Azure sky beckons
Azure sky beckons
Usually, my son sends me flowers for Mother’s Day even though he lives far away. He sometimes sends his sister in Amarillo flowers as well. Since none of us are participating in the flower rituals this year due to quarantining, I offer all of you mothers out there photos of my iris this year.
Happy Mother’s Day. Stay safe, be thankful, take a walk. Enjoy!
Nature ignores the stresses humans suffer these days, renews, brings beauty, joy. Luckily, I live in the country, can work online, and take walks to escape and renew. Recently, after feeding the horses in the morning, I took a walk and captured photos of all the wild flowers in bloom and some photos of the canyon where I live. Relax, observe, breathe deep, enjoy.
See if you can find the bee.
The cases and deaths rise; yet I see positives in all this mess. People are posting photos of food they are cooking at home for the first time in years, families sitting down and eating together. Neighbors are keeping their distance but talking to each other. People call friends to check on them. Others are using the Internet to communicate with friends they rarely see or cannot see now, in some cases people they are too busy to connect with on a regular basis. Some work on the stack of books they never had time to read before. Several of my musician friends are posting concerts online.
Many of us who teach may be learning new skills like using all aspects of Google Classroom, searching the Internet for innovative ideas to use in our online classrooms. I used to play the piano daily, even competed in high school. Then I quit. My current goal is to relearn a piece, Fuer Elise, that only ten years ago I could play from memory effortlessly. The music I am using is the same I used in high school, decades ago. It is discolored, edges torn.
I do know how to sew but rarely do. This weekend I will get out the sewing machine my parents gave me more than four decades ago and make a mask. I printed out a page of directions yesterday. To be safe, I work from home, rarely leave my property except to go to the mailbox at the end of a long drive. Luckily, I live in the country, have horses, and a lot of space. It is easy for me to get out and exercise. Added to that I joined an online Zumba class with an invitation from someone I met years ago, a horn player in a mariachi band in San Antonio–I love mariachi.
Going to and from work took 1.5 hours each day so now I have all that extra time. In the last three weeks I have read two books and started a third, caught up with magazine reading, and started FaceTime with my college roommate and her husband in California and also my daughter and grandson who live nearby but I cannot visit now. I have gardened, mowed, hiked, and photographed spring flowers and sunsets.
Yes, living in the country with space makes this easier I rather imagine, but I feel confident if people really search, they can find new and interesting adventures inside themselves and around them.
Be safe, take care, dream.
Internet and modern technology make quarantining easier. Today is my birthday and for the first time in my life I am alone on this day. It could have been a lonely, sad day I suppose but it has been good; modern technology has enabled me to FaceTime with my college roommate and her husband in California, to exchange messages with three of my former exchange students scattered across the world, France, Italy, Thailand, receive birthday wishes on Facebook from around 80 people I know from everywhere, and message family and friends. Some of them and I have exchanged little conversations, catching up on who is doing what where.
This morning I almost finished all the work I need for Google Classroom this week. This afternoon I have spent a sizable chunk of time outside watering, fertilizing bushes, chopping down some weeds. After I finish writing this, I will go back out and complete the watering. Mostly I have plants for our dry climate and water only what is necessary.
Yesterday was the perfect sunny weather for taking some wild flower photos. Everywhere yellow flowers carpet the land. Here and there white ones appear as well.
Inside an orchid that resisted blooming for two years has changed its mind and several other plants are in full flower. All this beauty makes hanging out at home so much easier.
Stay home. Be safe.
The saga of staying sane, learning new skills, keeping occupied continues. When I posted Covid19–1 a couple of days ago, the Panhandle of Texas had two cases, now we have ten, one of whom, at the age of 39, has died. Another 30 something is in critical condition. A case was announced this morning at Cannon Air Force Base just across the state line.
Yet, I can think of positives arriving from this: people at home reading, spending more time with family, cooking, playing games, relearning old skills.
What have I done recently? I teach high school English and Spanish. Starting Monday, we will be teaching online using Google Classroom. I have used it before but not for over a year. Probably overkill, but yesterday I spent something like four hours taking a class on how to use it and relearning. More to come today. I have the English lessons hand written, all planned out. Now I have to convert them to Google Classroom. Perhaps with Spanish I will change course totally and use Duo Lingo for many of the lessons. Did that last year, but not this one.
Luckily, living out in country, having horses, having lots of gardening to accomplish makes this quite a bit easier. Horses have to be fed and cared for, weeds require hoeing or mulching, dead wood must be cut out of woody plants, the tasks seem endless. Since we are having a heatwave and temperatures are considerably above normal, I can hike, walk the long drive to the mailbox, eat lunch on the patio as I did yesterday. The mustard weeds out by the barn suddenly grew more than two feet tall; it was driving me nuts–I cannot stand mustard weeds. Yesterday afternoon, I got out the tractor and mowed. They are tough. When I fed the horses this morning, I saw a few had regenerated themselves and were sticking up again. I might have to do this over.
In the midst of this crisis, I have noticed far too many people around here seem not to take this seriously. It appears, looking at the news, that this is a problem in many parts of the country. Do we want to be like Italy? I received a message from Martina there. More and more dying and no end in site. When I stepped out on the patio this morning to take the photo that appears below, the traffic on the main road was as loud as it is when nothing is happening, when people are not asked to stay home. Is no one complying? Why?
Meanwhile I will take advantage of all the positive things I can find in this–communicate with friends and family all over the world, garden, cook, learn more Google Classroom, relearn some pieces on the piano, water before the predicted wind for tomorrow occurs, brush the shedding hair off my horses, read, and perhaps join the online Zumba class in San Antonio at 4. Life, even in times of crisis, is what you make of it.
Be safe! Learn something new! Laugh out loud!
Will many record their experiences during this difficult time? I have no idea. However, a thought came to me yesterday that I should–not sure why, just that this is something I should do. Interesting because I am not really into “shoulds.”
Because Martina, the exchange student who lived with me this time last year, lives n Milano, I have realized the seriousness of this for weeks. She and her family have been quarantined for so long that I have lost track of just how long. A couple of days ago her mother had to go to the grocery. It took her four hours to get through the line. She has a grandfather over 90; they worry about him; he is scared.
Yet, here in the Panhandle of Texas, many fail to realize just how awful this can get. Until yesterday, when they had no choice due to the statewide mandate, they went out to eat, exercised at the gym, congregated in mass at bars, you name it. Now schools are closed until April 3 when the situation will be re-evaluated.
In the last ten days the only places I have gone are the grocery, the doctor’s office–for an awful allergy attack. Luckily, I live out in the country, have horses. They have to be fed twice a day, their runs cleaned. Today it is 70, the patio doors are open; I might even take a little hike later. Just me and Athena, my black, standard poodle.
Luckily, it has been spring break so I have had plenty of time to think about what to do with myself as I keep myself quarantined–I am not even going to my daughter and grandson’s house–I really miss seeing them. What do I do: have read two books, almost finished crocheting a poncho, worked one warm day in the garden, graded all the papers I brought home and posted them, cared for the horses, cooked, communicated with friends worldwide–Covid19 is everywhere, watched some TV, mostly news and documentaries. One thing I will do every day is act as if I am actually going somewhere, put on my makeup, get dressed, have a plan for the day.
This morning I went to the grocery. What did I do when I returned home? I left the bag outside to air–will disinfect it shortly, I took off my clothes in the laundry room and put them to wash. Then I took a hot shower. Why all this you ask? The virus can stay in your clothes for 24 hours. There were more people in the store in the morning than I expected. Are they healthy, virus free? No idea. In the county where I live, there have been two cases already. I do not want to risk it. Although I am healthy, I am in one of the higher risk categories due to my age. I do not mind dying, but who wants to die from this? I don’t.
It is a nice spring day outside, the wild flowers are starting to bloom, and I need to relearn how to use Google Classroom because that is how I will be teaching English and Spanish until who knows exactly when. I have used it before over a year ago. I need to refresh myself.
Here are a few pictures of the wild flowers around my house. After this, review Google Classroom and maybe play the piano for a bit.
Take care of yourselves. Be safe. Be wise.
Give me the long view
the endless space,
let my bones gleam white
beneath a desert willow
where a diamondback seeks shade.
Let me walk through red rock, climb to eternity,
stretch arms into the azure, crystalline air,
laugh out loud.
Give me the long view,
let me laugh out loud,
look down the Kaibab
Plateau into eternity.
Let me sing songs to emptiness,
to stark, open, free,
dance in sun, moonlight,
laugh out loud.
Give me the long view.
Once I was married to a man who sarcastically commented that I could find beauty anywhere. It’s probably true. Taking a hike in semi-arid country, I find tiny flowers, hidden lichens, cactus the size of my thumbnail. I keep thinking of the miniscule lavender flowers near the rock walkway by the garage. They only appear briefly in the spring. They are so tiny, tinier than my pinkie nail. How can I see them? They stand out so brightly against the rocks, they’re hard to miss. Well, hard for me to miss.
Every natural place has its own beauty. I can only think of one place I’ve been where I questioned this: a place on the Interstate east of LA next to the Arizona border. In June when it was 118 and the hot wind nearly knocked me over, I recall asking myself, “How can anyone live here?” Yet I’ve seen photos of the same desert carpeted with hot pink flowers in the spring.
Every natural place has its own beauty. You just have to be open to seeing., feeling, experiencing its magic.
Note: This essay was part of an assignment for a writing class from the Story Circle Network. The assignment is to write six minutes each day using just one word to get you started and writing about that word. You can make a list of topics or just pick a word out of a book. The teacher is Yesim Cimcoz. It would seem I never took of photo of the tiny flower mentioned above. Below are photos of native flowers taken around my house.
An icy morning awaited me when I awoke. A slippery slope up to the barn to feed the horses.
Ice covered branches above the kitchen sink window.
Ice and fog looking up the canyon. Yet I think of everything for which I am thankful:
A life filled with adventure
Friends and family worldwide
A job I love
Music and dancing
Natural beauty surrounding me
Cooking and celebrating life with friends and family
Oh, the list is endless!!
Wishing all of you a joyful day filled with gratitude.
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