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A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Today's Thought: Daffodils

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.


Just after the first of the year, M.P. ordered a mixed bunch of daffodil bulbs from a seed catalog and planted them in the front garden.  Now they are blooming beautifully and we have lots of assorted blooms to grace our dinner table, a mix of colors somewhat like what you see in the picture above.  (I have not been able to get a photo from our garden yet.)

Such a profusion of cheerful blooms has added to the gaiety of our recent dinners on weekends.  Last Saturday night, M.P. made talapia meuniere and a half-dozen crispy little crab cakes,   On Sunday he made a big pot of paprika chicken in thick, luscious gravy, served over rice - oh boy, talk about good!  The weekend before, I fried up a mess of breaded chicken livers, which M.P. swears no one else can cook as well as I can, even him - this is rank flattery of course, because there is nothing to it, but I am always glad when I can raise a smile on the old bear's face.  And then the next night he cooked a luscious, fork-tender pork roast with cream gravy and mashed potatoes that went down very well indeed.

And then there was that chocolate-strawberry-cream cheese trifle M.P. created on a whim - a sweet treat, you bet.

My long-time truckbuddies know that we like to eat our Sunday night dinners by candlelight, using the good china and crystal, and whatever holiday or seasonal decorations may strike M.P.'s fancy, and always with a background of beautiful music by Mantovani and other such artists (thank you, Pandora!) - again, I've not been able to snap any pics lately, but as I have said many times before on this blog, we are very grateful to enjoy the blessing of good food, good conversation, and good cheer together - which is about our only recreation.  Dinner for two at home may not sound very exciting to many people - but for us it's enough, and a worthy achievement for two Official Senior Citizens on a restricted income, who are no longer in the bloom of youth.

It could be much worse, you know.  In the days of green youth, full of strength and sap, we usually assume that things will always go well, and probably get better as time goes on - but in old age, you realize clearly that you are living on a knife edge; at any moment of any day, something could suddenly go wrong, and then -- too bad for you.  I was glad last week when the doctor gave M.P. a clean bill of health in his annual checkup.  But you never know, do you - physically, financially, all kinds of ways, nothing is guaranteed in this mortal life.  We must count every sunny day free from pain and want and sorrow a great gift, a treasure.

With very rare exceptions, life in our little hacienda is peaceful and pleasant - and yet, if I turn my thoughts to the big world outside, I am quickly overcome these days with disgust and dread and even despair.  Both politics and society in this modern age are so ugly, corrupt, and frightful that it takes a conscious, continuous act of will to keep them from flooding my waking thoughts with nausea.  I forbear to mention specific events or persons - including several particularly ghastly ones from just the last couple of weeks.  The modern world is infected and infested with horrors and abominations that have gotten to be as commonplace as the weather report.  

This is so wrong.  So very, very wrong.  What I see in the news are visions of barbarism, not civilization; unchecked and uncorrected, it will become a world not worth living in.  It seems to me it is very nearly that now, when we must fear bloody murder at school, at church, even in the grocery store.  There are still good people in the world - but flowers cannot grow on trampled ground.  To have a lovely garden, you must tend it carefully.

And lest I be misunderstood, there is blame a-plenty to spread around.  Today's conditions have been developing for a very long time; the madding world has been drifting further and further off course for many years, and in many ways.  Airheads and rockheads have both brought us to where we are today.  (Let the reader understand.)

I used to rant and rave on this blog about the crimes and injustices of the human race - I still think about doing so from time to time - but at this late age, I no longer want to disturb my own tranquility just to get something off my chest.  It does no real good - at best, it's preaching to the choir, and at worst, it's spitting into the wind.  Nor does my point of view necessarily coincide in all points with those of any particular party or platform:  the human race keeps falling off the narrow path, the via media, into the ditches on the right and on the left.  Both are just as deep and just as muddy.

So nowadays I don't speak out much - I did for a short time last summer, when all the riots started - but then that quickly went in a very wrong direction.  I did again in the fall, with the run-up to the election.  And perhaps I will do so again, but mainly I just don't know what to say anymore with the world becoming a madhouse run by the inmates - but I have to preserve my peace of mind, and the tranquility of our little world within these four walls.  No doubt the human race will continue lurching and slouching along whither it will, for good or ill, without my help.  

All of this rambling is just the run-up to a quote I want to share with you today, from Eleanor Roosevelt's "My Day" column in 1945.  She was talking about an elderly friend who was crippled with arthritis and fretting because she could no longer get out and work for the good causes she believed in.  Mrs. Roosevelt, meditating on her situation, says this:

I believe one thing to do is to fix our minds on what our ultimate objectives are. We should decide what are the main things which we want to see achieved, and then judge day-to-day happenings by whether that main trend is being adhered to. Even when the minor happenings seem to be set-backs, and in themselves are not quite the thing that, with our limited knowledge as citizens, we would want done, we must try to look at the whole picture.

Well, there you go.  Look at the big picture and hope for the best.  And be grateful for every happy moment.  That is what I am trying to say here.  That is all I can do at present.  It's enough; it has to be.

We must cultivate our garden.




Frank said...

Our daffodils were struck by a hard freeze just before they were ready to blossom...that is the luck of the draw here in New Mexico. Summer one day, back to winter the next.

As far as the good life, I said to Leon, "Remember the old saying, 'The best is yet to come'?"

"Well, it came and it went."

Russ Manley said...

Yes, M.P. mentioned to me a day or two ago that you fellas were getting snowed up again. That danger seems behind us now, but we are getting lots of rain, and last night a tornado came through the county - fortunately it did not touch down. This is the scary time of the year, the next couple of months.

"It came and went" - right. I suppose it always seems that way to old men, across the centuries, remembering "the good old days." But it does seem different now from the usual nostalgia - blood in the schools and supermarkets is a nightmare world. Not just different, but hellacious. God help us all.

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