With the holiday season behind us, it is time to consider, ‘what’s next?’ At some point during the gray and frosty days of winter, my thoughts turn to garden planning. It’s not that I haven’t already been giving my gardens any thought, it’s just that there are always so many other topics occupying my time during the holidays that my garden isn’t given as much attention as I would like. But, with the new year beginning to bloom full of hope and promise for a better year, I can focus more on this year’s garden plan.
I’d like you to meet Jerry and Ilse Cauble. I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did.
As a child, Ilse remembered that their family always had an Advent Calendar – which was first used by Germans – to count the days in anticipation of Christmas beginning in early December. She also recalled that the children were not allowed to see the tree until Christmas Eve. The room the tree sat in was closed off while her Mother decorated it festively with balls, handmade ornaments, and candles. Everyone waited excitedly for the moment when the candles were lit and the tree was revealed. The children were also excited about the pending arrival of a beautiful angelic figure with blond hair and wings referred to as ‘Christkind’, (whom they never actually saw) on Christmas Eve. Christkind left them presents such as a small sack of fruit and candy.
Along with the joys of being with family, this season up north offers the splendor of spectacular fall foliage and juicy, crisp apples. I love apples. One of the traditions that my husband has established with our grandsons is to hike a nature trail that has a lot of wild apple trees. They produce smaller apples, but the boys like them well enough. There are numerous deer who roam the area, and the ones they don’t eat, they feed to the deer. It turns out deer also love apples.
I am a collector of stories. It is my experience that some of those who have lived the longest have the most interesting tales to tell – if not simply due to the fact that time brings change. For folks who pursue their passion and fight the good fight on a daily basis. They are the dreamers and inventors – re-inventers of destiny. Their stories shed light on how extraordinary they truly are.
I’d like you to meet Sang and Frances Lee. I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did.
When our son, Ryan was young, his favorite book was “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” by Al Perkins. We read it to him over and over, and over again. It is a fun, rhythmic read.
In fact, it became so embedded into my brain, that anytime the subject of ‘thumb’ is brought up, the line, “Hand, hand, fingers thumb, dum, ditty, dum ditty dum, dum dum,” rolls through my head…and then gets stuck there.
Weaving walking into our daily lives adds benefits beyond simple exercise. One of the marvelous things about walking is that it doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment. If you have comfortable shoes, a hat, and perhaps a walking stick, you’re good to go.
In the world of gardens, I’m a shade plant. I’ve always been that way; the hot summer sun makes me miserable because I don’t handle the heat very well. As true as that was when we lived in the hot and dry climate of northern California, it is especially the case now that we live in the hot and humid climate of the south. Even with all the misery of wilting in the damp heat, that is not the only reason that I’m a shade plant.
“I’m ahead!” announced my sister Peggy as I answered the phone, “I just set two bags of junk out for the garbage man.”
I smiled at the phone, “Game’s on!”
Now that we’ve reached one of the milestones of sheltering in place, I know that some restrictions are beginning to be lifted, others are still under stay-at-home orders. None of this is easy, but I’d like to share some of the strategies we employed in the days that my Mama could not get out and about as much due to dementia.
As I begin packing for another trip to California, (of course, that was before the world shut down due to the Coronavirus), I am reminded that this is becoming all too familiar. Not the trip, but the reason for it. Loss. After a certain age, the expectation that we will experience loss becomes more likely, not that it cannot happen to anyone of any age. My experience has been that loss is becoming a more recognizable part of the landscape along the way. We can’t escape it. It is part of humanity; every person in our life carries the risk of loss. The risk is worth it though – how joyless and lonely would we be if we shunned companionship in order to shield ourselves from the sadness connected to losing someone.