Tag Archives: Sunshine

Stupid Spring Flowers

Have you noticed spring flowers don’t possess high IQs?

After years of “surprise” March blizzards, you’d think clueless flowers would wait until April before peeking out.

Brave or foolish, my crocuses herald the hope of spring.

My daffodils also are poor communicators. Having often turned into flower-sicles, they should have the decency to warn the younger generation. New bulbs should don furry little mittens like spring-smart pussy willows. But they never do.

So, every March, I lecture my flowers about the virtues of sleeping in.

I never had to instruct my children about this.

But flowers don’t get it. Each year, they hear the same weather wisdom: come out too early, and you’ll freeze your buds off. Wait until the sun shines more than one day out of 30.

But do they listen?

Image by Ryan Minion from Pixabay.

No-o-o-o. While the ground remains iron and silvered with snow, dumb flowers poke their heads above icy earth and shiver in their shoots.

Not too bright.

Though I admit that doesn’t apply to color. Yellow daffodils and purple crocuses look like fresh, brilliant paint dropped from God’s brush onto a color-starved landscape. His gift after a long, weary winter?

Maybe spring flowers aren’t so dumb, after all.

Image by Ralph from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: When does your favorite spring flower first appear?

I’m Glad I’m Not in Florida

Image in PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

Maybe you think I, from chilly Indiana, have finally flipped?

Perhaps I can persuade you to see things my way.

First, pleasant weather conditions during winter confuse us Hoosiers worse than a time change. Is it January or June? Has someone sneaked six months past us?

Lovely weather also demands we go outdoors. If I’d been raised in Florida, my mother would never have let me inside: “Sunshine’s good for you!”

If I were a Floridian, I’d have to do (gulp) yard work. I much prefer curling up each winter with my sherpa throw to read or watch basketball.

In Florida, forget about warm fuzzies. Or the waistline-camouflage layers I love.

Besides, we Midwesterners enjoy griping about weather. Could we survive without our favorite pastime?

If Indiana’s environment resembled Florida’s, our state would be flooded with touristy relatives. Hoosier parents do bribe grown children to come home for Christmas. Soon, though, bored offspring return to nests elsewhere. As a result, parents truly own their homes and cars.

Speaking of cars, no one in the Midwest keeps vehicles clean during winter as expected in Florida.

Besides, without wintry mix, we and our cars would miss the joy of doing figure eights on the interstate. That’s the only wild life we experience after New Year’s.

Regarding Florida’s wildlife: boo for bugs the size of Volkswagens! While winter camping might prove more fun there, alligator warning signs made me rethink my antipathy toward raccoons. They might steal a week’s groceries, but raccoons don’t abscond with several limbs as well.

Becoming a snowbird requires the packing and moving I despise. Besides, snowbirds inhabit rows and rows of mobile homes so close dwellers know their neighbors are eating Popeyes’ fried chicken for the third time this week.

Finally, wouldn’t Florida’s continuous green grow monotonous? The never-changing, brilliant blue of sea and sky?

Sure, we Hoosiers endure dreary months. But nothing will excite us like the first baby leaves that invade Old Man Winter’s domain. Sunny daffodils will send us into spring ecstasy.

Poor Floridians know nothing of these extreme Hoosier joys. Pity them.

And move closer to the fire.

Image by s-wlocyzyk 2 from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Where would you like to spend the winter?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Yum!

O Lord, You invested so much sunshine and rain in this first tomato from my garden. You must have thought it was worth it.

Investing aches, pains and Tylenol in pulling these weeds, I wasn’t sure. …

Until I tasted this fruit? vegetable? of our labors.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.

OMG, You were right! As usual.

First Bike Ride of Spring

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay.

Our early tandem rides always challenge my husband and me. We huff and puff and yell at each other to keep pedaling — and that’s just to leave the driveway.

Our winter weights slow us. Dogs that normally would pursue us might not bother: I’d get more challenge out of chasing a parked car.

Image by Herbert Aust from Pixabay.

The bikes are in good shape, though, as Hubby’s serviced them. Fired up his cyclocomputer that records mileage, speed, and number of bugs swallowed.

Cyclists face risks. The above-mentioned dogs might reconsider and supplement their diets with ankles. Some drivers consider bikes figments of their imagination. Occasionally, a crazed farmer attempts to flatten us with his tractor. Why? Maybe his girlfriend, Daisy, dumped him, and he has hated bicycles built for two ever since.

Twenty years of tandem riding, and we’re still married.

Still, Hubby and I take to the road.

With him in captain position (front seat) and me as stoker, we pedal away. Hubby, who once participated in 100-mile rides, supplies most of the power. He also steers, changes gears and brakes. He does maintenance and records our data.

Me? I make hand signals. Correctly, most of the time. Impressed? Hey, I fill water bottles too.

As we pedal along country roads, landscape changes become evident. A new house has sprouted. Somebody blacktopped their gravel driveway. One homeowner has planted peach-colored geraniums instead of his usual red ones.

Image by James DeMers from Pixabay.
Sometimes a little encouragement from friends keeps us going.

“Great to ride again,” I yell to Hubby.

He nods, mostly to keep bug-swallowing statistics low.

After several miles, though, the bicycle seats become a pain in the butt. A month must pass before our muscles adjust — or total numbness sets in.

Plus, sunshine fooled us. We ignored the wind’s gleeful gusts. At the beginning, Hubby said we might set new speed records for a first effort. With the west wind behind us, we might eat lunch in Pittsburgh.

Then we turned.

With the crosswind, our bike almost flew to Pittsburgh.

Still, the last gasping miles couldn’t detract from a river’s flowing green loveliness as we crossed the bridge. From intoxicating fragrances of early lilacs. From bunches of redbuds along the road as if God had tossed bouquets to us.

This road near my house goes by a different name, but I call it Redbud Row.

Why should He do that? It’s not like we created all this beauty.

But we’ll take it, giving thanks on this first bike ride of spring.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite spring outdoor activity?

Indiana Spring: Prepare for Anything

“Would you write a note that says I can’t go teach today?”

My husband, a retired family physician, often heard similar requests about missing work. Today, though, he’s the speaker. Glaring at hail pelting our backyard, he dreads Indiana weather’s hormonal tantrums.

I don’t blame him. While I enjoy gentle raindrop melodies, I dislike hail’s percussion. Poor spring flowers probably don’t appreciate that music, either.

I settle deeper into my cozy robe and sofa seat, tapping on my laptop. One gloating glance from me, and Hubby might park beside me for a month. Maybe two.

Past Aprils have dumped snow on us. Today, thunder, lightning and hail prevail. Will tomorrow bring a biblical plague of frogs?

But spring peepers in nearby wetlands, the amphibian Mormon Tabernacle Choir, remain strangely silent. Perhaps they’re in a mucky mood too.

A born-and-raised Hoosier, I should accept this climatic insanity as normal.

Golfers like our neighbor consider it an unfortunate par for the course. They crave the 70-degree April in which my son was born, with lilacs and crab apple blossoms dizzying us with fragrance.

Or even the spring in which our daughter was born, when April blizzards morphed directly into 90-degree temperatures.

Even without that extreme temperature change, panicked weather personnel have trumpeted tornado doom for our state.

I appreciate their concern. Yet, how do we prepare for such climatic craziness?

Plus, Floridians don’t face the wardrobe problems we brave. Hoosiers cannot retire cold-weather clothing, yet must jam closets with spring-friendly outfits. Do we choose a parka or spring raincoat? Woolies or sleeveless? Wearing layers works, but how many? And not even the most flexible Midwesterner pairs flip-flops with electric socks.

Spring weather also scrambles food choices. If we bravely plan a barbecue, we may squint through a whiteout to see if the chicken’s done. Mother Nature, off her meds, may blow our grill to Cleveland.

Surely, she’ll get over her snit soon. Sunshiny weather will last through a five-minute walk. My miserable diet, kept with swimsuit weather in mind, will prove worth it. Hubby, who persists in making desperate camping reservations, will set up our pop-up without joining our grill in Cleveland.

For now, though, he must face Indiana weather as it is.

“Take an umbrella,” I say.

Hubby rolls his eyes. “It’s in my backpack.”

“Do you have a snow shovel in the car? Boots? Food and water? This might turn into a blizzard.”

“Check. Glad we had the air conditioning fixed last fall. Could be 90 by evening.”

He dons his suit of armor.

I open his helmet visor and kiss him goodbye. Now he’s prepared for anything — even an Indiana spring.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s spring weather like in your state?

Here Comes the Sun

Image by Karsten Paulick from Pixabay.

“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun.”
                                                —The Beatles

Decades ago, a science book convinced my brother Ned the sun was a star.

I scoffed. How could the big, round, yellow sun and white, diamond-chip stars be one and the same? Anybody with a brain could tell the difference.

Besides, had anybody ever suffered from star burn? Huh? Huh?

Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

Eventually, my teachers forced me to admit Ned was right. However, this April, I find myself playing cynic again. Despite Indiana’s strong evidence to the contrary, scientists insist the sun is still there.

Whether you believe the scientific or my sensible view, one important expectation remains: with May’s imminent arrival, here comes the sun! Let sun rituals begin!

North American ceremonials are less all-encompassing than ancient Aztecs’. They believed they perpetuated the sun by sacrificing human hearts. But we do follow the sun’s dictates year after year — despite protests from dermatologists, who prefer we live in subterranean caves.

Nope. No ritual is more sacred than sunbathing. Women will pay big bucks for the smallest amount of fabric they’ll wear all year, then don cover-ups and hats. When quarantine’s over, we hope to set up beach umbrellas and tents. We’ll slather ourselves and our kids with gallons of sunblock. A fog of its fragrance, similar to fall’s smoke from burning leaves, will fill the land. All to protect ourselves, at any cost, from the sun, for which we have yearned the past six months.

However, that’s not the only odd chemistry set in motion by the sun’s advent.

Grill addicts will barbecue every meal outside, including romaine (which is wrong on so many levels). Picnics will dot the land. Despite sun worship, everyone calls dibs on shady spots.

All part of the love-hate rituals we keep religiously with the sun’s advent.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

We also up our junk food consumption to proper warm-weather levels. Dieticians, citing the availability of fresh produce, delude themselves that we will eat healthy.

Seriously? In six decades, I have yet to encounter a single concession stand that sells carrot sticks. Unless they’re deep-fried. And dipped in chocolate.

Unfortunately, when the sun gleams through dirty windows, we sense a moral obligation to wash them. Our cars, too, as the slush excuse won’t work anymore.

We also fertilize grass we don’t like to mow and bushes we hate to trim as well as plant flowers we hate to weed.

Amazingly, we don’t avoid these rituals. On a lovely spring day, we may even embrace them, because here comes the sun, ready or not!

I think we’re ready.

Even if we get star burn.

Image by jplenio from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite sunny pastime?

Sunny Spring Day

Do we really want a sunny, warm spring day?

Duh. Yes! I crave a sunny spring day more than a tax refund equal to the lottery. More than an overnight belly fat loss.

I do enjoy the changing seasons, including January and February — cozy months to enjoy a good book by the fire. Also, an excellent opportunity to thumb my nose at warm-weather friends who still must do yard work and jog.

Today, however, the sun peeks through my unwashed windows with na-na-na-boo-boo mischief.

Come outside. It lights up the green, green exterior like a marquee. It’s spring!

Where’s your baseball, your bat? Dig out your old mitt, even if it smells more like feet than hands. When Dad comes home from work, maybe he’ll play flies and grounders with us in the backyard.

It’s a perfect hopscotch day. Chuck that project. Ditch that deadline. You own a whole driveway of limestone, a treasure chest of perfect rocks that could draw a thousand hopscotch grids on playground blacktop only a block away.

The 1963 Taylorsville Elementary Hopscotch Champion in me trembles with anticipation. I might have to wear Spandex armor to keep my jiggly torso from smacking my knees with each hop, but must … play … hopscotch. …

However, the Responsible Adult in me proclaims, “You haven’t washed these windows since you moved in.”

True. Pristine sunbeams also touch our carpet and winter-dingy furniture as if they had cooties. Layers of dust comfortably camouflaged by dim winter days now scream for attention. They’re almost as needy as the lumpy, bumpy lawn outside, invaded by a crabgrass army. The sun leads me to our garden, covered with skeletons of brave, hopeless tomato vines.

This year, a friend offered me free horse manure if I want to shovel and haul it. Do I feel that ambitious for future vegetables?

Nope.

Funny thing about sunlight — like its Creator, it gets nosy, peering into the grimy corners of my house, yard and life, seeing much more than I like. Instead of dissing me, though, the Sun Maker breathes a warm kiss of a breeze on my cheek and hands me the first flower of spring. So what, if it’s a dandelion?

He’s sent ragged robins, looking like refugees, to greet me, too. But they just can’t help singing.

Nor can I. Sure, our Maker will help me tackle the flaws in my home, yard and soul. But first, He, the sun, and I select the perfect rock from the driveway. We head for the playground and my first game of hopscotch in a long, long time.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite way to celebrate the first sunny, spring day?