Red Apples and Smiles!

Red apples blossomed in the cheeks of kids as they jumped their ways into the scenic Minnetonka Orchard. It was our first visit to a U Pick Farm where consumers get to pick, choose and harvest the produce. Apples were everywhere – on Earth, trees and in the hearts of the visitors! Clear open sky, vast green Earth and natural splendor of the place did wonders to our spirit. The decision to pick apples on Labor Day at the start of Fall was not a bad idea at all. Here are some pictures of the place for you.

Kids having a field day!

We took a ride in the famous John Deere tractor.

A lovely red barn – firsthand experience of farm life.

Friendly livestock and a maze created in a cornfield at the background.

Apple field beyond.

Some delicious blackberries.

A place right in the nature’s lap!

There were other amazing things including a hay fun stack, food zone and play area for kids. As we made our way back to our car with a bag full of the delicious fruit, I admired the concept behind the place. How easily it connected us, the disconnected town folks, back to Mother Earth.

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A walk in a Japanese Garden

My friend and fellow blogger Millie Thom‘s recent blog on a Japanese Garden inspired me to walk over to our nearby Japanese Garden this morning. This little 2-acre garden is a part of a community college campus. My son and I had a great time inhaling the rejuvenating air and admiring the refreshing views. Thanks Millie for the inspiration and hope you all like the clicks.

The Japanese garden is created to present a miniature and idealized view of nature. Rocks are symbolic of mountains while ponds can represent seas.

All the architectural elements and components including water, waterfall, stones, bridges, lanterns, benches, meditation shelter, plants, shrubs and trees etc have deep philosophical aspect too.

Love this striking red bridge!

A waterfall peeps through the foliage!

Little fish friends came over to say hello!

Another curved bridge!

A pathway.

Beyond the garden!

Check Millie’s lovely blog post here

The Onset of Autumn

Notice how the leaves of this tree are changing colour! This lovely tree, located right in front of my apartment, announces the onset of Autumn every year. Soon, Minnesota will deck up for a colouful and breathtaking Fall.

And this announcer tree will turn a glorious red at the peak of the season and will look like this – see pic below. (Clicked last Fall.)

How well John Keats said – Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run….

Ah, bliss!

The Sound of One Hand

If you have sensitive ears, this post is for you! While reading Rajneesh Osho’s ‘The Book of Secrets’ in which he discusses around 112 techniques to meditate, I came across a wonderful story – The Sound of One Hand. I can not help sharing it!

The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protege, Toyo, who was around twelve years old. Toyo used to run errands for the master and everyday he would observe seekers visit the master’s room to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they were given koans to stop mind-wandering.

Toyo wished to do the same so one day, he put his head at the master’s feet and asked him for a Koan. 

Mokurai refused initially but the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.

Mokurai said – “Try to hear the sound of one hand. And when you have heard it, then come and tell me.”

Toyo bowed and went to his room. He tried and tried to listen to the sound of one hand but all he could hear was the music of the geishas, coming theough the window. “Ah, I have it!” he thought.

The next evening, when his teacher asked him about the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.
“No, no,” said Mokurai. “That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You’ve not got it at all.”

Toyo did not give up, every now and then he would find some sound but the master would object -“This is also not it. Go on trying, go on trying.”

Then one day, the boy didn’t come. The master waited and waited, and finally told his disciples to find Toyo. They found him sitting under a tree, absorbed – just like a newborn Buddha. They returned and told the master – “But we are afraid to disturb the boy. He is looking just like a newborn Buddha. It seems he has heard the sound.”

So, the master came, put his head at the boy’s feet and asked him, “Have you heard? It seems you have heard.” Toyo had entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. “I could collect no more,” the boy said, “so I reached the soundless sound.”


Osho goes on to explain as to what had happened to the boy, “The boy had tried since he was a simple boy and had complete faith in his master. Actually, there is no sound of one hand, but just an indirect method to create sensitivity, awareness. And one day, suddenly, everything disappeared for him. He was so attentive that only attention was there, so sensitive that only sensitivity was there, so aware – not of something, but simply aware! 

This is a method to make you very delicately aware of the subtle nuances of sound. Center on the word ‘aum’ – a-u-m without any a or m. Just the u remains. You have to intone aum and feel it in three different sounds. Gradually, you will forget ‘aum’. Not only a and m will drop but there will be a state of soundlessness! The state of bliss!”

Images courtesy google

The Family’s Tree

As I leaned towards the ground before my final fall, her anxious face peeped through the glass. I knew I would miss her smile.

The kids were there too – noses pressed against the patio glass, anxious to see their tall friend being killed slowly. “Mumma, look they are pulling our tree!”

Yes, I was ‘their’ tree. Their only friend, after the family had migrated to this new land. Since the first day, they warmed up to me as I stood guard in front of their apartment. 

I entertained the kids by hosting squirrels, birds and insects on my barks. When spring came, I bore berries and flowers, cheering mom and dad. I adored them all.

Every morning, I waited for the lady to draw curtains. She would give me the sweetest smile before starting daily chores.

Today, she was not smiling rather frantically calling up someone in an attempt to save me – her dying companion! But it was too late now…

( Written in memory of a lovely tree that stood in front of our house when we moved to the US in 2013. It had to be cut last year due to maintenance reasons but we had spent some deeply touching moments with it. It had a beautiful soul.)

This is my entry to the flash fiction challenge, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers hosted by the lovely Priceless Joy. We are given a photo prompt and approximately 75-175 words with which to create our stories. This challenge is open to all who would like to participate. Please CLICK HERE for more.