Birthday gifts

IMG_3760A pretty but too early snow falls in my birthday week. Global warming, they say? Well, the snow is falling on autumn leaves that are still attached to trees. Trees used to always be bare by my birthday. In recent years they hang on at least two weeks longer than before. So what does it mean when fall comes later and snow comes earlier?

The key is that it is unusual. Nothing is normal. Or, the new “normal” is change and disruption. Unpredictability is an ambiguous gift for my birthday. Continue reading

Perennial

Perennials-that-love-shadeElder, senior, aging, older, old. I want to be honest about where I am in life. I am, unapologetically, 73 years old. But I don’t really identify with any of these words.

“Elder” implies entitlement to authority and status that I may or may not have. “Senior” is a euphemism for “old” and I don’t go for euphemisms. I’m certainly “aging”–but isn’t everybody? And “old” is how I feel sometimes but I’ve tried calling myself old and it makes me–and others–uncomfortable.

Language matters, as Laura Carstensen writes in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, “In Search of a Word that Won’t Offend ‘Old’ People.” Continue reading

Extravagant beauty

With full awareness of all that is ugly in the world, I am obsessing about beauty. I don’t believe these thoughts represent escapism so much as astonishment. A lesson that has unfolded for me over the past year is that nothing in this world is to be taken for granted. And so I’m trying to keep my eyes and my heart open and when I do this the beauty of life nearly overwhelms me, as does the impulse to experience, create, and extend this beauty, which represents Love. Continue reading

Mobility

IMG_0521 (1)After my post about knee pain I got lots of sympathy and encouragement about eventually replacing these achy knees. Everybody knows somebody who has been through the serious surgical ordeal and most have come through it well. But I got a somewhat different story from an orthopedist. Continue reading

Look down! An eclipse!

This eclipse caught me unprepared.

I do not have eclipse glasses and didn’t think about buying them until it was probably too late.

I made no effort to get in the path of the total eclipse and didn’t think about doing that until I read (reread, it’s old) Annie Dillard’s marvelous essay on a total eclipse (different from a partial like the difference between kissing a man and marrying him, hmmm.)

And then I really wanted to experience a total. But that was about last Thursday. Continue reading

Mushrooms and kindness

IMG_3613It is morel season in Southwest Michigan. We have sometimes found these delicacies in our five acres of woods but not for the past several years, even in the spots where they had appeared before. You never know where they’re going to pop up. I found two big ones by the side of the road the other day when I was picking up trash. I washed them thoroughly and sautéed them in butter with asparagus. Yum. But we haven’t been persistent about combing every inch of our own woods for morels. Continue reading

Holding patterns

I am so much less interested in writing these days. I squeezed out another blog post last weekend because I  felt like I should keep trying to connect with my readers. But it was a struggle and I think I invented some “wisdom” in the process rather than trying to report something as accurately as I could, which is what the blog has been best for. Continue reading

Downed daffodils

IMG_3510 (1)It’s been a long blooming season for my daffodils but a tough one. They’ve survived at least three snowfalls in the last week plus wind and rain. After each battering I go out and rescue the ones that are absolutely facedown in the snow or dirt, put them in vases, and enjoy them inside by the woodstove–that is, if I get around to building a fire. Continue reading

Wisdom of the stones

IMG_2973I reported a dream image yesterday to my friend Nina, who had been with me at Wisdom School. I did not understand the image at all.

I had a collection of small stones like the ones we have gathered from the beaches of the Great Lakes. I was supposed to eat them.

Nina immediately made the link to Logion 77 of the Gospel of Thomas, which was a main text for the Wisdom School: Continue reading