In step with spring

Post 17/2021 Thursday 22 April . . . I have to admit, the wall calendar above our computer desk just now got flipped to April. Days, weeks and months sail by at a steady pace, even as our lives are circumscribed–yes, we’ve heard it a thousand times–by the global pandemic. It is global. It is local. It is real. Heaven help us, it is mitigatable! Sadly, some people shy away from the reality that surrounds us, to the point of defiance, even failing to follow the simple measures that protect themselves and others.

I look forward to the day when we can have broad in-person interactions with friends, family and others near and far. While social media is all well and good, I’d like to move beyond the constraints of only talking to the squirrels and birds and trees. When we get together again, we’ll talk serious stuff, and that would include the weather, right? Seriously, I do long to see and hear speech, laughter, tears, silence, songs, hugs and prayers in a renewing togetherness, crowned with tantalizing potluck.

Thankfully, those who have and are taking the opportunity to get vaccinated, while keeping up with good health practices, are giving Covid-19 a one-two punch. Let the jabs keep rolling! Then we’ll do coffee.

Scenes of beauty fill the season

Greencroft Boulevard, looking south to the Greencroft Community Center and the many other parts of the continuing care retirement community campus.

A wander in Elkhart County Parks River Preserve

There’s one activity that keeps us on our toes. Many of you who’ve read my posts can easily guess that that has to do with getting out to walk. And muse. Take photographs. Breathe in the beauty. Rejoice that the Elkhart County Parks restrooms are open again. That home sweet home rises up like a castle on our return. So it is, has been and will be for some calendar-turning months ahead. Boots on!

Days before the snow and freezing temperatures of midweek we walked in several parts of the Elkhart River Preserve. The spring flowers were just really starting to peek out. The flowers, birds, redbud trees, even the patches of snow, made my day, my week and an amazing month of April.

Wildflowers, left and right, along a path in the Elkhart River Preserve at Benton.

Spring Beauty, if I remember my grade school wildflower identification lessons correctly.
Trillium. I recall from grade school learning not to pick trilliums, since it takes them seven years or more to bloom. Of the 43 trillium species, 38 appear in North America.
May Apples, hopefully gave a protective cover for other spring flowers during the midweek snow and frost.
Red trilliums about to bloom.
Yellow Trout Lily.
Redbud along the River Preserve Canal.
These are Tree Swallows, thanks to identification by our friend, Lois. They’re common nesters in tree cavities or nest boxes, especially near water. There are numerous boxes along the Preserve Canal. We also saw eagles on wing.
Red-winged Blackbirds kept up a steady chatter, here along the River Preserve Canal.
The River Preserve Canal once served the pioneer-era Baintertown. Today it’s a destination for kayakers, bikers and walkers.

Greencroft in bloom

April 18. Magnolia tree.
April 19. Entrance to Greencroft from College Avenue.
April 20. A reminder that winter still has oomph.

Finland takes the cake

I glanced through the 212-page World Happiness Report 2021, just published by a variety of partners working through the United Nations. The chapter titles invite deeper concentration, beyond noting that Finland again tops the list as the happiest country in the world. One can skim or plod through the report with benefit from either method. The chapters are:

  1. Overview: Life under COVID-19
  2. Happiness, Trust and Deaths under COVID-19
  3. COVID-19 Prevalence and Well-being: Lessons from East Asia
  4. Reasons for Asia-Pacific Success in Suppressing COVID-19
  5. Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic
  6. Social Connection and Well-Being during COVID-19
  7. Work and Well-being during COVID-19: Impact, Inequalities, Resilience, and the Future of Work
  8. Living Long and Living Well: The WELLBY Approach.

Two quotes from the chapter summaries:

“Trust and the ability to count on others are major supports to life evaluations, especially in the face of crises. To feel that your lost wallet would be returned if found by a police officer, by a neighbour, or a stranger, is estimated to be more important for happiness than income, unemployment, and major health risks.” (Chapter 2)

“Many positive features of a person’s life helped to protect their sense of connectedness. These included gratitude, grit, prior connections, volunteering, taking exercise, and having a pet. It also helped to have activities that provided ‘flow.'” (Chapter 6)

Be well. Be happy. Be mindful this Earth Day.


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