Category Archives: Seasons

A New Dawn

The sky was fire and tropical ocean and newborn skin this morning.  A front is moving in to what has been clear, crisp Autumn weather, and the sun rising east of the clouds made a spectacular display of the bowl over the world as we drove to school this morning.

Ravel’s “Pavane For A Dead Princess” happened to be on the radio, providing a lush soundtrack to what should have been a hectic, little bit late drive, as cars swirled around the school like angry bees.  I couldn’t seem to get agitated, though; the world around me made me grateful for the excuse to get up, even after a night with too little sleep.  We moved through the streets in a peaceful cocoon, cresting a hill and exhaling as the trees opened and the sky surrounded us.

Sunrises are fleeting, changing with each moment, and by the time I dropped my daughter at the curb at school the sky was just a pale, morning blue with gray clouds moving in.  I should have taken a picture when I could, but I simply didn’t think about it.  The moment was all there was. It’s a little bit like raising kids, I guess.  The beautiful moments are fleeting but change your outlook on the whole endeavor, enriching what otherwise would be an ordinary existence.

Perhaps the weather will turn colder today, perhaps it will rain.  It won’t make any difference to me.  A little bit of this morning’s skyfire will stay with me throughout the day, simply because I was up and witnessed it.


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Filed under Day to Day, Finding Inspiration, Parenting, Seasons

Signs Of Spring

Forsythia in bloom.  Grass greening.  Ground softening and loosening.  Branch tips fattening into buds.   Neighborhoods awakening and children outside playing for short spells.  Garden plans being made.  Squirrels and bunnies and birds cavorting in the yard.  Easter decorations in stores.  Ice cream stands dark all winter starting to open for business.  Ball fields full and runners charging around the bases.  Sunshine and showers in equal measure.  Snow.


April is a fickle month.  One day coatless, one day searching high and low for the mittens I misplaced.  Today we have blustery winds and snow showers, which puts a little damper on my sun-worshipper within.  I know we are moving forward, though, so I refuse to let a little frozen water change my hopeful mood.  I’ll move through the cutting wind with my chin in my collar and my eyes squinched mostly shut, thinking of warmer days soon to come and planning my summer vacation.

Spring will eventually stop being so capricious and linger.  Tomorrow, maybe.  That’s not what the meteorologist is predicting, but I’m hoping.

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Filed under Changes, Day to Day, Seasons

Happy Birthday, Dad

Every Spring I think about the forsythia we left at the old house when we moved to the new, almost eighteen years ago.  When we bought our first house, my father brought small tubs of forsythia that he had grown from cuttings from his own multitude of bushes. He had cut them and put them in water, moving them to the portion of the garden he called his “nursery” when they got enough root on them.  There they spent one or two years branching out, growing stronger, tended by him, until they were robust enough to move.  He tenderly dug them up, bringing them to my new home, my first house, helping me to plant them so I could enjoy the bright yellow every April like he did.

From him I learned the patience it takes for such things, that not everything comes immediately.  You have to look into the future and see what you will need, and plan accordingly.  He was always puttering around, both never still and always still.  A steady stream of varied but unhurried work would be interrupted by a routine of breaks, to the point that you would know where he was when.  In the Spring through the Fall, he was most always outside on the acre of land they had.  In the winter, he had projects in the house or more frequently, in the workshop he had made for himself of half the garage.  I would slip in the makeshift door, trying not to let too much heat out from the space heater, and sit on the stool and watch him work.  Enveloped by the smell of fragrant sawdust, he taught me woodworking and a little about metal working, though I don’t have the machines for it now.  He was a tool and die man by trade, and had a craftsman’s ethic to go along with it.  He could copy anything he saw that we wanted, and do it better.  He taught me that you always finish the back of a piece, even though it might be hidden.  No one else would see it, but you would know it was as beautiful as the front.

He delighted in all the grandchildren my brothers and I graced him with, sharing the wonders of his workshop and the fruits of his labors with them.  All but one were girls, and they had him wrapped around their small fingers.  I would catch his looks of pride and amazement out of the corner of my “busy mother” eye.  No matter how harried I got, he always could calm and cajole them.  I think that when they were babies they were fascinated by his creased smile and white shock of hair, but as they got older, they competed to make him laugh.

Our neighbors would always know where to come for a special tool or advice on how to get something done.  The man next door once sent his wife to Dad for a left-handed screwdriver, which she diligently came to get.  Dad calmly took her into his shop and made a credible show of finding just the right one and sent her home with it.  He retold and chuckled about that story until we lost him to lung cancer only a month after my last daughter was born.

Today he would have been ninety-four years young.  Happy Birthday, Dad.


Filed under Family Relationships, Looking Back, Loss, Seasons

Garden Party

There is something highly anticipatory and satisfying about planning a garden while the air is still crisp and the ground partially frozen.  As I was standing at the window this morning looking out at the back yard and drinking my coffee, I was struck into a momentary panic by the thought that we would be hosting a graduation party out there in mere months.  Though portions of the yard have been “improved” over the years, I have let some sections slide over the last few as we spend more time at the boat in the summer than here at the house.  There will be a lot of work to do to get ready for a graduation open house this summer.

This is a great excuse to get online and start to look at some catalogs, planning forays into the wild under-brush, coming up with plans for space already won and designing spaces yet to be.  I think I’ll need some help on this project too, so I’d better get a full array of new gardening gloves and a few new tools so I can put younger, stronger backs to work pulling and digging and hauling.  They can get in on the planning, too, and perhaps that will make everyone a little happier about the sweat-equity they are about to invest.

As my twinge of panic turned to planning, I calmed down a little.  Yes, it will be a major effort to get everything ready for a multitude of visitors.  If I keep it weeded after the party and remember to winterize it wisely, it will be very close to ready for next year’s open house to celebrate my middle daughter’s graduation.

This will be a two-fer, pretty much.  The second one will be a breeze.

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Filed under Day to Day, Guests, Looking Ahead, Seasons, Self Improvement

Wishful Thinking

“That bush on the end is starting to look a little green, isn’t it?” I peered out the window, straining to see what they were referring to. “No, really. Isn’t there sort of a green haze around it?”

I guess you can see anything if you really look hard enough.  You can see a galloping horse in a cloud.  The full moon looks like a jolly man.  It is possible to perceive a pattern where there is none or randomness where there is order.  Yes, Spring is around the corner.  Soon everything will be bursting with buds and abundant growth, but it takes some special eyesight to imagine the greening of that poor, empty, winter bush today.

The weak sunshine fools us and and we so want to see the season change.  The fact that I am still waking up to the sound of a windshield being scraped ice-free leads me to believe that we still have some waiting to do.  The afternoon looks so temperate for March and like a wonderful, warm Spring day, so maybe the bushes will get to work, just a little.  Perhaps they can ignore the fact that’s it 32° F out there.

Hmmm. Now that I look again, maybe I do see a little green…

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Filed under Changes, Seasons, Self-realization

Robins In My Yard

Well, it may be presumptuous, but I did a very contained Happy Dance when I noticed a trio of robins pecking at the wan grass in my backyard.  The snow has mostly melted, the sun is trying to shine, it seems like something is about to burst on the scene, and there is definitely more activity amongst the wildlife outside.

Inside, I still have my fleece on over my sweatshirt, so I’m not really dancing yet.  In the north, winter isn’t ever really over in March.  I have been on this train of thought before only to have it derailed within the hour by more snow showers, so I’m almost afraid to look at the weather forecast to see what’s coming.

Wanting to avoid looking past my backyard has become a matter of self-preservation in ways beyond weather as well; there seems to be so much natural and political unrest in the world right now.  If I don’t turn on the news or read other blogs or talk to any friends, I can believe that this is just a normal Spring approaching, and that robins in my yard are the best thing that could happen.  I can pretend that there are no labor disputes affecting friends and colleagues, no more people losing their jobs, no conflict in other countries, no natural disasters to live through and recover from.

The world has taken a disturbing turn lately, but I suppose it’s no good to ignore what is going on in the wider picture.  Lessons can be learned and support given, and we can be both empathetic and thankful that we are half a globe away from some of the disasters happening right now.

The view from my window is pleasant today, but it’s narrow.  That can be a comfort in a troubled world, but sometimes it’s good to know when a storm is coming.

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Filed under Changes, Day to Day, Reflection, Seasons, Self-realization

I’ve Been Robbed

Someone came to my house, snuck in, and stole an hour of sleep from me.  He reset all my clocks so that I think it’s really one time, but it feels like another.  My alarm went off at 5:25 this morning, not at 6:25 – wait, no – it really is an hour later… I think.  I’ll spend the next few days in a state of confusion, until the loss sets in and I start to feel normal again.

Daylight Savings Time is always a trial in our house.  It happens over the weekend, so we don’t really notice it until the alarm rings on Monday morning.  The hour got absorbed in the rush of things between a birthday party Saturday night and a concert the next day, and we all went to bed around when we usually do, but it was an hour later in the new time.  Then, morning happened.

Bleary eyed adults and kids drifted in and out of the kitchen, lunches were grabbed, bags were gathered up, and the door closed, without many words at all.  Even the cats looked nonplussed to have us in their domain much earlier than we usually appear.

The youngest and I made it to the bus stop with only moments to spare before the driver pulled up.  She struggled to push the door open, climbed out, and trudged to the bus, last one on.  I do not envy the teachers today, either.  I came home and poured the first of what may be many cups of coffee, and just sat for a minute, getting my bearings.

I think I miss my hour.  I feel off kilter.  Right now I wish it would come back, but in the fall, when the thief returns the hour none the worse for the wear, I’ll be off balance yet again.

Life is awkward sometimes.

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Filed under Changes, Day to Day, Reflection, Seasons