Enjoying the Journey

When I set out on my walk last night with Jazzmin down that access road I’d never traveled before, I didn’t know where it led. But I went anyway. I don’t know if that’s brave or stupid or both, but it’s part of what makes me the person I am. I don’t shy away from the unknown anymore, I explore it until it’s known and understood by me. Life is full of endless journeys and even when you think you know the destination, you really don’t.

During the return walk on the farmer’s access road, I opened my eyes to more of what was around me. I discovered a plethora of mayapples blooming beneath the numerous trees and I saw several flowering bushes that were unfamiliar to me.

A single may apple blossom

A single may apple blossom

The whole hill was covered with blooming may apples!

The whole hill was covered with blooming may apples!

Most of these bushes had white flowers but this one had pink flowers.

Most of these bushes had white flowers but this one had pink flowers.

There are several areas along the road where the view through the trees is breathtaking in its expanse. As I crested the hill once more and walked down it toward home I could just make out my house in the distance. It helped put things in perspective as to where exactly I was.

My house is that yellow speck in the distance.

My house is that yellow speck in the distance.

My yellow house and my white Matrix.

My yellow house and my white Matrix.

It was an amazingly nice night and quite peaceful since no one was mowing their lawns or weed whacking or leaf blowing. The birds were happily flying among the trees and I was relaxed because I knew we wouldn’t encounter any dogs on this road. Jazzmin enjoyed sniffing all the new scents and there were tons of deer track imprints in dry dirt that had recently been mud.

Jazzmin taking in all the new scents.

Jazzmin taking in all the new scents.

The walk helped reinforce to me that it’s like that saying, life is more about the journey than the destination. I do have a destination in mind for my life, in many respects I know exactly what I want. I have however learned that what I want has a way of transforming into something unexpected. I’m working hard toward achieving my goals and dreams but I know better than to focus solely on the destination without taking in every step of the journey. I am hopeful that I have many new and interesting journeys ahead and I am confident that no matter the destination, I will never take one moment of this life for granted.

amazing view

The view through an opening in the trees.

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Backyard Adventures

I am someone who always tries to see the upside of things. Sometimes it’s harder to do than other times. I’ve learned to see the potential in situations and objects that perhaps other people don’t. A little belief and hope can go a long way toward achieving your dreams and as I often say, I always have hope!

While doing yard work two weekends ago, I looked behind my smaller shed and realized for the first time that there was a wooden bench thrown back in among the prickers. I don’t know how I’ve missed it the past two summers but the moment I saw it, I saw potential.

Wooden bench tossed behind my shed

Wooden bench tossed behind my shed

It looked sturdy and solid so I stepped back in among the prickers and dragged it out, suffering numerous scratches to my shins and forearms in the process. Once I set it upright in the grass I discovered it was a little dirty and a little wobbly. Nothing a good sanding and tightening of screws couldn’t fix!

The bench free of the prickers

The bench free of the prickers

I’ve been wanting a bench to sit in and enjoy my yard and I felt it rather fortunate that the previous owners had discarded something that I knew I could easily refurbish. With some sanding, adjustments, painting and the addition of a cushion, I felt the bench could be a lasting addition to my property. I also decided that I wanted to have it all fixed up by my father’s birthday so I could dedicate it to his memory. It seemed simple enough.

The following Friday I headed out after my office job on the quest for a bench cushion and paint. I’ve become rather fond of spray painting because it covers fast and dries quickly so I picked up some medium blue spray paint at the store. I thought I’d be able to find a bench cushion in the same store but alas none of the cushions they carried were even remotely appealing. I also realized that one-piece replacement bench cushions might not exist. I then checked three more stores but couldn’t find an adequate replacement cushion and I felt extremely discouraged.

I’m not one to throw in the towel so I decided I’d at least sand and paint the bench Saturday and head out Sunday on the cushion quest again. Saturday was a beautiful spring day and I spent almost the entire day outside mowing, weed whacking, trimming trees, raking, cleaning my car, walking Jazz and yes, I even managed to fit in thoroughly sanding the bench and tightening the screws. I was exhausted by the end of the day but still hopeful that Sunday I’d find a cushion for the bench.

Sunday dawned bright and beautiful as the sun streamed in through the curtains of my end window. I’d planned on getting an early start but my tired body said otherwise so I lingered in bed until almost 9am. Once fed, showered and dressed I headed out to the nearby town where I was certain one of the stores would have the cushions I needed. The downside of it being such a lovely weekend was that everyone had already been to the stores and pretty well depleted the stock of attractive replacement cushions. I now knew there was no way I was going to find a one-piece bench cushion so I’d decided I’d buy two chair cushions. Even that decisions didn’t seem to help.

I finally found cushions that were pretty, inexpensive and the right size and I was able to return home triumphant. I placed the two replacement chair cushions on the bench and they fit perfectly! I was so pleased with myself. That afternoon my oldest daughter, Jordan helped me spray paint the bench and as it was windy, that proved quite an interesting undertaking. By the time we’d put two coats on the bench, my arms and legs were speckled with blue paint.

That task accomplished, I set about refurbishing the red Radio Flyer wagon my mother had given me. It had been sitting out behind my house in the elements so the inside had become too rusty to safely sit in. I’d had the brilliant idea to use it as a planter for the flowers that were overcrowding my pots and I felt it could be a little portable garden. I placed rocks down in a layer then the soil on top and dug in with bare hands, playing in the dirt until all of my snapdragons, pansies and daisies were happily planted. Once it was complete and the chair was dry enough to put the cushions on, I set both projects under my big back pine tree and snapped a photo of my accomplishments.

Comfy bench and portable wagon garden

Comfy bench and portable wagon garden

I’d done it! I’d finished the bench and the wagon garden by my father’s birthday! I knew his spirit was proud of me and I was proud of myself. My daughters and I sat on the bench that evening watching the birds at my back feeder and the bluebird even made an appearance atop my other back pine tree. The next evening my mother came over for dinner for my father’s birthday and we sat in the bench watching the birds again. It was very calm, comfortable and peaceful.

My daughters enjoying the bench

My daughters enjoying the bench

I’d discovered yet again that even the simplest seeming plans don’t always turn out being that way. Never giving up hope and purpose really are the key to success at anything and sometimes if you can’t go over an obstacle, you have to find a creative way around it. Life is all about the journey and it’s full of more than a single destination. Adventures don’t have to happen in exotic, far off places. They exist right in your own backyard.

Lunch Walks Down Main Street

Mystery blossoms on a fruit tree shaped into a bush

Mystery blossoms on a fruit tree shaped into a bush

Tons of tulips and other flowers

Tons of tulips and other flowers

Tulip Tree blossoms about to bloom

Tulip Tree blossoms about to bloom

I only work part-time at my office job so I get a half hour lunch break every day before most people even think about lunch. When the weather is nice like it finally is here, the highlight of my work day is going for a walk down Main Street on my break.

Spring has finally sprung so flowers are blooming, leaves are coming out and birds are flitting happily about. I love to see how things change from day-to-day. The tulips open up more, the hyacinth blooms get too top-heavy and droop over, forsythia bushes burst out in yellow flowers and fruit trees show off with lovely pink, red and white blossoms. I always stop to smell the flowers, take pictures and feel joy that I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies.

I’ve always got my ear buds in listening to my latest mix on my MP3 player and the tempo of the music influences my pace. This week’s mix consists of Usher, Olly Murs and Little Mix so I’ve been really strutting down the Main Street sidewalks. I’ve also thrown in a little sound clip of Iron Man saying “Doth Mother know you weareth her drapes?” from my favorite movie, The Avengers. Every time that clips comes on I can’t help but grin!

I encounter a few of the same people when I walk and usually smile or say “hi” as I pass. There’s an older gentlemen who walks his dog named Daisy and we always exchange pleasantries. Daisy is an adorable little Shepherd mix and she came from Happy Tails which is the same shelter I adopted Jazz from. She’s also still learning the right way to walk just like Jazz. Daisy is always friendly and happy to see me and I can tell she has a great heart.

I do occasionally get honked at by passing cars and motorcycles and I find that amusing. It’s also somewhat flattering because it means that even as a single mother of two, I’ve still got what it takes to grab a little bit of attention now and then. Honk away but don’t expect me to stop because I have the sun to warm me, the clouds to shade me, the wind to cool me, a beat to walk to, flowers to sniff and admire and a mission to accomplish. Just another girl on a walk down Main Street…

Touching Spring

One of my lilac bushes overflowing with buds!

One of my lilac bushes overflowing with buds!

This past winter was rough. Never ending snow and cold and misery. I looked hopefully forward to spring and warmth and when it finally seemed to arrive I was ecstatic! Alas then the cold returned and just this past Saturday it snowed. I had a lot of writing work to do this weekend so staying inside was fine but I didn’t enjoy seeing flakes blowing past my windows the third week of April. I know there have been winter storms in May before where I live and I remember them less than fondly. I have no desire or energy for that.

When it has warmed up periodically this “spring” I’ve rejoiced in the golden sunshine and bright blue skies. All the trees are budded out eager to release leaves and my beloved lilacs will have a bumper crop this year! If only it would warm up and say warm!

Lilacs are my favorite flower. I grew up with an entire row of them growing behind my childhood home. Their sweet fragrance in the spring still evokes happy memories and I could lay beneath their lavender and white blossoms for hours contentedly. Last year almost all of my beautiful blooms wilted and expired because the weather warmed up way too early in March and then got so cold the night-time frost damaged the flowers beyond recovery. So this year I am hoping for redemption! I want to be able to hold bushels of lovely lilacs in my hands and bury my nose in them until I’m intoxicated by their natural perfume.

For now I must wait because Mama Nature is grumpy after the winter and is less than forthcoming with consistent warmth. I’ve joked with my friends that someone needs to get Mama Nature some chocolate or a fun spring fling to alleviate her hormonal mood swings. I am just as eager to bloom and soak up the sunshine as the flowers and trees around here. I want to do more than just touch a hint of spring here and there, I long to be completely caressed and encompassed in its renewal and beauty.