July 13, 2024 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags: , ,

My windows are scheduled to be replaced at the end of the month. I’ve been cleaning up neglected shrubs to make sure the installers can easily reach everything. In particular, some junipers under my dining room window got overgrown by a large yew that I didn’t cut back for several years because, like most people, I was feeling blah during the pandemic and wasn’t motivated to do much in the yard. The junipers died, and now I’ve removed them, leaving a bare window and mossy bricks that need a good scrubbing.

Photo of a window in a brick wall with bare ground under it.

After the new windows have been installed, I plan to have a landscaper put in more junipers this fall, and hopefully I’ll take better care of them going forward. For now, though, the area in front of my dining room is nothing but clear ground, open to possibilities, which leaves me feeling happier—as if I’ve made space to welcome unexpected blessings.

During my workday, I watched a video about creating prompts for artificial intelligence. I wore headphones so as not to disturb my husband, who shares the home office with me. The video had some amusing moments, and at one point I laughed out loud. My husband looked over and smiled.

Later in the day, I noticed that my Garmin tracker showed two long restful periods while I was working. I mentioned that to my husband because it was unusual. He said that watching a good presentation must have left me feeling more relaxed than usual. The first restful period was indeed the time when I watched the video, so he was right about that. I hadn’t realized it made so much difference!

Word-art that says, "Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing." -Jarod Kintz

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

My husband and I went for a good easy row yesterday afternoon before grilling hamburgers at the rowing club’s annual picnic. The boathouse is located close to downtown Dayton, so we have a great view of the City of Dayton fireworks, which were on July 3rd this year. Volunteers had put down fresh gravel between the boathouse and the dock just last month, which made a good surface to put down our sports chairs and watch the show. Fun for everyone!

Word-art with fireworks that says, "Wishing you a sparkling 4th of July filled with pride, honor and lots of fun!"

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to encourage self-nurturing and to “give the planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.”

All parts of this story are consolidated on one page here.

Nellie stopped in mid-screech when she got close enough to see her daughter’s slack, unconscious face and the bloodstains on the child’s torn skirt. The rolling pin that she had been brandishing fell from her hand, landing with a dull thud on the wet ground. Next to it, a cobweb quivered atop the grass, catching the light in spiraling reflections.

Photo of a spiderweb in wet grass.

(Photo credit: Liz West)

Going down to her knees, Nellie raised Mabel’s skirt just enough to see the large scar that had not been there earlier, from an injury that could have been healed only by magic. She shook her head twice slowly, as if dazed, and then lifted her head and met Ina’s eyes.

“Did you…”

Nellie’s speech trailed off raggedly, as she mustered the courage to go on. She bit her lip and tried again, her voice so faint that Ina, standing a few paces away, could barely hear her words.

“Did you bring her back from the dead?”

Ina took a step closer and replied just as quietly. Although Mabel did not yet appear to be regaining consciousness, it was possible she might hear, and Ina did not want to frighten her.

“No. But it was close.”

Biting her lip even harder, until a drop of blood could be seen, Nellie lowered her gaze again. Her face had gone paler than the child’s as she watched the slow rise and fall of Mabel’s chest. She gathered the little girl into her arms and rose to stand.

Only then, glancing warily back and forth from Ina to her house like a frightened animal getting ready to bolt to its den, did Nellie appear to take in the details of Ina’s bare, scratched feet and sopping wet dress.

“If you, uh, want,” Nellie stammered, her bitten lip twitching as she looked into Ina’s eyes again, “there’s hot tea in the house—I was brewing it just now—and fresh scones. I have a clean dress that you can put on until yours is dry, and ointment and bandages for your feet.”

While that wasn’t an apology or even a wholehearted invitation, Ina supposed it was the best she could expect, given Nellie’s fear of witches. Even if begrudging, it was an offer of hospitality, and it felt like one that should be accepted. Although she couldn’t have explained why, Ina had a sense that there was something more she needed to do here.