“We must all become more aware of the beauty around us!”  ricocheted from the car radio as I drove home a few days ago.

WithCaptivatingout further ado, I bypassed the ‘hood and drove to a nursery where I bought roses…six vertical feet of them! Blossoms bathe us in special sort of beauty all their own.

Earlier on that hot day, there was a quarterly meeting at the studio.   Due to a painful wrist sprain that kept me from creating artwork, I hadn’t seen the other participants in weeks.   Finally, I gathered supplies and headed home with intent to work on my deck. By then I was exhausted from two frantic hours of catch-up conversation and heated discussion.

How many of us have experienced the sneaky way a resolve has of dissolving? My hand is raised.  Feeling deprived of leisure after three days of nonstop social events, signing books, minor league baseball, birthday celebrations, whirlwind cleaning, and meetings, I turned onto my street to plant my roses.

As I neared the house, I suddenly heard the radio blare again:  “We must become aware of the beauty around us!”

Without thinking further, I waved at the darkened, shuttered house and drove through the ‘hood, winding up hills and around curves considering the beauty.  Suddenly I was headed north on a country highway.  “Just a little further,” I pleaded.  “I’m parched.  Where can I sit by the water?  Correction…where can I find big water, not a river or a pond?  Next stop Lake Michigan, please!!!”

Destiny hadn’t tuned in to my dream yet, so I drove back roads toward the only nearby lake of measurable size.  Water had always been important to me.  My father occasionally took us along while tending Michigan waterways and parts of the Great Lakes, but I spent much of childhood far from water.  One highlight was a ride across the Straits of Mackinac on the last ferryboat that ever plied the water before the state built the Mackinac Bridge.  That one trip was enough to light my fire for eternity!

Since the age of six I haven’t lived on a lakeshore where the water was still in existence, as is necessary for those of us born under the dual sign of Pisces.  Fish are magnificent aquatic creatures, aren’t they?   However, they need water as much as air.  Without an oxygenated marine ecosystem they cannot breathe.  And if they are also more than half ‘human’, they cannot manifest their spirit.

We humans have an interesting relationship with water.  We find the eternal receptivity fascinating and the reflection a mirror to the soul.  Moreover, the ever-changing palette of possibility created by water in motion is nourishing to the restless spirit.  Water is, truly, beauty in action.

“If nothing else,” I decided, “I’ll buy ice cream and cruise Lake Drive taking pictures; they last longer.”  It’s true…the water scene does live in my memory.  Then why waste mileage?   For one thing, proximity to water renews life and rejuvenates weary cells. The area had also captured my heart over recent years. I  sold a nearby home to accept an invitation to study with Disney University and reset a relational hot button at a distance.  In short, I moved on.  New horizons are great.  But revisiting our roots strengthens our connection to the past when there is still something to learn from them.  Realizing now that a part of me was left behind in the sudden move, I jerked the wheel.  The car detoured abruptly into our former neighborhood.

Nearing the old homestead, I had a sudden brainstorm.  Until now I had only taken pictures on the fly.  Why not use the video cam?  Oh yes…the neighbors might see me!  Well, to heck with them.  I slid the iPhone camera indicator to video and sailed by with an open window.

Locating the home required two passes.  As I was soon to discover, new owners had painted the brick exterior white.  The cozy hiding spot was revealed by the wraparound boardwalk and multilevel deck I designed and built.  A huge Blue Spruce proudly dominated the street.   My father had dug the seedling from his evergreen nursery after retirement.  I planted it myself.   All these images are captured on my video.  Even though the film is a bit jumpy I can ‘revisit’ home without the haunting sense of place that makes me wish I were still the owner.

Next I drove to the water. The lake was as urban and crowded as ever.  Joggers and bicyclists rimmed the encircling drive as I raised the iPhone again.  Eventually, I found lakeside mansions fit for a water sprite.  The lack of reaction to my filming was surprising.  Instead, people waved and smiled warmly.  ‘For sale’ signs littered the landscape…perhaps they thought I wanted to purchase.

Once again lit, my nautical Pisces spirit led the way.  Driving wasn’t exactly refreshing, though.  That waits for a time when I live and work and love life from a personal studio beside the big water.

While I was puzzling about the best way to tame wild dream dragons, I drove to local dairy for a baby cone.  I had one proviso: I would lick the drippy edge while visiting one last lakeside neighborhood.

Unfortunately, the black cherry and drop-dead-chocolate canisters were empty.  Behind the counter stood a youngster wearing plastic gloves.  “Try the Pistachio.  You’ve eaten the pudding before, right?”

“Nope, I don’t eat pudding.  I’m a health nut. But I like pistachios…they keep well in the freezer.”

Jamming the cone upside-down into one of those little styrofoam cups because he stuffed it with too much ice cream, I wielded a spoon.  Finally the last video clip was done.  I set the odometer and drove home.  Only eight miles separated me from the nearest water.  Back home in drydock, however, my dream to live by the water faded into reality.  It diminished in a deafening facade of busywork, bricks, mortar, and secluded neighbors, and was consumed by the sanctuary of a comfort cave.

The new rose bush fit well in the garage.  Its seven-foot-long branches flippy-flopped all over my face,  though, and I quickly banished it to the deck for pictures before planting.

I stashed groceries in the refrigerator and retrieved some fruit blended with pecans and Pina Colada mix.  After searching for the rum I’d forgotten, I sat outside in the breeze.  “How,” I wondered, do we reposition from comfort cave to seaside bliss?”  At the time I was too lazy to find the compass I designed to navigate creative reinvention.  Instead, I checked the videos.  They were splendid.  Dreaming vicariously may not have directly solved the challenge, but the resulting brainstorm certainly brought the dream closer.

What remained was to refresh the essential aquatic creature within.  Anything with the word ‘water’ helped, like watermelon, waterside, and waterfall.  But something else was missing.

A clue to the missing piece does exist…it is in watercolors, romance, a shady Riviera breeze full of fluttering leaves, and the beautiful image of a sailboat floating beyond the edge of the deck on cool blue azure water so enormous we can’t see the other side.  These images function as dream propellers.  Fueled by their energy we finish the imaginative book series.  We draw the illustrations and make gourmet meals, too, because love is fueling the project. It all sounds so incredibly easy.

If we focus on the outcome as if it already exists and believe, it helps to attract the right circumstances. Belief is an exceptionally powerful form of beauty.  In turn, a realized dream brings out more of the loveliness that is always nearby waiting for recognition.  Beauty is all around us!

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Contributing author CactusRose is at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-CactusRose/231400233547368