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Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Memory on the Menu

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Daily Prompt:  Which good memories are better – the recent vivid ones or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?

 

I think memories, like fine wine, are better remembered aged and not recently bottled. There is a certain nostalgia to aged memories that brings a poignant element new memories lack. An old memory settles like a warm blanket draped over your shoulders, that warm fuzzy feeling we often yearn for. They whisk us away to  a far off place, at once distant, yet at times seeming like yesterday.

When I look at pictures like these, I am there, growing up in the 1950s and 60s. To paraphrase  a line  from the movie, “While You Were Sleeping,” “I just don’t remember it being that( black and white).”  It does look like the world had discovered color by 1976 , when we got married.

People often groan when someone hauls out the photos of their last cruise, but a conversation beginning with the words “Remember when…” has an entirely different reaction. When we gather together on holidays, we often tell guests the funny stories of our lives, and laughter fills the room.

Our memories define who we were and who we are. The old memories provide a framework and the new experiences, fresh memories, fill in the frame and will  one day be old memories, too. And we will say, “Remember when we took that  cruise…
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Staying in Focus: Focus On: Caregivers

Yesterday I wrote about the unsung heroes we walk amidst everyday, those facing a battle with disease, or intense pain, perhaps even death. Life is a mixture of joy and pain. Our job is not to let the pain diminish the joy. This year has been a lesson in that for me. Mom, joyfully celebrating 90 years of life amidst the nightmare of cancer and chemo; a wonderful vacation in Europe, to return to the news my brother has cancer, too; two weddings, full of youth and promise, followed this week by the death of an old and dear friend. And, most joyfully, the news that my sister’s first grandchild will be born in April.
As someone with a degenerative disease, I am ever thankful for the caregivers in my life. The friends who drive me places, my husband who picks up the slack of things I can no longer do alone like grocery shopping or taking me to my hair appointment, my son who calls at lunch time to chat and make sure I am okay my sister who will bring mom up for a visit or pick her up to take her home.

While everyone asks how I am, few people think to ask Bill how he is feeling and coping with the changes this disease has brought to our lives.  I wrote this poem for all the caregivers out there, who out of love offer all they have and all they can do for a loved one requiring special care. People like Debbi’s partner Richard, Julie, wife of Dick , my husband, Bill, and friends Debbi, Linda and Denise my mom’s friend, Betty. In my book, you are all heroes. And angels come in many forms. There are people in your life that may  be angels or aspire to be. Let them shoulder some of the burden once in a while. In other words don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Step by Step

with burdens heavy on your shoulders
sometimes you want to run away
but the sun will rise again tomorrow
the gift of light, another day
another day to love and care
to find the strength to carry on
for step by step you walk together
although the road is rough and long
do not despair, you’re not alone
for angels walk beside you
to give you strength to carry on
and toward the light they guide you
from the darkness into peace
and  all your burdens, they will ease.

.                                                    -pc 2013

 

 

Staying in Focus: Focus On: My Last Day

I am so far behind in keeping up with the daily prompts. I am trying to finish the final rewrite of a book project, design calendars for Christmas giving, and write my annual Christmas poem and a bunch of other stuff, including playing  a seemingly innocuous game on the internet called Candy Crush Saga. Beware, it can take over your life!  A recent prompt asked how I would spend my last day on earth.  Here is my plan

On my last day on earth I would want to spend time with my friends and family, but as they may have their own  agenda as to how to spend their last day,  I will outline mine..

I would begin the day at sea, rising before the sun, and watching it as it appears over the horizon. There is nothing more profound than a sunrise at sea. Once on shore I will don my yoga clothes and run through a few routines of the sun salutation on the beach and then meditate to the sound of the waves rolling to the shore. I’d lie on the sand and look up at the sky and try to find objects and faces in the clouds. I loved to do this when I was young, a child’s form of meditation, I guess.

I would try to eat some of my favorite foods throughout the day including a Peanut Butter Bash from Dairy Queen, a sweet potato dripping in real butter and sprinkled with cinnamon, a double chocolate donut from Dunkin Donuts, a cup of IHOP coffee and a stack of pancakes with original syrup, Butterfly Shrimp from the China Paradise restaurant in Wayne, NJ, an Entenmann’s crumb cake, a Reese’s peanut butter bunny and a large order of hot, McDonald’s fries.

I would watch my favorite movie, Gone With the Wind. I’d also like to watch While You Were Sleeping, Love Actually, Groundhog Day and the Muppets Christmas Carol, during which I will eat as much buttered movie popcorn as I can.   I would watch the last episode of Babylon 5(because it makes me cry), all the Firefly episodes (because it was the best sci/fi series on TV) and Star Trek 5 because everyone else hates it but me, but there are only twenty-four hours in a day, unless I can fly to an earlier time zone. I’ll have to work on that one.

Then I would fly to Sitka, Alaska, with as many friends and family members as are willing to go . We’ll gather round a large fire  and sit under the stars and talk or think about only the good and beautiful aspects of our lives  and the world.

I ‘d  listen to the songs on my iPod:  John Denver, Mike Nesmith, the Monkees, The Beatles,  Sir Paul McCartney, James Blunt, The Plain White Ts, The Moody Blues, Enya and even scary Rob (Thomas). Listening to music, surrounded by mountains and the people I love, is the way I’d like to go…

What I will not do on my last day on earth is count calories, eat lettuce, listen to ‘What Does the Fox Say’ , take my meds (won’t matter anymore) exercise (except for yoga),or waste another minute of my fast diminishing life playing Candy Crush Saga.

I’ll gaze at the stars for a while, saddened that I never had the chance to discover what the universe is really all about. Then I will sit quietly and look to the horizon, until the sun fails to appear and everything fades to black.

Staying in Focus: Accentuate the Positive

One of my Facebook friends posted the following quote today:

If you cannot be positive,

then at least be quiet. – Joel Osteen

No truer words can be spoken  with so much negative news in the world today. What, I wonder, would it be like to call a moratorium on negativity for just  one day. I’m not talking scenes from Bambi, with the bunnies hopping and the birds singing, although if the negative voices were silenced, we could actually hear the birds singing.  Imagine waking up to news about only positive things, people helping people rather than shooting them.  People facing their challenges with an “I can beat this ” attitude. A government working for the people rather than holding them hostage to overblown egos and petty rivalries. You know the news has gone way over on the negativity meter when you find yourself looking forward to the “Tech Byte” section.

My non – negativity day would begin with a news report about the weather (sunny, temps around 70) traffic (no problems), stories on researchers working to cure disease, interviews with people who enjoy their jobs and do them well – teachers, nurses, UPS delivery persons, that nice woman who greets you as you enter a store or restaurant, you know, the rank and file that keep this country moving despite the inanity in Washington, which of course would not be in the news unless it was to report a government now fully operational and back in control of its senses. But let’s not lose our grip on reality completely.

On this day I would call my mom to see how she is doing, a 90-year-old woman fighting cancer for a second time, happy for each day she is given . People really like my mom because she likes people. She always greets people with a smile or a hug.  The doctors are amazed by her tenacity and good spirits, the people at the grocery store greet her by name, as do the ladies at the hair salon  which we know she will return to soon, as her hair is growing back! Surely  a positive thing. I would and will today check on my friend, Debbi, who is almost halfway through her chemo treatments for breast cancer. Debbi is another light in the positive realm, knowing she just has to do what she has to do and refusing to let it dim her bright spirit and sense of humor. Keep that light shining, Deb! And my little bro, beginning his treatments this week for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is facing it, I know, with his irrepressible humor. These people in my life inspire me in my journey with Parkinson’s disease, refusing to let a negative experience  rob them of their positive views on life and living.

I would take the time on this day of positives to note the bright sunlight streaming through my study window. We haven’t seen the sun in almost a week, but now the sunbeams are filling my room with morning light. I’ll take time to  sit in my chair and think positive thoughts, enjoying my quiet home and perhaps some oatmeal for breakfast.  I will positively do my exercises (2 mile walk, yoga ), work on my book, and publish this post. Then it will be time to welcome home my husband, Bill, the most positive time of the day.  Life is such a gift, we ought not to let the negativity weigh us down and rob us of its delights. We need to make an effort to accentuate the positives and  ignore or eliminate the negatives. And if we can’t do that, then we at least can be quiet.

Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Anticipation

Daily Prompt : When you’re giddy with excitement, does time speed up? Slow down? Tell us about the experience of anticipation.

For me, anticipation varies with the type of event it precedes. Take Christmas, for example.  I find the anticipation more enjoyable than the celebration itself. I enjoy finding that perfect gift for someone, keeping secrets, hiding gifts, wrapping, decorating, trimming the tree and writing my annual Christmas poem.  These all combine to make the event itself almost anticlimactic.  Time begins to speed up as the holiday grows closer, and by Christmas Day, the presents are given and received, and anticipation lies discarded, along with the torn wrappings left in a pile on the floor.

Then there is vacation. I love anticipating vacation. When I was younger, my family would load up the station wagon and head out cross-country for two weeks. We traveled the country coast to coast, from sea to shining sea. We also visited Canada and Mexico. Sometime in February, when snow-covered the ground, we would decide where to travel and I would send for travel brochures from the states we would be visiting. While the winds howled outside, I would happily schedule our trips, planning each day’s itinerary. Then in June we would go shopping to buy our clothes for the trip – new bathing suits, shorts and tops, shoes and sandals. Unlike Christmas, however, time would slow down as vacation approached. There was school to finish – projects, papers, final exams. But finally the day would arrive and off we would go.

I still enjoy anticipating vacations, but now that I am older, I find that time in general seems to accelerate its speed constantly. This year my husband and I spent two weeks on a cruise of the British Isles/tour of London, and at times I cannot believe we were really there.  Our first cruise seemed to go by so quickly, I promised myself I would take the time to pay attention on this one, try to slow time down and not let the days pass by so quickly – no luck. It went by in a flash.

Then there are the events I prefer not to anticipate like dental visits, colonoscopies, and mammograms. And somehow, these events roll around even faster than I could anticipate if I wanted to.

But, all in all, I find having something good to anticipate is important to my mental health. Whether it makes me giddy with excitement like Christmas or a cruise, or something simpler but equally important like an outing with friends or a visit from family, having something to look forward to gets us through the tough times, adds sunshine to a rainy day, keeps our spirits up when the cold winds are howling.. Life is what we make it, and anticipation keeps us engaged in life.

I can’t wait for Christmas.

Hey, Bill, have you booked that next cruise?

Staying in Focus: Good Times, Good Friends

We had  a wonderful time in Atlanta.  Whenever old friends get together to share new experiences,  memories are made. Despite Atlanta’s best effort to snarl us in its web of  traffic  jams, we managed to tour the Road to Tara Museum, take a bus tour of historic Jonesboro, visit the Atlanta Cyclorama,  attend  a superb Braves game (we won) at Turner Field,  tour the Georgia  Aquarium, master the art of riding the MARTA, learn a card game called Nertz, and visit the Margaret Mitchell house. Not a bad showing for two and  a half days.  Here ‘s the thumbnail photo tour:

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The important part was that we took the time to get together and share some special memories.  None of us know how much time we have to  spend with  those who have become important to us as we walk this earth.  Family and friends are really the stuff life is made of, everything else pales in comparison to sharing laughter, getting a hug, recognizing a familiar face in a crowd of strangers at the airport. Our family and friends are there to share our ups and downs, support us in time of need, celebrate our moments of joy, and forgive us our transgressions.

This weekend, immersed as we were in Gone  With the Wind, I recall a scene near the end of the book.  Scarlett is running , lost in the mists and fog when she finally realizes it is Rhett she is running to, that it was Rhett all along  who supported her,  loved her , forgave her. But sadly, for Scarlett , the realization came a bit too late.   The tour guide at the Margaret Mitchell house told us that question asked most often of Margaret Mitchell was whether or not Rhett returned to Scarlett.  Her answer was that if you’ve read the book, you knew as much as she did.  However, I believe Margaret imagined them together again.  In the eventual sequel, written by Alexandria Ripley, they do reunite.  Could she  have  written it any other way? No, because the world yearned for them to find their way back to each other. Because  we are all romantics , we all yearn for a happy ending and we know, in our heart of hearts, it is those we love who matter  most.

Focus On: Ann and Jack

It has been a challenging year for our family.  Thank goodness we have each other to rely on for support during difficult times.  I accompanied my mother to her appointment yesterday with her oncologist to find the results of her PET scan. Unfortunately, the news was not good. The 2.5cm lesion an earlier x-ray had picked up on her lung has proved to be malignant. They have chosen to continue the treatment of oral chemotherapy to address this. Due to the mouth sores she is experiencing after one week on the protocol, this will not prove to be an easy journey.  They have held the meds up until Friday to give her mouth a chance to recoup, and have scaled back the dosage 25%. She was just getting her appetite back when the sores made their sorry appearance. In 12 weeks she’ll have another CT or PET scan to determine if it’s shrinking or at least holding steady. If it has grown, then we revisit her choices.  The  doctor said at some point the drugs will stop working and she will have to balance quality of life versus the effects of a more aggressive treatment In the meantime the doctor told her to  enjoy her life and time with family. Go to her granddaughter’s wedding, do what she has always wanted to do.

We decided some parties were in order.. We are planning a Mother’s Day celebration, a bridal shower for granddaughter Jeanette, who will get married in June, and a  party for mom’s 90th birthday  (Shh! It’s a secret invitations forthcoming). Fatigue can be a problem so she may need to tailor down her activities somewhat

.But we intend to live in the moment, thankful for whatever length of time we are given to be together and enjoy each other’s company as much as we can. We welcome the chemo drugs, despite their side effects .as her soldiers of light, marching forward to conquer the enemy.

My mom has been so strong through all of this, but are any of us really ready to let go, give up the fight and our hold on life, however tenuous it is? I think at some point the body knows,and the mind agrees and one is at peace with their decision.

I think, through this whole process so far, this was the first time it really hit me, that we could lose her far sooner than we expected. She is handling it in her usual stoic manner.  She said she suspected all along there was something more than just the breast cancer.It’s amazing how our bodies seem to know, and communicate to us, when something is wrong inside. As with my Parkinson’s disease, my body knew months before my mind would accept what I. knew in my gut was happening.

While I was visiting we adjusted some things to make it easier for her to regain her independence. We moved everything she used regularly to lower shelves and cabinets; we moved canned goods, etc. to lower shelves in the pantry and her hutch. She can no longer reach high places as a result of the surgery. We cleaned out her closet so we could put in the new clothes I had bought her, as she has gone from a size 12 to a size 8 through this ordeal. I don’t know how long she will be able to stay in her house, but she knows she has a home with one of us when the time is right.

As we rearranged things, we were cleaning out extra stuff. I spied these two  mugs pictured here, which mom was going to discard.  IMG_0228I don’t know what is was about them, except that they reminded me of a time when there was an Ann and Jack (Jack and John have passed away) who had 4 children (John, Pat, Mary Lou and Steven) who lived together in a two-story house and had  a wonderful life together. A life they thought would last forever. But nothing lasts forever, and so we must enjoy every moment that we have…

For Ann And Jack

once we walked on sandy shores
and summer flowed through open doors
and childhood was all we knew
and you were all we needed

once we thought we’d never change
and life would always be the same
and we could not imagine
that one day you would be gone

lost in youthful innocence
we squandered precious time
and let slip by too many days,
which cannot be repeated

and now from shadows cast
we must  forge another path
and make the best of time
before clouds obscure the sun

we’ll celebrate each precious day
and we will remember fondly
when childhood was all we knew
and you were all we needed
                             -pc 2013  

Focus On: Full Circle

we begin to draw the circle
the  moment we become friends
and despite time and distance
just like a perfect circle
true friendship never ends…

We bought our first home in a housing development called Sutton Park, in Poughkeepsie, NY, in 1977.  We moved into our home in July and Denise and Geoff move into theirs in October. It’s hard to remember exactly when an acquaintance becomes a friendship, but Denise and I hit it off, along with another neighbor, Shirley.  We shared similar interests
and enjoyed getting together for a cup of tea in the afternoon. Often the neighbors would gather in someone’s yard and we’d sit on lawn chairs and chat. Denise and Shirley became the two friends I could count on for help and support as I had my first child in July of 1978. Shirley already had three children and  Denise had  a son, Matthew, and her baby girl, Melissa, was born in February, a few months ahead of my son, Steven. Denise also had  a daughter, Amanda, after our friendship began.and I added Kevin to the mix in 1982. We celebrated many birthdays, holidays, joined exercise programs, learned sewing and crafting skills as members of the Home Bureau, and held garage sales. We thoroughly enjoyed those days before the children went to school, and we went to work.

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Melissa and Steven

The good old days

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Amanda and Steven

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Denise &; Geoff

Denise &; Geoff

 But, as we made an annual trip at Christmas every year to visit Bill’s family in New Jersey, we would visit with Denise and Geoff as well. Of course, we kept in touch with letters and phone calls in between. Geoff made a visit to NC, and later brought the family with him.

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The children grow with the passing holidays.

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Bill and  I also returned  to the northeast for vacations in the Poconos, where we had spent our honeymoon. Denise and Geoff began to join us and  we have enjoyed several visits together there.  And this last July, we went on a cruise to Alaska with them, which was awesome.

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In the Poconos together

I figured out that we had been nearby friends for all of 9 years, and long distance friends for 26 years! And now we are about to come full circle and be nearby friends again, as this past week they came to visit and bought a new house which will be built for them, and completed in August. Right now they will be only 19 minutes away, but we may very well retire to the same town they are in and be even closer. I hope the children follow their parents here. It would be nice to have them all together again. My son,Steve, lives in Raleigh and Kevin lives here in Cary.

Alaska, July 2012

Alaska, July 2012

One of my friends once made the comment that once you are a friend of Pat’s, you’re a friend forever. I truly do value my friends, especially as we all grow older. We need to get out and do things, have people around us we can confide in and count on .I am lucky to have so many good friends in my life. From high school, my best buds Kathi and Pat (who became my sister-in-law), Joanne and Janice. From college there is Pat C. From  Poughkeepsie, Denise and Shirley, and my friend, Debbi, who lived in Pouhkeepsie and moved to Cary a few months ahead of us, and from Cary  –  Lisa, Kathryn, Linda, Julie, Diane, Debbie and Karen. I’ve recently gotten in touch with Missy, who moved to Texas some years back and my most long distance friend is Maria Ana, who lives in Argentina. We have been pen pals (although now we are email pals) since we were in grade school.

Denise and I are both retired now, so we will have time for crafts, for walks in the sunshine, and for sitting back, with a cup of tea, and watching our grandchildren grow.

The circle, then, will be complete.

Staying in Focus: Be Astonished

“Instructions for living a life.
 Pay attention.
 Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
            –Mary Oliver

I came across this quote quite by accident but as I read it, I knew it contained a tiny seed that would implant in my mind and slowly grow over the next few days into the subject for a post. How succinctly  Ms. Oliver lays out the simple recipe for a life well-lived. And although at first glance it seems simple enough, the follow-through can be quite difficult.

Pay attention.  These two words are often used in classrooms, meeting rooms, while working on homework, reading a book, learning to play a new piece of music on the piano, a new step in ballet or a clever new football play.  We must focus in order to learn. We must practice how to listen. not just hear; to perceive, not just see. To be totally present in the moment requires discipline as we struggle not to dwell on the past or anticipate tomorrow. Why? Because it is a  waste of time. We can’t  change the past, the future is beyond our reach, and so we need to remind ourselves to pay attention to where we are right now. Doing so makes us present in our lives. We become aware of the sunlight streaming through the window, the sensation of cold, sweet ice cream on the tongue, the delight on the face of a grandchild when she recognizes you, unexpectedly, in a store. Our lives are made up, not of years, but of moments, each one precious and each one can be experienced, if only we pay attention.

Be astonished. Oh, what we take for granted in our lives! We should be astonished that we are here to begin with. We have been given this gift of a life to be lived. Isn’t it astonishing how day in and day out our hearts keep pumping, hardy little machines that work tirelessly for us, for as long as they can? Isn’t it astonishing that we go to bed every night, and every morning we awake to the sun rising in the morning sky, like clockwork, painting it colors even an artist would find hard to match?  Isn’t it astonishing that a tiny seed carries within it the blueprint for a tall and mighty tree, or the exquisite beauty of a rose?  It is astonishing to be able to give birth to new life, to create music and song, to dance, to dream, to love and be loved. How can we look up at the night sky, beneath the stars and planets and galaxies of a universe we still struggle to comprehend, and not be astonished?  And finally, isn’t it astonishing that most of the time we fail to be astonished? Something to think about, isn’t it?

Tell about it.  We all have a story to tell, an experience to share, a dream remembered. Before the invention of writing people told stories by word of mouth, around campfires, or by painting pictures on cave walls. There were tales of great adventures, of wars between mighty gods, fanciful tales of fairy folk and forest sprites.  With the invention of writing, people were able to tell about it with papyrus and reed, then with paper and pen, in books of scrolls or bound in leather; with technology came the typewriter, the word processors, and computers. We can tell about it in music and song, in poetry and dance, movies and plays. And of course, astonishing as it is, through blogs.  To writers there is nothing more gratifying than knowing that their words can now reach across the globe, and  that long after they are gone, their words and thoughts will be swimming through the endless pathways of the internet, or the cloud or whatever replaces that. And why do we want to tell  about it.?  Well, because as astonishing as life is, our time with it is limited. We want to leave something behind, something to note that we were here, something to tell future generations about who we were and how we lived our lives.

Perhaps someday, long in the future, someone will read these words, and be reminded of the gift they are given.

So they can pay attention.
And be astonished.

Staying in Focus: On Blossoms and Butterflies

I just knew it was going to happen.  I looked out at the small Japanese cherry tree we have growing in our backyard, and I said to my husband, “If this warm weather keeps up much longer that cherry tree is going to bloom.”IMG_9782And sure enough, I looked out at the tree today, and it has at least twenty blooms on its spindly branches. If I look out across the backyards of my neighbors, every cherry tree in every backyard is in bloom, some fully so.  The trees, it seems, are as confused as we are about the weather.  We dress in short sleeve shirts instead of woolly, warm sweaters, and the trees deck themselves out with blossoms, instead of taking their usual winter nap, and waiting for spring to call forth their awakening with blossoms and leaves.

As happenstance would have it, I have just finished reading Flight Behavior by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Kingsolver. Her prose is a delight to read.  I savor the words like sweet candy on my tongue,  as I read such phrases as, She knew her own recklessness and marveled, really, at how one hard little flint of thrill could outweigh the pillowy, suffocating aftermath of a long disgrace.”

And so begins the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, who, at the novel’s, beginning, is engaging in her own flight behavior, trying to run away from a life she fell into by circumstance. At the same time, she discovers a host of monarch butterflies nesting in the trees on her family’s land, butterflies that are also confused in their flight behavior, choosing the mountains of Tennessee instead of the warmer climes of Mexico to weather out the winter months.

And just as the butterfly will emerge from the chrysalis when it has matured and is ready to take flight, so does Dellarobia as she faces the growth and changes this visit from the butterflies brings to her life. The two story lines are woven together in a larger tapestry encompassing  faith, climate change, relationships, responsibility, love, life, birth and death, and all is examined with both honesty and humor by Ms. Kingsolver.

Dellarobia, her young, precocious son, Preston, her disapproving mother-in-law, and her faithful but distant husband, as well as the scientist who comes to study the butterflies, all emerge from their winter, their life chrysalis as spring arrives, changed and armed with new insights and knowledge which force them to face matters long ignored and deeply buried.

And in this small microcosm Ms. Kingsolver has created, we see ourselves.  Climate change, global warming, whatever you want to call it is a reality we will have to deal with. We will have to change our attitudes for whether or not we are the cause of the changes, it is obvious something is happening and as stewards of our world, it is up to us to figure it out. Hurricanes and tornadoes are stronger and more frequent, temperatures more mild in the south well into December, droughts plague many areas on Earth, other places experience floods. Firestorms rage , heavy snow falls, ice caps melt.  There is no doubt the climate has become destabilized.  What this means to our survival as well as the other species inhabiting the planet with us, and on whom we depend for building materials, drugs, food, etc.must be determined and steps taken to turn things around before it is too late.

On our visit to Alaska this year, the naturalists at the Mendenhall Glacier explained how the glacier was receding faster than expected. On our whale watch they talked of ecosystems and how the very large depend on the very small for survival.  And the very small are speaking out, their story one of over-use, or over-development. Why are the tree frogs disappearing.? and the bees? Where have the masses of krill, which feed the mighty whales gone? Why is the cherry tree blooming in December? And what will the polar bears do when the last of the ice shelves melt?  What will we  do?

We can choose to be believers in a prosperous future, as Ms. Kingsolver writes in her collection of essays, Small Wonder:

we are much to clever an animal, it seems, to kill ourselves now. This is the lot I was cast, to sit here on this jagged point between two centuries when so much of everything hangs in the balance. I get to choose whether to hang it up or hang on, and I hang on because I was born to do it, like everyone else. I insist that I can do something right, if I try. I insist that you can, too, that in fact you already are, and there’s a whole lot more where this came from…

….What I can find is this, and so it has to be: conquering my own despair by doing what little I can.  Stealing thunder, tucking it in my pocket for the long drought. Dreaming in the color green, tasting the end of anger…..Maybe it doesn’t cost anything to hope, and those of us who do will be able to live better, more honest lives as believers than we would as cynics…Maybe life doesn’t get much better than this, or any worse, and what we get is just what we’re willing to find: small wonders, where they grow…

Blossoms and butterflies.  Small Wonders.

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How sad it would be to lose these forever

How sad it would be to lose these forever