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If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. (Thomas A. Edison) 

Recently, I heard about a redwood tree flourishing inside a concrete-bound city area. Several years ago, my husband tried to coax an infant California sequoia into facing less temperate Ohio. The seedling didn’t last longer than a few weeks.

Naturalists recommend native plants. I agree. Either the plants die or take over kudzu-style. However, stories involving thumbs greener than mine intrigue me.

Successful human you-can’t-do-that experiences fascinate me even more. The drug addict who triumphs over his addiction, the individual with special needs who runs a business or succeeds in a public office.

One small thing today I didn’t think I could do, what is it? Oh yeah, I thought my computer had died. It didn’t. I brought it back to life. And my father told me he wanted me to take a mechanical aptitude test to see how low a score I would get.

Erase the negative messages. Plant new ones. Let them grow. May we astound ourselves. And continue planting…

 

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They say the universe is expanding. That should help with the traffic. (Steven Wright)

I wonder how many drivers have made road trips—without wondering what the…heck is that guy doing? Traveling at NASCAR speed or moving twenty-miles-an-hour in a fifty zone.

When my younger son was about kindergarten age I turned onto a narrow road behind a woman, obviously elderly. Her shoulders sloped, and head leaned over the steering wheel. She drove the center yellow line as if she were failing a sobriety test. In slow motion.

When I reacted, my youngster responded, “Oh Mom, maybe she just has old-timer’s disease.

I don’t recall how I got around her, or when she turned onto another road. My son’s innocence, however, stays with me.

His simplicity didn’t nullify the lady as a roadway threat. It did help me get through the moment.

Years later, my middle granddaughter was in the car when a driver cut me off with half a foot to spare.

I gasped, but my granddaughter saved the moment again.

“Grandma, is that what’s called a jackass?”

“Bad driver,” I answered.

Unfortunately, not every accident is an almost. Signs above the highway note the statistics. They can’t relate experience. Pain. Loss. Fear.

Today I drive in the rain. Someone, male or female—it doesn’t matter—passes me on the left over the center line, misses an oncoming car by about a foot, and then repeats the favor with the next car.

Peace, I think. Not in pieces. Someday. Somehow.

 

 

circles of seasons (2)_LI

You pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll be left with nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering. (Meredith Willson)

As I run toward the building my coat and the front of my pants soak with a waterfall-downpour.

“I’d wait if I were you,” a man calls from the curb.

However, my appointment is in five minutes. Enough time to sign in, not delay until Mother Nature’s mood settles.

“I swam in,” I tell staff at the Little Clinic. They took care of the preliminaries for me. I’ve been a regular customer for the past few days. One more to go.

“You are a beautiful person,” the nurse practitioner says as I slide down from my seat on the examination table, after receiving one more subcutaneous belly injection.

“So are you,” I answer.

This woman is a sunshine soul. A gift. She shares a positive attitude, an awareness that every individual has something to give. The tone for my day has been set.

I know. A needle in the abdomen? Not as uncomfortable as most folk would expect it to be—when the injector knows what she is doing. Moreover, I’ve been surrounded by so many examples of larger perspective, I can’t complain.

People I know face cancers with little hope of recovery. Friends deal with dementia, children into drugs, rejection from family. Even in these places I find amazing faith and hope in their stories. Prayer is good; presence and support are better.

Perhaps the moment can transcend the season.

The gentleman who suggested that I wait is no longer outside the building. I’m sure he meant to help. However, sometimes I need to head directly into a storm. With a friend or two and a good raincoat.

 

Reading between the lines

 

One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter—who was a child at the time—asked me, “Daddy, why are you writing so fast?” And I replied, “Because I want to see how the story turns out!” (Louis L’Amour, novelist)

My grandson and I were riding in the backseat of the car as my husband drove to kindergarten.

As we talked, Dakota picked up my second book in the Star League Chronicles. “What is your picture doing on the back?”

“Uh, I wrote the book.”

“Really?” he said. “It must have taken you at least a half-hour to write.”

“At least,” I responded. “Two years.”

My little buddy was amazed by my slow progress. I didn’t take umbrage. When my middle granddaughter saw my first book, The Curse Under the Freckles, she wanted to know where the pictures were. Grandparents, by my grandchildren’s measure, were invented as playmates, not boring adults who put together words on paper. And take years to write a single story.

Dakota and I enjoy becoming pretend pilots where the newbie Grandma-pilot does practice flights with a hundred passengers aboard. He decides how much gas a plane needs to fly cross-country. Five-dollars’ worth. Or we invent a game played in the gym with a mini football instead of a basketball.

In both plot and play, reality is suspended. Grandson and I open jet windows to shoo birds while Dakota snacks on cheese dipped in hot sauce. Literary subjects never come up.

Of course, the best fictional stories appear real as they unfold. Each life’s story has a beginning, middle, and end, often unplanned.

Sure, I wonder how my life will turn out. Change can happen in the last scene. However, savoring each day seems more satisfying than typing at deadline speed. Life’s end will come soon enough. In the meantime, I have a lot of seeds soaked in love to plant.

 

 

candleDo not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. (L. R. Knost)

My granddaughter and I play Doc McStuffins. I wear a plastic bandage across my hand for three days over my make-believe injury. The plastic remains tight with my Ella’s protection, however imaginary.

Snow, rain, sun, and storm appear within twenty-four hours, atmospheric battles. I have a coat to protect my body and a voice to promote climate change. Limited resources, but nevertheless tools.

I have a friend named Ann. She is blind, but she is more than her blindness. I wrote about her. The story appears in Piker Press this week. Next week the article will go to the magazine’s archives. Saved, not gone.

All things end or break. Moments for play. Day, artificial light, and darkness.

Sometimes a plastic bandage becomes a three-day reminder of a little girl’s presence.

A spark, a light, and a beginning.

 

alienI believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out. (Arthur Hays Sulzberger)

When rain turns ground into mud, and mud spreads through everyday life, maybe I need a cleansing breath or two before getting out the spiritual mop.

A good imagination helps.

A creature like one of my grandchildren’s toys becomes an alien—the outer space variety. He has a name, but it isn’t pronounceable with a human tongue. I call him A-Z, because it is as close as earth interpretation can get. He lands close to a town and enters in the darkest hour of night.

A-Z sees only one person on the sidewalk. The alien’s intuition is strong enough to catch not only the individual’s language, but feelings. This character could be fictional—or it could be me. The alien sends messages of love. Does the earth resident receive them or see only differences?

Oh, I have ideas about how the person on the street could respond with fear and begin an intergalactic war. I also imagine a blind woman who isn’t limited by visual first impressions.

I believe in an open mind. But, exposed to the elements of reality, it gets muddy now and then. Time to return to real life…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. (Patrick Young)

Icebergs in polar regions and desert heat rarely make weather channel news. In the part of the world where I roam, weather news has the reliability of gossip. Maybe the broadcast will fit. Maybe not.

In the meantime, life continues at the same continuous pace.

Right now, I am my own pain in the neck. More accurately, I have cervical damage, caused by carrying the same head for years. The weather irritates, but it didn’t create the problem.

Nature’s plan? Unpredictable. Like the flight of a lightning bug. The destination of a running toddler. The future of a random seed.

I have a book signing on Saturday from 1-4 PM. Several inches of snow could get in the way. If the forecast takes a just-kidding route, anyone who doesn’t need to be beamed up Star-Wars style is invited.

Nor’easters, hurricanes, and tornadoes are bullies without negative intention. I suspect casting blame is counterproductive. Action matters.

The tree in my backyard carries snow—on the second day of spring. Photo Booth’s Thermal Camera turns the snow blue, as if it were a lake. The pic doesn’t represent warmth or cold, however. The app on my iPad provides more game than fact. Something like predicting changeable weather.

We are all pawns in that realm. How I decide to deal with the challenge is another matter. Okay, I admit it. I’m still working on it. Ouch!