The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Everyone has heard the disparaging comment about someone who is foolish that they have a ‘bird brain’; this label must stem from the fact that birds are small and have brains proportionate to their bodies.

But the other day we saw a television segment showing a small bird weaving its nest and it was fascinating and took a lot of skill, and as we watched, several thoughts occurred to us.

First of all, birds meet some of the definitions we use to define humanity.  Birds can use their claws and beaks to build nests and some nests we have seen in photographs are rather awesome architectural accomplishments.  Birds use materials such as grasses and twigs to build and they are selective in choosing what will work and what will not.  Birds communicate; it is thought that bird song is more than the lovely music it sounds to us humans.   And some species of parrots not only learn to mimic human speech, they also recognize the beat in human music and can respond accordingly, something no other animals than man can do (but not every human – personally, I ain’t got no rhythm!). 

Also, migratory birds find their way over thousands of miles from one place to another.  The truly fascinating thing about that is that some birds returning from migration have never been that way before.  They were born during migration and are following some sort of inherited internal guide.

Many species of birds mate for life, not an easy task considering the vulnerabilities in their lives.

Considering all these abilities, maybe we should all wish we had bird-brain capabilities, or perhaps even just use the ones we have.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


So what would we do without them all?  If you think back to the last decade-plus of natural and man-made disasters, think then about who are always the most involved?  Firefighters, police, teachers, nurses and doctors.  I’d suggest going back to the dawn of civilization but our memories as a race are so short.

But just consider the events just from 9/11/2001 until now, involving certain people running toward the problems.  Firefighters and police always head to where the problem is.  The first instinct of teachers is to protect the children.   Nurses stayed with a mother having a baby in the middle of a tornado in Oklahoma.  The thing in common with all these folks is that they provide the structure of our society.  We could manage quite nicely in many ways without Congress, at least the one we have now, but what would we do without our firefighters, police and teachers?  Without the nurses and doctors who always head to where they’re needed.   And the folks in these professions choose their fields, choose to put themselves on the line, choose too many times to sacrifice. 

So how do we recognize these folks?  We allow our local and state and federal governments to minimize their salaries while at the same time asking more and more of them.  Oh, we make a lot of noise when disasters occur, but then that famous short-term memory kicks in.

Do we really want to forget the heroes of 9/11?  Do we want to forget the teachers and administrators who ran toward the gunfire at Sandy Hook Elementary?   Or the folks like the nurse who waded through flood waters toward her hospital to help when Superstorm Sandy struck?  Or the brave souls who died in West, Texas, trying to put out a fire?  Or the teachers who covered their children in the schools at Moore, Oklahoma.  I say “their children” because when they have that responsibility, those children become theirs.

We need to become a nation of activists.  Oh, not the kind who riot and picket, but the kind who go to local government meetings, who insist on recognizing and keeping the folks who hold our society together.  The ones we count on being there when something terrible happens, with their hands out to give, not to take.

Monday, May 20, 2013


It’s no secret to those who know me well, or even just acquaintances, that I love daylilies, not above all other flowers, but daylilies have a special place with me.  Every flower is ephemeral to some extent, in that no flower that I know of lasts for a whole season, but daylilies set a record in that they last for only just a day, so why would anyone be so fond of them?  Well, speaking to the flower aspect, because well-established daylilies send up so many bloom stalks with so many buds, individual plants can easily bloom for weeks.   My first desire, every morning, at this, the blooming time of year for daylilies in our part of the world, is to go out first thing in the ‘coolth’ of the morning and see what is blooming.  Some plants are old friends; I have about three varieties I have grown for decades and which I have taken starts of with us through several moves.  Some plants are newer, but all the blooms are welcomed, every season, every day, new variety or old. There are so many colors and singles and doubles and large and miniature, and many are very fragrant.  And did I mention that they are tough?

Speaking to the philosophical aspect of these lovely plants, every day is a new day for daylily blooms, as well as for us.  It’s so very easy to take every day for granted, each day full of tasks and plans and expectations, but just like those daylily blooms, every single day is unique and special and, for us, we try very hard to remember that with gratitude, and we have those lovely blooms to remind us.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Not a clue

There have been some incredible events over the last few weeks.  Actually there are incredible events all the time, but some events are more horrific than we can imagine.  Just in the last few weeks, there were the Boston Marathon bombings, there was the ghastly destruction of so much of the small Texas town of West, and then while we were all still reeling, there was the rescue of three young women and a child from an apparently ordinary house in an ordinary neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio.

There’s no need here to review what happened each time; we all know what and when and where and how, if not why.  But there is one thought I hope we all keep in our minds and at the front of our attention:  the people who ran to help.   The events in Boston were horrific but as the cameras showed the blasts, they showed so many folks who ran to help; some were injured themselves in the second blast.  In West, ten of those who ran to help died. 

In Cleveland, no one died, thank goodness, but David Von Drehle, in an article in the May 20 issue of Time Magazine, describes something extraordinary,  “…Cleveland also learned something about the unassuming dishwasher Charles Ramsey, who heard a cry for help and ran toward it.  He had no idea what he was going to find:  ‘Bro, not a clue,’ [Ramsey] told the TV cameras.  And yet he went.  This too was a revelation.” 

There could have been someone threatening someone with a gun or a bomb or whatever.  And Ramsey had no special training, no weapon, no thought of any kind except to put down the food from Macdonald’s he was eating and go to help.  Because Charles Ramsey heard and acted, lives have been changed.  In all these events and so many more, differences were made, lives were saved, because of ordinary people who didn’t have a clue what exactly was going on.