visit from a mourning dove

4.19.20 ~ mourning dove on my balcony

Mourning doves have been visiting me off and on since my mother died twenty-eight years ago. They seem to arrive when I could use a little encouragement. When I used to garden one would often sit near me and watch me as I worked. Once one walked with me all the way from my garden to the swimming pool in our complex. Lately one comes to sit on the balcony almost daily and coos for as long as an hour at a time. I find her company very comforting.

Sunday morning I decided to try to photograph her through the sliding glass doors and was thrilled with the results. She didn’t seem to mind posing. I know they are plain birds, but that’s exactly why I find them so beautiful! I love them the same way I love my gulls.

In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it.
~ Abraham Lincoln
(Letter to Fanny McCullough, December 23, 1862)

When I first read the Lincoln quote six years ago, after my father died, I remember thinking how true it was. When my mother died I was so young it came as a terrible blow and I needed therapy to work through the grief. By the time my father died it was no longer such a shocking experience. I deeply felt the pain of loss, but it wasn’t unexpected.

We now have 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. There are moments I feel terribly anxious about this. It’s starting to sink in that it may be be many months or even more than a year before it will be safe to visit our grandchildren again. As it stands now, I don’t think I will feel free from danger before there is a vaccine. But we are trying to make the best of it and even find a sense of humor at times.

I find myself wondering how my parents would respond to the coronavirus pandemic. I imagine they would probably be just as blindsided as the rest of humanity. But since Mother Nature sees fit to send me such a sweet comforter as this lovely mourning dove I will stay grateful.

It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another — it’s one damn thing over and over.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
(Letter to Arthur Davison Ficke, October 24, 1930)

4.19.20 ~ this might be my favorite pose

The Millay quote has been one of my favorites for a long time. It amuses me and helps me to laugh at the ironic situations I think I find myself in. The coronavirus pandemic feels unprecedented, and perhaps it is in my lifetime, but not at all in the history of the world.

In the trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, the protagonist, Kristin, dies from the Black Death at the end. It’s one thing to read about plague statistics in history books, quite another to experience what it must have been like while reading the words of an excellent storyteller. It comforts me to know others have felt the same fear.

Being a highly sensitive child, whenever I would lament about the sad things happening in the world my father would sigh and advise me, “‘Twas ever thus.” When my mother was dying of cancer and my heart ached for her suffering he would gently remind me that “every creature struggles for life.” He was a naturalist and scientist who taught us compassion for animals and people, but also prepared us for loss. Whenever one of our pets died he would tell us to “remember the good times.” I am so grateful for the lessons he taught me.

4.19.20 ~ showing off her feathers

‘Twas ever thus — from childhood’s hour I’ve seen my fondest hopes decay, I never loved a tree or flower but ’twas the first to fade away.
~ Charles Dickens
(The Old Curiosity Shop)

lizard rule

dunes sagebrush lizard by Ryan Hagerty, New Mexico

“On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”

“Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”

“I did,” said Ford. …

“You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”

“Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”

“But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”

“Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.”

~ Douglas Adams
(Science Fiction Quotations: From the Inner Mind to the Outer Limits)

open hands and hearts
11.27.15 ~ Sound Breeze

Nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that — warm things, kind things, sweet things — help and comfort and laughter — and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.
~ Frances Hodgson Burnett
(A Little Princess)

a pretty good grasp

6.1.14 ~ Waterford, Connecticut
pretty pink bug by Timothy Rodgers
6.1.14 ~ Waterford, Connecticut

Above all else: go out with a sense of humor. It is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.
~ Hugh Sidey
(The Force Is with You Always!)

to sit still all night

"Aunt Karen in the Rocking Chair" by Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Norwegian Painter & Printmaker
“Aunt Karen in the Rocking Chair” by Edvard Munch

I am somewhat afraid at night, but the Ghosts have been very attentive, and I have no cause to complain. Of course one can’t expect one’s furniture to sit still all night, and if the Chairs do prance – and the Lounge polka a little, and the shovel give its arm to the tongs, one doesn’t mind such things! From fearing them at first, I’ve grown to quite admire them, and now we understand each other, it is most enlivening!
~ Emily Dickinson
(Letter to Elizabeth Chapin Holland, March 2, 1859)

magic apples

“Vase with Apples and Foliage” by Henri Fantin-Latour

This little paradise was a happy place. Odin and the other gods often visited, marveling at Iduna’s kindness and delighting in her humor and her wit. Yet there was another reason that they came; Iduna possessed a special treasure – a golden chest of magic apples that kept all those who ate them ever young. Truly it was the precious fruit that kept the gods immortal. Odin knew the value of these apples. He never ventured on a journey without a few to take along.
~ Marianna Mayer
(Iduna & The Magic Apples)

Strawberry Fields

1.28.12 ~ New York, New York
imagine ~ 1.28.12 ~ New York, New York

Wondering Rose, this post is for you! I remember when someone visiting the museum where you work asked, “Where’s the museum?” even though he was already in the museum. I was sympathetic to the poor man as it is usually me who gets confused when overwhelmed by crowds, but when we visited our daughter and her boyfriend in New York over the weekend it was my husband who wasn’t keeping up with our guides for the day.

1.28.12 ~ New York, New York
Strawberry Fields
1.28.12 ~ New York, New York

I wanted to see Strawberry Fields, a garden in Central Park that is dedicated to the memory of musician John Lennon. Larisa & Dima led the way into the garden from our first subway stop and there were plenty of signs indicating that we were indeed at the memorial. But Tim was lagging behind and decided to ask a busy gardener, “Where is Strawberry Fields?”

1.28.12 ~ New York, New York
1.28.12 ~ New York, New York

“Never heard of it,” the gardener replied, smiling. But then he pointed over to where Larisa & Dima were standing, a few feet away. It made me wonder how often the good-natured gardener (above photo) has to field such questions! It’s all right, though, the snowdrops surrounding the Cornelian cherry tree (below) seem to be confused as well. They do not usually come up until near the end of February, but our winter has been so mild who could blame them for thinking spring is on the way?

1.28.12 ~ New York, New York
1.28.12 ~ New York, New York

photos by Timothy Rodgers


Bernie by the succulent garden ~ 7.29.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
Bernie by the succulent garden
7.29.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut

As difficult a day as Wednesday was, Thursday I started feeling less flustered and more grounded. And a bit sheepish.

Before I went up to Dad’s I stayed home a while to watch The View to see the interview with President Obama. I came away from it with a restored feeling of hope… I won’t go into politics, but listening to him talk without the pundit filter reassured me that he is still the same man who I came to trust, respect and admire while reading his two books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. I like that he is so even keeled and doesn’t lose sight of the big picture. It set the tone for a much better day!

We had a good visit from Dad’s “baby” sister. Aunt Em is 81. She’s a vivacious widow who lives in Maryland near her children and grandchildren, and still drives by herself on long trips like the eight-hour one from Maryland to Connecticut. Her presence is a tonic to Dad and Auntie. Together, they are the three surviving siblings of a family of eight children.

It was hot and humid, perfect weather for Papa who, like many elderly ones, always seems to be cold. There is a space heater in every room he occupies, and they are used often, even in the summer. So he wasn’t a bit hot in his flannel shirt! We wheeled him out to the landing on the wheelchair ramp and got a chair for Aunt Em, and left them to have some time alone together.

I went for a non-walk with Bernie. It was too humid for him to move around, I suspect, but he decided to soak up some sun on a stone wall. Cats are solar-powered, you know. But he could do without the humidity, being a cat hailing from arid New Mexico! It fascinates me that to the naked eye, Bernie’s blind eyes look a dull solid yellowish-gray. But the camera reveals all sorts of colors, each shot making his eyes look like multicolored marbles.

Since Bernie didn’t seem to be going anywhere, I snuck around the side of the house and surprised Aunt Em and Dad. “Paparazzi!” I announced, while climbing up the outside railing of the ramp, aiming the camera between the bushes. At first Dad didn’t understand the joke but Aunt Em found it hysterical. She stopped laughing long enough to explain the humor to him and then he started laughing, too. Got two snapshots – it’s been such a long time since Dad has laughed out loud!

paparazzi shot, Dad and Aunt Em ~ 7.29.10 ~ Storrs, Connecticut
paparazzi shot, Dad and Aunt Em

Aunt Em treated us all to a take-out dinner in the evening after Auntie and Larisa arrived. Spending a few moments catching up and making plans with my daughter was wonderful…

When I made it home, tired after the hour-long drive, I found a tube of natural progesterone cream on the kitchen counter. After work my darling husband had made the trip through heavy summer tourist traffic to the nearest health food store. (The progesterone already seems to be helping!) I am grateful and blessed.