O Lord, Your daffodils insist on showing up every February. Don’t they know basketball tourney time lurks in the near future, with its usual accompanying blizzard? Yet nothing keeps them down. OMG, help me believe in the Resurrection as much as they do.
Before pet owners condemn me to deep doo-doo, please believe that I hold the utmost respect for animal lovers. They invest enormous amounts of time, money and love in their animal buds. One friend even shares hot fudge sundaes with her German shepherd.
I’d share with my husband. On his birthday. But with a dog?
Sorry. I don’t get it.
Yes, God made sure Noah took animals aboard the Ark, though it soon would rain cats and dogs. However, plants would have required feeding only once every two weeks. The family wouldn’t have shoveled nearly as many, um, by-products.
But the Lord counted on plants to take care of themselves — a big reason I’m a plant person.
I’ve never paper-trained a plant. They don’t nudge me at 5 a.m. to go outside. They don’t bark or jump on guests. Plants don’t lick.
I haven’t lost a single new shoe to a plant’s fangs. Nor does my fern, unlike my daughter’s dog, shred the family’s underwear. If a plant outgrows its space, I can trim it. A plant will even hold still. (Just try this with a Lab.) I don’t scour neighborhoods for runaway plants or pay hefty shelter fees to bail them out. No vet appointments inflate my budget.
Unlike horses, they cannot kick me in the head.
Plants never eye me with the “Oh, is that you, peasant?” stare favored by most felines.
My black-eyed Susans and tiger lilies engage in leaf-to-leaf combat for dominance, but they never yowl under my window during the wee hours.
Plants even diminish carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the air. Animals? The reverse.
Admittedly, plants are not perfect. While they don’t bite, some boast nasty thorns. My child preferred to teethe on poisonous ones.
Plants shed, but their shedding is localized. I don’t find a thousand leaves stuck to my Sunday morning attire.
Plants also can be fussy as your Aunt Prilla Lou. They readily lay on wilt-guilt when I subject them to too much sun, not enough sun, too much moisture, not enough. Despite my friend’s assertion that “you can’t kill herbs,” I am a serial basil killer.
That’s the biggest reason I am a plant person. I grieve the herbs I kill and the poinsettias that shrivel, but I rarely shed tears for them. I never conduct plant funerals, as I did for our children’s hamsters, ceremonies so numerous the neighbors suspected a cult.
Hats off to folks who not only risk tears, but share sundaes with animal buds.
Still, unless my daffodils ask outright for a taste, I’ll handle hot fudge by myself.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a plant or animal person? Both?
Some preschoolers let weather spoil play-outside plans. But one warm, rainy spring day 60 years ago, my brother Ned and I begged to play outdoors. Mom, seeing no lightning — and desperate for peace — dressed us in bathing suits she’d sewed. Mine was the most beautiful suit in the world, with ruffles on the rear.
At the neighboring playground, we danced through God’s sprinkler system. Ned and I soared on swings, welcoming rain’s laughing pitter-patter. We experienced the joy of mud, chocolate-brownie-batter stuff we smeared on the merry-go-round and watched the rain scrub clean. We worried less about our own state. Mom almost locked us out.
Later, having sworn off mud baths, I still loved awakening to rain rhythms plunking on the roof. I sometimes avoided sibling anarchy with an early morning walk in the rain. At 10, I didn’t run outside in a homemade bathing suit with a ruffled butt. Instead, I ducked raindrops until I found an umbrella under the swing set, where my brothers had conducted parachute jumps.
I strolled along wet, black roads where iridescent oil jewels gleamed. Silence ruled the slumbering village’s lush lawns and rainbow flowers. I breathed newly washed air and listened to raindrops skittering across my umbrella. Sometimes I talked to God. Sometimes neither of us said anything. I counted it a major triumph to return before my family awoke. We had managed this secret rendezvous, the rain and I.
During young adulthood, love often turns to hate. I attended a college under a huge rain cloud with a permanent “on” switch. I spent a bundle on umbrellas because dastardly thieves stole the hundred I forgot in cafeterias.
Noah floods with 30,000 gloomy students wielding 30,000 umbrellas didn’t charm me like my childhood walks. Elevators, where we absorbed each other’s wet-dog fragrances, became danger zones. When the film, Singin’ in the Rain, was shown on campus, the student body flew to California and staged a sit-in at Gene Kelly’s house.
Now an (ahem!) mature adult, I’ve shed youthful habits. I don’t lose umbrellas in cafeterias because I am the cafeteria. Loading groceries into my car amid a deluge, I gnash my teeth and weep.
Yet even on this dreary April day, rain calls to me.
I probably won’t play in the mud. Nor will I wear a bathing suit with ruffles on the rear. But before the nearby school erupts at three, I grab my umbrella.
I know where deep puddles hide. Where wet tulips and daffodils will listen to quiet, spring songs in silence.
I know the perfect route for my rendezvous with the rain.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you love a rainy day?
Few Midwesterners regard March as the dream month.
Though Halloween’s goblins haunt October, March
often qualifies as the year’s worst nightmare.
First, the time change disrupts biological clocks. “Spring forward?” Time saved?
That Sunday ranks as the crankiest of the church calendar. If I were a pastor, I’d refuse to preach until everyone had consumed two cups of coffee, plus three doughnuts apiece to sweeten tempers.
By March, we who have braved winters have had it
with gloating snowbird social media — especially if Mother Nature goes off her
meds, delivering a final winter blow.
Before attempting to consider March a “dream
month,” let’s visualize it as a combination of pluses and minuses — a wintry
mix, as weather gurus term it.
First, March weather in the Midwest presents a
huge opportunity to complain. We love to
Also, most snowbirds return by March’s end, when
Indiana typically suffers its wickedest weather. Watching beach babies shiver
in sandals makes it all worthwhile.
“This is nothing,” we stalwart Hoosiers brag.
“Wait till you hear The Weather Channel’s predictions for April!”
Another March mixed blessing: my birthday — far
more welcome during my childhood.
Now, though, my birthday presents a legal
opportunity to abandon my wretched diet and silence my exercise video’s cheery
A new mixed blessing arrived with this year’s
birthday: Social Security. I look forward to its benefits — but, Uncle Sam, haven’t
you made a big mistake? I’m still in
Given my “young” mindset, I hardly plan to retire,
as I’ve grown inordinately fond of shooting off my mouth via print. Good
behavior doesn’t sound nearly as fun.
Plus, around my birthday, I dream of next year’s
writing adventure. What stories will tease me? What new imaginary friends will visit
while I write their novels? March brings the best writing weather of the year,
when I rarely venture from my cozy writing cave.
March also presents a lo-o-ong transition time in
which we can contemplate spring cleaning for a whole month without actually
doing it. Ditto for yard work.
Winter days remain for camouflaging flab with
baggy sweaters. Yet, during thaws, we can raid spare room closets for (baggy)
During March Madness, basketball fans dream of their teams winning it all. Yet, spring training baseball scores awaken cravings for the sound of bat on ball, hot dog fragrances, and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” wafting on spring breezes.
Daffodils, the ultimate dreamers, urge us to leave
winter behind, as does the calendar that naively celebrates spring on March 20.
So what if they’re out of touch with reality? March
is indeed the dream month, and I’m ready to celebrate. Who’s with me?
Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you celebrate/survive March?