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A chipmunk feeding on the seeds I leave about for them.

Life springs forth in Spring. It’s irresistible.

I have chosen my home office location well, and have the welcome distractions of birds, squirrels, and chipmunks outside my window. This time of year I am also finding delight in Springtime blossoms.

Daffodil or narcissus?

Pacific Bleeding Heart.

I love the deep purple of the vinca.

Tulips live a short life but give such pleasure during that time. I don’t think there is such a thing as too many tulips.

Friday (yesterday) I worked a typical 10-hour workday (I work a compressed schedule), and the weather was spectacular! It reached 69 degrees here, and for much of the day there was not a cloud in the sky. I work at home most days, including yesterday, and racked my brain all day long for reasons to leave my desk and go outside. I really wanted to develop some kind of mild sickness that prevented me from working, but I couldn’t dredge up a sufficient illness. Sadly, I was well enough to stick it out all day long at my desk with my computer screens.

But I did grab my camera and run around during breaks and capture some of the blossoms in sunlight.

Oregon grape bursting with yellow flowers.

Narcissus along the driveway.

A closer shot of the narcissus.

Research shows me that all of the blossoms I call both narcissus and daffodil are under the category of narcissus. I grew up calling the flowers with a large trumpet daffodil. Those bloomed and passed already. The daffodils on my property are all a deep, sunshine yellow. Now I have new blossoms of white petals with yellow or orange trumpets that are very short. I call these narcissus.

I mentioned recently to fellow blogger Derrick J Knight that the deer ate my camellias over the winter. I included a photo below. Luckily they only ate the leaves off, and left the plant to try and recover. I see small buds of regeneration already, and I have learned the important lesson that some plants need to be covered in the winter. At my place, this includes camellias, azaleas, hydrangeas, honeysuckle, and hellebore. I believe all of them are still alive, but rather decimated. I will be a better steward from now on.

Volunteer grape hyacinths add colour along the path.

Pitiful camellia after the deer ate it this winter.

Peony looks very healthy.

This morning, chilly and wet, the scenes from the same window were still captivating, as I caught hummingbirds and a chipmunk going about their days, much less concerned about the rain than this fair-weather human.

In my last post I commented concern that sugar water would not be enough to provide a balanced diet for hummingbirds. So I looked it up and discovered that sugar water is a supplement to a hummingbird’s diet that includes small insects and spiders. Multiple organizations that profess to have a hummingbird’s best interests in mind assure me that the sugar water is a good thing for them. Just no food coloring.

Sugar-loving hummingbird, returned from her winter playground.

The chipmunk seems unconcerned that I loom at the window with an enormous lens pointed at her.

I did glance out the back window and spot another heron. I have poor eyesight, so I spotted only a great grey blur out in the grass. It is rather exciting to train the camera out there, focus, and see this enormous, elegant bird, on his way to eat some of my fish or frogs from the pond. They move quickly, and I am slow with the manual focus, so… I apologize that the image is blurry.

You may recall that I can never get a great shot of the Great Blue Herons who fish in my pond. This photo proves nothing has changed.

One of the pieces of my character is that a sense of beauty always gets through the static and fog of whatever else is going on. If I am consumed by a particular veteran’s case at work, if I am worried about my Tara making their way through the world  away from home at college, if I can’t make a reassuring plan for how to pay all the bills, if I remember that I am lonely, or that I miss my mother, or that refugees are suffering, or women still do not have their rights protected… no matter how powerful the dark thoughts, beauty pierces the cloud and makes me smile. How grateful I am to be human and to be able to comprehend beauty.

“Why are some people broken by one tragedy, and others can not only withstand many tragedies, but also turn them into opportunities to serve others who suffer?”

This morning I read April’s latest blog entry, and was compelled to respond. April asked the question above. She brought up several questions I have asked myself before, and I used her blog as a chance to put into words the blobs of thought that had glommed around in my noggin for years now.

April’s mother died, and she has been gracious enough to share her grieving process on her Gaia blog, so the rest of us can learn and grow too. My comment on her blog is below:

I agree that we all have the potential to be resilient. I can’t answer your questions, but I do have my own thoughts. I think our responses in life are related to our genetics and to our personal history.

We are inherently self-absorbed. That is a good thing, because deep in our cores, we must be driven by survival if nothing else, and who better to look out for us than ourselves? It’s just that our lives no longer resemble competition among other wild creatures for food and warmth like it used to, so what we are designed to do simply isn’t what we need anymore. We are now in a modern environment in which different skills are called for. Our valuable inherent traits of being selfish have less healthy usefulness a couple million years after we perfected them. Now, what do we do with ourselves?

Like domesticated dogs evolved from wild, running, hunting beasts, but now kept inside someone’s apartment all day long… some of us just can’t live the life we have and stay healthy. Sometimes those dogs go batty and bark themselves silly for 8 hours straight, or sometimes they get depressed. Humans have lots of ways to direct the confused energy.

To actually deal with our natures in a healthy way takes SO much work, as you well know. Not everyone wants to. Not everyone has faith that the work will pay off, and are less motivated to start.

I think a person can be forced to learn a skill like resilience. Say, for example, growing up in a family where kids are not much of a priority. When you get older, and get in a tough spot, you recall that in the past you found a way to take care of yourself even though you were scared and didn’t know how to do it at first. If you rack up a series of successful resilience memories, you will probably incorporate that knowledge into your toolbox. If you just got beaten back down more often than not, you probably will try something else first, before you try resilience.

Well, geez. What the heck do I know? ha ha. In any case, I have the same questions as you, and that’s why I had so much to say about it. It is a gift your mother gave to you: your resilience. She may not have known she was gifting you, but it’s still one of the greatest things you ever got from anyone!

Thank you dear friend, for this chance to clarify a few of my own thoughts for myself using your time and space. I hope that you find yourself surrounded by love and support each time you look up.

One of my many guises

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