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Springing Ahead Slowly

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Carol Bossard

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      It’s March……Little rivulets of joy

    Begin flowing down stones,

      Through the mosses

        Out from the tree roots.

         They’ve been there all the time,

         just hidden down under

                      Where they’ve quietly added sparkle and glow

                 To the ice, and crunch to the snow.

                        There’s a warm glow over the earth

                  In the setting sun………*

 

This is one stanza of a poem that describes spring’s beginnings.  Now it is only 3 days until the time change, bringing us increased light in the evening, and 14 days until the Spring Equinox.  Everything is looking up, even though I know well that garden-planting and green grass are still weeks away.

Even with a positive mental attitude of anticipation and happiness, I’m not literally jumping for joy.  My body is not in the spring of life and leaping is a really bad idea.  These days, I tend to move quite carefully!  I greatly appreciate my chiropractor, acupuncturist, internist and massage therapist (though I don’t have one right now) -- who assist greatly in keeping that body moving; muscles and joints are less flexible than they were a few years ago.  However, even with some stiffness and discomfort, I feel a lightness that comes from all the years of coping with life.  By this age:   1) I don’t really care about the expectations of anyone --- except those people I truly respect.  And sometimes it is necessary to educate them a bit about the reality of elder-ism.    2) I no longer blithely put off  writing a note, making a phone call or a visit with an “I’ll get to it later,” because one never knows how quickly that might become impossible.  When opportunity knocks, I try to open the door right then.  3) I feel free to speak my mind (usually politely!), dress as I choose, read for hours and leave the dishes unwashed overnight if that makes me happy.  What is truly important to me is keeping in touch with my family and friends, making our abode a happy place for us and for anyone who visits---- and living in awareness of each day’s little gifts and sudden miracles.

People are important to us.  We see friends as often as possible.  Each time we share a meal and conversation, my day is brighter --- and hopefully theirs is too.   Some of our friends live afar but we think of them often, phone occasionally, Email and mutually recall fun times.   Our friends are of all ages, for as one gets older, generational gaps tend to diminish.   But we must admit that friends of the same age group do “get it”.  They understand the difficulties as well as the gifts of being this age.  When we came to Spencer, Kerm and I were probably in our late-thirties. One of the persons we grew to enjoy very soon was a lady nearing her 90th birthday.  She was a member of our church, a Grange member, and a retired Phys. Ed. Teacher.  Originally from Vermont, she was a no-nonsense, plain-spoken and practical person.  She made us welcome, came to our parties and was one very cool lady.  She told us, as she moved further into her 90s, “I enjoy life and I love all the things I do and the people here.  But I really miss friends my own age.  They understand references to things, and past happenings, that younger people do not.”  We are beginning, now, to understand Amy’s comment, and this little poem by Doris Ashworth expresses our current attitude well:

“When we’re older, let’s meet every Sunday at four, in that little café we love.  Let’s laugh at our foibles, our mishaps and then release our mistakes to above.

We can share a new wrinkle or a hair that’s turned gray, and marvel at how we have grown.  We both reminisce on the lives that we’ve led and how grateful for each day that we’ve known.

When we’re older let’s meet by that tree in the park, the one where the blossom grows yearly.  We can share what we have and toast with a drink, remembering those we have loved dearly.

We will not give thought to the youth we have lost for we see so much worth the change.  We won’t feel the rushing of a fast-ticking clock for we know time is ours to arrange.

When we’re older, let’s meet every Sunday at four in that cute little café we love.  Let’s be wowed by how we have weathered this life; let’s release our regrets to above.”*

No matter what our ages, we all need to stop “putting off,” and do right now, what will make our days lighter, brighter and, when it is time to sleep, will bring us satisfaction with how we’ve lived. We can always use the excuse of “we’re so busy…”, and, of course, everyone is!  But perhaps we need to make the choice to not be so busy.  Life passes by very quickly I have discovered.  There have been things in my life that I have regretted, but I’ve never grieved over leaving the dishes or the vacuuming, or ignoring spring cleaning in favor of a long visit with family or friends --- or a walk down the lane in springtime ---- or spending time singing with friends.  We need to surround ourselves with people who are positive and glad for their days; people we care about and enjoy.  Whining and grumping are contagious and to be avoided if at all possible.  We all have ideal scenarios for ourselves, in our minds; how life should be, but seldom will life totally cooperate with our visions.  It is smart to simply accept that, be glad for the things we can do --- and let the rest go.  This can be traumatic, in a sense, for in letting things go, we are also letting dreams of what we might do, go.  But it is part of the process; part of down-sizing, cleaning out, simplifying life and being happy.

Speaking of creating happiness, the Spencer Grange used to plan for a community Winter Wake Up.  In late February or early March, cabin fever often sets into our region like an epidemic of the flu.  People have become tired of boots, scarves, snow, cold and mud.  So, the Grange created an evening for anyone who wished to come for a dish-to-pass dinner, a musical jam session, and a neighborly get-together.   Sometimes we made games available, like an Art Gallery of Puns or a simple mixer.  A few people brought guitars, mandolins, etc.  Sometimes people, especially the little kids, danced.  It was a good and refreshing evening that transitioned us from the winter doldrums to anticipation of spring.    Sadly, the Grange in Spencer had to close its doors several years ago, but the fun times it initiated are still remembered by the S-VE community.    An organization to sponsor isn’t necessary; we can all decide to create fun as an antidote to the winter doldrums oozing into our lives about now!  Doing something with people helps immensely.    Being in community has been difficult during the COVID years.  When people are unable to gather --- for whatever reason ---- they lose touch ---and even worse --- forget how enriching community can be.  We have become too inclined to sit home, hunched over phones and I-Pads, growing less and less open to our fellow-men.  With three years of lock-downs and little socializing, people now seem reluctant to venture out.  Taking precautions is sensible, but at some point, we must cease living in fear and adjust to reality.  We need contact with others for mental health and growth, but it may take a while for us to realize our loss sufficiently for us to make the effort to participate in the human experience again.  An African proverb says: “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  We suffer without community!

Jumping from humans to plants and animals, my optimistic daylilies are pushing green shoots out of the wet and cold soil, even after being snowed upon multiple times.    The yellow blossoms of winter aconite have popped up, and the snow drops have hung out their little white bells.  Forsythia branches brought inside have bloomed.  The birds are becoming more vocal.   One cat apparently has a severe case of spring fever.  Besides trying to balance on the pickets of the garden fence, I saw him attacking a wooden post with claws and teeth, purring all the while.  So much energy; I could borrow a bit.

Because this is a thoughtful time of the year, and Easter is coming, I will share the whole poem for March and hope it speaks to both your heart, and the coming spring:

                                         It’s March……Little rivulets of joy

                                              Begin flowing down stones,

                                                  Through the mosses

                                                Out from the tree roots.

                                            They’ve been there all the time,

                                                just hidden down under

                                Where they’ve quietly added sparkle and glow

                                        To the ice, and crunch to the snow.

                                       There’s a warm glow over the earth

                                                     In the setting sun.

                                                 Isn’t that God’s love too?

                                    Its warmth and sparkle are always there,

                                         But in our ice-boundedness;

                                      The snowy winters of our discontent,

                              We do not sense or see that reality in our lives.

                                              Until the season changes,

                                      And little rivulets of joy come flowing

                                                   Out of the cracks

                                                 In our frozen hearts,

                                 And through the pores of our stiffened limbs,

                                            And we open ourselves to the

                                              Springiness of God’s love,

                                               So it can flow from us

                                              And refresh the world.  CWB

 

Happy March to you and hopefully it will be, whether wintery or spring-like, a time that brings good experiences to us all.

 

Carol may be reached at: carol42wilde@htva.net.

*CWB ---- it is a poem I wrote some time ago.  I’m not really a poet, but once-in-a-while, inspiration strikes.

**Doris Ashworth ---- Found her poem on Face Book; searched, but apparently is not known otherwise.

 

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