May 29, 2020

Gardening with Mr. Robin

We had an incredibly hot stretch of weather for May in Wisconsin. I spent the day outside, gardening in the shade. The heat was way too intense to work in the sunshine. Luckily, my shady garden bed needed lots of work, and that included lots of watering. Our cold well water felt wonderful on my bare feet and arms, and kept the ground around me cool while the sun shone down outside of my shady zone.

When I came around the corner of the house, I found a robin sitting under my little patio table. He sat there in the shade of the umbrella and looked at me. So I began to speak to him, and I got his full attention. Then I started to sing to him. I tried to make myself sound somewhat bird-like, with repetitions of high scales like vocal warm ups. When I hit the highest note, he stretched his neck, lifting his head up higher off of his shoulders, all the while looking right at me. I don’t know if that was good or bad in bird body language, but I definitely had his attention.

Earlier that day, I had potted up some plants and watered them by the patio table. Mr. Robin must have found that spot in the shade of the umbrella to be nice and cool on such a hot day. We visited for a while, and I enjoyed our interaction, but I decided I needed to continue with my work. I kept an eye on the little guy, who hung around in the damp garden areas where I had recently worked. As I planted my way around the bed, I watered, probably more than I needed to, as the cold water felt so good as I shared in the spray. At one point, I gave my little buddy a shower, too! I let him feel the very edge of the hose spray, where it is the softest, and he enjoyed a cold little shower on a very hot day!

After a while, my little friend hopped on over and hung out under the shade of my magnolia tree while I worked. He didn’t seem afraid, and I continued to talk with him. I worked for some time, taking many breaks due to the heat – one advantage of landscaping for myself instead of for employment! Mr. Robin was always nearby, within 8 to 10 feet of me, watching me work and catching any tiny insects that crawled out of the newly wetted soil.

Lunchtime came, and I went inside, leaving the heat of the day for respite in the air conditioning. After a couple of hours, I returned to my work, and to my surprise, Mr. Robin was still hanging around!

I worked for another few hours, and my little feathered friend stuck around. I could walk near him, within 6 feet or so, on my way to another part of the yard, and he never hopped away or showed any fear. He never tried to fly away, and I began to wonder if he was all right. During one of my breaks, I researched robins on my phone and found out that the brighter colored birds are the males. That’s why I call him Mr. Robin!

At one point, I saw he had gotten a big worm from the dry ground by the maple tree. He held it up for me to see, and he seemed quite proud. I thought perhaps once he ingested it, he would probably he heading back to the nest to share with his babies. But still he hung around the lilac bush, happily hopping about in the shade.

After another in-house break, I ventured out with my kitty on her harness to let her play for a while. I immediately saw that the robin was still over by the lilac bush, and quickly picked up Bella and put her back inside.

Sometime during the evening, Mr. Robin flew home. I let Bella out to play, and thought about the story that I would get to tell of a unique day where two species coexisted for an afternoon. Our acquaintance lasted about 6 hours, and it seemed unbelievable at the time, and seems so now in the telling. But it happened, and I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the shade in Mr. Robin.

At the end of a long day, or anytime, really... this is a favorite place of mine to relax. 

Beauty is there for us to find when we search for it. And within the beauty of Nature, there is hope to find. 

April 12, 2020

New Life - Waiting for Renewal

I shared my own resurrection story on my blog some time ago. In reflecting on that time during this waiting, this three days of waiting for Jesus to rise from the tomb, I think I would like to add some thoughts to my story, a few years later.

I have known many friends, sadly, who have lost someone very close to them; a spouse, a child, a brother. For them there is no resurrection here on earth, and we are left with a sense of loss. In my belief, they are truly in a better place, if better means no suffering and no pain.

But there is such beauty to behold on this earth that I don’t want to leave yet! Sometimes it may seem as though you really have to search for it, but you will always find beauty if you look around you.

As warmth very slowly returns to the earth here in the upper Midwest, new life begins to emerge. We are rewarded for those late Autumn bulb plantings with a bright show of color amongst newly sprouted foliage.

I step outside barefoot, far before many people probably would, to begin to feel the earth’s energy through the souls of my feet as the ice melts away and the ground begins to soften. I close my eyes to the warmth of the sun on my face, and hear the birds singing their Springtime songs, after too many months of silence.

We had one day with 70˚ temps, and that was enough for my lilac bush to begin to break open its buds and for my magnolia flowers to begin to burst forth from their fuzzy wintering cover. I love to let the petals touch my face, feeling their smoothness. Soon they will unfurl into surprisingly durable multi-petaled flowers that somehow endure surprisingly strong Spring storms. 

About the same time, the Red Maple begins to put on its own show. I never quite realized the patriotic theme of it, but we do have red, white and blue, with this bright, blue sky overhead.

We wait for the renewal. We know life will return. 

And with the same certainly I know we will return to some place that is very different from the beauty of this earth. Surely there is beauty beyond compare in Heaven, or whatever is your belief after we pass from this earth. There is such complexity to our spiritual being; it would be hard to imagine that this earthly existence is all there is. I do believe our spirit continues. Into what realm, I do not know for certain. For now, all we have is our time here on the earth. We need to spend it for all it's worth. 

So live. Learn. Grow. Breathe in the air. Celebrate this one life that we have. Celebrate the life well lived. Know that from wherever our loved ones are, somehow we are still connected. Just as we are all connected on this earth, in ways we don’t even understand. But we know this to be true. In these times, no one can deny that.

Blessed Easter Day to all who celebrate the birth of our Risen Christ. Pray for peace and for new life to come to us all once we break through this wall of oppression and into a new world, where awareness replaces fear, and being conscientious and mindful sets a standard for social interaction.

Be well, my friends. Take care and God Bless.

April 10, 2020

The Reality of Working from Home

Like many of you, it came upon me to assimilate into current culture and begin working from home. My new space was freshly cleaned and shiny, inviting hours of productivity.

On Monday morning, it was time to get to work! My new commute consisted of climbing the stairs carefully so as not to spill my coffee. I logged in and got settled in. Then, realizing I had a video conference call coming up, I ran downstairs and threw on my gray cardigan sweater and a scarf to match my top. I wanted to look presentable!

Navigating technology all day long was interesting as I accessed files from my desktop computer 12 miles away and Zoom’d with a co-worker from a whole state away. A real growth opportunity, to be sure!

My home office circa 201
when I was self-employed
The second day, expecting smooth sailing was my sinking ship. Navigating technology became challenging when programs refused to work together. I’ve never spent so much time trying to solve something that should have been a non-issue. Can anyone relate?

By the third day, I hadn’t even changed out of my jammies yet when 8:00 rolled around. At least I had time to throw on some clothes and pull my hair into a ponytail, because, you guessed it – video conferencing again. My boss kept asking why my video wasn’t on yet. I just kept saying because I haven’t turned it on yet! Finally, I turned on the video and hoped I didn’t look as bad as I thought I might. I did.

I had a free week prior to beginning my new schedule, and after a week away from work, I thought going back would feel less free. But today, after it’s all done, I feel incredibly free – delivered – IT’S THE WEEKEND! And we are celebrating hubby’s birthday, with family near and far, utilizing -- you got it – technology, to bring us all together in one room!

I think we need to keep finding the humor and the blessings in each day. That’s what I’m trying to do. Day by day. Try to get out into the sunshine when it shines. Celebrate life returning to the earth. Enjoy slowing down, just for a little while. Too soon we'll all be running around like crazy again. 

Wishing you peace and the best of health, my friends.