Favorite Photos : Season of Good-byes

during the early 1940s
Their Beginning

They died within months of each other after 76 years in a marriage that began in 1941. He was 24, and she was 19 years old. It is only now that I begin to understand what it must have been like, being that young, the world in upheaval, making adult decisions in the face of uncertainty. I have not yet lived as many years as their marriage lasted. I may not, after all. We are in the midst of another time of uncertainty, upheaval, and ill will. They did not fully understand—either one of them—but they knew what decisions to make. They knew what to do. I have a good idea, I think, of what is happening and what is pending. Unlike them, I do not see a path through to a good end. “Now” is not “then”, and we are not they.

Mother was (probably still is) the “stand up and be counted” sort. Father was more of a fatalist, mourning before he died for the world into which his great-grandchildren are being born; I trust that he’s comforted (not consoled)  by the One who sees all people, time, and places at a glance.

I am not comforted.

I can be comforted.

Endings are contained in and by their beginnings.  I can trust in the one who guards both the going out and the coming in.

Trust does not come easily, because I have personal convictions concerning the sorts of paths that I would see history take, going forward. I would like to see those resolutions come about while I watch from my present vantage point.

I sympathize with my mother, I think. I really want to get angry and strike out, to beat the world into decent, proper shape.  I want to make it happen. I cannot, nor could I rally the world to do what I cannot on my own.

I can only do what I can do and measure, at the end, what I have achieved against own yardstick. I am not an angry person, nor do I believe that am I called to be one. I have to find my own path, as they found theirs and followed them to completion, satisfied with having done so and peacefully letting go.

It’s gotten late. I think that I’ll turn off the alarm and see if I can sleep in.


Wednesday Morning Tea

This morning the area crows held their party in our neighborhood’s tall trees. The Scampers were unnerved at first, but the crows eventually settled in and down to occasional caws and one-upping to score the highest branch to roost on.

There were a few more flax flowers in the wildflower garden, so we took photographs, and I brewed a cup of Oolong tea.

Off to do the week’s grocery shopping. The tea was good!

Best wishes for your day!

WeekendCoffeeShare 28 May 2018

Hoverfly and Shadow on a Blue Wild Flax Flower

If we were having coffee together, today, I would be able to offer you Toddy coffee (reheated or cold), Oolong tea, and chilled water. Snacky things are reduced to hazelnuts, gluten-free veggie crackers, and Gouda cheese. (Yes, I know…but with the allergens, this week, I have not been hungry or inspired to shop.)

My week was enjoyable otherwise…and filled with food. My sister, five years or so my junior, has retired from her full-time gig and has some time to travel. She came back to the Midwest from New England to go through the rest of the things in the family home, which one of my brothers has bought, and we were able to spend time on three days during the two weeks to visit. It was great fun! On Sunday a week ago, she and I took a day trip to Itasca State Park. Breakfast and a late lunch. On Wednesday, my husband and I took her out for a fish dinner at a new-to-us chain restaurant, Lucky 13’s Pub. (I had a steak, they had walleye.)

She said that she will be back more often, now.

This was the week that the blue wild flax started to bloom in my wildflower garden. And a white wild violet that I had transplanted. The first White Campion of the season appeared among the weeds along the house. I do love them, but they get pulled out or mowed down. (I discovered that for the last four or more years, my husband has cut down and thrown away my daffodils, thinking them weeds growing among the tulips along the north side of the house. I’d thought they were just dying out, planted in an unsuitable spot. I am ordering more bulbs, this summer, for fall planting. I promised my husband that I will put stakes around them, a twine fence to set them off.)

During the time that my mother began failing, the end of winter 2016, I dropped out of one-on-one communication with a lot of people. During the second week in April 2018, I wrapped things up with the (second) bereavement counselor and started to pick up the threads to extended parts of my life. Late this week, I sent an email to an older friend on the East Coast, a poet, with whom I had not exchanged notes since February 2016. Fortunately, one of the email addresses I had was still working, although her postal mail address had changed. We have now exchanged a couple of notes, and I have promised to get a snail-mail letter off to her, so that she will have my mailing address. And I can send her selected poems that I have written during the two years and more that we have been out of touch.

My wildflower garden is mostly “weeds”, this year, because I decided not to disturb the perennial plants and seeds from last year’s planting. The poppy plants look strong, and there are lots of them, and many flax plants are growing. I think I recognize cornflower plants, also. Not certain about the tickseed coreopsis. I do have nearly half of last year’s wildflower mix, which I may sow during the coming week’s forecast scattered rain and thundershowers.

There is a lot to be picked up. Losing a dozen and more family and “significant” acquaintances to illness and old age has been unsettling. I hope that some of you might stick around, show up for weekend/weekday coffee breaks. So I don’t feel so (in)conspicuous, talking to myself, here. I will particularly miss the Daily Writing Prompts at The Daily Post and the weekly photo challenge. Will be haunting myself in these quiet rooms that are my blogs.

I hope that you enjoy this new week before us!

Hugs & much love,

As always, thanks to Eclectic Alli for hosting Weekend Coffee Share. The participant Links are here, and Alli’s post for this weekend is here. Please stop by!

Variety and Uncertainty | #WeekendCoffeeShare on 12 May 2018

Wild Violets in the Back Yard

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share for May 12th . If we were having coffee together, this Saturday, I would tell you about my week. I am waiting to hear from my younger sister, who is to be driving from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn. airport to our home town, today. She will be staying there for a few weeks to explore more of our parents’ papers; one of my brothers, who still lives in the home town, was able to buy the house and do the needed repairs and improvements, and he and his family have moved in there. I look forward to spending some quality time with my sister while she is in the Midwest. She has promised to spend some of her “time off from research” visiting with family and friends in the area.

If we were having coffee together, I would share, again, two of the poems that I wrote this past week. The first, “Eventide”, is one that I wrote last night when I stepped outside the door just after sunset when everything was still. It does come with a photograph (link) from last night, but the poem works without it, I think.

the wind rests quiet on the land
faint sunlight shrinks behind
tree branches and blue clouds
pasted on a blue-grey sky

birds sing summonings
then nestle into nests
for warmth throughout
a night with which the cold
returns too soon

cling to the cold, a shield
against the warming days

Copyright © 2018-05-11, by Lizl Bennefeld.

The second poem from this week that I would like to share is a tanka that I wrote on the tenth. It stems from a haiku that I wrote for last Monday’s Ronovan Writes Haiku weekly challenge: Ire & Fire. That translated into thunderstorm and rain.

a sudden rainstorm
has drowned my warmth and sunshine
ah, blanket! fire!

three young rabbits nest nearby
broad leaves, their umbrella

Copyright © 2018-05-10, by Lizl Bennefeld.

I have written several posts, this week, on my Patchwork Prose blog about some unexpected discoveries and realizations that have begun to grow during April’s poem-a-day activities. I would tell you that two of the upshots from that so far are dropping my NY Times subscription and “un-following” or dropping groups on Facebook. Uncluttering more than my bed sitting room, closets, and miscellaneous boxes of miscellanea.

I also would share that my husband and I are working together on making and adding soffit boards to the workshop that’s in progress in the back yard. The electrical inspection went well. No hitches whatsoever, so we’re good to go on adding the final trim and painting.

There is now a push to clean off the longer desk in my bed sitting room, since my husband is moving his two-wall desk to the workshop and wants the soon-to-be-spare desk from mine to take its place. I also have been spending more time in the back yard, playing with the dogs.

Best wishes for your week!

It seems that my husband has supper plans…

Until later!

Thank you to Allison (Eclectic Alli) for hosting #WeekendCoffeeShare. The InLinkz is HERE and Allison’s post for this weekend is here: https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/weekendcoffeeshare-next-week-boutofbooks/

The meditation blessings that I drew for the coming week are Resolve, Innovation, and Strength.

Late-Evening Coffee

It’s been a short day, actually, even though the hour is late. I didn’t get out of bed until almost 9 o’clock, when the puppies awoke. Five hours from now, the temperature is forecast to be 32°F. Therefore, I spent as much time as I could taking photographs of flowers around the yard on Wednesday.

Somewhere along the line, I got a puncture wound. Sort of. I think it looks like an insect bite. Just above it, in the crook of my elbow, I’ve a large swelling. Sort of like a squishy, half-sized golf ball. If I were to take my blood pressure, I’d have to take it on the right arm rather than the left. I have taken two antihistamine tablets, which is—I know—not a good idea, taking two four-hour tablets at once. But I’ve done it a couple times before when I had a serious allergic reaction, and it’s been … okay.

It’s possible I got a bug bite, Tuesday or Wednesday. Also, I helped with carrying discards out to the boulevard for Spring Clean-up Week; our pick-up day was Tuesday, but they didn’t come around until Wednesday with the trucks. Either carrying stuff or pushing through branches, going after the dogs … too many possibilities! If the arm is still swollen when I wake up in the morning, We’ll see about a visit to the walk-in clinic. Now that I have had Toddy coffee, I ask myself if I should put on a pot of regular coffee to brew, since I’ve often found that to help with allergic reactions. Or just leave it alone.

Some photos from Wednesday

Al woke up, and I got some cortisone cream from his stash, before he went back to bed. And so I’m sitting here, talking to myself, and wondering if I want to brew a pot of tea, as long as I’m up. Or not…the puppies are getting restless, and I don’t care to take them outside while I’m feeling dizzy. Ah! I have found my own tube of skin cream! And a sheet to throw over the rocking chair to protect my bare arms.

I am finally managing, I think, to quit worrying to death decisions about Internet activities. The New York Times, I have realized, wants to be more than my source for news, and really don’t want to … become one with its culture? I got my first digital subscription to the newspaper in 2011. Time to walk. I have also, since I first came across their site, been reading Reuters, and I think I am happier getting the news reports from them. I will miss the crossword puzzles, but I think that I have to maintain a subscription to the newspaper in order to get access to the crosswords. I do believe that the last straw came when NY Times blocked my ad blocker; paying nearly two hundred dollars a year for the subscription would include undisturbed reading of their newspaper.

Looking back, though, it was inevitable. I do not watch videos. I do not listen to audio reports. I find that I no longer watch TV, because it irritates me and I move on to actually doing something instead. I have not listened to radio (other than the amateur bands) for so long that I do not remember when there last was a radio in the house. I am allergic to paper/ink in commercial printing; magazines and newspapers move too quickly from printer to end-user, leaving not enough time for the product to out-gas. Huh! Get into my 70s, and I become opinionated. That’s funny! I think I’ll go find the Oolong tea and brew a short pot of it.

I have gotten into the habit, thanks to years of rereading Sharon Shinn’s books, of using her “elemental blessings” cards (coins, in the books) to haul me off grumping. I’ve just drawn three blessings cards from the bin to consider, this evening. I will drink my tea and contemplate how I can use the blessings of Kindness, Patience, and Resilience in my immediate life.

a sudden rainstorm
has drown my warmth and sunshine
ah, blankets and fire