long days

This Father’s Day the weather was a mixture of downpours and steamy interludes of sun.  No time to get anything started in between showers.  It was a day of sitting, and thinking. And remembering

One of my friends and I had an honest conversation the next day.  She recently lost her dad, and her husband has had heart surgery and cancer, and she has employment concerns that remain unsettled.

My friend has many things to ponder.  Overwhelming memories and concerns. So on Fathers Day, with all its time for mind wandering, she had told her husband, “I know yesterday was officially the longest day of the year, but I don’t think this day will ever end.”

I find myself thinking that myself.  Not so much about each day, but about the season we find ourselves in.

Yes, it’s officially summer.  The season that means long days, filled with fun activities and time for naps. Heat and humidity, bird songs and crickets, fireflies at night.

In my experience and memory, summer has always been a carefree time of lighthearted joys.

This year is different. In every way, 2020 has brought events and concerns that no one could have imagined or believed, if they had not happened as they did.

Nature continues her same lively pattern, and I have never been more thankful. It’s a welcome diversion from more serious concerns. A celebration of life, and a nod to fulfilled expectations.

Yes, there are lessons to be learned during these days, changes to strive for, and many blessings to be thankful for, even in the midst of these “unprecedented times.”

But the days seem long and the season of uncertainty continues.

harnessing energy

The water on the shoreline at our lake house was very high, so we thought it would be fun to drive to the dam and see the runoff that was surely going through the spillways.  My husband looked it up – 2800 cubic feet per second.

When we arrived, it was quite a sight:

The sound and the breeze reflected the power of that rushing water.

Our lake has a relatively small dam, but it does produce hydroelectricity through the Tennessee Valley Authority.

It isn’t an old dam – built in the 1970’s – but seeing it caused me to think about our discussions at Book Club of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) projects from the 1930’s. In a terrible economic time, workers were paid to do all sorts of public works projects, like building dams (and being pack horse librarians like we read about in Book Club.)

Someone at Book Club commented that they didn’t think that would go over well these days – being told what kind of work to do if you wanted to get paid.  Sadly that could be true.  These days the government is just giving away money, without requiring any work at all.

Back to the dam – the might and force of the water pouring through was mesmerizing. Such energy rushing past.

Then I thought of the pent-up energy and frustration we are seeing in the protests in our cities these sad days. The strength and intensity is alarming.

If only we could manage to harness that energy into life-giving work and support, just as dams are able to harness the water’s potential into producing electricity – and lighting the world.

lily days

It’s that time of year. The orange lilies are back!

Here in Tennessee, these beauties have gone wild.  Along with thriving in gardens, these lilies are abundantly growing along the roadsides. What a beautiful sight!

“It’s June!” they announce.  “Welcome to summer!”

Years ago a friend gave us some from her bountiful spread from the entrance to her driveway.  “I almost wish I hadn’t planted them there,” she said. “They multiply so quickly and take over.”

Not being much of a horticulturist, to me a plant that needs little care, multiplies, and almost never dies sounded right up my alley. I was thrilled to receive them.

We planted them along a retaining wall and they were perfect there. I enjoyed those lilies so much that when we moved to another home, I wanted some more. I had another retaining wall that needed them!

And, being a hardy Tennessee volunteer, I decided to dig my own. I had spotted some growing almost hidden in a roadside area that cried out to be dug up and replanted in my yard – to be enjoyed and admired by all.

So I took my daughter with me that morning – the day of her prom, she reminds me – and we waded through the swampy ground and swatted bugs as we dug up our lilies.

They turned out to be just as sturdy and as beautiful as the ones I had before, and we enjoyed them so much in our new home. Plus they also continued to multiply in the area where we had dug them, so no harm done, right?

Now we live in yet another house. We have been there 16 years, but we have no lilies.

This time every year I see them blooming and feel them calling my name.  Of course, I could go to the garden store and buy some, but where’s the fun in that?

Right now I have some other other pressing projects, so another year will probably roll around without new lilies.

But someday….