Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Tick Season Has Arrived

Image result for deer tick
The nymph on the right is about as big as a period. Period.

I hate to mention it, but it's above 28 degrees outdoors. The snow is still on the ground, and the temperatures in recent days have reached a high of 50. So pleasant.

Now for the bad news: Tick season has begun. Yes, ticks like it cool. They creep into action at around 28 degrees.

It's easy to think that snow = cold = ticks are still asleep. But the snow is no protection. The snow lulls us into a false sense of security.

It's time to spray all my clothes with permethrin. Or send them off and let Insect Shield do it for $8 a piece.

We protect our bodies. How do we protect our minds?

Protect your mind by practicing loving-kindness. You don't have to start with loving-kindness toward ticks. Start with someone easy--such as your dog or cat. Protect them from ticks, and thereby protect them from smuggling ticks into your house. Protect yourself and love your pet.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Love Flower

Agapanthus is blooming in my solarium. A friend gave me 3 pots of agapanthus 3 years ago. One bloomed last summer. Now the other two are blooming.

I love its delicate blue flowers on a tall stem. "Love" is part of its name--agape. The love flower (agape + anthos) reminds us to open our heart. It's easy to begin with a flower. Gaze at it for five minutes, ten, half an hour, and feel the joy as the mind quiets to reveal love is all around us, all the time.

I love the friend who gave me this love flower.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sweet and Sour

Image result for sugar on snow pickle
Hot maple syrup poured over snow
so it becomes like taffy.
Served with a dill pickle.
Did i tell you that the sugar-on-snow church dinners include a dill pickle with the maple syrup drizzled on the snow? Sweet and sour, New England style. Sweet and sour--like life.

The 8 Vicissitudes sum up sweet-and-sour perfectly.

Gain and loss,
Pleasure and pain,
Praise and blame,
Fame and disrepute

come and go like the wind.

Stand like a great tree 
in the midst of them all.

As much as we only want the sweet of life, the sour is often served up soon thereafter.

When i am praised, i don't take it seriously, because i can guess what's coming down the pike--today, next week, or next year. Blame. Ouch!

Take the sweet and sour together, and you have the whole world.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Drilling for Maple Sap

Image result for drill maple trees sap
The drills were out today--drilling holes in maple trees to tap them for sap. Oh, boy. I know what that means: fresh, hot maple syrup coming my way very soon. Maple syrup church dinners with hot syrup poured on snow. Oh, my. I'm melting just imagining it.

But first: 40 gallons of sap boils down to 1 gallon of syrup. Sort of like our life. 40 years of experience boils down to a small amount of wisdom. Now i know better than to....  Now i know when to shut my mouth. "Life is short" and other pithy sayings.

Wisdom. Isn't that what we really want? Peace and wisdom.

Drill past superficial appearances. Drill down into your base of love and kindness. That's where the sweetness is.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Red-Twig Dogwood

Image result for red twig dogwood snow

Red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea) is especially beautiful in the winter when its red twigs stand out against the white snow. My red-twig has variegated leaves, which make it interesting all summer long. The dogwood flowers do not look like dogwood flowers; instead, they look like an umbrella cluster of small white flowers.

I have to prune it back to the ground every two or three years in order to obtain the bright red young growth. Old branches are thick and brown, sort of like old people.

Ah, the beauty of youth.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Half-Price Roses

On Valentine's Day, my sweetie had knee surgery, so 3 days later, when he drove to town for physical therapy, he brought home a bouquet of red roses.

"Happy Valentines Day," he hugged me. "The roses were half price."

That's my McSweetie--scotch with his dollars. Sometimes, he's a thrifty Scotsman; sometimes he's frugal. Sometimes, he's just plain stingy.

Generosity is the antidote to stinginess.

My McSweetie was generous to me: red roses for Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Pileated Woodpecker

Image result for pileated woodpecker
A pileated woodpecker is visiting our maple tree. Again. She was here last winter and left foot-long holes in one of the big branches. A living branch. The one next to it was dead. But i have to trust that the woodpecker knows her business. She knows where to find carpenter ants.

So it is with our bodies. My body looks healthy, feels healthy, and then the doctor finds something and cuts it out.

Maybe the pileated woodpecker is a tree surgeon?

Photo courtesty of audubon.org