Monthly Archives: May 2018

An Ode to Spring!

 

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In my infatuation with autumn, I’d forgotten my old love: Spring. I was so into Fall colors that I left Spring in the dirt. (Pardon my capitalizing the seasons. I just can’t help it. I start thinking of things like “I get a spring in my step when it’s spring” or “I can fall when I slip on fall leaves” and I end up capitalizing Spring and Fall because it just seems right to me.)

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I do love autumn: the cooler days after a long, hot summer. I love the brilliance of the leaves and the signs that although the days are shorter, we’re getting ready for cozy evenings at home.

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(You’ll notice no mention of football in my Fall loves. I know this is heresy, but football is not high on my list of priorities. Sorry.)

But this Spring has been different. Perhaps it’s because of the rainy days of winter, but I don’t think so. By slowing my life down, I’ve been more aware of what’s happening in the moment. (It’s been quality versus quantity.) Along the way, I’ve remembered how much I love the awakening of nature around me. It has been a pleasure.

It started in my own backyard. I watched as the trees began to leaf out.

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By the way, here’s that same tree last Fall.

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Then I began to see Spring wildflowers peek up their heads.IMG_0379.jpg

 

I’m fortunate to walk most days so it wasn’t difficult to see the progress of renewal in the season. I was in awe of the colors of the flowers and plants. Being cognizant that theirs’ was a short season, I knew I had to focus on their beauty or I’d miss it. They’d be gone soon and only a memory.

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In other neighborhoods, I saw fruit trees put out their blossoms.

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When I walked by the lake in early Spring, I  watched the geese follow their mating rituals.

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and then, later, how they raised their young.

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In late April, I  went to Seattle to visit and was treated to a cornucopia of visual Spring delights. I think I drove my daughter crazy because I had to stop every few minutes to click another shot. But I just couldn’t get over the special beauty of the season.

Every tree and plant was bursting with new life:

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Fruit trees were decked out in their finery.

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Bluebells flocked to greet me in the woods.

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Back in California, I continued on my Spring Quest, aware of quickly the season was passing.

“It’s the middle of May,” I said to my daughter one day.

“Mom, it’s only May 11. Don’t push us ahead,” she said.

“I’m not, but you know, in a moment it will be Memorial Day.”

And it was.

The swans have had their babies now.

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The irises are still blooming but are losing a little of their freshness.

Time continues to march on even if we don’t want it to.

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All Spring as I walked outside, I kept hearing the phrase, Hope Springs Eternal, in my head. Even when we and our family and friends were having health issues, I saw with my own eyes that nature’s message was one of hope and renewal. Maybe everyone could get well–we shouldn’t give up hope.

But Spring also personifies the impermanence of life; its ephemeral qualities. Nothing is permanent and I should know that by now. I need to cherish what I have now–not look back, not look forward. My autumn years may be waning, but I’m not into winter yet. And I’m going to enjoy the last days of Spring without bemoaning how fleeting it was.

My plan is to gorge on peonies while they’re still is season. Short as it is.

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Regaining Faith in Humanity

Another school shooting. More people’s lives ripped away. More acts of religious and ethnic hatred. You see so much meanness coming from people nowadays, sometimes you begin to lose faith in humanity. Mine was restored a little today.

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As I rounded the bend on my walk, I saw a man standing on the grass, looking at the lake. Then I saw a tiny naked bird running around near him.

“Oh my goodness,” I said.

The man turned and smiled at me.

“He’s got to be brand new,” I said.

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“Actually, he’s a couple of weeks old,” he said. “He’s an orphan we found down by the weeds. He must have been the runt. You can see he also has a problem with his feathers, so they must have abandoned him.”

I shook my head. “That’s so sad.”

“I know. We picked him up and took him home, hoping we could save him.”

At that moment, the gosling started running away from us, flapping its wings. It looked like a wind up toy.

“Hey, where you going? Come back over here,” the man called. He looked at me. “This is the first time he’s ever left my side.”

The gosling came running back, stopping to peck at the grass for a moment before he returned close to the man.

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“He comes when you call?” I asked.

The man nodded. “Yeah, and he likes to cuddle under your chin.”

The man explained that they were raising him to get strong enough so they could to try to introduce him to a clutch that has goslings his age. They’d tried once already but he was rejected. “We’re hoping when he’s older it will work.”

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In the mean time, they have a set up a crate for him. “We’ve got stuffed animal geese in there and a mirror,” he explained. “The vet told us a special feed to get. He’s skinny, but eating and active.”

“He’s so cute,” I said.

“And look,” the man said. He pointed to the little guy’s chest where soft golden feathers were beginning to appear.

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The man’s smile was wide, filled with pride and compassion. “I think he’s going to make it,” he said.

What an inspiration, I thought as I continued on my walk. It goes to show that you should never give up. And that it’s not always the survival of the fittest if there’s a helping hand.

We need more of this in the world. Acts of kindness just because you can.

A News Black Out? Not so fast.

 

I am so upset by what is happening in the news that I am literally sick to my stomach. I can’t sleep through the night and I have terrible dreams. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen next and feel powerless to stop any of it. I hope my kids and grandkids don’t read this because I’m supposed to say, “Everything will be all right.” I’m also hoping that I’ll go on the news black out that I think I need. And only concentrate on the beauty around me, and the people around me who agree that we must honor our neighbors as ourselves.

I wrote the paragraph above one night before I went to bed, to try to sleep. I knew I needed to get perspective.

So a funny thing happened to me on the way to becoming more detached from the news and politics.

It started off well.

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I woke up and took a beautiful walk along the lake, enjoying the budding plants and the antics of some goslings until a gander shooed me away. A lovely spring morning.

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An hour later, I was making myself a cup of tea at the gym while I waited for my yoga class to begin. That’s when I heard a man say that Keith Ellison is against having any United States borders.

“He’s the number two guy in the Democratic party. It just shows where the Democrats are coming from. They don’t want any laws at all to keep dangerous people out of our country,” he said.

Just take your tea outside and enjoy the blue sky, I told myself.

“That’s terrible,” another man said. “What’s the matter with them?”

Instead of me going out the door, all my good intentions went. I found myself taking my tea and a seat next to them.

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“I think you need a Democrat to even out this discussion,” I said in my most friendly manner. “Why do you think Keith Ellison is against borders?”

“He wore a t-shirt that said, ‘Yo no creo en fronteras’.”

“Are you sure this is real news?” I asked. “Last week I read that Hillary and Huma Abedin mutilated a young girl. It was definitely fake news.”

That got their attention.

“I heard you mention that Jerry Brown is trying to ruin California,” I said.

“Well, he is,” one of the men said. He was wearing designer work out clothes.

“California is now the fifth largest economy in the world,” I said. “I admit to being an English major, but even I can do the math on that statistic.”

The guy shook his head. “But Brown is letting all these immigrants in—having sanctury cities, that kind of thing,” he said. “Letting all these Mexicans congregate here, stealing, raping, doing drugs…”

A Latina woman who worked at the gym walked by. I cringed.

“Yeah, we’re not safe in our own houses anymore. And they want to take away our guns so we can’t protect ourselves,” the first guy said.

I wanted to say, “Why are you so stupid? You’re listening to a bunch of propaganda filled with hate,” but I refrained.

“That’s not true,” I said instead. “Most of the people who are here are law abiding citizens. Those who aren’t, the dangerous criminals, they won’t be turned loose. There’s no threat to public safety.”

They looked at me as if I had two-heads. “How do you know this?” one asked.

“I read the bill on line,” I said.

At that moment, my yoga teacher called to me that class was starting.

“Well, it was nice talking to you,” I said, getting up.

“Yeah, have a nice day,” one of them said.

I walked down the hall, wondering about Keith Ellison’s t-shirt and how in the world we can get to the truth anymore.

Not exactly an “OM” moment.

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