April Foolishness

5 04 2017

Someone once described Spring Fever as that time of year when the iron in your blood turns to lead in your ass.  Sounds about right to me.

After a few weeks of March meteorological mayhem, today was breathtaking. It was one of those days when the air is the perfect temperature, the sky finds maximum blueness, the sun is properly warm – you know, one of those days when you can just feel the energy of the new season all around you.  Guess that’s what makes me feel so lazy –  it’s all the hard work being done by birds, bulbs, and buds all around me. I’m worn out by proxy!

Okay, maybe I left out a little of the story, like this morning, when I raked 500 gallons of leaves out of my perennial beds so I could see these happy little promises of more beauty to come.  Maybe I understated the effort made to keep the feeders filled all winter long, so the birds might choose my yard to nest. I could have overlooked the careful pruning, cutting back, dividing, and otherwise babying of the plants I love.

Proxy Schmoxy!  I’m just plain worn out!

April, you are exhausting, but you are worth it. When you smile, you are pure beauty. Tomorrow . . . well that’s another story . . . we all know what a crybaby you can be.  Whether you’re sunny or gloomy, I love you, April. You are always filled with promise and that’s enough for me.

 

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Orange You Glad

8 06 2016

Because we all need more beauty and less bullying, bigotry, and bullshit:

Orange – from Odious to Outstanding

WARNING: this is a color not intended by Nature; it is, however illustrative of what

Orange is NOT.

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This is what Orange is meant to be!

 

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Every one of these beautiful orange plants was photographed in my little yard early this morning.  Some are from South America, some are from Mexico, some Mediterranean, and two actually have the word Japanese in their names,  I am of German descent and l live with a nice Jewish man and we all get along famously.

Now, wash that Cheetos dust off your hands and enjoy a proper orange crush.

 

 





Perseverance

22 05 2013

I love my gardens.  I love planting them, mulching them, weeding them, pruning them, admiring them.  I love my gardens.

About a week ago, a very late frost clobbered many tender young plants, especially my newly leafed-out beautiful ornamental trees.  I was heartsick, especially about my little sourwood. It had finally started to fulfill the promise of a beautiful growth spurt. Now, it was decimated. Every little leaf was black – killed by the post-Mother’s-Day frost. I felt stricken.

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This week, the awful tragedy of the Oklahoma tornadoes slapped me into reality. I had been barely able to look at my frost-bitten trees, but, suddenly, I understood the importance of appreciating my trees that were still standing.  I strolled around my little property, concentrating on the flowers, shrubs, and trees that had escaped the freeze. Finally, I went to the sourwood, prepared to inspect its forlorn silhouette. I was so wrong. The little tree had already begun to rebuild from its own little disaster. There are green swelling buds along the branches, pushing the dead leaves aside and there are even a few already beginning to unfurl, collecting nourishment from the sunlight. That little tree was not going to give up. It’s a bit bruised, but it is growing.

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Nature does not surrender. Neither should we.





Silence is Green

12 10 2011

I appreciate that I am presently in a place where English is not the native language, but I was never as sure that things get lost in translation as I was today.

We Honor Silence

These words were carved into the rustic and beautiful sign bearing the name of the resort spa, welcoming me to my massage appointment this morning. I was greeted softly by a woman, who gestured for me to complete a general health form and wait for my masseuse, Jocasta.

Out through a lush garden, we went to a private cabana, all dark wood plantation shutters with thatched roof and an enormous lazy white ceiling fan over a pristine massage table. Comfortably settled on the table, cooling mask over my eyes, serene music gently wafted over the sea-scented breeze  .  .  . 

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 As soon as that lawn tractor lumbered by, followed by gas-powered string trimmer accompanying the whine of a distant chainsaw, I realized just how differently the spa’s premise could be interpreted!  There is apparently a loophole in the code of honoring silence in this idyllic place – groundskeeping workers are exempt!I giggled, then fell silently into the rhythm of the treatment, realizing that, for me, landscaping tools sing a siren song.

Noise to my ears brought quiet to my mind.  I can honor that silence.





Don’t Burn the Bridge; Pass the Torch!

7 09 2011

Once upon a time, there was a community of busy people who wanted the same goal.  It was a lofty goal that made everyone in the group feel special.  As time passed, some of the people began to feel “specialer” than others, because it seemed that the rest of the group turned to them for leadership/energy/financing/organizational skill/flat-tire-fixing   .  .  .  you get the idea, I am sure, if you’ve ever been part of a club of any kind.

Now, on one hand, it feels good to feel special, on the other, after a while, it feels like work.  Then it begins to feel like a thankless job.  Then it begins to feel like they’re the ONLY ONE who cares whether this (insert name of any voluntary membership organization here) even survives!  Then, it gets really weird – other folks offer to do some of that work, to help keep the group alive and flourishing.  And what do you think happens next?  The original “specialer” people are even MORE miserable than when they were all alone pushing that rock back up that hill.

I can see my community’s original movers and shakers ready to retire from the day-to-day work of keeping the organization vibrant and I can see the energetic young’uns testing the waters, getting ready to assume the mantle.  I am in the middle.  I am not in a legacy position, but I can see the time is right for me to mentor others and encourage them to take the reins of the group.  I hate to admit it, but I felt a momentary pang of “who will do all the work with all the love and all the attention and all the energy and all the dedication and all the effort and all the . . . “Bullshit!

Every organization grows or dies – period.  I love to garden and part of the beauty of a flowering tree is its willingness to allow its hard-worked leaves to fall to rest around it and trust that new strong flowers will burst forth, bringing new leaves and new energy to the plant.  We must trust that the new leaders of our groups will continue to reach for the sun. They have grown from our organization.  They know what to do to keep it alive and well. Give them support and give them a chance.  They will blossom and we will all benefit.





It’s The Little Things

24 08 2011

A few weeks ago, I attended a lovely and raucous 50th birthday luncheon for a spirited and kind friend.  We had so much fun we feared we’d jeopardized the country club membership of one of our hostesses!  There were many big moments, as befitting such a momentous occasion, but it was one small gesture that made the biggest impression on me – tiny vases with miniature fresh bouquets were set at each place as favors for the guests.

I love flowers and perennial gardening and have loads of beautiful blooms throughout my landscape, but I do not, as a rule, cut them to bring indoors because my husband is allergic to everything!  The artful arrangement of a tiny amount of plant material in that little glass vessel made me realize I could enjoy cut flowers without setting my husband’s nose on fire.  I have enjoyed pocket-sized bouquets gracing my kitchen window sill every day since that party.  Having those few beautiful little blooms with a sprig or two of greenery to greet me each morning starts every day off on a bright note. What a big effect such a small thing has made in my mood.

We all know folks who are facing some rough spots in their lives.  I promise, even if you are not aware of it, you know people with heavy hearts.  It is easy to think there is nothing we can do to help.  The problems are large. Our means are small. We can’t make a difference.  That is just wrong.  We may not be able to “fix” things, but we can make a difference.  That little vase of flowers has done more to lift my spirits than a florist-delivered budget-busting arrangement ever could.  It was a surprise.  It was spontaneous.  It required no quid pro quo.

It was simply a nice little gesture.

Go ahead – do something nice. Wave at the school bus.  Hold open the door for someone. Round up the waitress’s tip to the next dollar.  There are opportunities to do nice little things everywhere; just do them.  You never know the positive impact your nice little gesture could have.  I promise you, though, the little things do count.





Plenty

29 06 2011

“Help yourself, please.  I have plenty.”

What a wonderful glorious feeling – plenty.  I am of average income.  I have no trust fund, no lottery winnings, no golden goose, but I have plenty.  What does it mean to have plenty?  It means we can share.  Sharing leads to another glorious feeling – a positive connection to our world.

What in the world would make me think about such a November-ish word – plenty – in June?  Chipmunks.  Yep, chipmunks.  One of my mother’s neighbors is obsessed with eradicating these cute little rodents from his suburban landscape.  He cusses their fuzzy little physiques, sure they’ll eat his entire lawn.  He begrudges them the tiny little holes they dig. So sad for him.

A few days ago, I was surprised by the speed with which birds were consuming the suet cakes I put on the back porch, when I discovered it was not the birds who were scarfing up the oily seedy treats – it was a chipmunk!

Felonious Munk

I could have simply stopped putting the suet on the porch post feeder, providing it only in the one hanging from a tree branch.  That would have showed the little rascal. It would have also stopped me from getting to enjoy the cardinal pair, the downy woodpecker pair, and the sparrow fledgling who sat on the rail while mama bird brought tidbits to his waiting gaping beak  .  .  .  not to mention the antics of the ‘munk himself.

By acting from a position of plenty – I can always get more suet cakes – I can enjoy the beauty of nature while I am drinking coffee in my air-conditioned kitchen.  Acting from a position of plenty enables us to gain more than we give.  What a great deal.

Identify something plentiful in your life – cookies, books, smiles – and share.  It is the surest way to increase spiritual wealth.

There is plenty of good.  Share it.

If you’re afraid you’ll run out, help yourself to some of mine.

I have plenty.