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Springs
No matter how broken
Winter leaves me
I find that
Like a bough
Thought killed by the chill,
I recover
Under the warmth
Of the spring sun.

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Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Quote of the day: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson

Daily gratitudes:
Working to make things work
That my bout of illness has passed
Faith
Harris Tweed
MKL

This year, we have icicles on apple blossoms. I feel like that myself sometimes – a bloom encased in frost. I have been poked and prodded and scoped and smushed this week, all for the routine testing to ensure that I am not following in my Mother’s cancer-prone footsteps. And all appears to be well. Just one more test result to go. It is nice to be emerging from this long winter, and I feel changes coming. I am trying to get a grip on whether I want some things to change, and am making steps in some new directions as a writer. I am looking forward to consolidating houses with MKL, although that is an amazingly daunting process. And so looking forward to my sweet cousin coming to visit next month. The house will never have been cleaner. I’m actually enjoying spring cleaning, and have dug a garden bed. There’s a little azalea plant, and some johnny jump-ups, daisies, and globe basil in the sunroom. And my poinsettia seems to have survived repotting – it’s over eight years old now. My boss gave it to me when my Mother died, just before Christmas in 2005.

This seems to be all random stream of consciousness, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s the snowmelt of my mind.

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Louisville, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” — William Shakespeare

Daily gratitudes:
Cute babies
My bed
Ginger ale
Surprise flame roses from MKL
Opportunities

 

I have been very quiet. All work and very little play makes Seasweetie a dull girl. On the bright side, spring seems to be coming to Colorado – finally – though I expect winter will still give a last gasp and then we’ll plunge straight into summer. I dug in the dirt today – not a lot, but it’s a start to making the yard of the Bungalow what I’ve envisioned. MKL will be moving in at some point this year (after a lot of work getting his house ready to rent) and I am, for the first time in a long time, looking forward to setting down some roots – with him. I bought the Bungalow at a time when I was on autopilot, so terribly broken, and going through the motions of blindly rebuilding a life. That was almost exactly three years ago. I am happy with how far I’ve come from that sad, dark time – back into the sunlight, and both literally and metaphorically planting a bright new garden of beauty, and growing lots of love.

Plumeria

Great Exuma, Bahamas.

Quote of the Day:  “Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.”  — L.M. Montgomery

Daily gratitudes:
Looking forward
Burning wicked words
The smell of spring earth
The call of a hawk
Leisurely mornings with MKL

It has happened – finally.

That one day in Spring when, all of a sudden, it’s as if you have opened eyes that have been closed for six months.  You look up and suddenly you see that the willow trees have sparked into green.  That there is grass – actual green grass – where before there was just a brown memory of grass.  I almost wrecked the truck the other day because I caught a glimpse of white bud blossoms on a passing tree and tried to crank my head 180-degrees for a better look.

At the Bungalow, things are growing.  I have no idea what they are, and won’t until they are in full-bloom; I suspect the bush by the back door is a lilac, which would make me terribly happy, but honestly, I won’t care what it is.  I do know that there are tulips by the front fence.  In the Fall, I will plant some fragrant daffodils, like those coming up at Ex-Pat’s house, by my doorstep.

It hasn’t seemed like we’ve had enough moisture to make things green.  Unlike my friends in Chicago and Boston, we’ve had a fairly easy winter, weather-wise.  Emotion-wise, it’s a different story, at least for me.  I backslide emotionally – as I did last night – and so I hope the inspiration of spring, which does not backslide but continues to grow gracefully into itself and the next season and the one after that, will serve me well this year.  I need it.

Time to go pick up Kelsea, paint and the surprise.  Have a lovely day.

When did little old ladies transform?

When I was growing up, we lived on a street chock full of little old ladies.  Mrs. West, Mrs. Casey, Mrs. Someone Else Across The Street In The Brick House, I think there was a Mrs. Moore in there somewhere.  And they all looked the same.  Kind of like Stepford Little Old Ladies.  I remember them all looking like Mrs. See of See’s Candies. 

I know that Mrs. Casey wore a shawl exactly like that.

They usually wore flowered dresses, sweaters, beige stockings, and sensible shoes.  Their hair was always done.

All the little old ladies were widows who lived alone.  The little old ladies who lived at the King’s Daughter’s Inn looked just like them, but I must assume that they were little old spinster ladies who only lived at a little old ladies home because they hadn’t had a husband to die and leave them a house.

Their houses were always quiet, clean, dark and funny-smelling.  Whenever we went over for a brief visit, the houses felt like no one lived in them.  To a child, it was creepy.

So that was my perception of little old ladies growing up. 

Nowadays, the little old lady seems different.  I see them at the gym.  They are generally out of shape, but they ARE at the gym – they’re in their swimsuits, doing water aerobics, or in their track suits, walking with each other.

Years ago, when I was a student at the Boulder School of Massage Therapy, I had an instructor whose name now escapes me, but what I do remember about her is that she was about 63 and she was in phenomenal shape.  She was strong, healthy, slender, toned – she was an inspiration to us 20-somethings who weren’t looking forward to aging.

When did this energizing transformation take place?  When did little old ladies stop being little old ladies and become older women (sometimes with all the Mrs. Robinson trimmings?)  Their flowered dresses have been replaced by hiking shorts.  The dowager’s humps are battled with weight-bearing exercises and calcium.  In short, they don’t just wait to die when they are widowed or retire. 

I suspect this must have happened in the Feminist Era, but it was far less remarked upon than the bra-burning, free-love transformations that young women experienced.  Instead, it was more of a quiet revolution.   I wonder what it was that made them make that shift – was there one thing that inspired them? 

In many other cultures, and even in certain circumstances in the United States, older women never become little old ladies.  My old neighbor has run her own small ranch for almost 40 years.  No one could describe her as a little old lady.  This picture isn’t her (it’s a Himalayan woman), but the lines on her face remind me of her.

And then there are those women who were aged, yet ageless icons of their professions.

 Martha Graham

 Jane Goodall

 Georgia O’Keefe

 Cicely Tyson

 Dame Helen Mirren 
 (oh, to look like that
 in a bikini on my next
  trip)

Perhaps these women are the exception rather than the rule, and their fortunate circumstances helped (or have helped) them retain their spirit, their beauty, their luminosity, their lives. 

But regardless if they are the exception or the rule, they can serve as an inspiration for those of us who find ourselves “of a certain age”, working to rejuvenate our bodies, our souls, our dreams and our lives.

I’ve been living alone (with the exception of having Kelsea part-time) for almost 20 months now – wow.  Over a year and a half.  It certainly doesn’t feel like it – it feels like much less time.  I lived “alone” off and on before I met Pat, but that was a loooong time ago. He and I moved in together when I was barely 22. That was before I knew as much about myself as I now do.  And so, over the last few days, I’ve been doing some self-reflecting, and realize that I have learned a few new things:

I need to live with a dishwasher.  Yes, a fully automatic, quiet-whooshing, dish-cleaning godlike machine.  I suck at doing dishes, plain and simple.  I don’t have the patience.  I’ve tried the whole zen thing, of doing nothing but washing the dish, but it doesn’t work for me.  I have a tendency to adopt the Berea College Dining Hall motto from my Mother’s time there:  “If you don’t scrape it off, wash it off.  If you don’t wash it off, dry it off.  If you don’t dry it off, eat it off at the next meal.”  Bad, bad, bad dog.

I don’t like dust, dirt and pet hair.  It’s true I don’t like cleaning, but I like having the house clean.  It’s a small house, and not hard to clean, but I still don’t do it often enough – really, just when I have company coming over.  And it’s easier for me to bring myself to clean when I am not trying to convince someone else to clean with me – or find myself cleaning when someone else is just sitting around.

I have too many clothes.  I never considered myself a clothes horse, compared to most women, but with very limited dresser space (and NO closet space), I am coming to realize that I have too many clothes; the good thing is that I’m also finding that it’s easier to get rid of things these days.  And I find that liberating.

I get lonely.  This is new for me.  I always used to greedily relish my time alone.  Now that I have more of it, and I don’t have to be so desperate about it, I sometimes, especially late at night, get lonesome – and a little scared.

Having a TV is not the best thing for me.  When I’m home alone, it’s usually on, mostly for the faux company.  That habit keeps me from achieving a certain peace that I feel is at hand.

I don’t like cooking for one person.  I do like cooking for someone else.

I am capable of discipline.  I’ve always known this, but these days, with no day job to go to, I have to enforce discipline on myself. I didn’t say I was good at it yet, but it’s nice to realize that I’m capable of it without a set schedule.

I actually like living with the right people.

I love bright colors in my house.

I don’t really like going to bed early.

I like coming home to a quiet house.

(Even though I don’t love pet hair) I like living with animals – I miss that. It’s good to have a visiting pug.

I enjoy the sense of freedom and calm that living alone brings – kind of a secret smile, a subtle happiness.

I like sitting on the floor.

I am coming to love myself more and more.

Today’s guest poet is me.

A Small Requiem For A Sailor

A year passes,
Then two,
Remarked by some,
Unremarkable to you.

Your grey-blue eyes
Reflecting colors of a storm
Glowing once for years,
No longer warm.

The piece of world
Called you
Sailed off two years ago
Into some far blue

Leaving behind
Storms that raged and wept
While, within the whisper of your sail,
Your soul slept.

A sleep so peaceful
And profoundly deep
That I who loved you can but smile
To know you sleep.

It’s not as if cows hibernate.  But today is a day for a short cow write.  (Not a write about short cows, but a short write about cows.) 

Why?  A few reasons.

Today is the anniversary of the first and only cow being milked in flight.  Yes, 80 years ago today, Elm Farm Ollie, aka Nellie Jay aka Sky Queen, a docile half-ton Guernsey from Sunnymede Farms in Bismarck, Missouri, boarded a Ford Tri-Motor Airplane for the 72 mile flight to the International Air Festival in St. Louis. 

 

Nellie was an exceptionally productive milk cow, and couldn’t wait until she landed, so she produced 24 quarts of milk en route, which was then dropped to the ground in small paper containers attached to mini-parachutes.  Elsworth W. Bunce had the honor of milking the bovine aviatrix.  It is rumored that some of the milk was served to Charles Lindbergh at the festival. 

The anniversary of this historic event is celebrated annually in the small Wisconsin town of Mount Horeb at their Mustard Museum.  Nellie Jay also has had an opera written about her exploits, called Madam Butterfat.

So, that’s one reason.

BUT….

The second reason is even more important to me!  And it is this….

Calving season has begun!!!

Yes, perhaps it’s a little early, and no, I don’t own a cow, or a calf for that matter.  (Though I always said that if I ever had another baby (not going to happen) that I’d like for it to be born during calving season.)

When driving Highway 36 into Boulder, you pass by some open space that is still reserved for ranching.  Every winter, the farmers who graze their cattle in these wide, expansive fields move the herds elsewhere.  In the spring, when it’s calving time, they move them back, a few cows at a time.

Yesterday, I discovered that the first prodigal cows have returned, and with them are their itty-bitty calves.  They look like little spots on the grey-green grass, but soon there will be dozens of them, romping, kicking up their little calf heels and dozing in the bovine nurseries.  And THAT’S how you know that spring is really coming.

March 2019
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