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Posts Tagged ‘anticipation’

The years just keep rolling along, and spring arrives, more or less on schedule, about this time every year–and about six months earlier or later in the southern hemisphere–moving around the world and never holding still for long. We get a couple of days of warm weather, and everyone is out mowing lawns, some for the first time this year. Pollen is in the air, fertilizing trees and flowers, bringing sneezes and congestion to the allergy-prone. Smiles spring up with the flowers and sunshine.

Dreams of vegetable gardens and flower beds stir in my head. Perhaps this year I will keep the garden weeded. Perhaps this year I will get everything planted on time. Perhaps this year…

In the springtime, all is possible. Soon enough reality will set in, and I will remember how hard it is to keep up with flowers and vegetables and, most of all, weeds. But for today, I prefer to hold on to my fantasies. Springtime is a time for dreaming.

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Blueberry muffins! I never thought I would actually taste a homemade blueberry muffin this year, but the time has finally come. The wild blackberries are ripening, giving those starving birds something else to devour besides my shrinking blueberry crop. Yesterday I slipped under the almost useless netting to pick the few blueberries still clinging to the bushes. Most years I would come away from a picking session with several quarts of berries. Last night I was happy to find enough for one and a half small containers–perhaps 3-4 cups total. Enough for a batch of muffins, with a few left over to toss atop our cereal.

Such berries could not be wasted. I searched online for a special muffin recipe. Blueberries and lemon sounded good. Perhaps some sour cream, too, my housemate suggested. After several minutes, I came across the perfect recipe, including all three requested ingredients. Next into the kitchen to mix it all up. I stuck the pans in the oven and waited, while enticing aromas began to fill the air.

Finally the buzzer went off. Out came the muffins, creamy colored with dark purple patches of berry goodness. Delicious! Maybe even worth the long wait.

There will be no more blueberry muffins this year. Only a few straggling berries remain on the bushes. However, the wild blackberries have gone crazy, growing high and wide and filled with fruit. Soon, very soon, blackberry pie will be on the menu!

Recipe for Lemon Blueberry Muffins

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Snow fell softly, settling onto the fat buds of the rhododendron, sifting down around a bright yellow daffodil. Spring would soon be here, but winter was not quite ready to leave. A splotchy white coat did its best to cover the soggy ground. By ten a.m. it had melted, the precipitation turned liquid. In western Oregon, winter brings more rain than snow.

 It is a time of transition. Indeed, change is always with us, but it becomes more apparent at certain times of the year. As the cherry trees burst into pink blossoms and crocuses raise their cheerful heads, most people I know are ready for spring, or even for summer. We welcome the growth of spring—with the possible exception of the lawn, which suddenly needs mowing. When autumn arrives, we welcome the changing colors and the rains that end the threat of fire, although some may dread the coming of the cold and the shortening days. Transitions are not always easy.

 My son is in the midst of transition. His springtime brings marriage, a new job, a new city—so many changes, so much to learn. I watch with excitement from afar. My autumn is also a time of change. Child rearing has ended, and work presents new opportunities. Longtime dreams rise anew; perhaps now I have time to chase them. I often fear the unknown, but the future is always unknown. Mysteries can be wild and wonderful; they needn’t always be fearful. I place my dreams in God’s hands and look forward to what may come.

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Yesterday was solstice–winter solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice in the Southern. I admit, I prefer winter solstice to summer, because it means the daylight hours will be increasing. I don’t like getting off work when it is dark. I can’t get outside to work in the yard or take a walk with the dog. And I’m getting to the age where I don’t care to drive at night if I can avoid it. So I feel shut in at times, a bit out of touch with the world of nature. But the solstice brings the promise of more sunlight, even though many months of rain–with perhaps some snow and sleet thrown in for the fun of it–still loom before warm weather will arrive.

Summer solstice, on the other hand, not only means that the daylight hours begin to wane, but also that the hottest months are still ahead. And heat limits my time outdoors almost as much as darkness. If it were up to me, I would lengthen spring and fall and shorten the cold and the heat. Of course, it’s not up to me, so I try to appreciate all the seasons. And now I sit in my quiet home, enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree, glad for the warmth of the heater and the woodstove, thinking about making Christmas cookies. I have gifts to finish making–cinnamon rolls and cream cheese braids and the calendar that my dear aunt expects each Christmas. I have some work to finish. And in just a couple days it will be Christmas, which comes with a promise that no other day can match.

So how about you? What do you think of solstice?

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Indiana April 2009 040I pull on my soft, warm nightgown and slip into bed, snuggling under the covers. A comfortable drowsiness settles over me, as I turn off the light, ready for a good night’s sleep. However, the odds that I will wake in the morning rested and invigorated are slight. The fact is, I don’t generally sleep that well anymore. Something to do with getting older, I think. And yet, as I settle in for the night, I feel good. The anticipation outshines the reality.

I find the same concept applies to other areas of my life. I love looking through the seed catalog, planning my vegetable garden. Should I try a new variety of beans? Perhaps I should take another crack at broccoli. And how about a late pea crop this year? That might be fun to try. Planting brings renewed excitement. The freshly planted garden looks so beautiful with its neat rows and little green sprouts coming up here and there. I imagine it with mulch laid down between all the rows, squash tendrils reaching out across the straw, corn stalks reaching for the sky. The problem is I rarely get all the mulch out before the heat arrives. Then the weeds shoot up, and my energy level plummets. By the end of summer, I am likely to be digging through the weeds to find the vegetables.

Anticipation is a wonderful thing. It’s the vision that keeps us going through hard days of work, through long nights with a screaming baby, through sadness and pain and confusion. Because we anticipate the reward at the end—whether it be vacation or a rewarding career or a child grown into a fine young adult—we can keep going. Even if the reality never quite matches the vision.

Anticipation is hope, and hope is what gives life meaning. And so I plan the garden and put in my work hours, teach my Sunday school class and write these words, because I have a Hope that keeps me going—a Hope that whispers to me that someday the reality will far outshine the anticipation.

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