Still Gray But More Blooms

Hi friends. Well, the good news is that my library system closed on Friday, which was absolutely the right thing to do for the safety of staff and patrons. So I am home for now, other than walks in the neighborhood and occasionally grocery shopping. What a relief. I hated looking at my lovely library patrons and trying to assess if they were unknowing vectors of disease, you know? Not a good feeling for someone who prides herself on excellent customer service!

Still not able to read for long stretches at a time but I am still reading. On page 77 of Milkman by Anna Burns. (For Reading Ireland Month, Cathy!) What a quirky, interesting book, I’m not sure how I feel about it really but I think I like it. It’s rather unlike my usual reading fare and I think I like it for that reason. Very long paragraphs and few chapter breaks. I’m intrigued and saddened by all the ways in which their society is hemmed in by layers of rules… what to say, what to do, how to relate to other people. Also I’m thoroughly creeped out by the milkman.

My other book is a reread: Sylvia Boorstein’s It’s Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness. This will be one of my four rereads towards my reading goal. It’s a book that gives comfort, in which Boorstein illuminates Buddhist teachings through personal anecdotes. Her tone is remarkably warm and gentle. For instance, this passage on fearfulness:

Fearfulness is a mind habit. Some people have it more than others. It is always extra. Being trapped by fear is a form of delusion. Either I can do something or I can’t. If I truly can’t – I am mechanically inept, so piloting a plane would be unwise – I don’t do it. If I truly can, and it would be a wholesome thingy do, I push myself. I figured out one day that fear is a series of neuronal discharges in the brain, and I resented feeling I was being held captive by cerebral squiggles.

Grandmothers often have the role of spiritual teacher. My grandmother was my first teacher, and I hope I am carrying on in her tradition. The lesson I learned best from her was fortitude in the face of disagreeable situations. “Where is it written,” she would ask, “that you are supposed to be happy all the time?”

She then talks about her own grandson, Collin, and how he once didn’t want to climb a very long set of stairs to visit a friend of hers living in a convent. He was very reluctant to climb the stairs. He said, “I really don’t like these steps, Grandma.” She replied, “You don’t have to like them, Collin. You just have to go up them. Hold my hand and we’ll do it together.”

If someone holds our hand, “frightened ” changes to “interested,” and “interested ” is one of the Factors of Enlightenment.”

Anyway, I was thinking that we don’t have to like what’s going on in the world right now, but if we can hold one another’s hand, and go through it together, then we will get through it. How wonderful that we have each other across the miles, brought together by our love of books!

I’ll end with some more pictures of my neighborhood. A pink clover patch in my front yard (I didn’t plant it, they just came up a few years ago,) yellow forsythia starting to bloom, the new boardwalk around the neighborhood duck pond, and finally, a dogwood tree about to blossom. Stay well, friends!

26 thoughts on “Still Gray But More Blooms

  1. Your local pond looks like a great place for walks. We’re trying to get outside at least once a day for a walk and/or sitting in our summer house. My library system finally announced a full closure this morning. I’m glad you can feel safe at home.

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  2. Thanks for the wonderful spring photos! It stinks, but I am glad you are safe at home. My public libraries shut down early last week. My university has not shut down the law library yet but campus is effectively closed. We are expecting the governor to implement a shelter in place order sometime soon.

    “Anyway, I was thinking that we don’t have to like what’s going on in the world right now, but if we can hold one another’s hand, and go through it together, then we will get through it.”
    Yes! Except no actual hand holding because that would not be appropriate 😉 Stay safe!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That clover patch is beautiful, and so were the quotes you included from that buddhist book-just what I needed today.

    Glad to hear you are now safely ensconced in your home, our library system closed at the beginning of this week, so hopefully we all start to see the ‘downward’ or flattening of the curve 🙂

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    1. I’m having trouble sticking with it. Could just be the stressful times we’re facing. I’m going to set it aside for now and try it again in a week or so, maybe do a reread or something fluffy. Stay well too, Cathy!

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  4. “I hated looking at my lovely library patrons and trying to assess if they were unknowing vectors of disease, you know?”

    Yes, I know! I was so relieved when my kids’ school district closed, and I shifted to working remotely. We haven’t been within six feet of someone outside of our home since March 10th. I have an emergency dental appointment on Wednesday, though. It’s making me nervous! I’m really glad I’m able to garden during this time. It helps with the anxiety. Thanks for your flower pictures. They’re beautiful!

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  5. OOoh, that last photo you took has some awesome perspective (middle-, fore-, and background). It’s intriguing. I’m surprised your library was open through Friday. We worked on Monday last week, and I was in the same boat: eye-balling everyone, trying not to touch anything, constantly stepping back to the suggested 6 feet (although patrons like to whisper really closely to staff, so that was a weird game that looked a bit like dancing). We’re going to be closed, uh, for a while, based on the schedule I just received. I was not upset because I don’t want everyone to return too hastily to work, thinking, “Well, we gave it our best shot!” but I’m not viewing this as some kind of vacation, either.

    When people talk about decision paralysis, it often comes from having too many choices. Think about the old-timey options of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream. Now think about Baskin Robbins 31 original flavors. I thought I was going to have a miserable time with this quarantine, but after seven days I’m doing okay BECAUSE there are so few options. None of this “do I go out to eat or stay in? Try to meet up with a friend hang along and read? Stay in or go out for coffee? See a movie in theater or watch Netflix?” ETC. I made a lil schedule that I’m following, and it’s all going well. Much love to you and yours. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have an older iPhone so it doesn’t take great pictures but I liked that one too.
      Our library administrators were trying to close us sooner but it was the County Mayor’s ultimate decision. I was doing that dance too!
      We are trying to do some light academic type work with my son starting today. It went pretty well I think. I’m learning some things as well. Thank God for free online resources!
      Stay safe and well, Melanie!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you’re getting to stay at home now. It’ll be a strange old world with no libraries and bookstores for a while, but happily we bookworms all have our massive TBRs to fall back on! Yes, indeed, we’re lucky to live in a time when we can make connections all over the world and our bookish community will be a great comfort in the coming weeks. Stay safe and well! 😀

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  7. I’m so glad the library finally closed. I did not feel good when our libraries were still open. Particularly those who worked at the circulation desk! I hope they are all safe and healthy…

    The Madison libraries closed on 3/15 and all the books we currently have in our possession are not due until May 1st, regardless of when the libraries reopen. That’s good for me, as like you, I cannot concentrate on reading. It’s been so hard! I just cannot focus the way I want to. I assume I have low-level anxiety, but I’m not certain. I don’t feel anxious or stressed, but my mind isn’t doing what I want it to.

    These photos make me so happy! We only have little nubs pushing through the soil so far. But, that’s normal so far north!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your photos. Forsythia is my absolute favourite!!
    Reading has been slow going for me, too. My brain feels so scattered, and having a constantly full house doesn’t help either. I have been playing with my kids. 🙂
    I’ve been reading a lot of short stories… They seem to do the trick for now. One of these days I might write a post! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lovely quotations – I’m not familiar with her but she seems like perfect reading for right now (and that bit about fear feels so true for me, like something I’ve struggled to articulate myself). Enjoy the flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

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