Now as you drive or walk into our condominium community these two gorgeous Dogwood trees are on the right. Coming from my unit this is the angle I see across the street and headed toward the main roadway. Currently, from any angle, they inspire me to celebrate Spring, perhaps especially so during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
This year the tree pollen seems especially abundant. I am grateful to not suffer severe allergies, and my heart goes out to those who do. Since our officials have instructed us to stay at home unless we need to participate in essential services I have just been going out once a week for groceries. I have run the windshield wipers to clear the windshield from an impressive amount of tree pollen before leaving the carport.
I wonder if wearing a face mask helps protect us from some of the irritation the tree pollen can cause. To cooperate with the CDC recommendations for social distancing and wearing face masks and gloves at appropriate times I went online and saw that someone had crocheted a mask. While I did not follow her pattern I did start my own effort and ended up crocheting this pocket and inserting two sheets of tightly woven cotton in the pocket.
However, I have not used it because before I finished the crocheted mask, a thoughtful industrious friend texted me that she and her husband were getting ready to drive to drop off the masks she had been making to a facility and she wondered if I would like one. I was out on my patio texting "yes" when she and her husband drove up and stopped long enough for my friend to leap out of the car and hand me the mask while instructing me to wash it before using it because it had her germs on it. She would not let me pay for it. She and her husband were so kind!
On another day a different friend picked up a head of iceberg lettuce for me at the store when she went because I had mentioned I was not able to find one to buy when I went to the store. She and her husband dropped it off to me and would not let me pay for it. It was so kind of them!
My youngest daughter took this selfie of her and me keeping social distance in our church parking lot from our separate cars where we were dropping off donations for a rescue mission. Aside from going to the grocery store once a week it is the only trip I have taken since we are to aim to go out just for essential services. I filled the gas tank in the minivan six weeks ago and the indicator on the gas gauge is still on full! It is very strange to have only online services and meetings with those in our church fellowship, but I am grateful for the technology that makes our online fellowship possible.
Spring is in full splendor as Tulips, Azaleas, Camellias, Rhododendrons, and Daffodils bloom in the neighborhood. I was able to buy these Petunias and Confetti flowers at the grocery store to plant in pots on the patio. Growing plants are promising, perhaps especially so during this time when life is so guarded in many ways.
The rhythm of knitting this preemie blanket is restorative for me. I have been knitting about an inch a week on Wednesday mornings while Zoom visiting online with some of the ladies in my baby blanket making group. It is a joyous reunion to see each other online as we crochet and knit!
While it may not be accurate to say that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away, it seems like a yummy health-promoting practice to me. For many months I have been gratefully enjoying an apple a day along with some almond butter.
The Bleeding Heart flowers in the photo above popped up to the right of my front doorstep during the last week of March. I think they are beautiful and certainly aptly named because of the heart shape of the blossoms... with a lovely pouring out of life into our world for the Spring season.
In 2017 in my blog, I published this photo of two dear people in my life, my Uncle Arthur Bradstreet, and my niece Holly. My two older sisters and I were also there on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, USA visiting Uncle Arthur, my mom's younger brother.
March 20, 2020, Uncle Arthur celebrated his one-hundredth birthday! My older sister Margaret bought tickets for her and me and her two daughters to fly back to help him celebrate. However, on March 13, 2020, my cousin let us know that even though Uncle Arthur was making a good recovery from a fall over a month earlier, the rehab facility where he was a patient, prohibited him from having any visitors or from going to a favorite family restaurant to celebrate because of the COVID - 19 pandemic, so we canceled our travel plans.
April 13, 2020, my cousin let us know that Uncle Arthur fell asleep in the afternoon and did not wake up here on earth...a gentle way to go to be with the Lord he loved. I am so grateful to have many loving memories of him.
Only in his later years did I come to know that while serving in the military he had been assigned as a technician on the flight that flew over Hiroshima to photograph the horrific devastation of the nuclear bomb exploded there. In 2017 he also told us that when they were young men my dad had helped him get a job in the Ayer Woolen Mill in Lawrence, Massachusetts, when my dad managed a drum carder there.
When I was a child living with my family in Missouri and Uncle Arthur was living in Massachusetts it was a great family event to receive his many paged single-spaced typed letters that chronicled the interesting everyday events of he and his family. He spent many years working in the banking industry. He collected Native American arts and crafts and books about Native Americans. He was very musical and sang tenor solos at the Baptist church he regularly attended. He collected stamps. He was a Boston Red Sox baseball fan! He and Aunt Roberta traveled to northeast England to explore the area where our Bradstreet ancestors lived before they ventured to help establish New England in the mid-1600s.
As my mom and dad and then my husband and I moved back and forth across the United States Uncle Arthur and his family kept in contact with us. This verse from a sympathy card captures some of what I feel for Uncle Arthur Bradstreet:
As some people
journey through life,
they leave footprints -
of kindness and love,
courage and compassion,
joy and faith.
Even when they're gone,
the trail they've left behind
continues to inspire us.
On the south side of our condominium community, we can glimpse this pretty green space on the other side of a chainlink fence. I held my iPhone above the fence to photograph this unobstructed peaceful view.
With the lens of the phone camera aimed low through one of the chainlink apertures, I crafted this view. The Dandelions are over a foot tall! While I have complained about Dandelions as weeds invading pretty green lawns, I have to admit that I also think that Dandelions are pretty, and my mom helped me appreciate that they have worth as well. In early Spring she sometimes would go out and dig up Dandelions before they produced flowers. She then took some of the leaves, washed them, and boiled them. She would eat the leaves and drink the water they were boiled in. Trained as a nurse she viewed it as a healthful "tonic." If she dug up the Dandelions early enough they had a mild flavor like spinach and the water they were boiled in did as well, but if the leaves were too mature they could be very bitter! Yes, I tried eating the cooked greens and drinking the water they were boiled in, also, but I did not keep up my mother's Spring tradition as an adult, and I was amazed to see Dandelion leaves being sold in a grocery store many years later!
For worship art, our group facilitator gave us a prompt in an email, "ask God to show you what peace looks like and then listen..." I thought of Mount Hood and the Scriptures "I look up to the mountains--- does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 NLT Jesus said. "I am leaving you with a gift--- peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." John 14:27 NLT
Isn't it wonderful to be able to look up sometimes?