Delights: June 3 to June 9

June 3: This morning, I found a poem from bentlily blogger Samantha Reynolds that echoes and augments a conversation about kindness I’ve been having with blog-friends Ju-Lyn and Manja.

Reynolds peppers her poem with lovely examples of generosity that are simultaneously extraordinary and ordinary. She writes:

“America is a skin of land
that holds 331 million hearts,
and if we could see
an aerial view,
the goodness
would light up
the map. . . .

“. . . The map is blinking again,
like a carpet of stars,
with endless examples
of humanity
and hope.”

Exactly. I grieve how — in our news, our anger, our despair — we are encouraged to forget that abundant goodness resides everywhere, here in the United States and all over the world. If we pause to look, I think each of us can find strong hands and generous hearts within reach. And I think we can be them too.

Speaking of tiny acts of kindness, my friend Lee sent me this photo of kayakers on the Potomac River, where we walked last week.

June 4: With my windows down and my sunroof open, I barreled down the highway to visit my best friend from law school, Joan, whom I hadn’t seen in 30 years. The day, the friendship, the exhilaration called for Bruce Springsteen’s album “Born to Run.” As I cranked the volume to match the wind, a Corvette zoomed past me. That was me! So I zipped my Prius into the fast lane and accelerated. I pretended to be the Corvette and instantly a wall of guitars, keyboards, drums and saxophone exploded into the song “Night.” (A neglected gem, “Night” is a wide-eyed, joyous version of “Born to Run.”) For a moment I was wild and free. 

Naturally, my Prius soon begged to return to a slower lane. But I played Night again and again. I’m a Prius, not a Corvette. I’m also everything in the song, which says: 

“You’re in love with all the wonder it brings
and very muscle in your body sings
as the highway ignites.
You work nine to five and somehow you survive till the night.”

A chanticleer at Chanticleer, which aptly describes itself as “a pleasure garden.”

June 5: Yesterday my friend Joan and I visited magnificent Chanticleer Garden, near Philadelphia. Joan told me the names of all the flowers — foxglove, lupine, bachelor’s button and more. She gently squeezed the cheeks of a snapdragon blossom and its mouth popped open. She found seats for us in a shaded terrace. And she made sure I noticed the blue wildflowers scattered in the wheat field — along with the pond, the “ruin” and all the whimseys scattered throughout the estate. 

Joined by her husband Don, Joan and I talked and laughed all weekend. This morning, we even compared Spelling Bee words. Yesterday, Joan urged me to choose all the paths (hill, creek, woodland) winding through beautiful Chanticleer. I did. And soon I’ll choose the highway that takes me back to her again.

A vista at Chanticleer
I hopped back to the “ruin” at closing time to take this photo. I got caught by the volunteer who was trying to herd everyone out of the garden. Her job makes catching frogs look easy.

June 6: I visited the beach at Assateague today and watched the ocean delight a dozen late-afternoon surfers. As I turned to leave, a dad and his two young children dropped their surfboards in the sand near me. The dad waxed the boards; the older child —a girl of about ten in a spiffy yellow-shouldered wetsuit —practiced her stance; and her eight-year old brother played in the sand. As last, father and daughter paddled out beyond the sandbar and waited for the perfect ride. Twice the father attempted to launch his daughter into a curling wave, but timing or balance thwarted her both times.

After a while, the little boy peeled on his wetsuit and paddled his miniature surfboard to a spot where his dad guided him through the breakers. Just as the family reunited in the “line-up,” I turned to go. Not very story ends in triumph or surprise.

Then a surfer caught my eye. In what appeared to be an tank-top wetsuit (how had I not noticed her before?), the surfer timed her wave perfectly and sliced a long diagonal line northward, squeezing every bit of push from the wave as she neared the beach. I walked away, but turned back hoping for one more glimpse of the father and daughter. And there they were, in shallow water. With a shock I realized that the “bare” shoulders of the elegant surfer were actually the yellow bits of the girl’s two-toned wetsuit.

I’m sipping my beer as I write this. Young lady, I salute both you and your dad, who clearly knows what he loves.

The little boy paddles out to the sandbar. The handful of black specks right-of-center (beyond the swell) are other surfers. That’s how far out he and his sister had to paddle.

June 7: Weeds pebble the garden like poppy seeds on a bagel. In the laundry room, bed sheets billow like cumulus clouds. Emails … well, I don’t want to talk about emails.

I also have a stack of magazines, a sunny patio corner, and a pitcher of water where ice cubes tango with lemon slices. Don’t tell anyone, but I know exactly how I’ll spend the next few hours.

Bonus: Speaking of gardens, I was gobsmacked by these photos of a bee sipping nectar from 100 Country Trek. We’ve all seen beautiful bee-and-flower photos (= every day, if you play the word game Spelling Bee). But these are extraordinary. I finally understand how bees pollinate the flowers.

A “tea cup” — actually a large ceramic planter — at Chanticleer filled with floating leaves and blooms. One of Chanticleer’s missions is to provide easy ideas for gardening at home.

June 8: My kind neighbors — the ones who planted holly bushes and banana trees in our garden — took me to lunch today. Their daughter and son-in-law own a waterfront restaurant called Harborside, where I’ve watched pleasure boats and fishing boats navigate out to the Atlantic Ocean. 

My neighbors invited me to choose our table: a sunny dockside seat along the channel? A breezy table under the ceiling fans? Let’s sit where you like to sit, I said. The bar, they said. Done.

We took our seats on stools that swiveled to the waterfront. The bartender greeted my neighbors with the snapped tabs of two cans of beers and then pulled a draft beer for me. Gradually, the three-sided bar filled with retirees like us. Everyone knew everyone else, and my neighbors made sure to introduce me around. I felt like I could walk into the bar tomorrow and find people to talk to.

As I sipped my second frosty beer, Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” started playing. In one of his great protest songs, Dylan reminds us that “we don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” True. But for these two hours of kindness, I decided to step out of the wind and instead let the breeze carry me away.

A late-afternoon view of the channel next to Harborside.

Bonus: Jeremiah introduced me to this 1964 video in which a very young Bob Dylan, standing in a London alley, uses cue cards to present the fast-paced lyrics of “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” It’s worth a look. See if you can find poet Allen Ginsberg standing at the edge of the frame.  

June 9: I spent a long, hot and frustrating morning in the garden. My task (and failure): to uproot tangled skeins of vinca vine that are choking our crepe myrtles and mailbox. Even a sunny outdoor shower didn’t relieve me. So I took myself out to lunch. 

I chose a small sometimes-open café called Surfside Rooster, where a few weeks ago I enjoyed a terrific cheesesteak and friendly conversation with a server around my age. We had exchanged names; by some memory miracle, I greeted her by name today and reintroduced myself. Cindy remembered the details of my order (yes, please: I’ll get my usual cucumber & onion salad with that peppers-onions-mushrooms cheesesteak). And while the kitchen worked, we talked about gardening and cooking for crowds. 

Eventually, arriving customers pulled her away and I turned to my book. We parted with assignments: Cindy will think up more recipes and I’ll search for Lime Basil seedlings. The iced tea, cheesesteak, complimentary pasta salad, and air-conditioning restored my equilibrium. Best, though, was eating in a place where someone knows my name.

At Surfside Rooster, this chandelier is fun if not functional.

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If you’d like to browse my past essays, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to my four published essays. I’m glad you’re here!

21 thoughts on “Delights: June 3 to June 9

  1. Where to start? The joy of the right music for a road trip, the gardens and flowers, the little things that pepper our days and make us smile. With so many awful things going on in the world, it is so important to think of all the good that is also out there. A simple ‘thank you’ or smile can make all the difference. As usual, you brighten up my Friday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love seeing my week through your eyes; you find joy in so many of your own special (and ordinary) places that a little bit of your joy seasons my own!
      You’re so right about the power of a smile (and certainly a kind word). It takes so little effort and the impact can be bigger than we imagine.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful poem! And the photos are excellent! 😊🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, friend. I am indeed having fun with my iPhone camera!

      Like

  3. Patricia Searle June 9, 2022 — 7:26 pm

    Carol Ann, LOVE reading your stuff. Reminds me to look for the beauty and excitement in everyday life. Sometimes, however, I feel exhausted after reading your post. Please feel free to inject some not-so-happy thoughts and experiences, which will only make your positivity more evident. If you are truly this joyful 24/7, you need to bottle and patent your secret. Miss being with you all in Virginia!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wise words, Patricia. I’ll bring more of not-so-happy experiences; at a minimum, I’ll keep writing about those frustrating vinca vines! And the traffic on that highway, or my chores….

      I hope you are thriving in England. I miss you too.

      Like

  4. Oh, that garden! I especially love the name “Chanticleer Garden.” No wonder you hopped back for another peek.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The garden was such a delight and a surprise. You can imagine how many photos I took! And yes, my heart can be full of misdemeanors when my eyes are fully of flowers!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carol Ann,

    Your post on June 3 left me breathless. There is something there for me I can’t quite identify. I know it has to do with us fumbling humans becoming as much Light as we can in our lifetimes. Thank you. Never stop writing.

    Love,
    Carolyn

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hear hear! I second this!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi, Carolyn. Your comment shimmers for me. Yes: let’s become as much Light as we can in our lifetimes. Beautiful.

      Coincidentally, I read this post from Richard Rohr this morning, which touches on something similar to your insight: “We can recognize people who have had a second baptism in the Holy Spirit. They tend to be loving. They tend to be exciting. They want to serve others, and not just be served themselves. They forgive life itself for not being everything they once hoped for. They forgive their neighbors. They forgive themselves for not being as perfect as they would like to be. —Richard Rohr”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Vainly, I am delighted to see my name on your June 3 entry. Even more glad that our conversations encourage & provide hope. And hopping happy, I discover through your link that Samantha Reynolds has a website too! (I follow her on Instagram). It is indeed a good morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Ju-Lyn. I was very pleased to mention you! I think there’s nothing vain about savoring a connection, and our names help us to do that! And what a nice coincidence about Samantha Reynolds. I learned about her from my yoga instructor. Hearing from you always brightens my morning!

      Like

      1. As always, I am touched by your generosity and our shared interests despite the distance.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you Carol Ann, and Jeremiah too, for encouraging me to rediscover Subterranean Homesick Blues. I’ve always found the lyrics challenging – different culture, different time, don’t they say that the past is a foreign country? – but I think I get it, a frenetic, dystopian masterpiece. Dylan was a genius, ahead of his time or maybe just outside of time altogether. And as a counterpoint to his cynical gloom, I think you’re right to remind us that abundant goodness resides everywhere. Humans are a social, co-operative species and most of us are essentially good…if only we can get beyond the politicians and media whose agenda is to persuade us otherwise. Great post, keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll be sure to share your Dylan comments with Jeremiah. Thank you! I also appreciate how you found the counterpoint. I hadn’t seen that until you mentioned it. I agree with you emphatically. And thank you for your encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Eavesdropping into your conversation, I am reminded of a talk by Simon Armitage on Bob Dylan & the controversy around his Nobel Prize. https://www.themicmagazine.co.uk/post/single-review-bob-dylan-murder-most-foul

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I am reading your June 4 entry … the exhilaration of open road and the right music blasting … for that brief moment, I, too was transported into the Corvette (in my case, on I35 from Waco to Dallas; I wasn’t driving that time either)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, I’d love to hear that story sometime. But I can certainly picture it!

      Liked by 1 person

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