Thursday, April 26, 2007


Today is the first day of spring by my reckoning. When I walked outside this morning, I could SMELL spring. We've had 70- and even 80-degree days in Bismarck this year, but the ground hadn't warmed up yet. Today, for the first time, that wonderful smell. It's probably 95% new grass and damp earth, as a lot of things aren't blooming yet.

I have been reading other blogs written by residents of the southern states, and England. I have been so envious of their red buds, tulips, apple blossoms, daffodils and so forth. Finally, we have some things in bloom in Bismarck, although not many. Forsythia grows here, but not well, so bushes like the one above are scattered few and far between. The two almond trees by the old Jewish synagogue are also in bloom. I believe they are the only ones in town.

Other than that, we are still waiting. The tulip leaves are up, but there are no blooms, or even buds. The flowering crab apples are budded out, the lilacs, not yet.

This morning, I had an appointment to take some tests for a job. Since the building is on the outskirts of town, I was pretty sure I would hear a meadowlark and sure enough, they were singing joyously to the morn. I have never heard the much-lauded English skylark, but I can't imagine hearing a prettier song than that of the Western meadowlark. It's a lilting, trilling cascade of notes that always gives me a thrill.

As it turns out, I passed the typing test with flying colors, but flunked the 10-key test. That was hardly a surprise, as I have never 10 keyed in my life. What is surprising is that I came so close to passing. I will be able to go back in 7 days and test again, so I guess I will be doing a lot of practicing starting tomorrow. Thank goodness for Google. You truly can find anything you are looking for online, including 10-key tests!

I'm not starting my practice sessions until tomorrow, because I'm busy getting ready to host book club tonight. I made two no-bake cheesecakes - country blueberry and peaches and cream - from mixes I found at a local gift store. I am not a baker. My daughter's second grade teacher once asked her if her mom could make some bars for a class party. My daughter replied, "Well, I'm going to have to ask my Dad, because my Mom doesn't bake." True, absolutely true.

My book club friends make heavenly desserts. Orange sherbet in chocolate cups for Halloween, green St. Patrick's Day parfaits, Better-Than-Sex Cake. I could go on and on. So when I trundle out my crumbling, cracking, falling-apart desserts, I am usually apologizing like crazy.

Since my house isn't in the best shape either right now, the artist in my group graciously offered the use of the BAGA - Bismarck Art and Gallery Association - gallery in which to gather tonight. I can't wait. Our usual stimulating discussion will be even more stimulating since we'll be surrounded by beautiful art.

The reception area of the office I was in this morning was unusually busy. I saw dozens of people walk by, all with a purpose. I looked at them thinking, "They are all employed, and I'm not. Will I ever get a job?" It was a panicky moment of loss. But this afternoon, I'm remembering the meadowlarks, the forsythia and almond blossoms, the smell of spring. I'm looking forward to another great meeting of minds this evening with my soul sisters from whom I receive so much enrichment and nourishment. I guess I'm feeling what William Wordsworth described when he wrote, "Other gifts have followed, for such loss, I would believe, abundant recompense."

Two gifts for you on the "first" day of spring:

An excerpt from "Ode: Intimations of Immortality
from Recollections of Early Childhood"
by William Wordsworth
Then sing ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
And let the young lambs bound
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng.
Ye that pipe and ye that play.
Ye that through your hearts today
Feel the gladness of the May
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour,
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind"

To hear the song of the Western meadowlark, click on this link:
The trill of notes plays three times, with space in between, so don't close the site too soon.


Lila Rostenberg said...

Thanks for the poem and the link to the meadowlark. I'm at my mom's. She likes meadowlarks too, so we listened to the link. Also her last name is Thaxton...almost like tha Thexton who collects the bird songs....Keep up the good work in looking for a job!

Annie Jeffries said...

You know what I liked about this Julie? It was the positive spirit, the listening ear, the awareness of the beauty around you during a time that could be relentlessly dark and dismal. Good books, good friends, the song of a meadowlark, and the fragrance of forsythia. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Oh, AND - I don't bake either so you are in very good company. It's a family joke that our kids have no Christmas cookie baking memories and more than a few burned offerings. Occasionally I try again but well, be afraid, be very afraid. LOL

Daisy Lupin said...

Hi thanks for commenting on my blog. I have just come in from sitting having a cup of coffee in the garden, its a bit breezy but copeable. The birds are all flying about and twittering, my forsythia has finished blooming and all its new green leaves are out now. The tulips are almost finished, it will be irises and poppies next. What book are your bookclub discussing, I love reading.

Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

I was in awe of how you turned days events around with such grace. The poem was lovely and oh the sound of the Meadowlark. Alas we do not have them around here and I so wish we did, to wake up with that sound would truly start the day on the right note.
What book will you be discussing? It sounds like a great group and really so does the no-bake cheesecake!

p.s. I am a wizbang at ten key. It really is a matter of practice and familiarizing yourself with the key placements so you can do it by touch w/o looking at the keys. Kind of like dialing a telephone without looking.