The springing of spring

I still can’t quite get used to how early spring arrives here. Record rains have brought a lot of green, and now that the days are getting noticeably longer (hallelujah!), trees are beginning to bud.

The rain has kept me cooped up inside more than I’d like these last two months, but as a friend pointed out yesterday, dreary weather gives us a good reason to get indoor projects done. She’s right, but I’m ready for spring, ready for beautiful days, ready for the earth to reawaken. As a writer, I spend enough time inside. The runner/ hiker/ gardener/ photographer in me is ready for friendly outdoor weather.

Whether you live here or somewhere still buried under blankets of snow, I hope you enjoy these signs of the coming spring.

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A plumcot tree in my back yard. I’m hopeful the rainy winter will mean more fruit this year.

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Still waters, raging waters

We’ve had a five-day break in the rain here. More arrives tonight, and there’s rain in the forecast every day for the next week. Is it okay for me to confess I’m weary of rain and mud and the park closures due to high waters?

I’ve taken advantage of the sunshine and spring-like weather to get out with my camera. At a nearby dam, I’ve been struck by how different the water is from one side to the other.

The “lake” remembers it’s a river in its soul, and though it flows briskly, it does not rage the way the waters do on the other side of the dam.

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The “lake” side of the dam

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The reverse, where the water knows it’s a river

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Something that doesn’t love a wall

One of my favorite poems is Mending Wall by Robert Frost. There’s a good chance you studied it in a high school English class, but it’s one of the most often misunderstood poems around. It begins:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it …

Perhaps too many students forget the beginning by the middle of the poem and drift into daydreaming by the end of it. And, therefore, they forget the whole point of the poem.

While you’ll often hear the line “Good fences make good neighbors,” from the poem, the line was the exact opposite of Frost’s main message. The narrator in the poem wanted his neighbor to think beyond their annual tradition of meeting to repair the wall, to understand that, simply because the neighbor’s father had fed him the “Good fences” line for many years, they didn’t need the wall between them. His neighbor refused to listen and doggedly repeated what his father had taught him about good fences.

Some fences are good and necessary. Here a fence keeps sheep and goats penned in until they can get their dose of medicine. The sheep stares out through the fence as if saying, “I don’t love this wall.”FurryFirefighters2016_3FT

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What to read in these uncertain times

I’m heartsick about what’s happening in the United States these days. Perhaps you feel some of the same bewilderment and anxiety?

I’ve put together a reading list for these uncertain times. I’ve read some before and want to revisit them. Others, my husband has read and recommended.

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A mix of fiction and nonfiction, in no particular order, to read in these uncertain times

With a couple of notable exceptions in eighth grade and my freshman year of college, I had lousy history teachers and came out of school with only the most basic understanding of World War II and the Holocaust. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank introduced me to the horrors of that time period when I was in middle school.

As an adult, my reading of both fiction and nonfiction has filled some of my knowledge gaps and broken my heart over and over. Continue reading

The calm after the storm

After several weeks of mostly rainy, dreary days, glorious sunshine has followed to dry out the ground and soggy spirits. I’ve had a hard time staying inside, choosing instead to take long walks with the dog, even though the walks still mean muddy shoes and paws to clean up afterward.

What I’ve noticed most the last two mornings is the return of the birds. Their happy whistles sing a song my soul understands.

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Western Scrub-Jays, happy in the morning sun

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A closed boat launch

The river remains closed to boating, but despite its muddy rushing, ducks and wading birds have ventured back into it in search of home and food. Their grace and beauty is a welcome addition to the banks of the river. Continue reading