Archive for the ‘Parental Issues’ Category

Winter grumbled to an end, and spring announced its arrival slowly, with my senses slowly lifting their heads and looking about. I am still blinking in the brightening light.

Late April found me in a car driving my youngest to a series of colleges, shopping for her Life. We drove north, effectively erasing all signs of spring that were starting to emerge in southern New York. I cautioned her over and over again (to the point where even I was annoyed), to not let the bare trees, cold weather, and weak light color her view of the colleges she had selected. No need. She had wisely selected schools to visit based on a clear set of needs: academics and size. But these schools were also located in beautiful areas. Areas that are beautiful year-round, weak light notwithstanding.

We drove through the mountains of southern Vermont. I kept a close eye on the winding hilly roads, but also noticed the tumbling streams on both sides of the car. As I looked to the right, I looked past my daughter in the front seat, with her long, tumbling curly hair. How apt. What a natural pairing it seemed to me — her hair, and those streams in this part of the country. The comparison brought immense comfort to what had started out as a personally painful trip for me. Helping my youngest launch for college means the world to her, and a changing world for me. But I feel better about it all now. Her spring is going quite well.

My walks in the woods near the Croton Dam have made me think often of the sounds of nature versus the sounds of man. I used to love living within site of the Statue of Liberty for obvious reasons, but hated the sound of the BQE roaring below my window. Now I hear the roar of water over the dam, but its steadiness is a comfort instead of a stressor. I do hear the sound of local traffic, with its spasms of activity, but the steady sound of the water is soothing.

The park around the Croton Dam offers another feast for my eyes: the horizontal blossoms of the dogwoods that remind me of a fisherman’s net cast over the waters — both catch the light, both draw the eye. And then there is the silhouette of cormorants flying past, looking a lot like predator drones. I suspect fish view them in this way.

I feel the crumb of the soil every time I turn a patch over in the garden — not too deep! preserve the tilth! — and think of the rich smell of coffee grounds loosening and lightening its density when I gently mix it in.

A male robin has kept me company these past few weeks by scolding me. His chirps have an edge as he expresses irritation at my interruption. He has a job to do. He has a family to feed and my presence limits his access to the wealth of worms in the garden. No matter that I am the one that provides easy access to the worms. My contribution is not evident to him. He only sees delay, and I appreciate his parental impatience. I feel like that every time my kids do homework. The school has given them a job, but the school’s presence in my home limits my access to them. It’s irritating.

Taste? I planted potatoes yesterday. I will share photos and descriptions of the three varieties put to work for me in the next post.


“An altered look about the hills;
A Tyrian light the village fills;
A wider sunrise in the dawn;
A deeper twilight on the lawn;
A print of a vermilion foot;
A purple finger on the slope;
A flippant fly upon the pane;
A spider at his trade again;
An added strut in chanticleer;
A flower expected everywhere …”

– Emily Dickinson, Nature: April

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