B is for bluets. These bluets are tiny, pale, four-lobed flowers that come up in the spring. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin tells us that these flowers grow in part shade in small patches, as these are. They are perennials, of the madder family, Rubiaceae. The Latin name is Houstonia caerulea, and they are also known as azure bluets and as Quaker ladies (it is thought because of their pale, purplish blue, reminiscent of the color of the hats Quaker ladies were often seen to wear).
Bluets bloom in spring and early summer in the US from Georgia to Maine and in eastern Canada. They can be sown by seed and cultivated, and are often featured in rock gardens. I found these tiny bluets in the grassy verge by the road to our lake in a patch of dappled sun. Their fragile beauty is a reminder of the nature of impermanence to which we are all subject. Savoring moments of joy in our day helps us stay in the now and have gratitude for the life force within us.
I decided to take the A to Z Photo Challenge around my little town of Pocono Pines, Pennsylvania. We’ve had a home here for over 10 years, and taking this challenge is offering me the opportunity to get to know it even better than I have. I hope you will enjoy this photo journey as much as I do!
The Sixteens above commemorate The Pixel Project’s “16 For 16” Campaign: “A campaign in honour of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence while raising funds for the cause to end Violence Against Women.” Definitely worth it.
Ready for some diversion? Here’s what I’ve got for you this week. You’re worth it!
Putting ourselves first is often wisest, especially when wishing to help others. As we hear from a flight attendant on every airline flight, we must put the oxygen mask over our own nose and mouth before assisting our children or others around us. So when we neglect our own needs in the service of others, we will not be able to do it for long. We must refill our own cup if we wish to share generously with others. Here’s a good piece by Marc and Angel: An Open Letter to Those who Always Put Themselves Last. You’re worth it!
Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi, Shimane prefecture, Japan
One thing we must do for ourselves is cope as well as we can with stress. Avoiding stress is impossible, but drowning in it is usually avoidable. What can we do to minimize stress so it is less toxic and destructive to our lives and those who care about us and those who may need our help? We’re all worth it.
- Breathe deeply and mindfully to reduce anxiety; it works!
- Eat nutritiously and regularly; starvation is no virtue.
- Sleep at least 6 hours every night, but no more than 8 is best.
- Exercise at least 3 days a week and walk on the other days.
- Practice your spiritual or religious beliefs sincerely and often.
- Meditate, do yoga, pray or seek peace and beauty, as in the zen garden above.
- Live your values, which means understanding what they are.
- Give and receive love, affection and kindness freely.
- Seek help for your own problems: therapy, medical treatment or expert advice.
- Consider adopting a pet if your circumstances permit; they enrich our lives.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff (most is), pick your battles and put down the bat.
Moses Sumney is a recent musical discovery of mine, thanks to a video in a GQ article about Brad Pitt. The article is good, and Moses Sumney is definely “Worth It.”
Welcome to Week 13. My focus has been a lot closer to home this week. Somehow it just feels better that way. We are preparing to migrate north. Here are the best photos I took this week.
Steve and Tex, a Biblical Naples sunset, Daisy and the Easter Bunny, flowers peeking through a box hedge, and our blooming magnolia.
We’re having a drought here now and the fire risk is very high. The lake’s water level is lower than we’ve seen during this season. We hear it’s supposed to begin raining nearly daily soon, and it sure seems like a good thing! When the wind blows across Florida from the east, we smell smoke and find little bits of ash on our cars. Right now the culprit is the Cowbell Fire near Alligator Alley. It’s over 30 miles away from us now, but sometimes we can see a column of brown smoke in the air. Hundreds of fire fighters and their equipment and other resources are battling the spreading blaze.
Okay, take a deep breath and calm down. Hey, guess what? Research now validates what we who meditate have known forever: deep breathing is the best way to calm down. UPDATE: Wow, since I posted this, I just learned that my friend and fellow blogger Joan Rothchild Hardin had written an extensive post on the breath.
As we prepare to hit the road in a few days, let’s hope it’s not a hard road.
Yes, indeed, sweet young singers Lennon and Maisy help us pray that Hard Times Come No More.
And here we are at the end of another week. I write this week’s post from Washington DC, where I have been attending a fantastic professional conference focusing on the psychotherapeutic treatment of trauma. Having enjoyed countless conversations with colleagues whom I’ve known now for decades and many of whom I consider among my closest friends, it seems these times in which we find ourselves are quite traumatic for most of us, domestically and internationally as well. Being so near the epicenter of the seismic shift only adds a measure of intensity to it all.
On the brighter side, the cherry blossoms are in full flower, and the trees are greening up with the beginnings of leaves.
Speaking of trees, this less-invasive wind turbine does away with the huge and often dangerous blades to more closely approximate actual leaves. Each “leaf” rotates vertically, and a whole tree can power an electric car for over 10,000 miles a year.
Maybe this is because it is spring at last, but I am perseverating on the botanical today. The heavy snowfall and abundant rains in California have produced the most spectacular wild flowers in recent memory. The story and video at the link attest to this colorful affirmation of renewal.
Given the botanical theme, I feel drawn towards a song from my California adolescence. May you enjoy it, too!
This week has brought the usual ups and downs, plus a deep down or two. Friends and family haves lost loved ones to death, and others have disappeared off the radar screen. Hearts are hurting. This tune by Holly Macve taps into that feeling, even if the words are rather dark and troubling.
But the sun has continued to shine and the birds have pursued their true loves with raucous and reckless abandon. We’ve seen and heard the noisy mating dances this week of boat-tailed grackles, graceful tricolored herons, and mockingbirds. Ah, Spring!
One of our downs: The post office misplaced the overnight mailer we sent to the accountant with all the tax documents. But we were able to speak to the postmaster who found it, with no idea why it was never delivered nor why it hadn’t been sent back to us. It was delivered that very day. So a down followed by a giddy up!
Couldn’t resist that one!
Political highs and lows abound. The crazy continues but keeps running into roadblocks, thanks to highly principled jurists, determined public servants and indefatigable civil rights advocates.
Some deserve more diversions than others, and all my followers and friends certainly do!
Searching for ways to become more emotionally strong? Eric Barker provides some useful questions to ask ourselves, ups and downs notwithstanding. I’ve shared this with clients this week.
Hawaiian musician Kalani Pe’a provides the gentle swaying of this week’s closing number. You might find yourself transported to a beautiful Hawaiian island, kissed by the sun and gentle breeze and tantalized by the scent of its flowers as you listen.
Diversion seems essential these days. I get mine from observing the birds, turtles and dragonflies on the large pond behind our place, reading well-written legal novels and police procedurals, cooking and baking, walking and working out, visiting with friends and family, and enjoying the gorgeous Florida weather, sugar-sand beaches and gulf waters. And my writing is less of a diversion and more of focused, creative process, which thanks to WordPress and the Daily Post I’m doing much more regularly. I also read the blogs of my fellow WordPressers. Many have inspired me to do more, write better, and persevere. We really have some great writers in this community. I’ve begun a series of short stories on this blog, or perhaps chapters of something bigger, but for now it’s at least a serial fiction. Lit crit is welcomed!
So where are we this week with diversions?
Do you meditate regularly? Me, too, but there are many kinds of meditation, and you might enjoy trying something new.
Did you ever wonder what your choice of car color may mean about you? Gas Buddy has some answers.
Photo courtesy of Demoose, airliners.net.
I never knew how dehydrating inflight air can be until I read several blogs on the subject. I don’t fly more than once or twice a year, but some of my friends and family take lengthy flights across the globe with some frequency. Info in these three blogs might just save your skin. Really! Even you guys might learn something you can use.
Flow chart courtesy of Ferguson fan @tbskyen
Lastly, I need to remember this above all. Truly. I mean tattoo it on the insides of my eyelids. Or print it out and put it on a mirror or inside of a cupboard door, or over my desk. These short questions are golden. Many thanks to Craig Ferguson for asking them. He probably wasn’t the first to say them, but he has brought them to the masses, i.e. us. In fact, this may be the best part of this post today.
So, Lionel Richie: