Thursday, October 20, 2011

Changes And More Changes

The fall season is at its peak and the world where I am now is surrounded by vibrant autumn colors-- red, yellow and gold.  The weather has been gorgeous for a couple of days, sunny but very comfortable although sometimes it gets really chilly especially in the morning. But less than two months from now winter will be here and the trees will turn into gray, colorless and lifeless.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not being pessimistic. To me the confetti of the fall might be over and the coming winter might be cold and gloomy but not the beautiful and warm colors of life. I am just in my deep reflective mood and can't help but ponder about my life. I am happy that finally I found the balance that I have been looking for and excited about the changes that I am going through now. But I also think that time can get by me if I'm not careful and find ways to ensure that I am not only enjoying as much of it as I can, but is living the life I want to live.  Everyday I am conscious of the fact that time is precious, it is slipping away and won't wait for me.

And looking out the window watching the falling leaves dance with the wind before touching the ground, I seem to hear them whisper their message that somehow validates these thoughts.

When I first came here in the East Coast there was this little maple tree in front of the deck of our house. This tree was but a small sapling, so weak and hapless that it was almost blown about by the winter winds. Over the changing seasons it has grown taller, thicker. Its branches now reach up to the heavens; its roots have taken a firm grip in the earth. Though its leaves have fallen away throughout each of the seasons, its core has developed to a fuller and more mature stature, and now is the most beautiful tree in the yard. Every time I pass by that house and look at that deck, I can't help but look at the tree and with it, some thoughts make me smile. I feel the warmth in my heart.

Life from my point of view is constantly evolving and continually changing. I am enjoying every bit of it and I am grateful and blessed for all that I am NOW.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Monticello, A World Heritage Site

Come step into the past for a moment and let me take you to a different time. My recent trip to Monticello in Albemarle, Virginia was very informative and an amazing travel down history 300 years back. It is Thomas Jefferson's mountain-top home and designated as UNESCO Heritage Site in 1987 and is one of the finest examples of the early Classical Revival style in the United States.  He built it between 1768 and 1809. This National Historic Landmark attracts approximately half a million tourists every year. Thomas Jefferson is the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, founder and deisgner of the University of Virginia, also a UNESCO Heritage Site and just a couple of miles away. Let me share with you my experience of Monticello and its yard and gorgeous gardens through some of these photos that I managed to take. Taking pictures inside the museum was not allowed.
The drive to get there:

Foggy and chilly Virginia by-ways
Michie Tavern was built in 1784 and less than a mile away from Monticello. Foods serve here are from pre colonial United States and they are really good.

the Entrance
the east portico

beautiful architectural details
I can imagine sitting under this shade and pond while reading my favorite novel

Blooms in the garden/yard

Jefferson's home is surrounded by different plants/flowers

and trees

the west portico

My trip to Monticello made me learn more about this great man and thus admire him even more. It was really amazing to see the way that Thomas Jefferson designed his home. It was filled with his innovations, many of which he designed or adapted "with a greater eye to convenience." As in the rest of the house, the bedroom's furnishings illustrate many of his ideas about the efficient use of time, space, and light, including prominently placed clocks, space-saving alcove beds, and light-maximizing mirrors. At the end of the tour, I found myself wanting to know more about him, his life and his passion. He was a man of letters, an intellectual, an artist, a statesman and a lover of the finer things. There is so much to learn about him, and that tour gave me a glimpse of the world Jefferson and his family inhabited.. That was such a fulfilling day for me.