Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spring is REALLY here!

I've been so sad about the Virginia Tech massacre that I haven't felt like posting anything else and even felt it was a little inappropriate to take anything lightly in the wake of those deaths.

However, Spring has finally really arrived here in Michigan (though not yet in the UP). Today it was 60+, the peonies are coming up, grass is getting green and trees are beginning to leaf out. By 10:00 this morning I was out in the Beetle (she started up right away) and had rescued my first road-crossing turtle for the year!

Which brings me back full-circle to Virginia Tech. I think part of the reason I like gardening so much is that it puts me in synch with the earth's natural rhythms. No matter what horrible experiences we live through or we learn of, the days continue to get longer and warmer, the bug-eating birds return from wherever they go, trees leaf out and the earth (life) goes on, regardless -- just as it has for thousands of years. I find that more comforting than any of the platitudes or cliches that I hear people say. I find it as comforting as scripture because, for me, it's living scripture. It all works together to reassure me that God is sovereign, what seems so long to us is but a moment to Him and that it will, ultimately, all be well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In the midst of life we are in death

They got up this morning and went to class -- the usual mind-dulling routine -- perhaps thinking of the snowy spring, summer jobs, lovers, upcoming projects or just wishing they'd slept in. Not one of them could have known it was their last morning of life.

Every parent shares with the parents of those students the pain too horrible to give voice to. The IM or text message that won't be coming. The waiting, hoping to be one of the blessed families, one of the survivor stories. Every one of us must stop and think of the brevity of life and how fragile we are. In the midst of life we are in death.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Stages of life, culture and stupid questions

I've observed that, just as we all have stages in life related to age, we also have stages in life related to our culture and stages in, what I call for lack of a better tag, stupid questions.

I remember when everyone I knew was getting married, having babies, and buying and decorating houses. Now everyone I know is buying a smaller house or redecorating their original one (because the kids have moved out) and is on a mission to get rid of stuff they spent years acquiring. I remember my parents doing exactly this same thing and, believe me, as creepy as it is to look like one's parents or sound like one's parents, it's equally creepy to do the same things one's parents have done! We all tend to (want to?) feel like we're moving into uncharted territory in our lives, but we're really only acting out the cycle that everyone else has acted out before us. As I play my part in this cycle, I think that, with both of my parents dying in their 60s, mortality is looming in the recesses of my mind. I'm not going to elaborate on that, though, except to say that it ties in to the stages of stupid questions . . . .

I'm amazed at how many times I've been asked lately if I have any grandchildren yet! I don't even have married children (but, apparently, I should) and I don't feel old enough mentally or physically to be a grandmother. I must have, though, developed the definitive wrinkle on my face that causes people to move me from mother-of-college-aged-children to the next level!! Not particularly flattering, to my mind and it just makes me feel old. Just as the questions once were "are you married yet?", "when are you going to have children?" or "when are you going back to work?", now I'm asked about grandchildren. I guess people ask these questions as openers or ice-breakers, but they just seem prying to me. I've never liked to interrogate others about their personal lives -- obviously, this is why I'm not good a small talk (and, also, why I don't want to be). I'm sincerely interested in other people, but I'd rather get to know what they think and feel than the current state of their family.

My youngest son told me recently that I don't update my blog often enough, my posts are too long and that I don't write about interesting things. I think the last point is proved out by today's post -- interesting to me, but probably not to a college sophomore. He is, though, living out both stages. All he needs to do is count the number of times he's asked "what's your major?" or "do you have a girlfriend?"

So, as you read this blog, ask yourself what stage you're in and what stupid questions you've been asked lately.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Catching up

I haven't posted in a long time -- so I'll try to catch up in 60 seconds or less (which seems the be the amount of time someone will look at a page).

Spring is coming to some parts of the world -- but not to Michigan! Here is what our spring looks like:

And here's what spring looks like on other blogs I check daily:

London, England
San Francisco
Brighton, England

We're all so tired of cold and snow!!!! I'm afraid we're going to go from winter straight to summer and skip spring all together. I don't know what that will do to the garden . . . I don't care, though -- I just want the snow to stop!

Further news:
I had my 1,000th view last week. That won't seem like much to those of you who have blogged for years and have blog-iversaries, but I'm pretty excited. Especially since no one knows my blog is here!

Next item:
There was a fascinating piece in the news lately about Joshua Bell (winner of the Avery Fisher Prize) playing his violin for an hour in a Washington DC Metro station. He made $39 ($59 if you count a twenty thrown to him by a woman who recognized him as a world renowned violinist), and only a handful of people bothered to listen. Bell gave the money to the lady who loaned him the violin case to lay out in front of him for donations. I've always loved to stop and listen to buskers for a few minutes (always paying for the privilege) and enjoy the "free" concert. Maybe it goes back to listening to "For Free" by Joni Mitchell. Interestingly, Joshua Bell said he'll look at, listen to and think about buskers differently from now on. Why does our society always equate talent or value with celebrity? You can see the story here in the Washington Post, or listen to him interviewed here on NPR. Here's a review of his new violin CD.

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