Is that flower wild?

Or is it just having fun?

I had the joy of observing these two patches of flowers yesterday.

One is wild in the woods and the other is wild in the garden. Judging books by their covers, are we?

But someone has written that having a book in your pocket is like having a garden in your pocket. Then where do the wild flowers belong?

But anywhere you find them, they are a discovery pleasure of spring.

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Wild in the garden

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Wild in the woods

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May in Paris

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…but for me it was April in Paris until…

I had to write this. Stroke is more common than many realize. This may be helpful to those for the first time encountering stroke affected close friends and loved ones.

Just about a year ago, I was visiting a nice park in Paris. It was a quiet Sunday morning. Roses and irises were in full bloom. The day was clear. The sun, getting higher, was bright and warm. There were plenty of public benches in the park. All the benches were empty. I looked for one in the shade with a good view over the gardens.

I sat down and immediately felt very tired. I then felt strangely obliged to do what my normal public bench common sense would never allow—lean over and lie down, using my day pack as a pillow. Everything went dark. After some unknown amount of time, I heard voices; but I couldn’t see anything. Still all dark—like my eyes were shut tight. I couldn’t open them. That’s how I remember it. But I could hear more and more voices, the voices of families that I figured had started visiting the park.

Well, that was the stroke onset. Making a long uncomfortable story shorter, I was then three weeks in an emergency ward of a Parisian hospital. Lots of strange stuff. But here is the quick and dirty. Couldn’t write, couldn’t walk, couldn’t swallow. Feeding tube in the nose, IV in hand, arm, everywhere, you know the ‘find the vein’ hospital drill. Nurses firmly reminding me ‘ne bougez pas’, like I had a choice. Fortunately, I knew French. That brain skill remained. I could not move in the bed. No toilet. No cleaning. The nurses did everything for me. I had time and capacity to think.

‘Was this my peak recovery? Is this the rest of my life? Will I ever leave the hospital? Will I ever see my family? Will I ever walk again? Will I ever be able to feed myself? Will I ever be able to clean myself?’ That was some depressing sh*t.

So one year later, after  a lot of will power, therapy and the gracious help of family, therapists, nurses and staff, I am walking in my own neighborhood with my family. I am writing, eating and cleaning myself in what I tell myself is d*mn near a normal life. Every case is different, I am told; but this post is about hope and continually taking one small step at a time.

On a walk this week, I took these three Spring photos to depict the hope and glory and reality of the human condition.

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Will every flower that’s happy please stretch out your petals toward the sun?

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Who can’t feel the beautiful richness of the season?

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The remnants of this tree, as it becomes repurposed by other natural elements, remind me of the struggles of every human, having gone through three score and ten. No one gets out without giving up some, without losing some. But in the end, even in the remnants can be found a certain beauty.

 

 

On Ecology–Kenneth Grahame

International Authors' DayBetween 14-18 July 2015, on each day, I will be making a post in celebration of International Authors’ Day, featuring review of works by Kenneth Grahame, J.L. Borges and Algernon Blackwood, authors whose works have been formative inspirations for me.

These posts will be made as part of a Blog Hop as can be seen and visited through the links at the bottom of each post.

Today is 15July2015.
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On Ecology–Kenneth Grahame
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Kenneth Grahame, 1859-1932, access to his works at Gutenberg.

…now where is that portal…

Especially in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, E.H. Shepard’s illustrations imparted the author’s deep feelings for the forest landscape and its inhabitants.

While many think of Wind in the Willows (1908) as Toad of Toad Hall–it really is an intimate picture of the landscape around which Kenneth Grahame grew up and always loved.

I think of him as the first Ecologist. Most of us, when we think of ecology, think first of the Odum brothers in the 1950s. But for me, it was the observational powers of Kenneth Grahame–how the flora and fauna intimately interacted on diurnal and seasonal bases in his own local patch.

The following two minute sound clip documents Kenneth Grahame’s heartfelt understanding of the landscape.

I respect, I highly value his powers of observation. Unfortunately his efforts have been blacklisted, by some cultural revisionists, as anthropomorphic, but…that bit of censoring is only as transient in time as a slight breeze on a hot, still, summer day.

Kenneth Grahame’s work will return–be it Wind in the Willows, 1908 or Pagan Papers, 1893 when he was already asking ‘Are we irrevocably cut off from the natural world, or might there still be a way back to it?’

He knew of the power in the landscape.
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Plants: how do they inspire you?
Please answer that question because on the last day of this International Authors’ Day Blog Hop, I will randomly select a winner to receive The 23 Club, Beta 6, a free giveaway for your reading enjoyment.