting ride on The Rio Grande river.,
enjoyed by tourists and the local Jamaicans.  One can bask in the tranquility
and romance on a 2-seated long bamboo raft poled by a skilled captain along
the river as it wends serenely through banana groves.  Mid-trip, we went
ashore to enjoy a tasty Jamaican-prepared lunch...followed by a brief swim
in the tropical warm water.  These hours inundate one with the island's
natural “swallowed up” by the seclusion of the green waters,
that time seems to stand still!  Our hearts are at peace...our minds and souls

A Day on a Cay

Louise, secretary at a school where I taught, invited me to travel with her and her
parents to Jamaica.  They had been officers with  the Salvation Army and worked a
few years in Kingston, Jamaica.  Now retired, they were visiting their son and his
family also stationed in Kingston's needy area.  We drove to Miami and flew to
Jamaica's capital city...spending a week with them in sultry hot summer. 

Louise had attended an English school while previously living on this island.
She contacted a couple whose mother owned a Bed and  Breakfast
at Port Antonio (east end of Jamaica).  Here we stayed for the second week. 
Her friends arranged a boat to take us to one of the cays south of Kingston. 
With a prepared lunch from the B&B, the four of us sailed to a private cay with
3 palm trees...our own little paradise, it seemed.  Time is no issue!  Wavelets of the
Caribbean ripple peacefully by; the hot summer sun is wafted by an ocean breeze;
occasional eels slink by in the shallow water; a slow-moving freighter inches its
distance to Port Royal and Kingston's harbour.  How better can this life be???

          The foregoing vignettes popped into my mind from memories
          as I read Douglas Woods, “Quiet Times”. If you give yourself
          permission to search for these places...I assure that you will
          locate them.  Learn the technique by trying to transcend
          into this “place of quiet”.  Suggestions:
                       View a lake or flowing mountain river.
                        Listen to the roar of the ocean or tumbling waterfall.
                       Observe an aquarium of  salt water fish.
                        Absorb the beauty of a glorious sunset or sunrise.
                        Be awestruck with the peace of a rainbow.
                        Place a Goddess statue in your garden.
                        Let Nature…be your guide.

           I return to my “home”  for the final Quiet Times.

Long Distance Driving...

...was instilled by my father who loved to drive,  to enjoy the country scenery, to
discover interesting places, to entertain my mother for Sunday dinners  at newly
discovered restaurants.  He achieved his life-long drive to Canada's
west coast...after his last farm sold...then moving to the City of Brantford to own
his Supertest Gas Station. The year was 1950...he bought a brand new maroon
Studebaker for the trip...his lifetime dream! 

Long distance driving to me is relaxation.  With confidence in my driving skill
abilities and understanding of maps, I enjoy the ride!  No pagers, no telephones,
no appointments, no alarm clocks!  Just the road...the safety of my vehicle...
the radio turned to good listening music...these conditions give me Time to
Contemplate...without interruptions and disturbances, confusions and stress!
Even now, 3 or 4 times a year I drive to a New England state (8 ½ hour drive
one-way with a couple 15-20 minute stops along I-90).

Such excursions in the past have been driving across Canada to both the
Pacific and Atlantic Northern Ontario and Northern Manitoba skiing in Quebec's Laurentian Bronson, Missouri...
to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (each of these treks with company).
The most “memorable drive to  remember” was in 2001, flying to California
where my son worked under contract...and returning his Honda Odyssey
as a lone driver to Ontario...necessity was to renew his licence in this province
with the required emission test. I spent 11 days on the road (and 10 nights)
sightseeing....through mountains, canyons, former silver mining towns,
high plateaus...National Parks...the Plains States...crossing the Mississippi
...then heading for Detroit and the Ambassador Bridge bringing me home
to Ontario. The van passed its emission test prior to my son's Nov. birthday.

My Home Turf

Surrounding my 3rd floor balcony apartment, I view a residential street...
a bike path used by joggers, cyclists, skate boarders, seniors on their scooters,
dog-walkers...numerous trees and bushes...telephone and hydro right-of-ways.
A choir of birds wakens me every morning...and often throughout the day,
I hear them chirping their songs and responding...a red cardinal tells me
Freedom, Freedom, Freedom which is what I experience here. 
Squirrels dash about.  Mourning Doves have three times nested on a balcony”s
black wrought-iron-chair...I've had the opportunity to watch their nest building,
their visitations to lay 2 large white eggs, incubate them for about 14 days prior
to hatching...then nourishing them for their “flights”
two weeks later. A large honey locust stands tall near my apt. home...of pale lime
green feathery leaves;  the sky is frequently azure blue with large billowy clouds.
Sunsets often are spectacular in golds, reds and oranges.

Since sun arrives mid afternoon on my balcony, I spend many hours here with
possibly breakfast and the daily Spectator, solving its puzzles; often  a novel
to read; often crafts to work; the neighbours speak with me as they walk by;
This location is my time to ...reflect, consider, meditate, ponder, imagine and
create.  These are my Quiet Times!  I've seen lightning and heard the thunder
rumble many times.  Perhaps it is the gentle rain at night that soothes and
nourishes Nature's Greenery.

Nature always gives me
a certain strength and tranquility.

“Pearl of Wisdom”
Smell every flower, fly with every bird.
Find  Beauty and Wisdom ~
since Wisdom is found wherever there is Beauty.
(author unknown).

Merle Baird-Kerr … written August 2, 2012
I welcome your comments … scroll down...may sign as “anonymous”
or e-mail …


  1. So beautifully written and so quiet and Peaceful !
    Take care and Happy Thanksgiving to you all !

    Sherrie xx

  2. Sherrie and ever, thanks for your continued interest. Hope you find some "quiet places" to meditate together and experience inner confident you already do. Enjoy the weekend and your vacation.

  3. Nice writing! I could imagine all those beautiful places I hope to visit some day; one comment: Observe an aquarium of fresh water fish is also relaxing... ;-)

  4. I am so pleased that you have identified
    a "quiet place to transcend"...excellent...
    and am confident you will discover other
    avenues of "quiet times".....thanks for
    your interest and comment.