Open to Delight – Spring

Browsing the images on my phone a few days ago, I realized I had quite a few Delight images that I had not shared.  Here’s the current installment of Open to Delight with just a few of the moments that have given me delight recently.

How have you been taking note of these moments in your life?

(If you’d like to see the images larger, just click on the first one and you can scroll through all of the images.)

Open to Delight: A Walk in the Woods

We got out for our first hike of the year the other day.  It was just a short bit of a hike since the water in the stream was too high to cross that day.  It looks like a hike that would be fun to do several times throughout the season as there are huge groups of mountain laurel as well as rhododendrons, and who knows what else?!  And if you can cross the stream and go further there is a waterfall to enjoy.  Hiking in Virginia in late March was such a delight.  We are used to  Mud season in NY’s Adirondacks that makes hiking a challenge in the spring time.

Here are just a few glimpses of a lovely time in the woods.

Open to Delight…again

Sometime in the past several months, I realized that I had, in all the craziness of home searching, stopped taking photos of those little moments of delight that appeared in my days.  I hadn’t really stopped noticing them, but I hadn’t been recording them.  And I think, the act of recording them makes it a bit more intentional to keep my eyes and heart open to what delight there is in the world.

I’ve written and shared about delight before many times (you can read them here) but as a reminder, I believe that our lives are full of moments of surprise and joy that add up to delight.  Sometimes they are big things but often they are the small things and often we totally miss them if we are not paying attention.  It has been my practice for some time to be more aware of those moments. Taking photos of them helps to be more intentional about it.

I restarted taking my delight photos in August, right in the midst of major moving activities.  I use my phone camera to take the photos, in an effort to keep it simple.

It’s more about noticing the delight than creating a work of art.  The work of art is in the moment itself. 

What’s more, when they are on my phone, I don’t really look at them until it’s time to write a post like this.  Then I get an additional dose of delight when I look back through the photos on my phone and re-delight at all those moments.

Hope you will find delight in some of these images and perhaps go on your own mission to be aware of the delight in your days.

Open to Delight – Catching up

Life has been very full the past few months. Delight has shown up  many times and in many places.  Noticing delight and the things that spark it has become a habit for me even if I don’t always capture it with the camera.  That’s really the purpose of taking the photos in the beginning.  Somehow, we feel that if we photograph something it is more tangible.  But after a while, you just notice and capture the moment of delight in your mind.  Noticing, being tuned in to the delight is the important part.

Still, as I was clearing off my phone camera the other day, I found all these images that I’d captured simply because they represented a moment of delight.

A colorful dinner and evening shared with good friends:

Delight-01-©GailSHaile

 

Finding a restaurant, while traveling, that offered gluten free pizza!Delight-02-©GailSHaile

 

Enjoying this gluten free,  truly delicious pizza with fontina cheese, wild mushrooms, and caramelized onions!  Total delight!Delight-03-©GailSHaile

 

Our daughter arrived with her family for the holidays (a major delight!) and brought me this box of my very, very special, very favorite chocolates

Delight-04-©GailSHaile Delight-05-©GailSHaile

 

When I was at New Skete Monastery for my beginners’ photography retreat in October,  I purchased this delightful cheesecake from the nuns and tucked it in the freezer to enjoy for Christmas dinner.  Incredibly wonderful!

Delight-06-©GailSHaile

 

I’d totally forgotten about this image of the Alps that I captured as we were leaving Switzerland after our last visit to family there.  Often when flying to or from,  some or all of the mountains are covered in clouds, but on this day you could see the whole range quite clearly. 

Delight-07-©GailSHaile

 

What a delight to see perfectly uninterrupted blue sky!  That is a rarity in my part of the world but enjoyed it while visiting Atlanta for a PPA conferenceDelight-08-©GailSHaile

 

We have a beautiful Pin Oak tree in our front yard that has stood witness to most of our family’s life together.  A few years ago, we had the tree trimmed and saved a larger branch to have something created from it.  Just before Christmas we were delighted to finally get the 3 items that my wood artist friend, Carl Stoner, created with that wood.  This lamp and the 2 vases, gifts for our adult children, will be constant reminders of that tree no matter where we are.  

Delight-09-©GailSHaile

 

And of course, the shenanigans of our squirrels have continued to delight.  The squirrels shimmy up the wind chimes, pause at the top, climb up onto the bracket, sit for a few seconds, and then take a flying leap over to the suet feeder, a distance of 4 or 5 feet.  If I shew them away, they come back again and again, most persistent are they. Our older grandson took extreme delight in this and spend a great deal of time sitting on the countertop and laughing hysterically when they jumped, then wanting them to do it again.

Delight-12-©GailSHaileDelight-11-©GailSHaile

These images are in no particular order and don’t come close to documenting the many moments of delight over that past few months.  They simply serve as a reminder that delight is right in front of us much of the time if we are open to it.

Open to Delight: Summer Part Two

How have you been delighted recently?

This is the second installment of Summer Delights.  In last week’s Open to Delight post I shared several images of times I was delighted in the past two months.  There were so many that I decided to split them up and share some this week as well.

All the images this week have something to do with nature and wildlife.

While I was at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for a week-long photography workshop, I  was walking back to my room one evening and discovered this robin’s egg in the middle of the sidewalk.  There were no trees overhead and nearby so it was a bit odd that this egg was sitting, unbroken, in the middle of the sidewalk.  I kept it safe and warm for a few days but it was obvious that it was not going to hatch. The shape and color are so lovely, my mind is playing with ideas for properly photographing it.

Summer Delights 11-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 11-©GSHaile

While at the workshop in at HWS, these baby barn swallows greeted us each time we passed through the door to our room.  The parents had built a nest on top of the sprinkler that was directly over the entrance to our suite.  Each time we went through the door the babies would peek out at us and the parents would swoop down and scold us for being too close to their babies.  On the last day of the workshop, we walked out our door and discovered that the babies had decided to join the parents and fly away.  I just love the looks on their faces!

Summer Delights 12-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 12-©GSHaile

Have you even seen a squirrel totally chilled out?  I didn’t know that was possible.  Squirrels are the epitome of constant and frantic activity and chatter.  But one day, I looked out my office window and noticed this squirrel just hanging out on top of this birdhouse (we suspect it’s a squirrel house most of the time).  He stayed like this for at least 20 minutes, at one point actually hanging his paws over the side in total relaxation. Wonder if he was delighted to be getting an opportunity to relax?

Summer Delights 13-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 13-©GSHaile

Another moment that delighted me was watching this wren flitting back and forth among the three houses.  It appeared that she had taken up residence in all three.  Or maybe she was a bit like Goldilocks and was testing them out to see which was ‘just right”?

Summer Delights 14-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 14-©GSHaile

Why is it that we rarely take time to see those gems that are right nearby us?  The Root Glen ( a garden and arboretum named for the Root family) at nearby Hamilton College is one of those places for me.  It’s  less than 2 miles away and every time I go there, I wonder why I don’t visit more often.  I did take an hour or so to wander through the gardens and play with my camera one summer day.   The garden was in between the lush bounty of summer and the fire of fall but I delighted in just being there and enjoying the moment.

These blossoms are in the onion, Allium, family and I was able to isolate the one blossom with a very shallow depth of field.

Summer Delights 15-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 15-©GSHaile

The Bee Balm, Monarda,  was just about done for the year, but I liked the look of this one spend flower head and the contrast of the fuschia pink with the green background.

Summer Delights 16-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 16-©GSHaile

How can you not be delighted around puppies?  The monks of New Skete are world famous for breeding German Shepherd dogs.  When I led my first photography retreat  at New Skete Monastery, the monks were kind enough to let us see the nursery where a litter had been born just 3 days prior.  There was also a group of 4 week old pups and a litter of 7 week olds. Brother Gregory brought out two of the oldest puppies and let them run and play while we photographed.  Everyone, including the puppies, was most delighted!

Summer Delights 17-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 17-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 18-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 18-©GSHaile

It’s fun to write these posts and revisit some of the moments when I was delighted.  It makes me remember even those that didn’t make it onto a memory card other than the one in my head. And it’s fun to anticipate what the Open to Delight post may hold in a month or so.

In what ways do you think you be surprised by delight in the coming weeks.?  We just need to be open to it!

Open to Delight: Summer

I just realized it’s been almost two months since I posted any of the moments of delight that have happened.  How did that happen?!  One word, summer.  Summer in my part of the world is short and a time to thoroughly and completely savor every lovely moment of sunshine and warmth.  Talk about delight!!!!

This summer has been graced with many, many moments of delight.  When I can, I take pictures of those moments with whatever camera is most handy, often my phone but sometimes with my more advanced cameras.  The most important part isn’t even taking the picture, though, it’s taking the time to notice, to be in that moment.

It’s surprising when I review the images that have accumulated in my delights folder.  I get to experience the delight again as I share with you. There were so many images in that folder, this time, that I’m going to split them up and save some for next week.

Summer Delights, Part One

I don’t often take pictures of food as so many people do (or as this artist friend of mine who does amazing paintings of food).  Occasionally, though, the beauty of a particular dish just demands that I photograph it.  The bright colors in this seafood stew only hint at the amazing aroma and flavors that it offered. The most delightful part was that it was made without the aid of a recipe and from things I had in the fridge, freezer, and garden.  Cooking can be a truly creative activity!

Summer Delights 1-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 1-©GSHaile

I had never tasted a fresh fig until visiting family in Europe in the past few years.  Prior to that, my notion of figs was  heavily influenced by a certain cookie which I had tasted once, maybe twice, as a child and banished to the category of “not eating that”.  Tasting large, juicy fresh figs readily available from the grocery store in Switzerland changed all that.  Checking our area grocery stores yielded, at best, VERY occasional fig availability that were poor imitations of what I’d so enjoyed in Europe. So it was a huge delight when a friend mentioned she’d seen a sign for CNY Figgery.  Imagine that!  Fresh figs right here in central New York!

We took a drive to the figgery and discovered they also sold fig trees!  So we’ve been carefully tending this tree all summer.  Isn’t it beautiful?!  It is now twice as large as what you see here and filled with more than a dozen ripening figs.

Summer Delights 2-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 2-©GSHaile

As you may have noticed, much of my work is about paying attention to the little things, the often overlooked beauty right at our feet, at times literally at out feet.  My husband has become adept at this, as well.  While working in the yard one day, he brought me this heart rock that he’d discovered.

Summer Delights 3-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 3-©GSHaile

There’s something pretty delightful, to me, about seeing plants sprouting in unlikely places as in the next two images. They speak of strength and resilience.

Summer Delights 4-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 4-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 5-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 5-©GSHaile

I don’t often photograph sunsets.  It seems to me that it’s easy to be awed by sunsets while we often miss less obvious sources of awe.

The next two images are not the most spectacular images of sunsets, but represent two moments of delight  in my summer.  The first was the sunset from Emmaus House at New Skete Monastery the first evening I was there, awaiting the arrival of participants for my first Seeing with New Eyes photography retreat.  I was sitting alone in the quiet of the warm evening listening to all the sounds of the mountain and anticipating what the next two days would hold.  This gentle sunset was a perfect backdrop to that moment.

Summer Delights 6-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 6-©GSHaile

Water, beautiful light, my camera, and a couple of delightful hours free to play were a pleasant respite from fun but long days in a computer classroom learning Corel Painter near Seneca Lake.

I often find that it’s difficult to capture the grandeur of the sky in those moments.  While this still doesn’t do it adequately, it’s closer.  I’ve found that if you take several images with a wide angle lens and then merge them to create a panoramic image, it gives a better sense of the vastness of the sky and the colors.

Summer Delights 7-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 7-©GSHaile

I love to photograph reflections, so I was delighted to capture this colorful one during that evening playing by Seneca Lake.

Summer Delights 8-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 8-©GSHaile

Much of delight has to do with the unexpected as well as the beautiful.  While sitting with a friend one evening, I was surprised by the simplicity and beauty of this scene created by the setting sun coming through the front door.

Summer Delights 9-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 9-©GSHaile

On the second Wednesday evening of each month, if I’m not traveling, you will find me in the company of a group of women with whom I have shared six years of Creativity Group.  It’s always a fun, inspiring evening (actually that’s a pretty lame description of what happens, but it’s difficult to put words to.  See my post here about creativity group.).  We rotate hosting the group in our homes.  I always love to host in the summer so we can be out on our deck, which some have dubbed the “tree house”, shown here all ready for the group. It was a wonderful evening filled with many delights.

Summer Delights 10-©GSHaile

Summer Delights 10-©GSHaile

There were many moments of delight that were not captured except in my soul.  But there were a few more that I was able to capture as an image.  I decided to save those for another installment next week.

During the coming week, take time to notice those moments of delight and take a picture in your soul if not with a camera.

Open to Delight

Have you been finding moments of delight?  Have you been looking for them?

Delight is often right in front of us but if we aren’t paying attention for it, we miss it altogether.  

It’s been a a busy month and at times, I’ve had to remind myself to pay attention.  Among time with family and grandchildren in May, there were many, many moments of delight.  Those are precious and not as hard to be aware of.  It’s those other times when it needs to be a conscious decision to look for the delight in our lives.

Here are just a few of the moments when delight showed up in my life the past several weeks:

In the spring, before the trees have leafed out fully, and after the sun has shifted to it’s spring position in the evening sky,  we have these light patterns on our living room wall.  It only happens for a month or so in the spring and I always enjoy  it when it shows up.

May Delights 1_©GSHaile

May Delights 1_©GSHaile

Unlike other parts of the world and the US, outdoor restaurant seating is not common here in central NY state.  Most of the year, it’s too cold, too wet, too much work for restaurants to have outdoor seating.  Many don’t bother at any time of the year but a few are willing to take that risk in the warmer months. Did I mention that I LOVE to dine outdoors?  So the appearance of these tables and umbrellas is most delightful when it happens!

May Delights 2_©GSHaile

May Delights 2_©GSHaile

Outdoor dining is one of my greatest delights!

May Delights 3_©GSHaile

May Delights 3_©GSHaile

As the lawn begins to grow in the spring, before it’s seen the blades of the lawnmower, our front lawn is COVERED in violets.  This is about one square foot of our lawn.  The rest was equally and delightfully populated with wild violets.

May Delights 4_©GSHaile

May Delights 4_©GSHaile

You cannot help but smile at the sea of violets.  I recently discovered there are actually practical uses for all those lovely purple blossoms.  Will have to try that next year.

May Delights 5_©GSHaile

May Delights 5_©GSHaile

We spent some time in Switzerland visiting family and being Grandma and Grandpa in May. Lots of delightful moments there!  But we also played tourist one day and took a trip up Mt. Pilatus.  Coming down on the gondola, this lovely little church, Klimsenhorn Chapel, appeared on the back side of the mountain.  It was so unexpected, and that is often a part of the sense of delight.

May Delights 6_©GSHaile

May Delights 6_©GSHaile

Another unexpected delight, was happening upon these two men practicing their Alphorns while we were hiking on the Felsenegg Ridge above Zurich.  Click here to listen to Alphorn music, a decidedly Swiss experience.

May Delights 7_©GSHaile

May Delights 7_©GSHaile

Seeing a blimp, or more correctly in this case a zeppelin, is always a surprise and delight.  This one was floating over the Zurich area to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Edelweiss Air.

May Delights 8_©GSHaile

May Delights 8_©GSHaile

Upon arriving home from our travels, the daffodils were in full bloom all over our yard.  One day as I pulled out of the driveway I noticed that the neighbor children had decorated the fire hydrant sign with daffodils from our yard.  I’ll admit to a brief moment of annoyance but then thought of the delight they had taken in creating this much more cheery sign.

May Delights 09_©GSHaile

May Delights 09_©GSHaile

When you are gone for a few weeks in early May, the grass seems to have exploded into growth when you return.  The lawn desperately needed to be cut but after my husband finished mowing, I went outside and noticed a small clump of flowers that he’d left un-cut under the oak tree.  He knew I would take delight in the way they swayed in the breezes and how pretty they were.  Mostly, the delight came from his gift of knowing  that and leaving them for me.

May Delights 10_©GSHaile

May Delights 10_©GSHaile

I discovered that these volunteers in the yard are part of the Aster family and known as Robin’s Plantain.  Playing with my camera to capture these images offered more delight.

May Delights 11_©GSHaile

May Delights 11_©GSHaile

Those are just a few moments when I found delight in the past weeks.

What have been your moments of delight recently?

Know anyone who would enjoy this post?  Be nice and pass it on to them!  Thanks!

 

 

Open to Delight

Have you been aware of delight?  Where have you found it recently?  

I wrote about delight, here, at the end of January.  While I haven’t had a chance to write about it since, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been anything delightful happening.

In addition to the images below, (make sure click on the images to enlarge and to read the captions for details) there were many moments that I couldn’t or didn’t capture a photograph.

It isn’t always about getting the shot but, more importantly, just acknowledging the delight-fullness of that moment in your soul. 

 

If you know anyone who would enjoy seeing my work, I would be delighted if you would share with them.  Thanks!

Open to Delight


What is delight? This is something I’ve been pondering for a while.

Delight is the foundation of much of my work. I try to portray aspects of our world in ways that make one stop and, with a sense of happy surprise or an “oh, I never saw it that way” feeling, see in a new way.  There’s often an element of joy and surprise with delight.  Delight has a way of waking you up both mentally and spiritually.

Delight is an attitude, an expectant, active way of seeing and being in the world. The cool thing is, delight exists more if we are looking for or expecting it. Delight is, in large part, a choice. Delight can be given, it can be received. It is smaller, yet at the same time, bigger than happiness. Delight is hopeful.

I confess I have a history with the word delight.  As a child, my mother always told me that my name, Gail, meant “source of delight”.  To be told that as a child, instilled in me the belief in the existence of delight and my capacity to both offer and receive it.  When I was in my twenties, my mother gave me this tiny sculpture of a girl jumping rope. She said that it represented the delight that she saw in me as a child.  It still sits on my kitchen windowsill as a reminder to never lose that attitude.

Open to Delight ©Gail S. Haile

Being open to delight doesn’t make you a Pollyanna, excessively or blindly optimisticIt simply means that we tend to see what we expect or what we are looking for.  The world is only too eager to share sad and terrible things so there’s little chance of  being unaware of them.   Being open to delight can, at the very least, provide balance.

Towards the end of each month this year, I will list a few things, in words as well as pictures, that have brought me delight in the previous few weeks.  It would be fun, as well, if you would leave comments describing how you have been open to delight.

A few of the things on my list of delights for January include:

  • Spotting a brilliant crimson cardinal on a snow covered branch on my way to the gym on a brutally cold morning.

  • Recognizing the handwriting on an envelope in the mail basket as that of  an dear friend with whom I’d lost touch.

  • Seeing swirly frost patterns on the bedroom window with morning light streaming through them.

  • Playing with a fun new lens.  

  • Watching the goldfinches return to our bird feeder.

  • Hearing my husband’s laugh.

  • And in these images of delight (click on the images to enlarge them):

 

How have you experienced delight lately?

 

Friday Finds: What do you See?

What do you see?  Seems a simple enough question.  But sometimes, many times, we are so distracted by life that we don’t see life.  We don’t notice what is right in front of us, the amazing details, the small moments, all the little things that are really big things.  My Open to Delight series  is about being aware of those small details and moments.   One of my favorite quotes also reminds us to hone our See-ing muscles:

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  Henry David Thoreau 

So my Finds for this Friday are wonderful examples of the practice of Seeing.  They both have a similar theme but what’s great about them is the simplicity of the idea.  You can do this, too.

Kjell Bloch Sandved, a Norwegian photographer, has searched and found the entire alphabet in the wings of butterflies.  You can read and see more by clicking here.

Adam Voiland, noticed patterns and letters in satellite images and searched until he could see the entire alphabet in those images.  Read and see more here.

In 2009, before I had read about Sandved’s or Voiland’s projects, I found the alphabet in Switzerland over the course of a week’s visit.  SwissAlphabet, See

I hope one or all of these projects will inspire you to open your eyes and your mind and practice your ability to see.