Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘nature’


By know you know that I enjoy Chicago’s Botanic Garden for many reasons. I don’t have the space, time or energy to maintain a lovely garden myself but I LOVE flowers. I totally enjoy walking the paths, listening to the rushing water on the waterfalls or fountains, and watching as the seasons change.

I try to get to the garden in time for the daffodils. This year I didn’t make it. I ALWAYS try to visit when the crabapples are in bloom. My first visit this year, they were trees in waiting. I totally enjoyed a huge magnolia tree. The Japanese cherry trees were in full bloom as well as the rhododendron in the Japanese Garden. I totally enjoyed the day, took many photos and hoped to return when the crabapples were in bloom.

Just ONE week later, I received an invitation, the crabapples were in bloom. I didn’t hesitate. The next day, sunny but cool found me back in the Garden. This time I arrived earlier, before the bells chimed twelve. This time, once again I found a parking spot in the closest parking lot. THANK YOU!

It is my practice to check out the salads and other food on the menu before I wander the paths. I noticed a key lime tart. I knew it wouldn’t be available when I finished my walk. I decided it needed to accompany me. I wasn’t hungry, but I LOVE key lime pie. It became the second photo I took that day. It wandered with me until I reached the waterfalls. Sitting on a bench — in the sunshine — listening to the rushing water, I totally enjoyed the tart.

The magnolia tree had lost its flowers, the Japanese cherry trees were no longer in bloom, I debated walking the Japanese Garden. I was happy that I did — azalea’s were in bloom, the Japanese retreat house was open, as well as quite a few crabapple trees. I didn’t count the number of photos I took at the Garden. I’m sure it was well over 100. Besides the crabapple trees, I have a photo of two turtles sunning on a couple of rocks. (I overheard a father pointing them out to his son.) I also have a photo of a mother robin feeding her chicks in a nest.

This time I wandered to the island, enjoying the crabapples in bloom in the lanes. White and pink trees were laden with blooms. The red blossoms were still waiting. I noticed a white crabapple tree so full of blossoms that the branches were hidden. A tram passed as I admired the tree. The driver told her group it was a weeping white crabapple. Her favorite tree in the Garden.

Stopping for a salad before leaving, it was a perfect day!



I had a most interesting week — in a weeks time I have revisited many of the talents and interests I had over the years. Many of them slipped by the wayside without my noticing it. Too busy, too many other things occupying my time. Years ago, I belonged to the Nature Club at our campground. This week, Sunday, I attended a presentation on a wetland area that is only a few miles from our campground. Even though it has been there for quite a few years, I was completely unaware of its existence. The person giving the presentation had interesting slides of the plants, animals and insects that inhabited the area.

Two days later, I saw a member I knew from the Nature Club at a restaurant. The very next day, I ran into another person who had helped me with the float on a parade. The back to back experiences reminded me of not only the fun I used to have, but also how much I have forgotten. Too many years have passed!

That same day, I attended a colored pencil drawing program hosted by the nature club. I haven’t drawn in years — not that I have ever been very skilled. I picked a flower to capture on a wood panel. All the supplies and pencils were provided. The experience reminded me of when I first started painting 30 years ago. It was an invitational program put on by the campground. Bring your body and talent and we will provide the rest. My rendition of that painting opened up a new world for me. I didn’t think I could paint — I was proved wrong. Thankfully the technique I learned this week was easy to adapt and the flower I colored surprised me. Instead of hiding in a drawer, it is occupying a space on our wall. My family thinks I should pick up my paint brushes again. They may be right.

While I was occupied with colored pencils, I learned of nature activities coming up on the weekend. A nature hike and later, a nature presentation of life in early America. Both sounded interesting — I planned to attend. Then I WORRIED. Would I be able to walk on a two mile hike? Would my knees allow me to do it? I decided that I would hike as far as I could then walk back and leave.

I didn’t need to worry. I arrived at the prearranged spot and saw the leader putting down a plastic ground cover. The plan was to DRAW, then hike. I WONDERED HOW not only would I get DOWN on the ground, HOW would I get back UP?

I needn’t have worried. The leader asked me to wait, he had something in the car for me. HE DID! He had his mother’s wooden folding chair. I WAS VERY COMFORTABLE. I still couldn’t draw — a bird, copied out of one of his books. (My grandson could have done better!) A tree — some resemblance but nothing to brag about. I think I will try to pick up his suggestion and DRAW every day.

The presentation — EXCELLENT! I convinced my husband to accompany me. He was glad that I did. Brian “Fox” Ellis became Prince Maximilian in 1832. I was reminded of the many hours I spent in storytelling.

The only thing missing was writing. OH! I GUESS I’M DOING IT NOW!

Years ago we had bird feeders hanging in our yard. A hummingbird visited a few weeks ago — reminding me. This weekend, we hung up hummingbird feeders. We had a visit from either one hummingbird twice or two separate hummingbirds. WELCOME. ( I have plants that are beneficial for hummingbirds in my garden. The feeder is more permanent.)


It never ceases to amaze me — too many times to count — I am at the right place at the right time to either help someone or be helped in return. Maybe I will accidentally meet someone on the street who I haven’t seen in a long time. Or I will hear something that helps to solve a problem or question that is bothering me.

We are at the camper. This week I took our dog, Robin, for a morning walk. Standing in the middle of the path, I came face to face with a yearling deer. (My best estimate of its age.) It was very interested not only in myself, but in Robin too. Now I don’t know if Robin saw the deer, she didn’t bark or pull on her leash. The deer just stood in the middle of the path and twitched its ears. Of course, I kept up a running conversation on my end. We got close enough that if I would have had a long shadow, it would have touched before the deer jumped off the path. Then Robin wanted to chase.

I will admit that I’m not sure what is occurring. Today is the anniversary of my Mother’s birth. Am I receiving “HELP?”
I haven’t put in special spacing or changed the font to italics but that is what is appearing on my screen.

Do I make God laugh? That seems to be my mission in life. I tell God my plans, LAUGHTER — things change.

Just because — I’m going to ramble on. I’m most interested in the formatting of the thought ramble! It will be most interesting when I publish it, to see what it turns out to be.

This morning, I took Robin for a walk. This time she didn’t refuse to walk, didn’t stop and lay down, but continued down the trail. This morning I totally enjoyed picking black caps (black raspberries)along the trail, freshly washed from the morning rain.
I stopped to fill my scooter with gas at the service center and said hello to an old acquaintance. As I passed him, I noticed that his face seemed thinner. I turned the scooter around and went back for a chat. I was correct in my thinking. He was 30 pounds thinner, having had surgery for a valve that was in trouble. It was allowing his lungs to fill up with fluid. He also had four blockages fixed. I can see his daughter’s “help” with this surgery. She passed more than fifteen years ago from Leukemia. I’ve known the family for years. It didn’t surprise me when he remarked that his mother in law was out, at 88 years young, pushing a broom on the deck this morning.

I think this thought ramble is long enough. It will be interesting to see how it saves and what formatting it publishes in.

One last thought, last year I heard that a restaurant had the best pizza. It was at the end of the year and since my husband does not like pizza, I didn’t stop. This year I had an occasion to stop. I ordered a personal pan pizza to share with my grandson. A) he is ALWAYS hungry. B) He would remind me of sodium, and help me stay relatively safe.

The strange formatting is still on the copy of this thought ramble before I uploaded it but it changed to normal on wordpress. I guess it was just for my confusion!


Last summer, I wandered the streets and nature trails of Woodhaven Lakes with a great deal of sadness and hope for the future. Most of the shady streets were now bathed in sunshine. Many of the nature trails opened up to bare landscape or fallen — twisted trees. The devastation from the tornado was every where.

A year has passed and the landscape has changed. Most of the tornado damage has been removed — trailers, sheds, porches, decks and trees. The nature trails no longer are bare — wild flowers and other plants have filled up the spaces. Some new trees have been planted.

New trailers, room additions, porches, sheds and decks are every where. Many new trees have been planted on the owners lots. It will be a long time before they provide the missing shade but progress is being made.

It is still very easy to determine what areas have been affected by the tornado. Shade and huge trees are missing. Some huge trees have remained, either because of stronger roots or the direction of the winds so the terrain isn’t bare.

I asked a real estate broker if there had been a large change in the population. Her reply was that although some owners have left, many new people have arrived. They came out to look at the after effects of the tornado, liked what they saw and bought property.

We lost more than nine trees at the front of our lot and many more on the sides and back. We now have sunshine and a new deck with a roof to provide the missing shade. The roof even has a fan to provide some air movement when the breeze is missing. I have to admit that I am spending a lot of time out on the deck.

I didn’t realize how much the tornado had affected me. I had a deep sadness that did not want to lift. It was very hard to explain, in fact I wasn’t even aware that it was there. Now that it has lifted — I DON’T MISS IT. Seeing all the new growth — the new changes must have helped.

Fall has arrived. Soon we will close up the trailer for the winter. Many years ago we spent time at the camper in the winter. Cross country skiing, walks in the high snow, Christmas shopping all were part of our winter. I had a small Christmas tree, wreath and lights to decorate the trailer. We haven’t wandered out there in the winter for years. Wandering in high snow is no longer as easy as it was when I was young. Staying inside, sitting in a warm camper doesn’t have the same draw as when I was younger. Lets not even talk about the ice that forms on the roads over night.

This year the small tree and wreath will stay packed away. We will turn off the heat and winterize. We will bring all the food home. I will admit that I miss the days when we left stuff out for the occasional weekends away.


When we bought our property at the campground, we knew we were on the edge of the property. We didn’t realize how lucky we were. In the early days of the campground, cows were in the pasture across the road. I often walked across to visit. Various dogs of ours also crossed the road to visit the cows. I don’t think the cows were impressed. Time has passed and the cows are gone. Market conditions might have been the cause. Now the fields are planted with crop — grass, corn, beans, hay depending on the season and year. Our resident deer love to cross the road to graze on the various offerings. This year a mother and two fawn are going out for dinner.

Sometime along the way, a small park was installed across from us. Even though it is very small, it is a gathering place for many of the children. Last year when the tornado struck and demolished many trees, the second day we were allowed to return, I heard children’s voices coming from behind the trees. I wrote a speak up sheet asking that the park be replaced. I learned that the park hadn’t been in their plans but the speak up sheet worked. The park is even smaller — only a baby swing and a bigger swing, with a slide set. Last weekend 10 children were there at one time followed by other various groups. A red haired teenager took advantage of the swing and the quiet to have some quiet time of her own.

Our property faces south from which a breeze comes on most days. Thanks to the tornado, many of the trees are gone — the breeze isn’t blocked. When the temperature was in the 90’s, the breeze was a very welcome addition. Another advantage for us is that we are not close to the pools or the lakes. Even on busy weekends, our place is not crowded. Not having other campers across the road is also a blessing. Since it is so open, we can watch the lightening and the storms further south. Farmers cutting their crop. Once or twice a summer we are treated to crop dusting planes.

Recently we had the opportunity to purchase a self propelled used lawn mower. We have a service cut our lawn but not our son’s. The weed whacker my husband used was becoming too much work — equipment was needed. In the course of our conversation at the store, we learned that an antique tractor run was scheduled for the next day. Imagine our surprise when we saw the tractors on the back road, right across from our porch. I didn’t realize what I was seeing at first, so I didn’t count until 10 tractors had passed but I did get my camera for a couple of close shots.


I hate to admit it but I’m STUCK! It is not a pleasant place to be in. I really don’t know the reason for this feeling — but I’m guessing its a combination of things. First my weight — which is up — stress, depression, the winter, the summer(?). This has been an interesting summer — cooler temperatures, less sunshine, and FALL seems to be arriving earlier. Trees are already losing their leaves — I guess they don’t like the weather either.

I love the Fall but I tend to get depressed. My birthday is in October — I’m a year older and I do a life review — What have I accomplished, etc. This year I’m feeling my age or more than my age. If I’m successful in losing some of the extra weight, I might feel younger. It would be lovely. Normally I don’t feel my age — 10 or 100, varies from day to day. Messages keep coming through that my life expectancy is long. In order to age gracefully, I need to be able to have a good quality of life.

Some how I need to break out of the mud — start a food plan to lose weight, exercise regularly. Etc. It doesn’t matter how often I tell myself these things. I resolve to start tomorrow. But someone said that tomorrow never comes. I planned to start today! But someone laughed and my plans changed.

We planned to be in the country last weekend. Plans changed, rain was predicted. We decided to stay in the city. I was able to go to the Mind, Body, Spirit Expo which I totally enjoyed. Finances are low right now so although I visited the vendors and the readers, I exchanged ideas and saved my money.

A new deck of cards revolving around trees has been created. I chose one, but didn’t write down the message. The face of the deck are trees: rendered in shades of lavender. I like trees. I was very upset when we lost our elm. It had sheltered our house for many years. It escaped the Dutch elm disease but was attacked by the Asian beetle. We kept the tree company as the city cut it down. We learned that it had the largest circumference of any elm tree in the city. We missed the tree and the shade it provided. When the city offered to replace it, we chose a locust tree — because it was fast growing.

Many years ago a Native American Indian counseled to hug a tree and I must admit that I have, many times. So when I had the opportunity to attend a lecture on the sprites that live in trees I did. The presenter has developed a technique to capture the image on film and has written several books on the subject. She passed around a box of rocks and told us to pick one. I close my eyes when given this opportunity and was amazed when I chose a quartz crystal. At the end of the presentation, we were told the best way to ask the spirits to appear and learned the power the rock we chose had. I discovered I had the king of the crystals and it has the power to communicate with all of the sprites.

To end the day, I attended the workshop of the designer of the Soul Trees. She encouraged each member of the audience to choose a card — the words on my card is Inner Power. As a wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother plus author and painter, I’m sure that I have an Inner Power. I looked through her deck for the card I picked the day before without any success. At the end of the presentation, there was a meditation, with questions. I have trouble meditating — my mind is too active. But I closed my eyes and was given a gift. I “saw” a rock shelf, similar to a waterfall, in lavender with streams of silver, or white on the rocks. (??) Does that mean the blocks are lifting? I won’t mind.


I don’t know where my love of flowers and gardens comes from. My mother’s mother always had a garden with flowers and vegetables. Many of my aunts on my father’s side always had lovely flowers blooming in their yards. I inherited their love of flowers and when I learned of the Japanese Garden in Rockford, Illinois I knew I wanted to go. A short announcement on a television program brought it to my attention. There is something about the sound of falling water mixing with the stones and trees in a Japanese Garden that sets it apart from other types. We planned to go on Thursday until I saw the weather forecast. Just for fun — I was going to wear a kimono type dress that I bought in Oahu.  Thursday’s temperature was forecast to be 94 and humid. We left very early on Tuesday morning, the temperature was already 73 degrees heading for 92. I wore a tank top and shorts. I’ll leave the kimono for another time.

We were at the garden by 10:30. We received a map detailing the various statues and buildings on the site. The garden is divided into two parts — the first is ancient Japan, with bamboo chairs and buildings, the second is modern — metal chairs, umbrellas for shade. Luckily there were many shaded areas and plenty of benches and other resting places. A light breeze was blowing as were made our way around. A few clouds passed by providing more shade. When I looked the garden up on the internet, their website had many lovely pictures of the garden which I thought were taken in May when azaleas were in bloom. I was very happy to see many flowering plants in various places in July. I loved the rocks — I saw a laughing face in one when we started our tour.

We heard the tall waterfall by the tea house before we saw it. I tried to meditate in a shelter near the waterfall but meditation has never been my strong suite.  It is no longer possible to climb to the top bridge by the waterfall because of insurance. Sitting on a rock in the middle of the pond were 8 yellow and brown bundles, little ducklings snuggled together while their mother swam near by. A lovely gift. I wondered if they were meditating.

The map referenced a raccoon husband and wife. Although I looked for statues and rocks I had not seen the pair. While my husband rested, I retraced my steps without any luck. Luckily a workman was nearby who knew where they were hiding — and hiding they were. The wife sculpture was next to a bench, the husband behind the leaves of a tree.

I would liked to have spent more time in the garden but the temperature was already rising. I learned that it is also very pretty in the Fall when the leaves are changing. We will have to go back. Maybe then I will wear my kimono.

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