What We Don’t know We Need

One of the prayers in our morning liturgy gives gratitude for the renewal of each day. Among the fourteen phrases thanking God for our numerous blessings, one thanks the Divine for “providing for all my needs.” Whenever I recited this blessing, I would get to that line and acknowledge that my basic needs are met and so much more.

One of my teachers opened my eyes a bit wider by suggesting “all our needs” includes the stuff of life we say we need like a “hole in the head.” In other words those frustrations, accidents and devestations that befall us that we certainly don’t ask for and would never in a million years say we needed.

I acknowledge this is dicey philosophical territory. Does someone actually need a cancer diagnosis? A viscious frenemy or relative? Or, God forbid, the loss of a loved one? No. No. No. But really horrible stuff happens — to all of us. Six plus decades playing this game called Life and I recognize the painful experiences that have surely formed me and demanded of me growth and healing. I’ve railed at God plenty for “giving” me what I not only didn’t ask for but said up front I did not need in the least. Guess what? I got some of those too. Accepting them has brought insight and ultimately understanding.

The verse “who provides for all my needs” is followed by “who guides us on our path.” Perhaps this is intentional. When we’re shunted onto a painful path a little Divine guidance just might light the way.

Not Just For Kids!

I love swings.  I can’t swing as high as I used to but I still love that swoopy feeling of trying to reach the sky with my feet. Put me on a swing and I feel the years falling away.

We were in Chicago over Mother’s Day weekend and went to a new park near the kids’ apartment. Maybe swing makers are getting wise to the fact that Boomer grandparents also like swings. When it was my turn I hopped on and let my kid at heart have her fill!


photo credit: Martin Darvick

Spring Treasures

With a slight apology to Cole Porter:
I love nature in the springtime.
I love nature, why oh why do I love nature,
because of all the treasures to be found. 

Well, I was going to write about the childish delight that still arises when I find bird feathers and egg shells on our walks. I’ve been known to carry a yolk-shellacked shell home, saving it to share with my granddaughters.

I have learned it is illegal to do this. Ditto fallen feathers of US migratory birds, including those of crows, cardinals, blue jays and every North American bird that might frequent your feeder. The law is draconianly rigid, understandable given the species that were hunted into extinction and the plight of present-day birds as human expansion destroys habitat after habitat. 

There is one feather I found that I can still enjoy guilt-free. Peacocks are not native to North America. I found this feather on the ground at the zoo and took it home. I am not a destroyer of Nature. I take spiders outside when I find them in our house. I taught my children to return sidewalk-stranded worms back into the grass after a rainstorm. My granddaughters and I will release our spring treasures back into the wild once we have studied and delighted in them. Except this one:


What Makes a Kid at Heart?

There are infinite ways to define what it means to be a Kid @ Heart. Perhaps a key lies in that feeling of infinite joy. For me, on the afternoon Martin snapped this shot, infinite joy was walking barefoot on the beach.

Ursa, a character in Glendy Vanderah’s novel Where the Forest Meets the Stars, had this to say on the subject, “She’s kind of like  a baby. She didn’t know she was supposed to grow up and that makes her more fun than other grown-up people.”

I’m very glad I didn’t know I was supposed to grow up when it comes to stomping in rain puddles, dancing in the rain, and making pretend Reese’s cups by squeezing chocolate syrup on a spoon of peanut butter. What about you? Where in your life didn’t you know you were supposed to grow up?

Cataloging Art by Color

If you’ve been hanging out here for even a few weeks, you know I thrive on color. My sister Lisa just sent me a link to a Google site that has organized art by, you guessed it, color!  I simply adore this.  Talk about eye candy. More like soul candy. Whatever your mood, you can feast your eyes on old favorites and find new faves as well. Cataloging art by color might sound kitchy or amateurish. Not.

Where else might Van Gogh’s Portrait of Joseph Roulin  rub shoulders with Umberto Boccio’s Stati d’animo – Quelli che restamo.  (States of mind – Those that remain). Deceptively simple and abstract at first glance, it is mesmerizing. The longer I gaze at it, the more mysterious and haunting it becomes. Then my eye was drawn to the still life with oranges. The painting has a spare modern feel. I was astonished to learn it was painted in 1640. Feast your eyes. What color captures you? Which paintings delight you?

Still Life with Oranges courtesy of Wikipedia Commons