Category Archives: Celebrate

The Joys of Spring

Readers, it has finally happened—the event I have been looking forward to since the spring equinox, and it ranks right up there with forsythia and the song of the peepers. Drum roll, please: yesterday marked the first time this year that I was able to hang laundry outside on the line. Happy, happy day! From now until October, laundry will be hung on the line rather than inside on racks.

As if that weren’t enough joy for one week…the maple tree is in bloom. These tiny bursts of red are one of my favorite flowers. They complement every bird, no matter the color, that comes into the backyard—the   goldfinches, the cardinals, the chickadees, the nuthatches.

And what a joy to have birds around me as I worked in the garden. I heard the sharp rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker, the twitter of the goldfinches, the caw of a crow, and the haunting call of a loon.

With such music, it seemed as though the big bed in the backyard was cleaned in no time.

Even more joy: The ferns are starting to come up.

And last but not least, Clif sifted compost for me, and this will soon go in the back garden.

Such a lot of joy for one week. Who could ask for anything more?

 

 

Happy Earth Day, Happy Birthday!

Today is a special day for us. Not only is it Earth Day, but it is also our daughter Shannon’s birthday. Happy birthday to a very special person!

My blogging friend Judy noted that Earth Day is forty-nine years old, almost old enough to be a member of AARP.  Too funny! Judy also wrote that even though she gets stung more than she would like, she still leaves all manner of flowering weeds in her lawn to attract bees and other pollinators. Yay, Judy!

My blogging friend Eliza wrote that “every day should be Earth Day where we do our best to take care of our planet.” Hear, hear! And she posted an oh-so-lovely blue bouquet in “a small, cobalt-blue tincture bottle.” What a fitting way to honor our beautiful blue planet.

From the often curmudgeonly but nonetheless excellent website Tree Hugger, here are ten tips to make every day Earth Day.

Today is a gray but mild day in our neighborhood. To honor Earth Day, we are not going anywhere at all. It will be a no-car day—we do our best to have several of these each week. If the weather allows, we will sweep the patio and haul out the small patio table from our cellar. Heck, if the rain hold off we will even have our first patio drink of the season, where we will toast Earth Day and our birthday daughter.

Finally, here is a picture of a small fallen tree on the edge of our yard by the woods. A wonderful example of how nothing is wasted in nature.

Happy Earth Day to all!

Making Sugar Easter Eggs: A Day of Fun, Crafts, and Fellowship

Yesterday was warm and sunny, a finest kind of day to head an hour north to my friend Beth’s house. With two other friends in tow, off we went in my little red Honda Fit—a.k.a. Sparky. Beth had invited us over for a day of food, crafts, and fellowship. A perfect trio.

Courtesy of JoAnne, we started with appetizers and the best chai I have ever tasted. To guild the lily, there was even whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top of the chai.

Then it was on to the craft. Since Easter is coming up, and Spring is supposedly right around the corner, Beth organized a sugar Easter egg craft for us. She made sugar eggs and provided all sorts of little items for us to decorate them.

Because I am always drawn to animals, I chose a dog and a cat to start with.  From there it was off to the icing, flowers, and other fun things.

Here is the finished egg, with a peek-a-boo kitty and a sweet dog on top.

The other eggs are just as sweet.

After making the eggs, we cleaned the dining room table and had lunch: an utterly delicious  chili; a tasty fruit and quinoa salad; and for dessert lemon cookies and bread as well as apple crisp.

What a wonderful afternoon! And yesterday we lucked out with the weather because this is what it looks like today from my office window. Yes, readers, it is snowing. Six inches are predicted. Sigh.

Never mind. My thoughts have turned to our next get together, which will be at my home in June. I’ve planned a Book Buddy Brunch, where we share a book that has moved us in some way and read a short passage from it.

Fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain so that we can eat on the patio.

But if it does rain, we’ll gather around the dining room table, eat, and talk. We’ll have a good time no matter the weather.

 

 

 

Salut April, Salut Earth Month

April is finally here, and with all due respect to T.S. Eliot, it is not the cruelest month. Not by a long shot. In Maine, that honor goes to March, which, thank the weather gods, is behind us for another year.

For many reasons, April is one of my favorite months. The snow melts at a rate that can only be called astonishing. The sun is higher, the days are warmer, and Spring is definitely on its way. In April there is hope that at last Winter has released its bony grip on the land.

Another reason I love April is that our youngest daughter was born on April 22, and that day will always be a sweet day for me. (As will October 29, the birth of my eldest daughter.)

April 22 also happens to be Earth Day. As Earthday.org notes, “Each year, Earth Day—April 22—marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970….The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.”

I came of age during the 1970s, and I was profoundly affected by the environmental movement. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to state that it has made me the person I am. Along with my family and my writing, my concerns and focus as an adult have always been on the environment.

My teenage self—foolish in too many ways—was not wrong to be concerned about the environment. Forty-nine years later, that concern has been upgraded to alarm as the ravages of climate change become more and more obvious.

Earth Day has now been expanded to Earth Month, where all of April is set aside for celebrating our beautiful planet. Some people scoff, proclaiming such things are gimmicky. They note that every day should be Earth Day, and that we shouldn’t need special designations. Maybe so, but we humans have a yen for symbols and stories, and focused in the right direction, this is a good thing.

Earth Day and Earth Month turn our attention to something of vital importance—Earth, our only home. So bring on the stories, the celebrations, the attention. May they bloom into something more.

I’ll end with a picture of the beautiful Kennebec River, nearly free of ice the beginning of April. I’ve told the following story before, but it bears repeating as it is an example of what we humans can do when we put our minds to it.

In the 1960s, when I was a child, the Kennebec River was so dirty that no one even wanted to stick their big toe in it. There were no eagles, no ospreys, no birds of prey. Nobody sat by the Kennebec River to admire the teeming wildlife. Dank and foul smelling, it was a river to be avoided.

Then came the Clean Water Act of 1972, and slowly the river came back to life. No longer a dumping ground for chemicals and other foul things, the river became, well, clean. Eagles have made a comeback. Ospreys hunt for fish. In the spring, sturgeon jump. In Hallowell and other places, people come to this river to watch the sparkling water and the creatures who live in and by it.

So salut April, Earth Day, and Earth Month!