Farewell to Summer


 eyes brightly reflect

flushed innocent faces

unlimited possibilities

vast as billowing clouds

grazing azure heavens

~Hopefulness swells~



shoulders rounded

life’s weight evident

dreams withered

cast like seed heads

astride stiffening winds

~Resignation settling~



isolated thoughts

whispering when…how

days’ limits palpable

reverberate bittersweet

in slowing gait

~Farewell to summer~

© LuAnn Oburn 2013

Time to bid adieu to summer, our season of myriad changes, emotions, and revelations, but mostly one of blessings, for time allowed to aid aging parents with their struggle to retain independence, light-hearted family visits, friends who touched us in innumerable ways, and the gift of continued inner growth. Although there are aspects of this summer we hope not to revisit, we are grateful for the wisdom we have gained.  Farewell Ohio!

Farm Update, Unwelcome Dinner Guests & a Refreshing Drink

The plants and seeds have all been lovingly placed into the earth, cared for like a mother attending to her newborn.  The cool weather garden, planted just after we arrived, has brought much delight to our palates, a variety of baby lettuces, spinach, and kale tantalizing our taste buds.  Yesterday our first tightly held broccoli head was removed and gingerly placed into the fridge, waiting to be savored.  We are also quite proud of our handmade recycled barn wood and wire fencing tomato stakes.  All things ‘green’ can be found in this section of the garden.

Bringing toxin-free vegetables from garden to table is something I am once again enjoying, if agonizing over a bit (ok, a lot) as the stress of too much rain and too little sun is seen in the yellowing leaves of the tomatoes and peppers.  We have painstakingly selected these heirloom varieties, with the thought of a fresh caprese salad in our future.  Hopefully Mother Nature will be kind and shine the warmth of her sun on us, gifting us with plump, juicy tomatoes and crunchy peppers.

Along with Mother Nature’s many ‘less than sunny’ faces, we have also had to contend with some unwelcome dinner guests.  Don’t you just abhor that, those who, unannounced, appear prepared for a meal?

I will admit to having a romanticized view of vampires, but the creepy little eight-legged insect discovered on the back of my neck after a long day toiling in the gardens was not welcome to taste of my blood!  Honestly I had not even considered the risk of ticks here in Ohio, but after Terry’s mother found two on her I photographed this ugly creature and sent him off to the “tick expert” in the state, who quickly responded with the identification of American dog tick.  Thankful that he was not the dreaded deer tick, carrier of Lyme disease, I wasn’t much happier to learn that he does carry Rocky Mountain spotted fever at times and that the tick population has exploded here in Ohio over the past decade.  So daily tick checks have been added to the agenda.

For the health of the garden, the cute, cuddly bunny, who seems to think this is home, is much more destructive.  She immediately discovered the carrots and collard greens and claimed them for her own.  I granted her that but when she moved on to sample mother’s beloved peas, something had to change, or according to mom, rabbit stew might be on the menu.  I opted instead for a couple of organic recipes to keep said ball of fur away.  We will see how that goes.

As for the squirrel population around here, the folks have been enjoying a game of ‘catch and release’ after Terry’s purchase of a cage.  These bushy-tailed little guys seem to annoy them more than anything else…go figure.

Although Mother Nature is toying with the vegetable garden, she is presenting some delightful bouquets, much ‘pretty in pink’ appearing in the flower beds.

And after a long hot day working in the garden (when the sun shines that is) ;), I have found a refreshing drink packed full of vitamins.  Given some of my earlier food posts, I can already imagine some of you turning up your noses.  For those more adventuresome, here it is:

Green Lemonade

2 handfuls of organic spinach

1 lemon, peeled and segmented

1 inch piece of fresh ginger root

1 diced pear

1/2 cup coconut water

Sweetener of your choice, if needed

Throw the above ingredients in a blender (a Blendtec works great!) and blend until smooth.  Add a little ice and blend on high until frothy or pour over ice.  Delicious!

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It’s a Balancing Act Stupid!


I know, I know, I KNOW THIS!  Then why is it so easy to slip back into old patterns?  We transitioned into this caregiver role knowing the risks, but also seeing the possible rewards, and the rewards have been many.  I (with extreme type A personality disorder) thought I had a firm grasp on what I needed to do to balance this new life, that fine line between taking charge and keeping things organized, and running around with my hair on fire!  Just where is that darn fire extinguisher? 😉

No one who knew me from my old corporate days would have accused me of being a well-balanced gal.  Ok, maybe I fooled those who fleetingly passed me in the hall, a smile on my face, a warm hello.  Those who knew me more intimately saw the “get it done at all costs (now)” approach to life, stepping aside when they saw me coming, afraid I was going to combust and consume them in the ensuing flames (lol).

Seems that incorporating meditation and yoga into the retired life works to maintain balance only if you still have a regular practice (who would have thought?).   Guess I should have guessed how far off course I had wandered when recently I had to blow the dust off my meditation cushion and the unfurled yoga mat refused to lay flat, wanting to curl back on itself (sounds just like me!). 😉

meditation cushion in the pond

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the only one doing this crazy dance of running from dawn until dusk, ignoring the aches and pains, pushing at all costs to cross yet another project off the list.  As I look to my right, Terry is slumped in the chair right next to me at the end of the day, both of us silently pleading for the other to pour the much-needed glass of wine.  So here we sit, two with wanderlust trying to remain stationary for long periods of time.  Something was bound to happen sooner or later.

This morning, amidst birdsong, I walked to the end of the drive, gingerly sticking a toe across the property line.  Once I had determined there would be no electric shocks, I headed out.  Six miles of country road under my feet, a whisper on the breeze got my attention.  “Good morning Lulu.  Welcome back”.

I had forgotten how living in the moment felt, how important it is to our well-being, and those around us.  Now, if I could just get my muse to cease with the 3 a.m. wake-up call!  In a later post I will share a poem she pushed me to write, one which she believes freed me to pursue a balanced life once again.

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Solitary Thoughts

lost in thought

Sitting at your window, looking out at the world, what solitary thoughts hold your attention?  At age 93 do you still delight in simple pleasures, those little discoveries made when I take my early morning walks?  Are there mysteries yet to unravel, interests to be explored?  Does the cardinal at the feeder, the sun skipping across jonquil and hosta, or a delicate raindrop cascading down the windowpane bring a smile to your face?

During these quiet times, does your mind wander to the life you have lived?  Do you wonder how many more holidays yet to be shared with your loved ones, how many more crisp spring mornings, how many more golden leaves tumbling down from the canopy above, how many more first gentle snowfalls?

time for reflectingAre you marking time in months instead of years, fearful of what is to come, afraid of how you will exit this life?  Was this journey what you had hoped for or do regrets creep into your thoughts, pangs of pathos overshadowing all else?

You have always seemed the strong, silent type, keeping thoughts buried, not eager to share.  These past several weeks I have seen a much frailer man, yes, but also one who is animated, a man I am thankful to have shared a few private words, a few childlike laughs.

dad at 93Since I came into your family I have chuckled at the way you seemed to have singled me out, asking my thoughts about complex issues like the death penalty and gay marriage.  Even when my beliefs have run counter to your own, they have never elicited a negative reaction from you.  You openly welcomed me into this family, tolerating the “huggy” kind of gal that I am.  I like to think that you secretly enjoy this aspect of me.

I pray that in your solitary thoughts you still find the joy in nature’s wonders.  I have discovered your love for my chocolate chip cookies, so I will continue to bake them, just to see that beautiful smile light up your face.

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