This has been an extremely busy summer so far… or so it seems. Perhaps it is just that I have slowed down so much that I don’t ever seem to get caught up. I was reminded a couple times lately that my blog has been neglected and I have noticed that several of the folks I used to keep up with have either quit blogging altogether or post only a couple times a month now rather than almost every day as they did in the past. Perhaps they are slowing down, too. Or perhaps the magic and newness of blogging has worn off. Whatever, the posts are fewer and further between. I do not feel compelled to post about every bloom or bug in the garden or every time I get a tomato on the vine. You will probably never get a post about what I had for dinner and will never see a recipe on my blog. That is just not my thing. If food is mentioned other than what my garden has produced, it is only that I am so grateful to have enough to eat and enough to share… I know I am truly blessed. As a little child my grandmother was always reminding me of the starving children elsewhere in the world who would just love to have what was on my plate (especially if it was ham which I have always steadfastly refused to eat, along with oysters, crabs, and mussels, among other things! I think I was born kosher.) It took a few years before I would know the meaning of true hunger and discovered a cure – get a job in a restaurant!
Over the years I have had folks comment that my blog is impersonal. For those of you who get my Sunday Musings, I make up for it there – but that is not available to the stranger or someone I do not want to share my life with. Perhaps my blog is an escape from my personal life… I keep it mostly free from political discussions or absolute religious statements, tho I dance around those things from time to time. I remember reading in someone’s blog after Obama was elected that, “You cannot be a Christian and vote for Obama!” “He is a baby killer and a Muslim and not even an American!” and things like that. No matter what I think or thought about Obama, I would never put myself out there with such thoughts. No, I don’t share my political anger on the blog. Nor do I condemn anyone else’s religious beliefs. I might not agree with them, but I have learned that we are all in various stages of growing up, even older folks like me, and hopefully our religious beliefs mature as we grow. I accept some folks will never be able to think any differently than they do right this moment, and that has to be OK. I try to use the Serenity Prayer as my guide in life and ask for the serenity to accept with I cannot change. In doing so, life is ever so much easier.
I tend to be a Buddhist. I have taken vows to that effect – I take them daily, and as such I endeavor not to kill, nor take what is not given to me, I try to watch what I say, avoid sexual misconduct, and avoid any intoxicants. Now that sounds pretty easy, but it does not leave a lot of room for excuses. Like not taking a life… this not only means I probably don’t believe in abortion, but it also means I don’t believe in going off to war and killing someone or sitting in a room with a joy stick and blowing up a truck in Pakistan. It also means I am not going to kill a doctor who might perform an abortion for whatever reason… nor would I pass legislation that might send young women to the back alley coat-hanger “doctors.” But not killing also means I do not condone the killing of animals, yet I do occasionally eat meat or else I suffer from protein deficiency. I also feed meat products to my cats as they are definitely not vegetarians! So, in that sense, I fail as an aspiring Buddhist. In my old age, the other 4 Precepts are a piece of cake (sugar and gluten free, thank you.)
It is hard to believe it is September. It still feels strange to not be in a panic trying to get all the last minute things done before school starts. I hate to confess I do not miss teaching - wait, let me clarify that. I DO miss teaching, but I do not miss what the schools have become. I miss being with kids, I miss sharing the joy of learning, the amazement of their creative minds, but not the sorrow of those minds that have shut down to the good possibilities of the world. Oh there are so many tragic young people out there – products of drugged parents, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and various other kinds of abuse… our wounded babies who will never have the same chances in life as the kid across the street who has been raised with love by clean and sober parents. When I hear the words “We are all created equal…” I think of these kids and struggle with the lump in my throat.
Tomorrow I will see the buses roll by, the little faces at the window so full of hope for a successful new year. For many, it means 2 meals a day that they don’t get in the summer. I watch them roll by and silently wish them well; my hopes and dreams go with them as it went with their teachers who drive by an hour earlier. I know I always had such high hopes for my kids each year. I don’t mean to imply I gave up on them as the year went on, but sometimes the system really does not help. I am not sure I would learn much in the chaotic noisy classrooms of today. “They” have forgotten that some kids need peace and quiet in which to learn and a room with 20 different things going on at once is too much of a distraction for many minds.
For several weeks now the fall azaleas have been blooming. They are in full flower as I type this and look out the window at them. The early fall blooming camellias are in full bud… in 2 more weeks, they will start to show color. My Aunt gave me these camellias for my birthday at least 20 years ago. The amazing thing is, they bloom their first bloom every year exactly on my birthday. How great is that? In my silly way of thinking I believe that is her way of wishing me a Happy Birthday. Every year people pull in my driveway to ask me what kind of plants they are or where to get them, or just to thank me for having them out there to brighten their way to work or home as they drive by. I have given many baby plants (or seeds) away and love it when folks drop by with pictures of their bushes that I call my “grandchildren” bushes.
A few mornings ago when it was cool enough to turn off the a/c and have an open window, I awoke to a sound that took a minute or two to recognize. The geese are teaching their young to fly in formation. You can just imagine them shouting, “Get behind your mother and stay there!” or “Line your wing tip with your sister’s wing.” “There, that’s better! See how the air flows around you better?” In another month or so, the small flock sounds will be replaced by the sound of a couple hundred geese as they all head south. It always stops me in my tracks as I listen to them and watch them fly over and wonder how many will be back on this same route next spring. I sometimes wonder if I will be here to see and hear them. One thinks these things as they get older, perhaps more so when those NEW numbers appear. My number will change in a couple of weeks. It is very depressing.
As the seasons change to fall, the spiders seem to start spinning bigger and bigger webs and they seem to be across every path I walk. I try not to break them, but sometimes it happens. I thought this web was different. See the thick white parts every few inches? I looked the spider’s name up a couple days ago when I took the shot but have managed to forget it. Duh.
The back yard is filled with dragonflies. Some of them seem to love to buzz my hair. Did you know some of them make a crackling sound when they fly? I love to photograph them, and some of them are very cooperative, but others, not so much. have you ever watched them dipping into the water? Look carefully! My yard is also filled with butterflies who just seem to love the fall blooming azaleas as much or more than the butterfly bushes. And the leaves are starting to fall!
I am so grateful to have such a beautiful yard and to be able to see the colors and critters. If you look carefully, you will find string beans growing up a camellia, or a tomato plant resting in an azalea. Even tho I have several acres, the sunlight is limited. That limits what grows here. Of course, the lighting changes the colors. The other evening the Strobilanthes seemed so vibrant. What color! My Crape Myrtle blooms later than most of the others in town. It is nice they don’t all bloom at once. Their color seems to blend in with the azaleas. Cool, huh?
I am waiting for cooler temps… maybe I will have more energy then… My job list is long. My days are short. My energy level is microscopic! If you are lucky enough to drive by and enjoy my efforts… then I guess it is all worth it.