They're such a light green, in fact, that they border on yellow. With just the slightest hint of a breeze, hundreds of airy chartreuse fronds all sway in unison and the sight could not be any more soul satisfying.
The forsythia are also in bloom here now. What a beautiful combination, the light green of the weeping willow and the yellow of the forsythia.
Tulips are finally in bloom here as well. I wonder, do Bismarck residents prefer red tulips over any other color, or do red tulips just bloom first? It is a delight to drive down any street in town and finally see color - even the yellow of dandelions. I saw my first ones yesterday.
"Make do, wear it out,
Use it up, or go without"
- Old Adage
I mentioned that the sight of new willow leaves is soul satisfying. I am trying to satisfy my soul without spending any money. Is anyone out there in this economy in the same boat as I am - trying to make do with less and less all the time - and trying to enjoy the process (or at least trying to feel virtuous about it)?
This is not exactly a new thing for us. Vacations, new cars, a boat, even much-needed home repairs have not been in our budget for a long time. I can't remember the last time I traveled out of town. We go out for dinner about once a year, usually on a gift card.
I haven't been to a movie since Christmas, and that was only because Kristen was home. I haven't rented or purchased a DVD in forever.
Within the past six months, I have given up my Netflix subscription and quit buying magazines (not even "Somerset Studio" or "Victoria"). I don't buy new books anymore - Barnes & Noble is only for browsing, not buying. My books come from thrift shops, rummage sales and amazon.com (there are many available for a penny plus shipping). No, I won't quit buying books!
I never, ever shop recreationally anymore. I have put off buying sheets and towels and they are wearing out. I bring my lunch to work. I have never been one to buy a Starbucks coffee every morning.
For years I bought pretty much whatever I wanted at the grocery store, never checking prices. Now I bring a calculator and pinch every penny. For years I bought my clothes at Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target and T. J. Maxx. Now I've gone a step further and only buy them at thrift shops. For over 20 years I have bought my shoes at K-Mart and Payless.
Just recently, I have been doing without cable TV. I am doing fairly well, but I am Lost without the antics of Kate, Jack and Sawyer on "Lost." I haven't gotten my weekly shot of "Gray's Anatomy" and I can't boo Simon Cowell on "American Idol". I can receive CBS - with good sound but lousy picture - so I do get the national and local news plus a few dramas ("Criminal Minds" - yeah!)
In the past years I have gone from spending hundreds of dollars a year on hanging baskets and bedding plants to merely picking up a few for my deck. This year, I won't even be doing that. It has been many years since we have watered our lawn in the summer.
I no longer have Internet at home, but I am not weaning myself off that as easily as I did cable TV. I have to go to the library every day, if only to check my e-mail by putting a quarter in the slot in the "pay for use" computers there. I'm hoping that this won't be a permanent condition, but if it is I will adjust. (I still have Microsoft Word, so I can write posts at home and then publish them when I can access the Internet.)
Instead of juice, I have been buying Kool-Aid packets. My next thing to give up will probably be Coke. That will be very, very difficult.
But, on the bright side, I have free music at my fingertips, thanks to the radio and my CDs.
My library card is free. Dan has even been asking me to check out books for him. (He has never had a Bismarck Library card, even though we have lived here for 28 years!) I am reading more than I have in a long, long time, finishing a book about every two days. And as the days get longer and longer, I will be reading even more.
The whole of nature is free, and I still have my health, mobility, and all my five senses to appreciate this burgeoning spring: Hearing, to capture the stirring trill of the meadowlark. Scent, to sniff the fresh air and the newly-cut grass. Touch, for the silky down of a prairie crocus (anemone pusillatis). Taste, for a sweet drop of honeysuckle. Sight, for the first flowers now in bloom, and for all the daffodils, lilies of the valley, spirea, iris, lilacs and crabapple blossoms to come.
There will be no charge to watch the Band Day parade on Friday evening, or to see my niece graduate from high school. There's no charge to sit on a park bench and watch the world go by. The sight of baby animals at Dakota Zoo can be had at a nominal price.
Driving down to the river will use up about a buck's worth of gas at most. Sitting on the deck of an evening and watching Gracie careen around the yard will not only be free, it'll be priceless (though I will sorely miss seeing Penny waiting to expertly catch a pop fly (her ball).
The Montana-Dakota Utilities bill will go way down (and MDU has already purchased its natural gas for next winter - at a much lower price than this past year)!
It will be a soul-satisfying spring - and summer - indeed. As my blogging friend Lila says, "Joy doesn't depend on income."