Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Purposeful progress....

As we work (or not, as the case may be) through this lock down, I am reminded of the need to have purposeful activity. Day 3 of my 27 day writing exercise was a poem about saving an ant. Well, I have too many ants and more than a dozen ant traps in the house to have any sympathy with saving the life of one ant.

No, my purposeful activity has been to water the seedlings that have started to sprout from the seeds I ordered in April. I know I'm a little late to hope that any of these will bear fruit in August, but I can't see them wither away either, because the timing is all wrong.

Nothing says hope and promise like a sprouted seed. This is the beginning of life. OK, plant life, but it is still life and the perfect analogy to life, in all its many forms. It is, with this hope and this analogy in mind, that I water these seedlings every morning.

They may never go outside. I may just have these vegetable plants on my windowsill all summer, fall and winter. Why not? I have started something and I plan to see it through. We have to move beyond the present at times and look into the future. This is not to waste away the days, at hand, but simply to find a way through the "tough bits," to find a reason, however, simple to carry on.

Now, it may only take me ten minutes or so to water the trays, but I can look at them during the day and everyday there is something different to look at. So what do I do with the other 14 hours and 50 minutes, that I have left in the day? You had to ask, didn't you. Well, I have now written about the seedlings. I did listen to the podcast about the writing idea and I did do 15 minutes of writing - longhand - before I came up with this post.

The rest of the day was survival - a little cooking, no cleaning - but I thought about it, lots of looking out of windows for a change in the weather, a flutter of bird life or a return to life of the flowers that were ill prepared for three days of snow in May. Clearly, I don't need a lot of stimuli to function. My heart goes out to all those children with boundless energy, who are shut in, to the parents and caregivers, who have to cope and to the many others, who have not found a purposeful activity.

Have a focused day!

Saturday, May 09, 2020

This is the wrath of God.....

.....snow in May. He is angry - very angry. OK, I'm not much of a believer, but there are times when I feel that the cosmos is trying to tell us something. Mute nature, finds ways of communicating. Time to listen to the snowflakes.

Poets have been trying to tell us for years, that we are worshiping the almighty dollar instead of worshipping the Almighty or Nature or something like that -

From William Wordsworth - 1807

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; -
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

Perhaps this pandemic is a wake up call. Probably not. We didn't learn much from the Spanish flu, which killed 50 million people.

Too many have not observed the lock down. Too many places are opening too soon. For profit care had the greatest number of fatalities. The list goes on....We need to change.

From Gerard Manley Hopkins - 1877

...........Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

What to do? Turn back, where we can. Go back to walking, cycling; go back to locally produced products, local communities, stay home, foster what is within your reach. Research, support truth, start leading rather than following. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Pictures for a snowy day in May. Stay safe, well and warm!!

Monday, May 04, 2020

Curbside Curtsies......

During the shut down for this pandemic, retail has "kept a light on" by doing curb-side pick up, as well as, shipping out and deliveries. I have ordered a few things on-line and specified curb-side pick up. Well, spell checker decided to change "curbside" to "curtsied." I'm not sure why. I thought it was just me, until the other day, I saw a post on FB from a Toronto blog I follow. They had listed one of the ways you could collect your on-line order, as "curtsied" pick up. Eureka! It wasn't just me!!

Now, who should be doing the curtsying? I might, but I'm inside the car, with the trunk open. The store employee is too busy running my order out to me, that it wouldn't make sense. Plus they are at the back of the car, in jeans and a mask. Somehow the grace of a curtsy would be completely lost, especially if the curb-sider were male. Sigh!

Alas, ordering on-line, even without the curtsy, has its drawbacks. I tried to order garden soil from a nursery only to be told, in a note on-line, that soil was not available at my chosen location. Well, I saw it there, yesterday. I called the store and had soil added to my order. I curtsied on the other end of the phone.

I tried to order wood stain at another store. I found the stain, but it had to be tinted. However, there was no way of adding the colour of tint to the stain, on-line. I did not curtsy. Plus I had several other items to order including "fairy lights" (it's an English thing) for the apple tree. Maybe no midsummer dancing and curtsying this year in the garden. I also needed to buy spray paint for my garden ornaments - twelve wooden cats - they needed to be "refreshed." Again maybe not this year. Anyway, I've never seen a cat curtsy, a dog, yes, but a cat, never.

The pictures? My cat ornaments, plus the real life model. I bow to cats :)

Have a fulfilling day!

PS - May the fourth be with you!

Saturday, May 02, 2020

The Darkling Thrush......

It's a phrase that was written a long time ago in a newspaper one Spring and it caught the attention of the staff room on a giddy day in early May. The complete phrase is :

"In Spring, nothing looks more like a clump of earth than the Darkling Thrush.." or something like that.

It took on a life of it's own and throughout the day it became...

The Darkling Thrust - when the VP in charge of staff poked his nose into the staff room and frowned.

The Darkling Rusk - when someone's toast was overdone.

The Darkling Gust - when a chilly wind blew in through an open window.

The Darkling Lust - yes, there was always the weird one salivating in the corner.

The Darkling Musk - to the teacher who always wore too much scent.

And so it went, here and there, now and then, a clever punster would resurrect the phrase to peals of laughter. Such is the headiness of Spring, when we are finally released from months of hunkering down in the darkness, waiting for a time when we can revel in the lushness of green, the warmth of air, the scent of earth and the trill of birdsong. Come clumps of earth and morph into thrushes, rushes, ruses or fuses that through the green leaves drive the flowers.

My staff room story is a moment in time I want to remember. I also want to remember the Spring of this pandemic. How the easing of the lockdown has sent waves of hope through those prisoned in tiny rooms, afraid to go out, terrified of catching, what could be a coughing death. Has IT "passed over"? Are we safe to open our doors?

I also want to remember the animals that came out of hiding, when we were in our hiding. I want to remember a boardwalk with a foxes' den under it. I want to remember all the stories of all the animals that walked fearlessly through city streets and parks, empty of people.

I, also, want to remember the birds in the garden - so many more than we have ever had in the past - blue jays, cardinals, robins, chick-a-dees, house finches, yellow finches, juncos, downy woodpeckers, sparrows - several different kinds and one that we may have wrongly identified as a hermit thrush - perhaps the original darkling thrush.

An engineer once told me that, if you were to give nature 50 years, it would take over all this development and return it to forest - how about 5 weeks?

Bring on The Sparkling Rush!!

Have a Spring Day