First of all, sorry to have missed posting yesterday – we started pretty early with all the late spring stuff we needed to do, and I just wasn’t home long enough to write anything to share with you all. As I look at my record, however, this is page 843 of my daily musings – 394,857 words, so that’s significant I guess. Cheri’s off having coffee with her sister right now, so I have some time to drink my coffee at home, and to spend a little time with you all.
Well, after lingering in late winter, with frost and freeze warnings and snow when it ought not happen, we shot through what seemed to be about 10 days of actual spring time, and today, we find ourselves launched into an early summer. It’s 54 degrees this morning, which only a couple of weeks ago was only a dreamed-of high for the day. Today we will be in the mid-70s, and tomorrow, we will drift nicely into the 80s, with that continuing through most of next week.
I know you don’t necessarily need a weather forecast, but weather is a major piece of life here in the Dakotas, especially North Dakota. Wind, rain, snow, fog, cold, and now finally heat and sunshine, even though most of us are no longer farmers like the folks of 100 years ago who lived “up north,” it is still bred into the genes of the folks of this land. I expect the weather forecasters up here are well-compensated, and given almost idol status, as they lead us through the ups and downs of our weather lives. In Grand Forks, at the University of North Dakota, they actually have a huge atmospheric sciences department as part of the school of aerospace science. Even being able to obtain a PhD., the placement rate of students in the program is a little over 90%. You may have a UND grad telling you your weather in your part of the country!
But back to today – beautiful, with near 100% sun and warmth, a slight breeze – and we have two major projects ahead. We need to finally stain and seal our egress window openings, and it’s time to put our money where our mouths are, and buy the flowers for the summer. We went out yesterday and bought the five huge bags of potting soil to fill the different pots stored in the garage all winter. Our estimate is that we will fill about 14 big planters before the day is over, but what usually happens is that we discuss the plans carefully, write down the shopping list, and then when we get to the plant nursery, it’s like visiting Carol Widman’s chocolate shop.
Widman’s is a long-time store, starting first in Grand Forks about 100 years ago, and sells almost every kind of chocolate thing you could want. I’ve mentioned the “chippers” before – chocolate dipped Ruffles potato chips. Over 100 other varieties await you, from chocolate sunflower seeds, to dipped jalapenos, olives, hot air, caramels, toffees, apricots, peanut butter and marshmallow crème – well, just about anything you care to have chocolate poured over… when you get to the store, you think you are only going to buy, say, a half-pound of some kind of chocolate, but if you aren’t careful, you will find yourself in the “quarter pound” world, where of course a ¼ pound of any kind of chocolate is just a taste, right, and so you end up pointing your finger at a dozen or so ¼ pounds, and while they are weighing them all and putting them in the little white bags, you have time to call your bank and secure a loan for all the chocolate you will be purchasing…
That’s the same with flowers. We think we have a buying list, but as we move from greenhouse to greenhouse, the list is more of a general guideline, and later, after the trance has worn off, we will end up, as we do each year, in not only filling the 14 planters, but finding more planters to contain the other plants that just happened to show up!
The good thing is, I guess, that we have time today to do all of this. Once a year we bring color and brightness, and an invitation to the hummingbirds to come and visit, and they will continue until nearly five months from now – almost half a year, when we will take the last little bits of the flowers, and take them to the recycle, and have a once-again bare patio and front steps.
The flowers are in a real sense the measurement of time we have before we pull out the winter coats again. They are our spring, summer, and early fall life yardsticks. So long as they are watered, they shine with a warm weather smile, and they invite to linger on the patio in the late afternoon, and to comment every day about how we really love that color, that arrangement, that life.
So today is going to be one of those perfect days. Most of Fargo has found their place in Minnesota for opening fishing weekend, and that means it will be a quiet couple of days, which is fine with me. It’s too early for the swarms of mosquitoes to arrive, and we’ve only seen a couple of flies. I know that “perfect” is only a dream, an ideal, a wished-for something, but Saturday, May 15th in the northland will be as close as we can get, so we will claim the adjective, and live at least for a few days in that “perfect” – and smile.
Word for the day: bankrupt. Pronounced, of course, BANK-rupped. We use the word often, either in board games or in real life, but it’s often used without knowing it’s origin. It’s actually of Italian origin, the meshing of two words: banca rotta. It’s translated as “broken bench.” Stay with me… it comes from the old, fairly disturbing custom of breaking the bench, or the chair of a money dealer, when the person would run out of money or other funds to lend. It was a debasing action, which no money dealer would ever want to endure, to have their “banca rotta,” and so be out of business. Otherwise later known as “going bankrupt.” Not something you want your bank today to have to announce….
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.