Posted tagged ‘green shoots’

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.”

April 7, 2017

We’re back from the appointment for Gracie at the vets. The good news is she didn’t have a stroke. The head tilt is probably from a lesion on her brain which may cause problems down the road, but she is fine for now. Her weak back legs are just that, weaker than her front. I should continue what I am doing to help her get around. Gracie was given a refill of her pain meds and got shots which were due anyway.

I had my MRI, but it is too early to hear the results. I figure there won’t be anything there, my lower back, as the earlier MRI’s showed nothing.

The most painful part of the last two days has been the $700 the two appointments cost me. I won’t ever be cured of that.

Yesterday it poured all day, a deluge to use my mother’s description, but today is the loveliest of days. The sky is a deep blue. The sun is bright, an almost need to squint bright. It is warm. When I left the house at nine, it was already 48˚. It is flannel shirt weather, a downgrade (or maybe an upgrade) from sweatshirt weather. I could do my outside work today. I still have that list, but I don’t want to for no reason except maybe relief. I was worried about Gracie. I still am, but it is a general worry about keeping an old dog healthy. The dread is gone. I just want to enjoy the afternoon, maybe sit on the deck with the sun on my face.

Lots of green shoots are appearing in my front garden. I saw the bumpy bud of a hyacinth this morning. Its color is starting to appear, a light purple. Daffodils are blooming. The yellow ones are first. The white ones are budded and waiting their turn. On my trip down Cape last Tuesday, I sat in a line of traffic on 6A. It was a long line so I had time to look around. I saw a tree with tiny, tiny buds. They were red and easy to see. I was thrilled. For me, that is the second sign of spring, after the bulbs flower.

My grass is squishy with mud. The ground wasn’t frozen when the days of rain began last week so the extra water just stayed right there, right on top, making the grass muddy. Footprints stay when you walk across the lawn. I try to avoid that.

I’m getting sucked in. I can feel it. Today makes me want to believe it’s really spring, but this is New England, and there are no guarantees so I’m still a bit skeptical, but the weather report is so amazing I can feel that skepticism draining away. By mid-next week, we may hit 60˚ and 50’s all the way to get there. That’s spring. No doubt about it.

“We are our choices.”

February 21, 2016

The house is colder than outside. After I got out of bed, I ran downstairs and turned up the heat. Making the coffee was first in my morning routine then I went outside for the papers and was surprised to find the air warm or warmish I suppose is a bit more accurate.

The trees are quiet. The breeze isn’t strong enough to sway the creaky branches of the scrub pines. On the way back to the house from getting the papers, I stopped at my front garden because I saw the most welcome surprises. Green tips are above the soil. I know one is a hyacinth, and I suspect the others are the crocus and the dafs. The bulbs know spring is coming.

Living in New England means to expect cold, bone-chilling cold sometimes, and snow, but it doesn’t make me long for Florida or any sunny climes. I can’t imagine being so excited by a green shoot if I lived where flowers always bloom.

When I was a kid, I thought dandelions were flowers which grew on the grass instead of in the garden. My mother always made a big deal of the bouquet of dandelions I gave her. She’d put them in a glass filled with water. I even remember the glass. It was one which held small shrimp in sauce. I have a couple my mother gave me. I use them for orange juice.

I can’t think of anyone I ever hated when I was growing up. Some kids deserved a punch in the nose, and I was happy to oblige, twice. I was never reluctant to step in and tell some bully to shut up or else, the same with name callers. I had a sense of fairness which was just there, a part of me. Where it came from I have no idea. My brother was a bully, but I didn’t know that until I was an adult. A former elementary school classmate of his told my sister not that long ago. We were all surprised. We never saw it, but I don’t find it difficult to believe.

We go through so much while we’re growing up and make all sorts of choices along the way which help decide who we’ll be. I’m still making those choices.

“A knife wound heals, but a tongue wound festers.”

March 24, 2015

No weather report today. Day after day is always the same. It’s depressing. The only bright spots are the large numbers of green shoots in my front garden. They give me a bit of hope.

When I was a kid, we lived in what we called the project. The houses were all duplexes, one side the mirror image of the other. Living there was only open to veterans and their families. Kids were everywhere. We first lived around the small rotary which the last of the duplexes circled. Below those duplexes was the field surrounded by woods. A long fence in the backyards separated our houses from the privately owned houses behind us. I used to climb the gate by the parking lot as it was a shortcut to my aunt’s house. I never once, in all the year’s we lived there, see the gate opened. No car ever used it. No car ever really used the parking lot either. Most cars were in front of the houses. My dad always parked his on the side road as our house was on a corner with the hill on one side.

Most times nothing much happened in the project. In the summer you could, now and then, hear people yelling at each other through the opened windows. We always listened. At supper time, mothers yelled out the doors for their kids. Once there was a fight between two men who were neighbors. I remember one man was a photographer who took pictures for the local newspaper. I don’t remember who the other man was. I do know the fight started because the wife of the photographer was German. He had met her while he was in the service on duty in Germany. This was in the mid 1950’s, and most of the men in the neighborhood had served in World War II. The guy I don’t remember called the wife a Nazi and a few more choice names and then the fight started. They rolled and wrestled on the grassy hill, and I remember the photographer’s sweater vest was pulled over his head so he couldn’t see to defend himself. Everybody was out watching. I don’t remember how the fight was ended. I figure neighbors must have grabbed the fighters and separated them as I would have remembered the police coming.

That fight was the talk of the neighborhood for the longest time. The men never spoke to each other again. The photographer and his wife and son eventually moved. That is the only time in my life I have seen adults physically attacking one another. Burned in my memory is the image of the two men rolling down the hill trying to punch one another. I remember the sweater vest had the argyle pattern popular in the 50’s. The son of the photographer wore glasses.

It is strange what our memories hold on to and what is lost over time.

“They talked on into the early morning, the high, pale cast of light in the windows, and they did not think of leaving.”

March 15, 2015

Yesterday it rained all day and into the evening. Much of the snow is gone and whatever is left is sad-looking, beaten down and dirty. A whole section of my backyard has reappeared, and in the front I can even see sections of my lawn on both sides of the house. The first things I saw when I went to get the papers were the white buds of the snowdrops by the steps. That made me glad. I know now the green shoots survived winter’s onslaught. Now they can thrive with the coming of spring.

I would have said today is cold, but it is actually 40˚. The chill is from the dampness. Nothing seems to dry. The rain has left the streets still wet and the above freezing temperature is melting the snow. Water is everywhere. The giant mounds on the sides of my street are shrinking, and the water from the melting snow is rolling downhill. There are no sewers so the water rolls until the hill ends and then it puddles.

My house seems coziest in the daytime darkness. I am warm and comfortable. I have plugged in the different strands of lights so the house is gently lit. The kitchen has a red glow from pepper lights. The living room has lights on branches standing in tall stoneware bottles in the corners. Small wooden houses in the dining room are lit and the light shines from their windows. The bathroom has a nightlight, a snowflake, whose season has finally passed. This room, my den, where I spend the most time has a lit lamp on the table and no other lights. It shines on the pages of my book, and that’s all I need.

At night I still like looking at the colored lights left on the deck rail and on trees in the backyard. When Gracie goes outside in the dark, she triggers her yard sensor lights. The shadows of the trees are beautiful. They stretch the width of the yard. I like to see the lights so I stand on the deck and Gracie, when she’s finished, usually joins me. We stay until the light finally goes out then we go inside the house.

“The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light. “

March 13, 2015

I read it in the paper so it must be true. Spring is finally on its way. Although today’s forecasted high will be 32˚, there will be more sun, a sure sign of the changing season says the Cape Times. Fern agrees. She has started lying on the floor in a crescent of sunlight shining through the front door. Her fur is warm to the touch, on one side anyway.

Some of my deck furniture is no longer hidden by snow, and my road is almost completely clear of ice. Three more shoots and a whole section of grass have appeared in my front yard. The sky is the deepest of blues. More and more birds sing every morning. I get seed and flower catalogues every day in the mail. My papers are easy to retrieve. They are no longer sliding out of reach on piles of snow. I get out of bed happy to greet the morning, to welcome one day closer to spring.

Yesterday I went out to lunch, to a new place down cape. You sort of have to know where this place is as it doesn’t have a sign. It was filled with people who knew where and why. The food is excellent, the restaurant has wi-fi and offers lots of coffee drinks. I went with a cappuccino and a porchetta sandwich with pickled onions on a toasted ciabatta. It was a good choice.

The older I get, the longer my list of doctors. I refer to them as my stable of doctors because there is no group name. You just add an s to the singular which pales in comparison to a murder of crows or an intrusion of cockroaches. I seemed to have scheduled most of my stable for days in March. Two come with blood tests, the same tests, but they don’t share. Monday is my sixth month dental check up. I still do PT twice a week for my back. I suppose I should be glad that all parts of me get checked and probed. I just hope they don’t find anything, not even a cavity.

“A critic once characterized baseball as six minutes of action crammed into two-and-one-half hours. “

March 12, 2015

The morning is downright cold. I’m thinking winter is trying to hold on, trying to keep spring away, but it’s too late. The temperature no longer matters. I have dismissed winter. I haven’t quite welcomed spring, but I figure we’re in the shoulder season betwixt and between and winter is losing ground, literally and figuratively. A snow storm isn’t an impossibility as we sometimes have one in March and even in April but they are the swan songs. This morning, after getting the papers, I saw a green shoot in my front garden. It survived the snow. I figure I have too.

The Boston Globe reported that the Red Sox are trying to entice young kids to the ballpark. It seems kids think the game is boring to watch, and they’d prefer their baseball as a video game. I get that. The games are long, especially Sox games. Other sports seem to have constant, or almost constant, action. The best played baseball games have low scores with nothing much going on. The fun games are usually when balls are hit out of the park and the score is high. When I watch at home, there is always plenty of time for bathroom breaks or a trip to the kitchen for snacks. I seldom miss any action. I wouldn’t dare do that during a Pats’ game. Nope, I wait for the commercial. There are new rules this year to speed up the game. My favorite new rule is pitchers no longer have to throw those silly way outside the strike zone balls on intentional walks. The manager can simply signal the umpire. The one I expect to cause the most problems is hitters must keep at least one foot inside the batter’s box at all times. David Ortiz comes to mind. He steps out of the box, leans his bat between his legs, spits on his gloves and then pounds his hands together after just about every pitch. I always think it’s a bit gross, but baseball players have rituals and superstitions which must, in their minds, be honored. Stepping out of the batter’s box to spit on gloves to David is essential.

I’m thinking a cattle prod might be more helpful. Give the players a couple of warnings then the next time they run afoul of the rules bring out the cattle prod. A zap or two should work.

“How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.

February 21, 2015

Pollyanna and her glad game have no place around here. She’d be struck mute. 28˚ doesn’t merit hats, horns or balloons. I’m still astonished today’s paper called this a warming trend. It also warned the cold would be back next week. Our definition of cold seems to have been forever altered after the last two weeks.

I am not one to run to warm places in the winter. In January one year I went to Morocco. Despite it being their winter, it was comparatively warm to winter here. The Moroccans wore winter coats and wool caps. I wore a sweatshirt.

Springs makes me forget winter. I exalt in the green shoots which appear first in my garden. I watch their progress. The buds sheathed in green are next and then color starts to appear through the green. I want to yell and cheer. Finally the first flowers bloom, always the croci (I did have four years of Latin) and the hyacinths. Purple, white and yellow flowers dot the side and front gardens. I always stop and admire the flowers for the colorful miracles they are.

At Christmas I take a ride to see the lights. I hunger for color. I stop for a bit at the brightest houses. I even sit in the car to look at my house strung with both white and colored lights shining through the darkness. Even now I have lights on part of my deck rail and on a couple of bottle trees in the backyard. The prayer flags and the Mexican banners hung between trees in my yard are victims of the wind and snow. I miss them.

I go on flower rides in the early spring. The yards along 6A are filled with croci, hyacinth and tulips. I love the colors, but even more I love that winter has finally been displaced.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

February 25, 2014

The cold weather is back and snow may be on the way tomorrow, but I, however, am finally resigned to winter now that it is nearly over. There is no sense complaining. It just makes me grouchy and serves no purpose. Over the weekend it was 50˚, and I got to thinking ahead to barbecue and beach weather. Spring will eventually come. It always does.

My life has a routine. It has always had a routine, but the routine has changed as I have changed and grown older. The longest routine was during the thirty-three years I worked in the high school. I got up the same time every day, came home around the same time and spent my evenings in the same way as I had the day before and the day before that. I never thought of my routine as a rut. I liked my job though for all those years 5 o’clock always struck me as a barbaric time for waking up and getting out of bed. I don’t do that any more. This summer I will celebrate ten years of retirement. The only time I set my clock now is on Mondays for breakfast with my friend at nine. It’s a wonderful thing that I have to set the alarm to get out of bed by eight. I like the routine I find myself living now.

This morning the paper had pictures of purple croci ( I had four years of Latin in high school so I’m going with first declension masculine plural on this one). They are a hopeful sign as are the green shoots in my front garden. I saw a few more this morning which had been hidden under the snow. They made me smile and forget for a moment that it’s cold and a bit raw today.

The world continues to amaze me. Sometimes I am stopped in my tracks. There we are, Gracie and I, just riding along when all of a sudden I am struck by the beauty of the marsh or the colors of the sunset. I’m usually moved to talk out loud and use words like wow or oh my God. It doesn’t matter how many times I have seen the sheer beauty of the ocean or the glory of a sunny day or a sky lit with stars. I can’t help but be overwhelmed. I think it a wonderful thing that we can live years and years and still be moved by the every day.

“The truth is that everyone is bored, and devotes himself to cultivating habits.”

February 1, 2014

This morning is already 41˚. That’s a hot spell, time for sunscreen. Gracie, my weather barometer, has been outside pretty much the whole morning. She comes in every now and then for water and to make sure I’m still here.

The feeders have lots of different birds today, even mourning doves and winter robins. Hopeful is the best description for a day like today. It’s nature’s way of reminding us that winter won’t last forever. There will be more snow, that’s inevitable, and chilling to the bone temperatures but soon enough every day will be in the 40’s and then the 50’s then climbing from there. Green shoots will start appearing in the front garden by the end of this month and will become a calendar of sorts. As they grow taller, we’ll be closer to spring. Once they bloom color fills the garden and spring finally gains hold. The air gets that smell of freshness, of growing things, of flowers and grass. Cold mornings give way to warmer afternoons. Some vestiges of winter hang around for a bit longer but that’s okay. I always think of them as a last gasp.

This has been a strange week. Little holds my interest, not even books I usually devour. I won’t even mention television. I haven’t seen anyone to talk to since Sunday; I don’t count the man at the dump or the woman at the pharmacy. We didn’t converse. I could be the main character in a last person on Earth book, soon to be made into a major movie. In my empty world, there would be no vampires or zombies running around trying to drink my blood or eat my entrails. I imagine blue birds singing and flying above my head sort of like in Song of the South or Cinderella. Flowers are always in bloom. The sun shines, and the day is perfect in the 70’s. Yup, I’m living in a Disney movie. I don’t know, though, how long I can go without people and conversation, but I figure I’d be talking to myself a whole lot, but I do that now. I usually direct my comments to Gracie who listens with a cocked ear but doesn’t ever answer. She’d be in the book too. I do have an ending for this book. There I am surrounded by blue birds, my faithful dog by my side as I walk through the park. All of a sudden I hear someone whistling a tune, yup, a happy tune. I stop and gasp, my hand in front of my mouth, and say,”Hello?” I hear, “Hello” right back, and it isn’t an echo. I am not alone. It’s a happy ending.

Now you can understand I really need to get out more!