Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This is sad.

"Miss Teen South Carolina makes her mark with flub." I heard about this story on the radio, then on the Today Show, then talk shows, news publications, YouTube, etc. But I just couldn't make myself sit through all of it. I think I'm on overload. I feel like we spend a lot of time putting people on the spot almost hoping that they'll screw up and we can make fun of them. I think the possibility of carnage is what keeps people watching reality television and sports programming hosted by retired athletes: like Nascar, there's always the chance that someone will hit the wall at 200 on live TV. Why is this appealing? I find myself feeling embarrassed by it.

In German there is a word for this: schadenfreude, which means "pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune." We may not have a common word for this in English, but we sure know what it's about. I just find it sad.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Garden Lessons

I feel like I should apologize for being fixated on my garden this summer, but it's truly been a high point for me! I think I started growing flowers because I wanted to take pictures of them, but I realized this summer how much plants teach you.

You know how the smartest advice often seems to be the simplest? I know this and yet I still find myself thinking, "That's too simple, that just can't be the answer!" I think I always knew how to take care of a garden but I never followed through. I'd think about planning what to plant and where to put it, but then I never took the time.

Last spring I made a plan. Certain plants need certain things, and are happiest next to certain other plants, so I thought about where they should go.

Then once the seeds were planted, I adopted an attitude of generosity: I was generous with watering, and once the seedlings were big enough, I was generous with space (everybody needs sunshine!), generous with time (weed, weed, weed), and generous with fertilizer.

Once everyone was established, it was time to be patient. I checked on everything daily but trusted that each plant knew best when to sprout new leaves or put out buds.

Then when the garden started to fill with blooms, I shared them. In the past I left the flowers in the garden because I couldn't bear to cut them. They blossomed, went to seed, dried up, and blew away. This year I cut flowers for family, neighbors and friends. I shared bouquets with everyone, and brought them in for myself, too. The more I picked, the more they blossomed. And more, and more, and more! They're doing it still. It's what they do.

Planning, thoughtfulness, generosity, patience, and trust are good for making things blossom. And the more you share blossoms, the more you get. What a fun garden lesson!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Acadia Vacation

We're just returning from vacation at Acadia, which was gorgeous! This was the view from Cadillac Mountain on Sunday. We camped with family in a great campground in Bass Harbor and biked the carriage trails for a few days. This is the first time we've gone away (even three hours away) for vacation in a long time. Usually we stay home, which means I end up working! Our kids (who are 7 and 9) really enjoyed this trip, so I see more camping and biking in our future!

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