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Standing on the deck, I watch the storm roll in: May 7, 2012.

There was a day when the first sound of thunder sent me fleeing for shelter in the most fortified room of the house. The sound terrified me. Even as an adult, I became vigilant and nervous as thunder rolled in. Now however, I sit here at the computer as I continue my studies, look out the window and breathe deeply. I love the smell of spring rain brought in by the storms. I watch as the clouds darken and billow, listen to the thunder rolling from horizon to horizon, and feel blessed for the privilege of enjoying another spring. Birds slice the sky as they zoom hither and thither seeking shelter, knowing as do I, that the showers are merely rinsing the air clean and quenching earth’s thirst. Of course I realize that when things go awry, the weather can bring damage and pain into our lives. But a spring thunder shower reminds me of cycles and seasons, growth and hibernation, and I am thankful for it all. So, as I spend yet another day with my never-ending coursework, I watch the storm roll in and feel deep gratitude for spring thunder showers.

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2011 was a year filled with upheaval and stress. A move from Maryland to Virginia, and then another from Virginia to Ohio, each dwelling smaller than the one before, necessitated storing most of our belongings in a storage unit far from where we now live. As if that was not stress enough, unexpected losses and illnesses of loved ones contributed to the jumble of feelings. Things got out of whack. For this year I have resolved to get my life back into whack (whatever ‘whack’ means.) Part of the process involves getting out of the apartment everyday and increasing physical activity. This is more of a challenge in winter when grounds and road surfaces are coated in snow and ice. Living in an apartment complex however, does afford some amenities that make it a bit easier to work toward my goals. The gym is free to all residents, so this year I’ve begun to come here and use the treadmill. Thirty minutes on that and I feel like a new person. As I get more in shape, I will use some of the other equipment, too, but a daily treadmill workout is great for now. I am grateful for gyms that have the tools that help us shape up!

 

 

Late yesterday afternoon Richard suggested that we drive to the lake to watch the sunset. I’ve mentioned several times since moving here that Cleveland is located at a point on the lake where we would be able to watch both sunrises and sunsets ~ if we made the effort, a not-too-veiled hint. We left the apartment while still broad daylight so I had no clue if we would catch a pretty sunset or not. Regardless, Richard and I would enjoy the lake for a few minutes together this evening. When we first arrived I was taken with the beautiful pastel colors and the almost impressionistic scene before me (for another blog.) Hand-in-hand, we strolled down a quay where a few fishermen lingered, took deep breaths and watched the sky become increasingly brilliant. After a while we drove to another point a mile or two further west where we witnessed even more profuse reds, yellows and oranges as the sun continued to sink in the sky . Both places offered up stunningly beautiful sights even as clouds obscured the sun. Yet. not to be deterred, the sun’s rays still lighted the sky in  a dazzling display of color. This photo is straight out of the camera ~ no editing, no enhancement. We watched. We breathed deeply. We stayed until almost dark, yet as we walked back to our car, the profusion of color continued to impress. I am grateful for the opportunity of watching the sun set over Lake Erie.

 

 

It’s not very often that you will hear a wife say “my husband is right”, at least not this wife, but it’s not what you think! Yesterday Richard and I had some business outside the apartment requiring some running around. After we completed our “chores”, we decided did a little exploring to search out some walking paths or hiking trails. We found a lovely place but just as we arrived the storm clouds rolled in and the thunder started booming.  I was able to shoot off a few frames (this is not it) before we left but we both know we will return when the weather is calmer.  On the way home Richard decided to show me some of the Jewish neighborhood. When we reached a synagogue, Richard would pull into the parking lot and make a big loop around the building. Boring! At the third parking lot of the third synagogue, as we were pulling in, I voiced my displeasure: “I do NOT want to see another parking lot!” He, in his endearing way, stated that this was the only way to see the building. Boring. Then, as we drove toward the back of the building I saw them.  I suddenly whispered to Richard to drive slowly and quietly to the rear of the lot.  As he inched along, I pulled my camera out of its bag and lowered the passenger side window.  We literally pulled up beside three deer munching grass on the synagogue lawn. They were not spooked by us, suggesting that they were accustomed to humans hanging around.  I was able to get about a dozen shots before they ambled away.  As we were leaving the parking lot, Richard mentioned that he would not take me to any more parking lots since I found them so boring. 😉 We had a good laugh and I, once again, was grateful for the man I married. I, too, am grateful for times such as these when Richard’s hunch leads us to serendipitous moments. 🙂

 

We finally made the move.  For the last five or six weeks, “the move” has been the focus of my thoughts as I prepared for it.  Packing boxes after having just unpacked them in our last place proved to be more daunting and chaotic than I had imagined.  My psyche was battered, yet all the battering and chaos had more to do with my perceptions than with anything anyone “did” to me.  Nonetheless, I struggled with this move, even though we were moving to a place both of us hoped to retire to “someday.”  Well, “someday” came a little earlier than expected, and we were/are happy about the decision.  Richard has been here since the end of July; his job started August 1.  Now, finally after all the fuss and muss, the movers (best movers ever!) loaded us up on Monday, we were all on the road on Tuesday, and our stuff was delivered to us on Wednesday.  Today, Thursday, I pause to reflect on gratitude.  I got busy during this transition (which is really not over yet) and the attitude of gratitude slipped a little.  But today as I sit here with my first cup of coffee amidst the cavern of boxes and strewn furniture, I look out my window and think all things do work for good.  We go through times of upheaval and confusion, but good persists whether we recognize it or not.  (I’m not forgetting about those folks who have truly bad things happen to them: wars, disasters, famine, etc.  But good persists even then. Too many people who have endured the holocausts of life attest to that fact.)  So now we embark on the next leg of our journey together, Richard and I, and do so with gratitude for our new apartment in a wonderful place~the town where we got married, where our lives began together.   I am truly grateful for all that has brought us to this place and time.

 

My husband is on a business trip and since I am on a break from my studies, I joined him in his travels.  It was a spur of the moment decision, but I am sooooo glad we are traveling together.  Road trips are one more thing we do well together!  Of course when one is traveling by car, pit stops are a necessity, and most states have kindly provided places to pull off the road so the weary traveler can take a little R&R from driving. Rest areas are islands of loveliness anymore, with beautiful landscaping and picnic tables, play areas and walkways for pets. I photographed these flowers at a rest area in Ohio.  When I got out of the car, they are the first things I noticed.  Lovely.  I am grateful for beautification efforts anywhere.

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