Archives for posts with tag: seasons

Looking back over the holiday season, starting with Halloween, it’s been a different one.  For sure.  Nothing was the way it usually is in my life up until Christmas Day, which was its typical madhouse of family and fun.  Thank goodness for that.

Maybe I’m more aware these days, now that I’m not caught up in all the things I did in my past lives, things like racing four children around to Christmas programs and parties, cooking madly every day, sending out Christmas cards, running a retail store during the holidays, preparing for a Christmas fundraiser (several times at various stages of my life), or wrapping a million presents.  I still do cook and shop and wrap presents, although I don’t have to run around town or the whole state looking for a rare Star Wars character or a special purse or all the “had to have” gifts for my kids that we had to physically look for in the olden days.  I shop both local and online, so I can find what I want pretty quickly, unless I don’t have a clue what to get.  Still a problem.

Thanks to Facebook, I traveled the holidays with friends far and near, watching the preparations of the younger families, sharing memories with my older friends, delighting in masses of photos of how the kids and grandkids are growing.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving, this sharing of lives.  Thanks for Mark Zuckerberg and whoever invented Instagram for that and don’t let me hear your gripes.  It is what it is and you don’t have to be a part of it if it’s not your cup of tea.

Mostly, I’m taken with the people I know who have suffered through the holidays, suffered with loneliness, depression, health issues, grief, anger and bitterness, debilitating illness.  There are a lot of people battling demons during the season in which we are supposed to be jolly.  There were political issues and divides and scary world threats and all kinds of things that should have made the season not so great.  No matter how hard we try, we can’t make the world perfect even for a few days to celebrate the rituals of our faith or the beginning of a new year that we hope will be more perfect.

But, we keep trying.  I watched as people I love reached for the joy of the season to stave off the realities of the days that will follow, days of realization that a loved one is gone, days of facing new situations in life due to job loss or illness or more days of loneliness ahead.  Some are beaten too far down to lift up for the holidays at all.  They suffer through, waiting for it to all be over.  Our hearts are touched, even in our own days of celebration.

So, we’re mostly past the season of being jolly, just waiting for the end of this year, waiting for the new year that will bring us…well, we really don’t know what it will bring us, do we?  So the message is to celebrate each day we are here, celebrate the good things in our lives, reach out to those who need us to be there for them.  There are no guarantees in this life and we really have no idea what lies ahead, no matter how much in control we think we are.    The best we can do is to love – love life, love nature, love others, love ourselves.  The love of this season and every season and every day is the message.

I hope your 2014 was good and that your 2015 is the best!

DSC_0493 - Version 2

I keep wondering if I ever had a year when I didn’t appreciate everything around me? When I was younger, did I drive by all the beauty in a couple of decades of endless carpools and meetings and kids? I don’t think I did. I hope I didn’t. I only know I appreciate all the beauty more every year now and this beautiful world takes my breath away every day.

Tulsa is exploding with colors. The cities are often prettier than the country because people plant trees for their seasonal colors. We’re having a kind of late fall because it’s been so unseasonably warm, no freeze yet. But the color is coming every day. You drive by a tree one day and it’s green, the next day it’s changing colors, the next day it’s brilliant. Every errand is a trip through beauty. I want to stop along the way with my camera to catch it all. I’ve taken pictures before, but it’s different every year. Trees change shapes, the colors and go, it’s a new world.

One of my maples is turned, the big one is just now changing. My pecan tree hasn’t even started to turn its gorgeous yellow. But here are some colors around my yard…

DSC_0001

DSC_0002

DSC_0004

I love the beauty berry…

DSC_0005

And some more trees around the neighborhood…

DSC_0006

DSC_0013

Even the vines turn colors…

DSC_0015

This tree never disappoints…

DSC_0018

DSC_0017

As the leaves thin out, you can see clumps of mistletoe ready for the holidays. Oklahoma’s state flower, even though it’s a parasite…we do have a sense of humor here…

DSC_0011

It’s a beautiful fall day when the skies are a clear blue and even the fallen leaves are lovely, not yet a nuisance to be raked.

DSC_0020

For those of you who don’t have four seasons, this is for you. For the rest of us…get out and look around you. It’s another glorious day…

Yesterday was a trip to Van Buren, Arkansas.  Yes, I am truly a senior when I am traveling to see fall foliage and ride trains!  The historic part of Van Buren is charming and well preserved.  They only messed up a few buildings when the siding salesmen came through trying to modernize it back in the 60s.  It was fun to walk down to the Arkansas River and see the wide water, unlike Tulsa where it is pretty dry right now.  I liked the old Anheuser Busch building with the original eagle logo still intact.

Riding the train up to Winslow, the highest incorporated city (pop 399) in Arkansas, was a trip back in time.  We were on a 1948 car called the Silver Stream and there were other cars from the 1920s.  You could also ride in the caboose.  It took a bit to slow down from the fast paced ways we usually travel, but it was worth it.  The drought has hit all the states, but we still saw beautiful fall colors as we went higher.  After traveling at 8-9,000 feet in the Sierras this summer, it seems funny to think of 1,729 as up in the mountains.  The conductors were train buffs of all ages who volunteer their time and kept it lively with their commentary.  There was a car full of second graders from one of our stops.  On the way back, we stopped to let them out at their school – how fun is that?  That must have been the noisy car, especially going through the tunnel when they tell them to scream!  I tried to imagine traveling across country like this a century ago.  As always, it depended on which kind of car you were able to afford as to whether you were scrunched in with strangers, loud conversations and interesting smells or whether you could ride in style in a private car.  It beat the stage coach or wagon.

Coming home, we detoured north from Vian and took the scenic route past Lake Tenkiller towards Tahlequah.  What a beautiful drive!  Every place has its own beauty and this is one of my favorites in my home state.  It’s pretty wild and wooly in those hills, but it’s gorgeous country. There’s another drive where you go by the lake more, but I loved the trees.  I’m so grateful to get to enjoy a perfect 75 degree, cloudless day without anything pressing….

DSC_0006

DSC_0016

DSC_0030

DSC_0038

DSC_0059

DSC_0070

DSC_0075

When I was a little girl, there was a couple who lived on 21st Street who decorated their yard for every holiday.  They used yards of tulle and other simple decorations, but it was always a treat to drive by.  The May Pole was one of the favorites.  When I was about 30 with four kids of my own, I knocked on their door and asked to interview them for a class project for a journalism class I was taking at TU.  She was a nurse and they had no children of their own, so they did this for everyone.  They must have decorated for at least 20 years as my kids remember it, too.

I admire people who use their time and resources just to delight people they don’t even know.  They must get a special joy from knowing they have inspired so many smiles. There is a house, just south of 16th & Cheyenne, that gives me such a good feeling.  They do it up big and welcome anyone to walk around their entire yard, front & back.  That’s a brave thing in an age when people are afraid of anyone coming to their front door.  Drive by & see their “Monster Manor” and see if you can resist a chuckle.  

Thank you to these nice people!  Happy Halloween to all!!!

DSC_0708 10.33.50 AM

DSC_0705

DSC_0706

DSC_0707