The beauty of Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon has always been in my bucket list. So when the opportunity to go to Las Vegas came up, I just had to put Grand Canyon in our itinerary.

We took a bus tour from Las Vegas (the bus picked us up from the Stratosphere Hotel) which took us to Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. For $80 each, it surely was a bargain! So here’s one of the best pictures I’ve taken using my camera, and definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen so far.

A first look at spring in NYC

We all remember how the official first day of Spring in NYC was. It looked something like this:   But when I had a jog early afternoon today, the weather was very pleasant!  See those petals floating? Those are cherry blossoms and boy, they’re ready to be in full bloom in a matter of days!      

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Motion.”

Spring

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Spring is my favorite season. I would always equate spring with cherry blossoms and I always look forward to this time of the year.

This year, I was able to go to DC to go see the cherry trees that line up the Tidal Basin and the Roosevelt Memorial.

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It really was a sight to behold. My heart was full of joy and my eyes filled with wonder with the beauty of spring and the blossoms that the gentle wind carries with it. Funny how being able to see is one of the things that we take for granted. Seeing the wonderful cherry blossoms together with all the families, the couples, the people who were there just made me appreciate this precious gift of sight.

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I’m thankful too, that at that point in time, I was able to witness it with the person I love, whose heart was also full of joy and eyes filled with wonder.

Everlasting.

Everlasting.

Chris and I saw this lovely couple when we went to the Roosevelt Memorial in DC to go see the cherry blossoms which lined up the Tidal Basin before we headed back to NYC.

Someday, perhaps, Chris and I would be the ones sitting in this very park bench – we’d be old and crazy, sitting quietly with occasional jokes here and there (we’d be people watching, after all), with the blossoms falling away with every breeze that comes.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

photo (4)Hope.

Hope has always been my companion.

It’s funny how life sometimes throws you in situations that leave you no choice but to grow. You will reach new inflection points that cause you to question your previously-held beliefs. You will, as I’ve mentioned to my office mate, “be so frustrated that all you can do is to smile, think happy thoughts, and do better than your best”.

Note that while others would view this as a sign of resignation and weakness, keep faith that this is a source of strength.

Quite the contrary, you may say. But in that moment of resignation, immerse yourself fully and observe how every bone, how every muscle in your body reacts to the situation. Then take a deep breath – you know in yourself that in that moment, there is really nothing you can do. Acceptance is the first step of growing up. Wallow in your sadness and bitter tears – but keep it short.

Then take action. Find comfort in the thought that the best is yet to come, that this is yet another challenge that you should overcome.

I sincerely believe that in the future, as I look back at this particular inflection point, I’d smile and be thankful that I’ve been through it.

Come on Life, bring it on.

 

Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden

Perfect setting for a romantic scene in a Koreanovela

Japan? Nah. This is the beautiful Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, which offers free admission during Tuesdays. I love, love, love this place! Let me share the photos I took last Spring:

Torii, a traditional Japanese gate which marks a Shinto shrine

Japanese maple tree

Brooklyn Botanic Garden – 1000 Washington Ave  Brooklyn, New York 11225

For more information, visit http://www.bbg.org/.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Acer Palmatum, Japanese maple tree (“Shishio improved”)

Bonsai trees represent the three virtues of truth, goodness, and beauty according to Japanese tradition.

There is a fine balance that exists between allowing growth and restricting it at the same time. This is an art in itself – a skilled bonsai artist strives to keep this balance in check. While bonsai need to be pruned on a regular basis in order to keep their diminutive size, these trees must also be allowed to grow new roots and branches so they remain healthy and attain perfect silhouette.

I find that this metaphor also applies to real life. While we need unrestricted growth to realize our own potential, certain things do happen that may not fit perfectly to the Great plan that we had in mind. We might not know it at the time (nor have the ability to recognize it), but challenges only make us stronger. Scarred for life, but we become better.

Whatever you’re going through, I believe that there’s a master bonsai artist that continually finds this balance between pruning and growth. Keep smiling – C’est la Vie!