"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do Trees Weep?

Once there were trees.

Live oaks, mostly.
These trees grew in open areas, their twisting 
branches forming wide canopies,  reaching heavenward.
Praising God, their Creator.
The leaves remained green all year,
changing over each March to fresh ones--
the new leaves pushing off the old.

Through summer weeks of drought and heat, they grew.
Birds and animals sheltered in their outstretched limbs.
Cattle rested in their shade.
As God planned it, they absorbed the carbon dioxide we produced and gave back the oxygen we need for survival .

Then one day, in the name of progress,
large orange X's appeared on their silent, ancient trunks.

The birds paid no mind and continued to bring grasses to the growing nests within the branches, preparing for the day the eggs would nestle in these wee beds.

But there would be no eggs this year-nor any future years.
The abrasive noise of grinding engines disrupted the birds and all lifeforms nearby.  

The trees were torn down.
Not cut, but ripped out of the earth, twisted and broken.

Their roots lay bare.

The sturdy trees that had grown from a small acorn
and thrived for decades, perhaps a century, now lay
toppled and piled into a mass grave on top of the earth.

With frightening speed and efficiency,
this piece of machinery gathered up those grand trees that were now lying twisted and dying on the ground...
and reduced them to mountains of mulch.

And before we could even grieve for the trees,
these many piles of mulch were scooped into trucks
and swiftly hauled away.
To where, I wondered?

I stood for a long while,
camera in my idle hands,
staring in shock at the stark, barren landscape
in front of me.  
Where only utility lines are standing now--
brief days ago-- countless trees softened this landscape.
And this one oak to the left--
it is no longer there, either.

Who knows the years each of these trees had lived in these very places?
How can man's plans demolish so much life in one week?
One week???!!!
I am having a hard time driving down this road now.
I hear the echoes of weeping--
from the birds, the cattle, the small, scurrying animals...
and the trees themselves.
There will be no nests, no eggs, no fledgling birds.
No exchange of gases to help us breathe.
No shade, no greens, no rustle of leaves in the breeze.

Instead, a 2-lane country road becomes a 4-lane highway.
Noxious emissions from increased traffic will fill our lungs.

When is enough ENOUGH?!
When there are no longer trees but a world of asphalt,
will we mourn then?  Will we regret?

Do trees weep when they are being ripped apart?
I weep for them.  
Do you?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Swift Passing of 8 Years

We all know you as Gigi.
Today is your 8th birthday.
I have your heart-shaped cake in the oven and my mind is filled with YOU.

It's a good thing that your baby pictures aren't on this computer
or I'd never been able to choose.  
In this Grandma's eyes you will always be that wide-eyed baby girl
lying, just born, in the nursery.
(Sorry, my girl, but it's true.)

You are the one who introduced me to Grandma-hood.
It's a marvelous place to dwell.
Much like motherhood,
but better.  Much better.

During these 8 fleeting years
you, our Valentine girl, have reminded me of some important things in life:

Birthdays are the BEST days of the year.
(We need not focus on the numbers of the candles,
but rather the sweetness of the frosting.)

A bubble bath can soak away any problems.

Someday you will fit into my hat and jewelry.
I must always be on my best behavior
since I am one of the adults you model.

If we surround ourselves with people who love and support us, we can overcome all our fears.

A little drama goes a long way
and adds color to a dull day.
(And hospital sox can serve as ribbons to decorate a bouquet
and Barbie shoes can tap dance on ceramic tile...)

Baking with a friend makes the cookies even sweeter.

Focusing on the beauty of the Christmas ornaments is far lovelier than fretting about the details of the gift lists or menus.

Our world outdoors is ALWAYS waiting for us 
and is filled with wonders!

Grandfathers are patient teachers and...

seeing a complicated project through will bring exciting and worthwhile results!
In other words, don't give up!

Some of our best lifelong friends love us
without even a word.

Gigi, I have watched you grow.
There have been changes, of course,
but your love of reading remains a constant.
And wearing swim goggles inside is just YOU!!!

You're getting a little 8-year-old spunk
as you discover who you are.
Please, please don't rush out of your childhood.
Each day is so precious.

You are looking at this huge expanse of world
out there.  You are one BIG possibility,
filled with abilities and potential.


Friday, February 8, 2013

SURPRISED!!! (yet again...)

I am such a slow learner.
I still expect late January and early February to be winter.
All my years living in the "North Country" of northeast New York State
left a permanent impression of what to expect weatherwise--
according to northern seasons, that is.
So, when I opened the windows here in Texas on Feb 1,
a warm spring breeze blew in to greet me.
And invite me to wander around the yard a bit,
soaking up the sunshine and mild temperatures .
On this meandering walk, let me share what I saw:

a delicate purple crocus,

and creamy yellow ones,

sunny and bright daffodil crying out "Springtime!",

and the promise of Easter lilies everywhere.

A few bottle brush flowers are blooming.
Little butterflies--yellow, white, blue ones--flitted on the blossoms.
This white one was hardly larger than a postage stamp.
It has a bright orange dot just under its eye.
Lovely.  Nature is so diverse.

Back a month ago (yes, the first week of January), 
a flock of my special friends passed through.
At least 25 bluebirds danced around in our trees,
chirping and flying from branch to branch.
One brave little one sat on the wind chime right outside of our
bedroom window.  I reminded him of the old bird houses we had left in
AuSable Chasm in case he was heading that far north.
I wished him well on his journey and told him to
carry this warmth and sunshine on his tail feathers.

Everywhere I looked--down at my feet, up in the trees, 
and in the shrubs--new life is thriving.
The gentle does who share our backyard have subtle swellings
to their sides and I am thankful that wee, spotted fawns will be joining us
come May or June.

I am aware that, even as I sit here on my porch listening to bird song,
the northeast is in the midst of a huge nor'easter snowstorm.
It IS February, after all and that is a natural occurrence.
In New York, that is.  
As much as I long for those mountains and trees in autumn,
I must admit that a February filled with birds, warm breezes, blossoms
and butterflies is a lovely thing to enjoy.