Believing in Magic


The magical innocence of children…it’s the wonder of it that draws me in like a vacuum hose to sawdust.

Recently, my husband and I spent some time in Disney World with my oldest son, daughter-in-law and three of our young grandchildren. Their eldest daughter, at just five years old was up for anything. Riding rollercoasters of tall and fast, lumbering in a log toward splashing white rapids and marveling at roaming wild animals during a jungle safari. She loved the beauty of colored gardens and especially, getting autographs from her favorite Disney characters.

My only grandson who is just about to turn three gripped his grandpa’s hand while eyeing Captain Hook during a boat ride through storyland. Soon he fell down Splash Mountain, opening his mouth wide in joyous laughter. And later, he was thrilled to discover the Wild Animal Park hopping up and down on windy dirt roads in a bumpy jeep. One of his favorite things to do was climb the ropes around Dinosaur Land, and later, dig for “prehistoric” bones hidden in the cool dry sand under a billowy canopy.

The youngest of my grandchildren was carried by her mother in a knapsack of sorts that fitted across her waist and chest. There, Mama’s infant was serene and sublime most of the time. Hardly a peep was ever heard from this little one on any given day. She was exactly where she wanted to be: nestled against Mama.

One of the biggest hits of Disney World was having breakfast while meeting some of my grandchildren’s favorite Disney characters: Goofy, Donald Duck, and Mickie & Minnie Mouse. To see their faces light from deep within, feel their emotions, and hear the bell of their giggles was truly priceless. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them happier in the whole of their lives. It’s a morning I shall never forget for as long as I live.

As we left, my grand-daughter posed a serious question. “Grandma, are the characters REAL or are they people just wearing costumes? “Hmmm,” I thought. “How shall I answer this precious child?” I certainly didn’t want to take the allure out any of the joy we had just witnessed. “Well, sweetie, we are at Disney World where everything is magic. So, yes, here the characters are real.”

*Think like a child again. Put a little magic in your life today!

 

Spring Gifts


So long since I’ve written here……My life has meandered through days and nights, weeks and months. Good and bad. Life and death. Tears of joy and sorrow.

Glorious seasons have nearly passed me by. The sizzling days of last summer slowly f.e.l.l. into an autumn were colored and crispy canopies drifted slowly down from cobalt blue to form crunchy piles of leaves for children to hide or play in. It wasn’t long before powdered sugar doilies sprinkled from puffy gray clouds that hovered above, while grandbabies begged to build lopsided snowmen below.

Finally, we’ve sprung into my favorite brush strokes on earth, where miniature rainbows sprout from the ground beneath feet of bare. Here and there and everywhere. Dart my eyes, cock my head or turn around to catch the beauty of God’s perfect watercolor pictures here and there and everywhere.

Delicate shades leap from tree limbs in powder puffs of pink together with blossom stars of white. The lake of azure near my home breeds new breaths of life. Mallard ducks honk close to shore guarding nests nearby. Birds of several varieties sing in harmony from morning dawn to the glow of moonlight while gathering food for bald babies hidden among the green of pine needles or within the waxiness of safety.

To me, spring is one of the greatest gifts on earth, a season of a budding essence, bringing peace and respite to my soul through the grace of nature.

Many blessings to all on this great Good Friday.

 

Carpe Diem


Although the calendar says, “January,” today’s temperature will top 60 degrees. Yesterday, it was nearly the same with warm winds whispering inspiration through limbs of bare.

Opening a door to the sunroom on the back of my house, scents of mixed seasons seeped through wire screens. Musty leaves floated across blades of wheat colored grass blanketing the ground. In contrast, a lone birch tree of peeling white stood tall and proud among trees bathed in cocoa bark.

Sweet sounds of morning songbirds greeted me as I sat to soak the rare gifts of a winter respite. Suddenly a crow dipped in black ink made his presence known. Caw…caw…caw, he cracked in the silent sky above. I’ve neglected nature’s gift of birds during the last few months. Their songs have been missed by the ear of my soul. Perhaps I was too busy to notice their feathered beauty? My ears and eyes, deaf and blinded by busyness….

Last fall, trees were planted off the patio in the back of my yard. Bradford pear, purple plum, birch and the dark jade of pine. A sweeping willow, long and weeping is waiting until spring. Feeders will dance from boughs and branches. Covered shelters, short and tall will soon house nesting families. 

Before retreating, treats of tweets beckoned me to scan stark limbs. There, a lone robin, his red breast splashing against a sky of gray, sang “Goodbye.”

I shall not miss nature’s beauty in this New Year. Being busy is no longer an excuse. The joy of living here and now is fleeting, with postcard pictures disappearing in seconds.

Seize today for tomorrow is never promised.

 

*photo of robin courtesy of Google Chrome

Costumed Charm


The other day we enjoyed Trick-or-Treating with two of our grandchildren in my favorite Missouri city, St. Charles. It is the third oldest city in the state. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Charles,_Missouri Founded in the mid-1700’s by a French-Canadian fur trader, St. Charles looks much like it did hundreds of years ago. The city has been preserved, making visitors feel like they’re stepping back into time. Quaint shops line the original cobblestone streets with a beautiful backdrop of the great Missouri river behind them. Rich in charm, original gingerbread architecture, and filled with history, St. Charles is the last known stop of the Lewis and Clark expedition way back in 1804. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_and_Clark_Expedition

Monday was such a perfect day for Halloween with temperatures rising into the mid-70’s. Surprisingly warm, it might have felt even hot to some of the costumed creatures covered in hair from head to toe. A few were sweating with chocolates melting. Still, others didn’t mind, so thrilled they were to soak up the sun. Charming shops shared treats with characters, big and small until our own little Super Heroes stopped to say, “I don’t want any more candy.” The kids were tired. Little legs had walked a long way. Grandpa carried our grandson on his shoulders while I pushed a stroller. Buckets were heavy, make-up dripped on the monster’s face next to me while a hot pink wig suddenly fell upon a bale of hay.

Afterward, dinner was enjoyed at my son and daughter-in-law’s house while a menagerie of children rang the bell. Ghosts and goblins came to the door, witches of black dusted off brooms and cheerleaders shook pom-poms before cheering for more. Our grand-kids donned satin capes, sure to save a mission or two before calling it a night.

Not long before the children’s bedtime, we gathered ’round the television to watch the movie, Room on the Broom adapted from the children’s book by Julia Donaldson, published in the spring of 2014. No tricks here, just one giant TREAT to end a terrific afternoon and evening of delight.

Below are links to a reading of the book as well as the movie. Please enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWB0goTWZic

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuIZThG1APA

 

 

Dragonfly in the garden


In this time of death and dying within my family, Mike’s picture portrait of a dragonfly brought tears of joy to my face. Please don’t let her fly away from you.

Mike Powell

I don’t often see dragonflies in a garden, but spotted this female Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) amidst the flowers earlier this week at Green Spring Gardens. There were lots of male Eastern Amberwings buzzing around the small ponds in another location at the gardens in hopeful expectation of finding a mate.

I have the impression that female dragonflies like to hang out in a different area from the males and then make an appearance at a time of their own choosing.

Eastern Amberwing

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A New Year Has Just Begun


I received a darling picture of my oldest granddaughter yesterday. She was all dressed in her 1st day of pre-school finery. Sitting on the stoop of her house, she carried the weight of her most prized possession, a striped hot pink backpack strung over her shoulders. In a sense, a new year has just begun.

My husband called while on the road to say our youngest son had put his beloved home for sale. He and his family of five including my Babies of Two are moving to a new state because of his job. Perhaps their present home has been a stepping stone to where they are meant to be? I’m praying for my son and daughter-in-law to find a new home that they love. A home to raise their babies in for a long, long while. A house that one day, the kids may even begin to skip off to school.

In talking to my father, he told me the doctors found another large lump on the back of his wife’s neck. They had already done another MRI and would be coming back to discuss treatment. She can’t even get out of bed. I spoke to my father, asking him if I could be ‘honest’ with him.

“Yes, of course, always,” he answered.

I went on to tell him of my good friend, and excellent internist who began a terrific Hospice House here in St. Louis in order to focus on palliative care. My father had met my friend in the past and knew he was a good man.

Finally, my father hesitated before speaking. “I’ve been thinking and I don’t want to put her through anything more. I just want to take her home to the house she loves. I want her to look at the desert stars before she falls asleep and for her to see the sun rise above the mountains in the morning.”

With those words, my father cried. Before I even spoke to him, he had already begun to accept the idea of hospice and was preparing himself to let her go… Today he hopes to take her home where they will simply love each other until death they do part. Tomorrow is their four-month wedding anniversary.

There are still two more weeks before I finally move into my own new house. Yes, I know, it has seemed forever…..My goal was to find something close to my son and daughter-in-law who are expecting their third baby around Christmas. At the same time, I wanted to be near nature if possible, have room for an office, and a sleeping area for visiting grand-babies.

Well, my husband and I feel very fortunate as we enter this last stage of our lives. Our new home is only a short distance from family, and although smaller and very different on the inside, it looks very much like the outside of our current house. We plan to use the formal dining room as an office where I’ll soon write from my half-moon desk in a windowed turret just as I’ve done for many years.

Next to our bedroom is a small space that will be used for the grandchildren’s sleeping room. Bunk beds and a white spindled crib will soon be rolled in beneath a breezy fan. The closet is already stacked with shelves to fill toys and puzzles soon to be spilled upon the wooden floor.

On the back of the house is a full length screened porch where painted wicker furniture awaits future family gatherings. A round glass table will be set with plates for summer BBQ or early evening board games. Nearby, a chair teeters back and forth. In the spring, I’ll rock the next bundled baby close to my beating heart.

As mentioned above, my husband and I feel very fortunate. Our new house is in subdivision encompassing a dedicated nature preserve. The view from the back of our house is tall trees where a walking path winds over a small stream and through the thick of overgrown wildflowers. A few minutes to the left are trails surrounding a 15-acre lake stocked with fish for catch and release. No boats are allowed, only wildlife and the stillness of peace.

I’ve missed the whole of summer which feels like the whole of a year. Family issues have been filled with stress, but in the end, life begins anew. God has parted a curtain. The previews have finished with the main feature now in full play. And, although I don’t know the ending, I’m certainly looking forward to living again.

Yes, in a sense a new year has just begun.

Through the Looking Glass


Faces are hidden in a mirror

Far below a peaceful bridge

Masked among nature’s beauty.

 

Fallen through the looking-glass

Eyes serene, soft of green

With voices, that whisper our way.

 

Fingers of leaves brush nearby branches

Grasping hands regardless of color

Hear the wails within the wind?

 

Gaze beneath still waters

Where all of life coexist, do you see?

Why not us? Can’t we try? I wonder why?

 

Look closing to see mirrored images

Cup your ear to hear what they say

Thump…thump….thump…thump…thump…

 

Our hearts appear within the looking-glass

Beating proudly for all mankind

Future reflections of what may be?

 

Lying beneath a peaceful bridge

Eyes serene, soft of green

With voices, that whisper our way.

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