The St. Croix River in northern Maine divides the United States and Canada. The International Avenue Bridge connects the two countries. On August 9th, we sat in our car on that bridge for nearly five hours – along with hundreds and hundreds of others. Like us, they had been waiting a long time for the border to re-open.
My husband and I share our lap-swimming time slot at our neighborhood Y with a water aerobics class. A few lanes on one side are roped-off for swimming laps, and the rest of the pool is used by the aerobics class. It is usually a relatively quiet bunch of folks dutifully responding to whatever moves the instructor is making. One day while were swimming, music suddenly started playing and it began to get rather lively. Pausing to look around, I saw smiles everywhere as everyone was moving and bobbing to the music.
I had the oddest experience one day. I’d popped into a grocery store to pick up a few items. On my list were cheese, milk, and a dozen eggs. Inside the store, I immediately headed over to the ‘dairy products’ section hoping to get my groceries and move on with my day as quickly as possible.
Steering the cart around the aisle to the side of the store where the dairy products were displayed, I suddenly stopped short. Instead of cheese and milk, the cold cases contained lunch meat, hot dogs, and a variety of deli items. What happened? Was I thinking of a different store? It had only been a short time since I had been there and remembered…well…I thought I’d remembered buying cheese from that very spot.
Would the verb, ‘busy’ describe your day? Somehow, despite all the restrictions imposed on us since the virus changed our world, it seems we still can find ourselves amazingly busy. Too busy, in fact, to attempt to squeeze in a bit of self-care. Thankfully, there is a free, relatively easy activity we can do that can help you feel better and does not involve a large chunk of time: Stretching.
When our oldest granddaughter was around two years old, her favorites things were strawberries, swinging, and ‘dance-dance-2’. The dance program was a video game that included a dance pad. The idea was to watch the TV screen and place your feet where the animated characters placed theirs. Some friends of mine and I discovered it when volunteering at our church’s youth group. Watching the kids play the game, we saw how much fun it was, and what a great form of exercise it offered.
As I sit down to write, I look out the window and notice how gray the day seems to be. The skies are gray and a bit misty as the rain drizzles down. The birds are not active – most of them have taken shelter in trees. I can spot the red feathers of cardinals peeking out under leaves – decorating the large beach tree in our back yard. Today’s weather mirrors the topic I am planning to write about. Grief.
I recently read an article about the seriousness of dehydration. It can have severe effects – especially in older folks. Among other things, it cautions that dehydration can cause symptoms that resemble dementia. Unfortunately, it is not always obvious when someone is suffering from a lack of fluids.
You reach into your mailbox and pull out the mail and begin to absentmindedly flip through the bills and junk mail. But then you spot it. A colorful envelope, familiar handwriting. Checking the return address, you carefully open it up and begin to read. All thoughts of bills and junk mail float away as you savor the words.
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.