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    Entries in rain (3)


    Watery, Colorful.  Happy.

    Twirling leaves of burnt gold, amber, and bright yellow fly across the view from my sunroom window. Our silver maple, a magnificent tree, is still decked with leaves (some lime green, many a shiny yellow) and is the center point of my view. It hugs our driveway and canopies our southern exposure. I adore the shape of its trunk; its quick, thick branches; and the gnarly, humpy, spreading of its root feet. The rain-darkened bark is backed by blazing yellow orange leaves of a hickory tree neighbor. What a sight!

    I love the rain, in the fall, with the colors and the bark. Wind-whipped leaves - swirling, floating, flying. My spirits soar as every peek from any window, each moment gazing from the porches, all the swishing through mounds of brightness bring profound thankfulness. Middle age does not diminish the wonder or the joy.

    Today, fingers of a winter storm, dumping heavy snows north and west, bring us more rain (Yippee!) with a little thunder, a tad of lightning, and intermittent high winds. Autumn storms differ from spring storms. These rains help lay our gardens to rest. They calm and nourish the soil. I don’t think of renewal or sprouting or vigorousness. Summer’s waning eased my mind into thoughts of rest and quiet and latent energy. This rain, these storms, are icing on my ‘love of autumn’ cake.

    Our senses can reel and our hearts can quicken from the beauty that surrounds us. Thoughts and emotions triggered by such sights are hard to express. With words, anyway. Sometimes. We strive to capture them, on film and in memory. Minutes tick by as our eyes drink it all in. Light waves make their way to our brains and travel along sensory and neural pathways, where chemicals are released that turn into emotions that cause us to say, “Wow!” And, “Thank you.” And, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” (And, “I really want to share this with someone.”)

    So, sing, people, sing! Smile and laugh and wonder as you walk or drive or stand perfectly still. Help others to know, show others, the magnificence in a simple red leaf. Or in the darkness of tree bark, stained with cool rain, set against the deep and ravishing colors of fall.


    Life to the Full

    It looks kind of like a rainforest outside this morning.  We’ve had more rain the past couple of days and cool temperatures (down to 34 last night).  It’ very foggy, with drooping tree limbs and the occasional dripping.  Neat.

    It’s been eventful around here lately - with the blessing of guests, both overnight and for an evening.  We are gearing up for a May full of travels and milestones.  There are three graduates in the extended family, our daughter-in-law and a niece from college and another niece from high school.  We’ll travel to watch our new daughter ‘walk’ the commencement stage, and then join with friends and family to celebrate the niece’s graduations.  A nephew is coming home from his travels for a while, another niece has taken a job that will require a move from home, and our own three kiddos will be here to visit at the end of the month.  May, for all of us, also includes a 22nd birthday, a 52nd birthday, a 25th wedding anniversary, and a 52nd wedding anniversary.  May is full of transitions, homecomings, and family gatherings.

    And then, last evening, Daddy called to tell us that he and mother were packing to leave town - grandma had suffered a massive stroke.  She fell a few months ago, breaking an ankle, and it was determined then that a stroke had caused her fall.  She has been in the hospital, in rehab, and is now in assisted living.  Doing well, making progress, and back to her old self.  She turned 89 this past February.

    Tests last night revealed a brain mass.  She was too weak to have an MRI, so they hope to do that today.  We (GB, my siblings and families) are awaiting word this morning and preparing ourselves to leave to be with grandma and the family sometime over the next few days.  The children, and grandchildren, have all been called and everyone is thinking about and praying for our grandma.

    Twists and turns.  A life well lived is full of joy and sorrow.  If this is grandma’s time to be with the Lord, then we are so thrilled for her.  Today, I will enjoy my company; and stay prepared to face whatever comes.


    Drought Be Gone

    We can now burn the pile of limbs and yard debris that is gracing our backyard.  And has been for several months.  We call it, The Burn Pile.  Our corner of northwest Arkansas, dry and dry, has been under a burn ban for quite a while.  The recent round of high and constant winds has not helped.  Arkansans are not the only ones afflicted with dry weather and roaring winds.  And now, we are not the only ones canoeing our way to work.  Those mighty drafts brought spring storms and days (and days and days) of rain.  With and without thunder and lightning.

    So, water.  I am very happy that my two water barrels are full, with several buckets and one tub extra.  If you garden, even a little bit, if you grow even one container of flowers, it must be watered.  Maybe not anytime soon, but in the hot, dry days of summer, you will be filling your watering cans for sure.  Where will you get your water?  From your kitchen faucet or outdoor spigot?  Will you pay for that water?  Again?

    Think about this…every time you turn on said faucet, you pay for it.  Even if you are rinsing off an apple, and the water just swirls right on down the drain.  Say you are waiting for the water to get hot, and it just runs and runs and runs.  You are paying for it.  How wonderful it would be to capture that water and use it.  Again.  What about all this lovely rainwater?  It is most definitely soaking into the ground, or rather pooling on top right now.  Free, fresh, and yours for the saving.

    Let me encourage you to consider water conservation.  Nothing large scale and nothing that will take over your limited space.  Use one of your garbage cans, or buy an inexpensive one at the dollar store.  You do want a lid to keep out the mosquito larvae, and to keep it scum free.  Utilize one of your large plastic containers, of a size that will fit into your sink, and let it fill with your daily water.  Not foody water or soapy water.  When you rinse your hands, rinse your food, drain your pasta, wait for hot water…you get the idea.  Pour your daily (or several times daily) water into your water barrel and you are ready to go.

    Set buckets or bowls out when it rains; or set them under a downspout.  Add that to your water rations.  Or better yet, construct a rain barrel that stays in a permanent place attached to your guttering.  There are several online instruction sites, or check out a book from the library.  Your County Extension Office will also be able to help you.

    Begin in a small way (pouring leftover tea on your houseplant), and you will soon become addicted.  One of our sons asked me one time why I saved our sink water.  The first thing that came out of my mouth, even before I really thought about the answer, was, “It makes me happy.”  In the winter, when we really don’t need all that water, it is hard for me to watch it just running down the drain, or pooling up outside.  Sounds a little obsessive and compulsive, huh?  I’m working through it and thanking God for the rain.

    Here are some additional tips to get you started:

    Buy large quantity items in buckets:  laundry soap, cat litter, etc
    Re-purpose your plastic ware and old garbage cans
    Locate a source for used plastic barrels - food-grade, non-chemical
    Check out the stand-bys - yard sales, thrift shops, etc
    Make sure everything has a lid
    Clean out and refit your gutters and downspouts for rain barrels