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Multigenerational Mom Muses on Twin Toddlers & Twenty-Something Daughters

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mother nature

My Nature is to Prune and Grow, Bloom and Let Go

God grant me the serenity to stay true to my nature and out of the fray. Help me to avoid getting caught in the snarling hailstorms of blustering blowhards.

I’ve been avoiding a lot of news and newsfeeds lately. I’m careful what I watch, who I follow, where I click. There’s too much negativity out in the world. I prefer fresh air, like-minded friends, and diversionary television.

So I take early morning strolls, comment on babies and good books, and watch Peaky Blinders and Dateline — shows where I can revel in my violent hidden tendencies with a giant bowl of popcorn and couple glasses of wine.

My morning walks are my salvation. They center my soul and keep me from losing my shit. I focus on the glory of God’s nature, not the gall of the human variety. There’s goldenrods and Queen Anne’s lace in the empty lots, and often deer — ears and hooves high and tremulous — crossing the stretch of asphalt round the back curve. There’s even a fat butterscotch cat who thinks he’s a lion. He leans into the hillside, stalking me, then bolts out in a daring display of puff and whisker. And then there’s the birds. So many birds. Starlings, maybe, or finches and wrens, weaving good morning ribbons in the air above me, the birdsong and banter restoring poetry and peace.

Nature makes it so much easier to forget the anxiety, stress, and claustrophobia I feel inside my world. Forget the unchecked egos, bitter orange lies, animosity and entitlement I see outside my world — inside television and computer screens. Forget the politicians heaving insults like planks from their podiums at press conferences. Forget the friends sliding insults like splinters beneath their fingers on keyboards. All aiming to injure. To maim. To show they’re better than the other person.

But sticking with my nature makes it easier to handle. Easier to sidestep the bile and settle the rancor stirred up in my soul. Stay true to my nature. I was born a pacifist, a lover, a nurturer. Give me calm, give me quiet, give me family. Give me the mornings with the mist on the river and a sliver of gold on the horizon and I will wait for the sun to climb. I will search for goodness and light.

But I can defend myself if needed. I’ve done it before, I can do it again. If your aim is to dismantle joy, if your aim is disrupt peace and spread poison, I will take action.

I won’t scald you like the midday sun. That’s not my nature. No, in due course, I will slice you away like the poisonous deadwood and self-serving fungus you are. You will not poison me or mine. You will simply find yourself detached — from my heart and my country.

That is my nature — my violent hidden tendencies when push comes to shove. I hack off dangerous, parasitic infections and move forward.

As I sit here on my porch, fresh from my walk, my pruning sheers in hand, a crow caws somewhere off in its own dark wood. It’s what crows do. It’s their nature and they can’t change. The sky layers itself in whisper-gray felt, harbinger of the coming storm.

Follow your nature, and I’ll follow mine. Some things — and people — must be severed and left where they fall.

Raise your Glass to Mother Earth

Today is Earth Day, and it’s a beauty here in Georgia — one of those balmy days with scoops of melting clouds marbling their way into a lacy, eggshell sky. The tree tops ripple their applause, the birdsong sings its praise. Tomorrow the rains come, but today is fair and sweet.

Mother Nature is doing her best to distract us and honestly, she’s sometimes the only thing keeping me from wallowing in bitterness. The Earth is a faithful friend and a soothing constant in the midst of all the uncertainty right now. She can almost make you forget there’s a pandemic in our midst — at least for a little while.

I’ve been walking at dawn each day before anyone else is up, and those walks are just the dollop of sweet cream I need to jump start my sanguine soul.

There’s nothing quite like a wet, newborn morning to make you feel hopeful and focused again. Today as I ventured out, the sun was sliding into a crisp, 43-degree dawn. All the lawns were fresh dipped in soft light and glazed in celadon green. My breath fogged, in keeping with the river’s.

We’re kindred spirits, the River and I. Chilly, but moving. Searching.

A friend of ours has a saying, “If you’re not growing, you’re decaying,” and in these days of quarantine, it’s been easy to succumb to thoughts of decay and nothingness. Because it feels like there’s no forward progress. Like we’re all just treading water in a hovering state between drowning and life. An in-between state. A limbo.

I’m not used to limbo — although I did used to think it would be nice to get away from it all like a hermit on the hillside — just for a while. Well, that “while” has lost its luster.

But this Earth of ours, her luster is in full bloom. She’s been spiffing herself up — and I’m not talking simply iris and azalea blossoms here. She been doing a bit of spring cleaning while we’ve been sheltering in place: Blue skies are returning to L.A. and Tokyo, turtles are hatching on Daytona Beach; jellyfish are jellyfishing through the Grand Canal.

Progress through this pandemic pause…

A whole lot of revelations have been made during this stressful and polarizing time. Some good, some not so good. But today, on Earth Day, let’s focus on the positive revelations. How resilient and generous the Earth has been. How we can all learn from her example.

Get out and celebrate the Earth and enjoy her humblest of treasures today.

Find a field and wade through her clover, find a stream and watch it move; find some woods and pad through the pine straw, wander a gully or inspect a grove. Explore all the ragamuffin riches the unfettered world has to share.

Or, explore your own backyard…

Pack up a picnic dinner, park yourself on a quilt, and break bread with the ants and the bees. Weed your flowerbeds, mow your grass; toss a frisbee, ride your bike. Watch the world blur through a hummingbird’s wings; lap up the sunset from the slant of an Adirondack chair.

Whatever your potion, get outside and drink up a strong dose of Earth’s indomitable spirit. Swallow the lessons she’s teaching us all about resilience, generosity, grace and grit. And let them plant themselves in your soul.

Her spirit will surely help settle our own spirits in these most unsettling of times. And teach us a thing or two too…

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