Friday, April 13, 2007

All Dried Up


It’s April 13th and snow storms are still raging in the northern part of the country. Winter arrived late and is refusing to leave on schedule. Should I complain about the recent freeze that sucked the life out of the bright green leaves on the Crepe Myrtles? No, I shouldn’t. But I haven’t seen so many trees and plants take such a beating in mid-April.

I walked the campus today, thinking of a possible site for the Wildlife Habitat I’m organizing with the college. A naturalist employed by the State of NC will be meeting with me and a small group of campus employees for a tour of the grounds to determine a few good sites for our project.


There is something about new, bright green, moist leaves in early Spring that shakes me up. There is a lot of life around. It’s been put on hold, that’s all.

Of the six campuses, we are the only campus without a water supply. There is a creek bed behind the buildings that is swamp-like and dries up completely during summer months. To gain certification for a Wildlife Habitat, we need water! The small amount of money we've been granted won’t even cover a truckload or two of mulch, so installing a water feature is out of the question unless we rely on community partners/donations.


The Japanese Willow on my pond survived the freeze very well! Ahhhh… It’s a young tree and is quite beautiful!

I took the afternoon off and went to buy some sunflower seed and stopped at Target to buy stuff to wrap gifts for a bridal shower Gina and I are attending tomorrow. The cold rain is gone so I wiped the feeder ledges clean and enjoyed the sunshine but my wedding anniversary post from last night kept haunting me.


Why does Old Man Winter do this? Was that me in those photos? How can that be me when I see myself in the mirror now? (really profound, huh?) The thought behind that post and choosing those photos invoked some emotions that I didn’t think I had. I’ve never fretted over aging and always accepted the inevitable. Now I’m heartsick, missing that young girl I once was and a few times today I was on the verge of tears.

What saddens me more is that I regret being so critical of myself and insecure at that young age and for many years after. Why didn’t I enjoy the youthful beauty I owned? A harder question to answer: Why don’t I just accept my age, shut up about it, and take better care of myself? I always embraced a phrase I heard before, “A woman is like a bottle of wine, aging better over time.” Well, that’s a crock. I miss having one chin and resilient skin. My eyelids are beginning to rest on my eyelashes, the lines on my face are beginning to look like a road map, and my waistline disappeared years ago.

If someone tells me I’m silly and that I don’t look like a dried up hag, I won’t buy it. I know what I need to do to reverse aging and it doesn’t happen at the cosmetic counter, either (but it helps…). I have work to do to reverse some damaged I’ve unintentionally done to myself.


When I’m down and want to be alone, there are two little angels by my side that are always providing reasons to smile. They’re interested in bunny poop in this photo. Can you guess which butt belongs to whom?


We switched from rolling real golf balls in the house to throwing small Air Dogs that squeak! I can't figure why Bella looks taller than Chloe in this photo...hmmm. She's much wider than Chloe but a bit shorter.

A little while ago, I fed the pond fish and three Chickadees landed around the feeders. Did I have my camera? No. I shouldn’t curse under my breath to birds I love so much…


I feel so much better now.


KGMom said...

So, the anniversary post was all about promises to come--and today you are thinking about the whims of the weather. Hmmmm--like Ecclesiastes--to every thing there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Hawk is beautiful!
I too have grown older and my pants are tight!
It happens and I eat well and all of that but my feet are not as able to walk and do yoga, so I stand and watch the birds.
I understand the thoughts of when I was younger. I do not want to go back and I am not sure sometimes how to go forward. Thus each day I just love the birds and the plants and the bugs and find joy when and where I can.
Sounds as if you do the same.
If I can find the graceful way to be who I am today I sleep better at night.

dmmgmfm said...

All I can say is that you are a beautiful woman inside and out, Mary. Your inner beauty and your sense of humor, the love and tenderness you show towards all living things and your dedication to your family, those with fur and those without, makes you beautiful. The package it comes in is gorgeous as well as I can see from your avatar photo.

That being said, I can understand how you feel. We don't look like we did when we were 20 and sometimes it's hard to get past that. We have to remember that we are not 20, we are (insert age here) and we are beautiful, intelligent women.

You are beautiful, Mary.

Cathy said...

Oh Mary, Mary. Your cri de coeur resonates far too much. You're wise to try to move beyond the grieving for lost youth, but my experience at 60 is that it will be an ongoing ache that only family and friendship and cute little dog butts can ameliorate. I'm getting to the point where I dodge mirrors and remind myself of all the blessings that cushion this inevitable physical decline. Sorry. I know I should be more upbeat - but this has been a hard winter.

I LOVE that you're involved in the wildlife habitat project. Alright!

Cathy said...

OK. I just read Laurie's beautiful positive comment. THAT's what I meant to say :0)

Ruth said...

I am blessed to work with "old" people, many in their 9th and 10th decades. They consider me to be a 52 year old youngster. Everything is relative! Many of my patients are so young at heart that I hardly notice their physical decline. Age used to be respected, now we have unrealistic role models who spend too much money on cosmetic surgery and self centred spending. Do I want to be 20 again? No way! maybe 39 though ;-)

Anonymous said...

Happy Friday the 13th!! Very cool about your wildlife habitat that your doing. Something more areas should be doing. Love your puppy shots and whenever birds land near me, my camera isn't anywhere near! I know how you feel! Love the Red-tailed Hawk photo!

Susan Gets Native said...

Youth is wasted on the young, Mary.
I used to be all critical of myself, back when I was a whole 115 pounds and had legs to die for. Now, I would give my eye teeth for that bod.
As my Dad used to say: "I don't mind getting old. It's better than the alternative."
Being a 20 year old would mean that you would not be a mother to a stunning woman. You wouldn't have all those years with Michael.
I don't have the answers to the meaning of life or anything, and even if I tried to give REAL advice, I would get major eye-rolling, since I am the "baby" of The Flock.
Who give a damn how old you are? I loves ya!

Jayne said...

That's so exciting about your being involved in creating a wildlife habitat!

I agree with laurie... I know many people who are physically everything you'd wish you were, but are "ugly" due to their self absorbed ways. Beauty really is skin deep. And even though we all were once young with supple skin etc., remember how insecure we all were any way? I am so much more self assured now, and feel like I am living such a more authentic life, that I'll take my wrinkled forehead any day. Love you to girl!

Mary said...

Donna, yes, to everything there is a season...

Sherry, I agree with you, too. I do enjoy life so much more than I did when I was 20.

Laurie, here's right back at ya! We are all beautiful and a whole heck of a lot smarter than 20 year olds. For whatever reason, I dwelled on the past but I'm good to go today!

Cathy, I'm OK today. I felt I needed to express my grief and I'm glad you and others understand!

Ruth, so you can go to work and flaunt your youth! What a lucky girl! I'd loved my 30s, too :o)

Mon@rch, the WLH is going to be an on-going project. We'll start planting in the fall. Should be exciting but $$$ will play a key role.

Susan - Baby of the Flock - you are wise beyond your years. I wouldn't want to be 20 again, either for the same reasons.

Jayne, a good thing about my age is that I'm more content and secure that I was as a young girl. I'm finished whining, but it felt good to let it out!

Anonymous said...

I think we all go through similar feelings as we get older Mary. And you have two reasons to feel that way - your anniversary and birthday coming so close together. But even though these milestones are making you look're still beautiful and healthy and smart and wise...and you're getting better every day.
I try to remember what Mary Engelbreit once said.."don't look back." LOL
The pictures you shared today are beautiful as well...Bella and Chloe are just too cute! And that is one cool hawk photo!!!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Mary- With my upcoming 50th birthday I find myself often feeling a bit like you've described. But I think everyone else summed it up for me:
-youth IS wasted on the young
-everything IS relative and there IS a time for every season and we are supposed to have different seasons.
-I wouldn't trade my confidence for the insecurity of my youth for all the money in the world!!
-YOU ARE BEAUTIFULL!! IN EVERY WAY!! You are smart and funny and a fabulous friend.
The end.

Larry said...

I think the plant photos show nice texture and character. There is beauty in everything if you know how to appreciate it.

-That dog on the left looks a little scary with those red eyes.-Nice Hawk picture.

Anonymous said...

It is not about the package, it is what is in it! And, you have plenty in yours. You are very attractive, and your character shows through.
I am 56, and look every bit of it. But, I wouldn't go backward for anything. My days are filled with more than I ever have time to do. And I have PLANS for the future.

Kiss the dogs for me, I miss mine, she was a great friend for 17 years. I think you caught Bella up in the air-mid step.

Mary said...

Dorothy, "don't look back" is a good one. Thanks...

Lynne, let us know when you have a birthday. Fifty didn't bother me much. I need to stop looking at photos three decades old :o)

Larry, thanks for visiting! Every photo I took (maybe 10) had red eye....arrrrrgh!

Sandy, thank you! Have you ever thought of having another dog?

Susie said...

Hi Mary,
I saw your comment on Sonja's and decided to stop in and say hello. I enjoyed reading about your possible Wildlife Habitat and also the one below on your wedding anniversary.
Congratulations to both of you :)
My husband and I will be celebrating our 40th in June. Stop in and visit me any time! I love meeting new people!

Chrissie said...

Oh Mary! I could have written some of this post myself :-) I'm not quite fifty and keep seeing my mother every time I look in a mirror. Not that thats a bad thing necessarily but you know what I mean :-) I try to eat healthily, exercise and have taken on the allotment all in a bid to try to stay young at heart if nothing else :-) It's the clothes I wish for most, when I was young I didn't have the nerve to wear low cut dresses and short skirts, and now that I do I don't have the body :-) Will we ever be satisfied? I don't think we should be. Keep striving for you believe in! And good luck with your project!

Mary said...

Susie, thanks for visiting! YOU have a wonderfully uplifting blog and I plan to visit you often.

Chris, your statements are very true! Like you, I miss the clothes I never had the confidence to wear when I should have... LOL!

dguzman said...

Wow, did you hit the nail on the head. I look in the mirror and see my mother's body, my father's double chin, my grandmother's hands, etc. etc. I complain, but I don't do anything to bring back that youthful vigor (exercise--ugh!). Still, I think I'll always long for those Size 4 days, when my skin was taut and I wasn't so squishy around the middle (and the bottom, and the top).

sonia a. mascaro said...

Chloe and Bella looks adorable with the ball in their mouth! Cute, very cute!