Archive for March, 2013

“Arboretum” Sounds A Little Pretentious, But Hey, It’s Brentwood.

It was a balmy, sunshiny 55 degrees today, the kind of gorgeous weather that makes you understand why…

OK, originally I finished this sentence by writing “… druids worshipped nature and ran around naked hugging trees and whatnot.” But something about that didn’t sound right, so then I Googled ‘druids’ and found out they were not so much about the hugging of the trees, they were kinda more about the sacrificing of the humans, so I had to come up with another reference and then I thought, “Pagans! I bet that’s what I meant, pagans!”

But Wikipedia pretty much rained on that parade too, though they did start out by saying the Latin definition of pagan was “rural, rustic, of the country”– which fit, because HELLO, Bell Buckle!– but then it went on to talk about Stonehenge and worshiping idols and stuff, and seriously, who has time for that?

So I guess what I meant to say is that today’s weather makes me want to run around naked and hug trees, but the important thing to take away from all of this, is that I DIDN’T.

So, it’s safe to keep scrolling down. You can go ahead and look at the pictures.

Here’s what my walk today at the Deerwood Arboretum looked like. (Where do you guys like to walk?)


**It’s all paved and everything. Depending what time of day you go, you can more or less have the whole place to yourself. **Are these crocuses? They’re always one of the first signs of spring around here, sometimes they even beat the jonquils. **The path winds down beside the Little Harpeth River. Where I come from, this is what’s known as “a creek,” but whatever, Tennessee. **Because it’s an arboretum, they have all the tree species helpfully numbered and identified, you know, in case somebody ever puts a gun to your head and says, “QUICK– tell me what a green ash looks like!” **Beautiful carpet of blue… somethings. Anybody? I used to know this stuff. **Squirrel’s nests always look like they are rather haphazardly put together. This one does appear to have two stories, however, which is kind of impressive when you think about it. **Ya’ll remember a couple of years ago when my back got all jacked up and I had to stay in bed for-stinking-ever? This is EXACTLY what I looked like when I tried to walk, I am not even kidding. **They also thoughtfully provide benches so you can sit quietly and think deep thoughts. Or meditate. Or in my case, try to do a mental inventory of my refrigerator and figure out if I have enough corn beef and cabbage leftovers from our St. Patrick’s Day dinner to feed everybody without having to stop by the grocery. **Yeah, I can make it work, leftovers it is– I’m outta here!

(See? TOTALLY wearing clothes.)

Loss, Change, Creaky Knees– “I’ll Take ‘Life’s Inevitabilities’ for $500, Alex.”

I’m kind of a naturally optimistic, glass-half-full kind of person.

That’s not a pat on the back, that’s just the nature I was born with, or maybe inherited– in my family we call this characteristic the “Don Timm ‘Just Happy To Be Here’ Personality.” Charlotte has it, as do several other of my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. It’s not like we are constitutionally incapable of feeling morose, or angry, or depressed or fearful. It’s just that we usually don’t stay there too terribly long because our default setting is pretty much “This too shall pass” and “Tomorrow will be better” and “Isn’t it great to be aliiiive?!”

That’s not a bad way to live, most of the time. But what I’ve discovered about myself (can’t speak for the rest of the family) is that when I do sink down into sadness, if I don’t acknowledge it and then take steps to talk or cry or write it out, it has a tendency to hover around my head like a swarm of gnats, or perhaps more accurately, settle around my shoulders like a cloud bank. And I’ve also learned that what seems to trigger that state of mind more than anything else is loss.

I don’t do loss well.

Which kind of sucks, since life is chock full of it! Big or little, permanent or fleeting, natural or unnatural– the one thing I can be guaranteed in this world is that every passing year will bring more loss.

The other bad news about loss is that when I experience one, it seems to trigger the sense-memory of every loss I’ve ever had, which can turn into one giant tsunami of sadness if I don’t get a grip. This time of year is particularly tricky because it is leading up to the anniversary of  Daddy’s death; and even though his passing was peaceful and surrounded by love, I still miss him every day and fervently wish he was still here.

But death isn’t the only way loss manifests itself. Change is a kind of loss, too. It signifies the ending of something– and even if there is something good (or better) that comes as a result, it is still at least temporarily, The End. My natural tendency is to kind of blow past that part and just try to hurry up and embrace the new beginnings, but I’m learning to take some time to mourn those endings, acknowledge the losses, and honor the (normal, predictable and ultimately temporary) sadness that comes with the territory. If I consciously make the effort to do that, it seems to keep those hovering gnats/settling clouds (to mix metaphors– which I do, ALL THE TIME) from taking up residence in my heart.

So with that in mind, here’s the current laundry list of loss/change I’m dealing with, as well as the simultaneous positive side of what these things will eventually bring into my life. If you’re in a “share with the class” kind of mood today, why don’t you leave your own particular list in the comments? I’m not really in misery, but I DO love company!

OK, here goes:

* We’re selling our house and moving an hour away from everything familiar…

BUT– We’ll be starting a new phase of our lives in a wonderful house in one of my favorite little towns. Also, hello, I’ve been wanting to do this for a year!

*The girls are growing up, moving on… Our relationships are changing… I can’t protect them from their own losses and pain… It will never be the way it used to be…

BUT– I get to have a front row seat in the lives of two fascinating, soon-to-be women that I love with all of my heart. They are resilient. We are entering a new phase of our mother/daughters relationship.

*I’m getting older. So is Russ. We have to face the reality of limitations– physically, financially, emotionally… The future feels uncertain…

BUT– We have each other. We’re both still pretty cute. The future has ALWAYS been uncertain, we were just too young and stupid to know that! And God has never failed us yet.

*Sometimes it feels like Mom is already gone– because of her hearing issues, she can’t use the phone and we don’t talk every other day like we used to… I miss her presence, her opinions, and her unflagging interest in whatever was currently going on in my life…

BUT– She’s still here! We can still go visit her, and make her laugh and let her know how much we love her. She is safe and living in a lovely place that she has (for the most part) accepted and appreciates. She still gets (and makes) the jokes!

* Life is too risky. Friendships, pets, people and possibilities can all die right in front of you…

BUT– I might as well embrace the risk, because history has proven over and over again that NEW friendships, pets, people and possibilities are being born every day.

See? Obnoxiously half-full!

OK, your turn. What’s currently on your list?


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