Spring is Here

By the time you read this, Spring will be officially here (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere…you southerners have had it long enough!)

One of the parts of being old that I really love is that I can start to say, “I remember when…” I do that alot. But I digress. But I remember when I was younger that winters were more winter-like. We froze from December until March, feets of snow (is there such a phrase?), dug out every other week, and had a jolly old time jumping off roofs into the huge snowbanks. Now we get snow and after a few days it’s nothing but dirty mush. What fun is that?

I must admit we have some odd habits here in the middle of the U.S.

The first sign of spring around here is when you spot people in sweatshirts and shorts. I don’t know — I think it’s a Wisconsin thing. But it can be 40 degrees out and everybody’s in shorts. Not yet t-shirt weather, they make due with sweatshirts.

The number of joggers/walkers/runners seem to increase the day it turns 45 too. Although the ranks thin out during the summer, I applaud those who run through the puddles of melted snow just to make it around the block.

Starting the first week in April our stores are jammed with perfectly amazing plants and trees for your garden. Of course, they never look as fresh and blooming when you get them home as they do hanging on the Walmart rack, but hey! You can do it too! The ground is usually still frozen in the beginning of April, though, so that just means you have to prevent all your flowering gems from wilting or frosting by keeping them inside the back door until thaw time.

I myself am the harbinger of the other spring past time — driving with the window open, blasting music to beat the band. I have been known to open the window at 40 degrees, even 37 if it’s sunny and there is no wind. I just crank up the heater by my feet a little, and pretend I’m in a convertible.

Spring is the time to air out your car, your clothes, and your lungs. It’s the time I want to quit my job, go wandering hither and tither, lunch on the hill, put my toes in the lake, watch the moonrise, stay up until 3 am, then sleep in. Of course, I don’t have a hill or a lake or an open view of the moon.

But there is something about the first warm day after a long, long winter than makes new life possible. I don’t know how many springs I have left, but know that as soon as it’s 50 I’m grabbing my shorts and sweatshirt and jogging around the block.

What do you do when spring comes?

Wandering Down the Path

I stand at the beginning of the path. The yellow brick road turned green and muddy. What will I find? I hear frogs already. It’s only March. But the warm sun suggests otherwise.

Everything is so bare. The trees, the field grass. I know its bubbling beneath the surface. It has more patience than me. Spring can’t be far if I hear the mourning dove’s song. Or the wikka wee of the red winged blackbird.

I have lived 64 years upon this Earth. I only hope for 64 more.

There is a convention going on in the trees across the field. The tweeting of the birds mix and meld into one gorgeous wake up call. It almost sounds as if they’re all in that one tall pine tree.

No sleep for a while, dear tree.

What was once a cornfield is now a young woods. It’s amazing how quickly Mother Nature takes back her own. It was her world first, anyway. I’m always looking for wildlife as I walk the trails around my house. The frogs don’t count. I do see tons of deer tracks in the mushy ground, though.

That’s a good sign.

No llamas next door today. I dare hope they weren’t sold for human consumption. The world is what it is, though. I’ll keep positive thoughts.

The trees have stayed smart. They’re not budding yet. Once the sun sets and rises, though, that may be a different story. Time moves so differently here. Oh dear — I was mistaken. Certain trees and/or bushes just can’t help themselves.

I don’t blame them.

Bright green moss grows on the trail. As the sun sets it’s almost fluorescent. I follow the glow. Bad storms have knocked many of the old trees over. It’s sad, really. Their once magnificent branches now are nothing more than barren tree trunks and limbs. Ahhh…but to have seen them in their glory! What tales they could tell! But they, like us, have no more tales to tell.

This walk is turning sad. That wasn’t the intent. The intent was to observe. To dream. To record. But sad is the other side of the coin called happy, isn’t it?

And so it is.

I found a golf ball on the farthest back trail. I can only imagine its story. But I shall not ask. I’ve come to a fork in the road. One trail edges the field, another meanders through the woods. Sparse the woods may be, but there is shadow here. Magic is afoot.

I must pay attention.

The coolness of the woods is different from the field. Dried leaves replace the moss. The trail challenges me to follow. I cannot resist. My stories are in here. The back end of my property rests upon a barbed wire fence, which separates me from the cornfield beyond. There is nothing now except stubby stalks. But when the corn is high and full…I wrote a story about a girl who walked through the rows of corn. Walked and walked until she came upon another world.

I need to finish that story.

My poor broken bench. Mildewed, still standing like a bent soldier. I dragged that bench back to the edge so I could sit and reflect the world I couldn’t see. The moments I needed to see. I shall fix that old bench.

There are dreams and stories I still need to see.

The thistled mess across from the bench will soon bloom thick and green. Impenetrable. Protecting its children from the madness of the outside world. And I think. I often wonder if I could just give it all up. The job. TV. The Internet. If I could just sit and write and walk and write and clean house and write. Or paint. Or draw. Listen to music and just be one with the seasons. Sleep when I’m tired, move when I’m awake. If I could leave it all behind.

I don’t think I want to know the answer.

The wind blows harder back here as it travels across the empty field. It reminds me that it’s barely spring. That Mother is up one day and down the next. The goosebumps on my arm make me agree. Up the leaf-covered path, I head towards the setting light.

A slain king blocks my way, On second thought, he is too skinny to be a king. His fate was more of the knightly variety. A victim of the storm too, his slender trunk arches enough for me to pass. The rustling of dead leaves hanging at the end of empty branches sing a light and hollow song. Even in the summer.

It’s like this back here.

Moss is a mighty thing. It peeks through the fallen leaves and clings to the fallen tree trunks. Yet it grows. Year after year. Surface after surface. A marvelous part of evolution. As I walk I see my sitting stone jutting out of the ground. In a month I will be hard pressed to find it. But the sun is setting and the chill is following. I nod in respect to the boulder of knowledge.

I will be back.

The setting sun is blinding me as I walk up the hill. It is as if it doesn’t want me to see where I’m going. Doesn’t it know. I never know where I’m going. I turn one last time, searching for a deer or a rabbit or a hawk or an elf.

I see none.

The storm made chaos out of these old woods. Branches are scattered and entwined at the end of the path. Perhaps if I were coming the other way I would see a barricade built by a dragon to keep humans out. At the end of the path on the right are several dirt mounds. Legend has it there was a house back here once, but I see no trace. But the mounds will soon be covered with daylilies.

Maybe that was the mother’s favorite flower.

Here lies the king. His huge trunk blocks the path. Right at the edge of the grass. Right at the edge of civilization. Part of me wants to let him rest here. He’s done his duty.

Rest in peace.

I’ve come to the end of the trail. Cultivated grass leads to a house. Inside is my computer, my music. My now. Perhaps my future. If I were to stay true to the path’s direction, I would find a whole other trail that would lead around and through the front of the property. I know the fae live there. A time warp, too.

But not today.

If I hold onto something for tomorrow, maybe I’ll never have to leave this world. For there will always be a tomorrow.

I can live believing that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring in February

163921-beautiful-spring-dayI don’t know about you, but a flash of great weather gives me a flash of positive energy.

It’s February here in the Midwest, the land of snow and slush. Yet this past week has teased temperatures hovering around 60. Us Midwesterners know this is only a tease — a mere peek at the lace trim of a very lacy slip.

But we fall for it as much as if the slip fell off the manikin.

I saw a post on Facebook that showed 40 degrees in California (hats, gloves, muffs), vs 40 degrees in Wisconsin (shorts, open windows, bbqs). I thought that was really silly until I found myself driving home from work with the window wide open.

What is it about weather change that brightens the dullest spirit?

When it’s warm I tend to walk outside a little more…get away from the madness of the office or the madness of cleaning house and just breathe. It’s such an inspiring image, isn’t it? Walking the wooded paths, wandering along the deserted shoreline, gazing at the arrangements in a Zen garden…

Of course, that plateau lasts all of one day.

Work, kids, house and car repairs, all need to be dealt with, rain or shine, warm weather or blizzards. Life has a lot of nerve interrupting our serene moments with things like “dinner” or “soccer practice.”  How will we ever reach nirvana? How will we ever become one with the Earth and the Moon and the galaxy above when we have to work on the computer or wash the dishes or fix the lawn mower?

That is what days like today are for. The dream that someday we will be able to wander along in the sunshine, not too hot, not too cold, contemplating and meditating and finding our place in this world. The hope that our food will be fresh from the garden, our houses sparkling clean and full of fresh air, and our dreams will become our reality.

I am more to thinking that this burst of fresh air and 60 degrees just makes me high…

Let’s Open Another Door

Well, it’s March 3rd and I’m done.

Any of you who live in the northern half of the U.S. — or any country, for that matter — know what I mean when I say I’m done. Done with the snow, the cloudy days, the slush, the slop, the depression, the driving-like-a-little-old-lady kind of days. I’ve had my snow for Christmas; my grandson has made his annual snowman, I’ve spent a weekend at the ski lodge, and scraped and cleaned the snow off my car more than I care to tell you.

It’s supposed to be 64 degrees next Tuesday, and that’s not soon enough for me. I know it’s a false spring and all that, but go ahead — fool me — I don’t mind.

About this time every year I get tired of writing, too. Tired of sloshing around emails and sites, tired of editing, tired of being witty, nifty, and wise. Since I like to think of ALL of us as multi-artistic, I’m ready to clean out closets and get ready for my move to BoHoChicland.

I’ve got bags of beads to sew on sweaters and tops; I’ve got wire and string to restring my broken bracelets; I’ve got crystals to make more bracelets; I’ve got appointments with Good Will and other second hand places to help me restructure my wardrobe. Clothes never used to make me feel better, but these days, I’m open to discovery. I’m tired of looking like my great-grandmother (like I know what she dressed like..)

Besides the clothing overhaul, I’ve also got books I need to finish reading, hair to color, skirts to shorten. I need to open up the windows and get some fresh air in my stale house.

So let’s get going.

They say when God closes one door He opens another. He’s been really generous with me, because he’s opened about 15 doors. How generous.

So if you get writer’s block, go open another door. Remember — you are an ARTIST — category optional. Don’t worry — your main obsession will always be with you. But sometimes you just need a change.

Like the weather.

And who knows — maybe a closet full of beads will fall out on your head.

Spring? What is That?

CAM01111 (1)Dare I whisper — Spring is (almost) here in Wisconsin!

With my luck, a snowstorm of epic proportions will fall on me for saying that, but what-the-hey — I think the medicinal qualities of semi-warm air is worth the test of a last, lone snowstorm.

I’ve been reading blogs and Facebook entries saying that Spring has already popped in some Southern venues. I’ve seen pictures of flowers and birds all around the Net. Well, I can tell mine is coming, too, for it’s Mud City outside my front door.

People in Wisconsin don’t have the same kind of Springs that other people have. Oh, we have flowers peeking up through the ground and birds singing their little hearts out…but we also have grills popping with bratwurst and people shopping in their shorts and sweatshirts.

My grandson and I practiced our first “don’t tell mom” episode over the weekend…he was riding his Hot Wheels down the hill/driveway, trying to make a sharp right turn at the bottom. There was only one tip-over in the mudsnow…he was getting the hang of it. Alas, he couldn’t continue down the straight part and turn left and downhill to splash in the huge puddle in the middle of the driveway, for he couldn’t get enough traction to speed through the mud.

That will come next week.

Why do we do such wild things the first day the sun shines and we don’t have to wear gloves? We wear a sweater instead of a coat, seeing as even though it’s 29 degrees in the morning it will be 48 by the time we get out of work. 48 degrees. That’s Popsicle weather for most folks. We drive with our windows down, turning on the heat only out of necessity. We sing Beach Boys and Bon Jovi songs at the top of our lungs, the cool…er, cold… wind barely tossing our hair. (It is fresh air, you see..) The snow isn’t even melted yet and yet we’re planning barbeques, Fests, and trips to the zoo. We are eating more fruit and veggies, hoping to take a pound or two off before we put on that bathing suit, and cleaning and oiling our lawnmowers — just in case.

I’m sure every area has its quirks when it comes to Springtime. Most of us have woken up in the dark and come home from work in the dark for so long that any ray of sunshine is a ray of hope for humanity. So any ritual to bring Gaia to her feet is welcome.

I think part of it is that we are celebrating another year of life. Another year of being alive. Another chance to make it right. When I drive with the windows open and smell Mother Nature’s scent, I thank Her for allowing me one more year of puddles and flowers, of sunsets and crickets, of bonfires and marshmallows.

So the second you sense Spring in the air, GO FOR IT! Walk out on the porch in your underwear or ride your motorcycle or go buy bulbs and seeds or bring out the barbie and cue something juicy. Embrace the change of seasons — and of life. And just say thanks. Again.

After all, you never know if they’ll have grills and brats in heaven…

I Am (some kind of) A Flower

Banksia-Coccinea_webThe first taste of Spring — REAL Spring — brings an antsyness to me that supersedes any residue A.D.D. I have. Having been cooped up in the house since December, I am ready to take on the world…at least my little part of it.

I have had my share of crap through my life, but have usually come out of it with a fairly clean shoe.  I’ve put up with crummy jobs, crummy friends, and crummy situations. When Spring comes I always want to kick the world in the teeth and strut boldly and successfully into something new. Something exciting. Something different.

But I always run into the same obstacles. Money. Age. Bad Timing. Energy. All the obstacles I swore I’d overcome next time.

I don’t want to confuse the good part of my life with the bad. It’s taken me years to finally be accepting of who I am, flakiness and all. I’m not beautiful, I’m not thin. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. But I am happy with my health, my family, and my loves. I’m a fairly decent writer, artist, and cook. I’m a great granny, friend, and colleague. That part is a lifetime commitment, one I think I’ve handled fairly well.  But that’s not the only side of my growth.

I think we all get frustrated at points in our lives. We get tired of taking the bad with the good. Tired of bending like a reed and blowing in the wind. Tired of turning the other cheek.  We tell ourselves we can do better. We deserve better. We’ve worked hard all our lives and we deserve more than this (whatever this is). So we work a little harder, save a little more. Go back to school. Lose weight. Whatever it is that makes us feel we have a say in our future.

And sometimes we make it.

More often, we stall out somewhere along the way. The road is too rocky, too twisty. We really believe we want a new job or a new style. Yet we never quite get there. We send out a few resumes, enter our artwork in contests, buy healthy food. We start walking or jogging or whatever it is we need to jump start our new direction. But the frig goes on the fritz, we twist our ankle. We need to proofread our novel one more time. Legitimate reasons we can’t move on right away. Legitimate. Yet a reason. There’s always a reason.

I suppose that’s why I feel so strong every Spring. It’s a chance to replant those seeds that have been gathering dust all year. I need to believe I’m not really getting older, although all signs point in that direction.  I’ve already started my BoHo chic thing (swingy skirts work better in warm weather). I’m due for a vacation renewal May 13th.  My husband finally found a job.  So things in general are quite good. But I have the desire to do more. Now that the daffodils are popping through the dirt, I should be popping through my own dirt. I need to keep my goals in sight. Even if I don’t get there.

I see shadows on the horizon…they seem to come more in waves these days than ripples. But I’m determined to make it through the rough patches so I can coast when things get smooth. Not only that, but I want to be strong for the others riding this wave with me. Because it’s important to believe that you have a purpose in this world. A reason for hanging around. Every day we achieve something, every day we learn something, is a good day. Never forget that. Even if I can’t find a new job or a new body, at least I can accept what I do have with grace and a smile.

Not to mention that I’ll kick anybody’s bootie if they say different.

 

Get the Growth Going!

thCA2UU93SToday is the day.

Whatever February 18th is, this is the day.

On my way to work, the translucent, waxing gibbous moon winked at me.

I checked my horoscope. Scopes. (1) Move forward with confidence; there is support behind you. (2) No creative projects today. Might have mental blocks. Put projects aside for later when you have clear mind. (3) Take control of things that might slow you down. Learn about yourself. Understand those around you.  I figure if I throw all three in a bowl and stir, a positive, move forward message will float to the top.

I checked my online one-card tarot. Knight of Wands. Essence of fire. Filled with passion for life. Absolute sincerity. Daring. Sexy. Exciting. Boundless creativity.  I’ll take that one. My phone tarot slipped me a different card. Nine of Wands. Wisdom and strength through experience. Learn through personal experience. Well, after what I’ve been through the past through years, this could just as well been the Piece of Cakes.

My Chinese horoscope. The Dragon. I may be experiencing an unusual wave of doubt or confusion today. It could be hard to make a choice between multiple options today. Well, no worry. I don’t have multiple choices today. One choice. One direction.

Time to water and fertilize that creativity seed that I planted in my head somewhere last fall. I can tell you, there hasn’t been much growth this winter. Death, unemployment, sick cats and bad weather have put a hold on my energy and my creative spirit. But no more. Water that puppy and get it barking!  I can’t sit around and wait until Spring to correct this or add to that. Life is flying by as it is. And my calendar is filling up.

I wrote a blog at Retirement and Good Living called Planning Ahead (http://retirementandgoodliving.com/planning-ahead/). It’s all about writing things down ahead of time. Your life is zooming past the way it is; it doesn’t hurt to plan some things ahead and write them down on a calendar.  Now, I don’t necessarily write my writing goals on a calendar. But I belong to an email list that gives me oddles of contests that I can enter, and another one that tells me about places that pay for writing. So it might help if I schedule some of those cash cows on my calendar, too.

The e-mail address addy for contests (free and fee) is crwropps-b-subscribe@yahoogroups.com .

The little-more-professional outlets for writing comes from Freedom With Writing http://www.freedomwithwriting.com .

So the planets are in alignment and for better or worse my horoscopes are in alignment too. (I’ll just jam them into line). I am ready to start reaping what I’ve sown in my head.

Better that than the nonsense that grows there already.

See What You Have Missed!

I know the winter dulldrums are upon us, yet spring is flirting from across the banquet hall filled with diners. We can’t quite see her yet, but I noticed one extra sparkle on the horizon, so she’s on her way.  Before the mad rush of her annual appearance scatters us to the four winds as we open windows, walk a little more, spring clean, play fetch with our dogs, and get more serious about our eating habits, I thought I’d bring a few of my ditties to the forefront (in case you need to apply one to your upcoming Spring Pledge):

To Dream or Not to Dream: That is the Question — Turn your restlessness into meaningful nonsense. Just don’t take yourself too literally

Reincarnation as a Walmart Greeter — Good deeds don’t go unrewarded, no matter where you end up in the end

Dancing in a Too Tight Tutu — You are never too old for anything. What are you waiting for?

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese — The learning/language gap between generations

On Base of Bony Orbit —  This one is an important read, especially if you’re going to a party where words impress

Merlot at the Lake House — Are we what we watch?

Viva Las Vegas! — A wonderful place to get lost in

Nothing to Write About: My Life is a Bore — How “unboring” we really are

The Hand of Guilt — Stop carrying that monkey on your shoulder

The Sashaying Mink — Closet adventurists

Sex — What is it and Where Did it Go? — the joys of middle age prancing

Time to Remodel — let the Picasso in YOU come out

Please take a few minutes to see where we’ve been. Let me know if you have any favorites, any ideas.  And hold on, for the future is full of promise — and blogs!