Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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The upside of weeding

We interrupt our Norway travelog to tell you a sweet story from this afternoon.

I was bent over weeding under our redbud tree, moving slowly because I’d been weeding for awhile and standing up was getting more and more difficult.

I heard a ruckus above me, a sort of chirping chattering noise that continued for quite awhile. I figured it was a squirrel unhappy with me being under his tree.

Whatever it was kept it up to the point that I sort of looked back and up over my shoulder, trying to find the annoying perpetrator.

And, instead of a noisy little red squirrel I saw a downy woodpecker, standing on the main truck about three feet from my head. “Well hello there,” I said, wondering if the birdfeeder was empty and this little guy (or girl) was trying to tell me something. We locked eyes and I slowly stood up. The bird just moved down the trunk, getting even closer to me.

And then I realized the noise wasn’t coming from this bird, but another downy, almost the same size, sitting out at the end of a branch just a few feet further from me.

The bird on the tree trunk began to move up and down, looking, then picked out something special and flew to the bird at the end of the branch who opened his mouth obligingly for the snack. Then mama (or daddy) flew back to the truck to look for more.

The teenage bird was fed two more times with me standing right there and then the adult flew off and the youngster followed.

I loved that the two of them weren’t bothered by me being there, and I had to share it with you. I don’t have pictures, but you can imagine it. The images here are from our gardens, taken today.

I didn’t take any pictures of the weeds.


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A smiley kind of week

Trent hosts a weekly smile blog where he invites people to share something each week that made them smile, then link to his blog so that he can send out a recap on Mondays.

That alone makes me smile.

But this week there are plenty of things I smiled about and it’s hard to choose just one to share. For example, my tree peonies bloomed. Their flowers only last for a day or two and if you’re not quick you’ll miss them all together.

Katie and I were quick this year.

And as you know Katie and I went north for a few days to camp along the shores of Saginaw Bay, on the west side of Michigan’s thumb.

Lots to smile about there.

And this morning I made music with many of my Clarkston Community Band members at the opening of our local Farmers’ Market.

We sat out in a parking lot under the hot sun and played for three hours. It was a blast. I’m pretty sure the top of my feet are sunburned even though I put unscreen on, but at least that will be proof we’ve finally moved into summer arsound here. Another reason to smile!

Katie says she wants to tell you all about our camping trip, so you’ll have to wait just a little bit for that. She’s a slow typist lately. She blames me because I haven’t trimmed her feet in awhile and the extra long fur tends to obscure the keyboard.

Oh! And on our drive up there and back I got to see a lot of barns! You know how that makes me smile!

So let me count. The flowers in the garden, the trip up north, camping, barns, music…it’s just too much to number! What have you smiled about this week? Write a blog and link it to Trent’s and we’ll all be able to smile together.

Katie had a lot to smile about too!


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Conflicted

I don’t want to talk about this and maybe that’s the problem. Maybe no one wants to really talk about this, to leave our own biases behind and talk and then listen without interruption to the other side of the debate.

I wasn’t exposed to guns growing up. My parents didn’t hunt, I didn’t have any friends that hunted. I have cousins that hunt but I was never actively involved. The closest I’ve been was to walk by deer hanging in the back of a pole barn, and though the first time was startling, I didn’t have an objection, knowing they used every possible part of the deer as a food supply for their family and friends.

Tree peony at it’s peak.

Still, I’m not personally comfortable with guns. And sometimes that bothers me, because I don’t know how to understand both sides of the gun debate. I’ve even considered taking a lesson or two, in order to know what it feels like to shoot a gun. Though that feels a bit intimidating.

But I do question the need for the average citizen to own automatic weapons. And yes I know I don’t even know the differences between them. But weapons that allow a shooter to pull off multiple shots a minute, kill and injure so many in the first moments of an attack, well, I just don’t think those should be in the hands of anyone but active military.

Blue thoughts this morning.

We hear the arguments against banning assault rifles every time the topic comes up. The constitution gets waved and we’re reminded it guarantees gun ownership. And besides, we’re told, these weapons are already on the streets and we’d never get them away from the bad guys anyway.

But I don’t think the writers of the constitution, when they were giving us the right to bear arms, knew anything about the devastation created by an assault rifle. I doubt they could even imagine such a thing. Moreover, banning a certain type of weapon or accessory doesn’t ban all weapons, doesn’t take away a person’s right to bear arms.

And if we don’t begin somewhere, don’t attempt to make our country safer, then what?

Geranium looking for a bit of light.

Do we just continue down the road we’re on now, where every few months people, sometimes dozens of people, lose their lives for no apparent reason? People just doing their jobs, running their errands, going to school, seeing a movie, enjoying a concert? Attending their place of worship?

Do we just continue to watch the news, see their faces through a fresh sheen of tears, while inside giving thanks that it wasn’t someone we knew, no one from our family? And do we just keep saying, sometimes out loud, that someone ought to do something? And then let it slide from our mind as we go about our daily lives?

Virginia Beach victims, photo from the internet.

What will it take for people in this country to have an honest discussion about the whole problem. Not just the guns, I realize there’s a problem with our mental health system too, but guns can not be left out of the equation.

What will it take for all of us to leave our comfort zone behind, leave our assumptions and personal histories behind, what will it take for us to face this uncomfortable place where we sit across from family and friends with opposing views and just talk.

And then come up with some viable first step.

My bleeding heart is fading among the forget-me-nots. I am not immune to the irony of that.

Sandy Hook with it’s children and teachers lost should have been everyone’s last straw. That tragedy should have been the catalyst for change, but even that loss wasn’t enough for most of us to be brave.

It’s complicated. Change is hard. But this morning, as I wandered my gardens looking for a peace I didn’t find, I grew convinced we have to try.

Can we find the light?

Because how many lost is the magic number, how many shattered families are too many, what does it take for us to grow up and do the hard work to become a responsible nation?

Can’t we be the adults here and sit down with someone we know holds opposing views and talk? I think we have to.

It would be a start.

Forget-me-nots remind us to never forget.


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PS

Katy here again. (If you didn’t read it, I did the previous post too. Just saying.)

I bugged and bugged mama this morning, whining to go outside. At 6 a.m. In the rain.

And because of me she got to see this. It lasted less than a minute.

You can thank me later. She already did. As is appropriate.

Your gal, the damp but still beautiful Katie-girl.


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Yard spectacular

Katie here. Mama says I can show you a little bit from my back yard. She and I went ‘sploring out there this afternoon.

A bit of sunbathing in my yard.

At first I was reluctant to go out with her cause I thought she was going to put me in my kennel. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time in my kennel, but only when I want to be out there, not just cause she’s tired of my whining politely requesting treats.

Looks like this little bug was out exploring too!

Mama and I love spring, so many subtle colors! And then there are the brilliant colors of spring. I like those too!

I’ve got hearts on my shoulder mama, and forget-me-nots at my feet!

I think my folks have done a pretty good job of keeping my yard looking nice. I should probably appreciate them more.

Isn’t this pretty? It’s a quince blossom.

This week mama and I weeded one of the gardens. I was the motivator and she was the labor. Every time she stood up to stretch I barked at her to get back to work. She said I’m something of a taskmaster!

I love this color, don’t you?

I told her that as a princess I expected the best out of my people. She sort of nodded wearily.

More pretty color!

We have lots more gardens to weed, I hope she maintains my high expectations.

This evening mama took me to a neighbor’s land again. We got to run through the woods and I had a wonderful time, but it sort of wore me out, so I’ll have to share that adventure another time.

Sometimes a run in your own backyard is the perfect way to enjoy an afternoon.

I hope you all are enjoying spring wherever you are!

Talk later, your gal Katie.


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The weekly smile

It’s harder, some weeks, to find a reason to smile, and this week has been one of those. What with the deaths of Tim Conway and Doris Day, the fall and hip fracture of former President Jimmy Carter, some health issues within my family and a semi crash not far from me that has critically injured two people just today, it seems there’s not a lot to smile about.

But if I take a moment (and a deep breath) I know the truth, that there’s always something to smile about. You just have to pay attention.

For instance – today the sun came out.

Really mama? Can’t we just get on with our walk?

To those of you living in Florida or Arizona or California that might not seem like a big deal. Now that I think about it, maybe all of you in those far away states are sun hoarders, unwilling to share a little light with us in the northern, damp and bleak states. Well, today the sun came out and we reached 70 degrees.

And Katie and I reveled in it.

The neighbors have a beautiful pond.

We took a walk, my girl and I, on a neighbor’s land across the street. I let her off her leash and she trotted along the pond, nose to the ground, then up and down hills so happy to be free to sniff all the good stuff.

Come on mama, there’s good smells over here!

I was happy to be free of the wet dripping rain.

And it was enough, this one day of sun, to make me smile.

Spring pushes winter out of the way.

Katie and I hope you have something to smile about too. Let us know what’s making you happy and put a comment in Trent’s Weekly Smile post (pingbacks aren’t working at the moment.

We look forward to reading all about your smiles.

Big thanks to our neighbors for letting us wander in their yard!