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When I was little, my father would say my prayers with me every night. He would start, with “Now I lay me down to sleep…”, that familiar prayer that was a staple of so many childhoods. But he altered the words “If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” I suspect he found it to be an unthinkable thought, and didn’t want us to think it as we went to sleep. Our version was “All through the night, may angels spread protecting wings above my bed.” I still find that prayer a comfort, along with the spontaneous ones I now have as an adult.
Our world needs many prayers these days. Tonight, I am sending special prayers to the people in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. 53,000 people have been evacuated from that city due to an explosive wildfire. The fire has moved into the city. Whole neighborhoods have been destroyed. There is no more gas in the city. People are running out of gas and getting stuck in traffic, or by the side of the road, as flames move ever closer.
May I say, as I listen to radio coverage from Edmonton, and phone interviews with high school seniors, fire chiefs, and other citizens, that everyone sounds so calm and polite and well-spoken and pragmatic that it just makes me want to hug them all. Or go be a Canadian.
We in Colorado, particularly those in the Colorado Springs area, went through a similar disaster a few years ago. I remember watching live coverage on the news, and truly, it looked like my vision of hell. The earth and the people still hold the scars. Here, we pray for enough snowpack to help prevent wildfires, but not so much as to cause floods such as the devastating one we experienced in 2013.
So tonight, and tomorrow, and likely the next day, please join me in saying a prayer for the people of Fort McMurray and the brave firefighters and first responders who risk their lives to help keep others’ lives intact. And if you’re otherwise inclined, a little rain dance wouldn’t hurt.
Iglesia de San Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.
Quote of the day: “The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.” — Lemony Snicket
A beautiful day
How green can fill my eyes
One working lawnmower in the family
The toddler playing in the dancing waters with her golden retriever trying to bite the streams
MKL and I love road trips. We love seeing new places and having mini-adventures. Even just taking a stray dirt side road to see where it goes can be an adventure for us. Our second date was a daylong road trip, kind of a test to see if I really like road trips as much as I claimed, and if we enjoyed each other’s company enough to be in a car together with no other source of entertainment for hours on end. We discovered a mutual love of opera. We ate at a Mexican restaurant that we both liked in Buena Vista. And he sweetly asked if he could put his hand on my knee. (I said yes.) We’ve had countless other road trips both here and in other states and other countries over the last four years, but that first one holds a dear and special place in both of our hearts. It was a sign of wonderful things to come.
Quote of the day: “I realised, of course, that other people used these roads; but that night, it seemed to me these dark byways of the country existed just for the likes of us, while the big glittering motorways with their huge signs and super cafes were for everyone else.” — Kazuo Ishiguro
MKL, my car guy
The healing powers of Mr. Man
Having Kelsea at the bungalow for a few days
As I’ve no doubt mentioned several times, I have a tradition of reading the same book each spring. Since spring has been curiously delayed this year, no doubt having remembered some sudden and unavoidable appointment elsewhere, it has taken me a long time to finish my book this year. We have a week of rain, flood watches, and yes, even some potential snowflakes in the forecast, and I still have not reached the point in the book that makes me cry my eyes out in a sort of cleansing purge. The book is Anne of Green Gables,(go ahead, call me juvenile), originally published by L.M. (Lucy Maude) Montgomery in 1908. My copy is a little yellow paperback that I got some 40 years ago in a bookstore in Northgate Mall, a few blocks from my house. It was between a “This End Up” store and a store that sold fireplace implements and other impracticalities – from which I bought my brother a lovely Spanish sword for Christmas one year. (Thankfully, he never used it on me, though I’m sure he was mightily tempted.)
While I have read the other “Anne books”, this is the one that touches my spirit. The author has a way of weaving magic and beauty out of common images and words, even tweaking them to her own words when actually OED words just don’t suffice. I know I have a tendency to do that too, and that the way Anne sees the world is the way I see it: looking in nature and treasuring moments of beauty that are transitory yet everlasting in memory. L.M. Montgomery seems to capture all the hopes and dreams and sorrows and quiet joys of a young person’s future in her portrayal of Anne, and while I am not a “young person” chronologically, I have those same hopes and dreams and joys and sorrows, some now bittersweet memories and others anticipated with all the optimism of a teenager. And ll the enthusiasm of spring, when it finally throws off its cloak of gray and shows its true colors.
My version of the book is slightly shabby from numerous readings, has no copyright date, and isn’t even visible on Google images, and has a photo of a girl who someone at Tempo Books thought looked like Anne, but I disagree. I have my own vision, painted by L.M. Montgomery’s words, which is far more lovely and moontouched. And I highly recommend it if you need to bring a touch of spring and hope into your life.
Quote of the day:“Dear old world’, she murmured, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” — L.M. Montgomery (of course)
I have been far too busy to write anything but work, but some moment, when I was buried in Proposal Land, spring started to birth. I will have a bit of a break over the weekend and next week, and lots of beauty to share. But for now, please accept my humbling offering in the spirit of the end of winter.
Spring in Colorado makes me smile.
Quote of the day: “The first real day of spring is like the first time a boy holds your hand. A flood of skin-tingling warmth consumes you, and everything shines with a fresh, colorful glow, making you forget that anything as cold and harsh as winter ever existed.” — Richelle E. Goodrich
The blanket Tamara left me
Tequila when it’s needed
Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel
A trip in the offing
And that I am so happy about marrying Michael. When I married the first time, I really wanted to get married, and I was with ex-Pat, so we got married. This time, I want to MARRY MICHAEL. Perhaps it sounds like a fine difference, but it is hugely fine and makes me radiate peaceful delight when I consider it.
The Fiddlehead Ferns of Fate
The passionate young man in overalls
has aged gracefully.
He tends his garden as he tends his children,
lovingly and in such a way
that each progeny,
be it flesh and blood
or root and leaf,
knows that it is treasured.
The wildness of soul is –
For now –
Expressed in a mystical empathy with beautiful beasts
and in decadent desserts.
He has danced in the pouring rain
and judged the quality of absinthe in a dim cafe
and always remembered a single promise.
A man of such heart
the cool and wonderous touch of fate
found in another’s hand to hold
as he passes through
this sun-dappled world.
he finds it
somewhere admist the ferns.
Remember this? Spring? Blooms? Never fear. Soon come.
Quote of the day: “Time is the coin of your life. You spend it. Do not allow others to spend it for you.” — Carl Sandburg
The teasing return of birds
A soft sunrise
The light on the skyscrapers this morning
Iced green tea
Today’s photo of the day is a little different. It’s to send a blessing to the missing Colorado girl, Jessica Ridgeway. A picture of her is also below – please be vigilant for her, as she might be anywhere by now. And please keep this little girl and her family in your prayers, and hope that whoever took her has the courage to set her free.
Santa Fe, New Mexico.
PLEASE! SPREAD THE WORD! SHARE HER PICTURE! POST IT IN ANY PUBLIC PLACE THAT YOU CAN! WE CAN FIND THIS LITTLE GIRL!
Quote of the day: “It is much easier at all times to prevent an evil than to recify mistakes.” — George Washington
How our Colorado community pulls together in times of trouble
My own daughter
Leaving a light on
I choose to remember the days of light.
I choose to remember the sun shining off silver.
I could remember the confusion, horror, fascination, and fear. I could remember the devastation that an empath feels on such a day. And of course, I do remember those things. I remember them viscerally. They are likely contributing to my bout of depression.
But today, I will choose to remember a day, years and years ago, when I emerged from a subway station I had never been in before – one of my rare forays into the New York City subway system – and looked up. It was a bright and beautiful day, full of sun. And I looked up. And up. And up. Yes, I knew I looked just like a tourist, craning my neck, bending half backwards, trying to see the top of those silver pillars playing with the brightness of the day. But I didn’t care. I was amazed and wonderous. And oh-so-touched with joy that I was finally standing at the feet of this sterling place that I had only before seen from the air or a distance. I just stood there, letting people bump around me, with a goofy smile on my face. A goofy smile that carried to my eyes and exuded childlike joy and light itself and that made all the rushing bumpy New Yorkers who had to interrupt their steps soften just a touch and not mind quite so much having to rearrange their hurried pace.
I remember going across the street to the old church, St. Paul’s Chapel. It was closed, but I wandered around the graveyard, as graveyards are favorite places of mine, examining the headstones, and soaking in the peace of the place. I was amused by the incongruity of something so historic in the shadow of something so modern – these crumbling, weather-worn stones side-by-side with the sleek, silver, glassy skyscrapers. I remember how hot the afternoon was, and how I sought shade and shelter in the cemetery. I was not taking many pictures in those days, so the pictures are only captured in my mind’s eye. I wish that were otherwise.
Today, the interior of my body aches and weeps and quietly wails in memory of losses. It is how my spirit works. But I am going to choose to remember the sunshine of that day, and other days, and days to come.
The fires are improving bit by bit, but for those who have lost their homes – 346 in Colorado Springs alone, so far – the pain and loss and immense task of rebuilding is just beginning. I gave them this rainbow to show them that, yes, there is hope.
Quote of the day: ““No single event can awaken within us a stranger whose existence we had never suspected. To live is to be slowly born.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The milkweed seed that floated alongside me on my walk from the bus tonight
That the fires are improving
No, it’s not Texas (are you listening, idiot?). It’s Portland. And it’s another shot in our “C’mon, Spring!!” series.
Quote of the day: “Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment.” — Ellis Peters
Swearing at the gas pump
My orange cover-up
Being able to support my kindred spirits