Who Is NOT Experiencing Anticipation?

Sure, the UU Lent word for today is anticipation, because it’s the traditional day when Christians anticipate the culmination of the passion/story/tradition of Easter. But really, who isn’t anticipating a lessening of the very necessary restrictions we are dealing with right now? More on that later.

First, it’s still spring. Resurrection is all around us. Here in Cameron, lilies are blooming everywhere, butterflies are making their appearance, and the birds and bees are everywhere (especially when I’m trying to drink a beverage on the new patio break area we made).

Mrs. Finch is annoyed that Chris and I are watching her work on the nest. She’s also anticipating those little chirpers.

I keep coming back to it, but anticipation of the familiar, regular, slow and sure changing of the seasons has been really helpful to me the past month or two. Be sure to look out and see what’s changing outside your window – it can help.

What ARE We Anticipating?

I’ve been idly wondering (okay, maybe not so idly wondering) what’s coming up in the next few months. This morning I read two articles that hit me like a big ole brick wall from across the street at the Pope Residence.

First, Kathleen shared this article from the Houston Chronicle about the phases of coping with the pandemic. Gerald Parker says we’re in Phase 2, mitigation, but there are two more phases to come that are just different kinds of mitigation. Next will be containment, where we start things back up a bit, but remain cautious, since we will not yet have a vaccine, but hopefully will have better treatment. We will be much more careful about sanitation and isolating sick people

This is how I feel right now. That all these invisible things are swarming around me. I also was splattered with paint yesterday when I made this.

Once there is a vaccine for people who believe in such things, the virus will be much less prevalent, but never go away, just like the flu that comes every year and kills people. That will be the new normal, according to Parker, anyway.

I thought it was a little discouraging, but my friend Jean, who has a background in such things, has another perspective:

Actually, it is kind of encouraging. We’ve been executing a plan for this and it’s on schedule. I may not like it, but this contingency has been planned for, some of the problems we are seeing were recognized as such but not acted on (not surprising by the way — I was responsible for our organization’s shelter in place plan before I retired, and there were things I knew we weren’t ready for because it was fiscally not feasible to do), but our national strategy is working. Had we not had a workable plan for this, we would be in a far worse place now.

Jean Schara of Philosophical Meanderings, Too

I’m glad to read this other perspective. It makes me feel like we’re all helping.

Next, let’s talk about spin. Here’s an article that has been shared all over my Facebook today, which pessimistically predicts that as soon as we are all out of our homes and those extremely creepy commercials about how companies love us in our confinement are over, the advertising/marketing engine will gear up to try to get us to forget all this ever happened. Talk about Orwellian dystopia coming to life. Argh.

Let’s take a break and watch some streaky clouds. They look like they’re in a hurry to get out of Cameron. I don’t blame them.

The author, Julio Vincent Gambuto, calls it the ultimate gaslighting (and let me tell you, as someone who experiences it often, I do NOT like gaslighting). He predicts we’ll be hearing how all the things we are directly experiencing right now will be minimized. This gives me the shivers. I am not sure this will actually happen to the extent Gambuto claims it will (after all, the article is on Medium.com, which does not fact check), but now that I know about the possibility, I’ll be anticipating it and keep my eyes and ears open for marketing gaslighting.

Well, let’s change the subject. I anticipate the end of UU Lent tomorrow. I’ll have to think of my own topics! Don’t worry. I can do it.

The result of yesterday’s painting and scraping is ALL the matching doors are now a matching color.

By the way, I said I’d write about something today, but I decided not to, since it had to do with corporate practices, and I currently work for a corporation. I’ll follow their social media guidelines like a good corporate citizen and go paint, scrape, and clean some more.

The Darkness Fades: Spring Is Coming, I Think

It’s such a sunny, clear morning that the fog and gloom of the last week or so seems a distant memory. It’s got me thinking.

Bobcat Run at sunset.
Tenpetal anemone, which is named after another Greek myth, but is a welcome early sign of spring at the ranch.

I’m thinking and hoping the glorious sunset that I got to enjoy with the Austin neighbors seems to signal that maybe I and all my associates can start to crawl out of their holes, and rise, like Persephone, from the darkness. It’s a little late, but I have hope today. If kale can grow in the middle of the messy garden at the ranch, I can deal with the mess in my life.

Free food! Carlton inspects the volunteer kale I found. You just never know what’s going to come up, from the ground, or in these weird-ass times we live in.

I’m thinking of the sad person on my friends’s blog yesterday. We’ll probably never know how much help we were, but I was touched by the kind words fellow blog readers sent their way. At least a whole lot of positive energy came that person’s way…and I think energy like that can’t hurt.

I think a lot of the energy around me that is so sad has to do with being tired: me, my family, my friends, my cuber-community. I’m a lot better after my day off on Sunday. My poor friend at work was so exhausted from traveling to the other side of the world and getting flu that she turned blue and started shaking. ARGH. “Just exhaustion” is still exhaustion!

In a total aside, guess who was really thrilled to get to Austin? This dapper guy, along with his photo-bombing buddy in the corner. He later got to destroy the squeaker in his tuxedo.

Think!

I think I can!

Keep thinking and wondering. New life and new adventures always await. Look at the very early Indian Paintbrush blossom I found on my walk last Sunday. It’s a little bedraggled, since its brethren are still sprouting up, but the little bursts of orange on the side of the road were just what I needed to see.

Maybe the colors will keep getting brighter as the sun and rain wake up all the wildflowers and bring the middle of Texas back to its yearly celebration of pollination and abundance. I think so.

May the pansy fairy remind you of cheerful faces, even in the darkness.

My old friend Kathy D. reminded me that the pansies of winter always keep me going (even though I didn’t have any real ones this year). I just have to look to see that magic is everywhere and it’s not all bad. That’s just me, though, after all my years of positive thinking training.

Yep, I get it that it’s sometimes harder than others, and for people dealing with depression it’s worse. I do NOT want to be one of those people spewing forth platitudes like “just smile” or whatever. If it’s not in you, don’t. But DO keep putting one foot in front of the other and at least nod to the beauty you pass by, so you can enjoy it later.

Let’s stick together and see what we think about this spring. Change is in the air. We may NEED to stick together!

Green and Greener: A Photo Essay

Look! A fairy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, the day when those of us with Irish ancestors (or Irish children or both) celebrate their heritage. This day always coincides with the part of the Texas spring when it’s so green that it almost hurts your eyes.

Dewberry on a fence

Each year I try to burn the spring green into my brain, to carry me through parched brown summers.

New growth

So, yesterday, when the late afternoon light was especially suited to enhancing the green of spring, I took many photos. Some were interesting. Others breathtaking. I hope you enjoy the Hermits’ Rest at its greenest.

The Hermits Creeklet with budding willows and dewberries.

Very green

Wow. That’s green. Alfred is king of the woods.

Cedar elm

My favorite

Baby blue eyes say thanks for looking.

Imbolc: Spring Is Coming

In many parts of the US, Easter-time is when spring is celebrated. Here in Texas, the spring new growth starts around the beginning of February, at a time traditionally called Imbolc or Candlemas (or in US folk culture, Groundhog Day).

This is one of my favorite images of Brighid. It’s on sale right now, too. I had to borrow this photo, since I’m not at home to take my own picture.

It’s also the day sacred to St. Bridget or the goddess Brighid, depending on your tradition. She’s always been my favorite, since not only is she the Mother Goddess of Ireland, but she protects the hearth, the home, spinning and weaving, and fire! That’s why there is an “eternal flame” in Kildare, Ireland in her honor.

I was pretty thrilled to find a goddess who cares for all the things I care so deeply about, so I’ve always loved her. Back when I got to go to Ireland often, I visited her sacred well and cathedral many times. If you’re ever in Kildare town, check it out.

Here, though, I celebrate Imbolc by giving thanks to all the little plants and flowers that have kept me going through the winter (the very damp winter this year!). The little bluets are a real favorite, as is the chickweed I shared earlier in the week.

I’m glad I met Monique Reed, my botanist friend, because when she came to inventory plants on the ranch last year, she showed me how many wonderful tiny plants there are here at the Hermits’ Rest; you just have to look for them.

Looking at the tiny blossoms, the tiny berries, and all the plants that keep on going through the winter reminds me that we, too, have to keep on going through the dark periods, and just keep looking toward the light. That’s what the Imbolc season tells us, too. Spring is coming. Keep looking at the light and stay warm (yes, even those of you in the Polar Vortex right now!).

Hey!

If you want your own statue of Brigit or Brigid or however you want to spel it, I recommend you visit my friend Liana’s business, Sacred Source, and see some great options/