Sunday, November 29, 2020

The Beast: 2020

 This year, 2020, has been quite a butt. Who in this world could deny it?  At the top of the list in terms of what is the worst thing about 2020, hands down, COVID-19: death, suffering, businesses lost, economic devastation for too many people, riots, destruction of art, government corruption, and on and on. Yet, I am grateful for all that has been wonderful this year: my new hip, a visit to the Smokey Mountains, lots of golf, kayaking, hiking, my work, my new car, my pets, and of course, last but certainly not least (definitely most), my children.

October kayaking on the Little Sandy

My family lineage has been decimated in 2020. It seems that way to me because having been raised by my father’s parents in circumstances where parents took care of great grandparents, I knew my great aunts and uncles (and great grandparents) pretty well – I saw them frequently. All the great aunts and uncles on my father’s side passed away this year, as did two of their children. And then my father died unexpectedly.  Well, I’m not sure it makes sense to say unexpectedly given that he was 83 years old and had Parkinson’s.  But the last I had heard, he was getting along pretty well and was in no danger of dying.  Then came a phone call that he’s in hospice and may not survive the night.  My brother and I made an emergency visit (a five-hour drive) to see him – Covid be damned. I had not seen him in over a year because of timing of my usual visits and Covid (and that’s another very long story that I won’t go into).  He was barely conscious, but he uttered a few intelligible words...I don’t think he knew who we were.  He looked bad, but not horrible.  His hair looked marvelous – he always had great hair.  He looked like my grandfather and my brothers.  He died a few days after our visit.

Rest in peace, Dad

It makes me sad that I didn’t know my dad. He didn’t come around much, and he didn’t stay long when he came. As children, I could count on one hand the number of times we visited him at his home. His wife and my grandmother hated each other.  That was the primary reason – that is what I always thought, anyway. Hate.  Nothing good comes from hate. Life is much too short for that.

The long dark winter is nearly upon us. Early last summer (I blogged about this in my last post), I planted lupines and lavender in a tray with hopes to populate my new flowerbed.  The seeds emerged. All but two of the lavender shriveled up and died.  The two survivors lasted until mid-September.  The lupines looked healthy, even sprouted second leaves, but then, they too died. Failure.  I’m hoping next year will be better. It will be better! My first attempt was a “learning experience”.

My girls have given me gift cards for seeds and roses. I can imagine a glorious yard of wondrous gardens, heavenly scents wafting on the breeze, and stunning blossoms.  The reality is that we have many large trees, so very little sun.  Our soil is clay so we have drainage issues.  Voracious deer eat nearly everything they come to, and we have a plethora of rodents. Don’t even get me started on the Japanese beetles! Excuses, excuses, but there are solutions. All it takes is lots of work and diligence.

Molly hunts and kills things (mostly rodents, but sometimes snakes, and baby rabbits or young squirrels) every day, leaving poor little ravaged bodies on the doorstep.  I feed the birds and the rodents take their fair share.  The bird feeders are an attractive nuisance.   I love, love, love my trees.  I could not bear to have any of them cut down. My favorite is the hickory, which as you might guess, is also the squirrels’ favorite. Nevertheless, I am determined to find a way to have so many beautiful flowers that every bee and butterfly in the county will visit us.

Gracie and Molly (the Relentless)

I cleaned out one of our birdhouses yesterday. A mama bird had worked hard to fill it up with moss and bits of straw and leaves. I read that birds are more likely to inhabit a house if it is clean. I checked the newer house (made by my very talented son-in-law) but there is no evidence that anything nested in it.  It must be that I didn’t hang it up in time last spring. I'm hoping a bluebird will take it next spring. I made a third birdhouse from a large gourd and hung it yesterday, deciding that if I wait until I paint it or until Spring to hang it, another year will go by. The gourd has been sitting in our kitchen and garage for nearly three years. It was finally time to take action. Left in its natural state, perhaps it is best to just let it be what it is. 

gourd birdhouse

I've not blogged in a long time and since my last visit, I see that Blogger has added new edit features.  Well done!