Spring Nostalgia

There is a certain nostalgia, I think, in the way the seasons turn. We revel in the autumn trees, red, orange and yellow like a campfire captured in leaves; then one day the leaves are brown and falling to the ground, leaving us with the memory of the fiery forests that stood what seems like only yesterday. We sometimes forget the true beauty of the season around us—fall leaves, freshly blanketed snow, flowers beginning to blossom or the feverish heat of the summer sun—until the weather shifts and we are left with memories.

This spring I was struck by the simple elegance of the flowers that sprouted around my house. My wonder is nicely summarized in this passage from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: “There is something subversive about this garden… a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamour to be heard, though silently.” I love those words because they paint flowers as more than delicate pink petals on green flesh. Flowers are a subtle sign of nature’s strength; that a seed can be buried and then grow bravely, deliberately, through the soil and towards the sky.

Back in April, I published a post of photos on a whim; I had just arrived home to find a colourful sky and flowers still with raindrops from a storm. I loved photographing the flowers so much that I continued throughout the spring. Now, although I am enjoying the warm summer weather I find myself missing the bright yellows and painted pinks. In case you, like me, are having a nostalgic moment for the beauty of spring, here are some of my favourite photos of flowers; bursting up, wordlessly, to show themselves to the world, if only until the seasons inevitably turn.


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My Un-Resolute Resolutions, One Year Later

I can’t pinpoint the exact reason for this, but there is something about this time of year that makes me feel nostalgic. All I know is that when the snow starts to fall, and strings of lights start appearing on rooftops, I begin to reflect on the year that is coming to an end. I wrote a post about this last year too, writing that although I was happy in the present I couldn’t stop reliving the amazing memories I had made throughout the year (you can read that post here if you’re interested!).

I feel the same way this year in that I had a lot of happy moments during the year that I want to remember. At the same time, though, I’m incredibly excited for the upcoming year. I will be graduating high school and going on to University, which is kind of frightening but mostly exciting.

Last year, I came up with some general New Year’s resolutions for 2015. I reflected back on them in a post one month after, and then, in all honesty, I kind of forgot about them. Even though my resolutions were not on the forefront of my mind, I ended up fulfilling some of them anyways! I thought it would be interesting to look back on them almost twelve months later and see how I did.

My first resolution was to challenge myself in my writing, and I definitely achieved this. I began another blog which I write with my cousin, I started writing for The Huffington Post, and I continued writing for this blog. I also entered several writing contests which challenged me to write in different styles.

My next resolution was to volunteer more. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have any weekly volunteer shifts; by January I had one, and now I volunteer twice a week, so I’d say I fulfilled this resolution!

Improving at social media was my third resolution. Throughout the year I became more familiar with various types of social media, so in that way I achieved this resolution. I’m still working on this one, though – it’s difficult to maintain “professional” accounts! If I make resolutions for 2016, this will probably be one of them. Speaking of social media, feel free to follow my Twitter for updates about my writing: @sherinaharris

My fourth resolution was to read more. I did make a Goodreads account this year (also in line with my previous resolution to make better use of social media), so that has helped me to keep track of what books I want to read. I’d still like to make more time to read, because there are tons of amazing books out there. Hopefully I can read more now that I’m on Holiday break!

For my fifth resolution,  I wanted to keep my desk more organized. In January, I cleaned most of the junk off of my desk and for the most part it has stayed this way. I still have copious amounts of sticky notes, but I’ve come to accept that their presence on my desk is necessary to staying organized.

My last resolution was to live life, laugh, and have fun. This was my most important resolution, and I’m happy to say that I achieved it. I kept a memory jar this year, and even though I often forgot to catalog my memories the jar is still bursting with slips of paper containing happy memories. I guess that brings me back to where I started this post… with memories.

In the post I wrote last December about nostalgia I said, “I’ve learned that time is a funny thing. When we want it to speed up, it slows down. But when we want it to slow down, it seems to speed up.”

Looking back on all of my resolutions, and all of the memories I’ve made this year, I’m reminded of a fact that I hadn’t quite grasped at this time last year. Sometimes, time can be both fast and slow. Some moments felt slow, like they’d last forever, and some slipped by before I could blink. But most felt just right – and that’s something worth being nostalgic over.

Nostalgic? Not Me!

It’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s the Holiday season, and yes, it’s the time for us to be joyful and merry and make resolutions and be introspective. The Holidays are approaching so quickly. WordPress already has their list of favourite blogs from 2014, and they’ve launched their annual theme for 2015 – which will be here before we know it.

I guess this is part of the whole “introspective” thing, but seriously; it can’t just be me who thinks that this year went by in the blink of an eye. What’s funny though is that for me 2014 did go by in the blink of an eye; but it wasn’t the kind of thing where you blink and miss it, if that makes any sense.

This year I had tons of opportunities to reflect on what was happening, and to sit back and say to myself, “hey – life is pretty awesome right now.” Strangely enough, I was always aware of the amazing things happening, my year still flew by.

I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday that I was lying outside in the sun reading, dreading the end of summer? And wasn’t it just last week that I was fully immersed in that summer? Usually by this time of year, the cold and dreary December, summer is a distant memory. But my summer this year was something special, and I am holding onto it so tightly that if it were a china vase it would have broken.

I have albums full of pictures of the summer, and I often have a file of these pictures open on my computer to look through. “I’m not nostalgic,” I say, as I retreat to this file and relive my trip to Europe, and having all of my family come from all over (literally, all over; from Calgary to Australia) to my cottage, and every other moment.

“I’m not nostalgic,” I say, though I haven’t changed my desktop picture for nearly 6 months because it is a picture of the summer – a picture of myself, my younger sister and my cousin splashing water at my brother, a sunset over the lake in the background – and it makes me happy everytime I see it.

I tell myself I am not nostalgic, because I don’t want to be. Isn’t nostalgic a word for people with regrets, and for people who live in the past?

I am not nostalgic in that sense. Because, as amazing as my summer was, my life is still amazing right now. I mean, I’m not currently in England, or canoeing in Algonquin Park, or at my cottage stepping over the air mattresses in the living room (because there were so many people that we needed air mattresses), or arguing over whether or not an elevator is a vehicle (man did those games of Scattergories get heated)…

I may not be in any of those places or doing any of those things… but I’m still happy, in the present.I just wish the present would slow down a little bit. I’ve learned that time is a funny thing. When we want it to speed up, it slows down (any student starting at the clock can tell you that). But when we want it to slow down, it seems to speed up.

I don’t want to be nostalgic, but time is going so fast! I try to slow down and appreciate it – I make lists of the things I am grateful for. I have the quote “It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy” written on my mirror. As appreciative as I am the clock still ticks onward, moving forward. And I suppose I must do the same.