Keeping things real

It’s easy to lose perspective if we stay inside too much. When the news is particularly distressing to hear and the dark clouds seem to be gathering on the horizon, it is time to go out into the beautiful world and look.
A walk in the woods in the sunshine is great medicine for the spirit. Especially at this time of year, when nature is literally bursting at the seams. Everywhere I look there is the promise of new life and great things to come.

olivia6-25 Page 4A.inddThe azaleas are popping out, and the dogwoods have spread their lacy limbs throughout the woods.
The Japanese maple I bought for a song last year at the flea market made it through the winter and has put on new leaves. The Yashima cherry tree bloomed even though a large tree had fallen on it during the winter and broken off some branches.
The ground squirrels didn’t eat the tulip bulbs I’d planted in a pot. Yahoo!
The first miracle of the week was the appearance of a beautiful swallowtail butterfly. We’d heard that the extremely warm weather in December had brought butterflies out prematurely and then cost them their lives during the freeze.
The swallowtail flying around my pansies was alive and well. I guess he hadn’t heard he was supposed to be dead. So take that, doom and gloom.
It’s hard to despair of current events when there’s a concert of sound and color all around.
Just a few days ago, a visit to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher showed an amazing view of an environment normally invisible to us.
The seahorse aquarium was a trip to another world and another life form. We were there during feeding time and watched these tiny, delicately formed creatures eat. They wrap their tails around stalks of sea grass and flutter their wing-like fins to maintain an upright position while they eat brine shrimp.
The scene looked like something from an animated Walt Disney film.
We got to touch the back of a stingray as it swam and learned about horseshoe crabs. I never knew they had fingers on their arms used to feed themselves.
We watched sea anemones unfurl their petal-like appendages and then recoil when startled.
The display about hurricanes was especially interesting as it compared the force and destruction of each.
The volunteer manning the sea shell exhibit was highly knowledgable. She explained that during a storm surge when the ocean rises, large shells can be found unbroken on the shore afterward, because the water levels rise far above the rocky outcropping offshore that normally shatters shells.
Add that to the list of things I never knew. It is a very long list and gets longer every day.
There are things I still want to find out, but as for now, God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world.