Late May Reflections – 2022

Sunday – May 22, 2022

on this Sunday morning in May

gray sky is visible through slots

of window blinds still closed

I take a moment to delight and reflect

in wonder at the words and wisdom

synthesized and shared by Maria Popova

traveling from dust motes to galaxies

helping me remember perspective matters

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late may 2022 1

*

something this wee break revealed

while tackling deeper levels of decluttering

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late may 2022 2

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and kneeling on earth cleaning and repairing gardens

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late may 2022 3

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taking time to listen with awe and gratitude

to the impossibly lovely serenade

of a tiny finch sitting in the honeysuckle

singing her song in good times and bad

touching those who listen awakening hope

***

Sunday – May 29, 2022

These days, we sometimes need to be reminded there’s more to life than most of us realize. Caught up in busyness that binds us to a life spent pursuing the elusive happiness of “stuff,” we miss the beauty that can be found anywhere if we simply stop for a moment and change focus. Look up, look down, gaze into the distance, focus up close, turn around and notice what encircles us. There are so many mysteries we can explore.

I remember the questions I asked as a child. What are clouds made of? What makes lightning bugs sparkle? How can bumble bees fly?

I was never curious about weapons. In fact, I hated cartoons because they were violent. How could hating and hurting others be seen as funny? I tried to avoid the bully boys on the block where I grew up, but my father forced me to fight my own battles. I had to use the only weapons I had – wit and words. And of course, there was always curiosity in things I found far more interesting, like water-striders, pollywogs, and microscopic organisms found in pond scum.

These days it feels as though I am surrounded by people who never learned to see the wonder of life in all of its fragility, resilience, and ultimately, its power to blow or burn or flood us out of existence without much warning. Guns will not save us, but they may just end the lives of people whose intelligence and skills might save our lives and the lives of many others.

“To be human is to live suspended between the scale of gluons and the scale of galaxies, yearning to fathom our place in the universe. That we exist at all — on this uncommon rocky world, just the right distance from its common star, adrift in a galaxy amid hundreds of billions of galaxies, each sparkling with hundreds of billions of stars, each orbited by numberless possible worlds — is already miracle enough. A bright gift of chance amid the cold dark sublime of pure spacetime. A triumphal something against the staggering cosmic odds of nothingness.

“Stationed here on this one and only home planet, we have opposed our thumbs to build microscopes and telescopes, pressing our curiosity against the eyepiece, bending our complex consciousness around what we see, longing to peer a little more deeply into the mystery of life with the mystery of us.” (Popova, 2022, para. 5-6)

Moments in time that I noticed today…

late may 2022 4a

An Indigo Bunting (eager to capture the moment through a window that needs cleaning 😊)

late may 2022 5a

A Goldfinch (through the same window at a slightly different angle)

late may 2022 6

Ferns and Tulips (and an unmanicured lawn)

30 thoughts on “Late May Reflections – 2022

Add yours

  1. To put it bluntly, Carol, I think people have less intellectual curiosity and are more shallow now than ever (generally speaking). No wonder there is no wonder in the lives of so many. Is it any wonder that our country seems to have lost its moral compass and appears headed in the wrong direction?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Lovely wild things! Birds, grass, evergreens (and planned flowers that nonetheless wildly bloom when and as they themselves say). Your sharing all these erased the should-words that the someones said long ago. 🌷

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “I hated cartoons because they were violent. How could hating and hurting others be seen as funny?”

    When I was a young man, I laughed at someone getting hurt on a TV program. My girlfriend questioned this response, because she had seen me doing it previously. I pondered about this, and observed it was not uncommon for me to do this, when someone on the TV got their just deserts, or where the baddie was knocked to the ground. I considered my response to be inappropriate.

    I had been laughing at things that I should not have been laughing at. I concluded that it was conditioning, from watching violent actions in cartoons, that were presented as being humorous. Similarly, when I was growing up, there was a propensity to show slapstick programs where people getting hurt was considered funny. I cured myself of this habit, but I still consider it quite disturbing how my young mind had been affected adversely in this way.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ronnie, I so appreciate your comment. Thank you for sharing with such honesty and authentic caring. It is quite fascinating to see how diverse we all are, isn’t it? Often, we don’t know what we don’t know.

      Many years ago, I worked as an attendant in a horrific institution – “Belchertown State School” for people who were classified as “feeble-minded” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belchertown_State_School). I was part of a crew of workers who were brought in to improve the treatment of residents.

      The staff members I worked with were not bad people. I liked most of them. But they were quick to use physical violence as a way to deal with challenging residents. It seemed to be something they did without thinking, as if they had been programed to react that way throughout their lives. Immediately I wondered if this was the effect of years of watching cartoons, slapstick comedians, blockbuster movies, etc., without anyone as wise as your girlfriend who would notice and raise other possibilities.

      The staff noticed I didn’t react the same way with residents and commented that the residents were always calmer and better behaved when I was on duty. A couple of staff asked why. I honestly don’t know how I knew how to deal with each resident in ways that prevented outbursts. Mostly, soft hands, curiosity, respect, and humor. My life had provided me with opportunities other staff hadn’t had.

      But I also believe that gender, physical characteristics, and demeanor matter. People are usually put at ease in the presence of a small, soft-spoken woman who is genuinely interested in them and what they need, That’s not often the case for men or people of color in many settings. Men are socialized, still, differently than women. I’m not sure if you have ever seen any of the work Jackson Katz has done, but as I was replying to your comments, I thought of him and found a brief trailer about his film “Tough Guise 2.” Here’s a link in case you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q08l252dvN4.

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts about Katz’s work. I was struck by how the trailer seems to fit with recent events.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. People usually respond to the stimulus you give out. Treating people in a negative way only produces negative results. When I was reading about Belchertown, it reminded me of the Stanford prison experiment, where people in a position of control, ill treat the people they have control of. It is a type of destructive negativity that not only feeds on itself, but multiplies in a group which then normalises it. When you spoke about the staff at Belchertown, I got the impression that as well as watching cartoons etc. that their learned behaviour may have stemmed from being smacked as children.

        When some people get promoted, their personality changes along with their interaction of what used to be their equals. “Inside all of us is someone we don’t know”. People with a new found power can quickly become intolerable.

        The residents at Belchertown were responding positively to the stimulus you were giving. Treating people, whatever they are, with respect and kindness, works wonders. Humour helps the troubled mind and builds bridges across the divide. If someone is in a job that requires them to be caring, it does not work too well, if they do not have the actual quality of caring characteristics within them.

        When I have had particularly difficult times in my life and needed extra strength, I have always got that strength from women who cared.

        So far, I have not been successful in streaming Tough Guise 1 or 2. I have seen clips of Jackson Katz’s work and also online discussions. On BroadBlogs, six years ago, there was a reference to Tough Guise. I commented on it by saying that if a male does not become tough, there will be times when it will be to his advantage to act the part, in order to minimise the amount of inter-male aggression that he potentially may encounter. Taking on the guise of someone who is “hard” can often be sufficient to deter an unprovoked attack. I added, that I have no qualms about displaying my sensitive nature, because I am tough anyway.

        “The Mask You Live In”, is similar to Tough Guise, but I have only seen short clips of it.

        There is a problem when a man is sensitive, kind and compassionate, because people try to take advantage of it. They see it as being weak or any easy target. I have experienced this when showing acts of kindness, and it is misconstrued that somehow, I am “soft”. Bullies are only cruel to people when they think they can get away with it. Unfortunately, they are everywhere looking for an opportunity to oppress someone.

        I was looking for a quotation by a lady, possibly American, but I can’t find it. It is about how sweet young boys are until they get the sweetness knocked out of them. That is true. There are many times in the life of a male where being sweet is not an option. They have to show some mettle or they will be walked over.

        The world is full of lovely kind people, it is a shame about the rest of them.

        https://ronnie-s.com/2022/01/29/the-land/

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched a monarch butterfly on a sunflower in my garden today. I thought—more exquisite art has never been created by man alone. And never will. I thought for a second to go grab my tablet to photo or film it so I could share that moment with others. Then I recoiled at the thought that sharing with others that moment that was so dear to me would be lost in translation, degraded even, but to breath in that moment alone, in silence and awe, would make me a better person, to myself, and those who do not or can not seek such moments are better off not to have them. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for describing a magical moment with such reverence and eloquence, KH, and for sharing the fascinating thoughts and feelings that followed. I’m deeply grateful you shared all of it here. Chi miigwetch.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You have such a lovely garden and I love your photos. I’ve found myself taking more time too, observing the animals and the blooming plants. It is indeed a blessing to be able to find joy in the simply beautiful creations that still fill our world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s hope enough people can do that, Michele. After running a few errands today, I’m hopeful. Almost everyone I encountered was smiling and friendly. Maybe it was just because it was a sunny 70F degree day, but I want to believe more people are ready to engage with others. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

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