A Shift in Tone

As I sit at my desk, I can hear the summer rustle of the new leaves as a soft wind blows through them. The leaves are nearly full size, and in a month they went from the red fringe of delicate flowers to yellow to a soft green and now to the deeper green of maturity.

Being of a fanciful nature, I usually stop to listen when the leaves rustle. It seems to me that they are talking, and if I listen hard enough, I will understand what they are saying as they tell the story of trees and woods and animals.

There are other stories around the yard in late spring.

Of lilies of the valley,

of dandelions,

of unfurling hosta leaves,

of chives ready to bloom,

of a little kingdom through the metal circle.

But there are other things to think about, too, and nowhere near as pleasant as the beauty of spring. Recently there was yet another brutal murder of a black man in police custody. In response, there have been protests. And riots.  Once more, the lid flies off the pot because the pressure has become unbearable.

2020 seems to be the year that keeps giving. Or taking, depending on your point of view.

Pardon me for the shift in tone, from rustling leaves to the murder of a man.

But there it all is, the sublime and the abominable.

I can’t look away from either.



51 thoughts on “A Shift in Tone”

  1. We look from across the Atlantic with our own problems in sympathy with yours. Summer blooms can put the more pleasant side of life to us.

  2. I have many questions and no answers as we slip back into early 20th century views, and the death toll mounts. Nature continues to walk through the seasons in all their splendor, with little regard for humanity’s problems.

  3. I have a friend who is deep into astrology. Back when all we were thinking about was Covid-19, she said she had seen something like that coming. She said we were entering a very difficult period, and it was going to get worse. Stuck at home listening to news about thousands of Covid deaths and trying to figure how to get groceries safely, I nearly shouted, “How can it possibly get worse?!” Now i know. But I still think good can come of the upheaval. So many more people are concerned about racism now and wanting to do something to make a more equitable country.

  4. Where all of this will end is very up in the air. Personally, I think that there are far too many unenlightened people in the USA for meaningful changes to happen. The unenlightened put Trump in office, after all.

  5. I’ll say this: after the weeks of Covid obsession and the horror of the last week, I only laughed when I read the news that we’re possibly in the crosshairs of a tropical storm or hurricane next weekend or early next week. Under normal circumstances, it would be time to start getting nervous, but all things considered — a hurricane might serve as a diversion. After all, I laid in supplies for the pandemic — all I need to do is pick up some water. Sometimes a shift is good, no matter what form it takes!

  6. We’re all reeling from the latest news. Horrific and unconscionable, I can’t believe this country seems to be going backward instead of forward, and our idiot in the WH is making things worse – argh!
    But yes, those moments in nature give us a break from the daily grind to soothe the soul. I love the rustle of leaves, a wonderful presence. And the sound of running water in our stream is sweet as well.

    1. Well put. Reeling is right. And we sure do need those moments in nature to give us a break. Running water in a stream is one of the best sounds in the world.

  7. Ah! the Sublime & the Abominable – you have captured it so succintly. It is the disparity we have to live with.

    Thank you for the beautiful captures you have shared – it is a balm for our eyes & soul.

  8. Well done. It’s all part of the reality. You did a better job of putting everything in its place than I could have.

  9. I have seen very little of the news from the US but even I know that racism and brutality are on the march again. Since I can’t do anything about any of the big issues in the world I am consoling myself that nature will continue to do its own thing and ignore us and I nurture the people I care about as best I can. I know that you have worked hard to build your resilience – both practical and emotional – and this is what you have done it for. These storms will batter us but they will pass and we will emerge, count our losses and our blessings, and carry on

  10. Lovely to see your Lily of the valley. Hostas are so attractive when they are fresh and coned – you always wonder how they all can possibly fit into the space when they open out. I deplore all violence and find it hard to see police oppressing people but I am not close enough to have confidence that my view is right, or relevant. I find myself reading a lot more to try to understand the issues. It does not make for easy reading, but how much harder it must be to be living with this.

  11. I can barely watch the news anymore between the virus and the current events. The unnecessary death of any individual hits hard especially with these circumstances, and I understand those peacefully expressing their protest. The violent riots and looting bring on very different feelings. I garden every day and try to concentrate on the plants growing and the birds singing otherwise I might be stuck in a much darker place.

  12. I am so glad to have a garden, and a place away from news for a while. As a mother and a grandmother, I’m still hopeful we can have some positive outcomes from this turbulent time.

  13. Laurie, I find the present moment both challenging and rewarding just because it is all here, even as I wish it were not so. Perhaps we humans will find a way to turn the ship.

  14. While all this has been going on in the world and the nation, we have had a series of hail-, wind- and thunderstorms that have stripped about half the leaves and many of the branches (including whole trees uprooted) in our neighborhood. The hail was like the grim reaper. Leaves from trees we don’t even have nearby are in the bottom of our pool! So I’m glad you’re enjoying your unfurling spring! We will be in cleanup mode for a good while, and our country is on fire. What a terrible year 2020 is turning out to be!

    1. Oh, my! So sorry to read about the destruction. Discouraging even during the best of times, which these surely aren’t. Yes, what a year.

  15. You perfectly capture the polarities of the world, Laurie, the beauty and the horror. It was a real jolt to be pulled from those lovely peaceful images to a reminder of what else is happening right now. But we can’t hide our faces from all ugliness. Great writing!

  16. A beautifully written post, Laurie. I am late in commenting but the situation has not improved has it? I am so glad we can escape for a moment to nature and its beauty around us.

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