Hope for 2019: Is it an Oxymoron?

We are 15 days in to 2019, and I’m just now getting around to a New Year’s post.

Hey, I’m retired. I’m allowed to be on my own schedule.

Yesterday, was my first day of my second retirement. I did Meals on Wheels in the morning, made white chicken chili for dinner, read 5 chapters in My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante while drinking cinnamon tea in front of the wood stove. And looked out at the snow. And contemplated not having to go to work tomorrow.

Today, my second day of retirement, I studied Psalm 44, cleaned the kitchen, made a loaf of sourdough bread, and contemplated whether I should continue this blog, or just let it die.

I still haven’t decided. Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted on a regular basis. But now, the complicated life of the past six months is behind me, and I’m contemplating what my new life will look like. Did you notice I’ve used the word contemplate three times in the last three paragraphs?

I’ve never been one for New Years’ Resolutions. Why set yourself up for failure? For awhile the one-word for the year thing was popular, but one-word for the year is not enough for me. Perhaps I’m easily bored. But as I was cleaning my office of personal effects, I found this tacked on the wall:

Immediately, I knew that those would be my ten phrases for the year. One for each month + the two that are hardest for me, I would do for two months…

I clipped it on the side of the fridge by the coffeemaker — no missing it there — so I can see it every morning. Mr. H.C. commented on it right away. We both need reminders — especially the Answer Without Arguing one…

We need this in 2019 more than any other year I can remember. We need love, compassion, and listening; we need to remember how to speak without accusing; we need a “good news” channel; (I have once again sworn off watching the evening news –I figure if something bad happens, someone will tell me!); we need to remember how to enjoy without complaint…

Well, really, we need all of them. All the time. But I’m doing the best I can, with one a month.

And I’m going to be a good news channel.

January is listen without interrupting. That’s going to be a tough one for me. It might even be a two-monther. But it’s okay, because I have time to listen.

After all, I’m retired…

Of bird nests and rainbows

Spring walking on a Sunday evening

Over the new mown trails

Through the raspberry canes.

The lightning and thunder have paused and

The evening sun glows through the rain spattered sky

Spring green leaves glisten and shake rain drops.

A brown bird flies up and startles us

just as our thunder feet startled her.

The hidden nest holds four speckled blue and purple eggs. Or maybe five.

Mama didn’t limp or try to distract us; she just waited until we tiptoed away.

I’m calling her a field sparrow…

On the other side of the yard bluebirds are nesting

in the rusty corn planter that decorates the tool shed.

She perches and guards five eggs.

The shed was half painted when the new renters began to investigate.

The paintbrushes have been put away now

until the eggs hatch and the birds have flown.

Drops of rain send us to the house for cover

But the sun shines behind the rain

And there in the eastern sky the rainbow glows

peace…

 

Where Chives Grow

it was supposed to rain today,

there are clouds and gray

but no rain.

the sun visits occasionally like

one who cannot make her decision.

i feel her pain.

at odds, at loose ends,

the calendar says spring

yet my doldrums remain.

Violets are blooming in the yard, and the cheerful blooms reminded me that it’s the season for morels. Country wisdom says morel mushrooms grow under old apple trees where violets grow. They like damp places when the soil warms up in the spring after a rain.

Don’t listen to me, because I’ve found exactly five morels in my life. And when I sliced one of those five, there was a worm living inside one of its many ridges. That dampened my enthusiasm somewhat.

But that was a long time ago, and there are lots of old apple trees in the woods nearby. Surely even a few morels would perk up a spring supper. So I gathered scissors, a knife, a paper bag, and I went spring walking.

I didn’t see any morels, but I did see a brown thrasher making a racket in the old berry canes.

I didn’t spot any morels, but I did spot a small native bee gathering pollen from a dandelion.

I didn’t find any morels, but I did find an acre of chives — thick, green, and onion-y.

I looked for morels and found none. Instead I found wild cherry blossoms, an ephemeral little stream bubbling yesterday’s rain water down the hill, the sweet song of spring sparrows, and a field of chives, ripe for the taking.

Isn’t that the way of it? If we keep our eyes wide open, we find that the unexpected gift is better than what we were seeking.

I came home with, not morels, but a fistful of chives and a peaceful soul.